Archives for posts with tag: understanding

The struggle for life is ever-present in this image.   The birds, dolphins, and sharks all want to eat the small fish in the bait ball just below.   They want nothing more than to survive.  The same goes to the small fish that are being devoured.   The good news is that their passing will give other life the energy they need to survive.  The circle of life in the sea is both cruel and beautiful.

Eat or be eaten

Eat or be eaten

Humans don’t have to dive amongst sharks and birds for dinner as we have supermarkets to purchase our food.  Each of us has a choice to eat food that has been grown and harvested in a particular manner, that is organic, non- GMO, that has been processed, or not been processed, that contains high fructose corn syrup,  natural sugar, artificial sugar, fat, non-fat, fast food, and more…….

What we eat has a direct impact on how we feel and on our environment.  Smart choices help our bodies thrive and leave a gentle footprint on your body and the planet. Unhealthy choices lead to polluting your body and our environment.

With diabetes and heart disease ever-present in our world wide communities, choosing the right food has never been more important.  Limiting sugars, fast food, soda, and processed foods are great ways to live healthier.

Food for thought……….

 

Image provided by Douglas J Hoffman

Are you stuck in  relationship or job thats join nowhere?  Why do you stay?  Is it because the evil you know is better than the evil you don’t? Or is it that your afraid of rejection or that you won’t find something better?  Sometimes a low self esteem is what blocks us.  Somehow we feel that were no worthy of a better relationship or job. Other times it’s that you’ve been in it for so long you are comfortable even though not 100% content.  Whatever the reason, what is holding you back is you.  You need to change that in order to succeed & thrive.

Old Man Wisdom cruising over the reef.

Old Man Wisdom cruising over the reef.

Yes, this seems easier said than done.  However once you make a decision and are committed to it, change can be empowering and make you feel good.   After all your taking action to improve your situation.  Where energy flows, results often show.  So embrace the changes that you know need to be made to enable you to live the life you desire.  The process takes time and energy but it does work and you can create the life of your dreams. Some the things you will go through will not be fun. However they will pass and in the end you remain.

This turtle image was provided by Douglas Hoffman.

So there I was sitting in the back yard talking on the phone. The wind was blowing and my attention went up towards the limbs of the mango tree I was under. At that moment  I saw the spider.  I had a choice to react with fear or not.  I could have simply killed it, as that would have removed the threat.  Instead, I decided to face my fear and let it pass through me. Once I did that I saw the spider in a different light.  I watched the spider ride out the wind in the safety of its web. The web while made up of  many thin strands was up to the task and it jerked in the wind but the spider held fast.

I have no idea if the spider was simply riding out the wind so it could repair bits of the web if the wind somehow managed to damage it, or if the spider was using the wind to catch prey in the web.  What did occur to me was that the spider just wanted to live. It wanted security, food, and perhaps a mate to share the tree with and raise little spiders.   And so a transformation occurred I no longer was afraid of the spider, now I had compassion for it.

Fear is not the enemy but really a friend telling you what you have to face and pass through

The spider is no doubt creepy.  But it is serves as a good metaphor for those things in life that cause us fear. Once we face our fears all that remains is us.  We have the ability to look at things and situations in a different light.  We can make decisions based on information rather than emotion and this serves our higher sense of purpose.

Happy to be alive

This whale was having fun and happy to be alive. This is a good life lesson.  Once the season is over in Hawaii this whale will head back to Alaska to feed.  Hopefully her baby will make the journey as there are many perils ahead.   The same is true for people.  Life circumstance will change during our journey and there will  be challenging times.  The trick is to accept what is happening and stay positive.  Don’t live in the past, live in the moment.  Its ok to plan for the future as when your doing it your doing it in the present moment.  Don’t live for the future as it has not happened yet, and may not.

So be happy jump for joy, celebrate life with all the good and not so good. Remember regardless of your circumstances, there is always someone who is much worse off than you.

 

 

When a long term relationship ends people always say they are sorry. While it seems to be an appropriate response, one might also say congratulations. The reason being what you had is over and now the healing can take place.  This is a process that includes forgiving your partner as well as yourself and learning to manage your ego.

