Listening to oneself and to one another. From the Leo.

In the spirit of the time anyone have any Thanksgiving gems to share?

Hi everyone! In the spirit of the time anyone have any Thanksgiving gems to share?

This time of year astrologically, energetically and out to habit fosters giving, loving, receiving, abundance and of course eating lots of food…It also fosters the desire to look back on the past years and reflect on the good and the bad and the different. I haven’t always acknowledged the good side of this holiday…

A week before Thanksgiving of 2004 I went vegan (I had soup and potatoes for the celebration, my family feared what I would do next…) 2005 I spent Thanksgiving in London so I cared less about the day and then I worked 2006 & 07. Both because I was money hungry and no one else wanted to work it…I believed celebrating Thanksgiving was a thing of my past…

But…from 2008-present I have been w/my Nebraska friends in the country enjoying a vegan/non-vegan feast. Through this I have learned to love Thanksgiving for the good it represents and not to despise it for the mess that it originally celebrates (invasion, sickness, death) and a (typically) inhumane massive slaughter of turkeys following by 36 hours of absolutely insane shopping – if you can call it that. Which is why from mid 2005-2008ish I had absolutely NO interest in Thanksgiving.

The peace I have made with this holiday, pre and post the actual day, is pretty radical though. I saw on a church sign today “Thanksgiving is Thanksliving.” I agree with this completely. Thanksgiving, at it’s core is about being thankful and celebrating abundance, hopefully something to celebrate everyday in one’s life. Because of this I now love Thanksgiving. I have been able to see the many side of the holiday and while I haven’t forgotten the origins or stopped feeling sadness for the dark side of Thanksgiving, I have learned to appreciate what I consider great about the day.

My question to ya’ll: How do we balance the “bad” with the “good?” Anyone, thoughts? experiences?

photo courtesy of

My attempt: On Wednesday night I had said vegan and non-vegan feast with friends. On Thursday I received double pay at work (I volunteered to, those who wanted to enjoy the morning with their friends and family had the freedom to do so, definite plus) and I watched movies with friends at night.

As for Black Friday- I heard on the radio that the excessive spending and shopping insanity that occurs on Black Friday may actually DECREASE the amount we spend during the entire year because we save it for this day!! In this new attempt to curb consumerism the other 364 days of the year, instead of celebrating “Black Friday/Buy nothing day” by buying nothing I purchased a book of stamps and some coffee. Big spender Karen…We will see how I feel about it next year (this isn’t even getting into the aggressive shopping and any injuries that we will hear about sooner due to crazed shoppers in department store freak outs…).

**I would love to read what some of ya’ll do to balance your feelings on this holiday (if you have mixed feelings at all…) and/or what you do to make your Thanksgiving special, even if it is spending it with a cat or eating at golden coral….! I am thankful for ya’ll!**

  To practice “Thank-living” I want to give THANKS to you for taking the time to read this post. I hope ya’ll are enjoyin’ your ho-ho-holidays. Shopping? Still stuffed from the last few day and can barely keep your eyes open? If you get a moment, please visit and “Like” my “Listen” Facebook page: Listen207   Thank you!


#16, #17, #18 & #19

#16. I gave jean scraps to a friend who sews and (…seriously) shampoo that I wasn’t using to a friend who loves the stuff. One wo-man’s “trash” is another wo-man’s treasure. Along with the shampoo I gave a t-shirt. A Beyonce t-shirt.

I purchased this t-shirt at a thrift-store in Ellsworth, Maine in the Summer of 2012. I found the shirt in the winter when it was 25 cents and thought better of purchasing yet another thing to have to stuff in my carry-on back to Nebraska. I did what any adult would do…hid the shirt in the bottom of the barrel and hoped it would be there when I returned to the store during the Summer…

Much to my surprise and delight when I returned it was there. This time for 50 cents…I purchased it and fell in love with it. I had been thinking about that t-shirt on and off SINCE I left it in January and it was finally mine.

Why the heck was I in Ellsworth, Maine? I was visiting my late Grandmother, my Nan, who lived in Ellsworth. My breathing pauses and I am tempted to cry at the mention of this. Grieving comes and goes and can pop up even years after the incident occurs. Her and I were shopping in downtown Ellsworth and I came across the Beyonce gem. I purchased it alone when I returned in the Summer to visit her.

