I hope the questions in Part Two awakened some dreams and piqued your curiosity. You may have even gotten a glimpse of a side of yourself that goes beyond your self-imposed limitations and the ones life has heaped upon you.

Google is most people’s usual “go to” search engine and there are many more but there are other means of finding what suits you on the Internet. Sky Watch Friday provides a gallery of thumbnail links to blogs which have posted a mostly sky-filled photo. Posts come from all over the globe and, if you choose to, adding one of your own is relatively simple. Using Sky Watch or a similar site as a search engine opens a unique door to wonderful national and international blogs. You’ll enter an exotic and intriguing world just by browsing countries and states from your list. Don’t let the fact that some are written in unfamiliar languages frighten you off; translate them if you wish, but even if you don’t want the bother, blogs using Oriental and Cyrillic, etc. scripts are often well worth a glance just for their stunning photography. Since blogs are all set up basically the same way, whatever language or alphabet is being used it’s fairly easy to locate the blogroll; simply scroll down with your eyes on the sidebars. If the language uses the Roman alphabet it will pop out at you–if it uses another script, you’ll still find it.

On a recent Friday visit, I began with a blog on New Delhi because, for me, India epitomizes the word exotic. Written in English, it listed a dozen or so favorite blogs. I chose a Polish one since my maternal grandparents emigrated from Poland. Following the gorgeous photos running down the right hand sidebar, I scrolled down to Moja lista blogów and found blogs from Japan, Norway, Russia, and Spain. Each blog was a gold mine and each visit propelled me off on another adventure.

At this point a little self discipline and orderliness comes in handy. Label folders with your initials and your chosen categories to separate them from your regular favorites and pop in any promising blogs immediately. It will save so much time in the long run and you won’t lose what you love. Simply saving blogs isn’t what you’re after–it’s quality you want not quantity, so stop after about half an hour. Next time you log on–go to the sites you’ve saved and read further. Do they really fit your list? You’re sense of enthusiasm will let you know immediately. If it’s not there, let them go.

Using Sky Watch for even a couple of weeks will give you plenty to work with: interesting blogs, beautiful photography, cities, states, and countries for exploring, plus the possibility of practicing a language you may know slightly, or the unexpected delight of discovering common interests with bloggers half a world away or right next door.

In my next post we’ll we’ll delve into your unique interests using another common Internet site that can either be a huge time waster or an efficient search tool.

In Part One I explained how I use the Internet. Now it’s about how you can use it–not just to cruise aimlessly, but to find the person deep inside that you’ve been ignoring most of your life. Before you answer any of the following questions, accept the fact that there are no limitations to your answers. You’re not applying for a job or setting up an impossible schedule for self-improvement. Your age, education, physical ability and bank account are of no concern. Consider this an experiment or, better yet, a journey of discovery. Remember:the three “W’s” stand for World Wide Web–and it’s all available to you just by typing a few key strokes. Keep a pencil handy and add to the questions that grab you. Later if some of mine were of no interest you can toss them, but for now–let’s go!

What’s your idea of a dream job? We’re not talking money here–remember–you have all the money, brains, strength and youth you need. So, what did you want to be when you were a kid? What did you dream about? Does it still appeal to you or have you outgrown the dream? What area of the world would you love to visit or move to? What conjures up your imagination, cruising down the Seine or following Marco Polo’s Silk Road? Where did your parents or grandparents come from? What group or collection of people would you love to hang out with, be a part of: athletes, artists, professors, movie stars, astronomers, chefs, poets, saints, architects, photographers, journalists, . . . . . .? Would you search for adventure or peace and quiet, big cities and fast cars or country villages and dusty libraries? What books lifted your spirit when you were a child and, now, as an adult? Why have you never forgotten them? What lit a fire in your mind, what’s the thing you longed for and never got to do? If you could choose a mentor, an expert (alive or dead, real or fictional) who could pass on his/her skill, knowledge, or wisdom to you who (what) would it be?

This is the richness and the miracle of the Internet. Neither it nor I can transform you into a different person, but the ability to access what calls to your intellect and heart is available and I hope, at this point, you’re wondering why you’ve been spending so much time on forums with people you wouldn’t invite into your home, or why you’re always convinced the world is going to pot when you log off, or why you believe the only thing you’re smart enough for, or good enough to spend your time doing is playing the same game over and over. You deserve better than that! Stay tuned for Part Three.

Here’s a question I’d like to ask of both young and old. Have you considered that you might be wasting a miracle? Do you realize the true value of those few hundred dollars you’ve spent on your computer, laptop or other device? Here’s a machine that you can program to fit the person you long to become. So how are you using it?

I’ll soon be celebrating a birthday and beginning another decade, a milestone that warrants a reassessment of where I’ve been and where I’m going in this life with its beginning, middle and, much as we avoid discussing it, end.

