WURD TO THE STRONGLY WORDED LETTER

 I read something inspiring this week. I mean really inspiring. It’s not so much the words themselves (although they are awesome), but the power those words had to fell a giant. I don’t know the girl who wrote it and probably never will, yet I feel totally compelled to turn over my stage this week to this miracle making letter writer.

The gist of the story is this: Her parents, like millions of Americans, we about to lose the home they had lived in for 23 years. An inflated mortgage, coupled with a stroke, job loss and piling medical bills, created to a situation in which they fell behind on their payments. And although were up front with the bank from the get go and tried to renegotiate all kinds of offers, the bank did not care to listen.

Until she wrote this letter. And they did.

Her words are an amazing reminder of the mountains we can move by simply speaking from the center of the heart. Her strongly worded letter contained no F-bombs or other colorful language.  She slung no mud whatsoever. She didn’t pull any punches. But she didn’t throw any either. She simply said what was in her heart clearly, directly and without hesitation or apology.

And once a letter like that, with energy so clear and strong, gets out into the world, there is just no telling how far it can go. In this case, it went to the upper atmosphere of the bank’s ivory towers. And, on the night before the house was to be auctioned, the bank called it off. Sent a workable agreement to her parents.

That, in my book is a modern day miracle. A Dr. Seuss fairy tale come to life with cold hearted, big business, bonus loving Grinch of a bank growing a heart and giving a family back its home.

I salute this girl. And send a special shout out to her parents — you raised her right in that home I am so happy to know you are still living in.

I hope this boosts you all the way it did me.

My “Strongly Worded Letter” to Bank of America

January 18, 2012

Dear Bank of America,

Walking through the front door of our house with tears in our eyes after a coach unfairly cut us from a sports team or a teacher treated us badly, my mom would always threaten that she was going to write him or her, a strongly worded letter. My mom and dad, like most parents, hated seeing their children get hurt. They saw the hurt in our eyes and wanted to make everything better.

Well, my siblings and I are all grown up now and we are seeing the same hurt in our parent’s eyes.  We saw the hurt in their eyes as they struggled to figure out how to pay for an inflated mortgage payment. We saw the hurt in their eyes when after job loss, a stroke and increasing medical expenses became too much, they could no longer afford their mortgage. Now we see the hurt in their eyes after countless nights of losing sleep, worrying about where they are going to live. Seeing this hurt in their eyes over the last year is what prompted me to write you, Bank of America, a strongly worded letter.

My parents, my four older siblings and I first entered the house on Alejandro Drive in the middle of winter twenty three years ago. In the time since, we have left quite a mark on the house.  I am sharing this with you because I want you to really understand what you are getting when you take that house-our home-on Alejandro Drive.

When you enter the house, you will notice the colorful walls and vibrant tiles. We call that my mom’s “mid-life fiesta.” Enjoy that. It was a labor of love. Each colorful tile was made by mom and laid by my dad.

Those book shelves, that mantel, the fence in the front yard…my dad built those. You are welcome.

When you look at the walls, you will see holes. The holes once held nails, which held some of the finest art you have ever seen. This is not art by Picasso or Van Gogh, but by the Bay Area’s best fiber artist, Oregon’s finest calligrapher and New York City’s best abstract artist. You can’t have the art.

There are bigger holes in the walls of the bedrooms from when our teenage angst got the best of us and we slammed the doors so hard it left a bit a mark. Have fun fixing those.

You might see some screws, way up on the highest ceiling. Those were securing the famous “Schmidt family Christmas mulberry branch” to the wall. This probably warrants a bit of an explanation but quite frankly, you don’t deserve one. Good luck getting them out.

You will notice railings on the walls. Those are a new addition to our house. My brothers built them. They were for my dad, to help him learn to walk again after he suffered a massive stroke last November. You probably remember; it was right around the time when you sent my parents a letter telling them their loan modification had been rejected. We really appreciated that.

There is much more that you will never understand about the true value of this house. It is worth more than whatever monetary value my parents owe you. The dinner parties, the sleepovers, the birthdays, my first steps down the hallway, graduations, weddings, and funerals all happened within those walls but they also happened within each of us and you can’t take those memories.

