Zen Essays

I have always enjoyed writing my thoughts in daily journals, diaries, gratitude lists, letters, notes, etc. I love reading non-fiction, short stories, biographies, humorist essays, etc. One of my favorites was Nora Ephron. She made me belly laugh so many times with her zany humor! Lately I have written a few essays, some with humor and some without! My world needs more humor on a daily basis just to get through the insanity we have to endure daily with our political reality. I will share my writings on this page, it does take courage to show my vulnerable side, but if my words and humor can make your day more Zenful then I have accomplished my mission!
 
7/9/18
Dreams of Courage & FAITH!
Quote by Walt Disney:
” All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
I’m not sure when Walt Disney wrote this quote but I imagine it was after he was successful with his business endeavors! Courage is the key to so many aspects of life. Again, it reminds me of my acronym for the word FAITH, because you can’t really have courage without having a Fearless Attitude in Thy Heart. It takes courage to escape from our comfort zones, and attempt new ways of doing things and embarking on new adventures. I have always been very independent and self-sufficient starting out at a very young age due to family circumstances. Those traits built character in me and created a sense of courage in my heart and soul. All these years later, I do consider myself very courageous, as I have moved out of my comfort zone to relocate to two new cities on my own in the past 12 years. It definitely was out of my comfort zone, and I felt vulnerable and at times even somewhat fearful since I was all alone. But in no time I was able to make new friends and find my way, and it was always a wonderful adventure and new chapter in my life.
I am at that similar crossroads in my life right now, pondering a decision on whether or not I should take the leap of FAITH out of my comfort zone! It has to feel right in my heart and soul since it’s a major move and costly endeavor at a crucial time in my life. I will continue to work out the details, and soon make a courageous decision to pursue my next dream! As we all know, Walt Disney sure was successful in his courageous pursuits!

 

7/8/18
Reach For The Stars!
Quote by Harriet Tubman:

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Wow! I absolutely love this quote and it is very inspiring to know that one simple dream could change the world. Resilience, patience, and passion are all it takes to make your dreams come true. For me I would add focus, determination, courage and faith! I remember coming up with a song title and lyrics which became an acronym for the word FAITH: Fearless attitude in thy heart. It takes courage to be fearless. I have heard of Harriet Tubman and googled her background to learn more about her. She was an amazing woman and has gone down in history for all that she has done for people less fortunate and enslaved in this world. We need someone like Harriet Tubman today to help correct all these atrocities that are going on in America right now.

Ironically in my little dream book Harriet Tubman’s quote is right next to a Donald Trump quote!! I couldn’t believe it when I saw that a few years ago, and recently when I turned to the page I just couldn’t even look at his quote so I put a big X through his words! See the picture below. His quote sounds exactly like his presidency and his twitter rantings: “I like thinking big, if you’re going to be thinking anything you might as well think big.”! He has no vocabulary, he speaks from his a******! I just can’t take the fact that he is the president of these United States, and how half of the country voted for him I will never understand. It’ll be over soon I hope and we can start once again being proud to be  Americans.

Getting back to this inspiring quote by Harriet Tubman, I will continue to dream.  I’ve always been a dreamer; a daydreamer and night dreamer and I will trust in my heart and soul that if I dream it I can accomplish it! I will continue to read these dream quotes and search my soul for what my dream is to accomplish. I have so many dreams, I need to focus on one and make it reality, make it my way forward to help my fellow Americans. I believe: “What goes around comes around” and “To Give is to Receive”. Thank you Harriet Tubman for all you’ve done for this country. I honor your empathy, determination, and passion to help those in need. Namaste

7/7/18

Channel Surfing Syndrome

Do you ever find yourself spending hours surfing for a channel to watch on TV, cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and all the other varieties of stations that are available nowadays? Just tonight I spent at least 2 hours channel surfing for some decent entertainment to watch!
I began to wonder what are all these movies and programs that are available. When I click on them they have completely unknown actors and actresses, unappealing and ridiculous plots. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t waste even 5 minutes checking them out to watch! What I’d like to know is who bankrolls all these programs? How do they make money on all these unusual shows that are available on these Netflix and Amazon Prime stations?
I also find on cable TV the offerings that are on the channels such as HBO, Showtime and The Movie Channel are extremely limited with very few choices, mostly lousy movies and hardly anything that is recent. I feel like the only offerings that are decent are new releases that cost extra money. It really is quite annoying considering that we pay a fortune already for the cable, and then additional money for Amazon Prime and Netflix.
I feel like we’re being ripped off, and our time is being wasted trying to find something to watch. I just want to be entertained for a few hours with a good movie, is that too much to ask? I feel like there’s just an overload of too many choices and very little quality, and it’s really driving me crazy! I have often said lately that we live in a quality-lessworld with all this technology.
From now on I have to plan what I’m going to watch ahead of time so I don’t waste so much time and energy searching for something to entertain me. My hand hurts for goodness sake using the remote control for that many hours!
Remember the old days when there were only three channels, you had to get up and switch the channel if you wanted to watch something! If only we could get something in between those two scenarios, the simpler days, and our more complicated too many choices days of now!
I wanted to make this a humorous essay, but I’m so angry about my wasted time this evening, and the lousy programming, I am kvetching through this entire essay! Oh well that’s life! I needed to get it off my chest!

