Saturday, April 30, 2016
Early Risers, Kiawah Island, SC
Swaying Sea Oats, Wrightsville Beach Island, NC
Find Yourself in the Islands
Morning sun rises,
saturating beach and sky,
with glowing red rays.
Morning joggers run,
early risers walk the shore,
Breezy sea oats sway,
sand pipers scurry in foam,
all chasing the sun.
Sit in the warm sand,
listen to the tide roll in,
seek and find yourself.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Open Country, Flint Hills, KS
Weathered Door, Ohio
Follow your Bliss
“Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”--Joseph Campbell
Life is a great adventure and death is the last great adventure. In the meantime, we are in pursuit of the divine that is within all of us and the fulfillment that the adventure brings. Campbell notes that if you have embarked on a well-worn path, it is not your path. Seek out your own path in life that has been mapped out exclusively for you. When your life seems to be in rhythm with the heartbeat of the universe, you have found your path to divine destiny.
"People say what we're all seeking is the meaning of life...I think what we're seeking is the experience of being alive."-- Joseph Campbell
Clock of Time, London, EN
The most rewarding things we do in life such as volunteering or exercising can be the most demanding. They're not about having time but making time. If we don't want to do them, we'll find an excuse. If we do, we'll find a way.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Celebrating Knee Replacement, Lake of the Ozarks, MO
One of the most profound insights I’ve gleaned from life is that we should always celebrate life’s little victories. It really doesn’t matter what those may be, but you should make a conscious effort to celebrate them. The big victories are celebrated automatically, but all too often the small ones silently drift into the past and are lost forever. Maybe you could say it’s just a matter of counting your blessings, but I think it’s more than that. It’s an integral way of positive living to be conscious of these small milestones and therefore appreciative. I’ve also learned that we see in life what we look for in life. If we’re looking for all that’s wrong, we’ll find it. And if we’re looking for all that’s good in life, we can find that also.
So tonight I’m celebrating the occasion of the rapidly approaching 50,000th page view of my blog that I started in 2010 at the suggestion of a friend whose opinion I respect. This is very cool since I do not market my blog or sell advertising. I just leave it out there for any fellow sojourner that happens along the way. The top five countries that view my blog posts start with the obvious United States, followed by Russia, United Kingdom, France and Germany.
I find it interesting that one of my top five posts relates to our trip to Paris:
And another relates to one of the return trips to my hometown in central Kansas:
And a third relates to friendship:
One of my favorite postings ranks in the top ten and observes that a labyrinth is a metaphor for life's sacred journey:
It’s been a fun journey to follow my initial premise to pair one or more of my photographs with a few exceptions and an attempt at creative writing about the things I randomly observe as I journey through this world. And sometimes the photo image inspires the posting while at other times the posting challenges me to search my files for the perfect image.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
White Shadows, Jamestown, NC
The veil of nightfall,
casts its net of dark shadows,
over the still land.
Woodland creatures pause,
and settle down for the night,
as daylight recedes.
slowly cover their faces,
with the veil of grace.
Monday, April 18, 2016
O'Keeffe Rhododendron, Jamestown, NC
stream low on the horizon,
piercing pink petals.
reflects sensuous color,
highlighting thin veins.
Pistils and stamens,
absorb the translucent light,
and reach out in praise.
All nature pauses,
to O’Keeffe beauty.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Mad Men, Purple Clover
One of those seemingly eternal truths that I think I’ve finally discovered after living and struggling to the official age of social security retirement benefits is that there is a profound difference between happiness and joy in life. On the surface, they seem to be compatible synonyms. In fact, the Webster Thesaurus lists joyous as the first synonym of happy. Perhaps I'm just parsing words. So, what’s the big deal? Well, for one thing, I think you could also consider these two words as complete antonyms. Our culture considers the path to happiness strewn with all imaginable sorts of worldly stuff which the Mad Men of Madison Avenue subliminally and not so subliminally barrage us with over the course of almost every waking hour on the planet. Best Buy’s latest motto says it all; “I want it all and I want it now”! We’re definitely an “instant gratification” society.
We wish each other a "Happy Birthday" and a "Happy New Year". We close our writings with "Have a nice day", appended by a happy face icon. We expect to be happy and when life doesn't follow the script of a typical TV sitcom, we get depressed because it's not supposed to be like that--or is it? Our American culture has more wealth and stuff than any society that ever walked the planet and we’re not very happy. Maybe we need more joy in our lives. We were not created for perpetual happiness. Happiness is temporary, lasting 30 seconds to an hour or two, because it is based on external circumstances, like buying stuff. When one of the richest men on the planet at the turn of the century was asked “How much is enough?”, he answered, “Just a little bit more." The richest man in the annals of human history, King Solomon, opened his book of Ecclesiastes with the observation that everything is "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
We oftentimes reach a crossroads in life where our material demands and our spiritual growth are intersecting! We should be mindful of where we find ourselves spending our time. That reveals where our heart resides. And that reveals what gods we worship in life, bringing us either temporary happiness or eternal joy.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Game Tying Shot, Internet Domain
Game Winners, Internet Domain
AND BARN BURNERS
Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone got to win in life and in sports? In sports we get one winner and everyone else in the tournament loses. No one remembers who finished second. The winner we crown in sports is the one with the best score. In life, we all generally have our own method of keeping score like the one who checks out with the most toys, the one who had the most friends, who lived a good life, etc.
The North Carolina Tar Heels just lost a buzzer beater NCAA Championship basketball game. That had been preceded just 4.7 seconds earlier by a gutsy come-from-behind, three point, double clutch, game tying shot by their senior leader. Tar Heel fans soared from euphoria to depression in 4.7 seconds. That’s a very wild ride with a jarring landing. The game defined a "barn burner" with multiple lead changes and the win going to the last team that touched the basketball! I've never witnessed a hay barn going up in wind fueled flames, but I can imagine just how fast and furious the fire burns up energy!
Even if we’re not directly participating in a game, we generally have our favorites. And the longer we invest time in watching them, we’re assimilating them into our tribe. We like our tribe to achieve and win—it’s a very dog-eat-dog competitive world out there! If I don’t have a dog in the hunt, then I’ll only be present to appreciate athletes that are performing at the highest levels of their sport. In theory, the only folks that really have any skin in the game are the participants. Their performance is a direct result of their inherent gifts and the dedication they apply in preparing for their sport and specific games. But we also enjoy living vicariously through their achievements. Of course that investment comes with a cost when they lose. One writer noted that cost hurts. It’s supposed to hurt if it means something.
In the final analysis, the players are the only ones that really know if they’ve performed at their very best in a game. Many times we are not aware that they are playing through injuries or personal struggles. I remember a state tennis tournament game with my doubles partner during our senior year of high school. We came up against the coach’s son and his playing partner and we were soundly beaten. I played the best game of my life that sunny day on K-State’s campus. Someone observing that game’s outcome might have easily concluded that we weren’t prepared. But I walked off the court knowing I had given it my best shot and everything I had in the tank. I still remember the day--not in a bad way, but a good way. That game was a life lesson that has stayed with me long after I forgot the score. I know that gutsy comeback will stay with those players long after the sting of the loss.
After all, the things that really matter in my life continue on long after the fading memory of events that have no direct bearing on my life. I can rant and rave, jump up and down, raise my blood pressure and disturb the neighbors, but it absolutely has no bearing on the game on the other side of the television screen, unless perhaps I’m at the game supporting the players. It just elevates or lowers my attitude for a while. And if a player knows inside that he gave it his best shot, he’s a winner in my book. That still counts for something.