Tuesday, April 19, 2011
One of biggest perks, to me, of being retired is that I get to start each day with the time to truely allow myself to awaken to the world around me. I get up early each morning, but not to the demanding command of an alarm clock. I turn on the coffee pot prepared the night before. Stretch while I await for the much anticipated brew and then, on most mornings head to the hot tub where I meditate, do my own version of yoga adapted to the restrictions of the hot tub and watch the world slowly awaken. In addition, most mornings I read from selections of my large library of "inspirational books". Books that are about living life: The Bible, the writings of Tao Te Ching, books of daily devotions, books by thinkers like Wayne Dyer, and books that revolve around a very eccletic collection of philosophies. Most mornings I read short selections from several randomly picked selections and I'm surprised by how often they will all guide my thinking down the same path. Today was one of those days.
None of these thoughts were new, but combined they allowed the sunrise in my mind accompany the sunrise outside my window.
To start with, a quote from "Your Best Life Now": "It's a simple truth that you cannot give birth to something you have not first conceived. You must conceive it on the inside through your eyes of faith before it will come to pass on the outside. Your vision, what you see, has a tremendous impact in your life. We need to quit allowing our imaginations to keep us beaten down to where we don't think we can do anything. Instead, let's start allowing God to use our imaginations to build us up, to help us accomplish our dreams. In other words, keep things in front of you that you want to see come to pass."
Your imagination is like a canvas. You can paint on it any kind of picture you choose through your thoughts, attitudes, and what you decide to focus on. ....Don't let "impossible" or "can't be done" thoughts blur the colors on your canvas.
Second find for this morning taken from "Until Today": " Your experiences in life are food for your soul. They make up the meat and potatoes of your character. Some experiences are quite tasty and good. Others would lead you to believe you are starving! If you insist you should have been served steak when you've been served chicken, you could miss the fact that it was served on fine china."
A third inspiration that fit in with my morning was centered around how important it is to share the things that you discover in your life with those you love. "As we share our discoveries with other people, we can grow together."
Many of you who will read this blog are regular visitors to a thread on Outdoor People called "Happy Hour on the Deck". Here we've created our own ideal imaginary world - a place where we can safely sit back and relax in a very friendly atmosphere. It's a place where we do "share our discoveries with other people" and we do grow together. We take each other along on the adventures that each of us is having: a hike down a Zion trail, or a run on an early moonlit road in Canada, or the ride up snow covered mountain road or the simple observation of the flash of a shooting star. Here we allow ourselves to live in our imaginations; taking "magic carpet rides" to wherever we want to go! We find ourselves actually excited by the experiences that we're having with our Outdoor friends. But just as importantly, here we find hope. We share our accomplishments which prove to the others just what can be done. We see that you really can lose large amounts of weight and can lead an exciting life climbing rock walls, hiking miles each day or riding a bike to work. We learn that even those that live in the biggest cities can still find the things in nature to produce a feeling of wonder. We also learn that even some of the largest obstacles in life (cancer, death of family members, etc.) are things that we can deal with and move on living the most enriched life that we can live. Maybe most important of all, there's always someone there to hold our hand and provide the support that we all need at times. Keeping all this mind, it's easy to understand how it's possible that we saw us pass the 13,000 posts on this thread this past week.
I thank each of my friends out there for providing me with visions of what's possible and for helping me paint the picture on my canvas.
Life is good!
Saturday, March 12, 2011
It has certainly become a cliche "to live today, because you know not what tomorrow brings" or some version of the same message, but I wonder, if we don't hear that same thing so often that we no longer really pay attention to it. Then something catastrophic happens that for a brief moment makes everyone a little more aware of the fragility of our lives: 3-mile island, 9-11, the earthquake in Haiti, a tornado rips through a small midwestern town, a school shooting, 7 children die in a rural Pennsylvania house fire, a member of my Outdoor People team is hit head on by a drunk driver, instantly taking away her love of hiking and outdoor physical activity, a sudden realization that a friend has a fatal disease, and of course now today, the devastating quake and tsunami in Japan!
Suddenly we are awakened to the reality of how little control we have and how suddenly things change. For a moment or two, we vow that we're going to count our blessings and take advantage of every moment that we have been given here on earth. ....and then.....we fall back into our sleepy ways and return to our sluggish thinking and our tendency to procrastinate. After all, these things happen to other people, not to us. How quickly we forget.
But things don't just happen to other people. The reality of our existence is that tomorrow the somebody else could be us! There are no predictors of all the possible ways that life can suddenly be ripped away. No guarantees that tomorrow the sun will shine on our lives. What we have is the present and if the present is good, then celebrate it! Hug those you love! Do the things that bring you pleasure! Find the adventure that you know is out there! Take care of your body and your relationships! Get out there and do it and do it NOW!
Those of you who know me, know my mantra "Life is good". And if, for you, in this moment, "Life is good" then celebrate it, revel in it, make the most of it and give thanks to whatever power you believe in for giving you the opportunity to make the most of the present moment.
