Monday, May 21, 2018

A woman approached my table. She looked right at me with her deep blue eyes, as if she could see into my soul. "I have grief," she stated simply. She was not young; she was not very old. She tole me how, over a brief period of time not so long ago, she had lost her husband and their two young adult children. 
We grieve and it's one of the hardest things to triumph over, but if we stick with it and have time and support on our side, we do indeed rise triumphant from the ashes. 
In the meantime, let's count our blessings. There is always somebody somewhere who has it worse than we do. 

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Monday, April 16, 2018

National Haiku Day - April 17

Your laughter in waves
My boat skims on the surface
Till I make waves too. 

Haiku: A Japanese poem of seventeen syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Roommate Has The Bed By The Window

An old story I've heard since I started working in health care -- so many years ago....  

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.  The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour 
periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline
could be seen in the distance.  As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in
his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up 
on one elbow  to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

It's All Backwards: The US-Mexican Border

I don't get into politics here as a rule but now that I live within a half hour of the Arizona-Mexico border I can see and feel the truth. I studied border issues in the late 1990's and wrote a book and screenplay based on my research. Before moving to the area last year I studied it carefully. Times have changed. I wanted to make sure I was making a good decision.
I learned that the crime rates in Tucson are far higher than the crime rates in Nogales, the nearby shared bordertown. The U. S. Border Patrol here covers many bases. The highway check stations, the many miles of wilderness roads and pathways. I see their vehicles everywhere. Even on off-road treks. No doubt they have their own drones to do the initial scouting for them. Drugs are an issue yes. They are an issue everywhere. Drugs aside, border crossers are an issue, yes. Most of them are looking for a cup of water, a place to lay their head, or a new pair of shoes en route to their hope for a better life. Do we really need the military? A kazillion dollar wall? The National Guard? At what cost? 

Granted, there are longstanding issues of uninsured motorists, children of illegal immigrants, babies born on this side of the Rio Grande who are automatically citizens (and many good ones!) and drug trafficking issues. Language barriers, comprehension barriers and "Press 1 for English".  There are many issues that need to be sorted underlying the debate of walls and caravans. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons
As a Clinical Social Worker I have coordinated outreach services for over 30 years for people who are in dire straits physically, financially, emotionally. In my experience, the government programs have typically responded in 24-72 hours to a referral; a call for help for someone in need. They've always been wonderful. Now there is often a Wait List for first response. One week, two, six weeks. Their hands of advocacy are tied because of budget limitations.

I remember clearly a care facility in Cottonwood AZ years ago when the workers went on strike. The facility had to meet the needs of its residents somehow. Few of the unemployed locals wanted to do that kind of work for minimum wage. The facility ultimately hired Mexican workers who were more than happy to work for minimum wage and care for the residents as "familia". The facility was never a happier place, albeit temporary. I witnessed it firsthand.

Please pray for our leaders and their decisions, which currently seem to be undoing the things that took many years and others before them to put into place. Our own people are in need while debt money is directed elsewhere. We need funding for our own people, not for military to stand guard when, as I see it, there is more danger in our own schools and U. S. cities than there is at our borders.

Life is the school, love is the lesson. 
Politics builds walls that love tears down. 
Politics issues orders while Love works together 
to find common ground and compromise. 
A wall doesn't keep the others out, it actually keeps you in. 
God Bless America.  Ego says, "We've Got It Covered, Lord" 
While Love says, "Come! We need You now!"

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

If I Were You, If You Were Me

April is National Poetry Month. Why don't you write a poem too? You might surprise yourself with your talent on expressing something you are passionate about. Try to get out of your head and gently move into your heart and see what happens. I wrote this little rambling poem/song while I was out walking the dogs one night not long ago and I thought I would post it. In honor of April.

If I were you
I'd be able to see
The way you'd come to live for me.
If I were you
I'd hear the way
You honor me each time you pray.
If I were you
I'd feel your face
I'd touch your heart
I'd taste the life you bring to me
I'd know your scent when you are near
And when you're not - when you must leave -
I'd always trust that you'd return.
I'd have no fear. I would not grieve
I'd have great faith. I would believe
In you and me.
Two hearts entwined;
My life yours and your life mine.
If I were you
I'd taste
I'd smell
I'd see
I'd hear
I'd feel
I'd sense
I'd want you near
I'd love you dear...
I love you.

But I'm not you.
I'm not you.

 ©2018  Kate McGahan

Who is speaking in the poem? Who is You? Who is Me? Who is speaking? A child? A parent? A pet? A friend? A lover? God? Everyone who ever loved or couldn't love? It's all By Design. We are shaped by those who love us and by those who refuse to love us. At one time or another, one situation or the other, we each have loved in this lifetime and we each at a certain moment have disregarded the call to love.

If you now feel unloved, it is not true. You are not a victim of a life without love. Someone Somewhere loves you very much. Someone you do not see or seem to sense. You are never alone. Think about this and look around. You are the one who does not see. Open your eyes, your ears, your heart and find the One who loves you.  Seek. You shall find. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Follow Your Gut Feelings - They Know More Than You Do.

I was just reminded of a St Patrick's Day when I was in my early 20's working at the nursing home. I was excited to get out of work to celebrate with my friends, but my last patient was an Irishman whose only wish was for a McDonald's Shamrock Shake. He was not diabetic, was considerably underweight and was a dear lonely soul. A disabled Veteran with no family, he was a bit of a curmudgeon. I always gave extra love to those who were rough on the edges. I knew they needed it more than anyone.

