If Minerva ain’t happy, Nobody is happy


This is a stern taskmaster. She takes herself seriously because she must, it’s her job. The Goddess business is about maintaining natural order. Creating containers for all manifested beings to create beauty or chaos; our choice. One might think it is randomness or the guile of a stranger or maybe fate. But I think we always choose, even if the choice is how to perceive each event.
We tried out chaos today.
Why? Couldn’t say, maybe it was too peaceful and we were missing the cues. Could be the larger view of what our journey could be is in conflict with our safety sized world. Best way to shut that down? Create chaos and work with that. Keeps the mind and body busy and foils the Spirit’s attempts to wake us up from countless incarnations of smallness.
Might be, if we give “it” enough breathing room “it” might breathe us right out there to the end of the branch hanging over the cliff where the dragon lives. Or it might breathe us into Freedom and Peace and Beauty.
But we tried chaos today.
Ask anyone who has used/ lived in an RV for any period of time; even a weekend, what the worst case scenario might be…..we all know. The potential for disorder lies at the end of a stout black pipe with a firm cap that sits under the bathroom. Humbleness follows the literally spilling of your most disliked products. There it is, on the ground and how fast can we clean it up? And even that was like chasing Mercury. So Minerva, we will listen and be patient and accept the difficulties as signposts. Thankfully we are mere mortals and expected to make messes.

Illusions and Detours




Detour: noun
1. A roundabout or circuitous way or course, especially one used temporarily when the main route is closed.
2. An indirect or roundabout procedure, path, etc.

We planned our route and mapped it out with no less than three electronic devices; IPad, IPhone, and GPS, and yes, there was a Rand McNally book map too. It was a complex route, as most are when your intention is to eschew the interstates, while staying out of complex urban driving situations better handled by cars or professional large vehicle drivers. Neither of these describe our Minerva or our driving skills. At 11.8 feet tall, 8.5 feet wide and weighing in at over 10,000 lbs. driving spontaneity needs to be kept at a minimum.

We planned Our “approach” to the metropolitan areas of Minneapolis-St.Paul with respect and due diligence. We felt confident that the outer outer interstate ring at 8 am on a Sunday morning would be “quiet.” I recalled a time years ago that I came to that airport, rented a car and drove out of the city and across the state without navigator and without incident. It would be just that easy.

As we flew north on I-35, the rain stopped the sun came put, traffic was light and all was well. Then it began. Every quarter mile the large orange signs shouted “Road Work I35, Route 5 to Route 25.” Oh well, we thought, If you know this area then you could do something slick and efficient, but we don’t so we opted for the potential slow down. The orange barrels began, the lane closures and we felt confident that we were getting off soon anyway. Then the exit was closed! Or was it?  A quick skip across the zebra stripes, had they been there, was out of the question in this barge.

Ultimately there were three detours, announced by large orange signs, bearing incomprehensible suggestions of alternate routes. Each road designed to keep traffic out of downtown offered a reprieve to the unthinkable RV driving experience. Each exit offered only another Detour sign.

I watched in horror on my IPAD as the small blue dot creeped still farther north past the airport and into the urban areas. After we had completed a perfect square; north, east, south, west we were released one exit beyond where the hellish experience began. Our ponytailed driver remained calm and collected the entire time. He propelled Minerva across some headwaters of the Mississippi and into Wisconsin without incident, where our white ponytailed driver took over for 25 peaceful bucolic miles amidst the Wisconsin countryside. I even maneuvered though a gas station to reach a kid in a parking lot sitting on a pick up truck bed full of corn.

What about the illusion in the title? If we give up the illusion of control, are there really any detours?


Mayo Magic Moments


There are many interesting moments in this island of mortals meeting their mortality. Nationalities, tribes, races, ages; divisions are meaningless amongst the waiting rooms, rest rooms and consultation rooms, we are all just human beings.

This morning, ninth floor Gonda building, a dazzling view of the Plummer Building, subject of my infatuation in an earlier post and just across the street from my chair by the floor length window. A family of five comes from the bank of elevators, some in western dress, some in burkas. The daughter or grandaughter, looking as if she would be comfortable in any 6th grade suburban school clad in jeans and T- shirt, stops in her tracks at the sight of the buildings outside the window. Gazing at the Plummer Building she says, “That kingdom is very high! Is that the ruler’s kingdom?”

