Adventures in Life

Over this last weekend Keri and I were invited to go on a snowshoeing adventure up on Mt. Hood. Some friends of ours rented a cabin right on the Salmon River where we planned on staying for the night. We had a breath taking view of the river through some moss covered trees and were surrounded by ferns and beautiful plants.IMG_0145

We arrived on Saturday morning around 10am and it was simply a gorgeous day. One of the most beautiful days I’ve seen. Perhaps it was just a regular day like any other, but it seemed extraordinary to me because I was truly connected to the eternal creative spirit. I stood in this one spot next to the river where I could feel the warmth of the sun and all the simple beauties around me. I saw sunlight glistening on the fibers of a spider web. I saw sunlight shining on the motion of the river flowing by. I heard the rhythmic hypnotic flowing of the river and I felt life flowing in and out of me with every breath I took.IMG_0148

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Adventures in Meditation

As I stood there gazing up at the beautiful blue sky and the contrast of colors I took a few pictures. I was thinking about the snowshoeing adventure we were about to embark upon and how fun it was going be. I’d never been snowshoeing, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I thought about how distracting adventures can be, because sometimes when you’re so busy with activity it makes it more challenging to be quiet and just BE with yourself. I took this picture of a fern and posted it to Facebook with the comment, Adventures in meditation. The reasoning behind the picture and the comment was to serve as a reminder to write this blog.

If you think about it there really is adventure in meditation because when you take the time to sit with yourself and really get to know yourself, you learn how to deal with things that come up in life. When you know yourself so well that you know what you’re willing to put up with and where you ultimately draw the line it makes life so much more enjoyable. It’s a joy to live life.

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We had a blast.

I loved that time I spent by myself next to the river. I intentionally stood out there in the beauty of the day soaking up the connection to the bigger part of myself, the eternal spiritual part of myself and I felt the connection. It was an amazing time and I loved every minute of it. When it was time to head out for the snowshoeing I was ready. I was connected to nature and to myself. I think that time by the river made the adventure of snowshoeing much more enjoyable.

 

Investment Tips for your Future Best Self

A friend of mine on Facebook and even better than that in real life too, Jason K Cummings has been doing video posts lately. I love his video posts because they’re a perfect little snippet that give you a little glimpse into the life of one person who is trying his best to improve the world he lives in by sharing wisdom, light heartedness and music.

Often Jason shares videos of himself playing his ukulele and singing or videos of himself juggling and they always bring a smile to my face. Sometime last week he shared a video of himself attempting to juggle an avocado, a papaya and a banana. Wow! Different shapes and different weights, that seems pretty challenging to me. Turns out it was kinda challenging for Jason too. LOL. Do you know what I loved about it? I loved that even though he dropped the fruit and did a bit of damage to some of the fruits he still shared his video anyway. He made a  comment that he’s not perfect andScreen Shot 2016-02-08 at 6.51.58 AM my reply to him was this, “You know what the cool thing is… Nobody’s perfect, but you’re doing your best and you just keep trying, so who cares about perfect when you’re the best YOU you can be.”

What’s my point? My point is this, It’s the absolute truth that not a single one of us is perfect. If we could realize this and give ourselves a break from this idea that we have to be perfect, we could do ourselves a huge favor by lovingly accepting ourselves for the best that we can be in a single moment and relieve ourselves of the stress of attempting perfection.

Think of it this way, giving yourself a break today for not being perfect and doing your best is an investment in your best for tomorrow.

Small Gesture of Kindness

I had a really amazing thing happen in my life yesterday. I work in a dental office and you may or may not know this, but sometimes people have a difficult time getting themselves to the dentist. There can be a great deal of stress associated with going to the dentist. I almost started listing many of the reasons why, but I don’t really feel that’s necessary. Do you? You probably have a pretty good idea why and maybe have a few reasons of your own. So, why even go there, right? We all know,… and does it make us feel better to list it out or go over it in detail? No! Not really, therefore we’ll apply the comma rule here, “When in doubt leave it out”

The amazing thing that happened to me was related to my ultimate favorite thing and that is connection. I sent a card to a patient a little while back who’s been having a challenging time in life. She’s been upset in the past with a certain situation in her life and I really wanted to let her know that she’s been on my mind and to inform her of a resource for her to listen to some uplifting messages. This patient came in yesterday and she had a big smile on her face. She thanked me for the card and told me it made her week. She’s been utilizing the resource I referenced and it has made a difference in her life.

