Beating Heart — a poem

This is a tiny poem I wrote a while ago for a delightful blog I follow called The Alchemist’s Studio. It was for the “Name That Vase” event.  Check out the Alchemist’s beautiful exquisite raku pottery and also the delightful and interesting posts and stories  at:


Beating Heart

By Jane Tawel


Is the blood that beats inside us all,

A result of Heaven, or result of The Fall?

Does my blood run red, or does it run blue?

And what of the blood that throbs within you?

If I could catch a beating heart,

Then that might be at least a good start,

To understand that what pulses in me,

Is perhaps the world’s greatest mystery.


Ten Small Radical Things To Do Each Day

Ten Small Radical Things To Do Each Day

by Jane Tawel

October, 2019

Here are Ten Small Radical Things that I think we should make daily habits, but that we can at least try to do today. These come from my own succeeding and failing at each of these. Try one, or a few of them today. Each day make time to live with hope and joy — these Ten Things could help.

  1. Laugh until your sides hurt. It’s best to do with someone, but if that’s not possible, do it with the person who “gets you” the most — yourself. Laugh with a comic book, a funny video, a comedian, or watch a squirrel or a puppy (often great sources of humor).

2. Hum a tune. This is a great way to relax your mind and your body. It activates the all-important Vagus nerve. It is incredibly fun to do on your own and can also be a great way to drive someone else crazy (should you need to).

3. Take care of something small that you don’t usually make time for. Sometimes, it is as simple for me as taking time to brush my hair for fifty strokes — so relaxing! I find taking care of my finger and toe nails to be a helpful reminder that I really do have time for small things if I stop letting my time be gobbled up by the big, bad things, like the “Busy-Ness Monster” or the “Blob of Ennui”. Try spending just a wee amount of time caring for some small part of your garden, either figuratively or literally. Or do something for just one part of your body that needs attention. Try a face mask or hair treatment or just elevating your feet against the nearest wall. The important thing is to do it yourself, not spend any real money on it, and do it in solitude, caring for your inner self as you care for something outside of yourself. Most of all, enjoy doing it, not as a task, but as self-care.

4. Chew more slowly or drink more deeply. Actually and intentionally tasting what you are imbibing or masticating will give you two important, transformative things; it will give you more pleasure and more gratitude.

5. Go outside. If it is too hot or too cold, stand on your porch or your stoop and let your body really feel what is going on. If, like Goldilocks, the weather is just right, take a walk. Of course, Goldilocks may vary. The best of all weather for me, here in the desert, is rain. I love to walk in the rain. But even if you just have a three-minute break today, go stand outside. But don’t do it for steps, or exercise, just go outside to BE. Be in a real environment called “The Outdoors”, with no fake lights, no fake air, no fake animation. Enjoy the Realness. Look. Listen. Feel. Breathe. Unwind.

6. Wave and smile. If it’s to a stranger, that is the best kind of gift since all you will hope to get in return is a wave and smile back. If they don’t smile or wave back, you will still feel better. If you make this gesture to someone you are working with or someone in your home that you see day after day, a little wave and smile will be a happy reminder to both of you that you are both human, and you are both trying your best. That connection will remind you that two people can find a little happy moment together, no matter how much stress you may be experiencing. A smile and wave cost nothing but bring joy to the giver and the receiver. Better than words sometimes, is the unspoken gesture which requires neither deflection nor acceptance. A wave and smile will interrupt any flow of negativity, at least in the giver, and hopefully, in the receiver.

7. Play with some thing. I keep a little canister of Play-doh near my computer. I also have a life-long habit of playing with a strand of my hair. Play with something that does not require any thought at all — no Sudoku or Crosswords (though I love both for other reasons). If your teacher will let you, (and I always tried to), play by tapping your pen on your desk. If your husband will let you, just play with his hair or his earlobe. Stones and leaves and rolly-pollies are good to play with, as is mindless doodling in the margins, or by amusing oneself with a piece of string or sticky tape. Playfulness leads us away from childish behavior into child-like behavior, and in that makes all the difference towards enjoying a life well-lived.

