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Sometimes Crazy is a Gift

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This morning, I was indulging an urge for a special breakfast at a local deli-- a Nova lox and fried onion omelette-- truly something one should try at least once. This was an urge I'd been fighting for almost six months, since I'd started on an effort to become more Vegan in my eating-- no dairy, no animal products. 

Frankly, a purist would say I'm a total failure, but I'm pretty pleased with how much I've cut out milk, cheese and eggs, as well as meat. I put fish back into my diet about a month after going straight vegan, and now, I decided to put eggs back in. But that is only peripherally related to the crazy part of the story. 

Shortly after I sat down to eat, an elderly woman came in with a man, probably in  his 40s. He was odd looking and she was pushing one of those collapsible baby strollers. But there was no baby in it. She was using it as a walker. 

I was trying to read a book by an author I'll be interviewing in a few weeks. Her loud voice kept distracting me. I spent five years working in acute psychiatric care, back in the seventies, right out of college, and I can tell a psychiatric patient when I see one. She was one. Every few minutes she'd start talking loudly about religion, reciting hail Marys, just acting oddly enough to confirm my suspicions. Then, she had a very loud phone call with someone, telling the caller on the other end to go to confession, that priests hear everything, from murderers and people who have had abortions. 

It wasn't like she was doing anything particularly bizarre, but the picture added up. I was sure she was a long-time psychiatric case and frankly, the noise level was annoying.
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Then, she announced, loud enough for most of the restaurant to hear, that she was going to the bathroom before they departed. She walked towards me and stopped, looking  directly at me. 

"Do you believe in miracles," she asked. 

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I paused, for a few seconds, nonplussed, and replied, "Yes I do."

"Good... even flowers," she added, with a nod, as she continued, pushing her pink baby stroller towards the Lady's room. 

"Even flowers," I thought to myself. 

She'd transformed herself from a loud, moderately annoying head case to someone who had, in a moment, with a few words, brought some magic and a smile to me. 

On the way back from the restroom she stopped and asked my name. I told her and she shared with me, "My daughter's getting discharged from Friends Hospital today." Friends is one of the oldest inpatient psychiatric hospitals in America. It's on the same grounds as the outpatient mental health center I worked at for almost four years, while I was putting myself through grad school. 

I asked if I could take her picture. I did, with my iPhone. 

"So fast! It's done already?" she exclaimed. I showed it to her. 

I'm only showing part of her face to maintain some anonymity. by rob kall

Her son, a burly bearded guy, in an extremely high, odd soprano voice, muttered to himself that he didn't like photos. 

Okay. So, I'd nailed my layman diagnosis. But I'm writing this because what came out of my interaction with her was something beautiful-- far from what I'd expected. 

It might be a good thing to remember in these crazy times we live in. 

Sometimes, out of something or from someone that seems really crazy, we find unexpected beauty, magic and a reminder of what's important.


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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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