I was so taken by her language. The subtle understanding that this was indeed a kingdom of a different sort. A Camelot, where the past rulers decided to treat each being with respect and love and concern; where each of us is worthy of compassion fit for a “ruler.” The code of conduct on a wall in Rochester Methodist Hospital, part of the Mayo system said “Patient forward”. Here that means to staff, volunteers and residents of this “Med City” that your needs are more important than my ego. I will serve the need of compassion until 5 pm this evening.

We watched a Doctor who had been instrumental to our care leave the building at the end of the day. She who carries her own physical trials; an illness so exotic and physically taxing that I can only imagine the emotional, mental toll but it took up no space in our examining room.

And what about the women in burkas. Who are they? What does it feel like to be here among us that appear to have so much personal freedom? Today we passed through the Peace Plaza in the afternoon. In the summer, probably the shortest season here in Minnesota, there is a gathering on Thursdays. Street venders, food venders and wonderful music convene in this three sided place.

It is so unusual to see so many people of different places, so many people of different capacities. Wheelchairs, braces, hand holding, surgical scrubs and street clothes, all mingling and enjoying the smells and the sounds. As we passed the bandstand holding a Jazz quintet of “50’s” something musicians playing a “40’s” something ballad, there was a couple dancing. This couple in their 70’s was grinning, leaning into each other, and the music. They were both aware and oblivious of the others that were fed by their spontaneous remembrance of good times, and love, and each other.

As we moved through the bystanders, I saw her. She was dressed all in black from head to toe. She wore a burka and a batoola, a golden mask that covered her nose and mouth. What it didn’t cover was her eyes, they were lined and creased, older than me, smiling and wet with tears. Our eyes met as we passed, understanding of the joy of this moment for the dancing woman. The joy was shared between us too. We are the same as that woman dancing with the man that she loves, free from care….for this moment. For this moment is joyful, for this moment nothing else matters.

I learned something today. The joyfulness of women is universal. I wish you many more moments of joy, my friend in black. May we all work together to bring more of that into the world.


The Mighty Mayo

The Mayo Clinic
From a New Mexico perspective Mayo Clinic seemed like a mythological place; holding everything the medical model currently has to offer; the best minds, machines and research, all available in a gentle small Midwestern city named Rochester.

Their preparation is so complete that by the time you meet your temporary assigned PCP he/she is already familiar with your problem, your records, and has a preliminary game plan in place. This itinerary is scheduled, yet by design is fluid and mutable, always responding to each new piece of information. Additions and deletions to your daily schedule are aimed at fully utilizing the patient’s time here. How can that work? I think it is because this is a Clinic. If this Doctor isn’t available, another one is, this system appears to be more hive than hierarchy.

“Could you come in at 7:45?” Need an MRI? Could you come now?” How long are you staying? I think I can get that appointment tomorrow.”  What does this feel like to the patient? Competent, caring and safe. This looks like, feels like a medical collective.

In the atrium of the Gonda Building there is a tapestry of people and art and even music. Different musicians play the grand piano here in this glass space all day. http://www.mayoclinic.org/mayo-experience-360/landow-atrium-south-enlg.html
Women in black burqas, circled by family, Arab men, tall people with African faces, midwestern Executives and spouse in for their pricey “executive physicals” and, of course, our jean-clad ponytailed patient carting in 3 computers to spend the day waiting for a Muscular-skeletal consult. Opting to shorten our stay by utilizing a system, not un-like flying stand-by, makes for some extended observation opportunities!

So how did Mayo come to be so different? I think it’s the owls. I think owls bring everything out of the mudane; from profane to sacred. Notice the owl atop the original medical school? The man pouring over plans with the owl present is Dr. Plummer, one of the originals with the Mayo brothers. Most of the design of this medical system happened there, in his building. How about all those mythological beings right there at the front door? Dragon, griffon, phoenix? The powerful forces of mythology and ancient history. In a scientific place in the 1920’s they seem an unusual motif. I sure would like to know what those owls meant to Dr. Plummer.