Threshold of a Dream

There is a certainty I have “some miles” on me, but also a sense of being far from being old. What puts that vantage point into perspective is knowing a decade from now I will be less than a year from turning seventy. That too does not feel really “old”. However, I know the body slows from my experience so far. In spite of exercise and being active, physical endurance and ability deteriorates over time; more rapidly as age accumulates. None of that was written as sad lamenting, but rather a statement of truth and a warning to myself to not put off my dreams too long.

The adventures I have long dreamed of have their roots in the books I read as a kid and movies I saw then. Reading James Bond novels in middle school gave me a sense of adventure in varying locales, but its 007’s European escapades that stuck with me. Although I’ve traveled Europe a dozen times I have a list of twenty-six countries left to explore. Seeing Tarzan movies with adventurers exploring the jungle looking for some great treasure put into me a love of things exotic and places far away. The need to see what is yet unspoiled in the world gnaws at me. Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer had adventures that to this day seem like those I should have along a pristine river or backwoods; the small amount of the ‘middle of no where’ still left unadulterated.

Many Americans travel hoping for all the comforts of home in a foreign country, but my view is, if that is what you want why go? I suggest those people stay home and watch travel shows on television. A good part of my love of visiting new places is the sense of unknown, and even discomfort that makes me so completely alive and etches those moments so memorably within. It’s been said that a person becomes smoothed by life from the friction living has upon him or her much like a rock is smoothed by the chafing of fast-moving water in a river. Maybe it is my bad childhood, maybe it is childish sense of exotic voyages, maybe it is at least some part illusion or disillusion; maybe it is wanderlust, but facing the unknown makes me feel completely alive and content. That’s an absolute fact and I know it for certain. If I’m a bit crazy, then I love being nuts!

Sitting here trying to explain myself I come up short of words that accurately express what I feel inside right now. All I know is when contemplating extended travel for weeks on end if not months, my soul lights up in a way that says “yes, yes, yes”, my heart beats a little faster, my mind is electrified with a charged flow of thoughts and I swear my whole body feels aglow with excitement. What can that be other than genuine desire to put my feet on the path of destiny I have been set for since childhood?

There is this logical, rational and even somewhat fearful speaker within saying, “that makes no sense”, “why would you want to do that?”, “you could get robbed/sick/hurt/lost/etc”, “you should be working and saving for retirement” and so on ad nauseam. That voice in my head has led me astray so many times and brought justification for doing what at the depths of my being I truly did not want to do. This must not be forgotten!  Such “thinking” has led me wrong so frequently, but my deep feelings rarely have. What I feel way down at an instinctive spiritual/soul level is centered in my chest reaching down to my stomach. I feel it strongly at this moment as my spirit speaks softly my truth for me to share.

If only I could tell you of the exhilaration I feel from just writing today about being a vagabond traveling the world. There are no words that accurately tell of my beautiful unrest that knows experiencing far beyond what I know is the medicine needed to “live long and prosper”. It won’t be next week or next month, but my great adventure will begin before too much longer. Don’t be surprised if it is next year!!!! I am grateful for the joy I feel at this moment to know my yearning of a lifetime has been spoken aloud to the world and has a chance to come true. I am on the threshold of a dream.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Namaste, Have a Nice Day, Good Morning

“Namaste” is a word I hear quite frequently these days, usually from someone who’s taking yoga or Ti Chi classes. I tend to be around “spiritual seekers” of one kind or another a lot and know the word seems to always be spoken positively in the context of a blessing and good wish. I got curious about what “Namaste” really means.

Namaste, is a common spoken valediction or salutation originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is a customary greeting when individuals meet, and a valediction upon their parting. A non-contact form of salutation is traditionally preferred in India and Namaste is the most common form of such a salutation.

