Just Go For It


There will be a few times in your life

when all your instincts will tell you to do something,

something that defies logic,

upsets your plans,

and may seem crazy to others.

When that happens,

you do it.

Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else.

Ignore logic,

ignore the odds,

ignore the complications,

and just go for it.

From “Remember When” Judith McNaught

And so it is with me as Judith McNaught wrote. The more I have become able to listen to the soften spoken voice of my heart and soul (or whatever you call that presence that lives in my chest and gut) the better my life has become. It’s damn scary to take off in a direction that a good bit of me is uncertain about while at the same time knowing at an instinctive level it is absolutely the direction I must go.

My destiny is not something I can always decide on or choose, but I can let it happen if I stop paddling against the current and let it take me where I am meant to go. I am not saying I don’t have to think and use my head. I do, but when logic has been thoughtfully laid out in my head I allow my ‘heart and soul” to lay over it. When the two match, “no problem”. When they don’t, more often than not, my logic is flawed. It’s then I need to do one of two things: 1) rethink the subject and stir in my heart and soul to see what surfaces or 2) simply follow my heart and soul. The latter has rarely ever been a mistake.

How utterly freeing it is to live life knowing I don’t have to figure every thing out! II am grateful for the mystery and excitement that living this way lends to my life.

Remembering you are going to die
is the best way I know to avoid the trap
of thinking you have something to lose.
You are already naked.
There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Letting Go of Regret

amazing-sunrise-on-the-track-hdr-250896If I had followed through on the childhood dream of being a scientist, would my life be better or worse? What would my life be like now if I had married a different person when I was twenty-two? What might have been if I had left for the woman I loved when I was thirty-five? How might life be now had I not been so careless with money when it was flowing in freely?

Questions…meaningless, worthless questions, but knowing that plainly does not stop me from playing the shoulda, coulda guessing game occasionally.

In an article on psychologytoday.com, Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. wrote:
We often associate regret with old age – the tragic image of an elderly person feeling regretful over opportunities forever missed. Now, groundbreaking new brain research shows how this stereotype may be true, at least for a portion of the elderly who are depressed. On the other hand, healthy aging may involve the ability to regulate regret in the brain…

A new study conducted by researchers at the University Medical Center – Hamburg, in Germany provides an exciting demonstration of how healthy older people may actively disengage from regret when nothing can be done. Young people, who, presumably have more life opportunities for change and depressed elderly, who, presumably, have a deficit in emotional processing, were more regretful when confronted with missed chances for financial gain.

These researchers scanned the brains of three groups of subjects using MRI technology: Young people with average age 25, healthy older people with average age 66, and depressed older people, also 66 on average. All participants worked on a computer game during the brain scan in which they had to decide whether to keep opening boxes or rest. Each box could contain an amount of money or could contain a devil emblem that meant they lost all their money and ended that round of the game. To prime regret, researchers showed people after each round how far they could have gone to earn more money.

Behavioral strategies differed between the groups in a way that was consistent with the brain findings. Whereas the young and depressed elderly took more risks on subsequent rounds, the healthy elderly did not change their strategies across 80 rounds on average. Overall, the riskier strategy did not lead to more money, suggesting that the young and depressed elderly took on extra stress for no gain.

An exciting implication of this study is that brain functioning does not merely deteriorate in old age, but that aging can result in better emotion-regulation and stress management. This is consistent with other research showing old people have less intense negative emotions and are happier than middle-aged people on average. Feeling that one has done the best one can, given the circumstances and letting go of regret can lead to self-compassion and peace. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201206/the-neuroscience-regret

After reading that article I feel better and believe I’m in the “healthy group”. As the years pass there is less regret and I am more often filled with contentment and happiness. Getting here did not happen accidentally. In the last decade there has been great personal exertion to grow, heal and improve that have paid off. While some of the growing pains hurt like hell, the overall results are something I am ecstatically grateful for.

