Sunday, August 24, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Here is my way of supporting ALS by taking part in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge  

Thanks to Pete Frates, outfielder Boston College, who began this challenge to spread positive awareness for his disease in 2013-14 after being diagnosed with ALS at the age of 27 in 2013. 

ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis] is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.  The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. 

You can watch the purpose of this challenge in Pete's own words on ESPN:

Please visit ALSA.ORG: 

Peace. Thank you Pete. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau, naturalist and early environmentalist, spent two years on Walden Pond in 1845, land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The result of Thoreau's two year relation with nature, to him, his religion, was the moments he observed nature in all of its holiness, simultaneously observing his own state of mind and being, as well as those who came to visit. Thoreau also managed to compare and contrast the existence of man vs. nature. 

In this volume, a diary of sorts, the author describes in immense detail, the absolute wonder and purity of nature, as well as his own day to day existence.

Thoreau accomplished to not only write down his poetic and philosophical findings, yet has chartered his own discovery, as a human being; concluding that man and nature coexist, and everything is indeed perception. 

This volume is extremely insightful with far too many passages to quote that cause one to ponder far beyond the realms of the "typical" human psyche.

It is my experience and belief, along with Thoreau, that once one truly communes with nature wholly, that second sight is never lost. Difficulty in keeping that vision may depend upon ones return to society if one chooses to cease seeing the divinity of nature daily.

This book, Thoreau's first, is not a guide for the recluse, that is not what Thoreau was, nor a path to wholeness or enlightenment; rather a light into the mind of one man who chose to observe beauty and ugliness within himself, within nature, within mankind. 

What an interesting book. One I think most people think is a complete "existential" work from front to back cover, and it is, but in parts. It is also a daily journal of everything Thoreau did and experienced. The most profound results of living two years on Walden Pond, thankfully, exist eternally within the pages of this volume.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sacrificial, Soul, Sickness

1st Published in Rebelle Society  

© Susan Marie

Sacrifice the sickness in your soul.

Do it. Now. I dare you.

It is not that hard, really, when you think about it. Wait, I don’t even want you to think about anything at all.

Just as I am here typing these words coming directly from an unknown source greater than myself: one that I am unable to properly decipher, something that makes the wind scream, the skies turn kaleidoscopes, the snowflakes look like diamonds and the waters rush upon my bare feet in the sand — that energy, tap into that instead.

You have it, we all do. It is in our souls, and if you even try to tell me you do not have a soul, well, how are you breathing, your heart beating, how are you even reading this?

It does not really matter what I believe, you see, my purpose here today is to attempt to get you, as many before have tried, to let go of all of those negative what ifs floating around in that brain of yours.

You know they exist, hiding back there in the attic of your head like some old dusty box that you never open because memories come flooding in from the past that you never addressed back then, so why address them now?


Because if you do not sacrifice, soul, sickness, you are going to keep riding on a psychotic, unending roller coaster, and not an enjoyable one either, of always wanting more.

I don’t mean success or achievement or even happiness, I mean those nasty trolls that wake you up at night and bring a frown upon your face when no one is looking. Yes, those. We all have them, after all, we are only human.

As Tracy Chapman once wrote, All That You Have Is Your Soul, so at the end of the day, when all is said and done, and you are alone with yourself in the dark, can you honestly tell me that you have sacrificed your soul sickness?

If you can, good. Keep doing that.

It is a constant purge, a cleansing, rebirth, a hard drive reboot, whatever you wish to call it.

It is healthy, and allows you to keep going, unlike those who choose, and yes, I said choose, to stay stuck and be unhappy and moan and bitch and whine about things that will never change the world, convince anyone around them that there is good to be had from existence and that we live in a world both sane and insane  — those definitions have yet to be properly studied, for everything is indeed perception.

For our experiment today, this world is sane and insane, in constant flux, like everything, and that is normal, it is how homeostasis is achieved. Not true balance, that is impossible, that is perfection, and no one is perfect.

The world is imperfect, humans are imperfect. we are supposed to be not perfect, so stop obsessing about your body, your hair, your clothes, house, money, your car, your spouse, children, the food you ate, and most especially, about yourself. There are much more wondrous things to be focusing on:

“A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands,
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more than he.”

