Make a Move

Do you ever feel trapped? I think times like those are some of my unhappiest – all the worse when they come as a surprise. And yet, it seems those tight spots never turned out as bad as they felt in the moment. Reflecting on those experiences from some emotional distance, from the vantage point of the rear view mirror, they simply appear to represent turning points. And maybe all my unhappiness was caused by my own resistance to the turns.

I have discovered that resisting change digs a rut that is more and more difficult to get out of. (Pretty basic, huh?) I have also found that, no matter how deep the rut, there is always room to make a choice or two, to do something different that can loosen things up. (Wouldn’t you agree?) Maybe less obvious is this (and this is the key to unlocking the universe): when you are at what feels like the very worst point; when you are exhausted, overwhelmed and have nothing left to give, that is when you have to find a way to give more – to put more energy into your situation. This, I have found, is the secret to positive change.

Now, figuring out how to give more when you are on empty isn’t easy. It is a matter of finding energy you didn’t know you have. Pathways to these hidden reserves tend to be unique to the individual, so what works for one person may not work for another – although it may offer some clues! What you are looking for is wriggle room. (Once you get excited for change, you may get inspired to take on some big stuff, but consider baby step ideas. Sustained effort is what you need to crack cement and that is easiest to maintain if you take baby steps.) Simply give yourself some time to reflect and you may come up with some ideas to play with relatively quickly. But, if you are dying for some suggestions, here are some starting points you could play with: rob time from sleep or entertainment and invest it in reading success stories, meditation, exercise, breath work and/or something like NLP. But, I run far afield.

This blog is for those people who have reached the bottom, found their hidden reserve of energy, created some space and now need some ideas on how to kick their ball back uphill. That is the next step – find something positive to fill the space you create with each injection of energy.

Not all of these ideas will appeal to you; some are prosaic while others are edgy. Don’t print these out like recipes. Consider them more like yoga poses – a starting place. To suit your individual taste you may want to attenuate some and amp up others. Maybe one of these suggestions will strike you as offensive and inspire you to come up with an idea of your own. Nice. Hey, this is your game. Have fun! Play! Break the rules! Discover yourself!

You will reach viewpoints along the mountain path and ask yourself, “Where to from here?” A man of knowledge would say, “Never allow yourself to fall so far down the mountain again.” Be vigilant. Be alert. Cultivate awareness. Watch the horizon for the next challenge the universe is dishing up for you. As Daniel Villasenor asks, “Why allow your problems to become crises before dealing with them?” As Pema Chodron says, “Face everything.”

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Coming Soon

American Niwaki

Niwaki, you know, bonsai, only full size. Every Japanese home owner with a yard has niwaki. I took lots of photos of niwaki last year traveling in Japan. I came home wanting to try out the technique on a few of my own trees and shrubs. I’ll include before and after photos so you can decide whether or not the technique was any improvement.

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What is Your Experience of Beauty?

If I ask you to recall something beautiful, what comes to mind – an interaction, a place, an object of devotion, an event?  Did the original experience have a positive affect on you? Does revisiting that experience have the power to affect you again?

My experience of beauty often takes me to a place of wonder – a place of such enormous splendor that it outstrips my ability to describe it. Beauty seems to have the ability to stop me in my tracks, to stop the world from turning, to hold my thoughts in suspension.

Once when I was meditating, I happened to reflect upon something beautiful and noticed it had the affect of turning off my internal dialogue. I was able to hover in that state for a while. I was so enthused by the experience, I thought, “I’ll have to read a book about this approach.” It was such a powerful experience and the effects were so transcendent, I assumed it was an established path to enlightenment. But when I looked, I couldn’t find anything specific about it, not along the lines of what I expected anyway. I decided I would just have to continue to investigate on my own.

Since then I have been building more beauty into my life and noticing its tremendous ability to bring me closer to God. This blog is an exploration of ideas on how anyone may bring more beauty into their life, so that you also may experience the upward currents of this approach.

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Spiritual Path

Self development is perhaps the longest running interest in my life. I believe it all started in my twenties when I read How to Win Friends and Influence People. I remember the light bulb going on, “Oh, I can change myself.” The prospect of changing my life course from the inside out excited me. I wondered how far I could go and what I might become. I devoured self-help books after that.

I have experienced setbacks, pitfalls and disillusions. I discovered change is not so straight forward as I first thought and that there are many ways to delude one self into thinking advances are being made when they are not. But, on balance, I am encouraged. I continue to be well rewarded for my modest effort.

