Tuesday, August 31, 2021

August 31--It's Inside Us

Freedom is from within.  --Frank Lloyd Wright

    We've made it through August, focused on freedom. Mr. Wright's statement sums it up. Consider these:
  1. What do you want to be free from?
  2. What do you want to be free to do/be/have?
  3. How can you pull forth the freedom within to accomplish #1 and #2?
    As we move into September, we take on the theme of "purpose." I have a "mixed bag" of feelings toward the idea of purpose, so it ought to be an interesting month. 
    More to come...

"The cage was never locked!"

Monday, August 30, 2021

August 30--Discipline is Not a Dirty Word

In the last analysis, our only freedom is the freedom to discipline ourselves. 
--Bernard Baruch

Never pass up a belly rub.  --Barney Clark

    I want to be more like my dog, Barney Clark. I do have the napping game down quite well. It is his complete acceptance of good without reservation that I'm after. If I offer a belly rub, he rolls belly-up, paws stretching, his "go for it" position. He would lie peacefully and let me rub his belly forever if I had the time. He's not trying to figure out if he "deserves" it. He's not feeling bad because he "should" be doing something else. Belly rub, bring it on and don't stop. Enjoying this moment.
    Back to discipline. I would say that I'm a fairly disciplined person. It shows up most consistently in my exercise schedule. I have a very flexible work schedule, so discipline helps me keep some order to my days. My best example of discipline is my list of daily self-care items. Being the nerd that I am, I have the list in spreadsheet form, easily accessed from my cell phone. As I do each item, I check it off for the day, and I keep a week's worth at a time. These are simple items that matter to me in terms of daily self-care, such as spiritual practice (including this writing) and taking my vitamins. I don't beat up on myself if I don't do one or more of the tasks on any given day. I just note at the end of the week, before I erase it all and start over, where I might want to put in a bit more effort. It's truly the "little things" we do each day (discipline) that makes for a happy, healthy life. 

Barney in belly rub heaven

Sunday, August 29, 2021

August 29--Solitude

In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us.  --Virginia Woolf

Musicians must make music, artists must paint, writers must write if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves.  --Abraham Maslow

    The second quote above was in one of my morning readings. With my main art being writing, I take daily solitude time to pay attention as Ms. Woolf states.  Even away from home I make time for this morning writing ritual. It is a must in order for me to stay in a peaceful state. 
    I've been binge-watching a Netflix show titled "Manifest." I rarely do this, but it's great activity when it's so damn hot outside that I don't want to even open the door. I've had a lot of solitude lately, and it has been a "mixed bag." I see my tendencies toward boredom, procrastination, and numbing out. I learned at an early age to numb out, and it is very nearby and easy-to-get-to place for me. It feels fine in the moment, but does not leave me with any sense of accomplishment. Solitude feels good to me when I am paying attention, engaging in life and appreciating the relationships I enjoy with my loved ones. Solitude gives me the opportunity to recognize how blessed I am. 

Alan Seeger Natural Area, PA
The best solitude on Earth 😉😉

Saturday, August 28, 2021

August 28--Change? Hell, yes!

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.  --Cecil Beaton

    "We've always done it this way." I worked at a church for several years, and while I loved the job, churches are notorious for living by that mantra. It was often maddening. Don't rock the boat, maintain the status quo. 
    That cannot be done. We either evolve or regress. Change, evolution, is terrifying to some--we've seen that clearly in recent years. I get it. Life is uncertain. But it is the daring, different and impractical that will bring about the desperately-needed consciousness shift on planet Earth. Those fighting to return to the "good old days" are not helpful. 
    One of the sayings Ana Forrest hammered into us during yoga teacher training was "evolve or die." I'm good with "evolve." 

Friday, August 27, 2021

August 27--Do You Like You?

I have made my world, and it is a much better world than I ever saw outside. 
--Louise Nevelson

    The introvert's rallying cry! I've worked long and hard to reach the point of being comfortable in my own skin. I like being alone with me. I crave it even. I can set aside all the awfulness of the outside world, at least for a time. The world I grew up in was not an emotionally safe place, so I learned to spend a lot of time alone in order to protect myself. 
    Just think--if we would all create an inner world of peace, harmony and joy, what a spectacular "outside world" we would have. It starts with you and me, each individual soul. 
    As part of the world I have made, I am very fond of the practice of hand-writing and snail-mailing letters and notes to friends. Below I offer a meditation by Henri Nouwen about the subject. Enjoy!

