Explorations Category

John 15

John 15

John 15:10. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

Take a few minutes to meditate on this verse . . .

This scripture takes place within the context of the Last Supper before Jesus is betrayed and eventually crucified. Jesus and his disciples are gathered together in the Upper Room. He has washed their feet, shared a Passover meal, and is explaining to them about his death and resurrection. Before they leave to go to the Garden of Gethsemane, he prays for his disciples and “for those who will believe in (him) through their message.”

The first part of the verse seems fairly straightforward.

His disciples, as devout Jews, would have known the 613 laws that comprise the Torah—“the first five books of Moses.”

At the start of his teaching ministry, Jesus explicates the moral intricacies of this Jewish code in his Sermon on the Mount, found in chapters five through seven of the New Testament book of Matthew.

For example, Matthew 5:21-26:
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister (without cause) you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult (abuse) a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell (Gehenna) of fire.

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

The three chapters that comprise the Sermon on the Mount, elucidate the “honorable dispositions of humility, mournfulness, meekness, passion for justice, mercy and peace” at the heart of God’s commandments.

Coming to the end of his teaching in verse 12 of chapter seven, he summarizes the core commandment that encompasses the old and new.

Therefore, in everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. (NSRV)

The Complete Jewish Bible translates it this way:

Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that sums up the teaching of the Torah and the Prophets.

What piqued my curiosity with intense fascination, however, was the latter half John 15:10 . . .

. . . just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

Jesus could have been talking about these same Pentateuch instructions, but I sense something more profound in the mix.

What were the commands God the Father, gave God the Son? In other words, what were the commands that God gave Himself?

God Herself gave Himself divine instructions through which to be—to exist.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being. John 1:1-3

In other words, what is the Heart of Consciousness?

I have been reading through John’s gospel and I think I found the answer. During his last Seder with his beloved friends Jesus says:

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34


Sounds easy, does it not?


This is not an “I love chocolate” declaration or a Hallmark love story movie that stirs the emotions of infatuation, lust, passion, tenderness, sentimentality or desire. The heart of this Love is much more significant than what I feel for my sons, grandchildren, family and other beloveds—as much as I dearly love them!

This Love is THE conscious awareness IN which all thought, feeling and sensation arises in one’s lifetime.

Now more than ever, we should be regularly asking ourselves, “what is this Loving Heart of all experience enjoining me to do?”

Why now more than ever? Because all of life’s existence literally hangs in the balance due primarily to human caused pandemic, environmental destruction, political, social and economic conflicts, climate change among many other related and catastrophic traumas now deeply embodied in the human experience.

I confess this examination of conscious was engendered by recent events in the news.

The first was people’s reactions to wearing face masks in response to preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. I am appalled by the lack of compassion, empathy and ignorance regarding this very simple act of kindness and love. Even our own President (yes, I am picking on him again), who should know that he leads by example, refuses to wear a mask.

Second, the heart wrenching and horrifying deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia; killed simply because of the color of their skin.

And last, the attempt of a Caucasion woman to “weaponize the police” against an African-American man who was bird watching. He merely asked the woman to leash her dog in accordance with the park directives.

How am I to respond to such virulent hatred? What should I do with the angst this creates? How does one manage the pain these loathsome deeds generate?

If I hold all my anxiousness, anger, sadness, and other emotions in the spaciousness of Her Love, the Peace that passes all understanding envelopes me. Then I can release it all through prayer, writing, singing, meditating, activism or some other constructive and loving pursuit.

It is not easy! It takes time, practice and patience. I fail and fall short more often than not . . .

. . . and so the practice continues.





I try to watch or read as little news as I can. In other words, I take in only as much as I need to stay informed, yet not enough to disrupt my sense of well-being. Admittedly this is a very challenging and fine line to walk these days; but I cannot avoid nor do I want to circumvent that which breaks God’s heart.

Just last week it took only one caption on a protester’s sign to deeply sadden my soul–“Sacrifice the weak/Reopen T(enneessee).”

Many questions and thoughts went through my mind and many more emotions flooded my heart as I pondered this sentiment.

Does this person and those in agreement with him or her, really understand what they are espousing? Have they never truly endured the agony of seemingly unending grief? Have their lives been so blessed that they do not know the torment of addiction, the agony of real hunger, the utter hopelessness of homelessness, or the gut-wrenching misery of believing they are useless due to unemployment and/or other issues?

Are they really that callous or are they just frustrated and overwhelmed with their own sense of desperation? Perhaps they are just tired of being inconvenienced. I do not know . . .