Much to his surprise I came back to his room about an hour later with an extra large Shamrock Shake for him. His eyes were wide and his smile was so big! He reached his bony hands out for the plastic cup and awkwardly fit the straw into his mouth. You should have seen his face; he was in Seventh Heaven. He drank about 1/4 of it and then asked to me to put in the unit fridge. He would sip on the rest in the morning.
The next morning I came in to work and learned that he had passed in the night. I was at the nurse's station with tears in my eyes, unprepared for such news. The Charge Nurse, my superior, took me by the shoulders and with a sharp glare shook me to my senses. "You can't go getting upset every time someone dies here! People are always going to be dying here! " Well, it was not the last time I cried over losing someone. I was so glad I did that for him.

Now that I know what I know about nutrition, I can't help but wonder if I pushed him over the edge with all that sugar and sodium! 😨 But no. I actually think he was able to leave once he knew someone cared... once he knew that he had been considered beloved and valued upon the earth.

Walking Over the Bridge into Shamrock Heaven

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Editing Grief for a Happier Ending

My goal is to help you to heal first and foremost with this post, so if it means pointing something out to you that can help you to achieve this, then I will point it out to you.

There are quite a few of you who do this. Many health experts say we must heal from the inside out, but sometimes we need to change something OUTSIDE of our ourselves if we are having a hard time healing the INSIDE of ourselves. One thing you can change has to do with how you express yourself in writing.

When you use a lot of exclamation points, it fuels the urgency and the pain of the past. It actually keeps the incident alive inside of you. It empowers the things you are talking about which are the memories that continually come back to haunt you. No wonder they keep coming back...You keep fueling them!

Here are two examples. Read the first one, with the exclamation points. How do you feel? Then read the second, with the exclamation points replaced by periods. How do you feel? 

Feel free to leave a Comment below if you have any thoughts... or if you feel different. Some of you may not. Some of you will. Some of you can move towards healing just by changing the way you "talk" about things! 

Our thoughts are what create the inner environment. They can affect our total health, inside and out. With just a little discipline and "tweaking," you can shift your world and expedite your healing.  

Monday, March 5, 2018

You're Gone...

You're gone.

Just another case of
Not getting what I thought I wanted.

I'll get what I'm supposed to have
Because the Powers That Be
Can make much better decisions for me
Than I can.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meditation on a Dozen Roses ❤️

Each perfect flower picked by you
Now full in bloom, at beauty's peak
Each rose opens ripe and red and true
As if to say "Here I am!
I entrust myself to you."

Like love that's unconditional
The blooms unfold with innocence.
They share with us their gentle gifts
They know not how to have defense.

Like you and me, they're in their prime!
How to keep alive and well
Though time's passage threatens
To bring with it the thorns
Of change, of loss and unplanned pain....

My time with you is cherished.
Will every shared and lovely moment
That I long to keep in bloom
Soon fade in it's own time?

The rose, divided from its roots
Has no choice but to fade and dry
But love that grows from roots of truth
Also has no choice; it cannot die.

Excerpt from "One Heart's Journey"

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Visions that Come at the End of Life

I'm still working in Healthcare where so many people are dying. I see it all the time. Today I sat with a dying man. His open eyes did not seem to see me. He was not unhappy. He was staring unwaveringly at that special place I've come to know where the wall meets the ceiling. I've seen it happen over and over again. The eye travels to the where the greatest light shines and to the creases of the room where everything comes together. The seams where walls meet ceiling. Doorways. Windows. These are the places, the portals, where the veil is pierced. The thin veil that separates Heaven and Earth. 
The man is more Where He Is Going than he is here now. He's preparing for his Passage. It is likely he'll be gone before my scheduled return on Friday.
Was there light in those creases that I could not see? What was it that he was seeing there? Find out in Jack's next book, "Only Gone From Your Sight." We're working on the final edit. 💜
In the meantime you can find the Jack McAfghan Trilogy here:

Have you experienced something like this too? 
 Feel free to Comment below. We'd love to hear your story.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Choosing Heaven

This is from the days not so long ago, when I was too shy to take credit for my own quotes. I kept my name as small as possible. This is from the book I was going to finish the week Jack came home from surgery. He ultimately died and I was thrown a curve ball that week that changed my life. 
But I still need to finish this book. It's called "It's All About You".  

I'll be working on it after I finish Book 4 
in the Jack McAfghan Series.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Questions in a Rose-Colored World

What happens when you remove
Your rose-colored glasses
And realize that I am just
A person with imperfections
Just like everyone else?

Will you leave me then?

By leaving you first 
Am I shielding myself
From that possibility?

By leaving you first
Do I deprive myself of knowing
The answer? 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Rite of Passage

Life is all about the experience
And the expression
Of feeling.

It keeps dishing out opportunities
To feel
Good and bad.

When that happens
We either come through
Our rite of passage,
Or we smother the opportunity,
Burying it with our chosen painkillers;
Anxiety, addiction, depression....

Push the feelings away
And maybe one day
You won't feel anything.
You can become an inanimate object.

And life will still keep dishing it out
In the hopes that one day
You will learn
What it hopes to teach you.

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