I visited her every time I made it back to my home-state. As she aged I started to accept that my opportunities to visit her could come to an end at any moment.  Much of my motivation for making frequent, sometimes lengthy trips, back home was to visit her while she was still alive. In August of 2013 I made my last visit to see my Nan.  During which she said two things that stick out in my mind:

“I might just DROP DEAD” (she had a stroke within 36 hours of saying this) and quite off-handishly “….Spend you money.”


The shirt has this lovely photo on it!

So this t-shirt I equate with her town, my visits to see her, her. The reality is I wore it once every four months or so and it is too big for me. My friend loves Beyonce much more than I do and I knew she would appreciate this t-shirt for what it is: a lovely shirt. Not what I had equated it with: memories of my beloved grandmother. I told my friend to return the shirt to me if it does not fit, if she does I will know that it is meant for me to keep that shirt. Otherwise, it is back out in the Universe. I am left to feel my feelings of over-attachment and inability to let-go of people and possessions. The difference here from my usual tendencies though is that I did let go, I let go of an article of clothing that I dumped all sortsa STUFF onto and in the process I am able to let go of the person associated with all that STUFF, my Nan.

We all (well, many of us) have such items that we equate with memories, people, events (fill in your blank). Depending on who you are determines your level of attachment and the fear/sadness/anger you would experience if you were to lose it or voluntarily pass it on.

My gifting of this t-shirt was an attempt at separating my love for my Grandmother from the memories/over-attachment I had placed onto an article of clothing. I feel okay with this act and overall I think it was a good move. My Nan attached value to almost no material objects, at least emotional value (she worked hard her entire life, she enjoyed clothes shopping, a nice hat etc.) so I feel that in my 32nd year in this form and 1 yr+ after her passing I am inheriting her ability to let go of. To move on with. and to go out and gladly buy another shirt! 🙂

#17. Not gonna mention act. I will say that this it was a pay it forward I did inspired by a friend of mine unexpectedly treating myself and another friend to dinner at Modern Love, in Omaha, Nebr. (thank you).modernlove It was a brave move for Isa Chandra Moskowitz to move to Nebraska (formerly known as the Beef State) and open a VEGAN restaurant. I would like to support such an effort.

#18. I gave a $1 donation for an awesome magnet from Common Roots Collective. 

I almost kept this one anonymous because it was “only $1.” Then I remembered going to an Anarchist house concert in Milwaukee in the Summer of 2007.

I had a very difficult time finding the house (I still get lost every time I go to Milwaukee…) I found it though, in a bit of a run down but quaint neighborhood. I still remember the whaf of body odor upon entering (keep in mind that at this time I only used soap to sometimes wash my clothing and to wash my hands…and was there because I was considering Anarchy, so, I’m not judging this body odor…it just makes for a memorable entrance). I wouldn’t say the crowd was welcoming or really all that friendly. I don’t remember any snacks but there was lots of beer. I’m not sure I even liked the place. I was in an extreme exploratory phase and I was there for the experience. The band that played was unlike anything I had ever heard and I bought their CD and put a donation in their coffee can.

Their near empty empty coffee can.

A tad less empty with my small, but what I would consider reasonable donation. I suddenly became very angry at the lack of support offered to our entertainment for the night. There were easily 100 people at the house supporting “the cause” and enjoying the performance. Had each person given $1, the band would have had $100 (plus whatever else they received for their merch etc.)

So I take back my “it’s just $1” thinking. Projects like that Anarchist house and Common Root depend on major support from their core group and a little bit of support from every person that somehow utilizes what they are offering. There are a lot of “us” and if we all give a little it becomes a lot. I understand that this is not a realization worthy of a band playing and lights flashing but it is important to remember. A little goes a long way. Every little bit helps. It all adds up (anymore cliches out there, please do share).

I am really into this thinking while a group I am involved with raise money to adopt-a-flock of turkeys (which is $210) for Thanksgiving from Farm Sanctuary! I will not donate the entire $210 but we have collected $180! We. (See day #21!!!!)

#19. I gave my roommate’s dog a walk! Repeat. It is crazy cold out, both Wally and I are dedicated.


here he is again!!!                 

