Tuesday, December 29, 2015

News


We all seem to be waiting for news; preferably good news.
Whether we want to watch the news, follow the news, or are waiting for news on a topic, situation or issue that is important to us. Or even if we are coveting something new in our lives ~ sometimes as basic as new furniture, a new job, or even a new home ~ or new things to do, new experiences and adventures…
It doesn’t matter whether it is the actual news or anything new ~ it feels like time is overdue for it to enter our lives.

Funny thing though is that when we are waiting for it to happen, even watching the minutes go by before the newscast starts at TV, it may seem time is endless. Until that moment when you decide to make yourself a quick cup of coffee. When you return, a mug of coffee in your hand, the news is all but finished.
Same thing is true when you are awaiting news on a project. It can be the outcome of an exam, the result of a project, the conclusion of a situation, or the aftermath of an event ~ as long as we are awaiting word on what has happened and where to go from here, nothing seems to happen.
And yet, as soon as we grow tired of just waiting and start taking action ~ any type of action, often even unrelated to the issue or situation we are waiting to hear news on ~ chances are the phone rings, emails start piling up in our inbox, and text messages ‘ping’ into our mobile devices.
As if simply giving up on waiting on news created the opening for news to come forward…

Looking at it this way, it may not have to do a whole lot with the (type of) news we are anticipating. Chances are it has more to do with the fact that we were waiting for it to happen.

After all, waiting in and of it self has an immobility that comes with it. As long as we are waiting, we seem to be frozen in time, stagnant, without permitting ourselves to take any kind of action whatsoever. Almost as if we stop living our lives while awaiting word on how to proceed.
And therein lies the problem. As soon as we stop living our lives from within ourselves, from our inner wishes and desires ~ our passion even ~ and start waiting for something outside of ourselves to bring word, news, and permissions to move forward, we have disempowered ourselves.
This then, makes waiting a disempowering passing of time.

That is why as soon as we take back our empowerment, when we stop waiting for news and start taking any kind of action in our own individual lives; we may find the news ~ in whichever form we are looking for it ~ right at our fingertips!
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Alienation

To me, alienation is both interesting as a word, as well as an interesting concept.

Perhaps more so since talk about ‘Aliens’ in the sense of extra-terrestrials has become more commonplace. In that particular sense, it raises all kinds of interesting questions which at some point or other all seem to come down to the realization that the universe is a pretty big place, making it unlikely our planet is the only inhabited one…

However, it does show how ‘Aliens’ are not of this world. They are separate from our world and separate from us humans.
Being alienated means to become separated from a group, a culture, a way of thinking or believing, a country even. “You are not one of us because you are not like us, and therefore you are alien to us.”

In this point in time with all of its polarities, it seems that alienation has become the polarity of connectedness, or commonality. Where common interests and the desire to share are getting stronger ~ feeling connected with others ~ also a certain alienation is taking place. Sometimes because we are extremely focused on ourselves and our own lives; other times perhaps out of fear for the differences between us. Differences in language, culture, religion, and on and on, can keep us from feeling connected to that other person. And as soon as we would start pushing those that are different from us away from us, alienation has begun.

And the more we are out to defend our own ‘Kingdom’, the more ‘alien nations’ are brought into this world…

From a broader perspective it seems that we are not seeing the whole picture and not understanding what we are seeing.
It is something that can drive us away ~ alienate us ~ or intrigue us…

When it intrigues us, chances are that it awakens our curiosity and imagination. We want to know more about it ~ and while it may never become something we truly resonate with, we can on some level still feel connected to it.

In art it is called the alienation effect, when what has been depicted has become so abstract that it needs the imagination of the spectator in order to be interpreted. That in itself has a certain beauty to it, as each individual interpretation is a correct interpretation ~ for that person ~ and when all those individual interpretations are taken together, chances are that they are all connected to one another. That they together describe an experience that creates wholeness.

A wholeness that may well be the new point of balance between those polarities: alienation and commonality.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The song-line of our lives


In Australian Aboriginal belief, a song-line a route through the landscape which is believed to have been traveled during the Dream-time and which features a series of landmarks thought to relate to events that happened during this time.
While traveling the same route, it is then important to sing the song of that particular line in order to keep that route in existence.

If we look at our lives from the perspective of a song-line, it may give us some interesting views to ponder…

First and foremost, while we may not be singing our lives into being every step of the way, the manner in which we talk about it and the way we plan the routine of our days, we seem to do just that: We keep (re)creating the same path that we have traveled for some time. Doing the same things at the same times; meeting the same people at the same events, and so on.

The question that may come up is whether the path we are walking through life at this point in time was conceived during ‘Dream-time’. In other words, are we living the life we dreamed about when we were young(er)? If so, that’s great! Than we are probably right on track!
If not; then how did we end up here? And what is keeping us from ‘dreaming up’ a new life path?

Sometimes, life just throws us a curb-ball, and we find ourselves moving in a direction that at the time seems our very best option. And as life continues, we make our choices based on where we are at, rather than based on the dreams we used to dream. And while sometimes our new path turns out way more fulfilling than the trail we dreamed about could ever have been, other times it seems that somewhere down the line we have lost our way…

If that is the case, than perhaps it is time to start singing a different song to create the line, or path, of our lives. A song that is based on dreams that we are dreaming now…
A song that has new words, and expresses new desires. A song that voices what we need in life, rather than what we want.

In other words, perhaps it is time to talk different about our lives.
A good start could be to take the words ‘but’ and ‘I cannot’ out of our vocabulary, and perhaps replace them with ‘I am going to’ and a clear ‘yes or no’. To do away with excuses, and to stand up for the things we need and desire out of our lives.
If that is going to be our new song, chances are we will create the path through life we have always dreamed about!
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Friday, December 18, 2015

Flying under the radar


When a conscious choice is made to ‘fly under the radar’, it is usually one aiming at stealth; at approaching a target unseen. To navigate a ~ perceived ~ dangerous or tumultuous situation without drawing attention to ourselves.

Flying under the radar implies that that we intent to get somewhere unseen.

The big question it raises is whether it is a strategic choice we have made ~ a conscious choice of stealth ~ or if it is because ~ to say it bluntly ~ we are too much of a chicken to face up to what we are doing or where we are going…

There are times when it is just easier to do the things we want to do in our own way, at our own time. Sometimes the most effortless way to accomplish that is to do it quietly, unseen and unheard.
Other times we may expect trouble, like arguments or opposition, and we choose to not want that in our lives. Perhaps because we are unwilling to spend our energy arguing our case; or maybe because we are ~ deep in side of ourselves ~ we somehow believe that they might be right.

And that is just the thing. When it comes right down to it, we really should be aware of why we are flying under the radar. For what reason do we desire to be not recognized? Is it just because we stealthily are approaching this one goal we have set for ourselves? Or has it become a way of life we have adopted somewhere along the line?

A good question to ask ourselves is if we, when we have achieved something; reached our goal, do we set out to tell the world? Brag about it?
Or do we downplay our accomplishments? Hide them, and when someone asks us, or even compliments us about it, brush it off as something ‘anybody could have done’. Anybody would have, or could have done that…

If we do the latter, than perhaps it is time for a reality check!
To ask ourselves why we feel we have to live our lives unnoticed, and perhaps unappreciated. And more importantly, why we may not feel worthy enough to be seen, and to be celebrated upon achieving our goals.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with flying under the radar, as long as it is a conscious, strategic  choice of stealth. But as soon as we choose to do it just because we don't want to be see; don’t want to attract attention to ourselves, then it is time to re-evaluate our reasons to do so!
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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The real, the unreal, and the imagined


Perhaps today more so than, say, fifty years ago, it is a lot harder to determine what is real and what is not. Technology moves ahead at great speed, and things most of us didn’t even dare dream about fifty years ago are now commonplace.
This makes it interesting to ponder the reality of things, as it proves that what many will say is unreal, a fantasy even, can become reality for the masses in just a few short decades.

Clearly, the reality of things no longer lie in their solid existence, but rather in courageous imagination and the determination to create.
However, that is not by any means a nice sharp line; it is more of a grey area. Because what one person can imagine and ultimately create, to another person will be unreal until the ultimate creation has taken place. And to not let our imagination be dimmed by people who deem it a fantasy, an unrealistic plan that is not ever going to work, those with fertile imagination may keep their visions to themselves until the product of their creation is there for all to see. Whether it is as a finished product or as a prototype.

It makes it hard to determine whether anything we hear or read about has a foundation in reality ~ even when we cannot imagine that particular reality yet ~ or if what is being said about it is, indeed, a fantasy. Something unreal, made up by someone for reasons only that person will know for sure. Is it something invented as an innocent prank, to pull someone’s leg? Or does it have a more negative, perhaps even evil reason why it was concocted?

And yet, that is exactly what we set out to do every day. We read things, hear things; and it is up to us to find out if there is any reality, and truth to it or not. And some things that are unreal; that are bogus thoughts and ideas, built from deceptive arguments can sound very believable!