Contrary to public opinion it does not have to take a long time to be able to forgive. However, as long as people cling to their pain they are anchored in the past and are not be able to live in the present. Being present is the key to love and peace.  We have all heard that the past is over, the future has not happened yet, and now is all we have. That is why the present is a gift.  Well those words are true.  The way one gets from having pain and living in the past to erasing the pain and living in the present is through forgiveness.

What is required to heal, is a change of attitude in your heart, mind, and soul.   As soon as that happens, just like a switch being turned on you will see the light. True forgiveness gets rid of all the pain.  It allows for love and peace to enter. Where there was once negative energy now positive energy can enter. This will change your entire mindset.

Speaking of mindset, the way to stay in a peaceful and happy state  is to manage your ego. To do this you need to become aware when your ego starts stirring up emotions inside.  During these moments it is common to feel something going on in the body.  It may feel subtle like butterflies in your tummy or or it could pronounced like the onset of acid reflux, but what it is, is your ego waking up and starting to take control.  The best way to keep that from happening is to be present enough that at the moment you realize their is an emotional feeling stirring you recognize it.  Just the knowing that the ego wants to unleash itself, is enough that you actually remove its power. Think of the feeling as an alarm clock or light switch and turn it off.

So now you have gone from dwelling in the past, to living in the present and can live the life you deserve. A life of love and peace.

Remember that having pent up anger, frustration, and other emotions hidden in the confines of your heart serves no purpose and is like carrying  around old emotional baggage. As long as it is in your heart it will recreate itself as often as possible and affect your behavior, and happiness.  When you recognize what you felt (past) and are able to let it go, surrender to what is real (now), and  not give in to what exists in your mind of what if’s….. (Future),  you will be in control of your life and emotions.

Rather than live in a shallow pool of negativity, dive deep into the ocean of hope and possibility. When your heart is full of love and peace it attracts the same thing.  When you love yourself, it shows and serves to attract love. So rather then feel down that your relationship as ended.  Celebrate it for the good times, and move on.  Know that when your ready, someone new will come into your life.

 

flower 2 for blog Mother nature has created countless forms of beauty, like this flower.  While in bloom now it wont stay this way for long as it continues its life cycle of rejuvenation and growth.  So take a moment to enjoy the color and texture because it does not last.  But it does return.

This is a good life lesson for humans as we too have periods of growth, rebirth, and rejuvenation. There are storms that threaten the flower, and sunny days that nurture it.   Change is constant, and we must embrace not only the moment now, but the things to come.

Everyone has problems, that is a part of life.  We have periods of joy, sadness, love, pain, acceptance, rejection, and peace of mind.  By taking a moment to enjoy and appreciate the beauty in life, like this flower, we can shift our attitude and focus  and experience gratitude, compassion, and maintain a positive attitude regardless of what storms arise.

Remember you attitude controls your altitude.

So regardless of your life circumstances now, take a moment to enjoy the good things that are ever-presant in your life and often times overlooked.

Wishing you all a great day full of love and peace……..

Nobody is perfect.  We all make mistakes.  Many people learn from their mistakes.  Some don’t.  For some reason many people try to be perfect and when they make a mistake they take it to heart.  This affects ones state of mind and can lower self esteem.  This is a shame as mistakes are part of our life experience.  So if you have made a mistake forgive yourself.  If someone has made a mistake and caused you to feel bad, take the high road and cut them some slack and forgive them.  You will be glad you did. This will help you and the other person live with love and peace, and that is not a mistake but a blessing.

Everyone who is alive has a history. Some of it is wonderful and some of it is not.That part is what I consider to be emotional baggage. The memories linger in our heart hidden from the surface, and only arise to when negativity awakens it.  Once activated our ego takes over and we often react or act in ways that do not serve our higher purpose the good of those around us.  It is not that we intend to let pain rule over our mind, it’s just that we can’t seem to stop it.  Or can we?

These memories take up space in our hearts that would be better filled with love. When my room is filled with clutter, I clean it.  I throw away things I don’t need or donate items to shelters, and organizations that provide clothes and other things to people in need.  The point is I remove the things that no longer serve a purpose.  It is also possible to remove the clutter that exists within our hearts.

The idea is to go through your memories and keep the bits that serve you and remove the bits (pain) that don’t.  Emotional baggage can weigh us down, so why not lighten our load? This creates space for love to come in and with it comes peace. Love is light, and as such is not heavy.

Accept the things that happened and forgive yourself and the people or situation that created the pain in the first place.  Once you start evaluating your life, these memories come to light. What I mean is some of the painful memories that became emotional baggage are buried so deep that they won’t surface without full intention, only then can you begin remembering things long forgotten.

Forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, love, faith, and belief serve your higher self, and  anger, hate, frustration, and resentment do not.  Once you make a  conscious choice to live a life filed with love and peace, you will find freedom.  As a result you and all those in contact with you will benefit.

Those of you that are parents can give your children a great gift, and that is to not to let your past pain rise up and pass to the next generation. Children will experience your anger and frustration if you allow your past pain to live on.  You can keep history from repeating itself and it its place fill their hearts with love and peace.

Eight months ago, I reached a point in my life where my emotional pain was more than my happiness. I knew I had to change.  So I put all my energy into learning about myself, life, being present, living in the now, and about spirituality. I read dozens of books, some of them twice.  I began the practice of meditation, and made it my goal to live with love and peace.

I became aware of how we human beings fear death, how society, the media, television, advertising, & peer pressure affect us as individuals,  how the ego works and tries to control our actions and behavior, how past emotional pain affects the present, the importance of being selfless rather than selfish, the value of listening, giving, being of service, loving oneself, as well as all people.

Learning to accept what is,  not to judge others, and to forgive required focus and repeated effort.  It did not come easy but it was worth it.  Sure I still have situations come up that challenge me but now I have the ability to process these emotions and let them go.

I have become a new man. I have come far and realize that there is much still to learn.  So I keep reading, thinking, and being. I have awakened the sleeper inside myself.  While my journey continues, I created this blog to start being of service to others.  I wanted to share the lessons I have learned and pay it forward. My rationale is that an old dog can learn new tricks.  I am not unique and think that if I can learn and grow so can others.  The bottom line is – we all have the ability to love.

Over the last two days,  I read two great books.  They made me think not just about death, but how we live our lives.  The first book was The Five people you meet in heaven, the second was Tuesdays with Morris. The author of both books  is Mitch Albon.

After finishing the first book, I sat alone and was still with my thoughts. The book was powerful and had many messages.  The most prominent is that we are all connected.  People you may not even know impact your life and the lives of those you love.  At the same time you may impact the lives of others without knowing it.

So I thought about my life and the people that touched me and the people I touched.  One of the first things that came to mind was all the people I have taught how to scuba dive.  Over the years, I have helped countless people face their fears. Being underwater is like being in space as one must carry their own air supply.  I saw many people struggle with wearing a mask and learning to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. I saw people concur their fear of sharks, that they got from watching the movie Jaws. By the end of the class these people were elated.  It was not always good however I had to rescue many divers and tow them back to the shore or boat.  Some freaked out when they looked up and realized they were 30 feet deep, or when they forgot to breathe through their mouth not nose, a few got injured by jellyfish stings, or getting cut on coral.  And one man died.
It was his final dive of the class and he had mastered the basic skills required for certification. The man was 60 years old and it was his lifes dream to scuba dive.  He seemed very comfortable underwater and I never thought he would have a heart attack.   He was in 6 feet of water when he had a stroke.  My fellow instructors got him out of the water and began CPR.  The diver lived for 2 days in the hospital and then passed away. His son contacted me a day later and wanted to see me.  Since the father was a lawyer I automatically assumed he wanted to tell me face to face he was going to sue me.  But, when we met, the son hugged me and thanked me and the other instructors involved for not only rescuing his dad, but for teaching him how to dive so he could fulfill his life’s dream.  The last few days of his life were spent doing something he always wanted to do. The next week we received a letter from the mans family, signed by the wife, and two sons formally thanking us for what joy we had provided their loved one.

I also gave some thought to the families that I have photographed over the years. Besides being a diver I am a Master photographer and specialize in creating canvas portraits and custom books of families.  I have a special gift capturing relationships that show the connection and love that exists within a family.  I have always felt a picture is a snap shot of life but a portrait tells a story and evokes an emotional response. As the years went by I’ve received a lot of letters from families telling me how the portraits I created became their most treasured possessions.  Children had grown up and moved out, and parents had died but the portraits created gave love and peace to those that viewed them.

After reading the second book, I thought about life – and death.  The book was about how a teacher got Lou Gehrigs and how he shared important life lessons with one of his favorite students.  The teacher knew he was going to die, and that fact brought bright him clarity and wisdom. The lesson was to learn to forgive, learn to love, and to enjoy life.

I thought about my grandfather, who has already passed away and my dad.   My dad is still alive but not in good health.  I love both dearly, and thought about their lives and the people they have touched.  Both were teachers in high school.  They each taught for about 30 something years before they retired. They touched the lives of thousands of kids, and many of these students went on to do great things. They never forgot my father or grandfather as evidenced by many letters received from them.  Currently one of my dads former students is actually writing a book about the influence he had on many of the kids he taught.

I also thought people that affected me in a positive way.  In 9th grade, I had a physics teacher named Monty.  He knew I was from a broken home and became my mentor.  He provide me so much positive support that I will never forget him.  I remember on weekends I would get dropped off at his house for the day.  We would do some school work, watch sports on t.v and walk in the park talking about life. I so appreciate the time he spent with me.

Then I thought about my life.  Before I began my spiritual journey I must admit my life was all about me. Yes, I did support some worthy causes like saving the whales, sharks, ocean, rain forests, and nature but for the most part I was selfish. I did not live to be of service to others, and I did not understand forgiveness, acceptance.  I judged people by their appearance and I held on to grudges and the emotional baggage we all accumulate from being alive.  But since beginning my transformation nine months ago all that changed.  Perhaps that is why this book really affected me.  I understood the lessons offered, and found great wisdom in the story.  If anything the book only served to reinforce all the work I have done to find peace and live with love.

I hope that as people read this they will reflect on their lives and realize that being born is the beginning, and that death is the end of our physical form.  The love that we create, foster, and nourish lives on.  At the same time what happens in between is up to us.  We control our destiny and by practicing compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, we can be happy.  There is no need to wait until we are deaths door to forgive ourselves or our loved ones. Those that can do this will find their lives to be rich with love, friends, and family.  This is true wealth and the joy of being alive.

As always your thoughts and comments are welcome.  Live with love and peace and enjoy your life…..

I used to take things like having a bed, hot shower, toilet, clean drinking water, relationships, and love for granted. But now I know better. The truth is there are millions of people without running water, electricity, a car, a closet full of clothes, shoes, kidneys that function, eyes to see, television set, or a retirement account.

Now every day when I wake up, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, enjoy a meal, drink clean water I say I am grateful.  I have a new point of view now, and believe all people regardless of race, religion, country of origin deserve compassion.

More important we as citizens of the world should exercise compassion, understanding,  and charity.  I am not suggesting that we sell our homes and donate the money to a worthy cause, but I am suggesting people become selfless not selfish.  The more we recognize the needs of others the more we help ourselves.

In my recent travels through third world and developing countries I have seen impoverished families, that have no electricity or refrigerators in their homes, but when they see someone hungry they share what little food they have.  I have witnessed love for other people that has touched my soul and opened my heart.

In the United states I have seen people begging in the streets for food, and the people walking by tell them to get a job. While its true some of these people have drinking or drug problems the fact remains they are people, and deserve to eat.   While I don’t want want to support their addictions, the next time I see someone  hungry I will feed them.

I don’t have the material things I used to take for granted, but I do have love for people and hope this blogs inspires others to open their hearts as well as be grateful for what they have.  In this way we can all make the world a better place. I have said it before and I will say it again.  We are all one planet – one people.

May you all live with love and peace.