March 9, 2013
“An oak and a reed were arguing about their strength. When a strong wind came up the reed avoided being uprooted by bending and leaning with the gusts of wind. But the oak stood firm and was torn up by the roots.” – Aesop
Life is about change, about movement. But we humans are creatures of habit and resist any challenge to the status quo. We feel safe in our comfort zone and refuse to change a habit or situation.
We cling to bad relationships, a lousy job, a home that was once a haven, but is now a burden, or a lifestyle that no longer fits our needs. We even refuse to change our bad habits, like drinking too much, abusing drugs, over spending, eating junk food, or smoking. We hold on to things out of the fear of the unknown, but our stubborn nature can get us in trouble.
When we ignore the facts of our situation, we’re fighting against the winds of change and we end up like the oak tree.
Change can make or break us. Being flexible and adaptable helps us survive and thrive. When we’re rigid and unmoving we perish. It’s evolution.
The winds of change can take us to new places and help us discover our hidden courage and talents. Changes in our lives that may at first seem like a threat, offer new possibilities and are opportunities for us to move on and grow beyond our self-induced limits.
Life happens outside our comfort zones. It can be scary, but it’s worth it!
Sometimes it’s best just to let go of something and get caught up in the breeze.
“The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind” – Bob Dylan
February 17, 2013
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
- Robert Frost
Life is always in motion, constantly changing, moving forward and evolving. It’s a series of challenges and situations to be solved—one way or the other. When you have a plan for your life, it helps you experience the things that are most important to you. Our plans may not always work out, but life is much better if we have something to guide and motivate us as we travel the path.
When you don’t have goals with timelines, you end up with no direction and limited success. Life planning is an ongoing process that changes based on your desires and aspirations. And as we age, having a plan is even more important.
Times have changed. Getting older doesn’t mean we aren’t vibrant and healthy and able to contribute. If you eat well, exercise and continue to learn, you can add value at any age. It’s the perceived limitations that society places in our heads about aging that become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Challenge those false beliefs. Keep moving and always have a plan of action—a vision of where you want to go and what you want to do in that space between being alive and being done.
It’s up to each of us to figure out what we want to accomplish—free of societal influences.
So take time to create a vision of the future you’d like to live. Don’t accept the preconceived notions of how you should age. You’re the only one who can make that choice.
Enjoy the road ahead—it can be amazing!
“It`s not how old you are, it`s how you are old.” – Jules Renard
August 6, 2012
“We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.” – John Newton
As we travel through life, we gather things along the way: knowledge, skills, relationships, success, money, possessions—this “life stuff” is good and necessary for our trip. But it’s the extra baggage of failure, too many possessions, bad relationships, debt, fat and addictions that weighs us down and lowers the quality of our lives.
Like barnacles on a ships hull, these burdens accumulate over time—they’re the source of our stress and weaken us mentally and physically. It’s not our age that slows us down, it’s what’s attached to us.
We have the power to lift this useless weight off of our shoulders and improve our lives. By getting rid of negative mental and physical burdens, we experience life more fully and are better equipped to pursue life’s opportunities.
So, dump the junk in your life—use it and lose it—make your journey fun again!
“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.”
- Charles Dudley Warner
There’s always a cost for extra bags.
July 29, 2012
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” – Carl Sandburg
Life time is limited—we need to remember that.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien
July 27, 2012
“When forced to work within a strict framework the imagination is taxed to its utmost—and will produce its richest ideas. Given total freedom the work is likely to sprawl.” – T.S. Eliot
Nothing is more terrifying to an artist or a writer than an empty canvas or a blank sheet of paper. When we think of creativity, we think of freedom, no limits, other than our own imagination. But when we’re faced with too many choices, we freeze-up, get overwhelmed—become blocked.
One way to overcome these barriers, is to establish boundaries for our work. These restrictions can be liberating. Borders, fences, lines, frames—define our creative effort—they help us focus as we mix and match the limited elements to create the finished artwork. When we set self-imposed constraints for a project, like time, money, or materials, we narrow the field of possibilities and challenge ourselves to come up with a solution based on what’s available. It’s when we’re at our best creatively.
Whether it’s a haiku poem, a twenty minute presentation, a book, a painting, a photograph, a song or a dance—creative limits provide structure and clarity.
This can work for us in all areas of our life. When we have many possibilities—we often end up doing nothing. But when we layout our own roadmap and create milestones with deadlines—we get a better understanding of our destination—of where we want to go and what we want to say along the way.
“If you have five elements available use only four. If you have four elements use three.” – Pablo Picasso
Stay within the lines, the lines are our friends.
July 24, 2012
photo Nicolas Esposito
“And this was really the way that my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.” - Jack Kerouac
When I was young, I had some of the best times of my life on our summer vacations. My dad, mom, brother and I packed into our family car—hitting the open road.
