I am an amalgamation of the North and South, born in the blue collar north side of Houston, Texas — a third generation Houstonian with a Yankee mother. My father went North to college in Colorado, and brought home his sweet nature-loving wife.
My mother was an original Flower Child, a free spirit raised by her botanist mountain-climbing Unitarian minister grandfather. The home I grew up in was built on a retired chicken farm, so it had rich soil for growing flowers. My father grew the flowers and my mother arranged them into beautiful spring bouquets. She devoted herself to her little family of myself and my younger sister, and when I was about 6 years old, she brought my great-grandfather home from Colorado to live with us. Grandpa took me on daily walks through our neighborhood in Oakwood, and we became personal friends with all the great oaks along the way. We looked at the slow growth of the lichens on the trunks, and I learned about the balance of nature. I learned early to make a small carbon footprint — to observe, enjoy and respect the universe.
Books were my friends from a very early age. My parents couldn’t afford a baby sitter, so when I was five years old, I became friends with Mrs. Dickerson, the director of the Children’s section of the Houston Public Library. She was a friend of my parents, and sometimes they would leave me with her for a few hours at the library. Mrs. Dickerson showed me how to alphabetically arrange the books. I had learned to read by having my father read the Sunday funnies to me, and the amazing world of books was even more fun. I also felt the satisfaction of completing a project when I got a row of them in order.
I learned to be quiet and listen: My parents were concerned about my baby sister Georgia, who was almost 3 years old and not yet talking. I think that while I was at the library, they were consulting specialists, and they found that her delayed language was due to anoxia at birth. She received speech/language therapy and physical therapy, and my mother tutored other children to pay for the services. Georgia learned to talk by singing and reciting poetry. I received instructions to be quiet and to stop speaking for Georgia, which I had been doing up to then. We communicated empathically and I always knew what she wanted to say. I learned to be quiet at the dinner table, and we all encouraged Georgia to talk.
When I was home, I read my Grandpa’s extensive library — a whole room of early 1900’s literature: fiction, non-fiction, world history, and theosophy. When it was lights out at night, I read Gone with the Wind with a flashlight under the covers.
My dad was a journalist, for many years the City Hall reporter for The Houston Chronicle. He encouraged me to participate in journalism, and I became the editor of my junior and senior high school newspapers, and later, majored in Journalism at a nearby teachers college. I became jaded early, though, and remember deciding that subjects really worth writing about, the really important issues, were off limits. Also, when I was a student in primary and secondary school, there was a social conspiracy of silence — it wasn’t cool to answer questions in class.
Censorship always made me mad! I had read The Three Musketeers in my library at home, but in the seventh grade, the school librarian refused to check out the other Dumas books to me until I was in ninth grade. I demanded that my mother begin taking me to the public library, where I checked them all out — and also learned how to research interesting subjects in periodicals.
At age 16, I discovered the dream studies being carried out by Elmer Green and others at Duke University during the 1950’s, and was fascinated by altered states of consciousness. I wanted to attend Duke and participate in that research. The dream studies emphasized the importance of the state of allowing as the gateway to expanded consciousness, and much of my life has elaborated that idea. I have been a teacher, psychologist and aromatherapist with special interest in creativity, and learned as a young teacher that content is just the medium with which we are playing at the moment — today’s practice activity in allowing, which sets the stage for us to interact with, love and enjoy each other. My main mission is to help myself and others to live in a state of allowing, and my creative medium for the past 20 years has been aromatherapy. I look forward to sharing with you, and invite your frequent free and spirited participation in the many posts to come.