Our best approach may be to not believe everything we hear and read to be true, and to ask ourselves the question: “Is this real to me, in my life as I am living it today?”

If it is, then there is our answer! Even if it ~ in time ~ will turn out not to be factually true, at least it is part of our current ‘personal truth’.
If it is not, we may be best off with a ‘wait and see’ approach, rather than joining the fray. Giving it time to play out, before we find ourselves being part of it…
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Friday, December 11, 2015

The core



Ultimately, the only thing that truly counts is the core, the very essence of ourselves; where the heart of the matter coincides with the desires of our soul.

And while I believe this to be true, it would not be a good idea to then think too lightly about the temple we house this core of ourselves in. Nor would it be a good idea to stop respecting and valuing the things that make up our lives, only because they are physical and therefore a more outward display of who we are, and where we are coming from.
After all, if not for our physical surroundings ~ of both our core, as well as in the sense of shelter and the things we choose to keep close at hand ~ the essence of ourselves would not be able to exist in this world.

So where the two perspectives seem mutually exclusive at first, it is all about finding the balance. Not even a balance between them, where we are balancing these perspectives such that they can both be part of our lives ~ sort of. But rather finding a balance within ourselves where both perspectives fully coexist at the same time in the same space…

It is like valuing a thing of beauty, and keeping it in our immediate environment, without feeling the need to collect beautiful things for the sake of collecting, or as a status symbol.

If we place an importance on our core, on that point where the heart of the matter coincides with the desires of our soul ~ then the guidance as to pretty much anything and everything we live for should come from within, from the essence of ourselves.

This would mean that we can ask ourselves every step of the way whether whatever we are doing is because it has (inner) meaning to us, or rather because we feel we have to. Either because we feel it is expected of us, because ‘we were raised that way’, because we want to ‘belong’; or whatever the (outer) reason we come up with.
It doesn’t mean we retract ourselves from society, however it does mean that we start honoring the authentic core of ourselves.

In other words, we would still have a job, have relationships, have a car, a house; all the good things in life with ~ if we so desire ~ a cherry on top! But we would stop doing things that take us away from the very essence of ourselves.

We might even take time every day to cultivate the connection with the core of ourselves, and in doing so getting an ever greater understanding of that point where the heart of the matter coincides with the desires of our soul…

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lost

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There are many ways in which we can get lost. The most simple manner is to just not knowing the way to where we are headed; missing the road signs, losing directions ~ and there you are; somewhere entirely different than you had in mind when you started out.
Another way to get lost is when we loose track of a line of thought, or even a the explanation of something. When it gets to be too involved, we get lost in something that we either don’t quite understand, or may not be all that interested in…

However, the most lost I have felt in a long time has nothing to do with either one of the above.
It was when a long time project was nearing its end. It had taken years of my time, not necessarily in any organized fashion. It had been more like solving one problem after another as they came up. On many occasions I just dropped everything I was doing in order to keep track of whatever was happening at that time.

And then came that first day when there was nothing left to do.

One might think it would feel like a happy time. After all, the project was finished and I could be proud to have given it everything. And yet, the only thing I felt was lost.
Nothing left to do; nowhere left to go.

Not on the ~ now finished ~ project; nor on my own stuff. The things I always so enjoy doing.

It felt like I was standing in a wide open space, with absolutely nothing around me. No sun, no moon; no differences in color, no breeze… No bright light, no shadows, and no darkness. No guidance. No directions. Just space.

Like a new beginning that lacks any roots, any foundation; nothing to start building upon. And as it turns out, without any clues as to what to begin anew with.
No inspiration, no key, no path that I could choose to embark on. No desire to do anything at all.

Lost.

I guess this happens after any project that we have given a good part of our energy and time. Once it is finished there is that space where no plans are made yet. A sort of in between that which is finished and that which is yet to start.

It is not a bad place to take a deep breath, before embarking upon a new adventure. Then again, it is not a good place to get stuck; to dwell upon the past.
Yet whether we move on quickly, or take our time before we make new plans and start our new beginning ~ eventually we will find ourselves finding new direction, making new plans, and embarking upon new adventures.
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Friday, December 4, 2015

Ancestors

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In many cultures our ancestors are deemed very important. They are honored, and even after they have passed into that other world a place will be kept for them in this world.

Truth be told, if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here right now! So from that perspective there is no doubt our ancestors deserve our respect and gratitude. They have brought us into this world, for us to live our own lives, walk our own paths, and yes, learn our own lessons. Without them we couldn’t have made it this far.

But the reverence for our ancestors goes further than that.
It is through our ancestors that we are born into a certain culture, both a ‘family culture’ as well as the culture that is part of the area they lived in, and therefore we grew up in. Through our ancestors we were raised according to certain principles and habits; but also with a foundation of things learned, abilities and professions that often can be traced back for generations.
As such, our ancestors truly are the roots we are growing from.

That wisdom of the ancestors was passed on from generation to generation; from mother to daughter, father to son. And when we find ourselves in a situation we don’t know how to handle, we may call upon those that have more experience…

So we call our parents.
We call our mom for that awesome recipe that her mom used to make. We call our dad for advice.

And sometimes it seems like we should take the time to do that more often.
Somehow, in our zest to do everything we want to do in our lives our own way, in our desire to figure things our for ourselves, we forget that the previous generation(s) has accumulated a wealth of wisdom that we can tap into. We may even feel that how they did things was ‘backward’, outdated, and that their ways have no place anymore in today’s fast paced, digital society.

Let alone that we set a space apart for our ancestors. An alter, a closet, a little room where we can be with those who went before us. Where we can call upon the wisdom and the help of those with far more experience than we have. A place where we can remember the stories of our grandparents and great-grandparents.
A place where we can go in order to re-attach ourselves to our roots…

Perhaps that is something that just doesn’t fit our belief-system, our perspectives on life anymore. And there is nothing wrong with that. Although it might be a good idea to every once in a while pause, and realize that we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them…
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Friday, November 27, 2015

Descriptions

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It seems that the more important something is in our lives, the more words we have to describe it. For instance, when we are experiencing a dry spell in the weather, chances are that ‘rain’ ceases to be just ‘rain’, but rather gets a more descriptive word attached to it.
As long as it is not truly raining yet, there can be a mist, a fog, a drizzle… Then when the amount increases it may ‘look like rain’, or ‘almost forming puddles’. And then, when there finally is that great big downpour everybody has been waiting for for so long, it is ‘raining cats and dogs’.

When there is too much precipitation in an area, the focus may be how to drain all that water from roads, pastures and gardens in such a way that it doesn’t hinder our lives. And suddenly sewers, channels, conduits, ditches, culverts, ducts, pipes, gutters, troughs, sluices, spillways, races, flumes, and chutes become important.

Language is funny like that.

But then of course it is not language in and of itself that brings all those words to mind. It is our thinking, our focus that brings all the words pertaining to that topic to the foreground. The more something is on our mind, the more we are pondering a concept, considering where it will lead us, contemplating the consequences ~ the more ways we will find to describe what is going on.

That way we give ourselves the opportunity to be more and more precise in our account on what is going on in our lives, and in our direct environments. We give ourselves a chance to be more detailed in our explanation.

As language tends to be descriptive, depending on what is important in a particular area, a specific culture, or a distinct way of life, those concepts almost always can be described well, and in enormous detail, with a single word or sentence.

Looking at this from the opposite direction, one could say that when we need many words and sentences to describe something, it may be a concept or topic that we are not (yet) very familiar with. It may be something we have just discovered, or something that we are finding has a greater meaning and significance to us than we had thought up to that point.

And therefore we could perhaps also state that the greater need we feel to be detailed in our depiction of what is going on in our lives, the more important it is to us…

Whichever way we look at it, listening carefully to the descriptions used by someone can give us a whole lot more knowledge on what is going on than just the factual information we are given at that point in time…
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Initiative

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It seems that in this point in time the big question ~ one that may shape our lives more than any other question ~ is whether we take the initiative, or rather sit back and wait for that golden opportunity to come our way.

Just looking around, meeting and observing people who, each in their own way, are working so hard to make things work for them; it certainly seems that the time in which ‘Good things come to those who wait!’ has passed.
On the other hand, how much of an initiative should we take? How forceful should we be in ‘making things happen’, before we become too pushy?
Where is that fine line between being patient, and being inactive? That line between ‘making things happen’ and ‘forcing things to go our way’?

There is no one answer to those questions as it is a personal process we go through. It has everything to do with the (personal) choices we make and what we, as an unique individual desire in our lives.

That being said, it does seem that taking the initiative works better nowadays, than to sit and wait for things to happen. Even if that initiative is to ask the Creative Force in a meditation to point you in the right direction.
In other words, we have to let the ‘Powers That Be’ know that we are ready for (some kind of) action. That we are eager to bring new and different things into our lives, and that this ~ at least from our perspective ~ is a good time to get started with it.

On the other hand, when we have always pushed things right to the limit in order to make them happen the way we see fit ~ we may be running into walls more often now than we used to do. It can be a case of taking too much initiative, and perhaps it is time to take a step back and see what comes our way…

In this time of polarities, the point of balance lies somewhere in the middle.
If we don’t start getting the ball rolling, nothing will happen. On the other hand, if we kick that ball far and wide; we may loose that ball altogether.

When we take the initiative ~ based on a plan that suits our personal desires ~ we are entering into a conversation. It is a conversation not just with the other parties needed to make our plan a reality, but also a conversation with the ‘Powers That Be’; that sense that is there often without us being able to truly point at it. It is often expressed as a ‘gut-feel’…
So when we take the initiative, it is a good thing to listen to all the information that comes back to us; be it from people, in energy, or that deep inner gut-feel. And as soon as we do that, chances are we are on a roll!
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Friday, November 20, 2015

A small world

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Have you ever had an experience like you have traveled abroad for your holidays, and in a restaurant you meet a class mate from high school? Or something similar?
It really is a small world!

This is certainly also the case when we are talking about whatever is happening in the world.
Any newsworthy event often will be broadcasted around the world within minutes of it happening. This means that we don’t have to travel places to unexpectedly meet old friends anymore, in order to tell ourselves and others that it is a small world.
With a continued newscast on whatever is happening in any place in the world, it may well seem that whatever it is, is happening right in our own backyard.

The good thing about it is that we are instantly aware of things that are taking place, and with that awareness comes the opportunity to react immediately ~ be it through sending light and healing, by being angry and engaging in a war-like manner (Not sure if that would do any good, but…), or by sending humanitarian help.
The other side of it is that, as it feels it is happening on everybody’s own backyard, everybody wants to do something about it. Everybody wants a piece of the action, in a sense. Even when they are living half-way across the world…

Then there are any number of perspectives in between; including the positions of countless ‘armchair quarterbacks’ from around the world.

And when everybody has put their two cents in, chances are that the solution is not any closer.
Often because we all react as if it has happened in our own back yard, where we decide on whether to use it for barbecuing or rather plant an ‘English style’ garden. And as we come up with our solution to solve the problem at hand ~ a solution that would work really well in our own back yard ~ it may not help quite as much solving the situation in the actual place where it took place.

Then again, with so many points of view, we should be able to pool our resources more effectively and come up with the ‘perfect solution’ every time.
But this might take ‘bigger people’. People who are willing to listen to each other, who don’t take every word personally. People who stand up for what is truly important, not only to themselves, but to humanity as a whole. People who set out to find solutions rather than win elections, perhaps…

Whichever way we look at it, it seems that the smaller the world gets, the bigger people we need to be!
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Friday, November 13, 2015

Personal roots

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We tend to look at our roots as a base, a foundation that rests in family, culture, and the little rituals that go with them. And while these are absolutely part of our roots, there is a third part to our roots that can be much more personal.

Rather than looking at family and culture, we can also from a very personal perspective observe where we have come from through our memories.

These can be memories of early childhood. For instance, the earliest memory we can recall in all likelihood tells us something about what is important to us throughout our lives.
They can also be memories that seem to come from other times, other places, and yes other cultures entirely. Memories of totally different life-experiences where we may have been doing things, learning things, that somehow tie in to our current every day lives.

It is not terribly important whether we sense those memories as things we are imagining, or truly as a reality we had once be part of. Whether we have that ‘wild imagination’ or a perspective that allows us to re-experience what once was, either way the images that come up ~ the visions we become aware of ~ are part of our personal roots and form (part of) the foundation of life as we are living it.

At first glance, these intensely personal roots may be totally different from the values and principles of the family and culture we grew up in. Although often there will be ties between the two…

This way it may happen we grew up in a family where our father and father’s father were doctors, while we ~ based on our personal roots ~ appear to have a great affinity for shamanism and healing.
It illustrates how the tie may be obvious, albeit not an easy one necessarily!
For having the shamanic/healing affinity may prompt us to break with family tradition ~ something that  in some families is frowned upon to say the least…

And yet, that set of memories or imaginations that form our personal roots are an important part of how we live our lives. While on one hand we have absolutely a free will choice to actually pursue whatever these memories and imaginations are telling us; they often will link us to our heart’s desires. They can point us into that very direction in life we feel truly passionate about.
Not from a perspective that says that we have to turn back the clock and become that person we were in our memory or imagination; but rather taking those visions ~ those affinities ~ and bringing them forward into this point in time.

Growing a new tree upon old, old personal roots.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Family lines

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Family lines are interesting as they can show us where we come from. Not only where we come from physically, but also where we come from geographically. And that can be both surprising and eye-opening as it can let us see where this ‘thing’ that always is done a certain way within our family line actually comes from. That ‘thing’ can be a specific manner of speech, a gesture, a habit; yet whatever it is, if we go back far enough down our family line we are likely to find the source of it.

The more familiar we are with our family lines, the more we may feel an affinity with family members of previous generations. Suddenly we sense with which family member something like for instance a great appreciation for nature has started.  And bit by bit we can become aware of traits and trades that are important to us.

But there are more things that come with family lines, for instance the things that ‘run in the family’. Things like ‘creativity’, ‘sportsmanship’, ‘athletic abilities’, ‘intelligence’, ‘commercial prowess’, and on an on.

And then there are also the ‘family burdens’.
There may be illnesses that ‘run in the family’, or attitudes that set the family apart in a way that may be interesting, although perhaps not altogether positive. There may even be so called ‘family karma’, life lessons that seem to come up generation after generation within the same family.

What we do with it in our own lives, of course is totally up to us.
We can use our ‘commercial prowess’ in the family business, or start our own business; or even find ourselves a really good marketing job. And then again, we can choose to not use that specific trade that runs in the family at all.
And whether it is about the ‘family burdens’ or the more positive things that run in the family, either way it is important to make that choice. To decide if and how we want to bring that particular trait forward into our own lives, into the culture we are living in right now, into this point in time.

Because today is the point in time that we can make our choices, our decisions; this point in time is when we can make a difference!
And while we are part of a family line, it is up to us to take the next step. It is up to us to decide whether we follow suit, or rather apply ourselves in a totally different, new way or field.

And that doesn’t deny where we have come from, or any of the things that ‘run in the family’. Those things just give us the best set-up possible to reach and unfold our utmost potential!
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Sands of time

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From the moment the hourglass is ‘flipped’, the sands of time start streaming down. Kernel by kernel it falls through the narrow opening making it very visible how the minutes, the hours, the days move by.
The fine, dry sand is almost impossible to grab a hold of. When we would try and hold it in our hands, chances are it will escape through the cracks between our fingers.
Just like time, we cannot stop its movement.
All we can do is watch how the sand in the top part of the hourglass diminishes as it slowly streams into the bottom part…

It can be somewhat hypnotizing to watch. Yet, as it is with time itself, just watching the sand fall from top to bottom is like feeling time slipping away through our fingers.

Like going through the motions, doing whatever is required of us; and yet having this sense that there should be more to life. Having the suspicion that we are missing exactly that one thing that life is all about; that makes all our hard work worthwhile.
That moment when we can sit back for a moment without telling ourselves ~ or being told by others ~ that we should get on with it, because ‘time is wasting’.

Perhaps the answer lies in how we perceive the sands of time.

What if…
Each kernel of sand in the hourglass represents a thought or action ~ even non-action ~ that we take? And each thought we have that is truly self-empowering, each action that is helping ourselves, humanity and even the universe starts moving in slow motion?

Then we can modify our thoughts, words, actions, and experiences in such a way that we ~ eventually ~ will have all the time in the world!

And if all the fine, dry sand on beaches and in deserts represent thoughts and actions from a different point in time? Either washed up on the shore to be re-examined, or patiently waiting for a change in climate that will transform it into fertile soil again.
In that case we may well benefit to listen to the sands of time…

More importantly; time, how we handle it, what we do with it ~ and how it treats us in return ~ are all under our own control. Our personal choices dictate whether time is slipping away from us, or if we ‘have all the time in the world’.
And while that doesn’t seem to have any influence on the clock on the wall ~ we may well find that as we choose to slow down the sands of time in our hourglass, we turn out to be more effective, more productive in whatever we choose to do in our lives, leaving us more time to just enjoy life!
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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A sense of safety

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Have you ever sought refuge?
Perhaps as a child in a scary situation, running to your parents or grandparents to hide from it in their company, or in their arms? Or when life has been so over the top busy that you went on a retreat, creating a moment of peace and calm into your life? Or even moving indoors when a turbulent thunder storm hits the area you live in, turning on all the lights so you won’t see the lightning?

I guess we are all in need of a place where we feel safe. A place we can hide out in when the world is just becoming a little bit too much to deal with ~ for whatever the reason. And for many of us that place is ‘home’. Whether ‘home’ is an area that we are familiar with, or literally the roof over our head and the walls it is resting on doesn’t really matter a whole lot in our every-day-lives.
When everything gets to be too much to handle, we hole up in our own space, and after cocooning for a couple of days, chances are we are looking at the world differently and are ready to face whatever lands on our (personal) paths.