The Beauty of Letter Writing

As I was writing letters today, I realized that writing letters is a much more intimate way of communicating than making phone calls. It may sound strange, but I often feel closer to friends I write than to friends I speak with by phone.

When I write I think deeply about my friends, I pray for them, I tell them my emotions and feelings. I reflect on our relationship, and I dwell with them in a very personal way. Over the past few months I have come to enjoy letter writing more and more. In the beginning it seemed like a heavy burden, but now it is a relaxing time of the day. It feels like interrupting work for a conversation with a friend.

The beauty of letter writing is that it deepens friendships and makes them more real. I have also discovered that letter writing makes me pray more concretely for my friends. Early in the morning I spend a little time praying for each person to whom I have written and promised my prayers.

Today I feel surrounded by the friends I am writing to and praying for. Our love for each other is very concrete and life giving. Thank God for letters, for those who send them, and for those who receive them.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

August 26--Forget About It!

Forgetfulness is a form of freedom.  --Kahlil Gibran

    First reading of this quote made me chuckle. I am certain that I have forgotten a LOT, so I ought to be feeling really free. The more I ponder this, the more I note that there are some things that are easy to forget, and others, not so much. And it is the stuff that is more challenging to forget that we really ought to be letting go. 
    Considering my behavior toward others, making amends has enabled considerable forgetting and freedom. Relative to others' behavior toward me, especially early-life family-of-origin stuff, I can't claim that I have forgotten. The best I've been able to accomplish is to remove the emotional charge in remembering. That in itself is a form of freedom. Yes, it happened, but I have the tools and support to handle it and the long-term repercussions. 
    Inner peace is priceless,

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

August 25--A New Story

Elegance is refusal.  --Coco Chanel

    I'm not "feeling it" this morning, so I'm refusing to write. 😉😉 I will, however, share a blog from Patricia Pearce about refusing to continue our old (not working) story and inviting us to create an elegant new story:

Co-Authoring a New Story

I’m a sucker for a good novel. I love being transported into another world, into the lives, hearts and minds of characters who, like me, are finding their way in the world.

Recently, when I finished reading a very long and dense novel, I realized that when I enter into the narrative world of an author I am giving myself over to them in trust. I am reading the product of their imagination. It feels like a sacred act, a solemn trust.

As a reader I am picky. I want the author to take me somewhere meaningful, somewhere transcendent. I don’t want to spend my time reading a story that leaves me on the same vibrational plane that I experience in consensual reality. I want to enter into a narrative world that transports me into the New. This is why I have no time for dystopias. They are unimaginative. They merely play out a catastrophic trajectory to an epic dead end.

The Fiction We Live In

Why does any of this matter? Because fiction isn’t limited to the books we read or the movies we watch. We are living in a fiction everyday—the fiction in our own minds as well as the fiction in the collective mind. You could say that this whole world is a novel, but unlike the books we store on our shelves, we are both the characters and the authors of this novel we call the world.

And we have a choice, each of us. We can either continue spinning the same narrative thread of the past, remaining loyal to the premises of its plot, or we can be bold enough to invite a surprising narrative twist that opens up a whole new horizon for ourselves and for planet Earth.

And we all know it’s high time for a surprising narrative twist to take place on planet Earth.

Willingness Opens the Way

How do we invite that? All it really requires of us is that we be willing to relinquish our loyalty to the narrative that has been passed down to us, defect from its ground rules and its demands for enemies, divisions, struggle, winners and losers, fear.

Notice that I said it requires us only to be willing. That’s an important point, because one of the core themes of the current story humans have been authoring is based on the belief that we have to make things happen, and that even this planetary transformation and this global awakening is on us to carry out.

But it isn’t, and the first narrative twist happens when we accept that there are spiritual Beings who are in this with us, cheering us on, eager to partner with us to help bring forth what wants to happen in our lives and on this planet.