When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest.. Wikipedia

Namaste, when simply put, means ‘I bow to you’. It is a respectful salutation and is used as a courtesy greeting. When two people greet each other with a Namaste, it is an act of recognizing the presence of divinity in the other as it is in oneself. Therefore, Namaste is a not just a greeting but a reminder that a higher Spirit resides in you as it does in me. So, an alternative definition for Namaste would be ‘I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me’. This definition is attributed to author Kabir Chopra in the book ‘Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment’ by Deepak Chopra.

Namaste also has another meaning. The ‘NA’ in Namaste signifies a negation; ‘MA’ means ‘mine’ and ‘TE’ as mentioned earlier means ‘you’. When put together, it simply means ‘not mine but yours’. Thus, saying Namaste is a subtle way of giving up one’s ego and surrendering to the Supreme Spirit that is recognized to be present in the other person.

In coming to know the true meaning of Namaste it seems similar to “bless you” frequently heard in western countries. My curiously continued pushing me toward the roots of this expression as well. What I found was the term “bless you” actually comes from an ancient superstition that a person who sneezes might actually sneeze their soul out of their body. Ok, how about “have a nice day”?

Some say “have a nice day” itself first appeared in the 1948 film “A Letter to Three Wives”. According to Roland Dickison of California State University “have a good day” first appeared in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1387 “The Canterbury Tales”.

What about “Good Morning”? As we use it started as a greeting, “have a good morning” with a shortened version of “good morning”‘ dates from around 1400, as “gode morwene”.

Now I have some relatively useless information stored in my head to dump onto others at opportune moments. Interesting I can remember such trivia for years and years, but can’t remember a phone number more than 12 seconds.

“Namaste, have a nice day and good morning” seems to cover my bases on wishing everyone a meaningful day. I am grateful to get to share my thoughts and ramblings here every day!

Lord I know I’m not here to stay,
but thanks for waking me up today.
Prepare me for what may come my way.
Cee Lo Green

Thank You Doug

For today’s blog to make any sense, one should first read yesterday’s installment

Doug, a dear friend of mine, liked yesterday’s post. When I arrived home after work the short email from him below was in my inbox:

Well, I hope you’ve heard from Sherry by now! I just had to find her. What a sweet lady. She recited a two-line poem she wrote that I thought was really insightful: Ode to an Oyster. Oh little oyster, teach me the secret of your world. For who else can take an irritation, and change it to a pearl. Groovy. Have a great rest-of-the-day! Doug

Further down in my inbox was another email:

James, I was contacted early this morning by your friend Doug, he told me about your blog and that you had posted my poem ‘Ghosts’. James I was so touched by your words and couldn’t keep my eyes dry. You did me great honor. Hope to hear from you soon, Sherry

I immediately began a reply:

Dear Sherry,

… This morning when I was writing tears never overtook me, but this evening reading your note they came, but were joyful tears. I so feared your cancer had taken you and am so happy to find my fear was unfounded.

In recent years often my life has been divinely guided. I was led to begin writing goodmorninggratitude. I woke up on a Saturday in April of 2011 and knew I was supposed to begin it. Yet I had never written a blog and spent most of the weekend figuring it out. Then Monday morning, April 25, 2012 I wrote “Hello World” and have written something daily on without fail for 492 days now.

Through illness, business travel, vacations and visits to far away friends and family I have remained faithful to what I feel I was called to do. I have never been as faithful to anything in my entire life. To date goodmorninggratitude has been read in 72 countries and is seen daily by hundreds of readers. I am mystified except to say it’s God’s work. I have no other explanation. When I listen to the soft and gentle direction He gives…. my life always comes to something better than I ever could find by myself.

Sometimes my daily written gratitude is for what I learned from some of the most painful and difficult experiences of my life.  Others days it’s about the pure beauty and good I see. It takes me an hour or so daily to focus, write and complete each post. I could not have predicted how focusing on gratitude would so profoundly change my life. From what I write I get back what I give multiplied many times over. Hearing from you is proof once again of that.