8. Be a hero and save something. Save water by using less. Save something from the trash that should have been recycled. Save someone from having to stand, by offering your seat. Save some time to volunteer to help needy bodies rather than always working on your own body at the gym. Save a bit of time to call someone for a chat. Save a bit of money by making your own coffee then giving that money to the homeless guy on the street. Be a small hero in some way every day and give yourself commendations for heroism and bravery and moral achievement. And with enough small acts of heroism, you will develop the super-powers of love, hope, and joy.

9. Relax. Turn everything off. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Meditate or Pray. Stretch out or curl up. Nap or take a bath. If you absolutely have not a single moment for any relaxation, go into the bathroom cubicle, sit or lean against the wall for a minute, and give your mind a one-minute vacation. Think about ocean waves and sun. Think about swooshing down a snowy slope. Think about floating on a raft down a lazy river. Think about splashing in puddles in the rain, holding hands with your best friend. Think about a place and go there. Immerse yourself in the imagination of that place. Find a moment of tranquility there. The mind is an amazing tool for accomplishments; let it do the same amazing magic and restore you.

10. Tell yourself something good about You. This is not like an affirmation or mantra, but rather, you talking to yourself like a positive, encouraging Coach. Find a name for the part of you that you are talking to. For instance, instead of chastising myself and trying to motivate myself through negative “pep talks” (which I do often) such as when I sneer at my two Nemeses of “Gut” and “Butt”; I could say, “Hey, soft, swishy Tum-de-tum-tum, thank you for being strong inside with all your good bacteria you grow there. I appreciate your inner health. And thank you, dear Womb-an, for carrying four babies that are the joy and love of my life. You did a great job and I am proud of you for surviving.” Maybe you would like to say something like, “You know, Silly Sally Mind of mine, you made your boss smile today with your silliness and that is a great accomplishment.” Or you could just tell yourself, “Hey, The Rock, you worked like a beast today. Bravo you!” Or try saying this to You today:

I thank you, Self, for being alive.

I thank you, Me, for sticking with Myself.

I thank you, My Dear, for giving it another try.

I love you, Me for being my best “I”.

Ten Small Things. But as Mother Teresa might add: “Not all of us can do great things. But all of us can do small things, with great love”. Love Yourself. Love the World.


 “Squirrel” by Matt Peoples CC BY-NC 2.0

Here – A Poem


A Poem By Jane Tawel

October, 2019


Here, Autumn slips in slowly,

Like a mother, she checks her sleeping child;

Tiptoeing into our rooms

Letting lengthening shadows obscure her smile.


Here, Summer runs off swiftly,

Like a child late for a play-date;

She laughs away the poignant dusk,

As she fades from our view.


Here, the Spring is remembered sweetly,

And Time is an old woman rocking in her creaky chair.

And no more come the Seasons, but one.

It is always hoarding Winter now,



Loving With All My Art

Loving With All My Art

by Jane Tawel

October 20, 2019


What is on my mind, my social media asked me?   ART!   But not just my mind, because real art is about heart. And heart, or what some call “soul”, is that deep, deep place in our species that elevates us beyond the mere animal.


I am a privileged person who has enough money and time to occasionally experience real, honest to-goodness live art. Live art is different than “static” art — both are worth spending a lot more time and a lot more money on than most of us do. Both are infinitely valuable to a life well-lived and a development of the best of human character; much more valuable than all the stuff many of us currently spend our most precious possessions on; that is our money/ savings and our time.


Just a quick refresher course for those of you living locally in the Los Angeles region or near other big cities in America — almost every museum has free days or nights. Art has become expensive because we no longer value it as a necessary component of any decent, long-range thinking society. Tragically, America does not value and support the arts, whether produced by current living artists or by dead famous ones; not in the school systems nor in the mushy, weak soups (and soaps) served up by reality TV or competitive showings of anesthetizing couch potato entrees.  So it’s up to us, I fear. Or rather, I don’t “fear”, but I exhort and encourage you to step up and seize the opportunity to experience Art.