I am Crazy in Modern love with ya’ll right now! Wally and I want to THANK you for giving your time to read this post. I recognize that time is precious and hope you are receiving the messages you need or are inspired to look elsewhere. If you haven’t and would like to, please visit and “Like” my “Listen” Facebook page: Listen207   Thank you!



#12, #13 #14 & #15


These are not the ornaments. purely for effect.

#12: I gave yard ornaments to my roommate. My neighbor was giving them/throwing them away. I had them in my room as though I as going to DO SOMETHING with them. No, they are yard ornaments meant for a yard not my room. My housemate liked them so they will go in the yard!

#13. I gave my time and my voice (literally). My friend David and I read a play he had written on the brand new KZUM  radio show “Platte River Sampler.” David and I had performed this piece before but it did undergo some changes as we had never done it over the radio. It went really well and Phil was happy with it. I do not know when it will air but I will add the link to the Podcast when it does. This is the play although I believe I enjoy the radio version better.


The Lions club takes old glasses. Surely your Eye Doctor would know of places to donate your glasses.

#14. Donated my old glasses. I have had these gently used glasses for 5 years! This challenge gave me an excuse to drive way south to my eye doctor and finally pass them on to someone who needs them! I have another pair that I no longer wear and I intend to put them in my car and drop them at my Eye Doctors the next time I am in the area. Giving prompts other giving.

#15. Gave *Celebration* coffee beans and water bottle to co-worker. Water bottle was brand new and I got it from work. I have NO need for another water bottle but I took it (reminder to self: do not take things you know you will not use even if for a SECOND you think “ohhhh okay, I guess I’ll use it…” because no, no you will not!) It has sat in my room for 2 months. I brought it to work and left a note that said “If you want this take it!!” A new Team Member was happy to take it home.

The coffee beans were an unexpected gift. A small bag was on crazy sale so I bought a couple bags…as I chatted with a co-worker I realized, I need to give her this coffee…So I did…and a rather strange thing happened, she appeared to get angry with me and insisted I keep the beans. I gave her my receipt and said “I bought these for gifts. It was $3. Take it.” And she calmed down, said thank you, and put the coffee with her other things.

This woman and myself get along but we haven’t really connected and we have been working together for almost 11 months. She can be difficult to connect with but this didn’t became clear to me until she reacted to me giving her coffee beans. I don’t think she thinks she is worthy of a gift from a co-worker…for no apparent reason…It is possible she doesn’t believe she is worthy of a gift.

She took it though and said thank you. Both of our hearts opened. I believe that everyone on this planet is worthy simply because as an inhabitant of this earth we/they (that would be all people, animals, trees etc) deserve kind treatment and love. Unfortunately, this is a tall order, I know, but it is what I believe. This belief is tested when I meet people who make it uncomfortable to be kind to them. It is my job (both as a person and in my for-pay work) to figure out how to offer kindness and love to a person who won’t easily receive it…in a way that is not me forcing it upon them.

I am reading the book “tiny, beautiful, things.” The author worked with female youth and she said it was her job to practice “unconditional positive regard” with them. According to Wiki, Unconditional positive regard is “a concept developed by the humanistic psychologist, Carl Rogers, the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does…”

Good practice.


#8, #9, #10 & #11

As part of the Giving Challenge I am giving a 45 minute”Listen” session to the 5th person who asks me through my Facebook Listen207  page or my email See the “LISTEN” part of my page for an explanation of what this session entails or ask me directly. In a nutshell though: If you would like to meet me (in person or Skype) and have a conversation/be listened to for 45 minutes send me a message!

#8: I gave my word.

That is really all I can say about that one. These lips are sealed.

Sweet Potato and Apple Soup With Cheese and Walnuts

Photo from

#9: I gave new parents some dinner.

This was partially an excuse to get over and see that baby! 🙂 and baby’s parents of course. My friends had a baby boy last Monday, November 3rd! I know they will be fabulous parents.

A sweet potato apple soup garnished w/sesame oil, pecans and cilantro. Side of French Round bread. Uhm, was super simple and they liked it 🙂 For someone (me) who has no baby rearing and raising experience to share the best form of support I can offer to new parents is food, conversation…and gifts from their Registry. Lucky for me, there is a need for that. We ALL have SOMETHING to offer somebody. I believe that “it takes a village to raise a child” business.

