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Sands of Time

What do you most treasure in your life?

Time flows like sand in an hourglass – it is in our attention zone for such a short time, like a second, and then passes beyond our reach where we cannot change anything that just happened. Yes, we can make changes in future seconds in what is about to happen or is pending.

So, I ask you, where is your focus? What are you thinking about or spending time doing? What do you cherish?

If you answered these questions, then you must ask yourself the next question: How am I spending my time, which is so very precious because once that moment is gone, it cannot be changed? Every day counts. Every choice matters.

Are you working so that you might have more stuff, be it a Gucci bag, a Rolex watch, a new home, or a vacation? Or are you working because you are a solid citizen who pays your bills, but in many instances the incoming moneys are not enough to satisfy the outgoing layout? At what point do you draw the line? In this economy, many people are just surviving, working more than one job, and yet do not have enough to pay for necessities, let alone luxuries like steak. Homelessness of individuals and families is growing in this country because the pay for the available jobs is not enough to rent an apartment, let alone own a place to live. Many are eating the foods they can afford, which are the type that not only add weight but also contribute to extremely poor health.

In short, life happens. Dreams can die if you let them. Possibilities are never realized because every day we jump into the hamster cage, going round and round, with nothing changing.

Einstein said the definition of  insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Time moves faster as one ages. Days fly by, months evaporate, and years come and go. You can look at the past and wonder where it all went and why. Many times it ends up in castigating oneself because of the negative perceptions/expectations unmet/sad remembrances.

So I ask you, where is your focus? Where do you want to put your energies/time/dollars/goals? Your answer is the essence of the choices you make every single day. So I ask again, What do you most treasure in your life? Are you keeping that in mind when you make your choices?  Every act of every minute of the day becomes history, with its impact felt like the ripples that form on the lake when a rock is thrown in.

Time is very, very real. How you spend it – every second of it – really does matter, for one day the sands do run out. There is no turning of the hourglass for you. Do your choices reflect what you want to achieve? If not, a change is required. Are you willing?

God’s blessings on your journey.

Image result for hourglass

Image result for ripples on water

 

The Old Grocery Store

An elderly man shuffled up to an obviously very poor young girl with blond hair and blue eyes. She was dressed in an old hand-me-down, but she was clean and happy, humming a little song to herself.

He said, “Would you like to read a story?”

She nodded her head shyly as she answered, “Yes, thank you, I love to read.”

He handed her a simple book. She took it into her hands gently.

Out loud, she read, “The Old Grocery Store.”

She shook her head and asked, “What Old Grocery Store, Sir? There isn’t one around here.”

The old man smiled at her sadly, his eyes lowered, and responded, “There used to be.”

He raised his eyes to look at a very well-dressed older man as he swaggered by with a cigar and a pompous smile.

He said, “There used to be a grocery store right where the Dollar Tree is now.”

She said excitedly, “I like the Dollar Tree! I can get so many things! When I get a dollar and some change, I can spend a long time in there, just thinking about what I want to spend it on.”

He looked at her with a tear running down his cheek and said, “I know, little one, I know. What is your name?”

“Angel, cause Momma went to church to pray and asked God to give her a baby girl. So He sent me!” she responded. “I love to read. Can I keep it?”

“Yes, Angel, you may keep it. It is just an old man’s dream,” he answered as he turned and shuffled away.

She sat down on a bench in front of the Dollar Tree and began to read it. She did not stop till she had finished.

She smiled and thought, “That’s the way a book should end – happy.”

She got up and strolled home, thinking about the book.

When she got in her front door, she asked, “Momma, was there ever an Old Grocery Store where the Dollar Tree is now and a bathroom next to it, with no sign for ladies or gents? Why is it all gone?”

Her mother laughed and asked, “My goodness! Where did all those questions come from?”

Angel held the little book out to her, and she took it.

She looked at it and queried, “Where did you get this?”