Tomorrow that house, my childhood home, is going up for auction. I will go to my parents house this weekend and pack up the stuff that my parents have accumulated over the last forty-two years. Forty-two years my parents have lived in that town. They have been teachers, mentors, community organizers, coaches, and so much more.  They have given back so much to this community and now you and your corporate greed are kicking them to the curb and letting them fend for themselves. I hope you’re happy with that decision. I hope the money you get for the house is worth the loss that this community is going to feel in my parent’s absence.

Sincerely,

Mary Schmidt

Wurd, Mary Schmidt.

© 2002 The Book of Duh, Merry Carole Powers, Sarah Lorraine Feit

 

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BUSINESS TALKS

I made a startling discovery this week.  I realized that after nearly two decades as a “business woman,” I didn’t actually know the first thing about what business really is.  It all kind of happened in the blink of an eye.

I was reading a story about how corrupt and predatory banks and their payday lending practices are. Now, I don’t mean to single banks out, because you can pretty much flip to any channel and somebody’s talking about business being corrupt, being untrustworthy, being in a slump, being hard for the little guy, yadda yadda yadda.

But as I was reading about the banks, I found myself wondering when it all went so horribly wrong. Surely the first guy who went into the banking business wasn’t out to swindle his fellowman. Surely the first person who carved a wooden block into a wheel wasn’t motivated by a desire to overcharge everyone else who would, in turn, want a new fangled wheelie thing.

Surely business, at it’s core, is as full of goodness and potential as the rest of us.

Which is when it occurred to me.  Business and corporate culture are not the same thing.

Tada!

Wow. Turns out I haven’t spent two decades in business. I’ve spent two decades in the warped, mutated expression of business that defines Corporate America. And while I know corporate culture very well, I’ve never broken free from it long enough to truly get to know business at all.

So I opened up my journal and started a conversation with business. I said, “Hiya, Business! If you don’t mind me asking, who the hell are you?” And I’ll be damned if business didn’t start talking back.

Here’s what it said:

“I am the current of energy that is created when one soul says I am ready to give and another says I am ready to receive.

When one soul says I am ready to teach, and another says I am ready to learn.

When one soul says I am ready to succeed and another says I am ready to support.

When one soul says I am ready to open my doors, and another says I am ready to come in.

When one soul says I am ready to grow, and another soul says so am I.

I am the currency of connection. Of collaboration.  Of Creation.

And when one is in the business of truly living, then I am in the business of making living worthwhile.

By allowing you to create stock in yourself.

Exchange the commodities that lie within.

Expand your development.

Merge in order to grow.

Offer shares of your passion with the world.

Invest in human bonds.

Thus increasing your interest and true worth.

And profiting in every way imaginable.

Know this: There are no parody products in the eyes of business. For there are no parodies on this planet. Only unique, one-of-a-kind treasures. With riches beyond measure waiting to be distributed through this currency of exchange also known as business.”

Well, dang… Here’s wishing you all the best business has to offer!

       © 2002 The Book of Duh, Merry Carole Powers and Sarah Lorraine Feit

BIRTH. IT’S NOT JUST FOR KIDS!

A friend of mine had a baby this week: A little boy. He is perfect. Adorable. Irresistibly sniffable. (Seriously, what is it about the smell of newborn babies? Yummage.)

I was holding him at the hospital, watching, as he looked around his new world, totally wide-eyed. You could almost hear him thinking, “Where the hell have I landed?”

It made me laugh in the moment. It still makes me laugh now. Mostly because I can so, totally, completely relate. One minute his world was familiar, warm and cozy. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, things started getting a little tight and uncomfortable. Life gave him no choice but to move forward, so he pushed through. And boom: A new world was revealed.

I go through that all the time. And once I find myself on the other side of what had been my comfort zone and in a new place, either physically or emotionally, I’m usually looking around wide-eyed myself. Scratching my head and mumbling, “Huh?”

Once we’re born, we never stop giving birth. To new experiences, new phases, new relationships, new careers, new understandings, you name it. And it’s not a big stretch to see those newborn experiences pretty much always unfold just like our first birth …

First, we find ourselves comfortable in the familiar. Then, something creates discomfort. We’re forced to push through. And without fail, life as we know it somehow changes.

It’s the “pushing through” portion of the process that has me thinking this week. Because something pretty spectacular happens at that point. Action is taken.