Life is good!
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Yesterday, LUV and I were on our way to step aerobics but hadn't even gotten more than several hundred yards from our house when something in the woods caught my eye. I had only glimpsed it with my peripheral vision and it didn't register in my mind as to what I had actually seen; only that it stuck out because something was different. So I braked to a stop, put my car in reverse and backed up to the origin of my distraction. It turned out to be a couple of wild turkeys. Turkeys here are by no means unusual and though I enjoy encountering them that wasn't what really drew my attention. What lured me back to them was the fact that one of them was an albino! I have seen several examples of albinos in nature in the past but never before a wild turkey. Unfortunately they didn't appreciate our ogling them and quickly exited down over the knoll where we could no longer see them, but the short encounter with something so different had totally made our day. Turkeys are cool, but encountering an albino turkey is something that awakens the child in me that can be still be awed by the things around me.
After this experience I got to thinking that it's the things in life that are different that make the biggest impression on us in our lives. When things are just in the "norm" category they barely register on our consciousness, but when they're very different they move us in a way that inspires us to act in ways that go beyond our everyday rote movements. They somehow change us.
This I think is true in all categories that we encounter. Frank Lloyd Wright's "Living Waters" attracts thousands of visitors a month and yet it's just a house. There are many canyons in the world, but few that take our breath away like the Grand Canyon. We've all experienced many teachers as we grew up, but only a few remain alive in our memories years later. There have been 100's of prophets that lived over the past couple of thousand years, but only Jesus and Buddha and Mohammad and a few others have really changed the way people approach life. Look at the spring forest. There are thousands of trees out there but it's the ones that are flowering that are drawing our eyes to them. It's the same in all categories; art, music, in our social contacts. The things or people that stand out are the ones that are very different from all those around them.
We seem to live in a society where everyone thinks they want to be like everyone else: wear the same styles, watch the same shows, read the same books, go to the same places, do the same things. I suggest though that if you want to stand out, that you've got to break this mold and be different. Be someone who stands out in a crowd. Be someone who is not afraid to be one of a kind. Be someone who makes a difference. Be someone that people will remember. Be someone who experiences a really full life. I guess I'm saying, "be that albino turkey". lol
Life is good!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
LUV (dw) and I will be walking in the annual "Crop Walk" for world hunger tomorrow. This one's special because it's the 40th anniversarry of the walk and it was started largely through the efforts of a good friends of ours.
If you'd like to sponser us please copy and paste the following URL onto your web browser address bar and hit the "sponser this walker button". Thanks to anyone who supports us on this effort.
Life is good!
Thursday, October 01, 2009
You know it's funny how we think we have to vacation somewhere far away from home in order to make it special. We live in PA, but normally when we travel we head hundreds of miles away to such places as Virginia, North Carolina, Maine, or for that matter almost anywhere in North America, but we don't do "special trips" within our own state. Now understand that LUV and I have done a lot of overnight stuff around PA and of hiked hundreds of miles of trails here, but they're our get away for 2-3 day trips.
This week we were supposed to head down to the Outer Banks in NC for a week of walking the beaches, surf fishing and just watching the ocean rolling in from the deck of a beachfront rental. We love the Outer Banks but they're a 9 hour ride from here and I just wasn't sure my back and legs were recovered from surgery well enough to cope with the ride. So instead we decided to settle on a 3 hour ride to the Laurel Highlands in Western PA. Most of our PA camping has been in the Central and Eastern parts of Pa and we somehow never did the Western part of the state. What a great surprise! The Laurel Highlands are as beautiful as the mountain regions of New England or Virginia and it's not that far away!
We stayed in the area of Ohiopyle State Park where there really is something for everyone who loves outdoor activity! The Youghiogheny River is a white water enthusiast's dream with challenging rapids for every experience level. For the biker, there's scores of trails from rocky singletracks to a fantastic rail trail that follows the river's edge. Hiking trails are everywhere - many leading to waterfalls or to quiet mountain streams. There's one stream that has made a huge natural water slide that shoots down into deep cold pools. Oh yeah, did I tell you that the roads are all scenic highways in their own rights.
Now, as luck would have it, it rained everyday but the last for LUV and I, but that didn't stop us from doing miles upon miles of great hiking. One hike had a little bit of everything - mountain streams racing downhill to feed the magnificent river; a beautiful waterfall that we got to enjoy all by ourselves, a quiet, but steep stretch through an old growth forest where some of the mighty giant oaks had fallen over the trail to provide arches to walk under and mountain laurel everywhere.
Another memerable part of the week was a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece - Falling Water. Falling Water is a house that Wright designed that was built right over a waterfall. It's truely an amazing place and I highly recommend it for everyone, not just Outdoor People.
We didn't do any biking this week because of the pouring down rain that we experienced most of our visit, but I think that just may happen sometime over the next 2 weeks. Yep, we're going back when the leaves are at their best and we're going to experience some more of what this treasure in PA has to offer.
Life is good!
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