Last night I realized how grateful I was to be alive during this particular time period. Even 20 years older, I might have missed the opportunity to avail myself of a great mind expanding experience. If I confess to you my belief that the Internet is one of the greatest tools for self-knowledge, it might seem a tad over the top, so let me try to explain.

Relatives and friends have sometimes commented that they wished they could be “creative” like me. Because I write and draw, they assume that somehow I’m smarter than they are. It’s not true, of course, I’ve simply spent my time finding out what I love and what I have a knack for doing. Right now there’s no better place to do that than the Internet. Unfortunately, both young and old have become addicted to playing games, setting up virtual gardens, and commenting on issues they don’t even care about. In the meantime their life clock keeps ticking. Months turn into years, years into decades, and they’ve missed learning who they are and what they are passionate about.

Consider, for a moment, your friends and family. You love and cherish them, but are any of them dramatically smarter than you? When was the last time you came away from a conversation feeling you’d really learned something, maybe even grown as a human being. Do you know any saints? Any inventors, geniuses, leaders, world changers? Probably not. We choose our friends, and they choose us, not to learn from, but for their comfort level, in other words, we choose people just like us. Even if we were invited to a gathering of people who were miles ahead mentally or spiritually, we might be too timid or frightened to accept, thinking we’d be out of our depth or possibly embarrassed. Not so with the Internet, where we can mingle unseen.

I’m not talking here about improving your education or taking courses by computer, although opportunities for those abound. I’m talking about “meeting” entertaining, wise, likeable people you would give your eye tooth to have mentor you, but would never have the courage or means to approach.

Last week I meditated with Sylvia Boorstein who shared the Buddhist practice of Metta. Her soft-spoken, sweet demeanor immediately drew me to her. On TED, Sir Kevin Robinson and the author of Eat, Pray, Love, gave entertaining talks with much food for thought. I’d never seen either of them before and I enjoyed their company for their allotted 18 minutes. Two online friends and I met daily in a private Facebook group to encourage one another with prayer as we each go through difficult times. They expand my soul.

I frequently visit or take courses on Spirituality and Practice for their take on world news, entertainment and the wisdom of all religions. The French site, L’Evangile Au Quotidien, contains daily Bible reading in many languages. I read the English and attempt the French, or Spanish. For the fun of it I watch creativity videos, or listen to music from the past with Youtube. There are rarely annoying commercials, no one lying to win money, screeching car chases, or shows with grisly murders and mounting body counts. I’m never bored. Unlike TV, my viewing is tailor-made to nurture and grow my mind and soul in any way I choose.

This is the world according to “porchsitter”. It isn’t the world according to you, but the point is, it could be. Why not experiment and learn who you are? Start by accessing the things you love and then ramp it up a notch. How? That’s what this little series of posts will address.

I need motivation to clean house. If I don’t have a good reason to do it, it doesn’t get done. Really. There are so many more interesting and creative things to do with my time. The best motivator is when company’s coming, then it’s, Yikes, how high the paper piles have grown,” Gee, I didn’t realize the dust was that thick,” and, “Whew, that floor looks baaad!”.

Big band music has been my go-to energizer when even I can’t take the mess any longer. It doesn’t lend itself so much to dusting, or going through papers, but putting away clutter or swiffering to Glenn Miller and Harry James is about as painless as cleaning gets. With my motorized wheel chair for locomotion my floors are done and danced to in no time.

There are advantages to living in a three room apartment. By just turning up the volume on the computer, I can hear music in the bedroom and kitchen as well. Taking this a step further I can catch up with TED Talks or some other podcast in the living room or kitchen while I cook or clean. I found a public radio blog called On Being and listened to a wonderful interview today with the poet Elizabet Anderson.
The help page for On Being has a hundred or more pod casts to choose from and several ways to access them. I used ITunes.

Speaking of TED Talks and wheel chairs here’s one you simply can’t miss. Multimedia, performance and installation artist Sue Austin has a fascinating mission at the center of her work: to challenge the idea of disabled as “other” and represent her experience as a wheelchair user in a brighter light.

Skeleton in Your Closest – Literally ( Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompt )

When you go to get dressed one morning, you discover that there really is a skeleton lounging in your closet. Write this scene—discover how it got there, why it is there, what to do with it now.

I was feeling around for my brown pumps on the closet floor, when a skeletal foot peeped out from behind the folds of my orange and gold caftan. If I hadn’t been so determined to distance myself from the grisly sight, I might have tumbled over backwards, as it was, I bolted upright and leaped back in one swift motion. It was miraculous that at my age my limbs still worked so successfully. but a pity I couldn’t say the same for my pounding heart.