Since the spirit realm respects our free will, it will not intervene if we want to try to go it alone. This means we can decimate the ecosystems on the planet to the point of collapse if that is what we choose. And the shocking truth is that even if we do, Love would not reject us.

A New Story

So I encourage you to be picky about the stories you indulge, beginning with the stories in your own mind, because a New Story is ready to emerge on this planet. It isn’t based on the fallacy of separateness and division and judgment, but expresses the Reality of Love and the truth of our inter-existence.

This New Story is a partnership between the spirit realm and we embodied ones who are willing to release our allegiance to the narrative world of the past and become co-authors of what is to come.

    Let's be elegantly imaginative!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

August 24--Love Big, Live Big

Perhaps loving something is the only starting place there is for making your life your own.  --Alice Koller

    Below is part of the photo included with today's quote in "Daily Joy." If I didn't know better, I would say that is our Barney leaping joyfully into the water. The resemblance is uncanny. However, I do know better, because Barney has had several opportunities to leap into a body of water and will have none of it.
    Even though Barney has been with us going on two years, I still find myself marveling that we have a dog. He's our first pet in this 35-year marriage. He's perfect for us. Our year-long dog-sitting adventure with our son's Golden Retriever in 2018 convinced us that we wanted a critter around permanently. We waited patiently for the right pup to rescue. It brings me joy every day to consider how much love Barney has added to our home. He has kept us laughing and moving throughout the pandemic. We are also learning so much as his personality develops and we become better-trained dog owners. We have definitely made a new life around Barney, and I'm grateful for every minute of it.  
    What a blessing is our ability to love!

From "Daily Joy"

Cutest doggie EVER!!!

Monday, August 23, 2021

August 23--Exciting and Infinite

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.  --Gloria Steinem

    I like to dream of warm, sunny beaches and the sound of ocean waves. This practice is calming for me. This leads to making a trip periodically to the tropics. One such trip is currently planned for Jamaica next winter. After many months of very limited or no travel, I am quite excited about this possibility. 
    Everything that has been created, invented, developed, built, manufactured, or installed started out as imagination--thoughts and dreams--in someone's mind. We wouldn't have all the conveniences of modern life had not someone thought "what if...," and excitedly pursued his or her dream. I am so grateful to those folks who have invented things that I didn't even know I needed!
    There's a tendency to think of dreaming as wasted time. Not so! It is those dreams that create a life of wonder and exciting possibilities. Dream on!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

August 22--Let It Go

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.  --Buddha

    Already at this early hour, life is telling me to let it go. I just saw a heading in passing that reads "Judge Not." My morning meditation from The Center for Action and Contemplation is all about seeing God in everyone and everything. I'm the treasurer of an organization run by volunteer power, and there are several members who are quite vocal about their dissatisfaction. This reminds me to breathe and remember that in all things, everyone is doing the best they can at the moment. Let it go--the judgment, resentment, angst. 
    One of the major ongoing projects of 12-Step life is to clear long-held resentments and keep from taking on any more. In a society whose main function appears to be judgment, peacefully living without resentments is no small challenge. There is so much fodder for criticism, but note how peace and criticism are on opposite ends of the spectrum of a good life.  
    Letting it go, again and again and again...

Saturday, August 21, 2021

August 21--Where'd I go?

I am still in the process of growing up, but I will make no progress if I lose any of myself along the way.  --Madeleine L'Engle

    I consider "still in the process of growing up" to be an enormous blessing. There's no end to what we can discover and learn, and that's just looking inward. The more we know ourselves and why we do what we do, the less likely we are to lose ourselves.  
    I offer some examples of losing some of myself:
  • Saying "yes" when I really want to say "no"
  • Doing something to please another and feeling resentment
  • Not setting or upholding personal boundaries
  • Using a "substance of choice" to numb out
  • Allowing others' opinions or suggestions to outweigh my own wisdom
  • Believing my worth is based on what I own or produce or accomplish
  • Living in "I will be happy when _________" mode
  • Avoiding conflict at all cost
    Looking at that list, I see that I can sum it up in codependency, with which I am very familiar. It is a lifelong process to reclaim the parts of myself lost to that... I'm still growing up!