A man is not old until
regrets take the place of dreams.
John Barrymore

As Good As Any Moment In All Eternity

Beautiful%20Wallpaper%2006Amazing things have begun happening in my life, so much so, at first I doubted what was occurring. How can it be a man could wish for so much and not recognize dreams coming true as they began arriving?

Since childhood I believed everything flowed from within me outward completely of my own volition; from my thoughts and hopes to be turned into reality by my own hands. It was out of my comprehension to believe my hopes could materialize without my active participation causing it.

Make no mistake, reservation and disbelief still race round and round me like marauders attacking a circled wagon train, but I am discovering believing in my dreams and that I deserve them is the strongest force toward manifesting them. When my hope becomes my certainty, what I have struggled to find for so very, very long has the opportunity to appear.

Logic and thought have been the enemy of my dreams. Hopes are not math problems to be solved. They are seeds planted and watered with patience and a faith in being deserving of the wish being granted. Some call it “manifesting your own destiny”. Others make reference to “the power of attraction”.

Religion would say my dreams appearing on the horizon is “God’s work”. And if that is true, it a Higher Power working through me, not for me. Simply I have passed the threshold of being able to use what has been within me all along; what “God” put in me to begin with. Great religions frequently mention this power inside. Few actually believe it exists and fewer still think they can find any harmony with it. No matter; inwardly it’s there just the same waiting for us all.

Label me a kook if you want, I don’t care. You can think I smoked too much pot in my youth and fried my brain, but it won’t matter one bit. And before you ask, I hardly drink, don’t do drugs and am not a mental patient. I’m just an ordinary person who has extraordinary things happening in his life from a source truly beyond my ability to fully comprehend. My life has not turned into some panacea; far from it. But mixed in with everyday trial and tribulation are authentic dreams, to my amazement, coming true. How does it happen? By believing in my hopes and that I deserve for them to come true, then letting go of trying to steer reality into bringing them to me. All I have to do is show up, live well and believe.

The scary part is dreams coming true require me to at times take action purely by instinct and feeling; doing things that I know I should do even though there is little to no logic to support my actions. It’s not easy and feels like jumping off a cliff uncertain if there’s a parachute on my back. When I believe, truly believe in my dreams, the chute is always there.

The universe does not shout at me to make dreams come true, it only nudges. I need only pay attention to that direction and follow through on what I am lead to do. (Even writing that I laugh out loud for I know how it sounds outlandish, but it’s TRUE!). It’s amazing what has begun happening for me now that I don’t try to control everything. I am deeply grateful to have discovered some of the greatest wisdom possible is “not knowing” and “not understanding” but doing anyway; it’s where dreams are found.

Every morning is a fresh beginning.
Every day is the world made new.
Today is a new day.
Today is my world made new.
I have lived all my life up to this moment,
to come to this day.
This moment, this day, is as good
as any moment in all eternity.
I shall make of this day
each moment of this day,
a heaven on earth.
This is my day of opportunity.
Dan Custer

Enlivened My Dream All the More

couple in fogLast night a dream passed through my night where I was with another under an umbrella in the pouring rain trying to stay dry. The drops were coming down fast and hard so we tried running and seemed to just get more wet. In keeping that little clip of make believe alive in my head this morning I began to ask does one stay drier running in the rain or walking?

It came as a surprise, but this question has received some serious attention from the scientific community here and there. Even the syndicated Straight Dope columnist Cecil Adams and the producers of the television series Mythbusters have conducted their own studies on the debate. The general finding as to whether you’d get wetter if you run or walk in the rain appears to favor walking makes you the wettest. The hypothesis is if you don’t want to get soaked any more than is strictly necessary during a rainstorm, run as fast as you can. So the correct choice was made in my dream to run to end up a little less wet.

Apparently the decision whether to run or walk in the rain has more to do with time than volume of rainfall hitting you. Simply a runner will be out of the rain in less time than the walker, which means a person running should be exposed to less overall moisture. The walker might benefit slightly from not running into the raindrops ahead, but the added time in the rain would make him wetter overall.