Signing off as the KVETCH QUEEN!

7/6/18
Quote from Waking Life:
“Dream is Destiny”
I’ve read this quote many times and it touches me deeply in my soul. Recently I started writing lyrics for a new piano song with the same concept in mind. Here are some of my lyrics so far:
“When you’re dreaming
And it feels so real
Trust in your heart and soul
It is your Destiny.
Dreams are the flowers that bloom in your soul
Never let them go
It’s all we ever really know.”
There is another quote that I love about dreams by Marsha Norman: “Dreams are the illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”
I love reading inspirational quotes; they are usually short and easy to find your own personal soul meaning, and I love being inspired to write my own lyrics and quotes.
I sometimes have an issue with the word destiny, I’m not sure if it refers to fate, as if we don’t have free will or a choice on how our life turns out? I just looked up the definition of Destinythe hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.
At the same time, I actually love the word destiny; it has a deeper more mysterious meaning in the overall picture of one’s life. Almost like a legacy, and the steps one takes to meet their destiny and create their legacy that they leave behind. I love this quote about leaving a legacy by Patti Davis: “That is your legacy on this Earth when you leave this Earth: how many hearts you touched.”  
I do like the concept of divine order which I also think is similar to destiny. While we’re in the midst of finding our destiny in our dreams, or trusting the universe in divine order, we are continually making choices and using our free will to live our life as best we know how. I hope when my time is done and I’ve reached my destiny that my life was filled with meaning and purpose, and loving-kindness and compassion for all. That will be the legacy I choose to leave in my name as my Divine Purpose.

 

 

I am grateful for my dream time and look forward to reaching my soul’s destiny in this incarnation. I shall continue to Dream and Become my Destiny and diligently work on creating my Legacy!

7/5/18

Dreams, Reality and The “In-Between”!

Quote by Belva Davis:
“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.”
This is another one of my favorite quotes about dreaming. Often times I have this feeling of being in the “in-between”! This is when I am unsure of which path, which direction to take, which road to go down next, in my life quest for new adventures. Sometimes I like being in the “in-between”, it causes me to dream even more and ponder what might be the next chapter in my life. Sometimes I don’t like being in the “in-between”, it can cause me stress and feelings of vulnerability not knowing which way I should turn. When I’m daydreaming or when I’m in my sleeping dream dimension, that’s hopefullywhere I will figure out which way to go. When I wake up I can move through the “in-between” state of mind turning my dreams into reality.
I’ve always liked the saying: “If you can dream it, you can do it!”, or “Do what you love and the money will follow!” That’s exactly where I happen to be in my life journey right now. I am trying to figure out what it is I love to do! I know the Universe will provide for me abundance and prosperity once I figure it out. I know there are many things that I enjoy doing, such as my creative outlets of art, music, photography, and writing. So far the money has not come in big enough quantities to support my practical needs and comfortable lifestyle! I am hoping in some format of the things that I love, I will be able to earn a comfortable living.  I hope to have enough so that I can give back to those in need. If I can feel financially secure, then any excess I’d be more than happy to contribute to worthy causes, or to those that I love and may need assistance.
I do hope in the remaining years of my life I am able to give back, because I feel as if I’ve been very fortunate in my life and have so much gratitude in my heart. After all, here in Sedona, AZ I am known as: “The HEART Lady! It’s one of my favorite images to create and photograph and of course it is the Universal Symbol of Love. I’m happy to be contributing to the multitude of heart creations in our world, in my opinion there’s never enough hearts and love to go around. It still excites me to know that complete strangers have purchased my heart art and have it hanging in their homes! I hope many more people get to feel the love from my heart through my Zen Heart Creations, may it be in my art, music, photography or writings.
In summation, I won’t be afraid to continue to be in the “space between the dreams and reality”, or as I call it being in the “in-between”, because that’s where I will hopefully come up with some brilliant ideas to earn a living doing what I love. While I am at this pivotal point in my life, reaching out to my soul and figuring out who I shall become, I always remember this excerpt from my favorite quote by James Allen: “For As You Dream So Shall You Become”, it is my daily affirmation and life motto!
Thanks for taking the time to read my personal essay and always sharing my ZEN LOVE to one and all!

7/4/18

Happy Freedom Day – Keep on Dreaming!

 

 