I am so glad you are still filled with life and grateful to know there is more to read that originates from the same tender heart and sharp mind I felt in “Ghosts”. I am emotionally stunned, but happy and glad to hear from you. Thank you for reaching out to me and thank God (and Doug) for causing it to happen. James

Once I read Sherry’s email I wrote Doug:

What a beautiful end to a long work day. Thank you for continuing to contribute good to my life. I am near speechless and don’t know what to say except… God bless you. He blessed me with knowing you.

We cannot live only for ourselves.
A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow-men;
and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads,
our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.
Herman Melville

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times…

Re-blogged from 

“I am sick of the solace of sorrow, And fear what the prophets foretold; I am tired of the tears of tomorrow, And wish that things were as of old; I have felt of the force of the fetters, I have drunk of the draught that embitters, And all is not gold.” Algernon Charles Swinburne

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times… May We all seek Peace

By now, most of us have heard or read about the terrible massacre of innocent movie-goers in Aurora, Colorado. My heart, condolences and prayers go out to the families of the 12 souls who lost their lives, and to the 59 wounded who, most probably, will spend a life time reflecting on the events of that early Friday morning, in Theatre 9, as they sat waiting to watch a premiere showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.” RIP Jessica Ghanwi, Alex Sullivan, and others yet un-named. Only James Holmes, the gunman, and God know why and what motivated him to head for that movie theater, armed to the teeth, and open fire minutes after the 12:05 a.m. movie screening began… We are all saddened by this event and at a loss for an explanation.

What I do know is that we live in a world where so many are frustrated, desperate, hurting, and unsure of what the future holds. As people continue to lose jobs, homes, and their sense of self, anger and depression can set in and fester into violence; leaving more hurting people and offering no solace to those killed or left to grieve. However, violence is not the answer. We must find uplifting outlets, a support system of people we trust, prayer partners or professional counseling to help us seek a positive path to recovery. Inflicting pain on others; be it family members, friends, co-workers, or even innocent bystanders will not diminish our pain only exacerbate it. The Aurora Colorado shootings are a painful reminder for us all. May we all seek Peace…

“There is nothing so bitter that a patient mind cannot find some solace for it” Seneca

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times… May We all find Peace

From Death to Immortality
From the unreal lead us to the Real,
From darkness lead us to Light.
From death lead us to immortality.

What I do know is that even with the pain and suffering many are enduring globally, there is still plenty of opportunity for good in our world. In tragic times, we can seek solace by comforting others in pain and by listening and lending a hand when needed. We can do our part by showing compassion and helping others in need. It is the goodness, focused prayers, and massive positive intentions of those who uphold dharma and goodwill on our planet that sustain the world. Evil might rage on for a while but it is soon replaced… As for Gun control, if we cannot ban guns outright, there should at least be a ban on the sale of assault weapons, and a psychological test be standard requirement for all who wish to buy a gun. Please pray for all who were touched by this tragedy. May we all find Peace… More below

“Do not allow any circumstances to affect your faith in God, who is your strength and solace.” Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Reflections: Seeking Solace In Tragic Times… May We all become channels of Peace

Prayers of Comfort and Hope
God Is Our Hope
God is our hope and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved,
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof rage and swell,
and though the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.
There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God,
the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
Book of Common Prayer 1979 via

While we might not have answers, we can share our thoughts and prayers for those left behind. I cannot pretend to know the level of pain loved ones are coping with right now. However, we can send them our love, healing comfort and prayers. May we all become channels of healing and peace. What are your thoughts? What was your first reaction to the news? How would you describe your feelings about this tragedy? What advice would you offer? Do share! Thank you.

*Please bear with me as I catch up on your blogs and commenting… I’m still recovering from a bronchial cold and will be back on track with reading and responding to your blogs soon. Thank you all for your patience!

