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Seize the Day and Thoughts On Failure

Pardon me while I meander through a field of thoughts...

Sometimes we fail and it's our fault. Can we then acknowledge that we have been beset and seized by our own bindings. such shackles and mire may have to this point held us fast to our own mediocrity. Can we then to love our failure and forgive ourselves? We travel from such limitations through the pain and angst of emerging into our next level of personal liberty.

Today, we might become aware of personal limitations and thus of the fresh and vital opportunity that awaits us.

Carpe diem is often misquoted as "seize the day." a better rendering of it is to "gather the day." Gathering the day is both a reference to making order of the day(to gather it together) and harvesting the day. The implication is that all that we need is robustly present and waiting around us, a field of possibilities - or at least the next necessary possibility. It is therefore our destiny, our very calling to claim each day unto us. Such effort is most often the doing of simple routine, seemingly mundane tasks. Such  effort does, eventually, result in the very real manifestation of our dreams.

Just for today, may we renew ourselves and simply do the next right thing. Carpe diem!

Miasma Episode I

NOTE: This is a creative writing piece and could be one of a series that creates a fantasy character to allow for observational prose...

My name is Miasma. Actually, Miasma isn't my real name and if I tried to tell you my real name your ears would not hear it nor would your mind grasp it, so for you and the world you see, I am Miasma.

I am a watcher of people and their things for in my watching I find some degree of comfort, some measure of essence that I would otherwise lose and soon I might fade beyond the reach of this world. I cannot touch it or you anymore, so I watch. My presence is veiled to you, no more than the wisp of a cloud or the last mist of a spring morning. I can only watch. I watch the beauty and the ugliness.

Today I watch her, this child with brilliant blue eyes, dancing with light. If you would see her you would most likely be so struck by the particular shade of azure blue brimming from her eyes that you might miss the truly brilliant light that is her eagerness of being as it radiates into the world around her. Yes, I see this radiance. Some might discount her shine as youthful and untainted enthusiasm, but I know better. I have seen this before and today as I watch her trace her fingers along the cracked mortar between the smooth wall stones, I know that this youngling is a rare and delicate version among your kind. She hums a simple tune, one that rises from her inner being and as her wordless song touches the air and all around her I feel the urge to bow, I and every form of life around her would sway upon her song if she only wished it so. She doesn't, for she doesn't know how, yet...

What's Your Epitaph?

And the end of the fight is a tomb stone white with the name of the late deceased
And an epitaph drear “A fool lies here who tried to hustle the east.”

-Rudyard Kipling

Do you ever give thought to the epitaph you want on your tomb stone? Or, do you ever wonder what your surviving relatives (always thought that was a strange connotation. Like they survived your dying?)?

Apparently the possibilities are wide open.

Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.
Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery

Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.
In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery

I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.
Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont

And my favorite,

"I told you I was sick!"
In a Georgia cemetery

On a more serious note, lately I think I know what mine may turn out to be, if I live that long. 

My wife and granddaughter (5 years old) talk about me a good bit. In a loving effort to help our granddaughter understand the people in her world, her grandmother will often explain other people’s behavior. I’m no exception. One evening, in anticipation of the coming morning – my granddaughter asked, “Will granddaddy Kim be here in the morning?” My wife explained, “No. He’ll leave early for work, before you are awake. He goes to work every day to make money so we can have food, a house and other nice things.” One morning early, I walked into the bedroom after my shower, to find them both snuggled into our bed. I dressed for work quietly, in the dark and heard them talking.

Granddaughter: There’s granddaddy Kim… in the dark.
Grandmother: Yes. He knew we would be resting and didn't want to bother us. He’s thoughtful like that. He’ll go down and feed the dogs and let them out, too. So they can run up and join us for a snuggle. Isn’t it nice of him to do that for us?

So, as I’m thinking about how my life is impacting others, I’m hearing my wife tell my grandchild that I am a thoughtful, considerate provider. I've worked hard to be a lot of things: an excellent salesperson, a reliable employee, successful in business, an able public speaker, etc. But here I am, looking from the point of view of my family and I find that I am seen in a different light.

Provider. Considerate. Thoughtful. 

Honestly, that is an epitaph, be it written on the stone above my grave or on the folds of the hearts of those who remember me, which I can live and die with.

A Call to Robust Living - Reposted

“My prayer is not the whimpering of a beggar nor a confession of love. Nor is it the trivial reckoning of a small tradesman: Give me and I shall give you.

My prayer is the report of a soldier to his general: This is what I did today, this is how I fought to save the entire battle in my own sector, these are the obstacles I found, this is how I plan to fight tomorrow… ‘Leader!’ I cry. He turns his face towards me, and I shudder to confront his anguish.

Our love for each other is rough and ready, we sit at the same table, we drink the same wine in this low tavern of life.”

--“The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises” by Nikos Kazantzakis

I am truly a fan of Tolkien's ‘The Lord of The Rings” trilogy. I remember spending hours upon hours tucked quietly in my college dorm room, devouring words upon words, page after page as the fantastic saga unfolded and I journeyed with the heroes of Middle Earth in their quests for victory. In the films of the past few years, we have seen the cinematic adaptation of this tale, and I find myself equally enthralled again with Tolkien's message.

Be it the battles of Elves and Orcs, the magical sparring of light wielding Wizards, or the inner struggle of the spirits of Hobbits and a solitary Gollum, the quest and it’s urgency is the same: Avoid the malformed power of the ring until it can be destroyed, at all costs. The heroes know the importance of that last phrase, ‘at all costs.’ Each is willing to, and some in turn do, give their very life for this cause. It is a wonderful drama of the high cost of noble victory.

It is this urgency that I hear in the words of Nikos Kazantzakis written above. If indeed, as I believe is the case, we humans are in need of help beyond ourselves in order to fulfill the beauty of this human drama, and if we are destined to suffer and fail along the way without this help, then there is an equal sense of urgency about our quest as is that of the soldier and the heroes of Tolkien's tale. All the more, If the quest for this assistance is a path that is known by some and open to others, and yet, is never made clear, how can the battle be won?

How tempting it is to tuck into the safety of Bilbo Baggins’ shire (for adventures make one late for dinner) or to hide in the security of the establishment office, for there we feel safe. Might we be missing the more important call for action?

I do not claim to know THE way that anyone should live, but what I do know is that I am committed to the journey toward The Divine, that power that aids and guides me. Do I travel in too scarce a number today? Should I not pause by the road, and share a bit of the tale that has brought me thus far? Can I not beckon others onward to their journey as well? I am made to ask of myself today, “What report can I give to God, today?”

Coffee Table Tales - Sharing Ourselves

There was a time when coffee tables held the central place in our living rooms. Upon them rested the symbols of our lives. Scattered in plain sight, the magazines, books, and nick knacks of our interest quietly broadcast the message of who we were. You could tell a lot about us by our coffee table tops.

My childhood coffee table was made of 1970’s metal tube legs and glass. The top was a framed glass panel, revealing what appeared to be a star-burst pattern of small, rectangular tiles. The ‘tiles’ were actually a plastic sheet, molded and dyed to the pattern. We kept National Geographic magazine’s 3 or 4 most recent issues fanned out on the table. A center piece of plastic fern in a gold wooden dish was always slightly askew from the bumps and table top activity of us kids. If no guests were around, you would have seen the current homework project tossed into the mix. It wasn't uncommon to find green toy soldiers tucked into the fern or climbing down the metal gold legs.  If company was expected, the soldiers and homework were always replaced by Better Homes and Gardens and a sculptured ceramic ash tray. Ours was a coffee table that told the story of a modest family, intrigued by learning and with aspirations of being normal. My grandmother’s coffee table wasn't the same.

My grandmother’s living room (and it was her living room, even though my grandfather was allowed in to sit in his chair and watch the nightly news) sported a large, round cypress coffee table. Always on the top of it was a bowl of artificial fruit and a combination ash tray-candy dish. The ash tray was never used and the candy was off limits except to guests. You were not allowed to lean on, write on, put anything on top of or run near the table. Once a year, at Christmas, the center piece was replaced by a bowl full of gold and white ornaments. The table told a story of constant order, measured hospitality and fragile balance.

From what I can remember, the coffee tables of old served as statements – sometimes intended, often unconscious – of who we were. I don’t see as many coffee tables in living rooms today and lately have wondered if we might have found something else to take their place. When I look around I see a number of coffee table tops: Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, websites…. On these spaces we can broadcast much easier our likes, wants, feelings and interests. Posting a photo on Facebook, an emotive 140 characters on Twitter or a personal story on a blog all give us a means to set the table for others to see. So, today I’m wondering – what do my digital coffee tables tell about me? What do you see in the things spread before you on your friends and families spaces? How do you present yourself when you know friends are coming by your digital place?

Random thought: Is there a coffee table app? A virtual table with digital objects we could display to tell our momentary mood or story? Should there be?

Garden City Surf Shop - An Icon

Garden City Surf Shop

Garden City Surf Shop Entrance

This place has been there as long as I can remember...and that makes it OLD! I uploaded the photos in full resolution, so click on them and enjoy the details of the paintings!

iPhone Dream

So last evening I was checking my iPhone...

Intimate Musings

You are dancing again.


Have you missed it?

The dancing?


Yes, but I have missed other things more.

Really? What?

I have missed the attentive look on your face as you treasure me.

Treasure you? That is a bit assumptive of you.

Perhaps, but I see it tonight in your eyes.

You annoy me sometimes with you self importance.

I'm not so assured, so confident about most things. But, I know you.

Indeed you do.

Dance with me.

I already am.

Do you love me?


I'm glad.

So am I, eventhough it keeps me forever troubled.


Perhaps unsettled would be a better word.

If you were not unsettled by me, you would be worthless, you know.

Yes, and sometimes I get tired of the desire, the longing, the …


You make me smile.

I make you laugh.

And dance.

I dance for you.

Thank you.

You make me laugh.

I know. I know. Dance.

Gmail User Tip - Grouping Unread Emails

So, for months now I've been plagued by 3 unread messages in my Gmail box. I couldn't find the darn things and the idea of surfing page by page through 12 years of emails just didn't seem practical.

So, here's the fact I learned today. If you want to view all of your unread emails, from all filters, at once, simply type "is:unread" (without the quotes) into your search field and click  Search Mail. Then just coast through the list. I'm so happy!!!

Can You Do That?

It seems to me that I'm wired with a certain set of boundaries, a defined parameter that sets the limits between what I will and will not do. Don't get me wrong, I am capable of doing (and in fact have done) things that are wrong, destructive and thoughtless. It really isn't these extreme actions I'm thinking about here, but more those subtle actions that sap my strength and wear on me.

I don't do math very well - at least not for long periods. I am more right brain creative and living in thoughts and decisions that require deep and prolonged analytical processes affects me in a way that I can best describe as - well - pain.

I don't do tension and conflict. I can endure only so much of that stuff before I'm compelled to change it - or run from it. Yep. Give me a fight or flight situation and I'm more likely to fly...far...away.

I can do analytics and conflict and chaos even for a short time, but don't ask me to live in it...not for long.

So, this has me wondering... do we have some internal design that makes each of us more able to function in these and other areas? I think we all know this to be true - some are gifted in some areas. Some not, but in other areas. We each have a design, a value structure to our living and living too long or too intensely out side of that framework isn't good for us.

What is on your "I don't do that" list?