The growth that comes in times of comfort and even discomfort happens on the inside. But birth requires action. That baby had to drop into position. Move through the body and push himself out into the world.

That, of course could have never happened without the internal growth period he needed to reach that point. But it was action that made the difference in the end. It was action that changed his world. Without it, he’d still be swimming around in his comfort zone wondering what might be possible.

And it dawns on me that this action side of things is what might be missing from most of the new age books lining our shelves these days. Maybe the real secret to success is getting our butts up off the meditation pillow and showing a little faith in all our positive intentions and affirmations by taking action on their behalf.

Don’t get me wrong. I love those books. I’ve practically read them all. And I’ll probably continue to read them until the day comes that I can’t read anymore. They are inspiring and offer a great deal of wisdom and guidance.

But if I’m being honest, for all of the reading I’ve done about how all I have to do is think it to make it so, little has actually changed in my life. At least not in the dramatic, lottery winning, life-changing ways I’d like.

And, after sitting with my new little newborn pal this week, I think I know why. The mental exercises, the emotional healings, the energetic clearings … they aren’t enough. They are an absolutely essential part of the inner process, but without outer action they aren’t going to do much. It’s like building a car but not actually turning the key to ignite the engine. Not really gonna get you anywhere.

The true language of the Universe seems to be action.

When I think good thoughts, the Universe gives me more good thoughts to think. And that leads to better moods, more positive feelings. All good stuff. But when I speak to the Universe through action, it responds with action. Things actually start happening.

Make a move. And the Universe responds in kind. Moving all kinds of people and opportunities into place so that, miracle of miracles, you can then make yet another move. And step by step (aka: action by action) a path is laid out. That’s God helping those who help themselves.

And, this is jut a guess, but if that beautiful newborn boy, who is still in touch with all of Life’s Universal wisdom could talk, I bet he’d tell me  it’s we call it The Law of AttrACTtion.

©2002 The Book Of Duh, Merry Carole Powers and Sarah Lorraine Feit

MERRY CAROLE IN THE RAW!

Just for kicks, I went on a raw diet this past week. It was a post-holiday cleanse, start the new year right kind of thing. Want to hear a few things I’ve discovered?

A raw diet is not as extreme at it sounds. It actually wasn’t hard at all.

Food is most beautiful in its untampered with form. Truly. Every meal was colorful and stunning.

The detox your body goes through when you feed it only pure, raw foods is fantastic. And by fantastic I mean it knocks you on your tuckus.

Brussel sprouts make great juice.  (Just wait, it’s about to get weirder…)

Nut cheese is actually delicious. (Told you.)

Too many beets will turn your pee purple for days. Notice I said plural.

Taking cooking out of the daily schedule unexpectedly left me with a lot more time on my hands.

I kinda think my pots and pans miss me.

Not one single, solitary food coma no matter how much I ate.

My jeans are looser.

My moods have left the swing set behind.

My focus is clearer. So is my skin.

Minus the purple pee, who wouldn’t want all that? The most fascinating part is that all of these benefits unfolded in a relatively short amount of time. Just one week. It confirms a sneaking suspicion I have had for some time now —  that food is powerful medicine. And as I am discovering, the closer food is to its original state, the more powerful it is.

That’s an interesting thought. Things being most powerful in their original state. I’ve been wondering over the past few days if maybe that doesn’t apply to Merry Carole Powers as well.

Could it be that I, too, am most powerful in my original state? The one I came into this world embodying. You should see pictures of me as a kid. I was a fireball and a half who didn’t have a care in the world. But somewhere a long the way, life turned up the fire and that little girl had to duck and roll so as not to get burned.

But she’s making a comeback. Merry Carole in the Raw is re-emerging.

It’s kind of a cool notion, right? That we, just like food, have a raw, pure, completely natural state in which all our molecules and properties are completely in tact. What exactly might that raw state be? Well, seems to make sense that, just as with food, follow the path right back to when we first sprouted. Or, as some people like to call it, birth.

We are, literally, born happy. Ready to love. Open to experience. And, for a relatively few awesome years, totally self confident. That is our all-natural state.

Think about it. As a small child, if you wanted something, say a cookie, (probably not raw), you just went for it. You didn’t wonder, “Do I deserve that cookie?” or “What will people think if I eat that cookie?” And, chances are, if you didn’t get that cookie, you let your feelings be known. Loud and clear.