Angel smiled as she thought of the old man and answered, “A very old man who shuffles. He doesn’t walk, ever, Momma.”

Her mother smiled back at her because she knew who it was, “That would be old Sam. He used to manage the grocery store for Mr. Bilks, who owned it. Then somebody advised Mr. Bilks that he could make more money on a Dollar Tree store. That ended it.”

“Is Mr. Bilks the older man with fancy clothes, struts like a peacock in the pictures I see, and smokes a big stinky cigar?” she asked.

“Yes, that would certainly be Mr. Bilks,” she answered.

“What about the bathroom without any signs? Who would know which one to use?” Angel asked.

“Well, everybody knew that the left one was for gentlemen and the right one was for ladies,” she responded.

“That sure seems strange to me,” Angel said as she turned to go into her room. “Signs are important.”

“May I read this book?” her mother inquired.

“Yes, of course. Old Sam said he wanted us to remember what it used to be like,” she answered.

Her mother sat down and read the little book as it took only a few minutes. She was crying when she finished it.

As luck would have it, her husband, Foster, came in just then.

Concerned when he saw her tears, he stopped in his tracks and asked, “Mary, why are you crying?”

She smiled at him and handed him the book, saying, “Read this. It will only take a few minutes.”

So he sat down and read it.

When he finished it, he smiled at Mary and said, “You old softy. You remember that Old Grocery Store as well as I do. We had our very first kiss in the back by the green beans!”

She laughed as he picked her up and whirled her around the room, stopping only to give her a big kiss before he set her down.

She asked, “Do you think we can do anything to bring that Old Grocery Store back? It was the center of this town, filled with camaraderie and laughter. The older men would play checkers out front before Mr. Bilks told them to stop loitering – that is was bad for business – and then he took away the table, chairs, and checkerboard. That is when he put the bench outside the window.”

He responded, “I do not know, Sweetheart. Mr. Bilks has the Town Council in his back pocket, and we both know that the dollar sign is the only thing that man is concerned about. After all, the whole town works for him in some way, as you know.”

“Yes, I agree, but it was so nice to be able to have the Old Grocery Store so close instead of driving several miles to the Wal-Mart in Kingsbury,” she stated.

Unbeknownst to either of them, Angel was standing at her doorway, listening to their conversation. She quietly closed her door and sat down, talking to Walter, her stuffed dog, that she held tightly.

“We have to do something about this, Walter. Now you know how I love to buy things in the Dollar Tree, but I don’t really need more stuff. I think that the Old Grocery Store is far more important, don’t you agree? I don’t know what I am going to do. After all, I am just a little girl. But I’m going to think about it!” she stated firmly.

Several days later, she smiled as she thought about an idea, “Why that just might work.”

She did not delay but asked her mother, “I have a dollar and some change. Can I go to the Dollar Tree, please?”

She answered, “Yes, you can. Just be home for supper, OK? You know your Dad likes us all to sit down together, pray before we eat, and talk about our day.”

Taking the little book with her, she marched out the door, intent on finding Mr. Bilks.  She got to the bench in front of the Dollar Tree, sat down, and waited. Sure enough, after a while, she spotted Mr. Bilks coming. She waited until he was almost upon her.

She got up for the bench, stood grimly in front of him, and said, “Pardon me, Mr. Bilks, but would you sit with me on this bench and read this little book, please?”

He grimaced at her and asked, “Why would I want to do that?”

With persistence only the young have, she answered, “Because it is important. You need to know there are some things money cannot buy!”

He looked askance at her boldness and thought, “Why not? What can it hurt? This little urchin is obviously not going to leave me alone anyway.”

With a sigh, he sat down, took the book, and read it. He actually felt chagrin as he read it.

When he finished, he turned to the little girl and asked, “So, OK, I read it. Now what do you want from me? What is your name, anyway?”