Life can feel like this...

Friday, August 20, 2021

August 20--Famous and Rich

The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.  --Amelia Earhart

    Well, I'm not so sure about this quote, given that things did not end well for Ms. Earhart. She is at least famous. There are, however, many successful well-known women who created their own jobs--Arianna Huffington, Debbie Fields, Oprah Winfrey, the late Saint Teresa, Mary Kay Ash, Coco Chanel, Julia Child--several examples that come to me this morning. "Create" is the key word here. It takes initiative, courage, perseverance and stamina to build, then manage, a successful organization from the ground up. 
    I have created my own job, but I'm still waiting on fame and fortune. I'm not holding my breath, but I am surely enjoying my life, including my work life. On the bright side, there are no autograph seekers or cameras flashing in my eyes!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

August 19--Imagining Better

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.  --J. K. Rowling

    Ernest Holmes wrote "The Science of Mind" and created the Religious Science spiritual organization (NOT Scientology!) promoting "a world that works for everyone." Another catch-phrase of the organization is "change your thinking, change your life." There is a deep knowing that we do have the power inside us already, as Ms. Rowling states.  
    We are living through some rough times, and it can be painful to watch. Nevertheless, I am hopeful. I believe the pandemic has awakened us in so many ways, as have the deceitful, greedy, misogynistic, violent and racist behaviors of Trump and his supporters. Old energy is dying, kicking and screaming. I believe the concerted effort of the Republican party to keep us sick, dumb and poor will not prevail. New generations, with new energy, are imagining better, and with that, blessed change is happening. Birthing anything, including a new consciousness, is a tough experience. Fear abounds, but we can have faith and hope because we have "the power to imagine better." 


Wednesday, August 18, 2021

August 18--Ingenuity

To have what we want is riches; but to be able to do without is power. 
--George Macdonald

    I occasionally consider what a mess we Americans would be in if something disabled our electric power grid or our sewer systems. We live a rather cushy life in the U.S., just with those two things functioning consistently. I have been in places where neither operated consistently, and yet life goes on. Resilient humans have the power to make things happen whatever the circumstances. The fewer the riches, the more one has to depend on one's ingenuity, and that is the true source of power--internal, not external. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

August 17--Infinite Creativity

Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt, that you can set upon the freedom of the mind.  --Virginia Woolf

    I love humans. We are so creative. Yes, you and me, every single one of us. Even those who say, "I'm not creative," are in the midst of creating some sort of life for themselves. Billions of one-of-a-kind individuals on planet Earth are experiencing unique lives, relationships, activities, creations. It is mind-boggling, the imagination of it all. Ernest Holmes (author, "The Science of Mind") states that everything is twice-created, first in thought, then in form. There is no stopping human imagination, and no limit to what we can create. Yippee!

Monday, August 16, 2021

August 16--Be Bold

Freedom lies in being bold.  --Robert Frost

    What is freedom to me? I am able to think as I choose. I can to do what I want, when I want. I have the ability to live my beliefs without having to conform to any particular system, for example, a religion or a political party. I am able to get my needs and most of my wants met. I am able to exercise my free will in a nearly infinite number of ways. 
    It is in the use of freedom that boldness comes in. With free will comes responsibility, so I consider the consequences of my choices and actions. It takes boldness to live by one's beliefs, i.e., "walk the walk." It takes courage to know one's needs and to use whatever means available to get them met. Some folks can't imagine doing what they want when they want--that might displease others or feel too selfish. That is codependency at its finest, and there is no freedom there. Enjoying freedom requires living boldly. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

August 15--Puttering Around

Puttering is really a time to be alone, to dream and to get in touch with yourself... To putter is to discover.  --Alexandra Stoddard

    I love the word "puttering." The idea makes me feel good--just hanging out with and by myself, doing assorted, possibly useful, things, seeing what the next right thing is to do. My garden is a great place for puttering. There are always weeds to be pulled or flowers to deadhead, and yes, there is something interesting to discover with each time in the garden. 
    Another time of puttering is the occasional weekend evening when I go out and play nine holes of golf by myself. Putting is puttering. 😉😉 Usually the course is not busy then, and I can take extra practice shots. I'm not rushed. I love being alone with my thoughts. I can even talk to myself (I do it a lot), and no one notices. 
    Today is Sunday, an excellent day for puttering--enjoy!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