I was raised with vague Christian sentiments. I had some mystical experiences of God while attending vacation Bible school as an early teen. I had a traumatic experience when I was 16 that caused me to investigate Christianity more seriously. That pursuit eventually led me to become a spirit-filled, born-again Christian. I lost my belief in God while attending college and then embraced atheism. I think it may have been the act of reading Autobiography of a Yogi that caused me to believe in God again – this time I was able to entertain a much more expansive concept of God.

I gradually developed a sense that there is something larger going on in this life than what meets the senses. This caused me to investigate energy work and the esoteric. I have been greatly affected by the philosophy of Don Juan Matus as reported by Carlos Castaneda. I have also greatly benefited from the teachings of Susan Cerf, Leonard Orr, Chriss Lemmon, Ram Dass and Marshall Rosenberg.

I currently pursue development by way of Network Spinal Analysis, Qigong, yoga, meditation, rebirthing and ecstatic dance.

School of Conscious Hearts
Minister, Order of the Ascended Rose
Rebirther, Rebirthing Breathwork International
MogaDao Institute
Hamsa Yoga

Personal Notes:
I retired from a career in sales and marketing for a small manufacturing company the end of 2011. I spent the next year traveling. In early 2013 I walked the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Since then I have focused my efforts on creative work. For the last twenty years I have lived in an old farmhouse on the west side of Portland, Oregon. I have completed two marathons.

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Lord of the Flies

Lord of the FliesLord of the Flies (1990)

A dozen grade school aged, military academy boys are marooned on a tropical island when their plane goes down. As time goes by and no help arrives, the more aggressive begin to dominate the less aggressive and some of the worst human behaviors come to the fore.

This is a pretty light drama by today’s standards, but it is engaging and believable. Some of the boys offer good performances.

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Wildwood Restaurant & Bar

Wildwood Restaurant & Bar
1221 NW 21st Ave., Portland, OR 97210, 503-248-9663

Impeccable Food & Service, Gray Bowels of the Dining Room More Attractive After Dark
She ordered deep fried oysters and sole; I got rockfish salad with the white wine flight. The oysters were to die for. The sole was done perfectly. I liked that my salad came with hot rockfish and cold greens even though they were tossed together. I was delighted to be introduced to white wines I wouldn’t have chosen if left to myself – including a dry French Muscat. I like best the atmosphere of the tables by the windows opposite the bar. There is also great patio seating outside when the weather permits..

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Blood Diamond

Blood DiamondBlood Diamond (2006)

African mercenary helps displaced Sierra Leone villager find his family in exchange for recovering a valuable diamond. A journalist also pulls some strings in exchange for a story. TIA.

This is an interesting portrait of the civil war in Sierra Leone with some expert performances by DiCaprio and friends. But I think the director was too restrained and staid in his method of progression. The story just seemed to bump along a little too much for me. I was never really surprised by the action in the next scene.

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Repo Man

Repo ManRepo Man (1984)

A punk rocker is recruited to work for a repossession business in LA. He generally gets a kick out of the work and learns a lot from his new work buddies. When notice comes in of a $20,000 bounty for recovering an old Malibu, it looks suspicious. But no one guesses it’s because the trunk holds the decomposing bodies of aliens.

This cult classic was just as good on my second viewing. Every actor gives a compelling performance and all the quirky details came back and made me laugh again days later.

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Ryan’s Daughter

Ryan's DaughterRyan’s Daughter (1970)

Set in 1916, a young woman growing up in a small Irish village marries a middle aged school teacher, hoping to experience a larger life. The union is duller than she expected and her appetite for fulfillment leads to a tryst with an English officer. The affair is exposed and the community ostracizes her.

Director David Lean paid dearly to make this movie; he built a village from scratch on the Dingle Peninsula in which to film and then took nearly a year to shoot it, waiting on weather conditions that would lend drama to his segments.

This is a classic film with great performances, palpable drama and stunning scenery. Don’t sit too close to the screen – you just might get splashed with sea spray!

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Due Date

Due Date

Due Date (2010)

Reckless behavior on a plane gets two passengers thrown off and blacklisted 2,000 miles from their destination. The wife of one is due to give birth. They agree to drive cross country together. The road trip is an endless series of disasters.

I liked the two main characters and their performances were pretty convincing. I was surprised by the way events kept spinning out of control. But, all in all, this movie is pretty light entertainment and only barely kept me involved.

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