I love going to see “static” art — museums, if you will. (If you happen to be in Los Angeles,  The Getty is always free and currently has an exhibit on Manet).  However, seeing art performed in the moment, something that will never be repeated in exactly the same way, is an experience that can change you from the inside, out and from the outside, in. If you at all have any money you can spare, please, please, please go to live art events. If you are in Southern California, you really must visit, if possible, the two live art venues that my hubby and I went to this week.


You absolutely must go see real, gut-wrenching, “make you think for weeks”, awesomely produced and phenomenally acted live theatre — somewhere, somehow. Ask around, find it and get off that couch and go. Raoul and I are privileged to live nearby a great theatre in Pasadena called “A Noise Within”. This is adult-sized theatre plays, not for Disney-kids, (but ironically, not Disney outrageous prices, either). This is one of the few remaining repertory companies left standing in America. Their current production of Sam Shepherd’s “Buried Child” is outstanding. Raoul and I were just blown away and the actors were so exhausted at the end of the performance from living the intensity of their characters they could hardly stand up for the curtain call. If you haven’t used your little grey cells in a while; go see a play that is written by a playwright with guts and ideas and thematic deepness and acted by actors who are what we call “method” actors, who “live the part” right in front of your very eyes. If you haven’t seen a play worth talking about for days after, or actors who have honed their craft to a fine point, go see something like, “Buried Child”. I highly recommend any play that was not first a movie and was written before tickets cost $600.00 a pop.


The second thing you absolutely must do is go to a concert where real artists play music. I love all genres of music and enjoy going to see super riffing guitarists and stick-throwing drummers from the viewpoint of a mosh pit, to nightclub-style singers at a piano bar, to country western twang-ers in an open air park. BUT — there is nothing that compares to seeing a live orchestra play. If you have a more limited budget that means you can’t make it to a big-city orchestra event, there are still struggling but hopeful orchestras all over the world playing out their hearts and souls. We found a wonderful and amazing opportunity near us, in Pasadena at a lovely, small hall called the Ambassador Auditorium, the home of “The Pasadena Symphony”. It is a much more affordable opportunity than Disney Hall (which we sometimes splurge on), a great venue without a single bad seat, and the home to an orchestra with a group of  artists, and special guest artists that are beyond talented. Seeing an orchestra perform, will leave you feeling that humans are truly capable of great feats and godlike mastery.

Last night, I saw not only the always excellent symphony members but a violinist named Tessa Lark, that, I could not tear my eyes away from as she played. It is hard to describe, but when Ms. Lark plays, it is as if the violin is merely feeding her –feeding from the body of her “fiddle” and from the strings and bow a sort of elixir and she is imbibing the notes and then somehow impossible music is being emitted not from the instrument but from her body. She is absolutely mesmerizing but she is completely oblivious to her “show”; rather she is madly in love with the unseen lover that is the music.

But you don’t feel like a voyeur; no, in the audience, I felt as if I were witnessing an event on a different planet; that I was observing with delight a different species of human beings, beings who are similar to what I am as a human, but so much more whole, so beautiful, so pure and innocent, and beyond lovely. It is glorious to witness such beings who are capable of such greatness. It is a greatness at once incredible and unbelievable but also comforting and encouraging. It is comforting and joyous because Ms. Lark and her fellow players are giving something to those who participate with their presence in the audience; they are giving us a gift. The gift is given with joy and the knowledge that their playing is only complete when there are live people in the audience sharing in the gift that the music gives them. It is a community of musical artists and audience and the audience also gets to give gifts; the gift of our hearts. Tessa Lark is the sort of unique soloist, who takes, not just the audience, but the whole orchestra with her, all the players seem elevated to a group of beings who are in love with the music and in love with themselves and each other and with me and my neighbors in the audience and in love with life.

