Ampersand Gazette #37

Susan Corso
9 min readMay 29

Welcome to the Ampersand Gazette, a metaphysical take on the news of the day. If you know others like us, who want to create a world that includes and works for everyone, please feel free to share this newsletter. The sign-up is here. And now, on with the latest …


When you find yourself deeply doubting the goodness of the human race, ask yourself these questions: Who is profiting from your sadness and your anger? Who is getting rich by making you afraid? Someone is.…

As you leave for the rest of your life, you will be prepared for whatever challenges may come your way if you remember only two things:

The world is beautiful. People are good.

And remembering that will help you remember how good you are, and how much good you can do, too.

from an Opinion Essay by Margaret Renkl
in a New York Times article
“Against Despair: An Open Letter to Graduates”
May 15, 2023

Between us, I’m not so sure I would have been happy to be tapped to give a commencement address this year. How about you?

Fortunately for all of us, I wasn’t, but Margaret Renkl, one of my favorite Op-Ed Columnists from The New York Times was. Oh, and what an address it was.

I wish someone had told me this on the day I graduated from Smith.

“When you find yourself deeply doubting the goodness of the human race, ask yourself these questions: Who is profiting from your sadness and your anger? Who is getting rich by making you afraid? Someone is.”

Actually, I did get wonderful advice that day, but it wasn’t in the commencement address — I can’t even remember who gave ours. It was at Last Chapel, a tradition that has the President of the College, then the first woman president Jill Ker Conway, give the homily. She was an Aussie, and a history professor.

When she stood before us, she said, “I really thought about what to say to you this morning. I did! And I kept coming up with the same idea over and over, which I dismissed as unimportant, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn’t unimportant. Oh, it dealt with unimportant things on the surface, but deeper in, there was much more to it.

“So here’s my wisdom for your four years here in one sentence: ‘The dust will be there tomorrow.’ She paused. ‘Yep, the dust, I promise, will be there tomorrow. So if you have a chance to have a conversation or hear a symphony or read a book or go to a museum or have a cup of really good coffee, don’t hesitate, go. As I said, the dust will be there tomorrow.”

That was this particular weekend of 1979. Forty-four years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

At that point, there was, of course, sadness, anger, and fear, but we weren’t much focusing on it because we didn’t have to, but today, now? We must. The reason is because that at some point something someone in the public eye does or says or is will capitalize on sadness, anger, or fear, and your version of it will be activated. It can’t be helped.

But what you do about it can be. Perhaps it’s a cynical question: Who is profiting, who is getting rich, but it’s also one based in human nature and the greedy reality in which many of us exist. If you know who’s profiting, Beloved, you can decide if you want to contribute to their profit pool. Most of the time, when I ask her questions, I conclude rather quickly that I don’t want to make a contribution there.

What to do? Withdraw your attention. I mean it. Look away. Don’t feed whatever is causing the pain. We live in an attention economy — your attention is your most valuable commodity.

Someone asked recently how I can write as much as I do. My husband, and editor, (and if you need a good one, go here) answered immediately, “You don’t watch television.” We don’t even own one.

There’s a further step here. Human beings don’t not do things too well. You know, it’s the temptation trope — Any door but that door, Belle. Well, duh. Whatever you do, don’t think about Pink Elephants. See?

Margaret Renkl tells us simply to remember: “The world is beautiful. People are good.” I prefer to be a little more active about my attention. Yes, I remember these two, and I tend to take a page out of President Conway’s book, too, when I’m suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune of our most interesting times.

That’s when I default to art: a song, dancing around, a puzzle, a book, a poem, a Randy Rainbow spoof, some something that reminds me that many of us are using our attention for good. I also, as you know, write.

‘Woe is I’ happens, Beloved. Won’t you join Margaret and me in doing something useful about it?


I want to be in contact with things, people, contexts that make me feel alive. I have a specific definition of alive, which is I want to feel like I am being changed.…

I’m alive, today is not the same as yesterday, I will be different in the future, therefore I have a reason to live, which is to find out what that change is going to be.

Jenny Odell in a New York Times Interview
What If Instead of Trying to Manage Your Time, You Set It Free?
May 17, 2023

Change is the business of life, dear one. Even though many of us have been taught to behave as if change is a catastrophe. It’s not. It happens all the time. In fact, you’ve read it here, and elsewhere I’m sure, change is the only constant.

