Monday, June 6, 2016

You Won the Lottery

You won the lottery. And so did I. We are the lucky aliens who got to come to this planet and know form in its never ending possibilities and, more importantly, the human experience.

The ‘universe’ created this blue mass of miracles for us. The sky is blue for us, the mountains high for us, the grass green for us, the birds sing for us, the sun shines for us, the clouds rain for us, the trees give shade to us. Stars light the sky for us in the darkness, the darker the sky, the more stars there are to remind us that even in the darkness, we are never alone. Everything we could ever imagine is right here. In perfect form.

Next time, before you squash a spider, suspend your fear momentarily and just stop to really look at it. Look at his furry legs, his tiny pinchers, the design on his back. Like, who came up with that design? To say it was beautiful would be an insult because it’s miraculous.

What’s even more miraculous is the function of a spider. What kind of a mathematical genius, architect and engineer does he need to be to spin a web, in the dark, without so much as a rudimentary tool? Just think of the planning and thought that goes into not only it’s design but placement?

Spiders catch bugs, hummingbirds eat spiders, it’s all a perfectly balanced and intelligent piece in a system with an infinite number of pieces all designed to function perfectly with all other pieces in the system.

And we are the ones who got to come here and witness it. Explore it. Stand in awe of it. 
It's easy to let the distractions, the disappointments and the temporary set-backs of life bring us down. In those moments, more than ever, we need to remember that we won the lottery. We really did.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Happy Star Wars Day

Fellow Jedi Masters,
Happy Star Wars Day and May the Fourth always be with you.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sharpen The Saw

I just returned from a five-day Novel Intensives writing workshop with Writing Legend (and former Texas Rangers relief pitcher), Larry Brooks and Story Coach, Jennifer Blanchard in Portland.

I've been developing my story for book two for what feels like a lifetime very long time. The search for story and development of a story is a lonely, excruciating and, exciting process. 
It starts with an initial spark of an idea that seems to come out of no where. For me it was about five years ago while hiking in the San Jacinto mountains in California. 
Since that fateful morning I put it on the back burner where it has been simmering, bubbling and boiling over at times but I just haven't sat down and hammered out the concept and premise into a workable story. 
Because it takes time. 
A lot of time. 
And it's a painful process.
But it's time to sharpen the damn saw and get 'er done. So that's what I'm doing. Sharpening the saw, honing my craft, learning what I need to learn to make it better. Spending the time with bottom in chair, developing the story and the characters who are bored to death just waiting for something to do.

The point of this post is to say that too often we know what we need to do (exercise, pre-make healthy meals, foster better relationships with our loved ones, get down on the floor and play with our kids even if they keep breaking the crayons and asking us to do impossible things like color the glue pink and put it on our eyes!). 
We don't do what we need to do to make our lives better, to make us better people, to reach our goals, because it takes time. 
Stephen Covey says one of the habits of highly successful people is that they sharpen the saw, unlike your neighbor who wastes hours trying to cut down a tree with a blunt saw and won't just go sharpen the saw because, it takes time. 
So sharpen the saw.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Oh Yeah

A lion never loses sleep over the opinions of sheep 
- origin unknown

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I Remember You

I am as you are.
We are one and of the same.
Perfection. Divine. Love. Light. Brilliance.
We are all brothers and sisters who experience these temporary homes we call bodies.
Souls sharing the gift of human experience.
When I see you I will smile, and know that it is genuine.
I'm not intoxicated, I just remember who you are.
We are One and of the same.

Free will is ours to try different things, learn different skills, live in different lands, study different teachings, and believe whatever we choose.
Our ego would lead us to believe that our differences make us separate, better, worse, special or unworthy - but we won't be fooled by that sneaky devil, at least, not for long.

He leads us to believe we suffer alone, but truth reminds us we suffer together in our successes disguised as failures and our growth disguised as heartaches.
We must only look to the left, the right, behind and in front of us to find one who suffers equally as we do.
But we must only look within to find the antidote to our suffering for it is here, in our hearts, where there is enough love to heal the world.

Until then, when I see you I will smile for I remember who you are and who you are is perfect.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Letting Go and Letting

It is said that Buddha gave an entire lecture in silence, simply holding up a flower and contemplating it.
The other day I was bustling along the sidewalk, rushing somewhere to do something important (can't remember for the life of me what it was so it must have been really important), I was probably texting on my iphone when I nearly bumped into a floral stand where my attention was hijacked by a delicate little pink flower.

I stopped momentarily but quickly carried on because, after all, who has time to stop and look at flowers? But after a few steps that little flower compelled me to go back. That little flower had it's hooks in me. So I returned to the stand and when I left this time a smug little pink flower accompanied me.