A live orchestra is about art as an act of sacrificial love. And that love is for something Big! and Important! and Phenomenally difficult! and Outstandingly magical! With Capitals and exclamation points!   But it is also about us. Little old us, sitting in the audience are loved through the performance too. And love like that is worth a lot.


I gush, I rave — but really…. please, please, please go see artists perform. If all you can afford is a dollar for your local busker, start there, but start valuing art. More importantly though, is to start valuing yourself enough to support and experience live art.


Find something being performed that makes you feel … well…. better. Just Better. Bigger, and yet, delightfully, Smaller. Braver. Truer. Smarter, and yet, More Innocent. Hopeful. Thoughtful. Cheerful. Energized. Awed, and yet, Safe and Warmed.


Most importantly –see other people doing amazing things. Doing God-like things right in front of your very eyes and ears, things like gods do. Creation. And if you are like I am, you will say to yourself: “God, if possible, could I use my first 5,000 years in Eternity, taking violin lessons from Tessa Lark?”


And then in your own small way, you will boldly and joyfully love the world, and your neighbors, and your family, and yourself — with all your Art.



Tessa Lark



Part II: The Only Questions

Here is the promised Part II in my series, “The Only Questions You will Ever Need and Should Always Ask”.  Please click on my name in the picture below to be taken to my friend’s  page on  Thanks as always for reading,  Jane

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It’s All a Game Over Here

It’s All a Game Over Here

A Poem of Polarization

By Jane Tawel

October 2019

For the Hopeful and Hopeless both here and there.


“Flat Flags” by Paulo Capdeville licensed under CC by NC-ND-4.0




It’s all a game about winning,

Over here on this side of the pond.

And I wonder if you,

On that side of the blue,

(Whether you call it “mundo” or “monde”),

Have been led to believe

It’s alright to deceive,

Or if you, like I do, feel quite conned?


We’ve decided that athletes are all gods.

We treat senators like they are kings.

The fools entertain us,

While corporate crooks rein us.

Heaven’s reign’s in the void,

 With Earth’s greed on steroids;

And the preachers’ idolatry pains us.


I wonder if there you feel hopeless;

As I sometimes do under my flag?

Or do you feel the same onus,

To try not to vomit or gag?


If we’re going to make this world different,

To not play the game,

To swallow our pride,

to not aim for fame;

then it’s time to decide.

We can’t keep on ignoring life’s current,

Will we bet on the horses

Who keep Caesar’s stable?

Or invite all the needy

To dine at our tables?


I wonder if you too, can’t pledge to your flag,

When the world just keeps filling with more body bags?

I wonder if you’re tired of games that destroy,

The planet for Future’s small girls, beasts, and boys?

I wonder if over there, over the sea,

If you too would rather be choosing, with me,

Some new games, and new roles, and new consequences,

And a way to build more homes, not more cement fences.


Over here I want new ways of seeing each other,

Not on teams, but as families, like sisters and brothers.

Over here, it’s all rah-rah, and yay-yay for teams,

But I’m hoping that we who still dream greater dreams,

Won’t care about winning or losing and such,

Because in the end, games won’t matter that much.


When The Augurs regain

What the childish teams drained,

And the new world has gained, what’s now lost;

All those who bought and sold.

will lose all, to those bold

Enough to live for only soul-stuff.


And when those never picked

by the tricksters and slick,

those who captained the teams in first-class;

then the first shall be last

and all teams will have passed,

and the last, to the top will be flipped.


When Three only remain,

With Love ruling again,

With no flags left to fly

Then I hope you and I

Will no longer, ask, “Why?”

But instead hand in hand,

We will make a new land,

where the meek all are owners.

No more hungry. No loners.

We will all share our dreams

Without hate or extremes.

For those old teams, you ask?

  It’s Game Over.