August 14--Good Grief

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything--anger, anxiety, or possessions--we cannot be free. --Thich Nhat Hanh

    Today I consider the freedom to grieve. I was blessed a couple of days ago to have a heartfelt conversation with a former yoga student about grief. He lost his wife to Covid in the past year, and he is in the midst of grieving, yet also trying to move forward. It's a delicate balance. Our "get over it!" culture is not conducive to long-term grieving. But how can you get over, in a few days or even weeks, the loss of someone you have been with for decades? It's not possible. 
    I am extraordinarily heartened by the fact that both of my sons can cry easily. Crying is soul-rinsing. It is an absolutely essential biological and spiritual function. Energy must move through and out of our bodies. Long-term containment of grief causes illnesses galore. Grief isn't pretty. We want to fix things. It makes us uncomfortable. But the only healthy way out is through. 

Funeral Blues by: W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Friday, August 13, 2021

August 13--Infinite One

The power of imagination makes us infinite.  --John Muir
To infinity and beyond!!! --Buzz Lightyear

    In light of these infinite thoughts, here's the tattoo I had applied to my left wrist as a gift to myself for my 58th birthday:
Infinity symbol
    This is to remind me that I am an infinite spiritual being enjoying a human experience (the game called earthly life). Some part of me and you lives forever (always was, always will be) in dimensions beyond our comprehension as humans. As infinite beings, parts of the Creative One, of course our imagination is infinite. And it is all based in love, the one and only power that exists. Yoda refers to this as the Force:

"For my ally is the Force.
And a powerful ally it is.
Life creates it, makes it grow.
Its energy surrounds us and binds us.
Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." 
    The Force is with us!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

August 12--The Fears Are There

For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down the fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.  --Alice Walker

    I am getting older, along with many of my friends and family. Duh! We are all getting older each and every minute. What I mean is--we are now in the "senior citizen" category. There are both good and difficult aspects to this. 
    On the bright side, at least I've lived this long. I love my life. I am happy and content most of the time. I am healthy. Physically I can do the things I want to do. I continue to learn and do things that engage me mentally. I have a good spiritual practice. My relationships are supportive and satisfying. I love and I am loved. It is a necessary practice for me to stay focused on all this goodness to keep fears at bay. 
    I've come to learn what a huge component of fear lies within aging. Dealing with the fears is personal and it can feel like a very lonely job. The "fears of today," given mental energy, can become overwhelming. What is this new ache or pain? Do I have enough energy to accomplish what must be done? Why can't I remember _______? Are my loved ones OK? On top of all this, the fears of tomorrow arise. What if I get a horrid diagnosis? Will my money last as long as I do? What if something happens to my significant other? And the biggest terror of all--what if I would be put in a nursing home? 
    I can certainly see the value of being able to direct my thinking in a more nourishing and less fearful manner. That is a "personal and lonely battle," as only I can control my thinking. That is freedom. 

P.S. A "mantra" I love: Spirit within me does not age. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

August 11--On Autopilot?

Life without liberty is like the body without spirit.  --Kahlil Gibran 

    It seems there are so many institutions attempting to control humanity:
  • you must believe a certain way (religion)
  • you must vote a certain way (politics)
  • you must buy and consume these products (corporations)
  • you must use these treatments to cure your ills (western medicine)
  • you must recruit others to your beliefs (all of the above)
    If we are not careful, we can go on autopilot and just become one of the masses being manipulated. None of the "must" items above is a requirement for a good life, although we are certainly led to believe such is the case. I feel it is an excellent practice to question, question, question. Am I really using my liberty to choose, or am I being led like a "body without spirit"? 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

