Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Between a rock and a hard place

It seems to be part of life that at times we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Knowing we really should do (at least) two things which ar incompatible with each other. Both things having a time constraint, needing to be done ‘now’, having only one body to do them… And there you are.

In and of itself, the fact that we find ourselves in a situation like that is not the end of the world in any stretch of the imagination. The important things is, though, that we don’t allow ourselves to get stuck in that situation. That we take the time to step back from it, re-examine it, and perhaps even come up with more things that need to be done which, for the moment at least, we had overlooked.
This may sound strange as a net step, but it does often help us to put things in perspective. To see that our lives, even though hectic, are not just these two things that need to be done now ~ our lives are so much more!
It is that realization that wil permit us to start prioritizing whatever is happening on our lives; whatever things need to be done ‘now’. Often it will show us that the very first thing to do is to take a deep breath, and to take some fifteen minutes or so of ‘me-time’. Whether we use that to go for a short walk, or just to make ourselves a cup of coffee doesn’t really matter. What matters is that it gives us the opportunity to step away from a stressful situation for a moment…

After that little bit of ‘me-time’ making a list of whatever needs our attention and putting things in order of importance may well guide us into a more productive direction.

And the things that on more than one occasion has totally amazed me is that those two things that made me feel caught between a rock and a hard place, weren’t numbers one and two on that list. Yes, they made it onto the list, but more like in 5th and 7th place or so… Almost invariable I have found that there is a different path with different priorities that turns out to be way more productive for me at that particular point in time.

It shows that, while it is fairly normal to encounter a situation where we feel caught between a rock and a hard place, there is always an innovative, unexpected path leading to greater productivity.

Friday, September 26, 2014


The sound of whistles is carried this direction by the wind. They signal that the engineers are moving the antique equipment in the railroad museum, about a mile from where I am at. It is tempting to walk over and have a look as the old steam engines are brought back to life, and monumental pieces of railroad history slowly start moving again, spitting out billowing clouds of smoke and steam.
The magic of the big wheels turning, the proud look on the face of the engineer, and the hard labor to feed the fire at the heart of the huge locomotive…

The whistles are most definitely sounds of an era long gone. A time when pretty much any journey, no matter how short to today’s standards, was an adventure. Not only because of the opportunity to explore new things, but because of the trip itself. To be brought to this other place at ‘breakneck speed’, pulled over the rails by this enormous, magical beast that is spitting out steam as it moves along. Hearing the cadence of the wheels, and the warning whistle whenever the engineer felt someone was to close to the tracks as he approached.

There are still places where the whistles sounds at the train’s approach of every railroad crossing. It is a safety feature, warning those that feel they can still make it across before the train actually gets there.
Yet somehow the magic has gone from railroad travel, as it has been relegated to being a quick and easy way to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’, especially in urban areas. It is a manner in which big, heavy loads can be transported across the country. Perhaps not that fast, but certainly reliable.
And arguably the biggest advantage of taking the train nowadays is the fact that you can sit down and get some work done. Trains even have WiFi, so you don’t have to miss a beat as you prepare for that meeting, or are doing your homework.
And looking outside is no longer something that sparks awe and wonder, but rather a check to see how much further you need to go.

A sign of the times…

We tend to speed ourselves from one event to another, whether that is by ‘train, plane, or automobile’, totally focused on the event; on what needs to be done. And maybe even on what we get out of it. The trip, the actual getting to where we have to go, has become an inconvenience rather than the adventure it used to be back then…

And somehow it feels like a shame to have lost that magical experience…

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Taking time

It seems that in our lives today pretty much everything is scheduled. Even the smallest things are being done ‘by appointment’, and the question is more and more often whether we can fit it in our calendars.

That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. At least as long as we can fit ourselves into our calendars as well. Setting up a time for our personal needs and desires. And, when we have made it into our own calendars, do we have the sense to keep that appointment with ourselves? Even when something ‘important’ comes up like a friend who would like to come over and hang out? Or something work related?
Do we tell the other person: ‘Sorry, I got an appointment’; even when it is with ourselves?

Ultimately, the real question is if we are willing to take time for something.
Often, when that something is work related we are. Also, when other people are involved we tend to keep that appointment. Yet taking time for ourselves seems to be hard to do…

And even then some things are easier than others. Taking time to smell the roses is part of life. Taking a time out; creating a little ‘me-time’. Most of us are well aware that we just need those things on a more or less regular basis.
But what about taking time to just be. Taking time to truly see the environment you find yourself in at that very moment? Taking time to appreciate your personal experience in whatever situation you find yourself in?