Quote by Bernard Edmonds: 
“To dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.”
This is the perfect quote for this Independence Day July 4th 2018. The freedom to dream, the freedom to imagine, the freedom to move and live, and the freedom to follow your own path. Free will is an amazing gift that human beings have here on this planet, and in America we have the gift of Freedom thanks to our Constitutional Rights. There are so many people in this world struggling, suffering, and not able to experience freedom. Especially at this time, sadly even in America, there are all these migrant families separated and suffering in our own country, because of I guess you could say; the free will of our heartless government. They made this incomprehensible decision to torture these people, just because they’re here seeking Asylum from a country that threatens their life and well-being.
It’s really a very sad Independence Day in America this year, and I sure hope we can right this wrong, and our government can find it in their hearts to be kind to these people that are suffering. Somehow we have to change this decision made by the government to separate families and keep them in cages and detention camps? It just doesn’t feel like America right now, and it’s very hard to be proud to be an American, especially on this Independence Day – this 4th of July 2018. I’m sorry to have to feel this way, it tugs at my heartstrings, and I have no idea how I can personally make any difference? I just have to pray and hope that the Universe can turn this around, and we can once again be proud to be Americans.
We must be kind to our neighbors and those immigrants who are fleeing their countries to save and improve their lives. America is made of Immigrants. There is a good chance I wouldn’t even be alive right now if my grandparents hadn’t immigrated from Russia and Greece. They came through Ellis Island. I don’t know what the rules and regulations were then but they certainly weren’t citizens when they crossed the border. Of course they had to become citizens eventually.This zero tolerance concept that you know who in our government has come up with is absolutely heartless and insane. I just hope this incomprehensible policy is changed immediately. I almost feel like I want to leave this country and go elsewhere, where there’s more humanity, kindness and love.

It’s time to change the subject of this current dark side of free will, and to get on the positive side of it in my own life.

I am extremely grateful to have this time in my life right now, to have total freedom to wake up every day and do whatever I please. I’m trying to figure out how to do this for the rest of my existence, and at the same time earn an income doing what I love, and doing my best to make a difference in this world. If I can dream it I can do it! I just have to find the courage, the stamina, the resilience, the hope, the desire, and the guidance to find what my true Soul Desire is Dreaming to Become.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by James Allen:  “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so you shall become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

 
This is my third Act of life now, and I shall be grateful if I have at least 10 good years left, so I really need to get cracking and do something that I really love, so I can make a difference in others’ lives. This is a beginning, a new ritual for the next 30 Days, that I was inspired to do by a recent TED Talk I watched. This is the second day now that I’m writing these essays. It’s a good way to get in touch with my inner desires, and share this universal insight with others. I am getting my inspiration from these wonderful quotes from my special Dream Book. I have been flipping to a page of dream quotes each day for the last several years, and they have now become the perfect start to these essays.
Happy Freedom Day & Happy Independence Day! I shall keep on dreaming and soon take action to make a difference in this world.



7/3/18

ZEN Dreaming!

 

Quote by Chuang Tzu:
I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky: then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?
 
I’ve read this quote many times and always felt a special connection to the meaning of it. Often times when we are in our dream state, we are somewhat conscious at the same time and there are momentary lapses when we wonder are we dreaming or are we awake?
 
I often daydream about when I die coming back as a loving energy, with the spirit of a butterfly or a hummingbird, to bring happiness and delight to those dear ones that I’ve left behind. They may say: am I dreaming or am I awake experiencing this momentary delightful visit from such a special gift of nature.
 
You may wonder, I know I often do, about where we really go when we dream? Is it our sub-conscious, are we unconscious, or are we in a semi-conscious state? Why are there times when we feel as if we are aware of what we’re dreaming even while we know we are sleeping and not awake? And why sometimes do we easily remember our dreams as if they were reality; all the smells, the shapes, the colors, the people, all that we experienced? Then other times we can’t get back to that place in our mind, or in that state of dream consciousness, to even recall what the dream was about, even though we have the sensation of what we felt, we can’t recreate the actual images or people or situations that we dreamt about?
 

I think dreaming is so fascinating, I would love to explore more about the dream state in human beings? I wonder if other species dream as humans. I remember many times watching my dog and cat sleeping and acting as if they were chasing something, or seeing something in there dreams! Is it just our imagination that creates these alternative realities while we sleep? Why are there some days when we don’t dream it all? Why are there some dreams when we dream them, we know that they include bits and pieces of our day, and an entirely new story emerges which includes all of those happenings throughout that day creating different perspectives?

What are we to deem from our dreams, are they lessons, are they clues, what exactly are they? I know there are many books written about dreams and the meanings of dreams, especially the recurring dreams that people have. It’s all very fascinating and I would love to try to figure out what my dreams mean on a deeper soul level. There is another quote I recently read that intrigued me by James Allen: “Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

 
There are times when I wake up and I just want to go right back to sleep, to get right back to that dream because it was so pleasant and delightful. I am grateful that most of my dreams are really good ones. If I remember them and take time to delve deeper, I can usually glean some kind of reason why I dreamt it. I’m very grateful I don’t have nightmares, and I wonder why some people often do. I believe our dreams encompass our lifetime of experience and psyche of our soul, going all the way back to our childhood, and I guess we’re continually working things out every night in our dreams.
 
I wonder if there’s such a thing as dream therapy where in the middle of the night the therapist can be informed of what you’re dreaming, as you’re dreaming it. Such a therapist would have to be a mind-reader, how would they know what you’re dreaming unless you woke up to tell them? Of course we can keep a dream journal, and in a therapy session later, work through our dreams and nightmares, but it would be so interesting if in the moment of dreaming, you could get some therapeutic insight, and then go back to sleep and work through that same dream within the same time frame? It surely would be a powerful technique to heal deep past soul traumas and fears.
 

All in all I’d have to say dreams are extremely fascinating and I’m grateful to enjoy them, and see inside my soul each and every night when I go into that dream state or dimension.

