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

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , , ,
44 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)

Sometimes It’s Hard To “Come Clean” August 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
49 comments

Have you ever overheard someone recount an event (of which you have first hand knowledge) by shading the truth, more than a little, to place themselves in a better light?

Claiming the role of blameless victim to a vicious attack, rather than recognizing their role as instigator or co-participant?

Maybe it’s the attorney in me, but when someone shares a sob story that sounds one-sided, lopsided, or far-fetched, I do not offer blind support.

I ask a few questions first, to ascertain whether the story is factual or fictional.

Once upon a time, we cautioned our young niece not to provoke our cat or she would get scratched.

Ignoring the warning, she backed Jazz into a corner and reached out to grab him.

He scratched her.

Eyes brimming with tears, she exclaimed, “Jazz scratched me!”

We examined the scratch ~ a glancing blow issued as a “step away from the cat” warning.

“What were you doing when he scratched you?”

“Nothing.”

“You were just sitting there, minding your own business, and Jazz ran up to you and scratched you for no reason?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Really?  You weren’t trying to pick him up?  Or pet him? Or follow him around?  You were just sitting still and he ran over to you?”

Hesitation.

“Well . . . he was under the table, and I just wanted to pet him, and when I got close to him, he scratched me.  But I wasn’t going to hurt him!  I didn’t mean to bother him.  I just wanted to pet him.”

{{Hugs}}

James-the-CatSometimes it’s hard to “come clean” and see our part in the controversy.

Our Egos don’t want to admit the part we played in escalating situations from peaceful co-existence to hissing, scratching, tail-pulling, or worse.

But it’s worth it when we do.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Related posts:  Is Your Soul Yearning For Less Drama (Find Your Middle Ground) * You Can’t Handle The Truth

 

 

Reality: What A Concept! August 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , , ,
44 comments

alice26thMany of the on-line tributes to Robin Williams had something in common.

Instead of looking at life through Robin’s eyes to garner the whys of his demise, bloggers mentioned him, in passing, as a stepping stone to get other issues into the spotlight.

That’s understandable.

It is easier to know man in general than to know one man in particular. ~ Duc de la Rochefoucauld

* Some called for more resources for those who struggle with mental illness.

A laudable goal, for sure, but I suspect that Robin had adequate (if not ample) resources available to him.

* Others called for us to be kinder in our daily doings and dealings.

An excellent suggestion, but I doubt that Robin took his own life because of   bullies on the cyber-playground or people looking at him askance.

* Some cited the need for open discussion about depression and addiction.

A noteworthy objective, which I suspect is irrelevant to Robin’s death since he spoke in public forums about these “taboo topics” with great regularity.

* Others encouraged us to lend an ear and really listen to those around us.

Yes!  We should do that.  And, yet, I’m not convinced that our poor listening skills, even collectively, caused Robin to end his life.

Sometimes talking makes “it” better.  Other times, talking just makes it BIGGER.

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27I could keep dunking the teabag, but you get the idea.

Instead of focusing on the reality of Robin’s life, many tributes gave Robin little more than a passing glance before veering off in other directions.

Not surprising, really ~ our view of reality is skewed because we’re looking at life through a dirty lens and cloudy filter.

When something happens, our experiences, concerns, and viewpoints form an opaque overlay, obscuring reality.  We tell ourselves stories and fanciful fictions in a futile effort to create order from chaos and sense from nonsense.

We see the world behind our eyes.

That’s not to say that our creation of ostensible tributes to Robin Williams was misplaced energy.  I don’t have a suitable vantage point to understand or oversee all the various ripples set in motion by our actions and inaction.

Perhaps the outpouring of emotion following his death will cause a tidal wave of love and compassion, lifting us high above the surreal landscape.  From that heightened perspective, maybe we’ll catch a glimpse of reality as IT IS instead of as WE ARE.

A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection.

Reality: What a concept!

Aah . . . that’s better!

On the outside chance that Robin is reading this in Never Never Land, let me close with his view of reality:

Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t cope with drugs. ~ Robin Williams

Related post:  Why We Mourn the Death of Celebrities (Smart Living 365)

A Quick Hit of Inspiration August 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , ,
38 comments

Sometimes we stall in our tracks and need a quick hit of inspiration to get us going again:

Celebrate your progress.  Sometimes half of success is simply noticing it.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more by Kathy Davis:  Simple Secrets ~ 7 Principles to Inspire Success

Castles In The Sand August 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Nature.
Tags: , , , , ,
30 comments

Screech!  A lone gull screamed at the solitary form bull-dozing the beach.  When no other gulls joined the battle cry, the gull flew off.

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The boy returned his attention to the wet sand.  Water lapped at his feet as he scooped up handful after handful and began building up the sides.

Time passed.  The boy remained intent on his task.

The sun slipped toward the horizon.  The boy stood up and stepped back.  He shook the sand off his clothes, brushed tenacious grains off his bare legs, and smiled at his masterpiece ~ the best snowman he had ever made.

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With a nod of satisfaction, he walked into the deepening twilight.

Behind him, water lapped at Frosty’s belly.  Eroded by waves, the boy’s “nod to the north” crumbled into salty foam and washed out to sea.

IMGP4116b

Aah . . . that’s better!

O Captain! My Captain!  Our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won.

Rest in Peace, Robin (7/21/51 – 8/11/14).  You fit lots of life, love, and laughter into that dash.  You’ll be missed.

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)

The Ordinary Guru Contest August 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Life Lessons, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,
24 comments

Have you ever met an everyday, ordinary guru who helped you break a myth that held you back, sparked insight, or helped you see the world a little differently?

If so, tell your story by entering the Ordinary Guru Contest.

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From the Ordinary Guru website:

We’re looking for short stories, essays, memoirs, photo essays, graphic stories, cartoons, and poems about ordinary gurus.

Ordinary gurus teach us what we need to know in order to expand our view of ourselves and the world.

These gurus aren’t just people— they can also be anything in nature that offers you an insight or life lesson, perhaps a pet, a wild animal, or even a tree that helps you see yourself or life differently.

Happy-TigerNo fee to enter!  Fabulous prizes!

First Prize: $5,000
Second Prize: $2,500
Third Prize: $1,500

LEARN MORE | SUBMIT AN ENTRY

NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. PURCHASE OR PAYMENT DOES NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING.  Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years and older.  Contest ends August 31, 2014.

Tigger-BouncingWinners will be announced on or around October 1, 2014.  Selected stories from the entrants will also be published in White’s forthcoming anthology, The Ordinary Guru Project.

Subject to complete Official Rules.

Good Luck!

Don’t Mess With Nuns July 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , , ,
63 comments

Wikipedia ~ Saint Scholastica

A private Catholic school faced a unique problem.

A number of 12-year-old girls had started using lipstick.  After putting it on, they would press their lips to the bathroom mirror, leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man removed them; the next day the girls put them back.

Sister Mary decided something had to be done.

She called the girls to the bathroom and explained that the lip prints caused extra work for the custodian, who had to clean the mirrors.

The girls yawned.

To press her point home,  Sister Mary asked the maintenance man to show the girls the effort required to clean the mirrors each night.

He took a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror.

Problem solved!

There are teachers and there are educators!

Don’t mess with nuns, they are wicked smart!

Aah . . . that’s better!

E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Turning Boulders Into Pebbles July 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
Tags: , , ,
42 comments

170px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_02Life is full of challenges and obstacles.

Some are boulders; others are mere pebbles on the path.  And some boulders transform into pebbles if we change the way we view them:

* Do what you can with what you have where you are.

Perhaps you don’t have time to sort through ALL your books tonight to select extraneous tomes to donate to the Library for its Annual Book Sale . . . tomorrow.

Fair enough.

But maybe you can nibble away at your collection by selecting ONE book a day to donate to next year’s sale.

One book a day may not sound like much, but it equates to 30 books a month and 360 books a year.

I can hear your overflowing book shelves breathing lighter already.

200px-March-hare* Hardship is inevitable, misery is optional.

Perhaps you can no longer eat everything you used to eat.  Maybe you’re on a salt-restricted or gluten-free diet eyeing a slice of pizza.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t eat (which will add to your suffering), focus on the delicious tastes and textures of the food you can eat.

Like chocolate!

And if that doesn’t work . . . seize the day and eat the pizza!

Life is short.  You could get hit by a bus next week.

Or drowned in a tea pot.

220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27

Make the most of this moment.

Aah . . . that’s better!

How often do you transform boulders into pebbles by viewing obstacles as opportunities?

Related post:  Pizza Shopping (Coffee Kat’s Blog ~ Kate)

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