I remember the billboards we’d see for miles—advertising ghost towns, caves, souvenirs, alligators, the world’s largest something or other—places and things offering adventure—only 107 miles ahead! Our parents would tell us that these were “tourist traps”—and their only purpose was to take our cash. This didn’t mean we wouldn’t stop at some of these places—just that we’d be careful about how we spent our time and money.
Looking back now, I realize that this was great advice on how to live.
It’s not life that traps us, it’s the human made pitfalls that lead to our biggest problems. Unhealthy food, prescription drugs, alcohol and credit cards promise one thing—but ultimately make us slaves to a system that holds on to us until the end of the road.
This is something that many of us learn the hard way—when it’s too late and we’re already sucked in by marketing and bad choices—real traps of poor health, debt and addiction—created by humans for humans.
But life is forgiving—these things can be overcome. If we make a wrong turn, we can always take action to get ourselves back on the road—back to our fantastic journey.
So enjoy the trip, but think about how you spend your time and money.
“Man is the only kind of varmint sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.” – John Steinbeck
|Keep pushin’ up those|
July 18, 2012
Born like this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes”
- Charles Bukowski
Welcome to the realities of life—well at least the human made realities. We were given the tools and this is what we created. We made the rules, set up our societies—and we can change them for the better.
Life is messy, it’s not perfect—and it’s not meant to be. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved—that we’re helpless to change our situation. We can use our imagination to see things not as they are now, but the way they could be.
It starts with one person asking, “Why does it have to be like this?” People created these norms and people can change them. It’s about doing what’s right—helping each other make sense of our limited time on this planet. We’re part of a changing universe and we need to evolve and improve the human condition.
Just because we’re born into this, doesn’t mean we’re stuck with it.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
July 17, 2012
“According to the surgeon general, obesity today is officially an epidemic; it is arguably the most pressing public health problem we face, costing the health care system an estimated $90 billion a year.
Three of every five Americans are overweight; one of every five is obese. The disease formerly known as adult-onset diabetes has had to be renamed Type II diabetes since it now occurs so frequently in children.
Because of diabetes and all the other health problems that accompany obesity, today’s children may turn out to be the first generation of Americans whose life expectancy will actually be shorter than that of their parents.”
- Michael Pollan
We’re becoming a nation of food zombies—hypnotized, without consciousness and self-awareness about the bad food we’re eating. We mindlessly shuffle through our days responding to pizza, fast food and soft drink advertising, consuming huge quantities of sugar, fat, salt and other chemicals. This over-processed food has taken control of our brains, making us crave the things that are killing us!
We’re lured in by mouth-watering ads, free samples, super-sized portions, all we can eat promises and low prices—but there are hidden costs.
Over time, this bad food causes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. And if we want to live, the price goes up. They sold us the poison, and now they’ll sell us the cure—well at least a temporary fix:
“Come on down! Here are your pills and if they don’t work, we can staple your stomach or suck the fat out of you—maybe all three!”
It’s a rigged game and we’re the losers, if we don’t wake up and make healthier food choices.
“More die in the United States of too much food than of too little”
- John Kenneth Galbraith
When you super-size your body—you minimize your life.
July 14, 2012
photo: Suzan Black
Professor Moody: What are you going to do about your dragon?
Harry: Oh… um… well, you know, I just thought I’d…
Professor Moody: Listen to me, Potter. Your pal Diggory? By your age he could turn a whistle into a watch and have it sing you the time. Miss Delacour is as much a fairy princess as I am. As for Krum, his head may be filled with sawdust, but Karkaroff’s is not. They’ll have a strategy. And you can bet that it will play to Krum’s strengths. Come on, Potter, what are your strengths?
Harry: I dunno… I can fly, I mean I’m a fair flyer…
Professor Moody: Better than fair the way I heard it.
Harry: But I’m not allowed a broom.
Professor Moody: You’re allowed a wand…
We all have dragons to battle. This scene from Harry Potter can apply to any of the problems we face in life—scary challenges that we have no idea how to tackle—such as: What are you going to do about your addiction? health? gambling? debt? weight? drinking? anger?
Life is a series of problems to be solved and we all have unique talents and abilities to help us find the solutions. Face your challenges head-on and use your strengths to overcome them—fight fire with fire!
What is your dragon? What are your strengths?
“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” – Joseph Campbell
Got a light?
July 12, 2012
“Global warming sounds so big that it’s hard to imagine that you as an individual can do anything about it (“what I do is such a tiny drop in the bucket it doesn’t matter anyway”). But that’s where you’re wrong: the reason Earth is in peril is because of individual actions—by me, by you, by the person sitting next to you, by the person you bump into on the street.
The bad news is that when we put all those individual actions together, it becomes one huge number—big enough to change climate, big enough to change how Earth supports life. The good news—the very good news—is that, just as the problem is the sum of what each one of us is doing, so is fixing the problem.”
- Anthony D. Barnosky, Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming