Is it? It is.

“Whatever you believe, is”  ~ Bryan Hayes

It is as simple as that.  Whatever you believe, is (your reality).  Whether it be religion, politics, or life in general.   Each of us sees the world differently through our own periscope, if you will, and that is our reality.   It is a unique experience to each individual.

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Some may look at the picture, and see a flower while others may see something quite different just as one person may see darkness while another sees light, one sees beauty while another sees it not.  Therein lies the majestic wonder of the world in that we all experience it through our own eyes, thoughts, emotions, and at the same time we are interconnected like never more.  The collective consciousness and that we are more alike than we are different.

(just something to chew on…….thank you for reading.  Enjoy your day.  And, where ever you are in the world – both figuratively and literally, hope that yours is a beautiful one for you and yours)

Increase Your Productivity & Ease Feeling Overwhelmed: A Tip for Writers

There is a common theme that I hear from people.   I hear either 1) I am overwhelmed, or 2) I want to be more productive and do more.    Both can cause a lot of anxiety and stress as well as frustration.   There are though ways that you can alleviate that anxiety by changing the process.

For example, right now I am following my own advice by changing my own process.  As a writer, I found that the entire method was taking up a lot of time.   What were my procedures?  They were pretty standard.

First, I would sit down in front of the keyboard and start putting my thoughts down by typing it into a document.   What involved the most time was the actual typing but also thinking about what I was going to type.   As such, I wanted to find a way to increase my productivity while also alleviate my feeling of being overwhelmed and not having enough time in the day to write as much as I would like.

There was another frustration that I had, and I have a feeling I am not alone in this.  I may have an “ah ha” moment, with what I think is a brilliant idea, but I am not in front of a computer or a piece of paper to write out my thoughts.  What I do have around me almost exclusively is my cell phone.

I started to realize that the phone can be a very powerful tool to assist me with my writing.   It is exactly what I am doing right now, and I will explain to you the procedures that I am using.   All that is required is a smart phone and a voice.

The first step I take is to open up an email on my phone and then begin composing a message. I will be sending the email to myself, so I put my own email address in the “To:” line, and typically leave the subject line blank because I will know recognize the email upon receipt.   From there, I click on my voice recognition software.   I find that Google Now (Android app that is similar to Apple’s version of Siri) works really well.   Then, I simply start dictating my writing into the phone.  What would take an hour to type now takes me 5 minutes to dictate.

What I really enjoy about this new method is that I can in essense write anywhere.  If I am walking, I can be writing an article or a story.   The same for any place that inspiration may hit me.

There is also a piece of mind associated with this, because so many times in the past  I may have had a great idea but I ended up forgetting it later.    I did not have a means to transcribe what I was thinking onto either paper or a computer.  Now, I am able to capture those thoughts more readily.  In the process, I am more productive.

And, I hope this can help you be more productive too.

Happy writing, my friends!

Where did he come from?!?!?

While driving on the interstate I felt something on my left hand.  Looking down, I realized that something was crawling around.   Luckily, I am not a jumpy person or I would  have most certainly found myself in a crash with my car in the ditch.   Instead, I shook my hand trying to get it off of me.   It did not budge.

Almost as quickly as I had tried to get it off, I felt guilty for doing so.   There was no reason for me to harm him (or her).    He was causing me no harm, so why should I?

There was nothing to be afraid of, in fact, he seemed quite friendly.

Please let me introduce you to my new friend.

caterpillar

That’s right, a caterpillar.  

More precisely an Oleander caterpillar.   It is orange with black legs and is in the larvae stage.   It will eventually transform into a Polka-Dot Wasp Moth.   The moth is dark blue and has white dots (accordingly to the research that I found online).

Delving deeper, legend has it that the symbolic meaning of caterpillar is much aligned with its physical being in that a caterpillar symbolizes transformation, reincaration, and transmutation.   What does that mean?   Is there a significance?

I am not sure.   You tell me….

Crawling up and around my hand, then transferred to the other hand,the caterpillar continued the exploration of one finger to the next until I finally made it safely to my destination.

What fascinates me is how he got onto my hand?   Before I got into the car I was pulling weeds in the yard, but I have never seen an Oleander caterpillar in years.   I also changed my clothes before I left.   I did not notice anything on my hand until I was driving.   It was like it just magically appreared.

