What are you thankful for this holiday ...

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By the Water

There was another place that came before the one I often talk about. Also a very beautiful place but different, not dry …a place by the water where colors took on a different hue. There was a road that led to the water, a simple road where bikers biked, gardeners waved, postmen walked and cars drove slowly. I often took that road early in the morning to watch the water. Each day brought a different view but it was the ones that were gray that were the most fascinating, they were the ones that made you think. I would wake in the morning to a steady pattering of rain, slowly climb out of bed and quietly dress and head out and down the simple road to the water. It was always a bit messy between the front porch and the sand but once there, it was a new universe. The sky, gray and white all the way to the horizon, the wind making tiny whitecaps as the water flowed in and out. The sound of the Ferry going across the sound, sometimes in the distance where the land jutted out, you could see a rowboat tied in bouncing against the water. On a good day, someone might take that boat out a bit to catch some fish or maybe just venture. Sometimes I’d just sit and stare out at the water, maybe with a hot cup that I brought along.
I made a lot of decisions sitting on the edge of the sand and quite a few more on the pier. The edge of the sand was where I decided I should take an adventure, not the first but certainly one of consequence. I remember the day was a gray day, cold and misty, maybe soon to be wet. I brewed hot coffee early and brought it with me in a thermos, I went down that simple road slowly to my favorite place at the edge of the sand. The mist felt good, just enough to feel, not enough to be wet. In this place you always were prepared with a slicker when the day was gray. It was high tide, the water was close, waiting for me, greeting me. I thought about how I might miss the water so I spent time with it. I watched the charcoal color flow and break in a white flurry. The stately homes with elegant gardens and fabulous views across the road behind me frowned in the gray.They would eventually recede in memory and so would the people. I didn’t spend time on it. As I sat and thought, the grey started to lift, a brightness appeared, a flock of Gulls took off, the water changed color, the homes no longer frowned and I knew it was coming, I knew what I would do.

Letters to my Son

“Our entire life is put together in a story told to us by ourselves. Circumstances, emotions, and thoughts all influence this great tale which is put together by our conscious self. We tell ourselves what happened to us in the past, and come up with rationalizations as to why these things in our life happened. We also tell ourselves who we are today and come up with reasons as to why we are the way we are. Finally we have a story of how we think our future will be, which very much depends on our story of our past and our story of who we are in this present moment. In essence our conscious self tells the story of our life in one big cosmic narrative.” ~~ Sid, Retired Clinical Social Worker and Blogger at Flow Like Water
Dear Son,
As I think about where I should go, what I should do, I think about the story of my life. My story. I wonder if someone were to write a story of my life if it would be the same one I have in my mind. I don’t know if I’ve been bold enough to proclaim my life so loudly as to have just one story. I don’t even think I could write my own story because it seems as if I’ve had so many lives. So I think if several people were to write about my life, they would all be different stories and all would be different than the story I would tell. But really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Stay true to yourself,

Letters to my Son

Dear Son,
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” Louis L'Amour
Each time I look at you I see an incredible person … you are just a boy but you are growing in so many ways. Part of me would like to keep you as that little toddler who would ask me if I wanted to have coffee, even that cute grade school kid who could make anything from Legos. But I can’t, you have to continue to grow and really, I think you are going to be something special. Each time I look at you I learn something new, I see a new beginning. I think … no, I know how important it is for me to remember how fate works in ones life. The only way I could been your Mom was to take an adventure and let it unfold. Your spirit was waiting for me in New Mexico and maybe, just maybe, that is why I feel so connected to that place. I became a better person there and I know son, I’m a better person because of you. I also think that everything has happened exactly the way it was meant to happen even my parenting you alone. Even though it’s just been the two of us, you must always remember that it was two people that made that waiting spirit come alive and however you end up of viewing that as an adult, I did what was right for you.
Love always,

Centering Hint by Tom Crum

I read this early this morning and it has stuck with me. Live to our higher selves ... yes it can be done! Today, write a 'Love Letter' to someone AND to yourself.

Love Notes by Thomas Crum; November 2010

Recently my wife Cathy shared a poignant story from her youth:

In 6th grade I confided to a girlfriend that I had a crush on a boy named Steve. The next day, she presented me with a note that said "I love you" which she told me Steve wrote for her to deliver to me. There was no reason for me not to believe her, and I was happy for weeks. Once I found out that she was the one who wrote the note, I was miserable for weeks. Steve, of course, never had a clue that any of this happened at all!

The relationship between our perceptions, our resulting feelings, and our ability to perform is profound. During the Magic of Skiing, I remark to Susan how flowing and free her skiing is - how energetic and confident in her turns, how joyful she appears lately. She responds that one of the other pros had just said the same thing - she had overheard him bragging about her to someone at breakfast. Later, I ask the pro about it. "Oh," he replies, "I wasn't talking about THAT Susan. It was someone from another session."

So what is the truth about Susan and her skiing?

Believing in the "love letter", Susan was feeling good, and she was expressing it in her ski turns. Susan and her skiing are not stilted nouns, absolute, definable, stuck. They are action phrases like verbs, vulnerable to an ever-changing world of perception.

Susan was feeling and skiing great because she had turned her mindset into higher possibility. She was skiing from that possibility rather than from some fixed past belief about herself. True, her mindset was brought on by quirky happenstance, like Cathy's fraudulent love letter, but self-aware people can use all of life's uncertainties as opportunities to laugh and learn.

How do we want to tune up our mindsets? Can we stoke our imaginations to inspire us to greater heights? Can we ski (or live) as if we've just received a tender declaration of love?

Tom Crum

"Imagination is ... the preview of life's coming attractions."

-Albert Einstein

Letters to my son

Dear Son,
I’ve been thinking about buying a journal where I can write to you. Then I thought about using my blog to do that because it will be (hopefully) still there when I am gone. I’ve written journals before. I’m sure you’ll find them someday. I’m not much good at writing for the public anyway. And there is so much I want to tell you and I’m afraid I won’t remember everything or I’ll be caught up in some other event that causes me to not tell you all the things I want you to know. So really, you don’t have to know them at all, it’s not like you have to study this and take a test. Take what makes sense to you and keep it in your heart, pass other things on if you want, discard what doesn’t resonate with who you are. Be who you are … maybe that’s what all this is about. I want you to be the person you are meant to be not a clone of me or anyone else.
You know, it’s a bit chilly today. We are living in New York now. I had wanted to move back to New Mexico from South Carolina and had everything planned to do so, right up to three days before the moving van was to arrive. Then the company that served me so well exploded, the investors pulled out, there was no money to pay anyone and I was left with no work. I made the split second decision to turn the truck around and head to New York where we have family. Thankfully, the owner of the moving company is an old friend from high school.
After arriving here, I was so unhappy that I could not be where I wanted to be. Others, in their way, wanted to advise and guide and know and insist which caused more unhappiness. That manifested itself as sadness, seclusion from others and sometimes arguments with the very people who meant well. Part of that is because I am happy to run my own life. I can’t abide trying to live like someone else just ‘cause they think it’s best for me. You can only do what your heart and mind tells you is best for you. Nothing good ever comes of wearing someone else's boots. I’ve always been my own person and I hope you will be too.
There’s a lot that my family doesn’t know about me and perhaps I like it that way. Some because I’ve lived away from them since I graduated college, going on 30 years now. Maybe that’s what causes the divide. There’s also a lot they don’t know because they chose not to know and because their egos can be as big as a harvest moon. There was a time when I wanted them to know everything about me but that stopped when I was around the age you are now. That event helped to mold the person I became but that is not important to anyone but me, nor can I define it as either good or bad, it just is. I know it drives you a bit mad when I do not buy into their perspective but there is much you do not know nor do you need to know now, maybe in time.
For the first time in my life son, I’m struggling. Some would say I’ve struggled through two divorces and some hard financial times but really that is nothing compared to this struggle. I’ve always bounced back, been resilient. I’ve been proud of those qualities and they have served me well. This struggle though … this is my struggle to strike a balance between what is the right for you and what is right for me. I’m sure it will be a while before I figure the lay of the land and probably will pen many more letters to my son. You’re all I’ve got boy. Chances are you won’t read these letters until you are much older and maybe you’ll never read them at all.
I do the best I can as a parent alone and I’m proud of the man you are becoming. I think I’ve done a pretty good job. Then again, I’m sure God saw I was going to be alone so I was given a very special person … you. Keep on doing your best, look up at the stars and visualize your dreams, see them, touch them in your mind and make them your reality. When I was a teenager I came across a poem that I had printed up, framed and put on my wall. Over the years and with many moves, that print has been long lost but not the poem by Rudyard Kipling.
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
You know son, ideas, thoughts and philosophies held for many years by people can change over time. Perhaps they just evolve. The ideas held in Kipling's poem have never changed for me but many other thoughts have. The first part of my life was certainly different from the second part and both of those appear to be different than what this new stage of my life will be like. The way I think is changing some and I guess that’s OK. However, my world view is essentially the same. I don’t think that ever changes. What you think is perfect now for you may not be in 5 or 10 years but the convictions you have … your world view will always be your own. Go with the flow son, don’t fight change, evolve but evolve with conviction. Henry David Thoreau said, “If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”
There is still a lot of music in my heart … I have so much more to give and I have more to say but I’ll stop here for now. Just know at this moment in time I am overflowing with love and pride for you…that funny, sweet kid of mine.
Love ya’
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moyenne géode / middle geodesic domeImage via Wikipedia
"If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference."
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