Positive Motivation Tip: May we all find peace ways to seek solace in difficult times…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos: Prayer Flags from Oliphant, Praying Hands by Aronki, from Flickr, White rose from my personal collection

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank


The Cry of the Road Not Taken

Clear in memory from my 20’s is becoming lost on my first solo cross-country training flight while learning to fly.  Absorbing what it took to become a pilot came easy and I was able to advance faster than most.  The danger in that accomplishment was becoming a bit too “self-impressed” resulting in partial blindness created by my own ego.   I got lost on my first cross-country solo training flight soloI

Being disoriented and off course as a student pilot was a harrowing experience for a little while until I realized I could ask for help on the radio.  Two airports about 50 miles apart honed in on my signal and triangulated where I was.  It was easy for them to give me a new course which I used to land at one of the airports about seventy miles from my “lost” location.

From this experience I learned:

Life Lesson #1 = Even a single slight change of course makes for greatly changed direction over time.

Life Lesson #2 = Sometimes the only way out of a predicament is to ask for help.

Life Lesson #3 – My ego is very capable of over-estimating my ability and dragging me into a serious situation if I don’t watch it closely.

For over a decade I spent lots of my spare time “boring holes in the sky” as pilots call it.  I even owned an airplane for about six years (a Piper Cherokee).  If you’ve heard people talk about how boats are a sinkhole for money, then multiply that a few times to get an idea of the expense of owning an airplane!  I could just have easily rented planes at a lesser expense, but I “just had to have one”.

Life Lesson #4 – Just because I want to own something does not mean I should.

Life Lesson #5 – I can easily spend far too much on something if I let my ego in the driver’s seat.

Years later after the getting lost incident, I had three different mechanical failures I felt were messages sent to me.  1) Smoke from electrical wires starting to burn partially filled the cabin while I was flying in controlled airspace until I figured out what causing the problem and turned it off.  2) Another time upon landing and pressing the brakes I realized I had none and found out later a brake line was ruptured.  With a little maneuvering the landing stayed safe. 3) Sometime later while landing a rental airplane I had taken out for aerobatics when, on landing, the gear broke on one side and could have collapsed, but thankfully didn’t.  I took those as signs and decided then to give up flying because responsibilities, including raising a son, were no longer allowing me sufficient time to fly enough to stay a safe pilot.  To this day I believe that was a wise choice.

Life Lesson #6:  Pay attention to the subtle messages life sends me.  I only have to be receptive and acknowledge them.

Each thing I do causes a slight course correction or deviation in direction of my life.  One never knows until later which variations are, 0ver time, life changing and which is the stuff that doesn’t matter.  Many times I have heard about how someone’s life was saved simply because on a whim they took a different route home and avoided the accident that would surely have taken their life otherwise; or how missing a flight turned out to be a life saver; or how taking one job over another was the difference between success and failure; how one met the love of their life by taking a trip to a city never before visited based on a dream they once had; or how outcome was affected by choice made without logic in a hundred other stories simply because a person somehow “felt” they should do one particular thing or another.

Where ever my little bit of a sixth sense comes from I am convinced, if it not directly divine within itself, it is certainly a connection to a power higher than me.  Don’t ask me to explain it because I can’t.  There are no words to logically explain this phenomena.  With increasing frequency these “feelings” come more often now I have learned to trust and take them into account.  However they come to be and from whatever source, I am deeply grateful for the benefit these gifts continue to bring to my life.  When I am centered, peacefully open and aware, my “feelings” are so much more accurate than my “thoughts”!

Would things have really been so different
Would the world really have been so shaken
If when I were a much younger man
I had chosen the road not taken

Would the days have been any the brighter
Or the nights darker than they are
Would I still have lived in such obscurity
Or shined brighter than any star

It does little good to wonder
Of things that might have been
For who, and what I have become
I must live with in the end

Though life could have been much better
All in all I do not feel forsaken
I count the blessings that I have
And cry not of the road not taken.

“The Road Not Taken” by William Kite

Beyond My Ability

In only seven days I will have accomplished what seemed like an impossible goal when beginning. On Monday, April 25, 2011, I wrote the first daily installment of “Good Morning Gratitude”. Through vacations, sickness, business travels and days of all sorts I have somehow been faithful in focusing on a source of gratefulness each day then sharing it here.

