Monday, June 05, 2006


My favorite word is reciprocity. It means to return in kind. Not only does the word sound delightful rolling off the tongue, it is a Universal one-word edict. When consciously applied, reciprocity creates bona-fide miracles.

A favorite example of this reciprocal energy comes to me from nature. I live my life under the assumption that nature is highly intelligent. It pays close attention and is fanatical about checks and balances. If one dares to honor nature in a world that habitually harms it, there will always be a reward specifically and succinctly directed at the one doing the honoring. Taylor-made reciprocity.

Last weekend, on the way to pick up a friend for our Sunday ritual at Our Lady of Fleas, I came upon a dead cat in the road. As is usual for me, I stopped to remove the grey tabby from the pavement and laid it on the grass. I cannot bear to see a cat reduced to bloody mush. It belongs to someone. It is loved by someone. It's crushed body could horrify someone. I can't allow that. So long as I'm not in a cocktail dress or late for a business meeting, I will stop to honor the crushed cats of America. I said a prayer on the tabby's behalf and asked for it's highest good. I honored the value of it's life. And then I went on with my day.

My return in kind came less than one week later. It came right to my own backyard. I was graced with the presence of the first red-bellied woodpecker to visit my yard since moving to Akron 1 1/2 years ago. In my love affair with birds, I am first and foremost the mistress of the red belly. Reciprocity lit the way to my suet feeder. I have swooned upon his arrival every day since.

When applied to human beings, the return in kind can save a life, restore a life or improve a life. Reciprocity does not have to happen quickly and it does not have to be extended back to the person who extended it to you, although it certainly can be. The world would be a more peaceful planet if reciprocal energy was constant and fluid. Someone gave you $30 twelve years ago when you were less than financially solvent? Tomorrow leave that same $30 as a tip for your beleaguered waitress. Someone sent flowers to your hospital room three years ago? Hand deliver an I Love You card to your grandfather in the nursing home tomorrow. Extend miracles because miracles have been extended to you. The life you will likely save, restore or improve is your own.


  1. LOVE this post! I was reminded through your beautiful words of a movie, Pay It Forward, that I found so moving and inspiring. Very much the same idea. If you missed it, do check it out! I remember being very surprised that so many didn't like the film because the message was just what this world needs so desperately.

  2. I found your website from looking at your art on ebay. Your post on Reciprocity touched me as a cat lover. I want to thank you for your acts of kindness that you honor on the cats you remove from the road so they are spared further harm.



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