Many people believe that rainy days are for staying indoors and waiting for the sun to shine again. Then there are those like me who love the rain, who adore walking in it and even cherish the damp feeling one gets by walking when showers are coming down.

There is something about rainfall that is therapeutic. I’ve shared happiness with drizzle and mingled my sadness with it too. Charlie Chaplin’s famous line “I love walking in the rain because nobody can see me crying” has found me outside getting welcomedly soaked during down times more often than I care to count. If you have not tried walking when it is raining to soothe a painful day, I highly recommend it. Once you step outside there can be a feeling that nature understands your sadness. Being in the rain has a way of cleansing the body and heart, washing away tears and providing hope.

A quote from Vivian Green goes “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I can personally attest it’s absolutely true.

The rain is not just for when I feel sad. Being soaked brings out my happy child within because I am doing something “sensible adults” rarely do; getting wet simply for the fun of it. I also find rain and fog terribly romantic and inspirational. Few others are out if I go walking in rainy weather and I have the wet beautiful world more to myself. It’s an almost mystical feeling that is ancient and solid down to the spirit of my being.

If you avoid the rain and always try to stay dry you’re missing out! I am grateful to have enjoyed it so dearly my entire life. Hearing rainfall is truly one of the most loved things I know in nature. And yes, I even dream about being in the rain like last night. It was just a little touch that enlivened my dream all the more.

And when it rains on your parade,
look up rather than down.
Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Who You Really Are

Something really cool happened today… a break through. When I first began facing the ill effects my dysfunctional family of origin had on me, it seemed like I was wandering around in a dark tunnel swinging at always escaping ghosts. Over time as I stayed in recovery some of my demons were slain; others were faced and death with. I began to see light at the end of the tunnel. Slowly, step by step I started toward the end of it. What I realized today is I’ve made it out of the tunnel and am in the light. I’m ready.

Not all, but most of my fears are gone, most of the time. There are bouts of dealing with old issues, but I get through them just fine. Depression knocks me around sometimes, but only rarely does it get grip on me. On a good or bad day, I’ve gotten better at handling my stuff.

The break through today was I am now standing smack-dab in the middle of a good life ready to be lived fully by a healthy person, physically and emotionally: ME! It’s time to reach for my dreams. How excited I feel. How grateful I am!

It takes courage to grow up
and become who you really are.
E.E. Cummings

Someone Who Can Completely Turn Your World Around

Bob Marley was the most well know Reggae musician ever to live. His face is recognized world-wide and his music is iconic. Bob Marley was also a highly intelligent philosopher who expressed himself in ways I find particularly meaningful. I hope his words below serve you well too.

Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more.

You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.

They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.

There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.

Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby.

Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon.

You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you.

You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.

Thank you Mr.Marley; I regret you are not still walking among us. The world is better for you having been here.

It’s the questions we can’t answer that teach us the most.
They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer,
all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and
he’ll look for his own answers.
Patrick Rothfuss

My Reason to ‘Rise and Do’

When viewed as a whole, my life has been richly blessed. From love to a child to success and much more, life has been good. My life has had an ample share of heartache and difficulty but when viewed as a part of the whole, those times add contrast and color to the happier times. There are many splashes of color yet to be, but something to get up in the morning for is what keeps me going.

“A Man Must Want” by  Edgar A. Guest

It’s wanting keeps us young and fit.
It’s wanting something just ahead
And striving hard to come to it,
That brightens every road we tread.

That man is old before his time
Who is supremely satisfied
And does not want some hill to climb
Or something life has still denied.

The want of poverty is grim,
It has a harsh and cruel sting,
But fill the cup up to the brim,
And that’s a far more hopeless thing.

A man must want from day to day,
Must want to reach a distant goal
Or claim some treasure far away,
For want’s the builder of the soul.

He who has ceased to want has dropped
The working tools of life and stands
Much like an old-time clock that’s stopped
While time is moldering his hands.

I’m truly sorry for the man,
Though he be millionaire or king,
Who does not hold some cherished plan
And says he does not want a thing.