Nor I do think the Founding “Fathers” (sic) would agree with this demonstrator’s thoughts.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all “men” (sic) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I know there has been and is much controversy concerning what these patriarchal white (euro-centered) men really meant by this statement so I may play free and loose in my interpretation here, much to the chagrin of some of the more right-wing conservative readers of this post.

Be that as it may, this “holy” tenet properly extended implies that ALL life is interdependent; it infers, dare I say it, a socialistic understanding of representative governments. When one part of Life suffers, all aspects of Life suffer. In order for ALL to have the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, ALL must be concerned for the welfare of ALL Life.

When someone believes the lie that his or her rights trump the rights of someone else, then we have the current chaos that is now our world. A world that has a top-down mentality–a seeming pyramid of power progression where those at the top have the most power, gradually lessening to the base, who are then perceived as powerless or weak.

Lincoln’s final words in the Gettysburg Address do not support this principal. A Republican, one who in no way resembled the upside down standards of today’s GOP, reiterates the relational kinship of ALL Life, especially as it relates to governing bodies—“of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Neither does my cousin agree with the current worldview held by many . . .

“People such as they are totally lost in insane and ignorant identities of separation… There is a whole world of people who desperately, angrily, fearfully and aggressively believe in the ‘survival of the fittest,’ and that everything of this world they do not identify with (possess, control) is either prey, resource, potential food, toys their entertainment or pleasure, or valueless… Such identities are constantly being shaped and formed by a lot of different circumstances that are themselves being shaped and formed by similarly lost individuals, on and on for countless centuries now… “

My primary concern, however, is not political; it is spiritual.

Psalm 82 verses three and four state:

Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

More than four hundred years later, Jesus echoes this same point of view:

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

Not only do these verses reiterate my political approach above, they also appear to infer that “There is no such thing as weak because there is no such thing as powerful. All power is God’s, and there is nothing other than God.” (John Fridinger)

“God is love . . . ” (1 John 4:16) or “God continually exists, being love.” If all power is God’s and God is love, then the fullness and completeness of power is manifested in and through that which is and can only be Love.

Therefore, all of the craziness, all of the goodness, all of the brokenness, all of the courage, in which we now find ourselves living, ALL is being held in the Heart of Her intimate, passionate, consuming Love of All Creation.

This gives me hope!

Visit www.chaimbentorah.com/2018/08/hebrew-word-study-power/ for further insights of the word ‘power.’



After texting a dear friend and getting no response, I was concerned, so, I called. He was fine. Later, after our conversation was over, he texted me the following poem.

“Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.”

Mary Elizabeth Frye

I responded with . . .

I know you will be and thank you for the lovely reminder … but you and my dad live by an assumption that because of your age you will predecease (or move on before) me. If there is one thing that is certain in life, it is that nothing is certain.

I live each day deeply moved and immensely grateful for you, my father and other beloveds that sincerely touch me. If you should leave before me, I will cry as I do now because of the privilege of sharing this Life and Love with you.

That’s really what grief is, isn’t it?

Yes, we grieve losses like things we can no longer do with our bodies as we age, but when it comes to a person, it is really about an enlightened realization of the intensity of the Love that continues, or at least it can be.

This is why I can sit in my chair in my office and think about you or other beloveds present or past and cry (with a smile on my face) not from a heart that hurts but from a heart that is full.

This exchange was later followed by a discussion on how the pandemic seems to be stripping away pretense, at least for some. Kindness, goodness, love . . . the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ Paul describes in his letter to the Galatians (5:22-23) . . . seem to be blossoming clearer, richer, deeper.

What we perceive as suffering can lead to this as well.

One of my favorite Bible verses says it this way, from The Passion Translation.

My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! James 1:2

Or . . .

For even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, and no fruit is on the vines, even if the olive tree fails to produce, and the fields yield no food at all, even if the sheep vanish from the sheep pen, and there are no cows in the stalls; still, I will rejoice in ADONAI, I will take joy in the God of my salvation. ELOHIM Adonai is my strength! He makes me swift and sure-footed as a deer and enables me to stride over my high places. Habakkuk 3: 17-19

Wow, what a paradox!

The extraordinary times in which we are currently living certainly seem to be full of paradoxical circumstances.

Who would have thought three months ago that social distancing and sheltering in place would be a greater expression of love for our fellow man than a warm embrace or meaningful handshake? Or how staying home could so unquestionably demonstrate our connectedness through social media and other technology platforms? How could it be that a quick-spreading virus would so evidently manifest our unity and so clearly blind us to our differences?

And yet the way and light that Jesus IS continues to effortlessly highlight the brilliance of paradox.

