Sunday, February 23, 2020

Are You Happy?

     If only we'd stop trying to be happy, we'd have a pretty good time.  -Edith Wharton

     This quote makes me think of our new doggie, Barney Clark, who happens to be lying next to me as I write this, playing with a rope toy and generally acting goofy and adorable. Barney has been with us about 10 weeks, and we have adapted to each other very well. Even though he's our first pet in almost 34 years of marriage, I can't imagine life without him. He is an angel, firmly interwoven into our hearts.
     Barney is a great teacher. He's curious. Everything, including every single blade of grass on the planet, is worthy of a sniff. He's patient. He doesn't care if a thorough sniff of one blade of grass takes five minutes. He's fascinated by other animals, some to meet and greet, some to chase. He's cautious of humans who are new to him. He's strong and healthy, having recovered from parvovirus before we adopted him. He's a diverse mix of breeds, looking mostly like a small Golden Retriever, but with some German Shepherd and who knows what else mixed in. All that diversity has combined to make a very smart, handsome dog. He loves to go, and he loves to nap. All of this is to say that he's not trying to be happy, he's simply being himself, and, apparently, he's having a pretty good time.
     Am I happy? It's a question I like to consider occasionally. My answer would be "most of the time." I'm not happy 24/7. Sometimes I'm frustrated, especially now that I'm doing my annual spring tax-preparer gig. Sometimes I'm sad, bored, exhausted. Most of the time I suck at golf. But underlying all that, I know that life is good, things are OK, life goes on and it keeps getting better. Staying in tune with that underlying knowing makes it easy to have a pretty good time.
     Barney is a great reminder that needs in life are simple: shelter, food, water, exercise and love. If we have those, that all adds up to a pretty good time.
          Lovin' life,
               Leta



Thursday, January 23, 2020

Change

     Every great change is preceded by chaos.  --Deepak Chopra

     Just the title of this blog may have caused a "yuck, I don't like it" reaction. But please, read on.
     Chopra's quote above gives me great hope and perspective in our very chaotic world, speaking of governments, countries, the planet, and world affairs. Because of my nature, generally positive, I believe the great change that is coming is going to be extraordinarily good on every level. While I can say that it sucks to have to live through this horrific chaos, I believe that those of us who are doing so are here now for a reason.
     Applying Chopra's quote to my individual life, I can see several examples. Certainly there was extreme chaos on every level in my life before I joined a 12-step program to treat my addiction, an act which induced great change. I can say that the magnitudes of the chaos and the change were about equal. Gardening is a regular chaos and change process, where we disrupt the soil in order to be able to insert the seed or the plant to grow and blossom. Even with house-cleaning, there's plenty of chaos with equipment, cleaning products, and movement of stuff before the change of a clean house manifests.
     Look at the human birth process. The development of a new human is an extremely orderly, divine and mystical process, but it surely feels like chaos to the mother's body. And if the actual birthing event isn't chaos, I don't know what is! The parents' lives are greatly changed forever, and the magnitude of change for the new human can't even be described in words.
     I invite you to consider those times of chaos in your life, and the great change resulting. Note the potential for great change in any present chaos you may be experiencing. The quote above, and "everything has a lifespan" (see previous post, "Time"), are giving me great comfort in this chaotic world.
     Breathe.
               Leta


Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Time

     A dear friend gifted me with the book titled "Daily Peace." It is a National Geographic publication with the subtitle, "Photos and Wisdom to Nourish Your Spirit." Each day has a quote and an outstanding photo of our planet's fabulous beauty. Each month has a theme, January's being transition.
     Today's quote is by Francis Bacon, "Time is the greatest innovator." There is an element of "duh" to that, as we've moved from early inventions of fire and the wheel to the Internet and airplanes. Human life over the centuries has been an ongoing process of innovation, and thus transition.
     Already in this young year and decade, only a few days into it, transition is happening in my life. We continue to adjust joyfully to our new dog, Barney. It's back-to-work time. I've restarted my MELT and yoga classes, and in short order, I'll be back at my three-month tax preparer job. An annual event that I have hosted for many years, a retreat at Timber Creek Retreat House, will be no more, due to procedural requirements they have imposed that I am not prepared to meet. That saddens me, as I love the place. But in the spirit of transition, I remember "everything has a lifespan." Those are mostly comforting words from my mentor, Dr. Chris Michaels. I am confident that something even more fun will enter my life to replace that event.
     Getting back to innovation, I want to share the experience my husband and I had in early December of last year. We test-drove a Tesla sedan. It's an all-electric car, on the leading edge of vehicle design, technology and comfort, truly a marvel of innovation. My husband and younger son have been interested in Teslas for years, researching them as they have developed over time. I just thought they look cool and listened patiently as my husband would report new innovations. My son and I visited the Tesla showroom in Denver in November, where I learned a lot more about the cool features, but we did not drive one. Then in December, on a visit to the Kansas City showroom, we drove one.
     OMG, it is like driving a rocket ship. BMW is going to have to stop referring to its cars as "the ultimate driving machine," because that is now the Tesla, in my opinion. Acceleration is instant. The car is powered by 7,000 (yes, 7,000!) AA-type batteries. They are warranted for eight years, and every two years, each battery is tested and replaced if need be. Everything is controlled by the computer screen in the dashboard center, even the "button" to open the glove box. We couldn't figure out how to turn the car off, so we just got out. That's how it turns off, when you get out. It's crazy the number of features the Teslas have. I could rave on and on. I sum it up by saying it is the most fun thing I have ever driven (and yes, I owned a BMW sedan for ten years). 
     Time is speeding up, and so is the pace of innovation. So much has been invented just in my lifetime of 64 years. I am thrilled and excited by humanity's creativity and what surely lies ahead for us.
     Let's hear it for the dreamers!
              Leta