“Angel,” she answered, smiling up at him. “You know you should bring back the Grocery Store, the table, chairs, and the checkerboard, don’t you? After all, you must have enough money by now after all these years. Besides, you look pretty old to me. You know you can’t take it with you, don’t you?” she stated adamantly.

“Well, you’ve given me something to think about,” he said as he gave her back the book and turned away.

That is exactly what he did for several days. He looked back at the past and all the decisions he had made to get more money. He looked at his bank statements and the fancy house filled to the brim with beautiful furniture, original paintings, fine china and glassware. He also knew he had never found a woman to share his life or give him children. In fact, he was alone except for the servants.

Finally, he came to a decision. He knew that Angel was Foster and Mary’s child and all the trouble they had because it was just a small town, after all. He looked at his watch and determined that the family would be gathering together for supper. He picked up his hat and headed for the local flower shop to pick up some flowers before he knocked on their door.

Foster came to the door and looked surprised when he saw Mr. Bilks standing there.

He said, “Hello, sir, would you like to come in?”

“No,” he responded. “I am fine here. But may I talk to Angel for a minute?”

Foster turned questioningly to Mary, who nervously nodded her head in anxiety, thinking, “Oh, my, what trouble is happening for us now?”

“Angel, please go speak with Mr. Bilks,” she said.

Angel, knowing she was in big trouble now, rose hesitantly. With her head down in shame, she came over to Mr. Bilks.

He put a finger under her chin and pulled her eyes up to meet his as he bent over.

He stated, “You do know why I am here, don’t you?”

With tears in her eyes, she nodded her head, and said, “Yes, Sir,” so softly almost no one could hear her. “I am in big trouble, aren’t I?” As an afterthought, hoping to divert some anger, she added, “I am so sorry.”

To her amazement, he laughed heartily. He took the flowers from behind his back and presented them to her.

Her mouth dropped open in surprise.

Startled, Foster and Mary exchanged glances, wondering what was going on. After all, Mr. Bilks was a powerful man who aroused fear.

Still laughing happily, Mr. Bilks said to Angel, “You know, my dear, no one would dare talk to me the way you did. In fact, I would not have let them! I have been very satisfied with my life and everything in it. That is, I was until you came along. ‘Out of the mouth of babes’ is what they say. Well, today, I believe it. You are absolutely right! There are so many things all my money cannot buy me! So I wanted to tell you personally, thank you. I am, indeed, going to bring back the Old Grocery Store, the table and chairs, and the checkerboard. When I do that, will you play me a game of checkers? It’s been a long time since I did that.”

Angel smiled as she reached up to give him a kiss on the cheek, answering, “Yes, sir, I will.”

She turned and beamed a big smile at her parents, who were amazed at what had just happened.

Mr. Bilks wiped away a tear as he spoke to them all, “Thank you for reminding an old fool like me what life should be like.”

He turned and started to walk away, but turned back, glanced at the simple meal on the table, and stated, “Oh, and by the way, Foster, you shouldn’t be surprised tomorrow when you come into work because I need a good foreman like you, and I will give you a paycheck to match. Anyone who could raise Angel to be the way she is deserves so much more from life. If you can keep a secret,” he said with a wink, “Angel is right. I can’t take it with me so I am going to give a pay increase to every person once the Old Grocery Store is back!”

With that, he turned and walked away, whistling, leaving consternation behind him.

Foster and Mary looked at Angel and asked simultaneously, “What in the world did you say to Mr. Bilks?”

Angel just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I just told him the truth: There are so many things money cannot buy, he must have made enough money by now, and he can’t take it with him cause he looks so old!”

Her parents looked at each other in wonderment.

Laughing together, they group hugged at the good news: the Old Grocery Store would be coming back!

Christmas Spirit vs. the Spirit of Christmas

Is it the Christmas Spirit or the Spirit of Christmas? Good question. The answer lies either between your ears or in your heart.

If it lies between your ears, your mind will say, “There is no difference – it is the same thing.”

Your heart will reply quite the opposite, however.