It seems that on average we are willing to take time for things and people, as long as we can schedule it. Taking time to be aware of the experience of the moment ~ of this very instance ~ is a lot harder. Perhaps because we feel we are losing something when we take time for it…

Losing the much needed time in our possibly too filled up schedules. Losing an opportunity that awaits us right around the next corner. Losing a different, more interesting experience…

On second thought, when we take time to be in this moment, we tend to be more effective in what we are doing. When we take time to be aware of what is going on around us, chances are we are going to find ourselves less and less in unexpected, chaotic or scattered situations that need our immediate attention.
When we take time to be, we may well find that it is time well spend…

Friday, September 19, 2014


There have to be thousands upon thousands of colors.
It doesn’t matter where we are, we are continually surrounded by them. Even in the middle of the city there are colors. Granted, they may be tones of grey, and brown. Dark and dusty colors. But they are colors nonetheless.
When we find ourselves in nature there are ~ depending on climate etc. ~ greens and browns, earth tones, and life in all colors imaginable.
And then there are the ‘in your face’ colors that we create. Perhaps as an art form, or to make a point. Some colors are associated with certain trade marks ~ ‘Ferrari red’ comes to mind.

There are colors we like, and those we dislike. Colors that make us look good and healthy, and colors that we really shouldn’t wear, no matter how much we may like them as a color.
And there are colors that make us feel good…

Sometimes, when we keep looking long enough at a shape or form, perhaps a piece of art or something natural like a tree, we start seeing colors around its outline, like an aura. As if those colors are emitted from that object.
Those often are a different brand of colors; almost as if they are painted in light.

It may well indicate that we ourselves also emit colors. Colors that we, in our everyday lives, don’t see, Colors that are there and that perhaps even are giving information about us to those sensitive enough to pick up on them.

Some people dream in colors; not just in color images, but in bits and pieces of color. To them certain colors have certain meanings which they may use in order to interpret their dreams…

All in all, whether we are consciously thinking about it or not, colors are an important aspect of our lives. And as the frequency of the energy we live our lives in is increasing, we may well start experiencing colors differently.
Start liking different colors, or hues, or tones. For instance that bold red color we have always likes so much may be a color that is replaced by a more earthy red. And while perhaps our wardrobes were filled with certain colors, we may find that suddenly other colors start creeping in…

Whichever colors we like best, life is beautiful in all its colors, even the dark and dreary ones…
If for nothing else that it gives us information. For instance about how comfortable we feel at a certain place, or with a particular person…
On top of that we, ourselves are quite full of color as well!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014


According to the dictionary, an omen is a ‘portent of good or evil’. So at the least, an omen is bringing to your attention that something is about to happen in your life. But what is an omen? When is a cat just crossing the street, and when is a cat crossing the street telling you to be careful in traffic?
As a rule of thumb, whenever something happens, no matter how simple it is, whether it is an every day occurrence or something you have never seen before; if it grabs your attention, if it stops you in your tracks, or just gives you food for thought, chances are it is an omen.
In other words, if a cat crosses the street (gets safely to the other side), but you hardly ever saw it; it may not be an omen for you. Yet if a cat crosses the street and not only do you see it, but you take a moment to admire its great agility, it may well be an omen for you.

What an omen is telling us is intently personal. It is best deciphered through a process of free association, where you write down what just happened, and write above it your first association with each word or concept. The associations will then give you an indication as to what the omen may be about.

So what we end up with is that each and every thing that happens during our day that truly grabs our attention may be an omen. Up to us to take the time to decipher them or to just move on with what we are doing… Personally I have a tendency to just keep living my life…

But every once in a while I see something, or something happens that sticks in my mind.

Last week while on the road, I was passed by a car that had advertising on its sides and rear. It was an older model, green Mercedes. The windows were rolled down, and the passenger blew the smoke of a cigaret out of the open window. Then I read the advertisement: “Karma Diagnostics” with a ‘0900’ number one can call.

It most definitely stopped me in my tracks. As the green Mercedes zoomed off in a different direction than I was going, the scene, the car and the advertisement kept playing through my mind.
I would say that is an omen!

There are any number of things it can be telling me, from good (or bad) karma coming my way, to a sign that I finally am getting a handle on that life lesson I have been working with for so long, to let go of ‘old ghosts’ (the cigaret smoke blown out of the window).

One thing is certain, as an omen, it doesn’t get a whole lot more interesting and curious than this.