~ Walt Whitman

Like that.

You see, the word prophets, artists, change makers, and freethinkers, crazy as one must be, know what I am talking about — they all understood, and still do: sacrificial, soul, sickness.

They lived it, breathed it, ate it, drank it, loved it, made love to it, despised it, and invited it deep into every fiber of their beings on purpose, then spit it out onto a canvas or paper or the sidewalk or into a microphone or the garden or the meal they prepared and into lovemaking, because my oh my, that is where soul sickness is sacrificed.

But be careful, I am not advising promiscuity, for the soul is to be savored, respected, admired and esteemed, like fine wine, a rose, like the wings of birds, like flight, like a wild thoroughbred on the plains, and like you, reading this now, wondering what I am asking you to do.

Do you know I once wrote an entire poem on a napkin with a stick of black eyeliner because I did not have a pen?

That is how easy sacrificial, soul, sickness, is.


So do it. Right now. I dare you. Whitman wants you to, I know he does:

“Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.”

I am no expert, nor were any of the greats, yet they understood emotion, they understood empathy, compassion, they knew what it felt like to hurt and be happy, simultaneously:

“I am the poet of the Body; And I am the poet of the Soul. The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell are with me…” ~ Walt Whitman


I guess what I am trying to say is: wake up, do not sell out, speak your mind, be nice, give, help others because you help yourself when you do that. This is easy, it will cost you nothing.

It is free, it requires no education, no attending classes, you do not have to take any medication, study the existentialists, go to therapy, meditate, study with a guru, prescribe to any train of thought but the one that speaks to you every single day. 

I know sometimes you might ignore it, your consciousness, that li’l devil, but start paying attention; you are smarter than you give yourself credit for.

We are brilliant designs of nature, extravagant creations of the most exuberant artists, nothing can compare to the excellence of the human body, mind, and spirit. You do not even have to do anything but sacrifice the sickness in your soul.

How does one do this? Well, I cannot tell you that, what do I know?

I am just a hack poet who cannot sleep, however I know that I am alive, somehow my heart beats, the blood pumps, the grass grows, the birds fly, the sky does brighten, and I know deep within the core of my heart that life is a gift and you need not sacrifice your soul any longer, only the sickness inside of it.

Cease being a slave to yourself.
Start now.

Do me a favor. Go into the bathroom. Look in the mirror. Really look at yourself.

Do you love what you see?

Tell yourself this: I love you.

Then smile. Really smile.

Smile so huge that you feel it on your face and allow your spirit to reflect back at you - your own beauty.

I dare you. Right now. Go do it.

I am waiting.

“It is time to explain myself — let us stand up.
What is known I strip away,
I launch all men and women forward with me into the Unknown.”

~ Walt Whitman

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"The Forty Rules of Love" and "The Giver"

“Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on.” 

  Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love


This volume is a most enlightening work encompassing the meaning of unconditional love for all beings and states of being, the absolute divine essence of pure love, and the majestic states of spirituality. 

“Every true love and friendship is a story of unexpected transformation. If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven't loved enough.”


This is a book that surpasses all organized faith, thought and current societal standards. Elif manages to present a simple, innate idea to an increasingly complex world. This is a volume to be read again and again throughout a lifetime to keep oneself in check. This recent work by Elif Shafak is the most profound book I have read in a long time. 

* * *

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

"The Giver" is a rare glimpse into a world that Huxley and Orwell imagined in "Brave New World" and "Animal Farm." Although the three are drastically different, the theme of oppression and imagined equality are quite real. The difference with "The Giver" lies within the shared bond between the Giver and the Receiver. 

Lowry manages to seamlessly attach the reader empathetically to several characters, allowing one to become part of a world of sameness, devoid of all feeling, while simultaneously reading with pure human emotion. This volume touches upon gifts bestowed upon us all, the root of all spirituality, the power to see beyond and beneath, and to experience divine love. 

I never wished for this to end. The need to keep reading beyond what is written is immense. This story is compelling and demands continuation.

“The man that I named the Giver passed along to the boy knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing. It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things.

[from her Newberry Award acceptance speech]”