I love those moments when I might think, am I am woman dreaming of being a butterfly or am I a butterfly dreaming of being a woman?  Keep on ZEN DREAMING!

 
















May 13, 2018

My Glamorous Mom
Mom and Me 1959 ?
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Thinking about my Mom today who has been gone three decades of my life this year! Unfortunately the first three decades of our life together was filled with sickness, sorrow and pain, but we got by with love. Those are some of the lyrics to the first song I ever wrote when I started learning how to play piano, I call it “Mother and Daughter’s Love”. It all sounds very sad, and it was sad, but we did get by with love. I will always have a dear place in my heart for my Mom, and so much empathy for what she had to struggle through in her adult life. She was blessed with two beautiful children, but during the pregnancy of her second child, who was me, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Those were the 1950’s and there were no cures, and there were no medications to even relieve the suffering from this horrendous disease of MS at that time. 

 

When I was a baby, I did not know all the ailments that she suffered through, and some remissions that came as a blessing for short spurts of time. I know she had to have help to take care of me, and my brother in those very early years. By the time I was old enough to understand what was happening, that I had a sick Mommy, I was about 10 years old. It became my duty to take on the responsibility of our household at that young age. I adored my Mom, she was very funny, warm and loving, but she did have her moments of self-pity, frustration, sadness, and sometimes anger. I knew she so appreciated all my help at such a young age. I know she felt very sad and sorry in her heart and soul to have to see her daughter at that age take on such responsibility. But as I said at the beginning, “we got by with love”, and for whatever reason it was our destiny to be in this situation together as Mother and Daughter. 

 

There was a brother, father and a husband in the household too! There was always love and laughter, and with our Italian and European Jewish Heritage, lots of yelling and screaming, added even more drama! 


On this Mother’s Day, 30 years after my Mom’s passing, I only wish down deep in my soul that I could have a visit with her today. What a joy it would be to sit next to her, holding hands, looking into her beautiful brown loving eyes, seeing her smile, and most of all to see her healthy, vibrant, happy, and joyful! Free from all the sickness, sorrow, and pain that she had to experience in her lifetime. Happy Mother’s Day Mom, that’s how I will envision you on the other side, and someday I really do hope we can meet in the afterlife. Maybe share a bowl of butter pecan ice cream, play some Gin Rummy, and hear you tap your fingernails on the table while thinking about what card to put down next! 

 

 

I love you Mom and thank you for loving me, and nurturing me as best you could under your dire circumstances. I forgive you, it surely wasn’t your fault that you were sick. I hope you can forgive me too. There were times when I was somewhat rebellious as a little girl, wanting to be out playing with my friends, instead of having to take care of the house, going to the supermarket, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and helping you bathe, dress, etc.  I used to leave and go to my friend’s house, and try to become part of their “normal family” for a while. I always feel guilty about leaving you alone, and to this day I really hope you can forgive me for those selfish times, when I just needed to see what the rest of the world felt like without sickness, sorrow, and pain in the household. 


My heart breaks that you had to live in a nursing home after my 18th birthday for all those years. Such a young beautiful woman surrounded by all the elderly people in such a horrid environment. Thankfully our family was able to find two very decent places, and on all of our visits you did seem to be happy enough. Somehow you adapted, and made the best of your circumstances, making friends to pass the time playing cards with, and watching the soap operas on TV! I always felt sad when I left you there sitting in a wheelchair, totally dependent on others around you, without any freedom or independence to come and go as you please. It just seemed like you were imprisoned in your body with this sickness. It ruined everything for you in the prime of your life as a young mother, and a new loving wife. So many broken-hearted dreams.

It warms my heart, and at the same time it breaks my heart,  when I see your young beautiful smiling face, in those glamorous photos from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s during your courtship with Dad. You had no clue as to what was coming in the next chapter of your life. I am so grateful you were able to enjoy that time in your life, being loved and adored by your sweetheart, and husband to be! You got to enjoy being a healthy Mother with your first born son, and that makes me so happy. Sorry we didn’t have that healthy Mother and Daughter experience, but we got by with Love, and I am so grateful you were my Mom! I always felt the Love from you, and you live in my heart and soul always. 

 

 

Tell me why oh why oh?
Tell me why oh why oh?
Did we share such sadness
in both our lives
in both our lives
Tell me why oh why oh?
Tell me why oh why oh?
Mother and daughters destiny
brokenhearted dreams
in sickness, sorrow and pain.
But we got by with love.
I forgive you mother dear.
Please forgive me too.
And I will always love you.
All Rights Reserved 2013 Lyrics and Piano Music created by Marlene Rose Besso 2/4/2012

 

 

April 9, 2018
Have you taken a “Zen Nona” lately?
One of my favorite quotes by Helen Keller is: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Last October I began a new chapter in my life which I call my “Zen Nona”.  It’s a term I created that means my: “Zen – Now or Never Adventure”!  This term got created because unfortunately, or shall I say fortunately, after almost 20 years with my client, I was informed they could no longer afford my services! I was not completely surprised, since I was their accountant, and they needed to restructure their business for eventual retirement. Needless to say I was at a crossroads in my life, and I could either make lemonade out of the lemons, or become bitter as a lemon peel! I took the Zen Attitude and spiked my lemonade with rum!
I came to the conclusion while enjoying my spiked lemonade; I would take some time off, before networking for new clients. Considering my age of 64 years old, I decided to collect my Social Security pittance and use a small portion of my savings to subsidize a 6+ month sabbatical of sorts. Like a Gap Year for kids, this is my Gap (nonna=grandmother!) period of time to create, dream, learn, travel, volunteer, network, maybe start a new business venture, and possibly reinvent myself in this 3rd act of life. Another favorite quote that inspired my decision was by Wayne Dyer: “Go for it now. The Future is promised to no one.”
 
