Heartery November December 2023 Newsletter


Is there anything out in internet-land that is not surprising? Probably not.

Forced to become multiple-stimulus responders, we often gloss over the pragmatic, slower running currents in our lives. I’m speeding up this slowdown.

Here’s a toast to combining Newsletter and Blog for two months into one communication. Fingers-crossed?

Let’s simplify so you can read the intimate and the expansive all in one fell swoop.

How is The Elephant in the Room of your life doing?

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM, my first published book is doing fine as we speak. More elephants being cared for as a RESULT OF FICTION—as a result of you and others reading the book. Someone, maybe many someones, has taken action. Positive action.

We don’t care who, but grateful for positive actions. Always.

One of the surprises, almost shockers, has been discovering that readers have such different takes on the author’s intention or purpose in the writing of a book. I’m both in awe and respectful of the feedback I’ve received. And I learn from each. A lot.

I’ve found I have a lot of elephants in my rooms, those attic underused rooms in my head.

  1. Judging others: inadvertently everyone, including me, (If you don’t see my hand raised high in the air as one of the culprits, just look a little harder. It’s high and waving.) judges. I now recognize that my nose reveals me. I’m prejudiced against foul smells.

Twenty years ago I used to deliver Thanksgiving dinners to underprivileged teen parents. I thought this was not controversial. I would purchase, at a discount, from20 to 40 dinners at a nearby supermarket. Each dinner would include a whole frozen turkey, 5 pounds of potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, gravy mix, butter, salad makings, and a pumpkin pie.

In order to do this I had to reserve these purchases in advance and borrow a pickup truck to deliver it all. With the challenges of these teenage parents in mind, I would include directions for cooking the turkey on a Bold Large print page, enclosed in a plastic sleeve—visible but water and grease-proof.

That should do it, right?

In my little glass castle of age, not wealth, I couldn’t go wrong. This was private. No one sponsored me. I knew each of the families and had chosen them because of their needs. Many did not speak English. Sometimes two families lived together in a single bedroom upstairs apartment. Their resources were more limited than mine. Most owned neither a phone nor a car. Rarely did anyone have a bank account.

Grateful to be able to do this, I could not imagine anything going wrong.

At the beginning of each delivery—who could have guessed? I would be greeted with a welcoming smile, a welcoming greeting and a severely Unwelcoming odor. Dirty Diapers. Sweaty armpits. Curdled milk. Rotting food. Unwashed, unhealthy, undeniably awful.

My nose betrayed me. Completely.

Like everyone, I am a creature of habit. My nose was biased.

Immediately questions flew like invading vultures into my head. Why would anyone live in such degrading conditions? Why weren’t they clean? Why couldn’t they…?

Then I swallowed my ignorance. And reflected.

Without a washing machine; how could one keep clean? Without money to take a bus to a public laundry, how could they escape the odor? Etcetera.

I blinked back tears. What would YOU do in such conditions?

I would have elephants trampling me. I’d be overwhelmed completely. And you?

Maybe it is beyond our understanding. We imagine we can empathize, but can we really?

After the first Thanksgiving trek up many rickety stairs, into many garbage-clogged living spaces, the realization hit: Those who could not read or had no stove or had never experienced cooking a whole turkey—which led to another insight:

One young woman, with a pair of squalling twins, confessed to me a month later that she had cooked the frozen turkey in its plastic wrapper and had to bury it outside because it had smelled so bad. A couple of days later she had noticed the open hole where the turkey, inside its singed plastic, had disappeared. Not even the bones remained. “What could have happened?” She was aghast.

Not answering aloud, I thought of the disgusting mess that had been devoured. To some near- starving animal, this meal had not been disgusting. It had given life, at least survival.

My elephant of a nose, which had despised foul odors, has slowly begun to disappear with the dawning of understanding:


ACTING TO HELP, without discriminating against others, can lead to enhancing both your own life as well as those of others.


Now my newly published book, MARIO OF MY LIFE, released at the end of October, tells a story which is based on a true incident in Peru of the shoeshine boy who happily polished my white tennis shoes 18 years ago. The story is fiction, but the incident is true.

Read it and discover the real challenges which can become springboards of understanding and resilience between cultures.

The infinite possibilities of hope and persistence rise in the face of tragedy.

My books look at life as the gift of magnificence. They are not given away so when you become a reader of one, you do not feel entitled to something else gratis.

May you savor your next challenge and heartily endorse the steps in rising above it.

Comments and connections are welcome in response to any and every Newsletter/ Blog.

Heartfully yours,

Jill Campbell-Mason

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