August 10--That Precious Decision

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. 
--Napoleon Bonaparte

    Recognizing that I always have a choice in any circumstance rocked my world, and changed the trajectory of my life several decades ago. That realization enabled me to decide to practice recovery rather than addiction. Clearly, having the ability to decide does not necessarily make things easy. It is, however, the position of personal empowerment, which is what makes it so precious. 
    I've said it many times--no one likes anyone messing with their choices. Even those who allow others to decide for them end up in resentment. We all want to "captain our own ship." A perfect example is the current vaccination opportunity. Some folks would rather die than be vaccinated; others would rather take the chance on the vaccine's protection, and never the two groups shall agree. 
    To follow up--my wedding outfit shopping was a great success, thanks to my dear friend serving as a fashion consultant. Some alterations are needed, but I have time for those. There was a lot of precious decision-making involved. I am especially grateful for the feeling of knowing "yep, this is the one." 
    It is part of being human--the power to decide. Life is incomprehensible without free will. Be glad of it!

Monday, August 9, 2021

August 9--A Little $$

A woman's best protection is a little money of her own.  --Clare Boothe Luce

    I live by this. I couldn't stand not having some money of my own. My mother never worked outside the home. She was completely dependent financially on my dad, which left her, she believed, trapped in a miserably unhappy relationship. Granted, I've had many opportunities that she did not have, but seeing her situation, I vowed never to let myself get in that position. Fortunately, my marriage and home life are happy ones, and I can use the money of my own for my hobbies, new experiences and travel. I know that there was a time when women could not have money of their own. I am so grateful to be alive in a time that has seen women's rights advance so far. 
    Today I am going to spend a little money of my own shopping with a dear friend for a "mother of the groom" outfit. I am as clueless as they come relative to fashion, so I need someone with me for encouragement. I also need someone to protect me from my own negative thoughts regarding clothes shopping. This outfit is for a very special occasion, and I really can't trust myself to figure it out on my own. I'll keep you posted on the outcome. 
    Bravely shopping,

Sunday, August 8, 2021

August 8--Maybe Choose Differently?

I know but one freedom, and that is the freedom of the mind. 
--Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    One thing I have learned is that practicing addicts have a very strong dislike, even loathing, of themselves due to seeming inability to control the addictive behavior(s). Another thing I've learned is that we always have a choice, and how we feel about and treat ourselves is a choice, too. We are so used to putting ourselves down due to past and current failures, but that is simply a long-term and well-practiced habit that CAN be changed. I don't claim that it is easy or instant. It is a practice to change any habit. The key is that it can be done, if we feel the end result is worth the effort. I know this from personal experience. I have no particular or unique skill that has enabled me to do this, just willingness and incentive to change. It is an ongoing, daily, even minute-to-minute practice. 
    Staying mindful of my thinking,

Saturday, August 7, 2021

August 7--Travel--What's the Motivation?

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls. 
--Anais Nin

    One path this quote can take is the "geographic cure." I sought those in my earlier days, thinking that if I moved there, and had that job, life would be perfectly hunky-dory. Alas, I realized fairly quickly that I was the "common denominator" in all the different places, and maybe I should look at myself relative to my ongoing issues. 
    Some folks are life-long wanderers. They are used to moving frequently, and even thrive on it. Baseball players, military personnel and ministers come to mind. They get plenty of "other states, other lives, other souls." It makes for a life of many rich experiences and relationships. 
    Lastly, folks like me simply love to travel. I love to explore other places on our fabulous planet and experience how other cultures live. I also treasure the occasional beach vacation with 24/7 lazing. Why is it that we can't relax at home the way we can on vacation? Yes, there's always some chore to do at home. Travel provides a break in routine that enables us to be present and relax. 
    From the backroads of Kansas to the Taj Mahal, there are infinite "other states, other lives, other souls" to enjoy!
Oh, to be in one of those hammocks! 😉😉

Friday, August 6, 2021

August 6--AMEN!!!!!!!!!

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.  --Katharine Hepburn

    Truer words were never spoken! My husband is a first-born, and I am essentially an only child (my brothers were well into their teenage years when I came along), so we were trained to be rule-followers. There's nothing wrong with being a rule-follower unless you are missing out on fun. 
    I'm not suggesting willy-nilly, dangerous or criminal breaking of rules. One rule I have broken is "don't jump out of a perfectly good airplane." Another example--on group tours, my travel bud and I are told to rotate bus seats so that we get to meet all the others. However, we like the seats at the back of the bus. So we stay put back there, and everyone else follows the rotating rule, so we still get to meet everyone. We are known as "they are the ones who stay at the back of the bus." Rule-breakers! 
    Rule-breaking requires awareness of choices. Oftentimes we don't even recognize other possibilities. Ask! Question! Be curious! "What if...?" There's more fun to be had...

