Susan Neder

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm


As human beings, we know we all have some of both the best and the worst in us.

The worst we can always spot, but what is it that brings out the best in us? We all have a “best” – a selfless side that goes the extra mile for someone or something we believe in. We have seen the TV news stories about that amazing person who ran across three lanes of traffic to pull a child out of harm’s way, or shielded someone from a bullet and might have lost their own life doing it. Who are these people? How are they different?

I’m not sure they are; most of the time the follow up story on them shows them to be just ordinary folks who acted instinctively in the middle of the routine of their daily lives. The rest of us think about what we would do in a similar situation, but I don’t think we can really know for sure unless or until we are faced with a comparable set of events. It does not seem as if those “heroes” thought much about their own personal safety as they reacted to an unfolding disaster. These people, as wonderful as they are, aren’t the only “heroes” out there.

Our society is made up of hundreds of thousands of individuals who are also heroes but rarely make the news. They serve in clubs and groups, on boards or perhaps not, but they give their time and sometimes their money to help someone in need. They fill sand bags when their house isn’t in danger of flooding. They leave their homes and jobs and drive across the country to help rebuild a house for someone who lost theirs in a tornado. They hand out food to those who are hungry and coats to those who are cold. They pay for eyeglasses for someone, a heating bill for another; they make prayer quilts and teddy bears for those who are sick and in need of comfort. They are there when they are needed, ready to do anything they can to help or comfort another person who is suffering. Whether they are working within their own family or their community or on the other side of the globe, it does not really matter. They are all there.

A week or so ago some of my friends got together and put on a benefit for me to help with some of the medical bills that are not covered by my insurance. Regardless of which side of the political fence you are on, I think we can all agree that the healthcare system in this country is a problem. Getting sick and having extensive surgery these days is expensive business, even with insurance. Without it, the situation is impossible. So this act of kindness by people who had no other motivation to do what they did except kind hearts and a desire to ease someone else’s suffering is amazing. There were people there that I did not even know, but they came out because they cared. This is humanity at its best; these are the people we want our kids to grow up to be like. As I get more and more healed, these are the people whose acts of kindness I will pay forward every chance I get.

Are you a giver? If not, think about becoming one. Random acts of kindness or deliberate ones are real and they carry their own reward – they heal the giver and the recipient!



In Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 at 7:51 am



As I step outside today, I feel Fall in the air. I love the quiet of early morning. It is cool and crisp, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The mountains are a constant source of beauty in the distance. At moments like this, it is not hard to be in gratitude. Some view Fall as an ending, but many cultures celebrate it as the start of a new year full of hope and dreams. Many find that resolutions and goals made in the fall fare better than those made on January 1st. 

 What makes people enthusiastic about planning their future? As I think about this in the context of mortality, I believe the operative word is “hope’. People will do amazing things when they have hope; they will also completely shut down and quit living if they do not have it. What is it about the nature of humanity that makes this so? Hope seems to be as necessary to the human spirit aas food and water is to the human body and both are essential to life.  

 Hope is a tricky thing; it is based on the future, and sometimes a favorable outcome is not under our control but someone else’s–or some other group. If the hope is a really important one, then disappointment can really sow the seeds of bitterness and resentment. Our quest for hope seems to me to be somewhat like climbing a tree; if you grab a limb and it breaks, you could fall to the ground hurt, or another branch could catch you and you could go on climbing. Free choice is involved with each step. Whether people  fall and climb again sometimes has to do with how many times they have fallen, or how hard they hit the ground. Some people who have a very hard fall never get back up again.

 Then there are those who won’t ever climb in the first place. I think of those folks as pessimists. They go about on the ground glancing upward occasionally because they are sure something is going to fall down and hit them, and they are often right about that, since others are climbing above them.

 So which group am I in? Well, at present it seems obvious that I am still a climber. I have hit the ground pretty hard here lately, in fact I have had more than one branch at a time break, and some were really high up, so I have splatted onto the ground with vigor! After several of those falls I was pretty sure I could not get up again.  What made me change my mind? Several things, I guess; for one thing, it is boring laying on the ground waiting for something else to fall on you. It can also be scary and if you are going to be scared, you may as well be climbing. Also, one of the things I learned from PSI personal growth courses that has served me well over the years is the saying, “So what? Now What?”. In other words, what happened in the past is in the past, so don’t drag it with you into the future. You can’t change it and it will drag you down.

Like a lot of things, that is easier said than done sometimes, but when you are laying on the ground having knocked all the wind out of yourself, it becomes more clear. What are you going to do? Lay there? Yell at the tree? Sue the tree? I think I will just get up and have another go at it. Please wish me good luck and strong branches!

What Kind of Cancer?

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2012 at 1:08 am


If you read my last post, then you know that I have decided life is too short for putting up with unpleasant people. Have you noticed how many of these people there are these days? They are everywhere – on TV, on the radio, on email and the internet, there are even some in our own town! We keep hearing that there is more and more cancer these days and that seems to be true.

There is a a lot of discussion about the causes of cancer, and the discussions about problems with the quality of our food and the chemicals we are exposed to now that did not even exist years ago are are valid concerns and very thought provoking. In our rush to produce food to feed more and more people on the planet, perhaps we lost sight of why we were feeding them. I think is was and is our intention to have healthy people who are happy and productive, not people with full stomachs and sick bodies.

But what about the other kinds of cancer that are not physical? It does not matter what you call it – cancer of the soul, cancer of the spirit, cancer of the heart – it is still a form of cancer and a lot of unpleasant people have it. This is a much harder cancer to treat – in part because no one thinks they have it – only the “other guy” has it. In addition, treatment for it has to originate from within the patient; there is no pill, no chemo, no radiation, nor any surgery that can cure this. To make it worse, this kind of cancer seems to be highly contagious.

I am certain that there are many causes for these types of cancer, but one I know about is a small kernel of negative stuff, like anger, resentment, or fear that gets imbedded in people’s hearts and minds  somewhere early on and slowly morphs into a hard little nut called “blame”. More negative thoughts fertilize it until it grows like a weed. It could go away on its own, unless it gets supported and bolstered up by something called “justification”. Once “justification” gets involved, things get much worse. The more I look at “justification” the more I see it as an excuse for people behaving badly and treating others badly.

At this point the situation is often hopeless, because no one wants to get rid of their “justification” – it is the only excuse for their poor behavior. The sad thing is, it does not just make others sick – it makes everyone sick, including bystanders and spectators.

So how do you know if you have one of these kinds of cancer? Unfortunately, it does not show up on a pet scan. Does your hair fall out? Does your tongue turn black? Do your eyeballs roll around in your head like the eyeballs in one of those eraser animals? Not usually. In fact, the more positive you are that you don’t have it, the more likely you do.

There are some red flags that you can watch for, though. Did you read Karl Isberg’s editorial in the Pagosa Sun last  week and not know what he was talking about, or thought he was exaggerating? Do you listen to the political attack ads and yell “yes” while punching your fist in the air when your candidate’s ads are on, without even considering their truthfulness? Are most all the people who do not agree with you stupid or ignorant or have bad motives? ….hmmmmmmmm………

You know what would really be terrible? To have both kinds of cancer – the physical and the “other”. Oh my gosh, how do I protect myself? Oh, maybe I should turn off those attack ads and the news networks that profit from hate mongering. Maybe I could delete contagious emails, and not believe everything I read on the internet or hear on TV or the radio. Maybe I could give people the benefit of a doubt or a second chance and seriously look at their point of view .

Maybe I could do my own research and learn to think for myself . Wow: I have a lot to think about.