There are times, though, when this solution is no longer available to us.
Usually when a force outside of ourselves ~ often even outside of our realm of influence ~ enters our lives, our space, our thoughts, and takes over every sense of ‘normalcy’ when had known in our lives up to that point.

Recent history divides those forces up into two categories:
  • Natural disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, active volcanos etc.
  • War.
Either way it can take over our lives and uproot us. Presenting us with a very real danger. Putting us in a situation where self-preservation makes us move away from all the things we had taken for granted; away from all the things we know and love in order to survive. In order for our children to survive.

It prompts us to move to any place that we can find that will provide us with a sense of safety. A sense that even if we fall asleep, we will survive the night…

The sad yet interesting thing is that this sense of safety is much more readily provided for those fleeing any natural disaster, than it is to those fleeing a war-torn environment. We seem much more tolerant to those seeking refuge from nature, than to those seeking refuge from war.

And yet, at one time or another each and every one of us has sought refuge ~ needing a space that gave us a sense of safety…
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Friday, October 30, 2015

Having all the answers

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Have you ever thought about what life would be like if we had all the answers?

At first glance it seems like something wonderful!
After all, when we have the answer, we will always know what to do next, which steps to take, which people to meet; where to go and what to do to really fast-track our lives.

Giving it some thought, however, makes me reconsider…

If any and all answers where handed to us on a silver platter, would we still be curious about something new? Marvel at how a new invention works? Or be in awe about an unexpected discovery we are stumbling upon, often while doing something totally different?

Or would we become jaded?
Start to just sit back and only take action when we know we will benefit from it ~ be it materially, physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually? Would we still be spontaneous?
When we already have all the answers, what would get us enthused? Would there still be adventures that would attract us?

Would we also have an answer to the miracles ~ big and small ~ we encounter in our lives?

I suspect that how we would receive the answers would make a difference in how having all the answers might change us.

If the answers would truly be ‘handed to us on a silver platter’, in other words, if there would be nothing we would have to do, focus on, or be aware of to gain the answers, the result may well be that we indeed would sit back and pick and choose what we want to experience based on the expected benefit.
However, if we would need to teach ourselves to focus, to be aware of all that is around us ~ being aware of any and every way the answers may come into our lives ~ and perhaps even learn some advanced meditative techniques in order to truly get that answer; then the result may be different.
Because that is hard work!

And it would bring a whole range of new and different questions into our lives. Like, are we willing to put in that amount of work? Do we trust the answers we get? Are we truly ‘here and now’; because that is in all likelihood where the answers are given? Or are we worried about something that happened somewhere else, or in a different time frame?

Either way, perhaps the question that remains unanswered the longest is what ways the Universe will find to nudge us in the right direction…
Because after all, we can only receive the answers to the questions we can perceive; moving forward in a direction we can see ourselves going. And sometimes the most interesting answers are given to the questions we could never have imagined.
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Friday, October 23, 2015

Questions and answers

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What are the questions that we truly need the answers to?
And to which questions do we want the answers? Sometimes desperately.

The questions we feel we need the answers to generally have to do with our path through life. Where are we headed? How can we make a difference? What is our next step in our (spiritual) growth? What are the things we are passionate about in life?

That last one is a funny one; one would think that we know what we are truly passionate about in life, however, when we start to think about it, things hardly ever are as clear-cut as they seemed to be when we asked ourselves that question. Of course there are also levels of answers. We can be passionate about certain kinds of foods, certain activities, and on and on.

However for most of us the most interesting answer lies at the crossroads of all four of the questions. In other words, when we find that there is (more or less) just one answer that applies to all four questions, we know we are on to something big!

The questions we want the answers to tend to be totally different. They are usually more along the lines of the winning numbers in the lottery, the stock market, the best car to buy, or best house to live in.
Each question may have one or more answers that will turn out to be correct. The answers also may change; sometimes from week to week, other times as we progress on our path through life. Yet each answer will be very specific to that very question. There is hardly ever a point where those questions and answers all come together at one point in time.

Another difference between the questions we need the answers to and those we want the answers to, is that for the answers we need, we have to turn inside ourselves. To those questions the answers are pretty much every time to be found inside ourselves.
The questions we want the answers to, often can benefit from interaction outside of ourselves; from input from others, or even from reading up on the research others have already done; statistics others have already put together. And when we have done our due diligence, we pick the best answer we can find to that question.

Perhaps it is that difference between the answers we need ~ that are to be found inside ourselves ~ and the answers we want ~ which we can find doing the required research ~ that when asked if we have any questions we need answered at this point in time, we have a hard time coming up with any question at all…
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The short end of the stick

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Throughout our lives we are bound to find ourselves on the short end of the stick on occasion. When things don’t work out the way we had envisioned, or even when we find ourselves in circumstances where we get hurt ~ whether it is just our pride that is hurt, our ego, an emotional or physical hurtful experience…

Those experiences are never ‘good’ experiences.
Without exception ~ certainly right when it happens ~ we know we could have done without that episode.

On the other hand, depending on how we handle our involvement in the situation and what happened to us, we may come out (a lot) stronger than we ever thought we were. Or we can find ourselves sinking in a pool of negativity.

Coming out a stronger person usually means that we have learned from the situation. Whether we have learned discernment (“I don’t need to get involved in a situation like that ever again”), or whether we look at it from a ‘life lessons’ perspective (“What has been my attitude about myself and/or my life that has permitted that situation to come into my life in the first place?”), chances are that we will change our lives to such extend that whatever happened to us won’t happen again.

Sinking in a quagmire of negativity, however, may land us in an attitude that tells us that the whole world is against us, out there to get us. And everybody we meet will do things to purposely hurt us.
This means that every innocent conversation is taken personally. And every ‘off the cuff’ remark is taken as a personal affront.

Without a reality check, it is an attitude that is hard to step away from!
Because the negative attitude in and of itself becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy…

After all, we like to be among happy people rather than negative, unhappy people. So pretty soon those with a negative outlook on life may find themselves being alone more often than they would care for as slowly ~ over time ~ friends and family turn away from them.
And come to think of it, when every comment, every remark is taken as an insult, there is not a whole lot to talk about either.
And in the ensuing loneliness it is easy to propagate the negative attitude by observing that ‘nobody likes me’.

As the negative spiral goes down further and further, it may also become harder and harder, not only to ask for, but also to accept help to get out of the quicksand the person may find themselves in…

It is a way where how we handle things we encounter in life try can get us on the short end of the stick.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Harvest



Today is a day to harvest the grapes that are growing over my patio. The birds have been enjoying them for some time, and it seems a shame to not taste any of them myself ~ even though this is not really a terrific climate to grow grapes that are truly sweet…
Other years I have made grape juice out of it; chances are that is going to happen this year as well.

Another perspective is that the abundant amount of grapes is part and parcel of my more personal harvest this year. A bonus handed to me for all the hard work I have put in, as the seasons moved from one into another. Taking this into consideration, I’m double grateful for this time of harvest!

Pondering that thought it does seem funny how the return to our labor ~ to the energy expended ~ can come in such unexpected ways. Especially since I haven’t given my patio and the plants growing there much thought this year. My attention was needed elsewhere. And while there doesn’t seem to be a big ‘return’ with those things I have spent my time and energy on, suddenly I find there are buckets full of grapes, right there in my own patio…

It is unexpected as we tend to look at things from a more two-dimensional perspective of cause and effect. “This is what I am working on, so this is where the results will manifest.”
And when they don’t, we are easily discouraged as we have worked so hard for so little result.

But perhaps we are looking at it the wrong way. Maybe, when we are making the most of walking our personal paths, planning and doing whatever it is we feel we need to plan and do, the results come back to us in a more multi-dimensional way. By suddenly finding ourselves being in the right place at the right time to meet this person we were meant to meet. Or by finding that we have, often unknowingly, accomplished something that ~ while it is truly nice ~ never was a ‘blip’ on our radar.

To notice the full result of our labor over a full year, we may have to look not just at those things we know we have been working on, but also become aware of the little ~ and sometimes big ~ bonuses that may come our way from places where we least expected them to come from…
And then to not just recognize them, but also being grateful for it!
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Friday, October 9, 2015

Taking care of business

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Nowadays it seems we are all very busy ~ whether that is with a job, with family, sports, or social events; we manage to spend our time like there is no tomorrow.

Gone are the quiet mornings, the lazy afternoons, and long walks; and meeting with friends and acquaintances can only be done by appointment. Mainly because each and every one of us is taking care of business, doing all of those things that absolutely need to be done.

It seems that this, while it in itself is certainly not a bad thing, comes to a point ~ especially in the energy we are living in nowadays ~ where we need to evaluate whether we are focusing on the ‘right’ kind of business. In other words, in the ever higher energies of today it becomes more and more important to figure out where we want to spend our time and energy.