Christmas Spirit defined can include everything from the “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to Christmas Cards to gift giving to one and all. It can include stress caused by many sources, exhaustion from too much to do and too little time to complete tasks, the lack of money, etc. It can be an  endless array of Christmas parties and too little sleep. It can be Christmas gifts put on display in the stores before Halloween and reminders of how many days until Christmas signs everywhere. It can be holiday music, lights, trees, and tinsel every time you look around. Yes, it can be all those things and more, positive and negative, bright and festive, cheap and elegant side by side.

But when you look at the Spirit of Christmas with your heart, you may find many surprises, one of which is the ability to see Beauty in your surroundings. That is because one is aware of time passing, along with a sense of peacefulness (like when floating on an inner tube on a lazy river).

If you are feeling rushed and filled with angst, slow down and take several deep breaths. Focus on just one thing at a time instead of a litany of tasks. Make a list of the tasks and choose just one, get it done, and then move on. Multi-tasking is a possibility if you still focus on just one object, like a person who is spinning plates on top of wooden dowels – touching one plate at a time to keep it spinning.

The Spirit of Christmas is not limited to a specific time frame on a calendar – it is truly an attitude that you can utilize year-round! In this way, one can see so much more clearly what is important vs. what is not so much. For example, you can give a gift from a thankful heart because of how satisfied you are with how well one is doing in lieu of giving out of duty or expectation. Pay attention to the details, one at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of it all. You can enjoy one Christmas card, one gift your receive or give, or one bite at a time of a fantastic meal.

Time will, indeed, flow by regardless of how crazy you make yourself. So why not slow down your responses to exterior (and interior) stimuli? Then you can select the way you react to it instead of wearing yourself out from the inside, reacting vs. acting. Life can become so much more simple if you try this method of selecting a response (Acting) vs. gut level Reacting.

The Spirit of Christmas should nourish your Spirit, creating attitudes of thankfulness and joy. Do you remember that last time when you actually felt JOY? If it has been a long time, some introspection is required to find out when it left, how long it has been gone, and decide what you can do to restore it to your life so you can experience it again on a more regular basis. You may ask why that is important: Because JOY and PEACE are twins – they come and go together.

Peace is more than a word you hear and see during the Christmas Season. It is an attitude and a way of living.  It is something you can cultivate in your life which can begin with learning to  breathe deeply. Take a yoga class or T’ai Chi if needed. In our frenetic world, it is vital to your Spirit because it nourishes you from the inside out. It also simplifies complex situations which crop up all too often. When you feel like you are in a box and cannot get out, it is time to take a truly deep breath and seek the CALM (like that at the center of a wheel in lieu of living on the circumference where you feel like you are being run over).

The Spirit of Christmas is a gift you can give yourself every morning, if you so choose, no matter the time of year. Think about it: Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Image result for Bling Christmas

 

 

Fear

F is for Forever

E is for Evading

A is for Another

R is for Reality

Forever Evading Another Reality

Does this acronym speak to you? It explained a lot to me in my life and in how others experience FEAR.

The worst part of FEAR is that it is immobilizing, whether it is real (Is that a bear up ahead?) or an illusion (all the “What if’s” you can think about).

Fear always has a companion, WORRY. These two serve to make one’s imagination run wild. The more you concentrate on what you do not want to happen, the more these two become a driving force in your decisions.

Question: Why would one consciously put so much effort into something you do NOT want to happen when you could use that same energy to be constructive, formulating a better outcome?

Do you feel “stuck” in a situation that is harmful to you, your personal growth, your life? Is it because of FEAR and WORRY? These two are thieves that steal your potential good from you.

ANSWER: Only you can take action to make a better choice. You have to look at your daily life and see what you need to change.

FEAR and WORRY create a vortex which leads to nowhere. Are you willing to keep it going? How does it serve you?

If it does not help you to create a new synergy with a better goal, you are simply marking time.