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 in Review

     I keep a daily Win List of good things, blessings, synchronicities, accomplishments, etc. At the end of the year, I like to review and summarize it. I do this to super-charge my attitude of gratitude. I am also doing this as a reminder that I fulfilled, and significantly surpassed, my intentions for 2019, and that is an awesome feeling. I want to practice that great feeling knowing that I will have it at that end of 2020, too. Here are my highlights from 2019:

WORK
Completed:
==My 4th season doing tax prep
==Another year of MELT and yoga teaching at the Clearwater Wellness Center
==Another year of spiritual life coaching with clients whom I dearly love and appreciate
==MELT Level 1 (Roller) training

FAMILY
There were numerous trips to Fort Collins, including:
==Surprising Derek for his April birthday
==Dog-sitting adventure in May, along with celebrating Eliot's 30th birthday and seeing Dennis' band at the Swing Station just down the road from Derek's house
==Took sons and friends to see the Cubs playing the Rockies in Denver

TRAVEL
==MELT Roller training in Orlando gave me the opportunity to visit/stay with 3 set of friends in Florida whom I hadn't seen in quite some time.
==A 2,000+ mile drive back east included a visit with Doug (nephew) and Robin, who took me to Detroit for a Tigers game. I then went on to Ohio to visit with my brother Arlie and family.
==A trip to Cheyenne and Fort Collins with travel bud and friend, Lanie. We happened upon Frontier Days, I went to my first rodeo, and our hotel had no hot water and gave us a super discount. We had fun golfing in Loveland.
==Baseball tour in California, going to all five stadiums. Highlights were a string ensemble playing in Balboa Park--an amazing group of siblings ages 17 and under; and I got on the huge video board at Petco Park in San Diego, a nanosecond of fame. Just seven stadiums left to complete my quest.
==Trips to St. Louis for Pockets (band) reunion and celebrating my in-laws 90th birthdays.
==Another great retreat at Timber Creek Retreat House
==Registered for a Spain & Portugal tour in Sept 2020
==Saw Rob Bell's "Introduction to Joy" show in OKC with friend Bertie

HEALTH
==Best wishes to my chiropractor of over 30 years upon her retirement. I'm happy for her, but bummed for me.
==I met with a new doctor for future hip replacement.

==Commitment to eating at home, mostly, with these guidelines:
  • Eat food that spoils (not the processed stuff with multi-year shelf life)
  • Know the ingredients (if it takes a chemistry degree to know what it is, don't eat it)
  • Don't bring ice cream or potato chips into the house
  • Dennis did an awesome job both feeding me suppers and making leftovers for my tax-job lunches. I stopped eating out at work, and as a result, lost a few pounds during tax season, rather than gaining 10# as I had in the three previous seasons.
==Swam over 100 miles for the 22nd year in a row, tallying my second highest mile total ever, 134.7 miles.

MISCELLANEOUS
==Began working through "The Prosperous Life Journal" in October, to keep myself focused on abundance and gratitude.
==Many enjoyable hours of crocheting early in the year produced Christmas-gift afghans for Derek and Eliot.
==The neighbor's fence was finally fixed, so I got my garden and swing back.
==The year-long vehicle search culminated in test-driving a Tesla--it's the WINNER (a 2020 intention).

DOG
     After nearly a year of dog-sitting our grand-dog in 2018, we missed having a critter around, so we casually looked at various pups over the year. On Dec. 8, we brought home Barney Clark. He brings more joy, laughter and love to us every day.