There was inspiration far beyond just my singular existence that moved me to action. I have NEVER been this dedicated to anything, EVER!  Quite simply upon waking on that Saturday morning near a year ago I knew was supposed to write a blog each day about gratefulness. That was quite interesting as I had never written a blog or even read someone’s on a regular basis. That weekend almost a year ago was largely spent learning how to blog, setting one up, finding an available domain name and things of that sort. Now here I am, but only because something bigger than me planted my feet on this path and has supported my efforts all the way (especially when I was tired and wanted to take a ‘day off’!).

“You Are Blessed”

If you woke up this morning
with more health than illness,
you are more blessed than the
million who won’t survive the week.

If you have never experienced
the danger of battle,
the loneliness of imprisonment,
the agony of torture or
the pangs of starvation,
you are ahead of 20 million people
around the world.

If you attend a church meeting
without fear of harassment,
arrest, torture, or death,
you are more blessed than almost
three billion people in the world.

If you have food in your refrigerator,
clothes on your back, a roof over
your head and a place to sleep,
you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank,
in your wallet, and spare change
in a dish someplace, you are among
the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you hold up your head with a smile
on your face and are truly thankful,
you are blessed because the majority can,
but most do not.

If you can read this message,
you are more blessed than over
two billion people in the world
that cannot read anything at all.

You are so blessed in ways
you may never even know.

Due to having religion shoved on me in an abusive childhood, “church” has never been a comfortable place for me. Praying to “God” as a kid for the bad stuff to end brought no relief. So He/She/It and I were never good ‘friends’. Life experience has brought change, growth and wisdom which in turn has brought me to believe there is a power beyond the bounds of this Earth. It is best for me to not try to quantify or to put what I feel into any particular definition as logic tries to disprove my feelings. Instead, I just accept that my “Higher Power” IS.

 In so many ways as in the poem here and beyond, I am blessed. For the divine inspiration to write here daily and for the tens of thousands of times someone has stopped by to read my thoughts, I am humbly grateful beyond my ability to express those feelings.  I never dreamed in my wildest imagination what has happened could have come to pass.

I am no longer a part of the majority of the blessed that can, but mostly do not express gratitude.  With emotions strong while typing though misty eyes I can truthfully say sharing my gratefulness with the world each day here has profoundly and permanently changed me.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues,
but the parent of all the others.

A Master of Love

Once upon a time, a Master was talking to a crowd of people, and his message was so wonderful that everyone felt touched by his words of love. In the crowd there was a man who had listened to every word the Master said. This man was very humble, and he had a great heart. He was so touched by the Master’s words that he felt the need to invite the master to his home.

When the Master finished speaking, the man looked into the eyes of the Master and told him, “I know you are busy and everyone wants your attention. But my heart is so open and I feel so much love for you that I have the need to invite you to my home. I want to prepare the best meal for you. I don’t expect you will accept, but I just had to let you know.”

The Master looked into the man’s eyes, and with the most beautiful smile he said, “Prepare everything. I will be there.” Then the Master walked away.

At these words, the joy in the man’s heart was strong. He could hardly wait to serve the master and to express his love for him. This would be the most important day of his life: He bought the best food and wine, and found the most beautiful clothes to offer as a gift to the master. Then he ran home to prepare everything to receive the Master, He cleaned his entire house, prepared the most wonderful meal, and made the table look beautiful. His heart was full of joy because the Master would soon be there.

The man was waiting anxiously when someone knocked at the door. Eagerly, he opened the door, but instead of the master, he found an old woman. She looked into his eyes and said, “I am starving. Can you give me a piece of bread?”

The man was a little disappointed because it was not the Master. He looked at he woman and said, “Please, come into my house.” He sat her in the place he had prepared for the Master, and gave her the food he had made for the Master. But he was anxious and could hardly wait for her to finish eating. The old woman was touched the generosity of this man. She thanked him and left.