#10: I gave compliments.

This is so easy to do as I interact with hundreds of people a day. I wanted to do 9. It wasn’t as easy as I thought though as I only got out 7 or 8 of them in! My favorite was to a woman wearing a very adorable, comfortable looking skirt…I said “AH! Look at that skirt! It is so cute!……nooot that your skirt being cute matters to the person you are or anything. ::probably extended with another awkward statement::” She responded “…I think that is the best compliment I have ever received….” And we laughed. Because it was a very weird thing for me to say.yourock

I meant all of the compliments I gave. I realized how quickly I got into work mode and out of observing things I liked about people (article of clothing, funny comment, how someone is doing at their job etc). I told two new Team Members how great they did during their shift and they bit were a bit shy/surprised. They -like all of us – appreciated the constructive, positive feedback. We have been so busy at work that it is easy to look-over telling people how great they are doing. I told the Produce Team Member that she was doing a really great job and that it must be a lot of work to close alone. At first she didn’t understand my comment. I repeated myself and after explaining all that she had to do she said “…Thanks,” with relief. It can be difficult to take a compliment.

I am going to re-peat this one. I consider myself optimistic but it can be easy to fall to the pessimistic side and only see “what’s wrong.” If I am looking for things to compliment a person on I will SEE more things worthy of compliments. People also really appreciate compliments! Becoming a bit uncomfortable aside (as long as the compliment is appropriate) everyone likes to hear something good about themselves. I believe that this type of recognition is crucial in a work environment, people need to hear what they are doing right and when they are doing a good (great, exceeding the expectations of the) job etc.

#11: I gave my co-worker two boxes of incense and an incense stand.

I like to buy incense but I rarely burn it. My co-worker is a bit obsessed with incense so who better to give it to than her? She was very excited…


I want to give THANKS to you for taking the time to read this post. I promise you that I appreciate it! I feel lit up and it makes cense! OK enough ridiculous (but honest) play on words. 🙂 If you haven’t and would like to, please visit and “Like” my “Listen” Facebook page: Listen207   Thank youamazing

Re-working 29-Day Challenge. “Giving is three fold: Give you time, your talent and your money.”

(I wrote this on 11.5.14) I have decided to re-work how I am approaching this challenge after an experience I had and after listening to the Giving Talk in this Podcast: Mosaic There are a lot of fine lines for me to walk during this challenge, I want to keep from stepping into my Co-dependent self and start giving more than I can afford/handle but the “Giving Talk” has inspired me to make some changes:

  • For one I am going to do my giving for the day but not say what all of them are. Some anonymously giving and such.
  • I looked to the world wide web for some “giving” suggestions and found some really good ones (like most of the time I will share my deed but otherwise I will simply state that a deed was done.
  • I will include some ideas I have found from what others have done and my feelings/thoughts/the after effects of said giving event.

This decision also involved an experience I had two days ago (11/3). I have a bit of a confession. We are doing a fundraiser at work for the Food Bank and cashiers are to ask every customer if they want to donate ($1, round up their change etc.). Awesome, it is a great cause, I am one of the Leads for the campaign and want to support the cashiers.

Well, I was ready to pay for my dinner…approaching the registers…and I didn’t go through one of our cashiers line because I knew he would ask me to donate (he’s very dedicated!). I also would have had to wait an extra 30 seconds had I gone through his line as he was finishing up with a customer. I passed his line and went to a different register. I immediately felt surprised at myself. Whaaaaat Karen? I start a “giving challenge” and then purposely side-step an opportunity TO GIVE to a good cause when someone I want to support asks me!

…Obviously I am missing something here!

Now, I’m not beating myself up. I KNOW this hesitation stemmed from my fear of not having enough of both time – a 30 minute lunch break goes by so quickly – and money. Primarily money. I thought of allllllll the money I may part with as I go through the registers as we are doing the campaign for two-months and I make a lot of transactions. And .17 cents, $1 really adds up everyday blah blah blah.


It was just suggested to me to “give away the last thing you would want to give away.” Which, of course, is money. I will say – please work with my psyche here- while giving my time is my first preference a very close second is to give money, and I typically do, because it can be used where it is needed most. Usually organizations have bulk discounts or contracts that will get them better prices than if I were to donate an item myself (and I love to support a good bargain!) I still do not want to part with my money which is all the more reason to give it away. I already give it away but apparently my message here is to give more of it away AND to do so without an ounce of fear.

