Monday, February 29, 2016

Sunday's Big Adventure

I tried to get Bryan to put in upstream in Mill Creek on a part that we already knew was pretty safe but he was out for a big adventure so we let him have his way. I've already been dumped in that water last year and was pretty banged up by it. I guess I'm a little phobic now. So, when I got dumped again, this time I overreacted. Next time I've got to get a new perspective on this and see it for the adventure that it is like everyone else. I was scared senseless. So, that happened but I have to say that was over very early on and the rest of it was a huge adventure. If we had started further upstream the rest of our story wouldn't have taken place. So, now on to that.

A couple of dogs decided to join us for the whole trip. They set out with us on the start and at the end of it, ended up getting a lift back home to safety. The people who own these two dogs have no idea of the adventure they went on 2-28-2016.

We noticed them following us on the bank immediately after launching. We tried to shoo them back home but nothing worked. So, we finally gave up.

I'll try my best to explain what went down but it's hard if you don't know the area. I'll put a map at the end to try and help you figure it out.

Imagine that we started way up stream on Mill Creek which would be off the map below and to the right and upper corner of what you see there.

The dogs went back and forth across the creek as we went. We tried several times to get the dogs to cross back to the side they needed to be on before the water got really wide but they wouldn't go. Once, they actually got trapped between the creek and the bank because there is a little flooding within the banks right now. They wouldn't get into the kayaks so we had to guide them by riding beside them to get them back out onto the bank. After getting them back on the bank they were still on the wrong side. If they stayed on the side they were on they'd end up caught between the Cumberland River and the Mill Creek. We needed them to at least get to the side where they'd only have a short swim off the bank on Dry Fork to the boat ramp. At that we weren't sure they'd swim it but it was the best shot we had.

Once we got to the bridge at Weaver Bottom, Bryan got out of his kayak and walked them across the bridge to the other side of the creek. So, we finally had them where they need to go. At some point the black dog got up enough courage to get in the boat with Bryan but the white dog wasn't having any part of the kayaks.

We left Trista and Casey behind trying to coax the white dog along the bank to follow them to the ramp up Dry Fork. So, Bryan finally gets the black dog back to the ramp in his boat, Trista and Casey come in with the white dog following them but it is across the creek from the ramp. We still either have to coax it to swim across the creek to us or get in a kayak with someone. This dog is not going to swim that creek. It's over it all. So far this adventure has been 6 miles long for them and they swam a lot of it. They are worn to a frazzle. The white dog just keeps running up and down the bank trying to figure out how it's going to get to us. There's a dude on his boat waiting for his brother at the ramp and he finally realizes we need his help. He rides his boat up to a low point on the creek's bank and Trista gets the dog to follow her kayak to that point. They are out of sight for a bit but sure enough here comes the boat back with the white dog sittin up front like a boss.

We get the kayaks back to the house while the rest of the gang waits with the dogs and then we drive them home. I was so excited to tell their story to the owners but when we got them back no one was home. We set them out and started to drive off and Bryan had to out run the white dog again but it finally circled back to the house. I think after what we all went through on this day we kind of all feel a little ownership/kinship with one another now. That white dog just didn't want to give us up.

I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying this all was to me. We got to share this experience with these creatures just like we would if they'd been human and we planned it. We were just fellow travelers on the road/water, who meet up and share the beauty of the marvelous space we live in. I think we all loved it equally. I think if white dog and black dog could tell the tale they'd get just excited by the thought of it as I do. Thanks Dogs. You were awesome.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A little Manly advice

In my day job I have the fortunate opportunity to get to meet and mingle with people in the community who have a lot of experience living. One in particular is turning 51 this year and is one of the younger people I see. Do not let his young age fool you. He is wise beyond his years. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that he may be one of the wisest folks I've met in person. 

Last week I went out to call on this young man, let's call him Mr.S. One hour turned to two and then two into three. I had to tear myself away. He is just that awesome to talk to. We discuss politics and religion, two of the biggies on the list they tell ya not to talk about. Add some history and discussion of  people and relationships and you get how deep these conversations get. 

Last week me and Mr.S. talked about the relationships between young men and women. He said some very profound things that I want to share in this post. Going forward I'll paraphrase what he told me in italics:

No one is handing out well thought out advice to young men. They get a well of advice regarding getting laid, getting away with sleeping with lots of women, how to lie and cheat but for the most part no one dispenses advice on how to be a good person. Young men are applauded and patted on the back for being bad and getting away with it. 

The biggest mistake that young women make is in thinking men are smarter than they actually are (his thoughts, not mine). The male species can only do one thing at a time. They are neither multi-taskers nor good at thinking through emotional situations. When you believe that he will understand what you need if you hint long enough you are incorrect. You must say what you want. Sit him down and tell him what you want, what you need, what makes you happy and what makes you feel wanted. That is the way he will know. He will never guess it no matter the number of times you hint. He needs logic, it's far more on his side than emotion. 

Okay, that's the gist of that part of my conversation with him. Now, I believe there are a lot of very good men in the world. I am not a male and I'm sure I will never know better than Mr.S, what it's like to be male. I'm going to take his word on what he told me. I am sure he is right about young men getting terrible advice. They seem to get all the "sow the wild oats" advice and very little on how to be a good person. I'd really never thought about it until he said that. I do know from experience that it's best to ask for what you want and that is with most situations. I think most of us are terrible at taking hints. 

Maybe we should rethink a few things. Maybe we shouldn't be so encouraging on the wild oat sowing. Maybe we should be firm on asking as much of our young men as we do our young women when it comes to being a good person. Maybe we should encourage women to speak more freely about their needs instead of trying to teach them how to manipulate others to get their needs met. Maybe when someone tells you all the ways they perceive they've been hinted at that someone may or may not like them we should make sure to say, "if they liked you, you'd know." No one is hinting that they want to be with you. If they want to be with you they will do it and not hint at it. No one has time for that game. 

So, women be honest and speak your mind, Men forget all the advice you get about oat sowing and be honest. We are all in this together and the less we play at games the more real living we can do where no one has to do the guessing game. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

sparkle thoughts

I just had a huge light bulb moment that I hope will stay with me forever. I was reading
A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love and I read something that had never occurred to me. I don't believe a lot of religious dogma but I do believe we all have a soul. I believe that that our soul is the part of us that bears witness to how we go through life living either in fear or love. It is the thing that whispers to us in the form of intuition when knowledge is needed. The soul is who we really are lifetime after lifetime. What we see as our self is not part of what makes up our soul. It is our earth body needed to live out our existence in flesh. Our soul is what watches it happen. So, saying that, that I believe in the soul, here is what I learned today from this book. 

When we experience a negative emotion it is not real. The negative emotion can only be felt by the body in flesh. The soul would never experience a negative emotion. So, in essence anything negative that we can feel is not real and cannot effect our existence as soul. 

What effect can this knowledge have on our everyday life? We can learn to see that anything that is not of soul is fear. Anything that fulfills love is soul. If it is not love then it is fear. If it is fear we should let it go. If it is love we should lift it up.

Here is the passage from the book I'm referring to: 

"You further attest to the reality of sin and its effects when you feel guilty for the pain or sorrow you believe you have caused others. “I screwed up my child because I was an alcoholic.” “When I cheated on my husband, I caused him irreparable pain.” “My parents paid for my college education so I could become a doctor, and now I feel awful because all I want to do is be an actor.” We have all felt hurt by plenty of people and incidents, and we all feel guilty about hurting others. While all of these sufferings seem very real and justifiable, A Course in Miracles teaches that your true Self, and the true Self of any other person, runs far deeper than the self that experiences pain. “Whatever suffers is not part of me” No matter what mistakes you have made or others have made against you, your inner being remains perfectly intact, impervious to human error. It was not the act that hurt, but your interpretation of the act. Just as you chose an interpretation that hurts, you can choose one that heals. “I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt”

Cohen, Alan (2015-10-27). A Course in Miracles Made Easy: Mastering the Journey from Fear to Love (p. 30). Hay House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

I love that. It says more than a full set of encyclopedias ever could.

Let Peace Go With You.

Monday, February 15, 2016

100% off discount to happy

I listen to audiobooks in my car because I am on the road a lot. Just my drive to and from work everyday is near 1.5 hours. In the passed few weeks I've listen to over 20 hours combined of Leah Remini's book Troublemaker and Amy Cuddy's Presence. I don't know if it came from the crossover of information taken in from two different sources so close together but it really gave me laser focus on how we all live and believe.

A good 50%  or more of Amy's book is the research that has been done to test the notion of what makes us confident. That may not in fact be how others would describe it but it's my take on it. It sets out to prove whether we "smile because we are happy or if we are happy because we smile."

Leah's book is more than 11 hours of her experience with the Church of Scientology. With this book you get an in depth look at the way this organization uses the guise of religion to brainwash it's members into giving more money to the church than they actually have. They make their members feel like they aren't doing their part to save the world when they don't give everything they have. Their teachings provide a way to hold people hostage by making them repent at every reported transgression even if they are unfounded. The only way to find repentance is by paying money or by purchasing expensive lessons that teach you into repentance.

These were the things I've marinated my mind in lately and here is what I have taken from it. Most of us feel like we fall short. I'm not sure what it is we think we fall short of but I can say that when religion is involved it usually provides us with an alter to lay our shortcomings on. So easily we fall into the notion that we always need to be repenting. If we didn't follow the teachings of the religions we choose we'd still feel as though we fall short but we'd have nothing to blame it on but that we just don't measure up. But here's the thing. We do measure up. The reason we think we do not measure up is because we use the wrong tool to measure. It's like we are using a ruler when we actually need scales.

Somehow it gets ingrained in us that there is a set standard of beingness. We spend so much of our lives trying to adhere to this standard that we lose track of what makes us unique beings. We forget what makes us a me and not a them. We all just want to be them so much that our path becomes consumed with that instead of being the best version of ourselves.

Listening to Leah's account of what happened to her tortured me. I am not sure how you go from being so focused with following the teachings precisely, to the point it has built walls around you and then to being completely free in the world. I would hope it would be beautiful but I have a stinging feeling she forgets she is free on a lot of days.

Most religions bound you in a permanent contract whether real or imagined. Somewhere in the laws there will be one that does not allow you to leave without dire consequence. It's what makes you stay even when you are being hurt by it rather than being helped by it. So, you are either in all the way or if you are not, then you are not living up to the required standard. All of this then teaches you that what you are is not good enough. I like who I am and none of this feels okay with me. It's why I know that these types of religions are never going to be part of my life. I'm so thankful to have escaped when I was still such a young adult. I've had so many years of happiness because I don't follow rules that make me feel like who I am is not exactly what I should be.

I would never even suggest people change their beliefs without doing the work. But, I will say that if your religion doesn't leave you feeling like being exactly you is the most beautiful thing you can do for the world then you might want to look at it a little closer.

Amy's work takes you to a whole new level by proving that what we are is good enough. She gives us the tools to stand ourselves straighter in who we are and go be that as hard as we can. She figured out the human version of what animals do when they show their strength and charge into battle and is asking us to incorporate it into the times in our life when we need it. Guess what folks, it works.

In the post before this one I embedded a video of a talk that Amy Cuddy did about presence and being your boldest self. If you missed it please go and watch it now. You could be a bolder you in 2 minutes.

I hope I made the point I meant to make with this post but like with most of my posts, it's all about the simple act of daring to be who you really are. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

life, it doesn't work the way they taught you

If I think about the way growing up taught me to perceive the world, I'd say that we don't have a lot of control over how things end up. I'd say that we can't help if we have money, we can't help if we find love, we cannot control if we will be happy, we cannot help if we get sick and we cannot help if we end up homeless. It all just happens and we have to accept our lot in life. There are a too many people to count who believe all of that but I'm not one of them. At the start of this paragraph I said that's the way I was taught but it's not what I believe.

The reason that things are the way they are for you is that you believe. The reason things are the way they are for me is because I believe. If we were always right about what we believe we'd never cross the path of someone who thinks we are wrong. We'd all just always be right. But we are not. Who gets to decide who is right? The answer is, the believer. As long as you believe something, it's going to be right whether it really is or not. 

The only way to grow is to accept challenge. Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to examine. Holding on tightly to what you believe will only stunt you. You cannot grow when you think you know all the answers or when you think there is only one answer to the question.

So are you a person who thinks that the life you have just happened to you? If your life just happened to you then that is your perception. If you believe this then life will just happen to you. If you don't like your life the way it seems to be happening to you then for a moment entertain that you can change that. 

Do you feel like you will always be alone? If you really don't want to be alone stop believing that you are. If you feel like you'll be alone you are probably more concentrated on yourself than anything else. View the world as an opportunity. Stop waiting. If you are in waiting mode you'll probably stay there. Don't go out to try to find someone. Just go out into the world with a mindset that is not waiting. Be of the mind that you are living a life you love and don't worry with the waiting. Details are not something you should bother yourself with. The details have got you in the place your are in now. The details are what you are concentrated on that keeps you locked into feeling alone. 

If you feel like a poser in everyday life then you are precisely like 80% of the population. The only thing that makes you feel this way is that for some reason you don't believe in yourself. It's not everyone else that doesn't believe in you but you that does not believe in you. Everyone else is too busy not believing in their own self to worry with you.

The best way to get out of the mindset that life just happens to you is to start today by living the life you want. No one will give you permission because they are waiting for their own permission.

What get's you excited? What do you like? What do you want? How do you want to live? What do you envy about others? If you can answer these questions you've made a significant step forward. So take your list of answers and step towards making these things happen. 

Step One: Watch this video

Step Two: Strike a two minute power pose of your choosing.

Step Three: Go out and make one step towards making your life look like you want it to look. If you want to get in shape, start by going for a long walk. If you want to get your dream job, sign up for a class that might help you qualify, If you want to learn to dance, search youtube for dance moves and get up and try them. If you want to date, ask someone out (and I mean this for both sexes). If you want to have more money, start to save or look for a better job. If you want to write a book, shut this post, open MSword and start typing. If you want to be forgiven for things that you did in the past, forgive yourself and ask other's you've wronged to also forgive you. If you want to get well, start believing you can be well and make every move you can to be that way. If you want to be a winner, stop seeing yourself as a victim. If you want to be happy, do more things that make you happy.

Step Four: See that when you can accomplish one thing, you'll also be able to tackle the next.

Step Five: There is no step five.