Sunday, February 28

Stick Your Neck Out...

Turtle in the Sun - Brand Park - Glendale, California

Dolphin Dancers - Sea World, San Diego, California

Palm Springs Brachiosaurus - Palm Springs, California

Asking for It - Elephant Seal Preserve, Ragged Point, California

"Be Willing to Stick Your Neck Out — put yourself out there and find the support to make sure you follow through." - Sticking Your Neck Out: Discover the Top 7 Ways to Reach Your Peak Performance by Nikki Stone

She is pretty, ageless and well put together. I met her recently and liked her positive and friendly conversation - welcoming without being pushy. I looked forward to her talk and joined with the other group members in welcoming her and got comfortable while she introduced herself and started talking. Soon, I learned more about her.

She is agoraphobic, a survivor of eleven years of marriage to a violent alcoholic. She is recovering from addiction to prescription medications and is a compulsive overeater. Her history is grim and hard to listen to. Many of her revelations resonate with me and my own history and as I look around the group of women and a few men, I notice the body language and facial expressions of recognition. Many, if not all of us, have similar histories, minus or plus a few challenges.

None of us indulge in words or gestures of sympathy because we know that such distractions dilute her story and weaken her message. She has the courage to share her experience, strength and hope with us. She sticks her neck out and tells the truth to virtual strangers because she has faith that the group will offer unconditional love and support which helps her. In turn, her story helps us because we see that her healing is progressing as she speaks. Her bravery gives us the confidence to trust and share our own stories, allowing the fresh air and sunlight of the group dynamic and god to help us heal and grow stronger.

Bless those that stick their necks out as they move forward. They are an example to us all.

Friday, February 26


Sometimes the clouds seem so close you can reach up and touch them. Those are times when breathing deeply is effortless.

I don't know about anyone else, but it's time for a break and a wet weekend seems perfect right now. I'm breakin out the blankets and stocking up on DVDs. Warm, cozy, burrow, chill - good words to contemplate.

May all beings know comfort and peace.

Monday, February 22

Self Will Run Riot

Beyond Hope - Hope, Arizona

Walking the Talk - Sedona, Arizona

Power of Connection - Granada Hills, CA

"My experience has been that when I am unwilling to ask for help, and I insist that I can do it all myself, I'm just a drunk talking to a crazy person." - Anonymous

Hopelessness is a very sad thing. I deal with this beast every now and then, especially when I turn my troubles over to myself instead of turning myself, and especially my self will, over to god. It is one thing to intellectualize a conscious connection to god and even see it in my mind's eye. It is another thing to take the actions needed to follow through, to act, to be connected to a power greater than myself whether it be god or another person or a group of people.

The "other thing" needed besides intellect is will or willingness. I have plenty of self will, lots of self sufficiency, a real need for privacy, and all the pride of a marine corp battalion. I'm willing too. Willing to suffer the loneliness, isolation, stagnation, slings and arrows of self will, but unwilling to take the simple actions required to connect with the power of god or another person and find the strength to be free. Two can carry the burden easier and better than one and I know the other person has her hand out, waiting for me to stop being ashamed, afraid, resistant, and crazy. I know this. I am willing and I need to learn to make the connection, plug into the power, turn on the "make it work" switch and become part of the solution.

"If faith without works is dead, willingness without action is fantasy."
- Anonymous (a very wise person)

Wednesday, February 17

Full Bloom

Valentine's Day on Malibu Pier - February 14, 2010

Leisure Stroll - Malibu Pier, California

A Pink Steel Sundown - Malibu, California

A Gift of Love

Song of The Flower

I am a kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of Nature;
I am a star fallen from the
Blue tent upon the green carpet. I am the daughter of the elements
With whom Winter conceived; To whom Spring gave birth; I was
Reared in the lap of Summer and I
Slept in the bed of Autumn.

At dawn I unite with the breeze
To announce the coming of light;
At eventide I join the birds
In bidding the light farewell.

The plains are decorated with
My beautiful colors, and the air
Is scented with my fragrance.

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of
Night watch over me, and as I
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is
The only eye of the day.

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to
The voices of the birds, and dance
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover's gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am the memory of a moment of happiness;
I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.

Friday, February 12

Whole Lot to Love

Valentine Day Camelia - Descanso Gardens, La Canada, California
Camelia Backlight - Descanso Gardens

Gotta Love the Bees - Descanso Gardens

Prickly Heart - Descanso Gardens

Heart Scar - Descanso Gardens

Winter View - Descanso Gardens

“The mountains, rivers, earth, grasses, trees, and forests are always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.” - Anonymous

Valentine's day is fun to celebrate for two reasons: a day to be a sappy romantic, and a day to consciously connect to the ultimate truth that love is all there is.

I propose that every day is a great time to make a love connection. Nature is always willing and so are a lot of humans. Let's get busy.

Wednesday, February 3

Going Up or Down?

".., more than 30 percent of all cancer cases can be avoided through simple measures, including non-tobacco use, exercise and healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and protection against cancer-causing infections." - Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific

There is something off, not right, abnormal within me that persists in denying the entire truth of the statement above. I feel good about myself because I no longer smoke, or use alcohol or drugs of any kind. I feel bad about myself because I still choose to overeat and under exercise. I know that I'm not ignorant about the health benefits of eating good food and working out. In fact, I probably know more about these things than most people. Still, I resist and hang on to the erroneous idea that I am in control of these vital issues when I'm not. My last physical exam showed me that I am out of control and just on the border of needing medication in the areas of cholesterol and glucose. The writing is on the charts. I must choose a healthier diet and exercise.

Simple things for most people, but incomprehensible problems for me. Why won't I choose to do the work I need to do to be healthy? Why have I given up on so many diets and gyms? Have I finally found a program that addresses these questions and will I stick with it?

Just for today, I choose to do the work to be healthy. Just for today, I will use the program tools and escape from obsession and uncontrollable compulsions. I'm doing it now. Why? Because life is a miracle, a gift to cherish, and my family and friends need me to be active and happy in their lives. Life is good.

May all beings know love and peace.