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I will most likely never know how he got here, but then again how many people magically appear out of nowhere?   It reminds me of a story someone shared with me not too long ago about someone they had known who was traveling on the interstate when she got a flat tire.  Luckily she was able to get the car safely off the road, but the mere thought of changing the tire was something she really was not looking forward to at all.  With cars zooming by, and with great reservation she got out of her car.

It was only a few minutes later when a gentleman in a Poursche pulled up behind her car, got out and without much of a word changed the tire.  Once finished, he simply got back into his car and was gone.   He never mentioned his name.   It was like he magically appeared out of nowhere, and then he disappeared.

Some would say there are no such thing as coincidences.    If this is true, then it really does not matter where someone comes from or even where they have gone because living life is about being in the moment.   It is what is here and now , which matters.

For myself, when I got to my destination and was sitting in the parking lot I started really looking at the caterpillar, seeing him for who he really is.   How his head perked up as he was looking around, for example.

There are such subtle nuances throughout the day that we miss, because they are too small.  They are often overlooked, and yet they may carry great significance.   Small and insignificant is also sometimes how we feel and yet we are as large or as small as we make ourselves out to be.

Because the caterpillar reprents transition, maybe change is on the horizon?   Maybe I will soon transform into something of a butterfly.  Oh wait, this particular caterpillar turns into a moth.   A moth?  That does not sound quite the same as a butterfly, does it?

But beauty is a reflection of ourselves.  If we see ourselves as beautiful then we are able to see the world and those in it as being beautiful.     It matters not if we are a caterpillar, a butterly or a moth.   Whatever stage we may be in at the moment, there will be other stages in our lives.    Throughout we will encounter challenges.    What matters is not the challenges we face but rather how we face those challenges.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”  ~ Proverb

And so can we.   Just as we think our world is coming to an end, it may instead be a new beginning.

Can you hold a candle to his (f)light?

The other day I was in my car driving to my house and just as I almost arrived, there was a guy yelling at me, pointing with his finger to roll down my window.  The man standing before me was unshaven, missing teeth, completely unkept, had fractured English, along with a nose that appeared to have seen its better day, and his natty hair was entangled in dreadlocks. But, ever so reluctantly I rolled down my window ever so slowly as I have seen him before.

With an unyielding confidence he pointed up to my palm trees and said, “I need to cut your trees. I need to cut your trees.”   He said again.  “They need to be trimmed, and I need to do it.”    He was forceful but not aggressive.

I told him that I would do it myself, but he insisted,  “No. No. No.  You can’t climb up there.  Let me do it I will do it for you.”

He continued, looking straight ahead with a steadfastness that had me left with few answers but finally I confessed that it was not in my budget at the moment.  It was only then that he gave up and said okay as he turned and walked away.

But he did not go down easily.   He did not take no for an answer, and you know what I found refreshing?  It was not that he did not take no for an answer from me, but from life.

He is someone who obviously is compromised by many limitations but none of that has stopped him from having this beat up and broken down truck as his means of making a living for himself as he puts his equipment in the back and drives around the neighborhood searching for business.   He drives and he drives until he finds that person (and hopefully persons) who will finally say, “Yes.  Cut my trees”.

Ironically, when I first moved in I almost jumped through the roof when there was a knock at my door.   Not expecting anyone, I looked outside to see this scraggly man standing outside.  There he was with a crooked hat on his head telling me that I needed my palm trees trimmed.   I had to agree, and without hesitation I was the one on that particular day to say, “Yes.  Cut my trees.”  And, you know what?   He did, and he did a fantastic job in the process.

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He has not been around the neighborhood lately.   As I walk past my palm trees every day I look up and see the coconuts as they increase in number and I think about how the next time see this gentleman I will gladly have him cut them down, because I really admire him for his tenacity.   He is one who truly has taken on the world and has not let anything hold him back.  Just because he may not have an education, just because he is not put together, and just because he may not have a lot of resources, he has made the most of what he does have.

How many people have everything, and yet never realize what they have?  How many know what they have, but yet, do nothing with it?  And, how many are too afraid to give life a try?

There is such an influx of limiting beliefs.  The thinking that there are no opportunities, that there is more lack in the world than abundance is overwhelming.  It is easy to fall into that trap.  Falling into the darkness, it is most difficult to find the light.

And just as I admire this inspiration of this man for his tenacity I am equally empathetic for those who do not possess the will to pierce the darkness as they, for possibly no fault of their own, cannot find it within themselves to move beyond their self to where they dwell.

