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Converting Life’s Lemons into Lemonade

Adopting a positive outlook on tumultuous world events.

A creeping concern on my part has come to the surface of late—that too many of my blog posts have been focusing overly much on the negative side of everything. Depressingly so. That reservation was underscored recently by the observations of a new acquaintance who started following my writing after purchasing my book The Pebble. His name is Kipp, and he’s the embodiment of that rare oxymoron: an honest auto-repair-shop owner who loves good writing, dogs, little children, old people, God and trustworthy labor for a fair dollar. A soft-spoken, gentle man with a playful sense of humor and a ready smile, he saved me a bundle on auto repairs but commented that my newest blog piece had really dragged him down. “Don’t do that to me, Mr. Scheel,” he pleaded. “Give me something with some ray of hope!” So, in appreciation for Kipp’s unassailable honesty and in deference to his preferences and sensitive nature, that’s precisely what I’ll attempt to do this time around.

This past Saturday I attended a book discussion and signing for two author friends, Jolene Andersen and Victor Contoski, who were promoting their new book Spiritual Awakenings: Finding Clarity and Hope in Our Lives. The book details a series of classes begun in 2004 conducted by Jo and Vic along with a channeled spirit guide, Bill, “designed to get the participants in touch with their personal power and spiritual nature.” Both my wife Dee and I had attended two of the courses, and even our emphasizing afterwards how we’d benefited immensely didn’t do justice to the insights we’d gained.

During the discussion Saturday, the subject came up of altering the trends of major world events by concentrated group-thought processes. One of the courses had explored that possibility and examined the evidence for its efficacy. Jo pointed out the anecdotal correlation between groups in unison around the Earth employing the technique and Bashar al-Assad’s cessation of chemical-weapons deployment.

A member of the audience then broached the subject of the Orlando mass shootings and what that might imply for the state of humanity. Jo reiterated that “human evolution” is presently transitioning from a third- to a fourth-level chakra and that entails great turbulence; however, forces for “good” are progressing toward triumph. She stressed how counterbalancing the 49 lives lost, tens of thousands worldwide rallied to pay tribute to the victims and advocate support for compassion, acceptance, love, oneness and world harmony. Rainbow lights and flower displays were to be seen everywhere across the globe.

On another front, my trading buddy Stan and I monitored closely the so-called “Brexit” referendum last week as we both worried how that might affect our modest portfolios. In the surprising “leave” aftermath, we sorted through the various gurus’ analyses. In addition, I discussed the results with my journalist friend A. J., who is a conspiracy-theory buff, believing centralized, moneyed, elite powers control virtually all governments, politicians and certainly the lives of every one of us “little guys.” “Well, you have to admit,” I ventured to A. J., “that the way the vote went would certainly knock the ’Bilderbergers’ back on their butts. Huh? Power to the people.” He nodded and had to agree. And Stan seemed optimistic. Irrespective of the many doom-and-gloomers, our hedged portfolios had held up fine. (For a compelling positive take on the long-term economic benefits of the outcome, see David Stockman’s column “Bravo Brexit!” in the June 25 online issue of Daily Reckoning.)

Finally, my dear Dee absolutely adores gardening and every summer insists we have a go at growing vegetables. However, my neighbor to the south, old Les, always teased me about how his tomato crop unfailingly exceeded ours. Most handy with a hammer and saw, Les had constructed a huge wood-frame-and-chicken-wire enclosure over his backyard garden to foil the thieving squirrels which decimated our plants and stole nearly all the produce. In the past three years we hadn’t been able to enjoy more than a half-dozen, fully-ripe, homegrown tomatoes. Well, old Les passed away over a year ago and the new residents, I discovered this spring to my dismay, intended to tear up the garden enclosure to make way for a wooden deck. Upon learning of their intentions, I forthwith prevailed upon them to allow us to inherit the enclosure for our own garden, and the following weekend their head-of-household and I wrestled the structure intact over the privacy fence and into position on our plot.

Now we have protected tomato plants—lush green and bountiful—shooting up way above their wire support-frames and producing beautiful yellow blooms galore. We’re going to have plentiful tomatoes soon, probably enough for the whole block. And Dee is happy. That’s the real kicker! As the old maxim goes, “Happy wife, happy life!”

So, it would seem it’s all a matter of perspective. From where I stand, I see people internationally are coming together more, the world economy has begun realignment and eventually will improve, I’ve got my old Chevy running smoothly again without obliterating my bank account, and this summer at last we’re going to have succulent, delicious tomatoes. That, by golly, points to a happy life! As Jackie Gleason used to proclaim, “How sweet it is!” Thank you, Kipp. Oh yes, and thank you Les. May you rest in peace.

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Mark Scheel
Mark Scheel grew up in east-Kansas farm country. He attended both Kansas State University and The University of Kansas, majoring in psychology and English. Prior to writing full time he served overseas with the American Red Cross in Vietnam, Thailand, West Germany and England, taught at Emporia State University and was an information specialist with the Johnson County Library in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. His stories, articles and poems have appeared in numerous magazines including The Little Balkans Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Cincinnati Poetry Review, The Kansas City Star, Heritage of Kansas, Samisdat, and Poet as well as many sites online such as Common Ground News. His literary activities have also involved membership in The Kansas Authors Club, a seat on the board of directors for Potpourri Publications Company and an editorial position with Kansas City Voices magazine. He co-authored the book Of Youth and the River: the Mississippi Adventure of Raymond Kurtz, Sr., and his collection of stories and poems, A Backward View, was awarded the 1998 J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award. His most recent book is titled The Pebble: Life, Love, Politics and Geezer Wisdom.

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