Unfortunately, I am in the same boat as many Baby Boomers who have not saved nearly enough for retirement. As a single woman, never married, without children (other than the 4 legged furry ones), and the high cost of living these days just for a roof over your head, it leaves very little to save for ones future. I know after my Zen Nona comes to an end, I will have to find employment, and continue to work until the day I die, unless I win the lottery!
We all want to earn a living doing what we love. We all have things that we are passionate about, and I believe we live and breathe every moment attempting to find and fulfil our purpose in life. There are so many wonderful words and phrases in all languages that mean: to find our Purpose. My most favorite of these words is Ikigai, the Japanese concept that means: “a reason for being”.  In French the phrase is raison d’êtres, meaning: “the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence”.  In Italian the phrase is ragione di vita, meaning: “reason for living”.
We need to follow and listen to our inner guidance “GPS – Gratitude, Purpose, Soul” system! Our Zen Intuition will always lead us along the divine path, but we need to listen and have faith that we are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.  Several years ago I created an acronym for the word FAITH: Fearless Attitude in Thy Heart, and also wrote a piano song; “Fearless Attitude-FAITH”, here are a few lines:

 

I’ve got a fearless attitude
In thy heart
Every day in every way
I live my life
Fearlessly
Every day in every way
I live my life
Fearlessly
In thy heart
I call it FAITH
Also I have been writing lyrics about finding my purpose for years! Here are a few lyrics to “My Purpose”

Seeking the purpose in my lifetime
Show me the way to make a difference
Seeing the Beauty all around me
Show me the way to find the meaning
The advice I give to myself, and offer to you, is to take life one Zenful Moment at a time. Each moment we have the choice between love and fear. Fear is not living in the moment; it is “false evidence appearing real” in the future or the past. I like the quote by Sonia Ricotti : “Surrender to what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be.” I like to think of it as keeping your Zen On, which means to always be grateful, be calm, and don’t worry about things we cannot change.   
It’s not easy to keep a Zen Attitude all the time, but if we just take life one moment at a time, it makes it a lot easier. I continue to work on this practice doing the best I can, which is all any of us can do. With my double Gemini “monkey- mind”, I may need a Zen Miracle to keep it focused in the moment! If we can be grateful, optimistic, and have FAITH, we will be on the right path.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I love the word ZEN! It’s a very enlightening word, and its only 3 letters! Don’t worry about things you cannot change, relax, turn on your inner GPS, be grateful, and enjoy your Spiked Lemonade!  You can enjoy a “Zen Nona” every day, taking a walk along a labyrinth, enjoying a lovely nature hike, taking a moment to smell the roses, or do whatever your heart desires! Remember: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all!”

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2018
Sharing an essay I wrote about my love for Garry Shandling on the second anniversary of his passing.

March 28, 2016
 
Lost my chance to Marry GARRY SHANDLING!
 
I have been “in love” with Garry Shandling for close to 4 decades! My first introduction to his brilliance was in Los Angeles, at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach in the late 70’s. I so got his humor from the start, and just knew he was a “rising star”. His positive energy was intoxicating as was his humor. I followed him on all the shows he wrote and performed in:  The Tonight Show, The Garry Shandling Show, and The Larry Sanders Show. I lived in Los Angeles from 1977 to 2006 and hoped one day I would get to meet him in person. Unfortunately, I never got the chance, but down deep in my heart I still felt as if we were soulmates! All my friends knew I had this deep love and admiration for him.
He was so talented, and yet so humble and exuded authentic loving-kindness. As the common phrase goes, “he came from good stock” a nice Jewish Boy with a great smile and brilliant sense of humor. He seemed to have deep empathy and respect for all people. He most likely learned those values at a young age because of family issues with his older brother’s illness. I have been looking for those qualities in a soulmate for many years. I guess we were both referred to as being a “JuBu”, growing up Jewish, but also following the principles of living as a Buddhist. Quan Yin is in my heart, and I try to offer loving-kindness and compassion to all.  Coming from a Jewish family too, I knew my ideal mate would have similar qualities that I admired in my Brother, Father and Uncles. A funny story, when I joined Twitter several years ago, he was the first celebrity I followed. Not understanding how Twitter worked, and since he wasn’t following me, he had no idea that I sent him some hello tweets and messages! After hearing the shocking news of his passing last Thursday, I still find myself feeling devastated, like it was a death in the family.