     I'd say 2019 was mighty fine, and I can hardly wait for all the good of 2020.
     Blessings to all my readers!
             Leta

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Life with Dog

     I once saw a cartoon wherein a man had arrived in front of the throne in heaven, and there was a dog sitting on it. The caption was Dog speaking, "And why does this surprise you?"
     Amen!
     We have had Barney Clark in our home now all of five days. Of course, because he is ours and we love him, he is the smartest dog alive. It is truly amazing how he has adapted and changed over the short time he has lived with us. We kept him in a small area at first so he wasn't overwhelmed with the whole house, giving him space and time to explore (i.e., sniff) his new home. The first challenge he overcame was going up and down the deck stairs at the back of our house. He didn't eat much at first, but now he's in the clean-bowl-club. The goofiest thing is that, so far, he won't poop or pee if he's on the leash. He must have been about to explode till we finally figured that out. I've heard him bark only twice since we've had him. Once was expressing distress at being in his crate at bedtime, and the other was when a salesman rang the doorbell. He is not a "talker." The other big hurdle he has overcome is our inside stairs. He flies up and down them now with speed and grace.
     I believe the powers-that-be of the Universe recently got together and said, "Leta and Dennis really do want a dog. Let's find the perfect dog for them and get them all together." Those powers did a spectacular job. We have all the joys of a young dog, approximately seven months old, with so few of the headaches. He is already house-broken, crate-trained, and astounding chill for his age. He rarely barks. He's also the perfect size for us, basically a smaller version of a Golden Retriever (with a bit of German Shepherd mixed in, we believe). And did I mention adorable?!??!
      Nevertheless, we are still adapting. Walks are a challenge, because Barney can be quite timid and frightened, especially when he sees another human, even at a distance. He sits on his tale and won't budge. With a calming break and some gentle reassurance, we can usually get him going again. Other than taking care of our grand-dog, this is the first pet we have had in our home of 34 years, so it's a total change in routine for my husband and me. Who is going where and when now matters more with a little life added to our house. Barney has not yet warmed up to getting into a vehicle, though he seems to enjoy the ride once we lift him in and go. He is learning to be a sports fan, currently watching basketball with me, to be followed by baseball season come springtime.
     I am grateful for this pup to continue to keep my husband and me moving. Though I'm not a couch potato, I've walked more in the last five days than I had in the last five weeks. We are smiling and laughing a lot more now. I can physically feel the energy of extra love flow through my heart ("woo-woo," yes, but true). It's like having a new human baby--we talk about him all the time. We are goofy in love, and clearly proud of it.
     In our troubled world, we are blessed to expand the love that is so desperately needed by raising this little fur nugget.
     It's almost sunrise, time for a walk!
              Leta


Snoozing adorably on the woman-cave bed

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Before and After

     My ruthless clearing project (see previous post) is complete, as shown by the "before" photos on the left and the "after" photos on the right. My car is full of stuff to bless others, either via Goodwill or Little Free Libraries. I'll feed a shredder somewhere, as well as, alas, adding two big bags of trash to the landfill. While it's not completely doggie-proof, there's a lot less for Barney to munch on.






     It's clean! There is empty space! I have a surface upon which to be creative. My spiritual distress over way too much clutter is released. Note that this applies to this room only. It was time well spent, and I feel good once again about my woman cave. 
     Whew!
                 Leta


Friday, November 29, 2019

Ruthless Clearing

     Facing five fairly open days in a row, I decided to do a ruthless clearing of the woman cave. I have several reasons for this undertaking. First is my sanity. Clutter makes me nuts. Second, we are about to get a dog, so I want there to be less around to become a "chew toy." Third, I am hoping to set an example for others that "less is way more." Fourth, I am a firm believer in the spiritual principle that clearing makes room for more good to flow into my life, and by "good," I do not mean things. Fifth, the woman cave will be much easier to clean with so much less stuff hanging around.
     This is, in part, Swedish Death Cleaning. I'm not doing it because I believe my end is imminent, but just because I'd hate for my kids to wonder, "Why would Mom keep THIS?" Our house, shed and garage are packed with stuff that would leave the kids wondering. Alas, I'd say only about one-quarter of the stuff is mine to potentially release, hence the hope that I am setting a good example with this exercise.
     I fully realize that letting go of some things can be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible. This is definitely an emotional process. I have extra copies of the two books I have published. Seeing those reminds me that both left me "in the red" financially, which can be so disappointing. However, I remind myself that I have completed and brought into physical form two books, something few humans accomplish. I did enjoy the writing at the time, as it is a deeply spiritual experience for me.
     There are many memories passing through me, such as spiritual development classes I attended and taught, travel adventures, and huge accomplishments including sky-diving and completing a grueling month-long yoga teacher training. I see how many folks have powerfully impacted my life, and the many folks whose lives I have touched.
     I have a large box of books ready to go out the door. It's too heavy for me to lift. I have a medium-sized box of papers for shredding. There's lots to recycle, and trash, plenty of it. I also have an excess of blank canvasses and some other miscellany that I can pass on to a teacher friend. This clean-up may enable me to start painting again when I have cleared off my creativity table, currently piled high.
     Coincidentally (not), today is Black Friday, when so many people add so much stuff to their collections. The more I release, the less I want in terms of things. Less IS way more!
     I took "before" photos, and I'll take "after" photos of the completed project. Those will be in a future post.
     I think I'm finally ready to release that sweater my late mother knitted for me over 40 years ago.
          Lighter and loving it,
                  Leta