Spending time and energy on a job ~ be it working for a company, being self-employed, or any other way through which we create our livelihood ~ is a good thing. We just need to make sure that we actually like the job we are doing, enjoy the work and the people we work with; even be passionate about creating the best results.
And the time we spend with family; is that really the quality time we would like it to be? Or is it more like saying ‘hello, goodbye’ to each other as one person comes in while the other is just about to leave? Which in and of itself is not a bad thing; yet the question we may want to ask ourselves is whether it is enough?
And our social contacts, are they our true friends? Or are they people we meet occasionally, and who only seek us out when they need us to do something for them? Or the other way around; us getting in touch with them because we need to get something done?

The recurring question is whether whatever business it is we are taking care of; is it what we really want to be doing at this point in time? Is it where we want to spend our time and energy? And whatever it is that we get out of it; is that enough?
When our answers to all of these questions is ‘yes’, without any hesitation at all; we are right where we should be! But if by answering these questions we feel any doubt, we may need to re-evaluate where we spend our time and energy. And perhaps make that our business that needs taking care of…
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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn song

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That time of year when the temperatures drop and nature seems to turn inside itself always is like a song to me. When the tall grass falls over and changes color from a vibrant green into a somewhat drab yellow-brownish, when the leaves turn into bright, exuberant oranges, reds and yellows before finally falling. When mushrooms and fungi thrive in the moist, sometimes still warm environment, and the scents in nature are stronger than they have been all year…
All of that adds up to that Autumn song. A song that is sometimes subtle ~ even hard to hear ~ while at other times it is wild, eccentric and abundant. A song that sings of accomplishments and achievements.

It is the final outburst of color ~ and song ~ before nature quiets down for its hibernation of sorts during the Winter months. A final pad on the back for a job well done. And sometimes it seems that the greater the ‘bragging rights’ the more abundant the colors, the scents, and the song are. And from that perspective, the song of Autumn is definitely a celebration!

Nature has a way of doing that throughout the seasons; sowing the seeds, allowing them to germinate, to grow and flourish, to finally harvest the achievement of that cycle of the seasons. To celebrate the accomplishment. And in all of its color, scent and sound it tells the world about it.

Us humans don’t seem to do these things quite as much.
Even when we are aware of the cycle of the seasons, we plan and scheme; we find structure and work hard to make our plans reality in our world. And when the time comes to celebrate our achievement, we often see all the things we didn’t do, the things we haven’t accomplished, and the faults in our original planning first and foremost. We seem to focus on the things that go wrong instead of on the things that go right; and rather than being grateful and celebrating, singing our ‘Autumn song’, we find ourselves stuck in a quiet murmur of negativity.

Perhaps this is the year ~ the time ~ to consciously focus on our personal ‘Autumn song’. To focus on the things we are grateful for in our lives; to truly see our achievements over the past year or so, and to celebrate our accomplishments. Even when they are not the things we set out to do, or planned.

After all, sometimes our greatest accomplishments can be found in the fact that we handled those things the universe has thrown our way effectively and with grace…
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Friday, October 2, 2015

The promised land

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Apart from the biblical meaning of the promised land, there are many aspects of our wishes and desires that constitute our own, personal promised land…

That personal promised land is more common than we might think. When we are very young, the promised land is when we can walk. Later it is that time that we are allowed to do things on our own. As teenagers the promised land may be that time when we pass our drivers test and obtain a drivers license; and finally having that drivers license it opens the world to us!

During our lives there are those wishes and desires we may cherish that, each in their own right, become our promised land. At least for a while. And after that we have either reached our personal promised land, or we have moved on and are now desiring something different.
For instance when we may have wished for a grand mansion to live and enjoy and to raise our family in. At some point in our lives we may come to the realization that we are better served with a smaller, more modest abode. Sometimes even in a different setting; more quiet, more culturally stimulating, or perhaps in a setting where we are surrounded by like-minded people…

Throughout history there have also been times when people started moving from one place to another in (family)groups; sometimes over quite expansive distances. Often driven by needs rather than desires, and looking for a place where they would have a better chance to not just survive, but also thrive.
They would bring the culture they were raise in with them, which often became an instigation for new things, new perspectives in the places they ended up settling in.

In other words, the fact that they moved to their ‘promised land’ benefited not only them, but it advanced the whole area they traveled to.

And yet, chances are that even in those days they were met with strong opposition by those that didn’t understand their language, their behavior, and their way sin general. The argument that may well have been used as a ‘catch-all’ reason to oppose those new-comers could have been that they were taking away the food as they were hunting the same grounds, or tried their hands at agriculture in the same area where others had been living for generations…

Looking at the world of today, nothing much has changed.
We, who have lived here for generations, still try and deny the ‘new-comers’ their ‘promised land’; and we are doing so from the same fear-based thoughts and reasons that have been used throughout the ages.

Perhaps it is time to focus on our own wishes and desires, to reach for our own, personal promised land, benefiting from the newness that new perspectives bring as others come to join in that place we know so well.
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Friday, September 25, 2015

Bette Davis eyes

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Some descriptions are best done by comparison. When my mom was young, people often commented on how much she looked like Ingrid Bergman; and she did! And in the song a girl is compared to both Bette Davis as well as Greta Garbo:
She got Greta Garbo stand off sighs
She's got Bette Davis eyes
It can only mean one thing, placed in that context; the girl is downright beautiful!

When we compare people to other people, it is all about context.

If the person we are compared to has grace, is smart, funny, and has Bette Davis eyes ~ the comparison is meant to be a good thing. However, if the person we are compared to is loud, abrasive, well dressed and rich; things are not as clear-cut as the comparison may mean we are (too) loud, (too) abrasive. But it can also mean we are well dressed and generous, often depending on the conversation, opinion, or on how well liked the person we are compared to is.

This is even more true when we are compared to acquaintances or friends, than when we are compared to public figures. No matter which public figure we pick, each of them has something others may appreciate; something others would hope they could achieve. Whether it is a skill, an income, the house, the ability to move in circles most of us can only dream about…
Yet when we are compared to friends or acquaintances, suddenly it is more about how well we like that other person, rather than the perks and prices the other person possesses.

And just like that we have moved from innocent comparison into gossip and veiled insults.
First talking about someone behind their back, and then comparing someone to them hardly ever brings anything good into being…

But then, even innocent comparison has its drawbacks. As soon as we compare any person to someone else, whether we compare the person to a celebrity or to a peer, we stop seeing that person as the unique individual he or she truly is. We start thinking about that person as ‘dressed like …’, or ‘sounds like …’, or ‘can sing like …’ without appreciating the person ‘as is’.
And when less sought after qualities enter into the comparison, not only do we distract from who the person really is, but often we add just a tinge of insult into the mix.

So I, for one, am very careful not to compare people to other people.
Unless, that is, she’s got Bette Davis eyes!
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Weight

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There are few things ~ at least on a personal level ~ that we think about as much as we think about our weight. And as time moves on, this seems more true than ever.

Part of that is because our weight has been linked to disease. Being ‘skinny’ ~ within reason ~ gives us a chance to be healthier than when we are a little on the chubby side. When we are overweight the media all around us seems to conspire to let us know that we are at risk (and that it is our own fault).

It has been a well established fact there are all kinds of reasons we can have for eating.
We often eat because we are not feeling happy. We can also eat because we feel bad about ourselves; because we are insecure. Or because we are trying to forget things that have happened ~ sometimes even a long, long time ago ~ that still have an effect on us; on our lives. Or perhaps because we feel pressured by expectations that are put upon us, and we may feel that we can’t live up to those expectations. We don’t measure up ~ in our minds, that is.

Or we may have decided that we will shield ourselves from a cruel world by putting on some ‘padding’.  At least those others then cannot get too close to us…

And then there are the weights we carry. Emotional weights. And sometimes not even our own emotions, but rather the emotional weights of others ~ be it family members, friends, or neighbors.

Things like keeping a family secret can weigh heavy on our minds, and the longer it lasts, the heavier something like that tends to get. And what started out as a secret, a mental thing, can with time become a physical thing.
In other words, the mental or emotional loads we are carrying can become physical and very weighty indeed.

Perhaps this is a good time to start to not be so harsh on ourselves. To cut ourselves some slack.
To focus on the things we are passionate about, the things we are good at and enjoy doing. To do a reality check; there will always be things that a 10-year-old cannot do and shouldn’t be expected to do. However, as an adult we would and can handle things differently…
Maybe this is a perfect time to claim our own space, so we get a better understanding as to what is ours and what belongs to the world around us.
And those secrets and other ‘weighty’ things we are carrying around with us? We can put those aside by simply writing them down and shelving the book we wrote them in…

For many of us, at least part of our ‘weight’ has to do with choices and decisions that may or may not have anything to do with food…
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Friday, September 18, 2015

Trees, trunks, and litter boxes

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Last month it was decided that one of the few remaining big trees on the other side of the street was not in as good a health as it should be. As a matter of fact, it was decided that the old, big tree was not safe anymore and needed to come down before the next Winter storm would topple it and land it on the row of houses on this side of the street.

It was a sad day when the big willow tree came down.