Pray for your enemy . . . humble yourself and you will be exalted . . . a servant is greater than his master . . . in giving you receive . . . “whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me”. . . just to name a few seeming contradictions.

Trusting God is to live a life revolutionized by paradox, and therefore lived without pretense.

Martin Luther King, Jr. says it this way . . .

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Cousin Correspondence

Cousin Correspondence

Good Morning—

I was thinking about what you said about me not seeming to know or believe that I am a good writer . . . I do know.

I get on my site and read the meditations and think, “Wow, she’s good.” I like to re-read earlier ones and then later ones. I notice a difference, a growth. But as you downplay how important you have become to me, I downplay what a good writer I am.

Why? Because I spent a great deal of my early teaching career wanting attention for what a good teacher I thought I was–and I was a good teacher.

Not because the students liked me. Not because I did unique lessons and activities. Not because of anything I did other than being reflective. I saw what worked and what did not work as far as student comprehension and then adjusted accordingly. Plus, I admitted to my students when something did not work and was willing to start over with their input.

I lost track of the fact that teaching was my Calling in favor of an ambitious need for recognition. In our town ever year, there is a Christmas parade in which the Teacher of the Year from Jefferson county rides in a vehicle with his or her name on it–and waves at the crowd. Additionally, a picture of the TOTY was placed in the hallways of the county board office. A banquet is held to honor nominated teachers from each school in the county. The winner moves on to the state level competition with additional responsibilities.

I was nominated several times from my school for TOTY for Jefferson County. I never won–thank God, but I remember how badly I wanted those accolades.

Over time I have looked back and wondered why that was so important to me . . . being seen, feeling good about what I was doing . . . but it really boiled down to pride. I really did think pretty highly of myself!

I forgot that I was given a gift and did not give credit to the Giver.

As far as my writing goes, I know it is a Gift. You have generously given me a platform in which to develop it and the encouragement to take risks, to be courageous, to take my sword out of its sheath and wield it appropriately. What you have done and are doing for me is your Gift because it is all the same Giver and the same Gift.

I do experience trepidation at times because I don’t want to let you down or disappoint you. I know, however, in my heart that is not possible. Even though my head thinks it, my heart knows that it is an illusion–because that is not the Way of the Giver and the Gift.

What I sometimes interpret as harsh in your editing or critiques, is your passion for perfection or your passion for wanting me to really see deeply and calling me out into richer terrain.

Anyway, all this to say I know and yes, there seems to be something here to write about too.

With love, cousin

Yes and yes and yes…

And along this way we begin to see even further, that Giver, Gift and Receiver are One…

All seeming else is appearance…

Suffering has only ever been the forgetting of this…

All that appears becomes uniquely transformed in every moment this is realized…

In this remembering suffering becomes no longer possible…

Jesus knew this on the cross… He was thirsty, felt pain, despaired, yet he did not suffer… He remained, with us and with himself, until his last breath… And by doing so he opened another way…

Many ways are open, as many as needed, for God is always calling to Her Self…

Pride and shame, grief and pain, loss and gain, rage and terror, fear and arrogance, all of it like clouds coming and going in the sky… Yet the peace, joy, beauty and truth of God is always also present…

Sometimes it shines upon us and lights us up… Sometimes it calls to us like a distant, barely heard echo… Yet it is always here for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and willingness to open to the Light and the Truth, no matter how dark it may seem…

All suffering is transformed into this willingness, in every moment we choose to know without proof or evidence that only light is real, all the rest is our imagination…

All in time, with time given to God…

The sky remains, always the same…

Spaciousness, emptiness, silence, this Love that holds everything in its embrace…

We are that sky…

All of Creation this eternal Remembering…

Thank you for your uplifting response.

Risk Taker

Risk Taker

The following article from Breitbart News Network appeared on my FB feed:

“SHAME OF A NATION: The Senate failed Tuesday to garner the 60 votes required to pass two pieces of legislation that would protect babies – born and unborn.”

. . . with the following caption by the person who posted it:

“… and that’s why I will never vote for a democrat…. period.”

To which I cut and pasted the following from CNN in the comments:

“Democratic Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voting in support of the measure and Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska opposing it.”

And the poster replied:

“But what does the platform of the party believe? 2 random votes will do nothing. I wouldn’t vote for Collins or Murkowski either.”

And I responded:

“While I am registered with a certain party, I do not use that party or either party platform to determine for whom I vote.”

And the individual answered:

“I do not want to argue with you. I love you.”

I love and respect this person, but arguing was not my intent; engaging in real conversation was. I was only trying to suggest that the failure of this bill to pass was not due to a certain party or its platform.

