Y2 – Day 221 – simple

Whenever I forget who I really am and what my one focus and purpose should be at all times, I get a little nudge and remember – oh yea!  Forgiveness is the means to it and gratitude is the quickest way I know how to get to forgiveness.

Love.  It is my priority and the only thing that makes sense in this crazy world.  This is where my peace lies.  Good thing I get reminders to stay on this track from some pretty awesome spiritual teachers.

Y2 – Day 220 – Get off the Carousel

Getting off the Merry – Go – Round Thinking

Are your thoughts driving you crazy?  Has meditation eluded you?  Do you wake in the middle of the night with worry and continue to spin until the alarm wakes you?

You can 1) pray and/or 2) you can let go and let God and/or 3) you can turn your thoughts around and use the power of your subconscious mind.

A rule of thumb for praying is usually not to expect the outcome you desire but that whatever happens, you can be strong enough to handle it. And, that can include windfalls of money, job opportunities or relationship successes because even the ‘positive’ results can challenge us.

Letting go is surrender.  What does that look like to you?  Specifically? It can be different for everyone.  Some people need to let go of anger over everything.  Others just want relief from their own moodiness or to release sadness.  Letting go of your timetable or control over events and people is a head start.  A sense of powerlessness may depress, unless you squarely let go of it completely and hand it over to the Universe or your Higher Power or Goddess.

I usually have to be aware of my holding on to something in the first place.  Then I get into acceptance and can let it go, but not always.  I can become doubtful or take it back.

It helps to imagine sending it (whatever IT is) up in a balloon or inside a bubble or writing it down and placing it in a God box (where you leave it) or picture clouds overhead and letting it travel slowly on by.

And then, there is the knowledge that you can turn your thoughts around or choose which thoughts to entertain.  Revising, updating and expanding your belief system can give you back confidence, direction and happiness.  Knowing you are born to be the best you can be, not the worst or a so-so version, can do wonders to uplift.  Give your undesirable old tape recordings in your mind the boot and etch new neural pathways of positive, productive and grander thoughts in your brain.   This is why affirmations work for some people.  Not for everybody, though.  If you don’t sincerely believe what you are telling yourself, it’s not going to fly with your subconscious because we are too smarty pants and know better.  If you are an egomaniac with an inferiority complex, it will backfire.

But, if you remember your purpose, that you are made of love to love and be love, then you have a good foundation in which to re-route your debilitating, useless and energy draining self-talk.

All of these actions take practice.  Very few people on this earth ever graduate into enlightenment 24/7.  But here and there, every once in a while, you can catch yourself and pray, let go and change your thinking.  Picking yourself up again is the only reason we fall.

It takes courage and fortitude to remember and implement praying, letting go and changing your perspective but when we do, it is a miracle and there are miracles happening all around us, all the time.  Discard the rest.

Y2 – Day 219 – Change

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be. – Douglas Pagels

Sometimes change is good for me.  If there is one thing true about life is that it is always changing.  But I find I don’t like change sprung or forced on me in any way.  I like choosing the change.  The same person will make the same stupid mistakes if they don’t change.  Something has to change.  Change moves us forward, it wakes us up and brings us in the now.

In the art of Feng Shui, it is believed if you want to shake it up a bit, you need to move around 40 objects in your house and if nothing else, it makes you dust off your objets d’art or sweep under a new location or corner where dust bunnies were hiding under a decorative stand or table.

Change is inevitable and fear makes us stagnate.  And like a swamp or still water, once you start to remain motionless, you start to stink and rot.  Movement brings flow and new growth.

Contemplating this is not enough.  I had to take action.  I needed a push.  My friend, J, the dog rescuer gave me that push and helped me move around some furniture and we created a whole new spot that opened up my living area, improving creativity, light and mood.  It also gives me a whole new outlook!

By moving 8 chairs, three tables, rolling up a rug, moving an ottoman over to another room, taking down some worn curtains, wall hangings and throwing out several run-down or just dated items, we have a new perspective, a modern, simpler appearance that I can re-decorate or continue to edit.   A little more shuffling and I will be at 40 things swapped out, stored up or thrown out.