Over this past weekend I tuned into YouTube with my Apple TV and found all the “Garry Shandling” interviews and stand up shows and everything else I could immerse myself into, as I grieved his loss. I learned so many more interesting aspects of his personality and found myself loving and missing him even more! I loved hearing some of his stories, the one when he was on vacation with his girlfriend in Hana (Maui) and he broke his leg rescuing his newly temporarily adopted dog she named Shep. And then how the Universe ultimately reunited him with Shep in Los Angeles. When he brought the dog out on stage after a stand- up routine, my heart melted. He was animal lover, just like me, and probably got it from his Mom, who owned a pet shop. I loved the story about his asking George Carlin to read his jokes when he was just starting out….and as he said: Carlin said, “he was very green, but he was funny on every page, and he should pursue a career in comedy! 
Watching the most recent show with him and Jerry Seinfeld (whom I also am in love with, another nice funny Jewish Boy, but he’s married!) on his Internet Show: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”. It was filmed this past December, and the title: “It’s great that Garry’s still alive!” evolved from a funny story that Garry told Jerry, which has turned out to be very poignant, to say the least!  I loved how they were like two good buddies just hanging out for the afternoon, both so funny, humble, and very introspective. The Kvetch-O-Meter was hysterical! So, yes it was a very enjoyable and enlightening “Garry Shandling” Marathon weekend. It felt like I was “Sitting Shivah” for a complete stranger, but yet he was someone who I truly felt I knew, and so admired and loved.
We have all lost a beautiful soul, that’s for sure, and yes he was a “Star” that had risen to heights only very few have been fortunate enough to leap to. From now on when I look up in the sky here in Sedona, Arizona, I will look for the brightest star in these glorious dark skies, and I will say: “Hey There……What’s it like up in heaven Garry?” Maybe we can meet at the Pearly Gates, and I will finally find my soulmate waiting for me! Then we can both say in unison: “How’s my Hair?”
NAMASTE’

Love, Mars

3/23/18
“National Puppy Day”
A Story I wrote 3/15/2002 about my puppy: Rosie and friends!

“Rosie’s First Day of Spring”

By Marlene Rose Besso

Rosie’s first night playing in the mirror
It had been a difficult 6 months for “Rosie” and her Mom, and soon they would be making choices and changes they never imagined they would do.  “Rosie” was a 5 ½ year old, beautiful white and fluffy, smiling Samoyed, with a gentle soul. Her Mom always imagined she and her puppy would be together for at least 15 years or more.  She remembered their first day together, bringing home her 11 week old, white, fluffy fur ball puppy.  It was love at first sight, and it grew each and every day.  Their first night together, the camera just kept clicking, the new life and love in the house just had to be documented.  “Rosie” missed her sibling puppies, and as she lay on the bed of blankets prepared for her in front of the mirrored closet doors, she tried to paw at the mirror and play with her white, fluffy shadow, thinking it was her siblings.  Each day was brighter having such a special animal in the house to care for. 
Riches & Leo The Cat
The two senior cats that had residence there, “Riches” and “Leo” welcomed “Rosie”, and seemed to enjoy having a new creature to play with and befriend.  Time went by, and life was good. “Rosie” was the neighborhood Princess, and continually stopped traffic with her striking beauty.  She would go to the park every evening with her Mom, and play with all her friends, having a ball, literally!  She made her TV debut, being at the pet store at the right time when the cameras were rolling for an earth day program.  She even made the cover of the newsletter at the same pet store, again being there at the right time!  The pet store was her favorite hangout, and thanks to a Mom who spoiled her, she was there often!  She was the talk of the neighborhood, when she got her summer “Lion” haircut.  She looked so odd, but adorable with her skinny body and long legs, fluffy tail and mane.  She was so happy, since living in southern California was not as God had planned for her breed!  She was supposed to be a sled dog from Siberia, not a sun and surfing kind of dog! On their many walks and traditional Labor Day picnics at Palisades Park, “Rosie” would be like a magnet, attracting strangers from everywhere to inquire about her beauty and breed. The kids would love to pet her, and she absolutely adored children. Her ears would perk up whenever she would hear a child’s cry or sweet voice.  She was so sweet with all people, kids, and other dogs. The comments and questions were always similar, “Did you just give her a bath, and how do you keep her so white? Does she shed?  She is the most beautiful dog I have ever seen.  Do you have any puppies to sell? 
 
“Rosie” received her diplomas from obedience class and for the Canine Good Citizen test.  “Rosie” tried to become an official Animal Assisted Therapy dog, but failed the first section of testing. “Rosie” was a bit excitable, and for some reason had hesitancy when coming in contact with different types of floors.  She did not do well on slippery floors or steps, so hospitals were not going to be the best place to do the therapy work!  The testing ended, and “Rosie” went about doing what she was best at, looking beautiful, smiling that Samoyed smile, and making people happy. The years went by, and one by one “Rosie” lost her cat friends, first “Leo” who was the yellow tabby cat that she hung out with laying in the courtyard together.  He was 17 years old, and it was his time to make his exit to the other side.  
 