For the next week or so, one of the cats who used to seek shelter at the foot of the tree, was still returning to seek shelter every night, right where the big trunk once stood…

When I moved here, many years ago, there was a whole row of big, old trees on the other side of the street. Now only one is left; all the others have come down over the past ten or so years. In their place other trees have grown; none of them quite as majestic as the ones that disappeared.
I guess even trees don’t have eternal life.

In this newest empty place, it is promised a new, young tree will be planted. Hopefully it will grow into one of those grand old trees in time.

What seemed to be the last chapter in the life of this tree was that this past week ~ with some big machinery ~ the remaining roots were ground out of the soil and the hole was filled in with fresh dirt, a clean slate, ready for new growth to occur. At least that no doubt was the line of thought behind this happening.

It hardly took a day before other cats went to explore this fresh pile of dirt. Carefully stepping into this dirt that ~ at least from their perspective ~ doesn’t quite belong. Yet.
They quickly decided that this fresh dirt has a major advantage.
As a fresh, outdoor litter box.

Ever since they have rushed outside at certain times, only to come back relieved, with fresh dirt still sticking to their feet, leaving nice, dirty paw prints on the clean floor.

The whole story adds up to a line of events that I would not have connected from start to finish, had I not been there to see it happen over time.
I wouldn’t have guessed the tree was feeble, as it still looked quite healthy. I wouldn’t have dreamed that one of my cats would seek shelter from the remaining energy of the tree, after it was taken down. I was doubtful whether the old roots would ever be removed. And finally, I never expected the excited joy over the newfound, outdoor litter box displayed by my other two cats.

Life is full of surprises!
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Catching a cold

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It’s just one of those common things, the common cold. And whenever we get it, the common expression is that we have ‘caught a cold’. In all reality, we were hardly catching a cold ~ we didn’t even try. The hard, cold fact is that the cold caught us.

Somehow, while we were busy with all kinds of things, perhaps even so busy that we didn’t quite take care of ourselves as well as we should have, the common cold caught up with us and grabbed hold…
Leaving us with only one course of action: taking it easy, recover, and ~ probably in a couple of days ~ kicking the cold.

As everything has a cycle, this is pretty much the cycle of catching a cold and kicking it again; the way we are looking at it most times.
In doing so, we tend to overlook that step that precedes this cycle. The period of time during which we were so busy that we didn’t look after ourselves.
Being too busy with a work related project, having too many balls in the air at home, or perhaps spending way too much time having way too much fun starting new things, meeting new people…
Or maybe just having closed a period that has been emotional, stressful. A period that had given us the idea that we were locked in a set of circumstances that we might not be able to change; leaving us to ride out the natural progression of whatever was set into motion long time ago.

Whatever has been happening in our lives, one way or another it has brought us to the brink of exhaustion, making us vulnerable for simple mishaps like the common cold. The moment we stopped running ~ even if it was for a couple of minutes, or to take a breath ~ it caught us.
And truth be told, it happens to the best of us every once in a while.

Whether we have been catching a cold, or the cold caught up with us, in a sense is less interesting than what action we take to get rid of it.
Clearly, the moment we find ourselves having the common cold, we recently have been or even still are in some kind of ‘overwhelm situation’ that is asking more from us than we can spend on it. So the best course of action for a speedy recovery might well be to take a ‘time out’.
Even though it is ‘just a cold’, taking time to step back from everything we have been doing and taking time to rest for a couple of days, often is enough to kick the cold, recover, and to move on with our lives.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Two sides to everything

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It seems to be more true than at any time before; there are two sides to everything. Often in the most literal sense possible.

This happens with our most personal decisions, it can be seen in work situations ~ whether ‘work’ means a job or a family doesn’t really matter ~ in politics… But perhaps it is most visible on social networking platforms where people take pretty much any opportunity they get to express their opinions, only to make both sides to the issue painfully obvious.

it wasn’t all that long ago when things were seen in all their nuances. Yes, they did have two sides, but in between those two polarities were any number of lines and levels, viewpoints and perspectives that were neither one, nor the other ‘side’ to the issue.
In a sense it made it easier to express our opinions; especially when out opinion could not be categorized as one or the other. It also invited us to keep making up our own mind, follow our own line of thought, and reach our own conclusions at the end of the line.

Now, there seems to be just the choice between one or the other.
No need to look at a multitude of possibilities, or spend time and effort to think things through for ourselves.
Yet, at the same time, it makes us feel more superficial. More two dimensional. And at times a bit more ‘outside of reality’. Because reality, whichever way you look at it, has any number of facets, levels, even sides if you wish; and it doesn’t let itself be forced into a very two-dimensional ‘one or the other’. And then, at the same time it does have two sides to it…

And that is where the conundrum lies.
Reality has two sides to it, and yet it has a multitude of facets…

As long as we only permit ourselves to choose one or the other, we may forget to observe what really is there in all of its nuances and facets. On the other hand, when we just allow ourselves to think it through and only focus on all of its nuances, we may miss the overview where we could have clearly seen those two sides.

Yes, we need all of it, the many facets as well as the two sides.
The only thing we don’t necessarily need is when those two sides to a situation, a topic, an issue or an event are brought to the surface, to draw our lines in the sand and to sound our battle cries…

That’s just not what it is about.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In the flow

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We absolutely know when we are ‘in the flow’. Whether it is being totally in sync with the traffic on our way somewhere, or doing something we very much enjoy doing ~ when we are in the flow things are moving smoothly, effortlessly; and it is easy to forget the time. Time either moves slowly, allowing us to do more, enjoy more than we thought we could; or time moves fast as we are so involved with whatever it is we are doing that we loose our sense of time completely.
We are just flowing with what we are doing, one hundred percent in this very moment.

Other times we find life gets busy and between work, family and social events there may be little time left to move with the flow. Pretty soon we start forcing our chores into the time we have available to do them. Sometimes taking shortcuts to get things done ~ even though they are not ‘done right’, at least it is out of our hair for now.
What started as just a busy period can evolve into an extended period of time in which we feel there is no time for the things we enjoy so much. After all, what is the importance of our enjoyment compared to things we have to do; like work, chores, and so on…
And before we know it, we may find that we are no longer ‘in the flow’; and perhaps haven’t been for a very long time.

The thing is that this attitude is hurting us more than we can imagine.
There is a reason why the saying tells us to take time to smell the roses…

If we don’t take time to smell the roses, to do something that gives us pure enjoyment ~ because well, we enjoy it ~ it is not just the ‘being in the flow’ that we are missing. We will start missing the minutes or hours that we gain energy from doing things we enjoy doing; from being ‘in the flow’ and for one hundred percent in this moment.

Therefore we should probably be a bit more aware ~ or even alarmed ~ when we find we are no longer in the flow of things, as it signals the very moment everything we are doing starts to cost us just that little bit more energy than it should. And it begins to take away from our joy in life, almost without us noticing it.
It would be a good thing to keep track and make sure that we find ourselves ‘in the flow’ at least once a week. Whether it is in traffic, in a creative endeavor, or just enjoying ourselves. If we would do that we will in all likelihood find that we have more energy to do the things that really need to get done!
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Complaints

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We all have our complaints about things. Whether it is about a (lack off) efficiency ~ usually associated with other people’s work ~ or about how things work in general; if it were up to us things would be different!
And while there is nothing wrong with optimizing how things are done, or finding new and innovative ways to get our chores done more efficiently; we have to be careful that we are not complaining just ‘as a matter of course’ ~ complaining for the sake of complaining ~ because that is when we are putting the message out there that there isn’t anything that comes our way that is ever ‘good enough’.

But perhaps the one thing that sparks most complaints ~ at any rate where I live ~ it is the weather.

Let me start by saying that the ‘perfect weather’ is a very personal thing. Some people like the weather hot, dry and with loads of sun day after day, while to others the perfect weather might be a cooler, more moist environment. Or anything in between…

And then there is the fact that, ultimately, the weather provides nature ~ in its broadest sense ~ with what it needs rather then bending to our every human whim.
Even the crops we plant are our choice, and if we could we would control the environment in which they grow up to a tenth of a degree and every drop of moisture that would fall on it. Which in turn may or may not benefit our neighbor’s crops, or nature in general.

Yet, whenever we do get ‘the perfect weather’, chances are we will experience a ‘perfect season’. A snowy Christmas, a cold Winter, a warming Spring, a hot and sunny Summer, a warm and comfortable ‘Indian Spring’, a stormy Fall ~ and so on.

But then again, according to our personal wishes, the weather is hardly ever truly perfect.
We get what nature needs rather than what we want.

Which bring me to one of the most interesting complaints I have heard in a long time!
It was made by the owner of a beach-side restaurant who didn’t think that this Summer had been a good one at all. His business had not done as well as he had envisioned because the weather forecast had been wrong too many times.
So not only did the weather itself not live up to his expectations; the forecast of it had fallen short, according to his complaint on national TV.