Simplistic is it to say, “Get a job”, but much more is the complexity of the situation dire to many who deserve not our sympathy but rather our compassion for they too deserve that which we all desire.   No one, I do not believe, sits in their elementary school classroom peering out the window cracked from the wind dreaming of what may lay ahead thinking that their destination is one of destitute.

While my admiration is true, so too is my consideration for others’ sadness.   Whatever makes one person go beyond their means to be something more, I cannot for tell what makes them so.  Neither can I be so callous as to think I can be of judgment of another for their tears I have not shed nor their toils I have not bled.

The best that I can do is see the life that lives within each of us, that life only wanting to live.  If I can remember that we are all breathing the same air, walking the same walk no matter our own path, and that each of us is trying to get out of our own way.   Some navigate the troubled waters more swiftly than others, but that is not to say that even in the darkest of days there is not hope.

He may drive a broken down truck and have little change to spare, but he may also be the beacon of light for someone who cannot find it on their own.

Taking Action – Act 5

In continuation of my taking action, and because I have started with the theme of family, I wanted to share with you someone who really for the most part for many years during my adolescence that we never really spoke very much.  Now that we are both much older that that has changed dramatically although I am amazed at how many of my friends and people that I have seen in passing have family members whether it be brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, grandparents, or whomever who they haven’t talked to in years.  Sometimes that can be positive as every situation is different.  It does though make me feel very blessed to say I have family that I communicate with on a regular basis.  I am fortunate enough to still have a grandparent who is still alive and kicking, I certainly kicking is the word of emphasis here.

Sometimes there are people we know forever, who even they do not remember certain events that have transpired over the course of their lives.   For example going down a snow covered hill on a sled yelling “coming down” as the sled travels faster and faster  picking up speed until finally hitting, not the bottom, but rather a large lumbering tower of a 4th grader who is meandering his way up the hill walking in the opposite direction before making impact with the sled at his feet sending him flying up and over before landing face first in the snow knocking out all his front teeth.   His face still planted in the snow as the sled continued racing undeterred by the mere bump in the road until finally slowly sliding to a stop at the bottom of the hill.

There were too many times to count when family was around whether it be my parents or grandparents and I wanted something so I would finagle someone else into asking for me. It would always be the same person who to their chagrin would unwillingly agree.  They two years younger learned though the beautiful word “no” to my chagrin.

Another little nuance I had growing up with my propensity for finding the best dinner option.  Since my grandparents lived right next to us is I would see what was for dinner at our house and then compare it with what was for dinner at their house and pick whichever one sounded better.  Life is about options anyway.  Options and choices.

I would say that some people have made very wise choices from very early on up until today.   For example choosing to be well educated, to choose a husband who is very considerate, caring and who shares a lot of the same interests.

My sister is really someone who has done very well for herself making  intelligent decisions and has grown tremendously as a person although she has always been someone far more mature than her age when she was much younger
(or shall we say just the opposite of me).    Me, I’m the one who when I know we have left my sister standing stranded on the sidewalk crying that she’s being left behind as we pull out do’t alert my parents but instead thinks it’s a funny joke )but then again maturity has always been something that has never quite caught up to me).

I will also say that my sister has great children who are very much following in her foot steps by making good decisions, being good people, as well as good in school – and in life.

I hope that other people are lucky enough to have people in their family that are supportive and if not hopefully that if they want to they can have the courage to make a change.   It ma be worth it.  There always has to be a start to anywhere where you want to go.

What do you make of today?

While putting down weed and feed on my lawn the other morning a neighbor walked by and said that he spreads his by hand, because he does not have the room for a spreader in his garage.

“I have a better idea.”  I told him.  “How about the next time you need to weed and feed you come by my house and borrow my spreader.”

He got really excited.   “That’s a great idea.”  He said.  “When I was in construction we used to share each others tools, each others help, whatever we needed to get the job done.  That doesn’t happen anymore.”

What makes yesterday different than today?  What can we do today to make today better than it was yesterday?

I shared with him another idea that I have had for awhile.  “I would like to grow a garden.’  I shared.  “One that could be for anyone in the neighborhood to use.”

“And, then when you are gone I could water and taken care of it while you are away.”  My neighbor replied.

Then, I explained how I would like to have other neighbors grow their own gardens so we can all share each other’s fruits of our labor.   All of us can benefit, in more ways than one.  It is a means for us to come together, as a community,  which will enrich the neighborhood.

Whatever changed from yesterday to today we need not prescribe to the theory that today’s circumstances are not within our grasp to alter them so that tomorrow may be even brighter than both yesterday and today.