Rosie and Mookie kitty snuggling
Her Mom brought home a new kitty, a few months later; he was a yellow tabby, and named him, “Mookie”.  He was adopted from a rescue organization that saved his life.  He was about 2 months old, and the cutest, tiniest thing, with huge ears.  He would snuggle up in “Rosie’s” fur, and just about get lost in her thick coat.  He adopted “Rosie” as his mother and she adopted “Mookie” as her son.  He would kneed and suckle her neck, and she would lick his head and rub her paw on his fur.  It was the sweetest thing to watch, two species adoring one another. This went on for 3 years, and each morning “Mookie” would jump off the bed, and kneed and suckle “Rosie” for a few minutes, their sweet and loving morning ritual.  Rosie’s Mom loved to witness their pure love for one another; it was a beautiful way to start each day. Mookie grew up believing he was a “dog”, since “Rosie” nurtured him as her own offspring.  He loved her like a Mom and would meow loudly at the window whenever “Rosie” would be out taking a walk with her Mom.  “Mookie” missed “Rosie” when she was gone.  She loved playing kitty games when “Mookie” was a tiny, wild and crazy kitten, leaping and jumping in the air, bouncing off the walls, as all kittens do.  Those were the good ole days, sweet memories. “Riches” the cat missed her long lost brother, “Leo” the cat very much since they lived together for 17+ years. She did not appreciate having to deal with a high-energy crazy kitten in her senior years of life. She ignored “Mookie” and only once in a while she let him get close and snuggle with her. Less than one year after bringing “Mookie” home, “Riches” make her exit to the other side to be with “Leo”.  Her Mom was very sad and crying often, since she missed her cat of 20 years so very much.  Life in the house was different now, only “Mookie” and ”Rosie” remained. They bonded more and more each day and would always make their Mom laugh and smile. “Mookie” loved his toys, especially a yellow chickey toy that vibrated when the string was pulled. He would walk around the house with it in his mouth as if he caught it in the wild.  He would bring the chicky to his Mom as a gift and set it on the bed, so when she woke up the chick would be there for her.  It always made her smile.  
 
Life was good for “Rosie”, “Mookie” and their Mom, and then the horrible news came and changed everything.  The Vet said “Rosie’s” heart was very sick, and that she needed medicine and that her future would be uncertain. It was her 5th Birthday, and each day after that became even more special and meaningful.  Her Mom gave “Rosie” all the medicine and cooked her special foods, and gave her extra love and kisses.  But, 6 months later on the “first day of spring” it was time for “Rosie” to make her exit to the other side, and visit her cat friends, “Riches” and “Leo”.  The birds were singing and the flowers were coming into bloom. Sweet smells and sounds filled the air.  It was a perfect day for “Rosie” to blossom into her true spirit.  “Mookie” and his Mom missed “Rosie” very much, they were so sad, many tears fell and many memories were shared.  Unusual occurrences started taking place, and to this day “Rosie’s” Mom is not sure whether “Mookie” or “Rosie” (from the other side) caused them.  
Rosie and Mookie and Purple Bunny
A few days after “Rosie” was gone, her Mom arranged all her toys in a special place. When she awoke the next morning, to her astonishment, “Rosie’s” favorite purple stuffed Bunny was moved to her favorite spot in the dining room, laying there on the rug, centered perfectly facing forward.  Her Mom was stunned that this toy was moved from the resting place she had chosen.  This was a large stuffed toy, but it was possible that “Mookie” could’ve moved it there! A few days later, another one her toys, a small white stuffed Bunny appeared upstairs by the side of the bed where “Rosie” slept, facing upright so again when her Mom awoke, that was the first thing she saw! These two toys stayed in the same spot for several weeks and when it seemed like the right time, she moved them to a safe place for final resting.  During that time “Rosie’s” Mom would have dreams of her, and one night she awoke and felt a cold nose in her face and leaned down to stroke her fur, while still groggy and half asleep, thinking it was “Rosie” visiting her.  Suddenly, she awoke with a start and realized what had just occurred, and it sent chills up and down her spine.  “Mookie” would often bolt up in bed, and stare toward the empty hallway, and it would send chills up and down her spine since it was obvious “Mookie” saw something there, probably “Rosie” visiting, and maybe “Riches” and “Leo” too.  For “Rosie’s” Mom it was very comforting to know that “Rosie” was still with her, her visits were delightful surprises.    
 