It makes me think that perhaps, just maybe, we should be a little be more grateful for the good things in life…
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

History

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History is the past; its study; its line of events. Pretty much in any way you look at it, it is a ‘has been’.
The question then becomes whether we just drop the subject. After all, it seems much more profitable to live in the present, to be aware of the present. To be ‘mindful’ in the ‘now’.

If we would go along with that line of thought, then anything that already has happened becomes unimportant. Live, learn and move on.
Letting go of the past.
From that same perspective, one might even say that when we would put any importance at all on things from the past ~ even history ~ it would get (at least part of ourselves) stuck in that past. And this then would be especially true for objects from the past that we may find ourselves holding on to, although it would certainly also be true for perspectives and attitudes from the past.

It is an interesting thing, the past.
On one hand we don’t want to get in a position where we live and re-live our history over and over again. So it stands to reason that observing our history with a critical eye is a good thing.
On the other hand it is also true that our history ~ whether that is our family history, our cultural history or even the history of world events ~ can get us in touch with our roots. It can show us where we have come from. Where we have been and what steps we have taken that have brought us here, today.
It can show us how far we have come.

Looking at it that way, holding on to some things from the past may be related to the respect we have for the steps we have taken…

The only thing to watch out for is that, while it is a good thing to know our roots, to be aware where we have come from and how much we have achieved since that time in some (sometimes very distant) past ~ we are living our lives right now!

And from that perspective our history is linked to our future (would that be ‘herstory’).
Making plans for our future is a good thing. Working towards a goal which may even be a couple of years out in the future can be quite productive, and we may even have some kind of object or token that helps us, or reminds us, where we want to go.
As long as we realize that the only way to get there is to live life right now.
In this very moment…
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Eat, drink and be merry

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The full saying is “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die”, in other words enjoy life while you can!

It is advice that has several different aspects to it. On the surface it seems to say that all there is for us to do is to enjoy the moment. Carpe Diem.
Yet if we take this advice to heart, it not only tells us to live in the moment, perhaps even be aware of this moment; it also tells us to not worry about things or situations that may or may not come up in our future. Or about things that may have happened in the past. To not worry about things that are not here, now, right in front of us…
No, better to eat, drink and be merry; the past is history, and the future will take care of itself (and if we do need to handle something, solve something we can do so if and when it comes up).

It also tells us that we can best be happy in this moment; because while we may not literally die tomorrow, chances are that we learn from what we experience today such that tomorrow we are a new and different, a transformed person.

On the surface it even seems to tell us that it really doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we ‘eat, drink and be merry’ today.
Now, I am all for big doses of merriment and happiness!

But it does bring up the question on how we view our food today.
It seems that more and more people are intolerant to parts of that same diet that didn’t give our parents and grandparents any trouble at all. On top of that, more and  more people feel they need to enhance their ‘three square meals a day’ with nutritional supplements; perceiving that our food is missing what we perhaps need most. And to a certain extend the same thing is true for our drinks. There are very few places left where we can safely drink water just the way it appears in nature. Even tap-water is not necessarily tasty, or a drink that would make us happy; give us merriment.

Coming to think of it, it seems like food and drink; eating and drinking is less and less something that makes us ‘merry’. Happiness is in the company rather than in the menu.

It makes me think that perhaps it is time to redefine what we are eating and drinking. To get our fridges filled with those products that make us happy and healthy ~ physically as well as mentally and spiritually.
It would be a good starting point to ‘eat, drink and be merry’, while it may also instigate our transformation into wholeness.

So for now, eat drink and be merry!
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Conscious decisions

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On average we make two kinds of decisions during a regular day. The ones that we think through ~ in other words the decisions that we are totally conscious of ~ and the ones that we hardly give any thought at all. The first ones are the ‘big decisions’, often having to do with jobs, houses, cars, school and education choices, and so on. The second ones more often than not are the small decisions, like what we will cook for dinner tonight, when to do our household chores, and what to keep and what to toss…

And that last one is an interesting one.

All too often, as long as something is not broken and still may have a perceived use in our future, we have a tendency to hold on to it. Whether we store it in the garage or in the attic; we are just not ready to toss it.
Chances are that when we would think it through, we quickly would come to a (conscious) decision that either we actually will use this item again in the foreseeable future, or no, it may have some use for somebody, but we will never use it again.

It is just one of those things…

And then, when that nice extra space is totally filled up with ‘stuff’ we ~ at least at that time ~ were not ready to toss, we suddenly become aware of the ‘problem’ and start making conscious decisions about whatever we have gathered.

It is probably why Spring-cleaning and garage-sales go hand in hand. And why eBay is still well visited site in many Countries.

On the other hand, we may also make those small decisions on the other side of the spectrum. Where, without giving it much thought, we toss things we have used quickly and easily. Keeping our attics and garages clean of clutter, while perhaps finding ourselves buying the same items over and over again ~ because, as it turns out, we would use them on a regular basis.

Some may argue that the first way of making the ‘small’ decisions is most likely what our parents would have done, while us ‘youngsters’ are unwilling to put up with the clutter…

There have to be hundreds of ‘small decisions’ we make every day without giving them much thought. It indicates that part of us is functioning on ‘automatic pilot’, not because we don’t know what to do with whatever comes up, but more likely because we tend to let our thoughts run ahead of ourselves. Thinking of tomorrows and futures that may or may not arrive as we envision them.

Therefore the more aware we are of this very moment, the more conscious our decisions will be ~ both the biggies as well as the small decisions…
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Saturday, August 15, 2015

A thousand eyes are watching me…

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Every once in a while I find myself in a place where it seems I’m being watched. Usually this is not a matter of people watching me ~ my sense is that as far as people are concerned some may, yet most won’t.

However, in nature it is a different matter.
In nature there are places that somehow are special places, places that have a specific energy. Often places that are old. Older than memory, even. And while they may look non-assuming in the present, they have a decidedly different feel to them.
It is in those kind of places that I often feel watched…

Perhaps it is the animals that live there. Or the birds.
Yet many times it feels like the trees and plants themselves are watching me. Questioning me as to what brings me there. What are my reasons, my goals? What do I have to offer?
And the longer I look at nature in a place like that, the more eyes seem to be looking upon me.
A thousand eyes are watching me…

Sometimes, while meditating in a spot like that, flashbacks come. Images of long forgotten times. Snapshots of rituals performed in ancient times ~ some of which could still have a place in the present, while others have long since outlived their purpose. They may even give me a sense of belonging; an idea that I could have been part of that in a different time, a different day and age…
Whenever that happens, it feels that throughout time, a thousand eyes are watching me…

It brings up thoughts and questions in this current time.
After all, if I had certain knowledge in that other, long forgotten time, what did it entail? And is it still there for me to use? Is it information that I feel comfortable about in today’s world, or do I feel the whole world would be watching me if I would start working with it again?

The more I look into that; the more I ponder those questions, I find I am looking at these strings of thoughts with different eyes. There are the eyes that see the flashbacks, and the eyes that see the snapshots. There are the eyes that see the rituals unfold, the eyes that see the energies build, and the eyes that see the energies wane again and go dormant…
And I realize that I am watching me with a thousand eyes ~ through time.

A thousand eyes are watching me, inviting me, bringing back memories to me of long forgotten times.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The ocean

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Throughout my life I have experienced no greater feeling of oneness ~ and at the same time of being so small ~ as when I am walking on the ocean’s rim. Hearing the sound of the waves crashing onto the shores, and seeing the water as far as the eye can see… It is like Rumi said:
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

On top of that there is an awareness of ever continuing movement and flow; there is a rhythm to the ocean. The one very thing the ocean doesn’t do ~ something us humans seem to be very good at ~ is to stand still. Even when the ocean is at rest, for instance in that tiny moment when the tides turn, there is still movement.
The waves and the undercurrents. The surface, calm and even-tempered, or swept up in to frothy, angry sharp-headed waves. Whatever its mood, whatever the weather; there is always movement.

And when the movement stops as the wave has rolled onto shore, it then simply retracts to join the ocean once more. No regrets over things that once have been, things that could have been, or things that never were. The wave stops, regroups, and brings its experience of the shore back to the ocean. And then moves on.

As people we are more focused on our individuality. We seem to have lost the sense of belonging, the feeling of oneness ~ not just with other people, but with everything around us. Therefore, as soon as we feel we have reached a position that makes us feel good about ourselves and about our lives, we almost immediately start to hold on to that. To cement it; build walls around it. Sometimes we are even willing to go into extremes if only we can hold on to what we have gained in life. What we have accomplished.
What we fail to realize is that the moment we decide to stop moving and flowing with all that is around us, we may deprive ourselves from unfolding even greater things in our lives. We may be holding ourselves back from reaching even greater heights, more wonderful adventures ~ perhaps even from being all that we can be. (Which often is a whole lot more than we could ever imagine.)

Looking at the ocean, it seems to be a good bet that as long as we keep moving ~ permitting the universe to be our guide ~ we are giving ourselves the best chance to raise up to do great things.