Thursday, August 5, 2021

August 5--Here and Now

The real happiness of life is to enjoy the present, without any anxious dependence upon the future.  --Lucius Annaeus Seneca

    I have several big events coming up--another week of fun in Colorado, a son's wedding in October, and a trip to Jamaica in December. After more than a year of pandemic shut-in/lock-down time, it is tough to stay in the present. I'm hoping all these events go as planned, but the future could also hold more pandemic woes that shut us down again. It's easy to be anxious about the future, since we've learned that life can change very dramatically in a very short time. 
    Back to now, today... the real happiness of life today includes morning coffee and writing, with my sweet Barney at my side. There will be a W-A-L-K. I may do some errands. I will likely have lunch with my wonderful husband. I most definitely will take a nap, as napping is one of my favorite hobbies. Then there's evening golf. Reading this, sticking with today, makes me happy. "Regular" life is good!

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

August 4--Make a Joyful Noise

You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre--but who shall command the skylark not to sing?  --Kahlil Gibran

    We humans like to maintain the illusion that we are in control, but we have no ability to prevent the birds from singing, the bees from buzzing, the squirrels from chattering. I'm thinking that people developed musical instruments to be able to make music like nature makes music--in birdsong, critter calls, rushing waters, rolling thunder. We remember, too, that silence is just as profound in music as it is in nature. The ability to express one's unique self is the freedom we seek in incarnation.
    Grateful for birdsong,
Skylark and babies

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

August 3--Humans Choose

It is the ability to choose which makes us human.  --Madeleine L'Engle

    Although I had been making choices all my life, I didn't really come to understand that I had choices until I entered (and stayed with) a 12-Step program. I believe my earlier choices were based on "what was expected of me," and so they didn't really feel like my choices. I grew up with the understanding that if one's "drug of choice" was within reach, and it usually was, that one must partake. Learning that I actually had a choice in the matter was truly revolutionary--the foundation of recovery from addiction.
    I am grateful every day for the freedom to choose. It is what our human life on earth is based upon. Even if I am faced with an unpleasant but necessary task, I have the choice of a good attitude or a bad attitude. I am blessed to have a wide range of choices in how I spend my time and use my skills. 
    Golf is this morning's choice.

MacDonald Golf Course, Wichita

Monday, August 2, 2021

August 2--Perfect Freedom

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.  --Lin Yutang

    Gee, I think I have this one nailed. I spend a lot of time watching baseball and basketball, which is, in the grand scheme of things, perfectly useless. I simply enjoy it. I know from the pandemic shut-in that I can survive without sports, but I enjoy spending a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner. As I ponder this quote, I realize that what is "perfectly useless" is a personal decision. I also note that the nagging voice in my head that says "you should do more" attempts to get louder when I contemplate a "perfectly useless" break. Our society is so goal and productivity oriented, and our children so pressured to perform, that folks don't even learn the value of "perfectly useless" time. It is a bold choice to spend one's time in a self-only pleasing manner without worrying what others may think or say about it. That is living. 
    Pondering whether my daily nap is "perfectly useless," 😉😉

Sunday, August 1, 2021

August 1--Let Freedom Ring

Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.  --Albert Camus

    The theme in "Daily Joy" for August is freedom. Despite the wide variety of political, governmental and incarceration systems, everyone is free, because every one of us has the ability to choose his or her thoughts. Choosing better thoughts is the means of "a chance to be better." We can't act, feel or achieve better until we first choose and hold the thoughts that lead to the desired betterment. Having free will is everything--our entire life system on planet Earth is based on it. It's a useful reminder that no one likes anyone else messing with their free will. I guess that is a fairly "Captain Obvious" statement, given our current state of affairs (think of mask-wearing). 
    Let's choose for the better,