One of the things that makes life worth living, for me, is beauty. Beauty is even worth changing for as far as I’m concerned. Beauty is a reason to live. Allow me to rephrase, beauty is a good enough reason to live, all by itself.

I’m in the midst of some research for the third Subversive Lovelies book — Gemma Eclipsing. In this case, that means I’m reading books about a woman named Clara Driscoll, a long-unsung woman artist. In fact, the woman who really designed and executed all the Tiffany lamps although she’s only recently getting credit for it.

Her whole life is service to Beauty. It’s an anthem to nature — including the resilience, and the idiocy of human nature — all wrapped up into one dizzyingly confusing package sometimes. Clara was indentured to a Napoleonic egomaniac, a man so damaged by his father’s control issues that he never really overcame a childhood lisp — bless him. It only ambushed him in the face of intense emotion.

It didn’t matter. Clara kept on. She supervised The Tiffany Girls, the ones who made the lamp magic happen in form — and now, she and those women are being named and famed for their service to beauty.

And then, there’s another beauty altogether. Consider these words from the illustrious Martha Stewart:

Are you posing in a swimsuit to counter an image that once seemed starchy, even downright intimidating? Are you rebranding?

No, this is part of my ongoing self-creation — I call it education. One of my mottos for many years has been, when you’re through changing, you’re through.

from Style in The New York Times
“At 81, Martha Stewart Is the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Cover Star”
May 16, 2023

“When you’re through changing, you’re through.” She’s one hundred percent right. Not only is change the only constant, but it works best when we use one of the two gifts each one of us received from God Almighty, that of free will, to work with it.

Seek out change, Beloved! Let a painting change you. Hell, let laundry change you. Let a new word change you. Change is what we’re doing here. Yes, all of us.

And if you happen to need some help … I’ve had a counseling practice for more than forty years, so I have a little experience. Email me, and let’s talk.

Because, whether you resist it or not, you’re going to be changing, and changing a lot, so why not get with the program here on Earth and enjoy it? You’ll be astonished at what causes change when you embrace it.

And not only that, the even cooler thing is that embracing change means that blessing can arise from within you and all around you, and when, like Margaret’s graduates, you fall into sadness, anger, or fear, you’ll know exactly what to do. Change.


And in publishing news …

Well, I’ve turned over the MS of Jasmine Increscent to my editor. Now it’s time to get going on an ebook cover, which I’ve also sent off to the designer, Victoria Davies. I also did one of my least favorite of tasks and reread the whole book to make a timeline — you know, this happens on p. X and this happens next on p. Y. The books are too long to do otherwise.

And! Happily. I’m more than twenty thousand words into Book Three, Gemma Eclipsing. One of the odd things about The Subversive Lovelies is that a whole bunch of research I did which I thought was for Jasmine turned out to be for Gemma, so I’m way ahead of schedule on research, which means I can start the writing now!!! So exciting.


I did my interview with Christian de la Huerta for the Reclaiming Our LGBTQ Spiritual Heritage virtual summit, June 17–24. We had a lot of fun, but more importantly, we talked a lot about resistance and how it’s just not a workable strategy anymore, not in this contentious environment. Instead, we need to learn to resist without being in resistance.

We also talked a lot about the theme of my new historical series, The Subversive Lovelies, although not in that context. The tagline for that series is “someone always goes first,” and Christian pointed out — the man’s known me for thirty years — that I am always one of those go-first people. It’s true. Eldest child. What can I say?

Here’s the sign-up:


On an entirely different note, I’ve been creating a LOT of new chakra strategies for those of us who work on an energetic level in terms of change. Most of them are based on a notion introduced to me by Canadian nephrologist, and intermittent fasting specialist, Dr. Jason Fung. He said, “Diabetes is a disease that is caused by food. It can only be cured by food.”

I feel the same way about chakra work. Chakras are energetic. The easiest, fastest way to work with them is via energy.

I’ve been creating imagery for meditations using intention and light. My book designer has stepped up to help with the imagery, and you’ll find some of it here, I’m hoping, in the next issue. One of the premiere colour healers (her spelling) and one of the first authors I read about healing with color swears by seeing yourself bathed in the light color you need. With the images I’m making, you’ll have that and more — stay tuned.


This is a shade from a Tiffany lamp circa 1915 called Peonies. Let its beauty startle you into change, Beloved, and until next time, Be Ampersand, S.

Susan Corso

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 40+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is