The man had barely finished preparing the table for the master again when someone knocked at the door. This time it was another stranger who had traveled across the desert. The stranger looked into the man’s face and said, “I am thirsty. Can you give me something to drink?”

The man was a little disappointed again because it was not the Master. He invited the stranger into his home, and sat him in the place he had prepared for the master. He served the wine he had intended to give the Master. When the stranger left, the man again prepared everything for the master.

Someone knocked at the door again. When the man opened the door, there stood a child. The child looked up at the man and said, “I am freezing. Can you give me a blanket to cover my body?”

The man was a little disappointed because it was not the Master, but he looked into the eyes of the child felt love in his heart. Quickly he gathered the clothes he had intended to give the Master, and he covered the child with the clothes. The child thanked him and left.

The man prepared everything again for the master, and then he waited until it was very late. When he realized the master was not coming, he was disappointed, but right away he forgave the Master. He said to himself, “I knew I could not expect the Master to come to this humble home. Although he said he would come, something more important must have taken him elsewhere. The master did not come, but at least he told me he would, and this is enough for my heart to be happy.”

Slowly he put the food away, he put the wine away, and he went to bed. That night he dreamed the Master came to his home. The man was happy to see him, but he didn’t know that he was dreaming. “Master you came! You kept your word.”

The Master replied, “Yes, I am here, but I was here before. I was hungry, and you fulfilled my need for food. I was thirsty, and you gave me the wine. I was cold, and you covered me with clothes. Whenever you do for others, you do for me.”

The man woke up, and his heart was filled with happiness, because he understood what the master had taught him. The Master loved him so much that he had sent three people to give him the greatest lesson: The Master lives within everyone.

Perhaps you have never thought about it, but on one level or another, all of us are masters. We are masters because we have the power to create and to rule our own lives.
You have the same power as any other human in the world. The main difference between you and someone else is how you apply your power, what you create with your power. Be a master of love!

For the small measure of enlightenment I have achieved there is deep gratitude to the many people and dozens of books that have helped light my way (such as “The Mastery of Love” written by Ruiz where the story above comes from).  To those whose thoughts, words and personal assistance pick me up at the darkest hours and help me carry my burdens, I will always be humbly and profoundly grateful.

A Prayer for the day: Today is a new beginning. Help us to start our life over beginning today with the power of self-love. Help us to enjoy our life, to enjoy our relationships, to explore life, to take risks, to be alive, and to no longer live in fear of love. Let us open our heart to the love that is our birthright. Help us to become Masters of Gratitude, Generosity, and Love so that we can enjoy all of your creations forever and ever. Amen.

Above story and prayer by Don Miguel Ruiz from his book “The Mastery of Love”.
You can read the entire short book by Ruiz for free here LINK

This Magnificent Cosmic Dance

This past weekend I read an article about our planet’s physical place in the universe that noted what I already knew: the Earth is one of the smallest planets in our solar system. What I had not been exposed to before was when the author went to note the Earth’s size makes for an estimated share of the total universe of 0.000000000000000000000000005%.  If our entire planet represents that small of a number, imagine how many zeros it would take to represent the share percentage for my physical form!  In the grand scheme of things I am indeed tiny beyond words.

Everything that exists, as we know it, originated from the same source of energy. We are connected to the entire universe.  We all came from a mother called the “Big Bang” and what followed creation. Nothing is better or worse. Everything just is. This unifying view helps me know that my smallness does not make me irrelevant.  Anything large is made up of many pieces that are small and within that structure I matter.

Although I adore traveling to see, touch and learn about foreign places my sphere of experience includes only a tiny portion of the planet.  My “world” that I live more than 90% of my life within is no more than twenty miles from where I sit typing these words on a keyboard.  It is here in “my world” that I am sizeable enough to influence in a noticeable what is around me.