Time is the one thing you cannot buy back. No amount of effort will bring you more of it. Life is so very short. Each moment needs to be spent wisely and well in lieu of languishing in a “Woe is me!”

Your history is just that: History, as in gone, as in cannot be changed. Each second becomes history, quickly.

Are you willing to keep spinning your wheels, or do you want more? If you do, now is the time to begin it.

The Chinese have a saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Are you willing to look for a step towards a new beginning? Exit the quagmire of quicksand and begin anew. You have the power. Use it.

God’s blessings upon your journey. Remember that destinations are good to aim for, but enjoy each moment of your NOW.

better choices Change my tomorrows Do not stay where you are Past & future one step at a time

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 980 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

S — — T Happens!

S — — T Happens! Good Happens. These sayings are both true. We see them on car bumpers and on walls. Have you given them any thought at all? Do you just react to the bad stuff, without analyzing it? When good things happen to you, are you joy-filled? Sometimes, we are reluctant to enjoy that moment because we fear that something worse is just around the corner. Which one are you?

It has been wisely stated that it is not what happens to you that counts – it is how you REACT to what happens. When you get knocked down by incidents in your life, do you get back up again? Or do you “stay down for the count?” Do you nurse your emotional and physical wounds by proclaiming loudly to anyone who will listen to your statements about how bad your life sucks? If you do, you may find few who will listen to your sad tale for long.

It is a very true statement that: “What you think about/emotionalize over multiplies exponentially.” Is that what you want?

The questions then arise, “How can I pick myself up and get on with my life? Do I just pretend nothing happened? How can I change my reaction to the bad stuff?”

Answers can come to you slowly or in a flash. Your answers are personal to you. Awareness is the beginning of change.

Perhaps a class will come to your attention about your particular problem, or maybe a sermon, friend, or magazine will catch your eye. You will have an “AHA!” moment and begin to focus on something else.

Beauty surrounds us in many forms. When I have had very sad times in my life, I found that, if I went outside into nature, I became more peaceful. Bird song and twitters, flowers, walking barefooted in the sand at the edge of the surf, a nice long bath, reading a good book, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves of the trees, etc., enabled me to pick myself up again. In short, just anything that makes you feel better is a key to changing you from feeling like a victim to helping you deal with whatever happened.

Life is not an unending story of happiness. It is just moments of joy that your attention can spread to fill your days. Bad stuff occurs in all of our lives. Again, how you choose to react to what happens will determine if you “let the bitter root grow” in your heart, contaminating every moment of your days OR if you decide to not dwell on it, deal with the repercussions/consequences if there are any, and see where you go from there.

In my own life, I have had tremendous sorrows, many of which I did not think I could endure, from death and injury of loved ones, feelings of separation and loneliness, losses in many forms, etc . I have had many physical challenges over the years which have required physical therapy, pain pills, and medicines. I have had to change my vocation, which I loved. I had to find a way to deal with the pain so that my personality, which is optimistic, would not darken into pessimism. It is a natural flow if one stays with the problem but does not seek a better answer. Luckily, I have found many answers that help me stay optimistic, some of which are listed above.

Each person is different, however. You need to find your own way of dealing with S — — T till you can turn it into fertilizer for new growth.

Are you willing?

God bless you on your journey!

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

Surfing Master, Waikiki, HI

Surfing Master, Waikiki, HI

Day Lilies

Day Lilies

Your response makes a difference

 

 

 

 

Orderliness

Benjamin Franklin was an advocate for: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Even before him, it was said on-board ships, with known limitations on size, that  one could conserve space and promote tidiness by using this principle.

Have you ever sat down at a desk piled high with business papers, including junk mail? It is almost impossible to concentrate because every sheet of paper you look at requires something from you. It has the effect of a Gatling gun, which tears asunder wherever it is pointed. The higher the pile, the harder it is to sort through. Your attention may wander. Soon you get up and go do something else, leaving the mess the way it is on the desk. Is this counterproductive? Of course, it is. I have to do a primary sort and then work through each stack, one piece of paper at a time until the mess becomes orderly again. The trick is to actually finish each stack in its turn.

