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The Best Is Yet To Come . . . August 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
39 comments

IMGP1667aWe have a message board outside the clubhouse for announcements.

When there isn’t a 4-foot-long gator in one of the lakes or an upcoming social event looming on the horizon, the board is used to post inspirational sayings, trivia questions, etc.

* Kindness Echoes
* Who Shot J.R.?
* Shift Happens
* Which 2 vegetables are perennials?

Yesterday, the board announced:

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

Hmm . . . I’m not convinced.

“The best is yet to come” is one of those rather ridiculous “truisms” we intone with great regularity to remind ourselves to “keep on trucking.”

I don’t think it’s a true statement. Not for most of us, anyway.  At best, the best is yet to come for some of the people, some of the time.

Unless, maybe, it’s meant in the collective sense.

Calvin-gots-an-Idea

Once global warming and climate change and melting glaciers wipe man off the face of the planet, animals like the Black Rhino may breathe a sigh of relief:

Now, that’s good.  In fact, it’s the best!

God should NEVER have taken that extended sabbatical after Day 7.  He should have pushed through the burn straight into Day 8.

But that’s only in the collective sense.

On an individual basis, how many of us really believe that “the best is yet to come”?

Kids, sure ~ especially in the days leading up to Christmas.
Young adults, maybe ~ until the bills start rolling in faster than the paychecks.
New parents, of course ~ those little bundles of joy are full of promise.  A fresh canvas.  Another chance to “get it right.”

But what then?

The-Pink-Panther

Do we really believe that “the best is yet to come” AFTER we’ve ticked all the requisite boxes:

* Grow up
* Get married
* Have kids (or don’t)
* Enter the workforce
* Buy a house . . . with granite counter tops and double sinks!
* Get a gold watch
* Retire

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The idea of retirement keeps many of us moving forward.

But if retirement is “the best” . . . why do so many oldsters look over their shoulders to talk about “the good old days.”

For that matter, if we are convinced that the best is yet to come, why are we not giddy with anticipation, like Goofy, at the start of each new day?

Goofy-Riding-A-Bike

For most of us, life is like riding a roller coaster ~ we reach a pinnacle and then begin a slow descent (or steep terrifying drop) as we age.

As years flow from one to the next, we are forced to say good-bye to people and things we once loved.  In our golden years, after getting that gold watch, we experience aches and pains, difficulty sleeping, and creeping senility.

We no longer stare at the ceiling “too excited to sleep.”  We’re awake at 2 a.m. because insomnia has, once again, interfered with our steadfast desire for deep restorative sleep and peaceful slumber.

I am not persuaded that the best is yet to come.
I suspect that Robin Williams felt the same.

Grumpy gus

Or, perhaps, after struggling with insomnia, he just longed for oblivion.

Morpheus, Morpheus . . . where for are’t thou Morpheus?

The trick to moving forward to the “Finish Line” (rather than jumping ship or pulling the plug) lies in getting a good night’s sleep.  Every night.

Failing that, we increase the odds of enjoying ourselves for the duration of the cruise when we: (a) hang on to our sense of humor, (b) maintain perspective, (c) focus on the positives (like getting a good night’s sleep once in a Blue Moon), (d) eat lots of chocolate, and (e) convince ourselves that things don’t have to be “the best” in order to be “good enough.”

Collect enough drops of joy on a moment by moment basis and life is pretty good ~ even if we no longer feel like a kid in a candy shop who’s too excited to sleep because we’ve been brainwashed into believing the best is yet to come.

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Aah . . . that’s better!  (Stay tuned ~ the best is yet to come!)

The Other Side of Retirement August 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , ,
51 comments

Pooh-With-MailbagI’m reading letters written by my dad’s dad in the 1950’s after he retired from his rural mail route in Vermont after 30 years of service.

While writing the first of the letters, he was only 7 years older than I am now.

He kept busy with a variety of seasonal interests:  gathering sap to make maple syrup in the spring; planting and harvesting potatoes, beans, corn, peas, and strawberries in the spring and summer; cutting hemlocks for sale to the mill as time permitted; hunting in the fall; and heading south to Florida during the harsh winter months (except when the Vermont legislature sat in session in Montpelier and he claimed seat #87 as Town Representative for Hartland).

His second wife also pursued seasonal interests: dressmaking classes in the spring; canning fruits, vegetables, and meat and tending her flowers during the spring and summer; babysitting for my cousins on an as-needed basis; and traveling to Montpelier and Florida during the winter months, with pit stops in New Jersey to visit my parents as they began married life together, bought their first house, and welcomed my older brother into the world.

Reading about how my grandparents “spent their retirement” caused me to reflect on my own choices and pursuits.

IMGP1800bFor the last 10 years of my working life, I worked for non-profits to “give back to the community.”

Now, my time is my own to spend as I see fit . . . and I love it!

My days are populated with a variety of interesting activities.  I am never bored and there is always more to do than time to do it.

If I get bored or run out of things to do, I’ll volunteer or get a part time job, but for now I’m happy with the status quo.

That was not always the case.

When I first stopped practicing law, I searched high and low for “meaning” and “purpose” ~ convinced that I needed to do something “significant” with my life.

Now, not so much.

Much of the desire “to leave a lasting mark” stems from Ego and its incessant demand for applause, accolades, and approval.  Ego wants recognition for its accomplishments while on life’s stage and yearns for immortality in death.

Mickey-OKUsing an internal barometer and compass to direct and govern my actions has allowed me to embrace peace and happiness in relative anonymity.

I no longer feel any urgency to be more than I am.

Realizing that I have nothing to prove provides meaning enough for me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

After enlightenment, the laundry. ~ Zen Proverb

Related post:  “Just Be” and “I Am” . . . Rocking My World (In The Stillness of Willow Hill)

Gifts From The Heart August 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
28 comments

alice26thSometimes people talk about the “good” they’ve done to inspire others to do good.

Other people seem to be trying to prove that they are good people by telling others about their good deeds.

It’s like they want applause and accolades for past performances.

Bravo!  Bravo!

Which makes me question whether their initial motivation was to help others or to be perceived as helpful by others.

Cheshire_Cat_TennielAnd, then, there are those that keep an active scorecard of what they did for us and when.

So they can remind us that we “owe” them a favor.

A tit for a tat, if you will.

I don’t see life that way.

Gifts from the heart don’t come with strings attached.

Recipients are not obligated to reciprocate.

When we stop striving to “be someone,” we are free of the Ego’s incessant desire for accolades, applause, and attention from those around us.

We no longer act out of the desire for approval, constantly looking around to see who’s watching.

If we do something kind for others and the act is not acknowledged, we are just as pleased as we would be if the act were applauded.

We make choices and decisions based on the firm footing of the Essential Self, rather than on the shaky ground of the False Self.

We no longer give with the expectation of reciprocity since we do not give to get.

We give to give.

Aah . . . that’s better!

When we let go of attachments and expectations, Spirit frees us to evolve, change and grow, from tiny ripples of peace and acceptance, to tidal waves of love and compassion.

How refreshing the whinny of a pack horse fully unloaded! ~ Classic Haiku

Related post:  She Let Go (Yoga with Maheshwari)

Give Kids The World August 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, People.
Tags: , , ,
18 comments

Give Kids The World Village is a 70-acre non-profit “storybook” resort and vacation village in Kissimmee Florida where children with life threatening illnesses and their families can enjoy a week’s vacation ~ all expenses paid:

The village is the passionate vision of Henri Landwirth, a holocaust survivor turned hotelier in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.                   ~Father Flanagan

To learn more about Give Kids The World ~> visit www.gktw.com.

To learn more about Landwirth’s remarkable life ~> read Gift of Life.

Henri’s autobiography, with a Forward by Walter Cronkite and an Afterward by Astronaut and Senator John Glenn, was co-authored in 1996 by BFF’s cousin, J.P. Hendricks (“John”).

Revenues from the sale of Gift of Life go to Give Kids The World Foundation to help ensure that children and families who need help will always be served.

To find your way in this world, listen to your heart. ~ P.J.  Hendricks (1972) (“Pat”)

Aah . . . that’s better! 

No Smart Phone Required July 31, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Mindfulness, Synchronicity & Mystery.
Tags: , , , ,
50 comments

170px-alice_par_john_tenniel_30The other day, BFF and I were driving down the road.

After recounting a story of no import to this tale, I launched into a German accent:  “Und zen, vhat ve have here iz . . . “

I often parody and parrot voices ~ French, English, Southern, Joysey, Longysland, Irish, Scottish, Bahston, Canadian, Monty Python, etc.

German, however, is NOT in my usual repertoire.

BFF stared at me.

I stopped talking (since I didn’t really know where I was headed anyway) and said, “what’s up with the look?”

He laughed, “You’re a mind reader . . . with a very bad German accent to boot.”

“Why do you say that?’

“Seconds before you switched from speaking in your normal voice to your still-needs-work German accent, I had a passing thought:  Who wouldn’t want to chat with my little Einstein?

“Really?”

“Yup.  As soon as I thought Einstein, you switched gears to German.”

“Cool!  I’m a mind reader . . . AND a little Einstein! “

This is NOT the first time I’ve picked up on one of BFF’s thoughts.  And I trust it won’t be the last.

It’s always fun to get a wink from the Universe reminding me that we are all connected to the World Wide Web . . . even if we don’t own a Smart Phone.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Sometimes You Just KnowPretty Swift, Eh?

Embracing Opportunities July 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
41 comments

170px-201008241206184375_MI came across this quote the other day:

I don’t believe that we have an *obligation* to help every single person we encounter.

I do believe that there is an *opportunity* to help every single person we encounter. 

Every.  Single.  Person.

~ Paul ((( The Ripples Guy )))

Kindness echoes.  Compassion fills our bucket, drop by drop.

* Do not overlook any good actions, thinking they are of no benefit; even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.  ~ The Buddha

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  Making Positive Waves ~ The Ripple Effect (T4D) * Kindness Is My Religion (Streams of Consciousness)

10 Ways to Enjoy the 4th of July! July 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Gratitude, Special Events.
Tags: , , , ,
37 comments

In the U.S., Independence Day claims center stage on the Summer Fun Trifecta, sandwiched mid-way between Memorial Day’s kick off to summer and Labor Day’s return to reality.

Instead of shopping in crowded malls, decorating the house from top to bottom, or wrapping countless gifts, families and friends gather for picnics, cookouts, and backyard barbeques with the focus on food, fun and good old-fashioned togetherness.

Here are 10 ways to have a blast this 4th of July as you celebrate the freedoms we so often take for granted:

1.  Enjoy marching bands, patriotic anthems, and crowds waving the Stars and Stripes in time with the music at an Independence Day Parade.

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Or encourage the wee ones to put on a parade of their own, with pots and pans for drums!

2.  Pack a picnic and head to the beach, pool, park, or playground.  Or enjoy a fun old-fashioned gathering in your own backyard.

Invite a crowd!

3.  Organize a Scavenger Hunt.  Get everyone involved by playing on teams ~ pairing adults with children, or older kids with younger ones.

4.  Play backyard games ~ Croquet, Bocce Ball, Volleyball, Badminton, Horseshoes, Dodge Ball, Corn Hole,  Softball, Soccer, Frisbee, or Catch.

5.   Hold a mini-Olympics with a Relay Race, a Wheelbarrow Race, a Three-Legged Race, an Egg Toss, and the Long Jump.

Leave High Jumping and Sabre Tossing to the pros!

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6.  Cool off with a Water Balloon Fight or Dueling Water Pistols during the hottest part of the day.  Or run through the sprinkler with your kids.

7.  Have a Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest ~ judge contestants on distance, speed, accuracy, and enthusiasm.

8.  Catch fireflies or lightning bugs at dusk.  Release them before dawn.

9.  Before calling it a night, light up a few sparklers to wave around while singing the Star Spangled Banner or other patriotic tunes.

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10.  Attend a local community fireworks display to watch the  “bombs bursting in air” in glorious shades of Red, White, and Blue!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

“It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.” ~ Anonymous

“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

“We are free not because we claim freedom but because we practice it.” ~ William Faulkner

“Only our individual faith in freedom can keep us free.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw
Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~ Erma Bombeck

Related posts:  Ten FREE Activities To Enjoy With Kids * Ten Almost FREE Activities For Kids * Top Ten BETs * Ten More Fun Activities For Kids * Outdoor Fun For The Whole FamilyExplore the Great Outdoors

Buddhists Are Not Doing Nothing July 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
44 comments

Contrary to what some think, Buddhists do not sit around doing nothing all day.

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Meditating is not nothing.  Meditating is hard work.  Getting our thoughts to settle down is no easy feat.  It’s like herding cats.

Once Buddhists finish their morning meditation, they chop wood and carry water.  Or do the laundry . . .

After enlightenment, the laundry.

But they do IT (whatever IT is) with mindful attention.

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When they peel an orange, they use all their senses to focus on its scent, texture, taste, color, and the feel of its peel.  If stray thoughts arise, intent on wandering off unchaperoned, practitioners of mindfulness rein them in and bring focus back to the task at hand.

Imagine paying attention to everything you do, say, think, see, smell, hear, touch, and taste.

All day.  Every day.

Being mindful is not nothing.  Staying present to the present of the present is hard work.  Quieting the chatter of our monkey minds is a challenge.

But it gets easier with practice.  And the rewards are great.

Imagine seeing the perfection in something as simple as an orange.  Or no longer stubbing your toe on the coffee table as you hunt for your keys.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Be All That You Can Be June 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
Tags: , ,
38 comments

RWS_Tarot_01_MagicianBecome silent and listen.

Trust your original, spontaneous, generous, kind, and loving nature.

When you’re on the right track, you know it. You feel the flow of life and are more at ease.

That knowledge creates an amazing level of joy and peace in your life.  It releases your creativity, and increases your energy level.

You begin to discard the various masks you wear.  You worry less about your imaginary reputation with others.  You accept yourself as you are and others as they are.

With an honest heart as your guide, you strive to live each day as if it were your last.

And your first.

200px-BedivereLove and laughter shine from your eyes. Your actions reflect genuine kindness and concern.  You smile at your reflection.

Grateful for the many blessings in life, you keep minor annoyances in perspective, instead of blowing them out of proportion.

You learn from your mistakes, encouraged by the knowledge that you can do better.

Transformation doesn’t happen all at once.  You become.  It takes time.

Do not give up if you are not yet who you want to be.  Just be more fully the best you already are.

You can be an outstanding human being ~> you just can’t be a perfect one.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post: When We Blunder About * A Step of Faith (SuziCate) * We All Can Be A Ripple (Did That Just Happen?) * Your Words Echo (T4D)

Daybreak June 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Life Balance, Nature, Poetry.
Tags: , , , ,
34 comments

IMGP1920Owls grow silent

Grass starts to glow

Birds start singing

The cock starts to crow

 

Sunrise is here

Daylight has broken

All without orders

Having been spoken

Aah . . . that’s better!

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