My How Time Flies...

OMG, I can hardly believe it's been this long since my last post. Hmm, seems like me, jump on it while its a bonfire, but then the fire dies down to an ember and it just simmers inside me. I certainly keep thinking about getting back to it, but then the moment passes. Yet, here I am - let's see how long I can go this go 'round.

Was having a conversation with hubby last night and the thought came up, "do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Was in reference to not being affected by the bad behavior of others, and seeing everyone as another human being regardless of their situation. Here in my town we have an issue with homelessness, particularly downtown. It's a nice warm southern city, so we seem to attract lost of vagabonds. I use that name because most of the homeless actually seek out help from the powers that be and are staying at a refuge. But then we have those who basically are addicted to drink or drugs, and they are quite a handful. But I saw a man the other day who was obviously down on his luck, and I really took a long look at him, and saw he's just another guy, just another person, just different than me but really, no better, no worse. It helped give me back some perspective.

I realized that what was in him is within me, it's part of the human experience. Wow. Oh what it is to be human.

Who Am I?

Who am I? No matter how much I think I know myself, I still at times wonder, who am I? Where do these thoughts come from? Why does it seem like such a struggle at times, and at others I haven't a care in the world?

I've been reading the thoughts of others lately posted on some of the blogs I visit, and I'm amazed at some of the conviction I "hear" in their words. Me, I'm never thoroughly convinced. I have to go back over "it," over and over. I read once that is how we learn, especially as children, through redundancy. My life cycle at times is definitely redundant. My guy E has taken to threatening me that he's going to post a comment on this blog when redundant M comes by for a visit. (At least it's just a visit.) But it makes me wonder - who am I? I'm fascinating, the multitude of emotions and thoughts that reside within and emanate from me. I'm a walking, talking paradox.

It's not that I lack conviction, just simply seem to change my mind a lot. So many things in life appear meaningless to me - and finding meaning in one's life is what brings it happiness. And I really wouldn't say I'm unhappy - really I'm not - but definitely unsettled. There are so many things "out there" to try and do I can't just pick one. Has anyone ever asked you to pick your favorite..(fill in the blank)? Impossible! Ask me on a Monday and you're sure to get a different answer that Saturday, or Thursday for that matter.

At least underneath it all I believe lies a foundation built solidly upon certain fundamentals: I want to love and be loved (especially by E), I want to share compassion and grace in the world, I want to be generous and gracious, I want to care about others, maybe even more than I care about myself. I want to do productive work that adds value to the world. I want to add creativity and beauty to the world...

So I suppose when I start asking myself who I am, I always have that to go back to - not a bad start. I guess I'm just wanting to know about the finished product - and suddenly as I write this I realize that will never happen. I'll never be finished, I am my own great work in progress, and like the seasons bring changes to the life cycle so too they bring changes in my life, perpetually and eternally.

So, who am I? Why, I'm just me. Peace.

Doing Things Differently

Most of us have probably read somewhere sometime about how to turn something into a habit. Yet still, taking that first step is so scary. We get so used to doing it the way we've always done it. Goodness, as an organizational change agent, I wish I had a dollar for everytime someone has said to me "that's the way we've always done it!" And yet, even when we know it doesn't quite work for us anymore, we find ourselves immobilized in making the necessary change. Trust me, I'm as guilty of this as the next guy. However, for those who have been reading my posts, the great change that has been coming over me keeps rolling along, and this morning I decided it was time to do things differently. And guess what, it really wasn't as scary as I thought. Of course, I've learned in life that most things are worse in my mind than in the reality. Once I commit and just do it, well, it nevers seems so bad and the change it brings is so more rewarding and fulfilling. And still, I forget.

So, this morning, rather than turn on the tube so I could escape, I sat in the early morning darkness with myself and just thought about what I wanted to change. Well, keeping the telly off is one big start. It's so easy to get lost in it's thoughtless provoking void. Later, I was graced with Sting's Brand New Day which led me further into my change. It's always amazed me how you will find what you need as and when you need it. So, as Sting sings (and I paraphrase) "turn the clock to zero honey, let's sell all our stuff and spend all the money, starting up a brand new day. turn the clock to zero jack, I know that we can make it back, thinking in a brand new way."

Today, think in a brand new way. Make the change. Do things differently. All you need to do is turn the clock to zero and take the first step. It's a big one, but good journeys always are. Peace.

Reframe, Rethink

I’ve been thinking about those ghosts of the past again lately, and just how much they interfere with our becoming fully realized, how much they shadow us and many times even unbeknownst to us lead us into decisions that we later regret, or wonder how we got there. For me one of the great shadows is anger. At times I can find myself getting angry at the simplest of things. Luckily, I also quickly acknowledge it and get over myself, but it’s that initial jolt that I have trouble bypassing…it’s kind of like when you see a snake and your first thought is to jump and scream, but then you want to go back and try to see it up close.

I’ve come to understand that those anger issues are fear based, that whatever it is at that moment I am scared that either I’ve failed, I’m not good enough, smart enough, cute enough, etc., etc. Kind of like thinking “oh, they don’t like me.” So I’ve been working hard on reframing my thinking, and consciously looking for those triggers so that I can see them differently. It has helped me let go of a lot of crap that was bogging me down and holding me back from real enjoyment. What I’m realizing is that all those ghosts from the past don’t get to define me today – actually, they never really got to define me, I just let them. But today, I get to decide what’s right for me, I get to see myself as worthy of love, getting and giving it, I am the one manifesting my destiny. And when I think about those ghosts, I wish them all well and send them on their way with love.

It’s the same with those I now encounter. I have not control over what they think. It’s for them to work on. All I can do is wish them all the best, and send them on their way with love. In doing so, I find the fear goes with them, and what a wonderful peace that comes over me, and I believe even emanates from me. It sure feels good.

So when you find something or someone getting under your skin and raising your blood pressure, turn it around, and ask yourself what is it within you that is causing that response, and change that – it’s all we have. I guarantee you that you will find yourself much more at peace and things just won’t seem so bad. Peace.

Fay, Fay Go Away!

Tropical storm Fay just wont go away! The weird part is here in St. Pete we've gotten virtually none of her, just breezy winds and an occasional squall...while the rest of Florida is getting inundated. I recently attended a business conference mid-state and got to experience her wrath a little more than I cared, but here's some pics of her beauty..and a little old Florida.

I’m Not Who I Was

I’ve been going through AFGE – Another F#@king Growth Experience - since my sister-in-law passed away in April. Sheila was one of those extraordinary people that hopefully we’re all graced with once in a lifetime. She was the kind of person that made you just want to do good, be better; to make the world a little better place for having been in it (thanks Edward Bok).

In my early 20s, I had a spiritual awakening that transformed my life. I began to explore all the great spiritual philosophies, found meditation and yoga, and lived a peaceful, fulfilled life filled with the energy of the spirit. But like learning anything – a new language, playing an instrument – it takes practice to get good. Somewhere along the way the pressures of the world walled me in and I forgot. And it made me angry. I became resentful, at everything. In hindsight, a lot of it had to do with my own issues about accepting I was gay. But, consequently, my ire was raised especially by those judgmental right-wing Christians. In time, I lost my faith. It died – or so I thought. Instead, I found out it was just buried, deep.

Well, something has been resurrected with Sheila’s passing. My partner E’s family members are all very devout and full of faith. Even though I saw how richly this filled their lives, I still rejected it. But cliché as it is, death makes one reflect. And reflecting on how much faith helped my family cope with the loss of our dear sister, well, it brought me back to the spirit. I say me, because the spirit is always there. It’s our choice to connect to the power and manifest its energy in our lives. You may notice I say spirit because I’m not saying what that power is – some call it god, my family call it Jesus, I’m happy with spirit, the spirit of the universe.

So, getting to the point, in the words of Brandon Heath – I’m not who I was.

Gone are the judgments. Gone is the anger. Gone is the fear.

Back is a concern for others. I’ve gotten better at listening and observing, instead of trying to get my point across. Because, you see, it really just doesn’t matter all that much anymore. Back is the Golden Rule.

And most importantly is the renewed appreciation and love for E. All this renewal has brought back the romance to our lives. It is so important that we live a life filled with romance – stick a love note in his wallet, or under the pillow. Spontaneous dancing when a great love song comes on. Write a poem, not worrying about whether it’s good or not – fill it with your words of love. Do it now before you’re forced to do it later. Don’t end up feeling that you loved better after they’re gone than while they were here.

No, I’m not who I was.

The Number 1 Beach in America

My niece and her good friend visited with us this past week and we managed to visit the beach every day for an hour or was pure heaven.

We're very fortunate here to be living in an area that boasts some of the prettiest beaches in America, including the number 1 beach (as ranked by by TripAdvisor, the world's largest online travel community, and Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach

Fort De Soto is a pristine area unencumbered with the dense development along most of the rest of Florida's western coastline, and is one of our favorite places to visit early Sunday mornings before the crowds show up.
With its spectacular combination of soft white sand, calm, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere sans the crowds found at our other popular beaches like St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Sunset Island (the gay beach), etc. Here you can walk for a couple of miles and only encounter a few folks along the way. There is even a stretch of folks who we call the "thong cult" that probably wish it were nude, but patrols keep them minimally clothed.

If you're ever down this way, you must check it out. It's definitely a piece of Florida we who grew up here remember as the way it used to be. Peace.