I brought it home, placed it in a vase and said,
            "OK Flower - wassup? Yes, you're a natural beauty, yes we all need to slow down and appreciate life, yadda yadda, yadda. But why did you trip me and then make me take you home?"
I was about to walk away but then that delicate little flower gave me a jolly good wallop across my consciousness. Here's what came to me via the flower.

This little flower has mastered the art of allowing. It does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone. This little flower doesn't try to accomplish being a flower and muddle it up; this little flower doesn't have an ego that dominates its natural ability to blossom. No, this little flower has surrendered, has let go and as a result is perfect. This little flower is enlightened For &*%# Sakes!

Imagine what this little flower would look like if it took on our human qualities of striving and control and self-doubt? Well, for starters it wouldn't look like a flower, that's for sure. It would doubt itself, it would wonder what it's purpose was and beat itself up for not knowing, it would think it was ugly, it would compare itself to all the other flowers, is my stem too fat? Is my color dull? Why is she taller than me? She has more petals than me! Why won't that bee look at me? What's wrong with me? You get the point.

But taking it one step further than that, what is in the flower that looks after everything so perfectly? What is it that grows the bloom at the perfect time, that keeps everything in perfect balance, that returns the bloom to the earth to nurture the soil, that nourishes the bees and birds and countless other organisms (assuming humans don't come along and spray it with a toxic chemical -to make it 'perfect' while poisoning the ecosystem).
What is in the acorn that grows the oak tree? What is in the tiny dot of protoplasm that makes it grow into a perfect baby? (Without any help from us by the way)

Max Planck, Noble Prize Winning Scientist and the father of quantum physics theory said, while receiving the Noble Prize, "As a man who has devoted his whole life to teh most clear-headed science, to the study of matter. I can tell you as the result of all of my research about atoms, this much; that there is no matter as such. That all matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force, which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this minute solar system of the atom together. We must, as scientists all assume that behind this force is the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter."
Wayne Dyer sums it up perfectly this way; particles do not create particles. Particles come from energy, this energy that is in everything - from a delicate baby-pink flower to you and me.

The only difference between this little pink flower and us? We come equipped with extra features called free will and ego and that's why we tend to forget about this divine intelligence of perfection within us. Some say we were given these extra features to offer us 'maximum opportunity for learning and growth'. Yep, I don't know about you but I get lots of opportunities for growth every day...
But one cannot deny that we share this infinite, intelligent mind with every other living thing in our universe from complex solar systems that hold planets in alignment to this delicate, albeit know-it-all little pink flower.
Who knows, maybe that's what Buddha was contemplating when he held up the flower that day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

1.3 million speak up for Cecil

“It’s been three months since Cecil the Lion was killed by an American dentist in Zimbabwe, and I am one of 1,300,000 people around the world want to see #JusticeForCecil. Sign the petition to make sure U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service​ knows that we will continue to fight to make sure wildlife is protected:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dare to be Fabulous!

I was recently asked by the very beautiful and talented fellow animal lover Johanna McCloy to submit an article as their October feature for Dare to be Fabulous. 
Hmmm, what is this Dare to be Fabulous website I thought. So I visited 'DTBF' and began to read stories by such women as Gloria Steinem, the hilarious Jenna Jolovitz and her 'hair-boiled egg' breasts, the brave Rebecca Chamaa, the honest mom, Molly Caro May, the independent Sohini Chakraborty and the adventurous photographer Jo-Anne McArthur. Hours passed as I was engulfed in laughter, tears but mostly inspiration within the beautiful stories Johanna has passionately collected.

I certainly didn't believe that little ol' me could mingle with such a group of outstanding women but Johanna encouraged me to write a story from the heart, so I did. 
And if you'd like to read it, you can read it right here. I encourage anyone who's looking for a dose of inspiration to check in at Dare to Be Fabulous, you won't be disappointed!

From the DTBF website:

Every woman’s personality and circumstances are unique, but all women share in the experience of hearing that inner voice and daring themselves on a daily basis, whether at work, at home, or at play. Daring to be fabulous could be daring to laugh, speak up, dance, engage, or in some cases, walk away. Just getting out bed in the morning could be a DTBF experience!
Story contributors range from groundbreaking and famous women, to one woman who has chosen to remain in splendid anonymity. They’re all in it together. Peruse featured stories and check out the roster of amazing contributors thus far. Have you heard the adage, “compare and despair”? Dare to be Fabulous proposes this antidote: “relate and celebrate! The personal is universal, and the universal personal. Every affirming action reverberates into the world and bolsters others in its wake.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Elephants Never Forget

Photo from the Anthony family

On the afternoon of March 7, 2012 a heavy procession made a slow and deliberate 12 hour journey to the home of beloved conservationist and author, Lawrence Anthony in Johannesburg, South Africa who had just passed away. Just.

When they arrived they did not eat nor drink. They encircled his home and stayed for two days mourning the passing of their friend and savior.  They were two herds of wild elephants. Matriarch, bulls and babies. They had come to pay their respects to the man that had saved their lives. Two immediate questions came to the surface: first, how did they know he had just passed? And second, they had not been to his home for at least 18 months, how could they remember?

Lawrence Anthony is well known for his writings and work as a conservationist, he was affectionately known as the Elephant Whisperer. He saved the elephants from the Baghdad zoo during the Iraqi crisis. He saved 'troublesome' elephants from reserves in South Africa who were destined to be shot - elephants who hated humans after being abused and seeing their family members poached.

The relationship with these elephants wasn't always a loving one, Anthony writes in The Elephant Whisperer how on their first night at his reserve he pleads with the matriarch of the herd, Nana, not to try and escape as they will be shot 'out there'. But Nana, a known escape artist fell a tree onto the electrical wire and together with another elephant crushed the generator of the electrical fence, freeing her and her herd. A chase ensued with Lawrence and his staff trying to find and save the elephants before the locals who now saw them as fair game, shot them.
Lucky for the elephants, Anthony found them first.

I spent a brief time volunteering with elephants in Africa, in particular one named Kittibon whose name means I have seen. She had also witnessed her herd being poached, but had been rescued and was now on this small reserve. Every morning Kittibon would, through the electrical fence, whip my face with a stick, throw food at my face - or after I had gotten smart and put a bandana over my face to outsmart the elephant, she doused me with a powerful trunkful of water. Yep, the ellie won. But over time, I developed a deep connection with her, she was one of my greatest teachers. I loved that elephant and when she passed away a few years later from a prolapsed uterus after giving birth I truly mourned her passing.

Lawrence Anthony also talks about this connection with the matriarch elephant, Nana during a near confrontation in his magnificent book, The Elephant Whisperer:

“She took another step forward. I could see her tense up again, preparing to snap the electric wire and be out, the rest of the herd smashing after her in a flash.
“I was in their path, and would only have seconds to scramble out of their way and climb the nearest tree. I wondered if I would be fast enough to avoid being trampled. Possibly not.
“Then something happened between Nana and me, some tiny spark of recognition, flaring for the briefest of moments. Then it was gone. Nana turned and melted into the bush. The rest of the herd followed. I couldn’t explain what had happened between us, but it gave me the
first glimmer of hope since the elephants had first thundered into my life.”

So how did the elephants know? I believe they knew from the deep connection we all have. The deep connection that if we are willing to give up resentment, fear, darkness and all the other trivial stuff that muddles our vision, allows the divine that is in every living thing to flow so miracles are not only possible but plausible.

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson

Friday, September 18, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Godspeed Dr. Dyer

"Look for the blessing in all situations." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

There are heavy hearts around the world today as we learn that Dr. Dyer passed over to the other side this weekend. 
Dr. Dyer was a mentor to millions. He was a man, or as Wayne would say, a spirit who was not afraid to break out of the mould. He encouraged the rest of us to not die with our music still inside of us either.

I discovered Dr. Dyer late one sleepless night on a 2004 PBS special, The Power of Intention. It was just weeks after my father had passed and I was struggling with loss. 
Dr. Dyer's message came through loud and clear, and it profoundly helped me to heal and understand. The message was: we are all spirits having a human experience, not humans having a spiritual experience. He said life is just a pause in between the parenthesis, our spirits never die. That message was the lighthouse that guided me through the fog.

I recently learned that Dr. Dyer wrote, The Power of Intention, while he was battling a deep depression after him and his wife of 20 years separated. Writing the book pulled him out of the depression and it would go on to help millions who were struggling with their own losses. Incredible.

I've studied every book written by Dr. Dyer, watched every PBS special and had the opportunity to see him speak live at the Queen Elizabeth theatre in Vancouver. His loving presence filled the room and beyond. He said when he sat down to write he would just let the Divine write through him. This evident by his manuscripts.

Dr. Dyer wrote extensively on the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, a prayer that carries us through our darkest times. The last line of the prayer reads: It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Dr. Dyer has returned to eternal life.

I love you Dr. Dyer, thank you for stepping out of the mould, thank you for sharing your gifts.

The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 

to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.