I pushed the caftan aside and uncovered a full length skeleton tied to the clothes pole. Still shaking from the initial fright, I went to the kitchen to have the tea I’d already poured before I examined my new “friend”. It had to be a prank. I wasn’t dreaming and I certainly hadn’t murdered anyone. Feeling Nancy Drewish, I pulled out paper and pencil and began to write: Who would do such a thing? How did they get into my apartment? (shiver) and the big question–Why?

Nothing made sense. My grand kids would never do this. Halloween was long past. I hadn’t committed any crime I could be threatened or blackmailed for, and there were no connections to skeletons in my life history. Or were there?

With a jolt, I realized there was ONE–but that event went all the way back to my college days! I’d been part of the usual crazy gang of young people, my behavior and theirs swinging wildly back and forth from adult to childish by the day, sometimes by the hour. For Jimmy’s birthday, Anita had brought a skeleton to a “One Day Closer to Death Party,” as she called it. We’d all dressed in black and deluged him with macabre gifts like tombstone paperweights and giant tomes of hideous plagues and epidemics and named the skeleton, Fingers. At the end of the evening we’d signed a pledge to “keep in touch” and to remind each other periodically that death was stalking us.

I untied the skeleton from the rod and lifted it out of the closet. As I did something snagged. A black envelope had fallen to the floor. Seating him on the couch, I checked the bones on his left hand. One digit was missing.

Inside the black envelope was a list of names and birthdays.  Nearly half had been crossed out. “Just a gentle reminder–pass it on,” was written in elegant calligraphic script and it was signed Dr. James.D Winston, M.E. 😉  P.S, “Blame your mother!”

The Write Time Daily Challenge – Day 2    “You are in a laundromat watching the clothes dryer go round-and-round, and suddenly……

Lyrics to The Windmills of My Mind danced in my head while clothes tumbled in the dryer.

“Boring,” muttered a young woman at the next machine..

“Like a wheel within a wheel,” I agreed politely–but no–the flashes of red and blue changing patterns looked delightfully kaleidoscopic. As circles in a pool mesmerize when they spread outward in ever-widening rings, my thoughts turned towards infinity and “Swiftly Tilting Planets”.  I wondered what Einstein would think. Were there mathematical equations at work in the swirl of sweaters and socks?  Could a great theory be developed if I had the mind of a genius? Could something as simple as the flash of a sash tie the string theory together?

An anonymous woman’s tombstone reads: “At last her laundry is done”. So it will be with me, with all of us. Eternity awaits. No–eternity doesn’t wait. It’s from the always-has-been to the everlasting-will-be, part of what is-now.  And the One (big O) who set off that “Bang!” with His Word inhabits it all.

I really wanted to tell the bored woman that we were standing in the ever-expanding universe as constantly growing, changing, aging, dying specks of impermanent matter in an unmeasurable immensity of eternal time–but I figured she wouldn’t get it. (Word Count 211)

With nods to Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Bill Weiss, Madeleine L’Engle,  Kathleen Norris, Albert Einstein. And the big One.

The TV image was clearly delineated but puzzling until my brain concluded it was a close up of the soles of a man’s shoes. Curious as to where the scene would go next, I was totally unprepared for what followed. No longer two-dimensional but three, a pair of highly polished black shoes slid gracefully from the screen, hit the floor and all six-foot two of “the man in the suit” stood before me. I stared at the cup of tea I’d just sipped and wondered what or who had tainted it. “I must be dreaming,” I whispered, more to myself than to him and caught the glimmer of a smile.

“Be that as it may,” he murmured in a voice that left me longing for more. He took in my wheel chair and me in it, then scanned the untidy bedroom with a glance, making me wish I’d tidied up, been dressed in something seductive, been thirty years younger. He slipped out of the room and I wheeled after him. Reality, dream, or hallucination, I had no intention of letting him out of my sight.

In the kitchen, slowly and very quietly he opened and closed cabinets and drawers, his eyes lingered on the photos taped to my refrigerator door. Skirting around me, he strode into the living room and continued his search. “You know a lot of languages, he said, rifling through my books.

“Not really, they’re language texts,” I answered. “It was a hobby, when I was younger. I never got past basic phrases–you know: Sprechen sie deutch? Allons-y! Besame?” I added hopefully.

“Hmmm.” He seemed to consider it. “And what about the woman in the head scarf?” he nodded toward the kitchen as he tucked a memory stick into my computer.

“She’s a good friend! Hey, what’s with you? Leave my computer alone, that’s a total invasion of privacy! I’ll answer your questions, but you better start telling me what’s going on here first!”

“We have information that you had ties to Central America during a previous administration. And you may be working with foreign agents now.”

“That’s ridiculous! You’ve got me confused with someone else.” The sound on the TV grew louder and I heard a familiar voice uttering familiar words “. . . .whether you’re victim or perpetrator, if your number comes up we’ll find you.”

“I want to talk to Mr. Finch.”

His eyes grew cold and wary. “And how do you know about Mr. Finch?”