GNL number 12


A report of doings at meeting #12, Sunday, July 13, 2008
including liturgical notes, major themes, and odds and ends


Just to be is a blessing.
—Rabbi Abraham Heschel


  1. Ann, who’d introduced this 6-WORD AUTOBIOGRAPHY idea last month with an example recalling time with her dad, went back to family history and then to more current traveling for the following set:

    • –My parents, inherently honest, mostly truthful
    • –NYS Route 406 ends 1 mile
    • –Circle of friends, circle of life
    • –North, south, east, west, up, down
    • –Around and around, here we go
    • –Fog hides or shelter, you choose
    • –Souls connected, souls disconnected, peace, war
    • –An inner reality connects every soul
    • –Too late to make a difference?
  2. Sue had been saying since last time that she’s enjoying doing these 6-wordies everyday, and noted how especially interesting it’s been to see the wide range of feeling among them.

    • (6/9/08)–flower grower/gazer, detail caretaker, life dancer
    • (6/10/08)–reality fan bad news love bather
    • (6/11/08)–Jewish-American word activist peacemaker
    • (6/12/08)–Wife Mother Grandmother Family Elder
    • (6/13/08)–speed freak learning breath aware slow going
    • (6/14/08)–poet, storyteller, teaching artist, gardener, lover
    • (6/15/08)–pray-er, seeker, dreamer sharing peace visions
  3. Gail had recently returned from a trip with her granddaughter Virginia and mother Ginny, that followed the Susquehanna River from its beginnings near her down through Pennsylvania to DC, and this adventure very much influenced the group of phrases below:

    • –Feeling need freedom finding happiness responsibility
    • –Water tumbling along adapting to changes
    • –Like the tide rising and falling
    • –Following the seasons ever always changing
    • –A rushing stream turning new energy
    • –River growing stronger through many turns
  4. Mary Lou’s 6 words recalled sweet days in her mother’s later years:

    • Mom and I, the Everything Shoppe

    She painted an affectionate picture of their weekly thrift-shopping, especially for the wonderful purple clothes her mom would buy over and over again, as she forgot and Mary Lou re-donated them.

  5. Adair, not knowing the original 6-word set-up, added an interesting interpretation—6 words denoting what’s most important to her:

    • –Activism, animals, biology, books, environment, motherhood

    (And that version of the 6-word frame suggests another topic for future conversations.)

    Adair later added some of the statement kind too:

    • –Share the earth, everything is connected
    • –Two children, only one knows me
    • –Nature is neutral, laws control living
  6. Another traveler lately returned, Nancy reported a sequence of 6-word phrases that developed on the train ride home from visiting her kids in Maryland. Feeling tired, unwell, murky, she’d asked Can i do this on the train, do it feeling this way? Then:

    • –No, yes, no, yes, no, Yes
    • –Words mere rough tools, but tools
    • —Leaving, longing for you, Dear Ones
    • –My children, wanting to be closer
    • –Crippling fears again still, yet yes
    • –Knots loosened by train rhythm, grateful
    • –The Hudson still lordly, breathtaking, breath-giving
    • –Quiet, reflection, writing, return my life
    • –Creative and spiritual yeast, six words

    Later, she happily agreed when Jack suggested the obvious choice in her case was the names of her children:

    • –Mary, Mike, Nora, Jimmy, Julie, Paco
  7. And Jack, recalling growing-up times, told how his mother charmed the menfolk and he even as a youngster charmed the women, and then of a memorable trip with his brother, which gave him his 6-words:

    • –Traveling with brother Linc through Texas

    And this he imprinted on our minds too with a hilarious description of his view of brother Linc in the desert in urgent need of intestinal relief behind the biggest, not big enough, cactus.


Look, children, hailstones! Let’s rush out!


NEXT TIME: Sunday, August 10 (1030), at Gail Sondergaard’s, Worcester, for talk of TIME, and a scrumptious lunch. (Directions: Take 88W to Worcester exit, west on rte. 7 through town. Turn Right at bank, Decatur St., go 3 miles, RED HOUSE on Left.)


  1. More 6-words from Sue:

    • (6/16/08)–wounded all ways seeking healing wholeness
    • (6/17/08)–eager energetic frenetic frantic frightened hiding
    • (6/18/08)–bossy stubborn striving to let go
    • (6/19/08)–good girl rebel spirit-path walker
    • (6/20/08)–fearing brokenness weave memories offer kindness
    • (6/21/08)–curly head energetic digger word juggler
    • (6/22/08)–singing morning prayers all I need
    • (6/23/08)–wanting all working till I drop
    • (7/9/08)–learning one step one breath walking
    • (7/11/08)–worry artist turning to now breather
    • (7/13/08)–prayer artist on blessing’s open path

    Sue also added some new ways she’d found to jump-start this 6-word process, that ask questions (6-words that do what?)

    1. –sum up what I think is the meaning of life?
    2. –the truth I’m carrying closest to my heart today?
    3. –the most important thing i’ve learned to date?
    4. –answer the question—Who are you?
    5. –At the end of the day—sum up each day?
  2. And a couple other variations on the word-play theme, from Alexandra Stoddard, author of Choosing Happiness

    • –5 Intuitive Words. (Done quickly, for insight into your state of mind right now. Then pick one that speaks most strongly to you. Do daily.)
    • –10 Defining Words. (Like Sue’s who are you?) Then maybe try writing 25 Words for each of these as fast as you can.
  3. One final AfterWord about good books and magazines we’ve collected for circulating: Nancy has in the back of her stationwagon 30-40 books to loan out, on things we’ve discussed and more, including that fascinating collection of interviews with unfamous but very real and often wise people from NPR’s StoryCorpsProject, Listening is an Act of Love. Visit the BookMobile at the next CoS, August 10, at Gail’s. And bring any you’d like to share too.


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