What is the spur that drives us on
And oft its praises should be sung,
For man is old when want is gone
It’s what we want that keeps us young.

It is my ‘want’ to express myself, be understood and contribute something positive that drives me these days. For each and everyone who even once reads what I write here, thank you. You are part of my reason to ‘rise and do’ each day.

My formula for living is quite simple.
I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.
In between, I occupy myself as best I can.
Cary Grant

Through Their Eyes

Rudyard Kipling passed away just short of twenty years before I was born.  As a kid I loved the wonderful mental journeys I took reading the stories in “The Jungle Book” and the great adventures I went on with “Kim” and “Captains Courageous”. I didn’t discover Kipling’s poetry until well into adulthood and admittedly haven’t laid eyes on any of it in years. So when I came across “If” by Kipling it was an enjoyable reminder of what I aspired to be as a child and in some manner succeeded in being here and there.

“If” by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build `em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

For all the writers who have inspired me, and yet will, with their poetry, novels and thoughts in word of all sorts, I am extraordinarily grateful.  Through their eyes I have witnessed a world for beyond any I could have known without their work. 

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say,
but what we are unable to say.
Anaïs Nin

More Like Myself

Love… love… love. There are few people on Earth who do not yearn for a remarkable love like those found in the movies. While the “with all my heart, happily ever after variety” of romance often portrayed in film usually ranges somewhere between partial fact to dream-like fantasy, many still desire what they see. At least to a degree, I am among them and below are three movie quotes that have special meaning to me (with a 4th bonus line at the bottom)

“Look, I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some time, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.” (from “Runaway Bride”)

“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who’ll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love – well, you haven’t lived a life at all.” (from “Meet Joe Black”)

“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together … and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home. .. only to no home I’d ever known … I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like … magic.” (From “Sleepless in Seattle”)

A many-times-broken heart within still loves and desires to be loved, maybe more so than ever. In appropriate measure the lesson to cherish the gift of being loved was taught to me the most difficult way. There is much gratefulness for the love I once had in my arms and let slip way; not once but several times. Through those losses I came to know great teachers such as grief, heartache and misery who brought some of the wisdom I possess today.  

“I am someone else when I’m with you, someone more like myself”.
(from “Original Sin” starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jollie)

Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood

Frequently it’s a simple thing that wakes or heightens my gratitude. A cloud in the sky, a stunning flower, a memory, a dream, a hope, watching a small child or even a feeling that arrives from a source unknown. This morning I came across the children’s poem below that talks about a whimsical carefree life a make-believe trout might have. While complete fantasy, the spirit of it put a smiling feeling inside me at the start of my day.

“The Wishing Fish” by Thomas Vorce

What if you could be a trout
And splash and flip
And flop about.

Amidst the river’s ripples you
Would catch sun shimmers
And renew the summer wind.

You’d stop to chat
With ‘trouty’ friends
And make amends.

Or discourse on the willow’s bend.
The gala of the water’s course,
Like laughter of a child,
Would run along your gullet
With the mystery of the wild.

And every wish you ever heard
Would be in chorus with the birds.
As palettes made of rainbows play,
You’d flap your fins
To greet the day.

Along the banks you’d rest at night
And fire flies like lamps would light
The glowing of the August Moon,
Where fish make wishes of their own
And all the best remains unknown.

In childhood I found nursery rhymes and fairy tales caused great mystery and fantasy to unfold in my mind. Then I could imagine such things might happen and could even see them in my child’s theatre of the mind. While mostly dormant for a long time, I am grateful the child within is awakened.  Being able to feel the wonder of make-believe again is a wonderful gift that I appreciate more at this age than I ever did as a child.  I am grateful the sad child of youth has found some measure contentment and gladness for living.  I have found it is never too late to have a happy childhood.

Fantasies are more than substitutes for unpleasant reality;
they are also dress rehearsals, plans.
All acts performed in the world begin in the imagination.
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison