Healing: Bruce Jenner

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Diane Sawyer did a great job with the Bruce Jenner interview. She asked all the right questions to help us understand the issues, and Bruce’s needs, completely. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch, but once the program began I couldn’t turn it off. The interview left me with a complete understanding of Bruce and his needs. I cried when I realized how difficult this had been for him even back in the 1970’s, when he was in the Olympic spotlight.

My wife, Marilyn, and I watched the 1976 Summer Olympics and were elated when Bruce won the gold medal for the decathlon. His athletic abilities and competitiveness resulted in his winning one of the world’s highest athletic honors. There was no way of knowing then what he was experiencing and how incomplete he felt as a human being.

The wonder and inspiration of that Olympic event was eclipsed last Friday night when Bruce talked openly about his desire to act and dress like a woman. Bruce faced an estimated 17 million viewers and talked openly about his most personal issue, his sexuality and his desire to ‘come out of the closet.’ It is impossible to imagine how much courage that required. Friday’s interview will have a more positive effect on people than his gold medal ever could have. I am happy and thankful to see that Bruce’s courage wasn’t limited to the field of sports.

The age we live in, the Age of Communications, is providing us with a wonderful opportunity to promote peace, love, and harmony in our world. It will change the human race and help us evolve into what humanity was meant to be: kind, loving, accepting and sensitive to the needs of the individual. As someone was quoted saying during the interview, it’s difficult to hate someone when you understand their story.

Bruce Jenner: Hero!

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Ancestors and Time

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This past Sunday I spent several pleasant hours with cousins on my mother’s side of the family. We shared family stories, family pictures and had the opportunity to get to know each other, since my mother’s death so long ago created an unintended separation. I’m 12 to 15 years older than my cousins so I was able to recognize some of the people who  had passed away  and shared memories from the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, before my cousins were born. We all had a wonderful time and before we knew it, it was time to go.

This past Monday and Tuesday my friend Patti Meyers helped fill in many blanks through her knowledge of Ancestry.com. She also helped me use it at the Oak Lawn Library. We traced relatives back to the 1840’s in Germany. Patti loves genealogy and my cousins and I got to benefit from her expertise. Thanks Patti.

I’ll turn 71 in a couple of weeks. Fortunately I am healthy and happy (knock on wood). My age gives me a longer term perspective on the ancestry issue because I have watched family members be born and die. I’m starting to feel the flow of life. I see how one generation is born, grows, procreates and nurtures the next one, hoping that life will be better for the newer generations. I see how life seems long when you are young, but not so long when you age. And I see in my own life how long it takes us to learn the lessons that life presents to us. We start out thinking we are well educated and know so much and end up realizing that book knowledge does not equal life knowledge.

Don’t get me wrong. I made some stupid mistakes in my early days, but I have no major regrets about what I’ve done with my life. Actually it looks like I now am where I am supposed to be. It is like the song, a long and winding road, but it is the process of traveling it that provides the valued learning that hopefully makes us better. And this is not my swan song, either. I’m not done yet! My grandpa Patrick McAllister lived into his late 90’s. I think I can beat his record, God willing. So I have ‘miles to go before I sleep.’

My Ancestors: Blood, Glory and Disclaimers

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Back on April 8th, Maggie and I went to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Maggie wanted to see the exhibit about the Vikings. Now I hate to admit this, but I didn’t know until I saw the exhibit that many of the Vikings came from places now located in modern day Sweden. How could I have not known? I must have been asleep, or more likely daydreaming, when the subject came up in History class in grammar school. Duh!?!

The exhibit was very interesting. Sure there were spears and swords, but there were also bowls and utensils actually used by the Vikings; by the way, the utensils included knives and forks so the Vikings were not uncouth, beast-like animals who ate by hand and threw the bones on the floor when they were through. Motion pictures have polluted history!

On the other hand, the Vikings did seem to do more than their share of plundering and pillaging and many of them were pirates, attacking ships on the open sea. I guess they felt they had to live life to its fullest since most of them never saw the age of 40. Most of them never got the chance to express whatever wisdom they acquired much less nourish the ideas. Yes, I’m making excuses for them. Hey! Some of them may be kin.

Later in history they migrated to northern France (Normandy) and actually attacked the city of Paris (fighters not lovers). Then in 1066, now known as Normans, they sailed across the channel and conquered much of England. English, which was of Germanic origin, was wedded with the more Latinate version of the Normans and the English language was blessed with an influx of multi-sylabelled words. House became residence; sweat, perspiration; walk, perambulate and hug, embrace. So you see this highly active group was a linguistic blessing in disguise. The English language is better off for the rampaging efforts of the Normans. The proof of course is that English is now the lingua franca of most of the world.

Disclaimers: Some of the preceding comments may not be 100% historically accurate. Like the movies, I am embellishing for entertainment value. What do we writers call it? Ah, yes, artistic license.

Anniversary

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Yesterday, April 13th, was the fourth anniversary of my introduction to the Spirit World. So I am wishing my helpful spirits, spirit guides and the Ancient One a Happy Anniversary! You have changed my life. I am grateful! Thank you!

 

Ancestors and Genealogy

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Recently I reestablished contact with second cousins on my mother’s side of the family (Bergstrom). I will be meeting with them this coming weekend to share photos and memories about our families. I think my helpful spirits are involved because this idea seemed to come to me out of thin air.

Yesterday, when I dragged out photos and other memorabilia to prepare for the meeting, I found a wealth of information I forgot I had. One of my other cousins, Jim Thomas who is now deceased, sent me information back in the 1980’s when he was on a genealogy kick. He traveled back to Sweden, visited with cousins we have there, and found lots of family records, including one which indicated my family was also related to the Finns who moved to Sweden in the 16th century. I think my helpful spirits are telling me I need to catch up on my past.

My grandfather, Josef Bergstrom, came to America in 1900. He must have returned to Sweden in 1902 because he married my grandmother, Ida, there and both of them traveled to America via ship that same year. Their first daughter was born here in 1903, later followed by four siblings, including my mother, Edith, in 1906. They lived on the south side of Chicago and that’s where Edith met Dan McAllister, my father.

They got married in 1923. I found a scrapbook my mother put together. It had pictures, with carefully written comments by my mother, depicting their honeymoon. They traveled with  married friends, Harry and Charlotte Jensen, the  for the trip because the Jensen’s owned a car and my parents did not. My mother was 20 and my father 22. Kids, that’s what they were. My mother’s written comments are sweet and lovey-dovey.

I also found substantial information, including pictures, of my Swedish relatives who remained in Sweden. I am in the process of summarizing it so I can share it with my cousins.

In former times and cultures, people would memorize the names and importance of their ancestors. Today we rely on computers and databases. I think it’s important for us to look back to our former relatives because we will appreciate them more and be thankful for what they accomplished. In my case, three of my four grandparents came directly from Europe by traveling across the Atlantic ocean, leaving behind family members they would probably never see again, in the hopes of starting a new, bertter life for themselves and their descendants, me included. God bless them!

 

Morning Walk

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The temperature was already 57 degrees when I went out this morning at 10:00 AM. I decided to go for my long walk, 2.3 miles, up and down Greenwood with a loop around Memorial Park. This past winter I hardly got out and really missed my regular connection with Mother Nature.

I was only three blocks into my journey when a hawk flew onto a tree forty feet overhead and called to me three times. I stopped to see what kind it was but it was a dark shadow against the bright morning clouds. I asked the hawk if he had a message, closed my eyes, and believed it was something like be alert or be watchful. Maybe it was simply ‘welcome to springtime.’ I also saw lots of robins (new growth, spring), a couple of cardinals (renewed vitality), lot of sparrows (triumph of common nobility), and heard a woodpecker (the power of rhythm).

I continued on my walk and turned toward the park. Two blocks further on I heard the same hawk call, right  above and behind me. There it was, in the tree top, watching me. This time I tried hard to see it but once again the contrast against the sky made it hard to see details other than its short tail and curved beak. I continued on my walk.

As you may remember, the red tailed hawk is one of my power animals, which means that all hawks fit into that category for me. The red tailed hark is associated with the east, the process of birth, spirituality and guardianship. It was one of the first power animals I met when I began journeying.

I continued around the park and found the same hawk up in the same tree when I started walking home. It didn’t make any sounds but I saw it watching me as I passed. I always feel protected when I encounter hawks, even if it’s when I’m driving and they’re soaring high above the traffic, looking for a meal. Over time these feelings only grow stronger and, the more they occur, the more I feel connected to nature.

Have a great day, get out for a walk if you can, and have a great week.