A room can have the same effect. If clutter is the order of the day, it usually stays that way. It is a known fact that, when you enter a room, you have 15 seconds to decide to change something. After that, it just becomes part of the background. A simple act, done consistently, can save you more than you can imagine: If it is trash, put it in a trash can while it is in your hand — do not just set it down somewhere. If you are in a car, keep a trash bag handy and throw it away as soon as you can.

If you make a “To Do” list, breaking out each thing you want to change, you will have a higher success rate in accomplishing said change.

There are some work places that require their workers to have only one project on their desk at a time. The rest are in a “Suspense Drawer.” This enables the worker to focus on only one thing at a time. After all, that is the only possibility anyway, with the other projects/ideas kept in a circling pattern (like air traffic controllers, who keep the airplanes at different altitudes and patterns). The trick is to not lose track of the airplanes. I personally use sticky notes, writing down whatever I need to keep in mind before I turn my attention back to whatever it is I am doing at the time. My “To Do” lists also work very well for me.

As one ages, Organization is called cuing: You decide where to put something like car keys, and then you always put them in that place every time so you do not have to go looking for wherever you put them down. It saves a tremendous amount of hassle, as forgetfulness comes naturally to most of us as we grow older, not to mention Dementia in its many forms.

I personally have a bad habit of setting things down wherever I am if my focus changes to something else. As a child, I lost more coats that way until my mother taught me to: “Count noses: If you came in with something, make sure you leave with it.” I still use that to this day, all these years later. It helps me to keep track of car keys, cell phones, sun glasses, etc., when I go into the bank or a store. I know of people who have to do that with their children even! It’s a busy world out there, after all.

I have seen people give small children car keys to play with because they make noise. This gives the child the idea that it is a toy, so he/she naturally grabs them without the parent knowing it. Then the game is on to find keys when one needs them. Can you see what a bad idea this is? Cell phones fall into this category as well because they are ubiquitous to every household now.

Suggestion: Keep the needed items in the same place every time: Car keys, cell phone,  medicine, sun glasses, etc. It is a good stress reducer, eliminating misplaced items.

Life rarely gives you the opportunity to be organized. It comes at you full bore, overwhelming one with a plethora of things that require your  response. One needs to sit down, take some deep breaths, and begin to quiet the thoughts that come to mind. If you break whatever is overwhelming you down into bite-size pieces, you can get a lot more done, perhaps even surprising yourself.

One method for accomplishing a task is to: 1) Decide what task to do; 2) Gather whatever you need to do it; 3) Do it; 4) Put everything back where it belongs. This works wonders! Actually, most people fail because they do not have “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” This eliminates clutter from happening in the first place.

If, however, one has not decided where to place anything, let along everything, and clutter is everywhere, how do you begin? One item at a time. Decide where this item will “live” and put it there. You can always change its “home” whenever you need to do so. Years ago, a friend of mine was visited by her mother-in-law, who insisted on helping with housework. One day, her husband came home and asked her, “Does the vacuum cleaner live in center of the living room?” Of course, that was where her mother-in-law kept it so she could use it frequently. The vacuum cleaner, of course, returned to its real home in the closet. It is a simple, workable premise.

I have a dear friend who purposely and frequently goes through the house, one drawer or closet at a time, looking for things she no longer uses or needs, giving them away. This includes a freezer, kitchen gadgets, clothes, etc. She is the queen of Simplification. She was a Social Services Director of a Nursing Home, helping family members make some sense of homes filled to the brim with loved ones’ stuff. It is strange, but we work all our lives to acquire it. Yet, in the end, it all must be recycled elsewhere. Sad thought, isn’t it?