The attitude that I show others, whether strangers or those I know well, sends a small ripple into my world.  A smile or a kind word has an effect on some and on others it rolls off like water on a duck’s back. At least for a few my kindness will be received openly and added to that person’s persona that in turn gets passed on to others.

Being a law-abiding citizen has an effect on those around me.  Because I choose to live responsibility, I make my community safer for all those who occupy it with me.  While a person being “good” is often overlooked and taken for granted, it is just such mundane decency of many that makes an area a pleasant place to live.

The greatest impact I have on anyone is that I have on my self.  The manner I treat “me”, the way I think of myself, the things I do to shape my being, the thoughts about the world that float in my head and the work I do or don’t do to grow and evolve all work together to shape the person that is me.  And who I am affects the world I live in and in the tiniest and smallest way imaginable, the universe is effected.

Sometimes it is my perceived imperfections that keeps me from realizing my place in the grand scheme. Yet, it was imperfection that allowed creation and life to materialize in the first place.  Since perfection can not be improved on, there would have been no need for a power greater than us bring the cosmos into existence.  It is through perfect imperfection that we came to be.

In only the last hundred years has mankind learned of the great energy stored within very tiny particles that when released for a split second changes everything nearby. Carol L. Bowman, MD wrote: Everything in our universe is made of energy. It has been said that we humans are able to perceive only approximately 1% of all the energies that exist. We are able to perceive, through our five physical senses, a limited range of smells, sounds, sights, sensations, and tastes. All of these are perceived via energetic vibrations interacting with our physical sense organs, and thus relaying messages to the brain that we can relate to and understand, based on our understanding of the world in which we live. Thus, our reality is strictly based on our ability to perceive. And we are only able to perceive 1% of what exists!

Whether I am only a small, nearly invisible, almost nonexistent, blip within the universe or a tiny particle releasing great energy that contributes greatly to all that is and ever will be does not matter.  I saw it once expressed beautifully this way:  We are part of an ever-expanding carnival of energy; we are fortunate to be able to experience and participate in this magnificent cosmic dance.

As my life ticks away one day at a time whether I accept what happens or not, it is still going to happen.  The only wise way of proceeding is for me to embrace what is happening and move forward.  As personal as I think my life is, it is only one of billions being lived at this moment like billions and billions that have come before. All things considered it is wisest for me to live in a way where I lighten up, try my best not take anything too seriously and take nothing that happens personally.  All I need to do is live as well as I can.

In her book “Dancing the Dream” Jamie Sams wrote about a vantage point toward life the Southern Seers maintain.  It begins with the question what does one get for living a good life?  The answer?  A good life!  I am grateful for mine!

When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how
God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous.
Albert Einstein
The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination
But the combination is locked up in the safe.
Peter De Vries

To Be Certain is Ridiculous

Just before starting out the door of my home, a feeling comes that I should take an umbrella with me.  I stop and pick it up but think to myself “I won’t need this.  It’s sunny with only a 30% chance of rain.  There’s no reason to take it”.  So I lay the umbrella down, take a step away and the sense that it should go with me ripples through me again.  I think to myself “why in the world am I pulled to take this with me?”.

I have learned to pay attention to such “feelings” and believe in them.  The umbrella incident really did happen recently.  Yes, I did take it with me and sure enough a few hours later it kept me dry as I headed into the grocery store.

There is knowledge beyond wisdom and consciousness that arrives as intuition as solid and certain as fact.  No longer do I question it or wonder where such “feelings” come from.  There is no remaining quandary about whether such guidance comes from my subconscious, a “higher power” and some sense beyond those fully developed within me.  I just know the “feelings” are important and the more I pay attention to them, the more frequent their occur.

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.  “May be,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.  “May be,” said the farmer.

Sometimes I wish I was a wise old monk who grasps more completely the meaning and is capable of living fully the wisdom of such teachings.  My appetite for life is too broad and my will too insatiable for such quiet resolve to fill in all the space within me.  However, the ability to embrace insight and allow it to benefit me has taken strong root. No longer do I ignore a ‘feeling’ to take something along with me or that I must do something particular.  I pay attention even though I don’t understand.