Frankly I am surprised it did not pass because 75% of the US Senate is comprised of mostly non-Hispanic white males. Is it merely a coincidence that the two who crossed over to vote against it were women, and the two who crossed over to vote for it were men?

Ego is the reason this bill got as far as it did. Only the egos of these white men would assume they know what is right for all women, who comprise half the population of the US.

Extremely complicated issues such as this cannot be solved by polarized thinking, whether it calls itself right or left.

Because the ego believes itself separate from God, it must wrap itself in self-preserving, “protective” ideologies of rules and regulations as a way to maintain hierarchy.

I am not questioning the legitimacy of men, but of ego. I am attempting to explore a very slippery slope many men’s egos arrogantly navigate, becoming more and more entangled as they try to stubbornly defend beliefs with which they strongly identify.

If Congress actually does pass legislation making abortions illegal, how are we going to penalize those women arrested? Will they be incarcerated? And if so, shouldn’t the man who impregnated them be incarcerated as well?

Shouldn’t there be more severe penalties for the man regarding whether the sex that led to the pregnancy was consensual or not? Maybe the male participant in the pregnancy should be charged with “reckless abandonment of a minor” and serve jail time?

And if we are going to legislate a woman’s body, shouldn’t we also legislate a man’s body? Perhaps we should legally limit the number and frequency of ejaculations each man is permitted within a certain time period?

If this law passed, I shudder to think what would happen to my own daughters-in-law or my granddaughters should they become pregnant as the result of a rape, and are forced to carry the child to term. Or for that matter my own mother, if someone had falsely accused her of having abortions due to the numerable miscarriages she suffered before I was born.

“That would never happen.” “That’s ridiculous.” Is it? Tell that to a woman wearing a burka in certain middle eastern countries where some interpretations of Islam’s Sharia Law are rather extreme, and see if they agree with you.

“But that’s a religion” . . . No, it is a governing body of men making rules about what women can and cannot do with their bodies.

I do not know the answer to this tragic and gut-wrenching situation. I have listened to both sides of the argument. I have seen the horrifying pictures and have read the terrifying descriptions, so there is no need to remind me.

Even though an abortion would be something I could not do, I do know that my heart literally aches for everyone—baby, mother, father, doctor, nurse—all the lives involved.

Despite what you might be thinking right now, this post is not really about my pro-choice stance. This post is about being seen.

When I posted my comments mentioned above on FB, my heart was beating wildly—literally pounding out of my chest, much like it is now, because I realize I am coming out into the open. I am taking my own real and true stand on an issue; declaring where I am, however uncertain my footing may be, in relation to my community, friends and family. In other words, I am risking being seen. This is not easy for me!

Why? Because I am a person who likes to “fly under the radar” and not draw attention to myself. A people pleaser by conditioning and nature, I do not like confrontations and often behave in a manner that is not true to myself in order to avoid hurting people’s feelings or to not feel my own imagined vulnerability to criticism from others.

In the midst of writing this post, I came across the following Bible verses in Mark, chapter 15 verses 40-41:

“There were also women, watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdelene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they had followed him and given him support. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were there too.”

Jesus is hanging on the cross and, other than John with whom he entrusts the care of his mother, the men—the ten remaining apostles–have scattered. And yet there are “many” women—also disciples; present, seeing and being seen.

Did their exclusion from social, political and religious institutions make them less vulnerable to the same persecution of which their male counterparts were afraid? If women caught in the act of adultery “deserved” stoning, surely these women deserved as such or worse for showing up there, considering their association with and financial support of a “blasphemous fanatic” who seemed to consider himself equal with God, as some viewed Jesus.

I am sure there are cultural and theological interpretations and meanings I am missing here, but I would like to think their presence in the narrative is to show us the contrast between defensiveness and defenselessness. The women were defenseless, open, vulnerable, allowing the Light to bring them to a greater spiritual awareness.

“In my defenselessness my safety lies . . . Defenselessness is strength. It testifies to recognition of the Christ in you.” ACIM

Or if you prefer,

“What bliss you experience when your heart is full of innocence! For then your eyes will open to see more and more of God.” Matthew 5:8 The Passion Translation

Unlike the women, the men temporarily closed their eyes, both physically and spiritually. The good news is God redeemed their sight by appearing to them in the upper room after His resurrection.

In other words, we can walk around with our eyes closed, and believe the lie that we are not visible. Or we can be like the man born blind who trusted in the Light that Jesus was, and receive both physical and spiritual sight.

I prefer the latter . . . so here I am, with palpitating heart, eyes wide open, in order for my journey to move forward in ever deepening Love, Grace and Peace.