Some people are “string savers” who cannot let go of anything. Sometimes they are known as “hoarders.” They have boxes of papers and mementos with sentimental attachment to the simplest of things: A child’s drawing, cards, outgrown clothing, etc. It can actually take an outsider to help that person prioritize and release that stuff. Are you one of these? Do you need help letting go? Or can you just begin to do it?

Organization does not happen by itself. It takes time and focus. But, like the journey of a thousand miles, it begins with one step. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Organization/Orderliness

Organization/Orderliness

First Panel: The Organized Closet
Second Panel: The Organized Bathroom
Third Panel: The Organized Kitchen
Fourth Panel: The Organized Office
Fifth Panel: We can all have this kind of tranquility before us if we simply follow mother’s one basic rule of living…
Sixth Panel: Girl on left says, “Mom…?” Mom on right says: “Don’t look up! It spoils everything!”

File boxes on floor have labels: Put Away, File, Review, Misc., etc.

 

 

Flowing with the River of Life

Imagine that your life and all that happens to you are like a river, flowing from an unseen source stream, and flowing on beyond your physical sight. Now think about white water rafting categories:

Grade 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering. (Skill level: very basic)
Grade 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering. (Skill level: basic paddling skill)
Grade 3: Whitewater, small waves, maybe a small drop, but no considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering.
Grade 4: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed.
Grade 5: Whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering.
Grade 6: Class 6 rapids are considered to be so dangerous that they are effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Class 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or death compared to lesser classes.

If you contemplate these categories, you can see instances in your personal experience which contain incidents of these Grades — some much more turbulent than the others.

Sometimes, we just feel swamped, perhaps unable to function in our realities. Then there are those occasions when we encounter rocks that leave us physically or spiritually bruised/injured. Perhaps you are hanging onto a branch for dear life, knowing that if you let go, your life will change — fearing the worst, afraid of the unknown. But there can also be lazy river days, when one can just drift along with the current, not needing to care about when you will get there or how, just relaxing on your inner tube and enjoying the journey.

Awareness is the beginning of change. Choices occur second by second from the time you get up until you go to bed: From what clothes you will wear, foods you will eat, how you respond to negative stimuli, smile or frown, happy or sad, etc. All of these can combine with such force as to dictate what white water rafting category your day will be in. If you find yourself in a situation, can you take a deep breath, swim to an eddy in your mind, and relax, thus escaping the turbulent current? Instead of reacting to the external stimuli, consider your options carefully. Do you want to jump in with both feet and fight the current/waves/rocks? Or do you wish to take a slower, more contemplative route — perhaps portage around this particular issue and pick up the river  downstream?

My analogies are simply to draw your attention to what you have going on in your life right now. Do you like/love what is unfolding for you moment by moment? Or is it so traumatic that you want to run the other way? What maneuvers are you considering? Is it in response to the river or to the people in your life? Are you listening to yourself or not? Perhaps you may feel like you have no choices – which indeed becomes a choice in itself. Consequences follow as surely as the night, the day. Are you willing to keep perpetuating this myth? Or do you want to become more aware? Both have serious decisions/results. Only you can take action. Do you choose to paddle or not? Are you willing?

God’s blessing upon your journey!

Storms of Life

Storms of Life

Enjoy Life

Enjoy Life

Control Reactions

Control Reactions By Dr. Caroline Leaf

Are Your Roots Healthy?

When I ask the question, “Are your roots healthy?” – I am referring to your basic thoughts, feelings, and expressions of life. How you are living, the choices you make, what you think about, how stressed you are, etc., all form the background of every minute of every day of your life.

Are you so concerned about what others think of you that you never stop to ask that question of yourself?

Roots are just like a plant: Unless you nourish them with your spirit, thoughts, and positive emotions, they can just wither away, drying out and draining you of your life force, every day in every way.

Nourishment occurs when you stop for a moment, take a deep breath, and look for something beautiful in your environment. Beauty brings peace, calmness, serenity, and joy into your life. When was the last time you did this? Do you remember the early morning sunrise or sunset at evening? Did you stop and smell the flowers along your path today? Did you notice a beautiful or unusual bird?