This, of course, is against my nature. But don’t get me wrong, I (usually) do donate when a cashier asks me; I tip well, I donate to public radio etc. but obviously I am still operating with fear-based thinking. This is not an opportunity to get down on myself! This is an opportunity to recognize what I am already doing well and to re-think my feelings surrounding it and to give a bit more!

So, this morning when the cashier asked me to donate I rounded up that 17 cents! Last night I stood their waiting at the Credit Card machine (and made some awkward hint hint gestures) until the cashier asked me and I donated. And I will do so at least once a day everyday when I am asked. When I am asked to or I am compelled to give in other situations I am going to give more than my conservative self feels “safe” giving.

My co-worker and the gentleman who did the Giving Podcast just texted me that:

               “I think giving as a part of a community is more life giving than doing it alone.” 

Maybe I will organize a group giving event of sorts? It could be at work for the Food Bank? Or it could be done in a pair or a group with a completely different organization/project/etc. TBA.

So while I certainly have much to work with here I am glad I have a good starting point. I want to give and I do give. When I decided to do this I told myself not to *expect* a spiritual, life-changing experience. At worst I giving away 29 things! But at this point I am reminded that a major point of this experience is to work on my under-lying fears. To expand my idea of giving and to involve others in my efforts.

Lastly, I found this quote on a website.anne It is short and sweet and the absolute truth. It makes me laugh a little, it’s as if I do have this specific fear and reading this quote is to assure me to keep doing what I am doing but to caaaaalm down, lighten up and to NOT WORRY. Anne Frank was wise beyond her years.



I’m a bit tripped out right now. I am in the process of working through my fears of scarcity (through the 29-day Giving challenge and simply being aware of this belief that is no longer serving me) and my general money obsession. I checked my bank account balance because I ordered a book about becoming money positive…and my balance ONLY consists of the number 3’s and a 1 & a 2. 3’s and 1+2 = 3. I, of course, Googled “the significance of the number 3” here is what I found…

“The symbol of the triad or trinity…can be understood as a key to the integrity and interdependence of all existence.”

“The number three is used in the Torah to mediate between two opposing or contradictory values. The third value mediates, reconciles, and connects the two. Three is the number of truth…

******** “The 3 and 2 combination is a message that the Ascended Masters are working with you as co-creators of your new project. Your angels are busy setting up opportunities in which you will flourish. They want you to know that everything will work out well for you. Enjoy this new phase in your life.” ****** Ahhhhhh!

Interdependence (we are all connected) meditating on two opposing values – I have enough I do not have enough – and three connects those two ways of thinking to get to the truth: I have always had/will always have enough/I have as much as I will receive/I have what I deserve/I deserve abundance and so on.

I have a choice, I am to rest in a comfortable spot with my finances and either eliminate my fear and become OKAY with how my finances are and not change anything. OR eliminate my fear and become okay with how my finances are and expand and fine tune my idea of what I truly want, expand my idea of what I deserve/would like to acquire in my life to accomplish what I want to accomplish to be my best self.

And finally, the Universe is working on my project. My angels are busy!! I must have some trust and try to have fun!

Hmmmmm….Message much?

Day #5, #6 & #7.


This is Andy. Andy is a resident at the Farm Sanctuary, and possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen. He is not the one who attached my behind.

#5: Set up monthly donation to Farm Sanctuary (their site). Farm Sanctuary is a farm animal shelter in Watkins Glen, New York. I have been “looking” for an organization to make a regular donation to and on Monday night they called me and asked if I would agree to make a monthly contribution. If I believed in coincidences I would call that a coincidence. Here’s me: “What organization should I give to monthly? ::hem haw hem haw:: Which is THE RIGHT one…?” But my decision was made for me when I got a 310 area code phone call at dinner time, thank you Universe. This is my first experience with monthly giving. Farm Sanctuary holds a dear place in my heart. In 2008, I spent a month interning at their shelter. It was an amazing experience, I spent 4 weeks with cows, chickens and goats; was surrounded by other folks who ate a vegan diet…and I was bit in the behind by a pig (I kid you not and those creatures have sharp teeth and really strong snouts).