Do you know how that makes me feel? I absolutely love it that a small gesture of kindness on my part made a difference in her life. As we were standing there talking about her experience I got cold chills all up and down my body and she did too. That’s the whole reason why I write this blog. I am fulfilled. I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.

But that’s not all. I had another patient who works as a nurse in an ER. We were chatting about life and relationships and I shared my Apozitude card with her. She mentioned she was going to check it out and share with her co-workers because as ER nurses they’re exposed to a great deal of trauma, heartache, and homelessness. She told me these people need a positive resource in their lives. I’m grateful for the angel’s who work in those positions that are so difficult and expose themselves to such horrible events. If I can write an uplifting story that may brighten their day or lighten their load, I’m happy to do it.

Thank you to all the people who work in those thankless jobs. We appreciate what you do and how you put yourselves out to care for us when we’ve had something bad happen to us. In fact we appreciate you more than we can say. We hope with all our hearts that you feel our unspoken love and appreciation. IMG_2715.PNG

I’ll Just Keep Trying

IMG_2236.JPGSometimes when someone care about is hurting the only thing you can do is to give them space to heal. It can be very difficult because you care about them so much and you want to take their pain away, but unfortunately pain and hurt is something you have to work through, accept and then learn to let go.

Even as a person on the outside looking in, you have to learn to let it go. I recently started saying something to myself to assist me with letting go of someone else and their pain. I’ve started saying, “I love you, but this is not my problem”

The only person I have ANY control over is myself. I can not control the way anyone else reacts to circumstances. I can not control the way someone else deals with stress in their lives. I wish I could. I wish I could change they way others see things, but the only thing I can do is to live my life my way and hope that others learn to value their happiness enough to make the necessary changes they need to make in their lives to create more opportunities for them to be happy.

Living life and learning to let go.

What Makes Me Smile

I know I’ve said this before, but I really love writing this blog. It’s very therapeutic for me. I feel like sharing my challenges and my victories is beneficial to others as well. Sometimes the subject matter is a little more challenging than others and to be honest with you I wrote a pretty heavy one yesterday. There was some positivity in there, but today I wanted to share something that would make me smile and hopefully you’ll smile too.

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Sweet boy loves his momma.

I love love love this puppy of mine. He’s a big goof ball. He’s a snuggle bunny. He’s one handsome dawg!! He always makes me smile. I love that he loves life. He doesn’t care what anybody else thinks, he just loves what he loves. I’m so happy he loves me. IMG_9992

PSA: Knuckle Popping

I’ve been popping my knuckles ever since I can remember. My dad popped his knuckles and when I was little, I’d do anything that made me seem more like my dad. I wasn’t sure who I was or where I fit in. All I knew was I wasn’t like all the other girls and I knew I didn’t like all the frilly clothes my mom picked out for me. I wanted jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes every single day.

I liked it when people mistook me for a boy, especially other girls. :) But I had no idea what being gay meant, in fact, I had no knowledge what so ever of this phenomenon of “being gay”. I simply thought I wanted to be a boy because given the feelings I was having, it made the most sense. So, what does all this have to do with my knuckle popping? Well, it’s very interesting.

Since I’ve popped my knuckles all through my life, I’m sure you can imagine there’ve been plenty of people who have attempted to get me to stop for various reasons I’m sure. The first person I can remember trying was my mom’s mom. Now, you might be thinking, You mean your grandmother? Well, the truth of the matter is I never was very close to her and it might be tough for some to understand, but the honest and uncomfortable truth is she never felt grandmotherly to me. I resisted her trying to get me to stop popping my knuckles for 2 reasons. 1. It was something I shared with my Dad and nobody was going to take that away from me and 2. I didn’t care what she wanted because I didn’t feel like she cared about me and honestly since I’m being completely transparent here anytime someone approached me in the past about stopping, I felt a little resentment bubble up inside of me that reminded me of how I didn’t feel loved by her. My mom’s mom passed away earlier this month. I wrote about her passing on the day she died, Jan 10, 2016. It hasn’t felt like loss to me, but it certainly has been a process none the less. I’ve wondered in the past how I would feel and her passing has brought up some dormant unresolved feelings inside me. I meant it when I mentioned in my previous blog that I was happy for her relief.

The funny thing is my best friend, Shanna, recently talked to me about my knuckle popping and I told her I’d talk to our chiropractor about it. I had an appointment with Dr. Pattenode this past Wednesday and I asked her if it was true that knuckle popping was detrimental to the health of my knuckles. She said what many have said to me in the past, “yes, popping your knuckles does increase your chances of developing arthritis in your fingers” but she added something I’d never heard before,… “Also, when you’re popping your knuckles and not looking for relief from pain in your hands or fingers the physiological effect you’re looking for is relief from some other discomfort, because when you pop your knuckles a tiny bit of endorphins are released into your body.”

OMG!!! Doesn’t that make perfect sense??? All through my life I’ve been popping my knuckles in search of a little bit of relief from discomfort of all sorts of things. I came home and told Keri, “I talked to Dr. Pattenode about my knuckle popping and I’ve decided to stop.” Keri said, “I tried to get you to stop years ago, but I let that go along time ago. I’m happy for you. Whatever it takes…” I sent Shanna a text and told her too.

The interesting thing about this awareness of endorphin release accompanied with the knuckle popping has been to make note of when I’m doing it and instead of popping my knuckles, sitting with the discomfort and taking advantage of the opportunity to address the feelings. It’s an opportunity to resolve real issues rather than masking them with a little dose of endorphins.

How many times did I pop my knuckles during the writing of this blog? I don’t know. I didn’t count, but it was several times. Not all of them though. Do I find it interesting that I’ve finally comes to terms with letting go of the knuckle popping only 17 days after my Gran died? Yes, I do. Did I cry while I was writing this blog because I had a little feeling that maybe in some small way she did love me and just didn’t know how to show me? Yes, I did. Do I feel a little bit of relief from all of this without popping my knuckles? I’m working on it. :)

Thank you for reading.

This May Sound Familiar

We all have challenges in our lives and the truth that lies within this statement can be difficult to swallow, but here it is, we are the creators of our own reality. I know it may be hard to see at times or hard to accept, but really it’s only when we fully accept responsibility for ourselves that we are able to reach the freedom we all desire.

The most important thing to remember is the only thing you have control over is you and your focus. As soon as you make a decision to place your focus on something that creates good feelings in you, you will feel better. It really is that simple. I know it can be challenging, but I know you’re a powerful creator and I know you know how to focus on what makes you feel better. When you feel yourself begin to feel better because of intentional focus, you begin to realize that everything always works out. You’re responsible for your happiness. You have a choice and within that choice lies all the power you’ll ever need.

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Ponder that for a moment…

Do you want to feel better or do you want to wallow?

Perspective on Priorities

Keri and I went to our friend Wendy’s, 40th birthday party this past Friday night and were chatting with the guests. We always really enjoy this group of people because we have so much  fun visiting with them. There was one point during the evening when I was chatting with Ryan, Wendy’s boyfriend, and I can’t really remember exactly how we got to talking about how time flies, probably related to aging since we were at a birthday celebration.

Anyway, as we were talking about how fast the days go by we were reflecting on how it seems like just yesterday our boys were born and now mine is 25 and his is almost 12. Ryan said  something that I’ve always agreed with and have tried throughout Garrison’s life to live by and I thought it was worthy of sharing here. Ryan said whenever he finds out someone is getting ready to have a kid he said I always give the same advice, “No matter how shitty your day has been and regardless of what crap is going on in your life you have to set all of that aside and spend time with your kid(s).”

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 5.27.01 PMI love the way he made it so simple and so direct, because he’s absolutely right. The days of our children’s youth are numbered and when they’re older their priorities naturally change. I always framed it like this in my mind, Garrison is only going to be this exact age this one day in his life, if he wants to play board games, I’m going to make time for board games. I understand there are going to be times when it just isn’t possible, but what I’m talking about here is a sense of balance.

Good Answer

Why are we here? I’ve heard many speculations regarding this question, and some very entertaining ideas at that, Lol. But as I ride with my wife out to our puppy’s first paws aquatics experience for his swim assessment, I watch the big white fluffy clouds in the beautiful blue sky and listen to Keri’s playlist. I hear Life is Better with You by Michael Franti and it makes me happy because that’s the song we picked to play as we exited our wedding ceremony. I also hear Battle without Honor by Tomoyasu Hotei  and that makes me happy too because that’s the song we picked for our wedding to let people know the ceremony was about to start. I love that song. We actually walked into the ceremony to a instrumental version of At Last usually sung by Etta James.

I love having these songs on a playlist that we listen to on any random day because the day we got married was one of the best days of my life. The ceremony was perfect, actually everything was perfect. I felt like I was on a dreamy cloud and any time I’m reminded of how wonderful I felt on that day it makes me smile. Sometimes I even get a little teary.

So what does any of this have to do with my original question? Well, I’ll tell you it has everything to do with my original question, because I believe the answer to why are we here lies within those feelings. We are here to be happy. We’re here to feel love and we’re here for the joy we’re able to find in our lives. Another song on that playlist is Love Never Felt So Good by Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, which wasn’t actually in our wedding, but it sure does fit.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life and that makes it the perfect for me to extend this  invitation to you. Today I invite you to make note of the simple things that provide joy in your day. It may be the way the sunlight hits the trees, or the contrast of colors between the trees and the sky, it could be a baby’s smile, it could be the sweet loving eyes of your spouse, the smell of your fresh morning coffee or your best friend laughing. Whatever it is that makes your heart and your face smile, make note of it and remember it often. Joyously yours, Angel

Sneaking Puppy Loves

IMG_9900This past Friday I spent some quality, one on one, time with Marbles, our 15 month old golden retriever. We had such a wonderful afternoon together, actually, he was with me all day, but the part I loved the most was our afternoon walk. We headed out on our walk at about 11:15 and the day was a little chilly and over cast, but it turned out to be a beautiful sunshiny day.

We walked through a section of Fanno Creek Park near the Garden Home Rec. Center. This whole section of the trail is fenced and runs through a wooded area, so there are no cars. It was fun to watch Marbles run after sticks and he did so well following commands. He would start to head off the trail into the bushes and as soon as I said, “Marbles, COME” he stopped on a dime and turned back and headed right towards me. He’s such an awesome boy. He’s goofy, playful and seeming to be “all boy”, but also very obedient. He loves to run through mud puddles, roll around in the dirt, wrestle with other dogs and swim. He’s just so joyful to watch.

I had him off leash from time to time when there weren’t any other people or dogs on the trail and once we got to the Rec. center where there’s an open grass area, I let him chase after the stick several times. When I saw someone headed our direction, I leashed him up. I knew he would stay right beside me or come to me as soon as I called him, but other people don’t know how awesome he is and when I leash him up, I’m guessing it relieves any concerns someone else may have about what he might do. It feels like the right thing to do.

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I love this boy with all my heart.

Once we were back on the trail after the stick chasing in the grassy area, a woman walking towards us asked if she could pet him. I said, “Of course” as I was placing my foot on his leash, so he wouldn’t jump on her. She began loving on him and he leaned into her as if to say, “Oh I love this. Thank you for loving on me.” She was talking about how much she was enjoying watching him play “chase the stick” and with such joy, bounding across the grass. She wanted to bottle his joyful energy and take a little bit with her. She thanked me for letting her love on him and explained that she’d love to have a dog, but her cats won’t have it, so she sneaks puppy loves when she’s out on walks. It was a short exchange, but it still brings a big’ol smile to my face to remember it and I hope reading about it makes you smile too.