Bunny Rose or Jackson Bunny at the shelter!
After a few months living without a dog in the house, “Rosie’s” Mom and “Mookie” realized it was too quiet, and they needed to make a change not to replace “Rosie”, but to just to add a new animal friend to their Family tree.They got so lucky when some way, somehow, angels from above allowed this new adorable 7 month old puppy to make his way into their lives a few months after “Rosie’s” passing, just in time for “Rosie’s” Mom’s Birthday.  A gift from “Rosie”, perhaps?  He is an adoptee they rescued from the Animal Shelter.  It was destiny that “Jackson-Bunny” became part of the family.  He posed as a female, to everyone’s astonishment, so “Rosie’s” Mom would be alerted of his existence!  She decided to contact the Samoyed Rescue Assoc. and leave her name, if a female puppy needed placement.  They contacted her when they found out about the “female” Samoyed mix at the shelter!  Yes the shelter listed “Jackson-Bunny” on their web site as a female!  In fact they even made the mistake, and let his roommate be a female for 6 days!  So much for animal control!   “Rosie’s” Mom met and fell in love with the “female” Samoyed puppy, when suddenly to everyone’s amazement “SHE turned out to be a HE”!  Even though she preferred a female, the bonding had already taken place, so of course she took him!  Instead of naming her “Bunny-Rose” as planned, she settled for “Jackson-Bunny”, and took him home the next day!  He had these floppy ears, and the name “Bunny” just seemed to fit.  Especially after all the “Bunny” placements that took place in the last two months! The name Jackson came to her in a flash, since her favorite artist is Jackson Pollock, and now this beautiful creature with that name, can continue to be her daily artistic inspiration.  Now a month later the ears are not floppy any more, so at least that is only his middle name!  He and “Mookie” the cat are “Best Buddies”, and within one month, “Mookie” has begun his favorite ritual of kneading and suckling on “Jackson-Bunny”, and he licks him, and puts his paw around “Mookie’s” neck!  “Jackson-Bunny” is not as gentle as “Rosie” was, and sometimes tries to do the same thing to “Mookie”! It usually becomes a wrestling match, but once again, it is pure love between species, and the house is definitely no longer too quiet!  “Rosie’s” Mom is now “Jackson-Bunny’s” Mom and “Mookie’s” Mom and she is laughing and smiling once again!
Jackson and Marlene (together for 12 years)
Jackson Bunny and Mookie playing
Mookie the Cat with his yellow chicky (we were together 16 years)




12/26/2017 

65th Birthday / Deathday D-day Gift?
I was just thinking while in a calming bubble bath, about life, death, and the in-between. I am 64 ½ years old, and in May 2018 I shall turn 65 years old. That is F***** OLD! Of course, we baby boomers will never admit it! For a moment I thought…..maybe on that day the Universe might give us the Birthday Gift of knowing the date when our life will be over, a Deathday Gift D-day

It sure would be great for financial planning, communicating truth with our loved ones, cleaning out our “stuff”, and documenting our plans for end of life desires. 

Having the courage to follow our dreams, doing that special thing for someone you love, taking that trip of a lifetime, and checking off items on your bucket list. This would be a gift, especially if your days are few. Even if your days are many, starting to accomplish this list now, would be a gift in and of itself.

I don’t know if I will get the Deathday Gift D-day, but while I am in the “in-between” I may as well begin the process! Some people may think this is slightly morbid thinking, but I think it is good to have a plan of action, be prepared, and anyway who wants to get blindsided by a sudden death. I don’t want all my “stuff” to be rummaged through by anyone but me. 

I guess it’s time to get busy, I only have 5 months before I might get that special gift when I turn 65! None of us knows when our time will be up, could be a moment from now, a week from now, a year from now, or 20 years from now. It’s the big mystery of life, when your Deathday will be! Not great for financial planning….that’s for sure!!!!

Then there is the whole mysterious discussion about the “AfterLife” concept! I sure hope we don’t have to come back and do it all over again! I am looking forward to entering a new dimension, a new soul experience, and ideally becoming a form of energy, maybe as a butterfly or a hummingbird delighting those who experience my spirit, and letting them be healed in that moment in time.

I saw a butterfly today, came right by my kitchen window as I was looking out, at the same moment I was thinking to myself: Be positive, it’s all going to be fine. Seeing the butterfly healed me in that moment and I thought maybe it was a visitation from my Mom, since today would’ve been her 91st Birthday! In her physical form she has been gone 29 years. It is comforting to think of our loved ones continuing to visit us with their spirits, appearing as butterflies, hummingbirds, or whatever entity grabs your attention in that special moment.
I think the most important lesson in life is: Savor the MOMENTS, the In-Betweens, and always be prepared! None of us are getting out of here alive! Be Kind, Be Compassionate, Be LOVE.


12/10/2017
 
Why is life constantly throwing out curve balls?
I don’t know about you, but lately my life has been all about dodging curve balls and fearing the other shoe will drop at any moment. Sometimes I wonder what it’s all about….is it karma, is it just random, is it by design to teach us lessons as we go through our time on this universe? Why do some people suffer with devastating health conditions, post-traumatic stress, loss of income, loss of purpose, etc.? Then there are others that lead a seemingly charmed life, being born into loving and supportive families, never having to worry about financial support, or going it alone? 

Life just isn’t fair I guess. We hear that statement often enough. But why isn’t it fair?

 

Maybe when our physical time is done on this earth we will get the answers? I sure hope we can we take our list of questions with us, and finally get some answers!

In the meantime I guess we have to do our best to take what life gives us, and be as grateful as possible. There is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes it works for me to make a list of what I am grateful for, even during the most challenging times in my life. I do get solace believing in the mindset of: “This too shall pass” because it always does in one way or another. Change is the one constant in life. 


Making lemonade out of lemons, having the best attitude as possible, and being of service to those less fortunate is always good advice. To give is to receive. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, and yell if you have to when life throws lemons at you. Once it’s out of your system, you do what you have to do to take care of the problems, and then it’s time to get out of yourself. Ruminating and worrying is not going to change what’s happened, so we need tools to learn how to accept and deal with our reality or new life script. I just read a great quote: “Life begins at the END of your comfort zone”!

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