View of Farm Sanctuary barn and the forests of Watkins Glen in November.

#6: The gift of coffee. When I was Googling “giving” suggestions I repeatedly came across the suggestion to buy the person’s order who is in the back of you in a drive thru… Well, Tuesday was the day because I wanted a latte and acquiring that could easily involve a drive-thru. As a general rule I do not go through the drive thru. I prefer walking into cafes/restaurants and staring at the menu as though I haven’t read it a dozen times before; looking at all of the merchandise and taking my time leaving. I went through the Starbucks drive-thru on this day though because it was important to the mission at hand. It would allow for an anonymous and speedy exchange. I intended to pay for the beverage of the person behind me. I ordered my drink and requested it burn my hand as they never steam soy hot enough, okay anyway anyway, I look behind me and see that there are not one but two people in the car…two young people. “CRAP” I thought, $5 Frappucinos here we come…I then shrugged, reminded self not to worry (re-wiring my reactions) and said who cares and laughed at myself a bit, that’s who the Uni sent me I guess! So I gave the Barista $11 and was all prepared to dish out some more to cover the whipped high fructose corn- beverages and she then returned $4 to me. Only one of them had ordered something…I imagine a tall latte (I worked 4 years at a coffee shot). haha, shop. It really barely cost an additional $4 w/tip.

This was a steaming good because: That woman got her coffee (I think it is safe to say that she felt that way too)…I allowed myself to experience my initial, honest, reaction “CRAP” which translate to mean “I will have less money!!” I imagined their drinks would cost $8 or $9 but I got over it almost immediately. Who cares? I didn’t decide to buy someone’s coffee “only if it is under $XX.XX,” that isn’t what this is about. Freely giving can’t have “but but buts.” It is about giving something that a person will enjoy, in an attempt to brighten their day simply to brighten their day, with the hopes that they will pass on the love to someone else. But that isn’t requirement or even requested of them. And they might not even appreciate it – but they were given the chance to. And in exchange I had the opportunity to share. Oh, and face my life-time old fear of not having enough money! There’s that.


That is not what my latte looked like today, but how darn pretty!

THE REALITY IS though that the Universe knows what I am capable of giving out. The Universe knows what we are all capable of giving out. It ensures that if you remain open and move forward with love (instead of kinda sorta move forward, but not really forward at all, with FEAR) you will not be presented with anything you are unable to handle or that will leave us worse off than before. Hence the ~$4.00 drink. Basically the cheapest bill you can get at Starbucks, side from drip coffee or a single espresso shot…(p.s. coffee art is SOY IMPRESSIVE. Look at those petals!)

Day #7: Giving clothing to local homeless shelter. I deposited a small bag of gently used (as they say) clothing at a drop-spot. I have had this bag for weeks waiting to be donated. This challenge gave me the kick in the behind (not like the pig bite) that I needed to get it out of my room and into a drop box. I thought about what a friend of mine said about giving away that which I am resistant to giving. What is it that you reeeeaally do not want to give away? Or, rather, that you want to KEEP FOR YOURSELF. I love long black sleeved shirts. I have 4 of them and am tempted to wear them everyday. So I added a black long sleeved shirt to the bag. PACT suggested I donate my unopened pair of underwear that I know will be too small for me instead of sending it back (also coincidence…? :)) and a really warm, retro wool sweater that was gifted to me. This act was pretty simple and I am glad it is done. As a stage 1 clinger with one bureau and one closet in her living space I could use another 10 or 12 acts this one…

I imagine I am not alone in these feelings, eh? In terms of actual scarcity, where is the line between healthy giving and giving away more than you can handle? How many times can I afford to buy one customer a $3.50 coffee? What does “can I afford” mean? Surely totally different things to totally different people.

How does one differentiate haaaanging on to something because they are over-attached and not wanting to part with it and because they just really like it? Does it even matter if there is a difference?

All things to…give…some thoughts to.


Certainly our time is valuable! I want to THANK you for giving your time to read this post. I recognize that time is precious and hope you are receiving the messages you need or are inspired to look elsewhere. If you haven’t and would like to, please visit and “Like” my “Listen” Facebook page: Listen207   Thank you!