Deepest Secret of Life

“The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery,

but a process of creation. You are not discovering yourself,

but creating yourself anew.

Seek, therefore, not to find out Who You Are,

seek to determine Who You Want to be.”

—  Neal Walsch

     Creation is an intricate part of who we are each day we are alive. Each moment brings to us another option of choice…to forge ahead and to choose LIFE.  There are days when our confidence gets shaken…we forget we are part of something greater than ourselves — we each need the other —  make no mistake of how one person can make all the difference! That person may be YOU!

   Some days are very difficult and the days seem weary and long.  I look at the clock and it reads 9:00 A.M. and I am thinking to myself, “It should be noon!” And I am praying for it to be noon, because the time is dragging and I cannot bear another moment of being alone in this empty house. I feel stuck in a rut. I do not know how to create…how to BE…how to BECOME.  I am thinking, “What purpose do I have?”  The “empty nest” syndrome has struck! I am seeking purpose and feel a need to reconnect to the Greater Good. I am lost in my aloneness and isolation.

  Then appears the call of LIFE…to continue to respond…to continue to say YES…to continue to create…to move forward…away from self towards others. I just visited  the beautiful blog  photos of Clanmother (  and one of the quotes she used was from Anne Frank “Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”

   Social isolation is horrible and it seems very difficult to bear in the countryside, surrounded by cornfields–regardless of the beauty of nature–the human voice gives the affirmation that you are there–that another recognizes your existence–that you matter.
    When I was 18, I went to work in the local nursing home and I remained working there for six years, during every weekend and holiday and summer vacation, as I studied my way through the university. I worked on the ward with people who suffered from dementia or mental illness.  I remember going into the nursing homes each morning, and looking at thirty or more sad faces, with no expression. Same routine everyday. Those who could, would march down the lifeless hall, that was painted gray, and enter the day room. They would each migrate towards a certain chair—each person had deemed their spot and though there was no direction given by anyone, inevitably they would sit themselves in the same chair.
      They always ate in silence. Whatever was on their tray, they ate. One day, as I was lifting the trays out of the huge stainless steel wheeled compartment, a food tray slipped from my hands! Bam! What a thunderous clatter! Food on the floor everywhere! It was the best thing that ever happened in that day room! Everyone began to laugh! Everyone! They were howling in laughter! I had never experienced any other emotion out of them in all the six years of working there, except doldrums and silence. I dare say, I should have dropped a tray once a day!
      There was one elderly lady, Myrtle, who independently had paired herself up with a younger patient, who could not speak, Joan. Joan was “adopted” by Myrtle as her daughter. She would help her with her food each morning and noon, and I presume the evening meal as well.  Throughout the day, they followed one another up and down the hall. Myrtle walking beside Joan and they would laugh and talk in a language all their own.  So even though Myrtle did not speak any English that I knew, she would understand our directives and also assist to help Joan.
       Myrtle must have been in her 50’s and Joan in her 30’s. They were the only two who had such a good relationship. I am sure Myrtle took Joan under her wing as her own daughter. They provided happiness for each other. They provided relationship. I was very shy when I began working there and did what I was told. But in my heart, I felt so torn that these people had no one. At Christmastime, I took my money, and I bought each patient a little gift and gave it to them. None of these people ever had visitors.  I am sure because of the mental illness stigma, they were abandoned. I heard this recently from somewhere, “Even crazy people like to be invited!” Then my mind flashed back to those days, and sometimes to my own existence, as crazy as I am, and how painful it is “to be left out” because I am different.  How empty and sad were the lives of these people, because they were “left out” of society. Their own families forgot them.  What is worse than to be forgotten?
         Back in those days, they did not do group recreation or have things for these people to do. Everyone just sat in the day room staring–that is, except for Myrtle and Joan. Then one day, Joan became sick. Myrtle came running for us, screaming, “Schma schma!” Her own language and we followed. Joan died. I think from pneumonia, but I do not really know. Dear Myrtle was so lost and her cries could be heard for days throughout the hall. Mrytle let out her emotions and her pain. I think that is truly lacking in our society. It was so devastating for her. Her tears were many. Neither of these people had ever had visitors in the six years that I was employed. Soon Myrtle had given up and was dying. Two beautiful people who loved each other, and could not survive without the other.
    I think that is how important each person is to the other in this life. We either choose to bring life to the other, or we let some materialistic obstacle or hidden reason, regret or grudge, arrogance or  social sophistication, or class distinction (and that does exist in every society), anger or resentment, unforgiving attitude  get in our  way and we lose sight of the bigger picture. We forget that diversity brings richness!  Relationship is a calling out of ourselves to go towards the other — to forget ourselves –to go forward and bring others into life–to co-create.



the caterpillar

inched its way up the path

over the stones and cracks

a tuft of grass

appeared in its tracks

what was driving it on?

where did it have to go?

where did the urgency stem from?

LIFE beckoned it forward…

Monarch caterpillar. Photo Credit: C. Jane H. Johann, August, 2015; Palmyra, WI.

Monarch caterpillar. Photo Credit: C.
Jane H. Johann, August, 2015; Palmyra, WI.





finding a new way…

In the birth of Spring

the tiny bud falls from the tree

too early for its demise…

In the midst of love

uneasiness like a sliver under the skin

either works its way out with pampering and care


 takes hold, digs deeper, hidden in darkness

eroding what hope remains…

somewhere and somehow in that eternal mess of frustration and despair

the SPIRIT to LIVE surfaces

beckons us on to find a new way

Choice is always there




Alberta, Canada  "Dawn Breaking" Photo Credit: Jane Johann c.2013

Alberta, Canada “Dawn Breaking” Photo Credit: Jane Johann c.2013

“In the final analysis,

the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions,

no longer asking why something happened,

but asking how we will respond,

what we intend to do now that it happened.” 

 Pierre Teilhard de Chardin