After all, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
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Friday, August 7, 2015

Way of life

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We all have our own way of life.
And when we are looking at the way of life we feel comfortable in, we tend to look in three areas: The place we call home, what work or job we feel most suited to, and our relationship with others.

As far as our home and job are concerned, we are often relatively clear as to what we feel is best for us. Living out in the country, or rather in town; a little cabin, or a big mansion; whatever it is that makes us happiest. And the funny thing is that a big part of that has to do with our earliest years, when we were truly young tikes. Finding the type of work we feel is most fun may come easily to some, and be something that is really hard to figure out for others. Yet as a rule of thumb it has to do with doing those things that make us most happy as we do them ~ day after day.

Our relationship with others; that is where it gets to be really interesting…

Those relationships can get their starting point really early in life also. Without ever intending it to happen, daughters can grow up more like their moms than they ever envisioned, while sons may be more like their fathers ~ even when as a teenager they swore they would never be like their dad. And by the same token, we tend to ~ when we grow up ~ make similar choices to our parents’ concerning our relationships. In other words, daughters may tend to look for a similarity to their fathers when looking for a relationship, while sons may do the same while keeping their mothers in mind…
For better or for worse.

Only when we find ourselves in a period of transformation do we start to question the choices we have made in the past. Simply because up to then it was part of our way of life.

But no matter how fond we are of our way of life, how comfortable and secure our way of life makes us feel ~ in times of change we will change, and as we change chances are that we will change our way of life. Things like growing our own food; we may have grown up doing it, and yet, as adults we choose to buy it in the grocery store. And by the same token, a large percentage of people today have given up hunting our food. Or raising our own animals, slaughtering them ourselves to feed our families.

In other words, as the world around us changes, we change. And as we change, chances are we will require our way of life to change. In this point of time, our way of life is no longer set in concrete!
It is called evolution, and more often than not that is a good thing!
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fragile

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The system that we are as a human being is ~ just like any ecosystem ~ fragile. Sometimes surprisingly small changes can create a movement that brings unbalance. Sometimes that unbalance is a good thing as it can motivate us ~ as a system ~ to evolve. To grow and adapt and become better at what we do and who we are. In those rare cases the unbalance ultimately results in healing and personal growth.

More often though, once our system loses its balance, a chain reaction is set into motion. Like dominos, all that pieces that up to that point had created a stable, workable balance in our system fall down. And what started as a small, seemingly inconsequential imbalance becomes bigger and bigger with every part of our system that trips up.

In order to regain our balance, we almost always have to look at all of the pieces in the puzzle that is our system at once. It hardly ever works when we just set one part of ourselves straight, without taking the rest of us into consideration.
And that doesn’t just involve our physical selves; it is also about our emotional selves, our spiritual selves and perhaps most importantly our mental selves. When we are thinking ‘wholeness’ in a system that is oneness incorporated, our chances at regaining our balance tend to be better than when we find we have become despondent. Our attitude matters a great deal where our balance and wholeness are concerned. Our thinking can ultimately bring stability and balance, where none was before…

Ecosystems work in similar ways. Once something is taken out of an ecosystem, it soon becomes apparent that it wasn’t a ‘stand-alone’ piece in its environment. Even small changes can create big effects.
That is why it always has been important to understand the environment ~ the ecosystem we are part of ~ to such an extend that we can project the consequences of our actions.
This means that harvesting parts of our environment ~ be it plant life or animal life ~ needs to be done with restraint in such a manner that we can feed ourselves and those of our ‘tribe’, and yet also make sure that the balance in the system remains strong and stable. We need to find a way to thrive, while allowing our environment, our ecosystem to thrive as well.

How we do that is just as much subject to change as we are, as the world is, and even the universe…

Therefore, the way things were done ~ and understood to be the right action, even ethical ~ 50 years ago, may now be nothing more than a lame excuse that shows that we have no true comprehension of the consequences of our actions or the fragility of the (eco)system we are so nonchalantly changing.
Just because we have always done it that way.
And sometimes just for kicks…
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Creating our lives

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There are any number of teachings that will hint at, or even plainly say that we do all shape, mold, and in short create our own lives. And no matter how solid we are in our spiritual outlook on life, no matter how good we are at taking responsibility for our own thoughts, our own actions, choices, decisions ~ the mere premise that we would shape and mold our own lives is a hard one to come to terms with.

Because if we truly believe that we create our own lives, it means that not only the good things that happen to us are of our own doing, but also the not so good things, or even the bad things that happen to us are somehow part of our creation. And that then defies our logic! Why, for heavens sake, would we want something bad to happen to us? Why, if we are creating our own lives, aren’t we living the good life? A life of luxury? Or at least an easy, smoothly flowing along kind of life? After all, if we are in charge, then why not create it??

The answer most thought of from a spiritual perspective may well be that if life was easy, we probably wouldn’t give ourselves a chance to learn our life lessons. If we would create the life of our choosing, we might not entertain any karmic repercussions our actions may have. After all, it stands to reason that we would create our subsequent lives in the same manner.

Just looking around at our own lives, and at the lives of friends and family, it doesn’t quite seem to work that way. Pretty much each and every one of us have our own set of problems ~ either to content with or to solve. And even that doesn’t seem to be entirely up to our free will choice when we look at first glance…

In other words, even when we can wholeheartedly agree with the concept of creating our own lives, it is still something that we fail to master productively.
Somehow we have a hard time recognizing what connections between cause and effect are at play as we are living our day-to-day lives.

And then there is this one little thing; this pesky tiny voice that may ask us at every turn “Creating your own life? Is that really up to you? Are you really that competent concerning (your) life?”

Perhaps it is time for us to take responsibility, to take charge, and to set out to create the life we desire!
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What if?

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Have you ever asked yourself, perhaps in a quiet moment, what if?
What if you had acted differently? What if you had been a bit more daring; more brave? What if you had backed away from that decision? What if you had followed directions? Or what if you had always made certain to do things your way?

There must be hundreds of ‘what if’ questions. Hundreds of ways that things might have worked out in a modified, or even a new, up to now unimagined manner. If only we had perceived things differently… Thought differently. Done differently.

Whenever we ask ourselves ‘what if?’ it is not surely not the same as having regrets. We can build a fantastic life for ourselves, and yet still have this question in the back of our minds that says: “What if?”
It seems to be not as much about how good things are turning out for us, but rather how things could have turned out differently. More adventurous. Or perhaps more authentic; more true to ourselves. To that part of us we know is there, but we hardly ever allow to shine.

That makes that the real riddle that is connected to the age old question ‘what if?’, may have more to do with what we have been told, what we are taught, what we have learned, and whether that combination of things we have been told, things we have been taught, and experiences we have had in life is important enough to override our desire to be who we feel we are truly meant to be…

How important is the opinion of others to us? Do we keep bending to other people’s wishes in order to keep the peace? Do we still believe that the things we were told when we were young, are the absolute, unequivocal truth?

Or are we getting at a point in our lives on which we say “What if that was someone else’s truth, but it isn’t mine. What if we started living our own truth, our own values? What if we start putting effort into being authentic; being our own unique selves…”
It is a moment in life that can pop up at any time.
It is that point where the ‘what if?’ question doesn’t apply so much anymore to the things that have already happened in out lives, but rather applies to how we decide to live our lives from now on; how we will unfold our own, individual, unique potential…

Now that might be the adventure of our lives!!
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Antique clocks

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I like clocks, especially the old ones that still are driven mechanically, rather than electrical or the ones that are battery operated. Although the latter ones often are way better at displaying the correct time. So when you really need to know the correct time at any moment of the day, those often are a better solution…

But those old clocks have more character. As if they have a personality all their own.
Big or small, they are often stately figures. And whether their pace is fast or slow, more like the heartbeat of Father Time himself, doesn’t make them better necessarily. It doesn’t take away from their character or personality either, if anything it adds to that.

Now, I wouldn’t go as far as desiring to collect old clocks or watches. On the other hand, I do cherish the ones that have come my way over the years. Therefore the ones that do call my house home, also have been in my family for many long years. They have many stories to tell. And, as long as I pay attention and pull up their weights in time ~ wind their springs tight ~ they should continue their own rhythmic tic-toc heartbeat, and show the ‘sort of’ correct time.

However, the two old wooden clocks do not agree.

They have come into my life at different times, and they have taken different routes to arrive. Even though they have originated in the same branch of my family, their characters and personalities are quite different from each other.

Where they are the same is in the fact that I cannot get either one of them to start moving again. As one might say, they give the right time twice in every 24 hour span. And that has been true for years.

It hasn’t been for lack of trying on my part. To my ears that slow tic-toc rhythm brings a sense of stability and comfort to my space. Yet no matter what I do, or how hard I try, these two clocks stubbornly keep quiet.

The interesting thing though, is that both stopped at exactly the same time. Their hands frozen in the same position. And as it turns out, it is a significant time. It is the time at which the heartbeat of their previous owner stopped, many years ago…

And so here they are.
Beautiful, antique clocks, with wonderful characters; telling me twice a day that on that other side ~ in that other world ~ there is no need for time…
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