We didn’t question ourselves or hold back in our raw, childhood state. If we were hungry, we ate. If we were frustrated, we cried. If we were happy, we laughed. Whatever it was, we let it out. Then let it go.

That is raw living. Simple Pure. Healthy.

So how do we get back there? Well, I’m no expert, but what if, for starters, we all stopped cooking up excused about why we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, successful enough.

Perhaps its time we stop getting steamed. Avoid simmering in indecision. Take a break from stirring up ruckuses. Separate from people who enjoy brewing trouble. No more boiling anger. Half-baked ideas. Fried brain cells. Stewing over past mistakes.

If we all start feeding our brains and our hearts the raw, pure thoughts we were born with, who knows how mentally and emotionally healthy we might become.

That’s right, I’m saying it – nut cheese for the soul. Who’s with me?

©2002, Book of Duh. Merry Carole Powers and Sarah Lorraine Feit

 

HAPPY NEW WORLD!

Wow.  2012. The year we’ve all been waiting for. The end of the Mayan calendar. And the long prophesized end of life as we know it has arrived. And I’m happy to report that as far as I can see, the world is still standing.

So, it would appear the end of the Mayan calendar did not mean the end of the world. Not to play Monday morning quarterback, but despite all the predictions of gloom and doom and the movies that brought them to life, that’s what I’ve suspected for some time.

Maybe what the Mayans, in their great wisdom and foresight, were saying is that 2012 is the dawning of great new age for us. Not one not that marks the end of the world, but just the end of the world as we know it. Which, for my money, can only be a good thing.  Because the world as I’ve always known it isn’t really all peaches and cream. People hurt one another. Hate one another. Forget one another. Swindle one another. We as a human race have definitely not been on the top of our game.

But hey, if those days are fading into the past and the human spirit is ready to start expressing itself in happier, healthier, more team building kind of ways, then I say huzzah! Just think of the possibilities. Let’s say, just for fun, that life as we know it on Wall Street disappears. What that means is that greed would go away. Corruption would go away. Deception would go away. Stealing from, and lying to, those who have put their trust in advisors and investors would go away.

And if all that went away, then what might take its place? Possibly honesty. Openness. A system that operated with an understanding of what money really is. Which, if I may take a momentary diversion, is so much more than we give it credit for. Money is currency, right? And currency derives from current, which is, by definition, a flow or circuit.   Well, currents don’t just come into being by themselves. Generally, they occur because there is an energetic center releasing that currency and another energetic center pulling that current to it. Things that flow have a beginning and an end point.

Looking at money through that lens, it’s not hard to see who each of us might be in that dynamic. We are, all of us, always working, scheming, dreaming, hoping, praying to bring money to us. That pretty much defines our lives. So, if we are the energy centers pulling money to us, it kind of begs the question, where is that currency originating? What is the source we are pulling it from?

Surely it’s something other than banks and Wall Street. Money has been around longer than they have. It outdates ATM’s, mortgage equity, investment portfolios, paychecks and credit card advances. Which means that jobs, banks and economies are actually not the source of money.

Could that mean money comes from a greater place? A less man-made place, more infinite place? I am hedging my bets yes on this one. Because if there is a greater source from which prosperity and worth stem, one that is somewhere beyond the scope of the financial machines and institutions we’ve created, then my guess is the kind of energetic flow that fires it up is one of positive energy.

And if this new world 2012 is ushering in is one of more positivity, awareness, kindness and honesty, then that bodes very well for us. And maybe that’s what the Mayan’s saw: An end to us mistreating and mistrusting each other. An end to the greed, the scarcity, the fear and the disconnection from the richness that truly lives inside all of us. Maybe they saw the dawn of prosperity for all. Prosperity in every way — in our hearts, in our health, and here’s hoping, in our bank accounts as well. Money is an incredible resource that can allow each of us to live the life we came here to live.

And that is my wish for all of us in this new year.

May we all discover the gifts we came here to give and make the world and ourselves more prosperous by giving them. Something like that can only mean better days ahead. So welcome, 2012. And thank you for being the gateway from life as we have always known it to life as we choose it to be.

          ©Book of Duh, Merry Carole Powers, Sarah Lorraine Feit, 2002