“Women need the boundaries of the Patriarchy and a mission in life which is usually a husband, children and home. Absent such structure they malfunction and destroy civilizations.” Noah Revoy

“This is just a joke, right?”

     “This guy doesn’t really believe this, does he?”

          “What the F***?”

               “What rock did this guy crawl out from under?”

These were just a few of the responses I pondered when reading this meme on Facebook.

Even now a few days later, after checking out this person’s FB page, I am still shaking my head.

Is he even slightly aware of all that this statement insinuates; not the least of which is the implication all wars and destruction from the beginning of time are the fault of women because we have somehow malfunctioned?

Malfunction? Really? Machinery malfunctions. Hardware malfunctions. ROBOTS malfunction. Body systems can malfunction. But a living, breathing, spirit-filled human being? This whole statement is insanely obtuse when used to describe what happens to any beloved facing problems or challenges; let alone saying as such about half the human race.

Framing a woman’s “mission in life” within the “boundaries of Patriarchy” is demeaning and confining. Husband, children and home can be hugely spacious mission fields when lived outside of conditioned, patriarchal beliefs. I dare say women like Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Sally Ride, and others would take issue with this limited and narrow vision of women’s fields of influence.

The conditioned beliefs of a patriarchal culture have led and continue to lead women to be objectified, abused, belittled and all manner of obscene and perverted acts of asinine thinking. We are seeing the effects of this politically, economically and ecologically on a worldwide level. Our home—Mother Earth as some would call her—cannot continue to absorb the exploitation of what is mostly a male driven society without disastrous results.

In other words, a woman’s heart can only take so much misuse before she closes the door to those who are not trustworthy enough to honor her grace.

Quite frankly, his quote sounds like it could have come straight from “The Stepford Wives” and it is the antithesis of the following enlightened passage.

“Our women have been chosen by the Creator to be the portal between the spiritual realm and this physical realm. The only force on earth powerful enough to navigate unborn spirits onto this planet.” Unknown

I do not wish to continue raking this gentleman over the coals of his own insanity because I do not know the context of his life that led him to draw this conclusion. Neither do I wish him harm. Quite the opposite, I hope his soul finds healing, health and happiness.

However, the contrast between the two quotes raises concern. Broadly speaking, why do women have to resort to manipulation and adaptation in order to be seen and heard? On a personal level, how does one live with a man when he truly will not listen to her?

I am NOT anti-man. I am anti-ego. And yet I am aware this infers men have more difficulties reining in their egos than women.

“Everything of which the Holy Spirit reminds you is in direct opposition to the ego’s notions . . . The Holy Spirit has the task of undoing what the ego has made.” 5:III:5: 4-5 A Course in Miracles

One of the problems is the misinterpretation of Bible verses like the following:

“ADONAI, God, said, “It isn’t good that the person should be alone. I will make for him a companion suitable for helping him.” Genesis 2:18

Other translations use the word helper or partner for the word companion in this verse; none of which truly draw out the spirit of this verse.

Chaim Bentorah states the following:

“The word good is tov which means to be in harmony with God. A more correct rendering would be “man is not in harmony with God (when) he is alone.”. . .

I like the KJV rendering help meet, suggesting God created someone who would help Adam meet God. Take a close look at the literal rendering of this phrase help meet, which in the Hebrew is: ‘ezeg kenegedou’. The word ‘ezeg’ is really a reference to someone who will help you obtain something. The word ‘kenegedou’ comes from the root word ‘neged’ which means to stand in front, to lead, to announce, to clear the way, to blaze the trail, or make something clear . . .

When God said He would make a help meet he was saying “I will make a helper to stand in front of him, to lead him, guide him and clear the way to my presence.” The sages often picture a neged as a gateway or doorway. Some of the sages, however, see a deeper picture. A picture of someone taking man by the hand and leading him to God.

This makes more sense especially in light of the fact that the Aramaic word for Holy Spirit is feminine.

The Holy Feminine . . . that which leads us to the heart of God.

Paradoxically for me, it was in raising my three sons that the Holy Feminine was most apparent. The more I discerned the Spirit, the more intentional I became in my parenting, which led to a deeper spiritual awareness and more enlightened intentionality. The fruit of which I now enjoy as I watch my sons parent their own children with grace-filled purpose—coincidentally they each have a daughter, and so the cycle continues.

Absent the “boundaries of patriarchy,” the Divine Feminal blossoms and blooms ever outward bringing healing and wholeness to all of Her Creation . . . it must NOT be stifled by ignorant thinking and beliefs.

Please visit the following links for further meaningful insights: