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Having Friends   Leave a comment


Today I wanted to play tribute to friends.  As I thought about what music video to share, this song came into my mind.  How wonderful and vital are friends!  Enjoy!

 

Also, have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day celebration and weekend!

Posted July 3, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Experiences, Life, Music, Music Video

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Being Non-Dual   1 comment


Image provided by themiracleisaroundthecorner.wordpress.com

Image provided by themiracleisaroundthecorner.wordpress.com

I have been reading a lot lately about contemplative approaches to life.  Being contemplative means not having a dual mind.  This requires being open and striving to avoid preconceived opinions.  This also requires not putting judgment on encounters but instead experiencing these encounters.  A contemplative approach is not always appropriate.  However, where possible, it can allow us to discover new viewpoints and new understandings.

Having a non-dual mind requires a lot of effort for someone like myself.  As a productive of Western culture and the outcomes of the Enlightenment period, I have been trained to look at everything from an either/or viewpoint instead of a both/and, or even an “it is what it is” outlook.  Like many others, I see something as either good or bad, either right or wrong, either black or white.  It takes effort, some training, and some self-discipline to allow other possibilities.

Over time, I think all of us come to a point of having to admit (sometimes extremely reluctantly) that life does not allow us to place experiences, situations, and even people, in nicely contained boxes.  Just when we feel we have all the definitions figured out and can properly assess which compartment something appropriately can be assigned to, there is a twist or experience which throws off our neatly formed order.  We are forced to reassess what we knew to be true.  We are challenged to redefine life’s aspects.  This upsets us which I think is mainly because it forces us to see that we are not as truly in control as we would hope.

In my recent reading on this subject, I have to realize that there is some comfort to a non-dual viewpoint, as strange as it may seem.  By not having to label and categorize each item using the either/or approach, there is the opportunity to change and be changed.  I find some excitement in the idea that approaching life without a dualistic approach could led to some amazing discoveries.

Again, let me say that there are necessary times when we must determine either/or in a situation.  Let me also say that even if we want to move toward more non-dual approaches, it will take a lot of effort on our part since it will require us to relearn perspectives that have been in place for centuries.  However, I think it sounds like a great adventure if we are willing to make the attempt.

Leaving An Imprint   Leave a comment


Austrian-flagThis week I had to say good-bye to someone who will forever leave a mark on my heart.  If any of you have had the great honor of being a host parent for a foreign exchange student, you will totally understand what I mean.  I would even dare to bet that anyone who has been a foster parent can relate to all the feelings as well.  These young people come into your lives and into your homes for a period of time.  They bring all of their excitement and fears with them.  They bring their habits and challenges with them.  They truly become part of your family.  Then the day arrives when you have to send them back to their original home.  For me, the only part of being a host parent which is the worst is the day that I have to say good-bye to the young person who has lived with me (and maybe the days of adjustment which follow).

As I thought about all the feelings which I am experiencing after taking my adopted son to begin his journey back home last night, I realized that he has left his imprint on my life.  Just as my other adopted son from a year ago has left his imprint, this son has done the same.  I am changed because they have been in my life.  Sure, I have come to know much more about the countries of Austria and Switzerland than I had in the past, but it was much more than that.  I have had the privilege of experiencing the love and sharing my love with these young men.  I have come to worry about them and look after them.  I have had the chance to teach them just as they taught me.  I am a better person because I have had them in my life.

It is truly a joy when people come into your life and touch you.  No matter what the distance may be between you or the time between seeing each other, you carry a piece of them around with you forever more.  I look forward to the day when I will be reunited with each of them.  I look forward to having ongoing conversations with them (yeah for Skype and social media).  I look forward to watching them continue their lives even if it may be from afar.

Thank you for imprinting yourselves on my life Arnold and Simon! Swiss flag

Rain   Leave a comment


I thought after a very soggy week, this would be a great song to share on Music Friday!

Posted June 26, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Life, Music, Music Video

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Refreshing   Leave a comment


Image provided by exposureguide.com

Image provided by exposureguide.com

After a few days of high temperatures and high humidity, this morning was a very refreshing change.  When I awoke and took my dog on our usual early morning walk, I was greeted with cool temperatures and very little humidity.  The change helped me feel much more invigorated to start my day than the days of warm temperatures and high humidity.  So as I sat at my desk this morning, I thought about those items in life which refresh me.  Let me share the list I have compiled so far:

  1. Walking in a cool stream or pool of water
  2. Ice cream
  3. A craft beer or nice glass of wine
  4. Popsicles
  5. Cool breezes
  6. An ocean beach
  7. A nice massage
  8. A special smile and a gentle word
  9. A crackling fire
  10. Sun raspberry tea under a shade tree
  11. Waterfalls
  12. Fountains

In their own ways, each of these refresh and renew me.  I am sure if I had time to sit and ponder a bit longer, my list would grow.

What would you put on your list?  I hope that you take time to be refreshed today.

Posted June 23, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Life

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Do You Know   Leave a comment


For some reason this week I have had this song going through my head.  So I thought I would share it, maybe someone out there needs to hear it.

Have a great, musical Friday!

Posted June 19, 2015 by thoughtfulbeliever in Uncategorized

Lone Ranger   Leave a comment


Image provided by jennifersikora.com

Image provided by jennifersikora.com

Growing up, I used to watch reruns of a show called, “The Lone Ranger.”  Only as I have grown older have I realized that the title of the show was inaccurate.  The title implies that one man is out there riding to save the day.  The Lone Ranger was the “good guy” of the wild west.  He always seemed to be at the right place to find out about a problem which needed fixed.  He would fight the bad guys and always ensure justice.  He protected people and established safety from the bad guys.  However, unlike the title my suggest, he never did it alone.  The person that received second building but was an equal, and maybe even at times a greater, partner was Tonto.  Tonto was the Lone Ranger’s trusted companion who walked into danger with him and was instrumental in apprehending the bad guys.

I think of this show today because of thoughts regarding how sometimes we approach challenges in life.  I know that many times we have the belief that we have to overcome challenges alone.  We take on the mentality that we have to “fix” the problem because it is our problem and no one else is going to be able to resolve it.  As a leader, I have fallen into this trap more times than I would like to admit.  However, this perspective comes more out of ego than it does any reality.

Over the years, I have worked to modify my leadership style to be more collaborative and less “Lone Ranger.”  I strive to build strong teams that will work alongside and challenge my perspectives and potential solutions.  When I have developed this collaborative approach, I find that wonderful things happen.  Solutions that I never though of emerge.  Usually the newly emerged solutions are far superior to the ones that I fashioned in my own mind.  I have found that having Tontos in my life make the challenges less burdensome.

The challenge that remains for me is in my personal life.  I have been less successful in abandoning the Lone Ranger approach in this aspect.  So over the last year, I have used this as a growing point in my life.  I have included more individuals in my life who can give me insights and perspectives which I cannot obtain on my own.  I have been discovering Tontos who can walk alongside me, challenge me, and offer wisdom from their experiences and perspectives.  This is still definitely a work in progress.

So my question to you is:  Are you being a Lone Ranger?  If so, take off your mask, find a Tonto, and learn to share the load.  Afterall, even the original Lone Ranger really was not “Lone.”

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