Or are you so busy with the every-day work demands, your families’ needs, soccer practice, making a cake for the bazaar to support your child’s activities,  dancing lessons for your little girl, football practice for your young boy, etc., that you have just gotten lost in the shuffle? You know we have all had our turn at having to perform those requirements.  The bad news is that it can go on for the rest of your life if you let it. You will not have much time to yourself to ponder your personal growth issues. In fact, that may sound like a joke to you as you drop wearily into bed at night.  Whatever you need is at the very bottom because everyone else’s needs/demands/wants  have to come first…or so you may have been taught to think that way, especially if you are a woman with a family or a man providing for same. The daily vicissitudes (wear and tear) of life can exhaust you.

So where do you begin to make a change in the above priorities? It all starts with thinking about it and writing it all down. Once written down, ideas come to mind as you look at the words. Perhaps you can begin to question how important each one is and decide whether or not to keep doing same.

Albert Einstein one said: “The definition of Insanity is to keep doing the same things over again the same way, but expect different results.”

So I am asking you to just step back from your life for a few moments, think, grab a pen and begin writing your observations of yourself/your choices/your life. If you are willing to do that, you are raising your awareness. Awareness of the need for a change is actually the beginning of a new life for you, living more according to your purpose, happier, and more able to actually support the loved ones around you because of your new vision. Are you willing?

God’s blessings upon your journey!

Maui Sunrise

Maui Sunrise

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees, early morning Waikiki

Bougainvillea with Palm Trees, early morning Waikiki

Red-Crested Cardinal - Beautiful Bird on Oahu, Hawaii

Red-Crested Cardinal – Beautiful Bird on Oahu, Hawaii

 

Driving Your Destiny or Yourself?

The question arises: Are you Driving your Destiny or Yourself!

Are you preoccupied with possessions? Do you know that what you own, owns you? You have to clean it, care for it, insure it, take dogs for walks or pay someone else to do it, etc. Stuff Rules!

Do you long for a simpler life? Do you feel that you do not have any time for yourself? Guess who can change that.

Life happens…a day at a time and a moment at a time. Yesterday is history and cannot be changed. Tomorrow is a dream which one can plan and work towards. Today is the only day that matters…this second as you read this.

If you believe that, will you act on it? Hug your child, tell someone you love and appreciate them, begin to do something that matters to you personally. Do you want to read a book or take a class? Pick up that book and begin it. Look for the class you want to take and sign up for it. Do you want to get in touch with someone that you have not spoken to in a while? Pick up the phone or send an email or letter. Don’t wait for the “perfect time” because that may never happen.

The only way your life will change is if you do.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer states: “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.”

Are you stressed out? The price of carrying that stress is high. It can cause significant health problems, if not your life.

How are you breathing? Your breath will tell you how well you are making choices in your life. Is it shallow and from the top of your lungs instead of belly breathing? If it is, you can be absolutely assured that you are shortening your life span considerably. Look for a yoga class you can do so you can learn to breathe better. Maybe you cannot get down on the floor, so look for a Silver Sneakers Yoga class in your area as they are everywhere. The poses are friendly to everyone who has physical problems, no matter the age.

This moment in this day is the only time you have to take a look at your priorities and assess what needs to change. Are you willing to get off the treadmill of your life and do it? Or is the treadmill going to continue just as it always does? If you are happy with the life you are living, I congratulate you for you are a rare bird. However, if you are not satisfied with the ways you spend your time, begin this second to look at where you are now and where you want to be. I am not talking about stuff and possessions. I am focusing on the one thing you cannot buy: More time.

Do you want to look back over the last few years of your life and wonder where it has gone? It happens to all of us, no matter the age. But you can begin to make a difference right now. Are you willing?

God’s blessings on your journey!

New yoga pose

 

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