Not agitating the world or by it agitated,
They stand above the sway of elation,
Competition, and fear, accepting life
Good and bad as it comes. They are pure,
Efficient, detached, ready to meet every demand.
They are dear to me who run not after the pleasant
Or away from the painful, grieve not
Over the past, lust not today,
But let things come and go as they happen.
from the Bhagavad Gita

Belief and faith do not require facts in order to be.  Truth is truth whether it can be verified or not.  The best of life such as love, passion and compassion need no proof beyond their existence to conclusively show they exist.

Confidence for what cannot be proven factually is the very essence of faith in whatever manner it manifests itself.  Accepting “what is” and paying attention to what I feel are two of the key teachings I have come to accept in recent years.  What great and wonderful life changers!  My gratefulness is weighty and solid for the knowledge and direction that comes from a source I believe in but can’t prove.  But most of all I am thankful for the faith that connects me.

To be uncertain is uncomfortable, but to be certain is ridiculous.
Chinese saying

Only In Your Mind

Not long ago I came across a slight twist on “as you think, so shall you find” written by Wayne Dyer.  It’s a long paragraph and took a few reads to get to the essence of what he had said.   So here I have broken it apart into five pieces so it is a little easier to absorb.

As you think so shall you be! Since you cannot physically experience another person, you can only experience them in your mind. Conclusion: All of the other people in your life are simply thoughts in your mind. Not physical beings to you, but thoughts.  

Your relationships are all in how you think about the other people of your life. Your experience of all those people is only in your mind.  

Your feelings about your lovers come from your thoughts.  

For example, they may in fact behave in ways that you find offensive. However, your relationship to them when they behave offensively is not determined by their behavior, it is determined only by how you choose to relate to that behavior.  

Their actions are theirs, you cannot own them, you cannot be them, you can only process them in your mind.

People are as you perceive them, not as they are is.  That’s the truth Dyer’s paragraph boils down to for me.  Of course, EVERYTHING on Earth is as we think of them and not the completeness of what they are.  For example, what we see is not what is actually before us.  It is what we perceive based on reflection of light.  Even then there are spectrums of light we can see and many we can not.

How I live today is far different from how it was ten years ago.  It is not the conditions of my life that have changed.  I am still me, the same person as before.  The world remains round.  The sun continues to rise and set.  Folks around me are still basically the same.  I have the same job in the same profession.  It is not people, places, things and situations that have been altered:  It is MY WAY OF THINKING that has become changed.

My practical discovery is the only way to change one’s life is to change my thoughts.  My previous experiments of applying external things to alter my existence did work sometimes, but only for a short while.  Rapidly my life always returned to the same as before:  the life I wanted to change.

These days I am mostly happy because I chose to be.  There was no internal switch I flipped and caused that to be.  I worked at it.  When I began to live as if I was happy, I began to have more happiness.  Optimism came to me because I planted the seed of it within, nurtured it and over time it grew.  And so on.

Stopping being obsessed with my past came only when thought by thought, little by little I began to catch myself thinking about it.  At first being able to push away tripping over my history only worked occasionally.  However, with long-term consistency and practice I can now, more often than, successfully push the past away.  All I have done and all that has happened is still within me and thoughts still arise about it.  The difference is I can exercise some control and shorten the duration of such thinking.  In this way my life is no longer directed by what happened and I live more in the present than ever before.

Nirvana eludes me.  Enlightenment has not descended upon my being.  Instead as an athlete trains to get in shape, I have trained myself mentally over time to compete with my thoughts.  I don’t always win, but I am victorious a lot:  enough to be permanently life changing.  My gratitude for these insights is profound and my thankfulness for the many teachers I learned about this path from humbly resounds within.

We tend to get what we expect
Norman Vincent Peale