Words to the Wise: Sharing Life, Lessons, and Observations

Words to the Wise is a collection of stories, observations and insight drawn from my own experience both in the past and in the present, together with my perspective on what I may have learned in the process. Occasional poetry and astrological insights will be included when appropriate. I welcome comments, suggestions and thoughts of all kinds and am happy to respond.

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A Pinch of Salt

        My mother had some sheets in the linen closet that sat forever on a shelf with a pink ribbon tied around them. I remember seeing them there both as a young child and later when I was old enough to make my own bed. They had been a wedding present from some relative of her mother's, and certainly she thought they were very special.

          My dad used to joke that she was keeping them for her second husband. He was a great one for teasing. Still, there the sheets stayed on the shelf until they became antiques. I have often puzzled over the whys and wherefores of those sheets. Now I have to wonder what my mother was afraid to risk by taking off the ribbons and actually putting the sheets to use?

          The act of taking a risk is an empowering one for me. I like feeling brave, adventuresome, even courageous. Being the eldest in my family, and something of a tomboy, I was brought up to be staunch and to act with courage. My father would jump with me in the high waves when we went to the beach after a storm. However, I understand that for some people taking risks is scary.

          And yet, looking at it my way, the risk of losing, of failure, of wasted time and effort is like a pinch of salt in a recipe that puts an extra tang into whatever it is sprinkled on, including our lives. Sadly, salt has an undeservedly bad reputation. You don't need much for its full effect, yet people often forget this. A pinch or two is enough to tickle the taste buds, and it is as effective in a sweet dish as in a vegetable casserole or a beef stew. A pinch of salt is especially effective when it is added to something sweet, like a lemon pudding.

          The fear that by taking a risk something precious may be lost can keep someone from being able to move forward. I succumbed to this fear once and learned a powerful lesson. Other experiences since have taught me that when I am willing to take a risk and do what I don't want to do, yet feel I need to, I surely benefit. What I have also discovered is that the fear factor gives an added bit of energy to my effort. Like a pinch of salt it sets up the metaphorical taste buds to appreciate the full flavor of the experience.

          My mother was normally quite courageous. It may be that she had another reason for keeping the sheets in the closet. The fact that they were linen and would have to be ironed might have had something to do with it. After all, she took the risk of marrying my father and coming to this country at the beginnings of political unrest leading to WII, a German national in a country that would go to war against Germany. The courage to take risks keeps me learning and growing. I am grateful for her good example.




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Practical mystic and poet Tasha Halpert writes a column called Heartwings Love Notes for a Joyous Life, as well as a monthly astrology column for the internet. She writes a weekly perspective column for the Grafton News called Good Earthkeeping.  Her poems and essays have appeared in Quest Magazine, For the Love of Life, Heart and Wings, The Unicorn, and other publications. She is staff poet and storyteller for the Unicorn, and a regular part of Granny Moon’s Morning Feast. Her book Heartwings: Love Notes for a Joyous Life is available; She has another in preparation: Up to my Neck in Lemons, as well as a poetry chapbook: Poems and Prayers. With her writings she hopes to be of help and comfort and perhaps even entertaining.  With her husband Stephen she lives in Grafton and is the mother of 5, grandmother of 7, and great grandmother of 2.  


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