“An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.” – Lydia M. Child

Someone with troubles and worries of their own, enhanced my life today.  May that be an example and a reminder to us all.

Y2 – Day 218 – Rest and Read

Marguerite by Guy Rose (1867 – 1925)

This weekend was spent just resting, reading and relaxing.  Ok. So a lot of time was spent munching and watching 21st century TV too.  But basically, all I wanted for my birthday weekend was to stay at home and chill.  And chill, I did.  Now it is on to the rest of the year and getting a few more things accomplished.

In which ways do you like to unwind?  What helps you disconnect from the world and connect you back to self?  How do you spend your precious “free” time?

Y2 – Day 217 – Le Tour 2014

Paris, 2014, Jens Voigt’s last sprint on the Champs, after 17 years of surviving le Tour, is pure bittersweet theatre.

The second to place overall French rider, Jean Cristophe Peraud, crashes around a turn on the cobblestones, and as a gentleman’s agreement, the entire bike throng slows down so he can catch up and remain the 2nd place winner.  Good old fashioned class acts.

The sprinters hear the last bell as the race circles for the last lap and the German, Marc Kittel, wins the City of Lights stage, by pedaling past Kristoff, who looked like he would win,  at the very last second before the finish line, and it is vintage, surprising, anything can happen, drama.

Now, France is back on the podium, after twenty years, two cyclists finish 2nd and 3rd.  A Classic comeback for the French.

And, Nibali of Italy wins after winning the other grand tours – La Vuelta de Espana and El Giro de Italia, making him one of a very select few that have ever won all three and truly the best athlete in the world this year.  Impressive, spectacular and breathtaking Hard Work and Self Belief is what it took.


Y2 – Day 216 – the penultimate

Today is the next to the last day of the Tour de France. We are down to 164 contestants after starting with 198. The routes are mapped and studied each day for a year; the roads are closed and cleared for hours during the flight, the fight and the stages of each unique trek.

If you get a chance, don’t miss the easy, gentle promenade finish to Paris tomorrow as the remaining cyclists advance to the Champs Elysees and three athletes are crowned this year’s best riders.  Unless the winner crashes tomorrow, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy from team Astana will take home the yellow jersey and win the Tour de France, 2014.

This year’s Tour ends after 2276 miles or 3664 kilometers after 21 days of grueling racing and 2 rest days.

The Tour is not just about the statistics; it’s about the drama, the scenery and the history in the making.

From Leeds, York, Sheffield and Cambridge in England through Basque and Spanish terrain, and some of the most picturesque French towns, I saw, noticed and observed so much.

There was rain, sweat, winds, tears, shouting, thunderclouds and finger pointing.

We witnessed crashes, flat tires, wheel changes, eliminations and leaders abandoning the race.

There were thigh burning climbs up uncategorized hills, flying descents down steep mountain tops, cross winds slashing between flat farmlands, circular round a bouts splitting the main groups, tight corners, switchbacks and undulating narrow roads to navigate.

We watched the hopeful break aways, sprinters shooting forward, the crowded pelotons and the faithful domestiques all weather the climate, the individual and team strategies and the luck or demise of a few.

Helicopters showed us snow capped peaks, lavender fields, 12th – 15th century cathedrals, town squares, tops of roofs, mountains and trees, second century Roman ruins, sunflower farms, castles, lakes, pines, and medieval villages.  We were taken through the Vosges, the Alps and the Pyrenees.

Motorcycle riders shot angles of the roads, cows, cobblestones and grimaces.  Mercedes, Jaguar and Beemer Team cars followed with extra bikes on top and expert mechanics inside.

For the first time ever, cameras were attached to bike seats and we were privy to gravel, bumps and whooshing wheel sounds, first class seats to crashes involving multiple or single riders and fans interrupting the flow of the race.

We were there for every stage win; the green jersey for most points, the white one for youngest, the polka dot for king of the mountain and yellow jersey for over all player. We marked every checkpoint, time trial, feed point and finish.

Fans encouraged, pushed, interfered, screamed, jumped, ran alongside with and did the wave at the time trial.  Some men wore ridiculous costumes; most devotees cheered and waved flags and banners. Local aficionados sat under umbrellas to get out of the rain or sun by the road, some travelers opened up portable chairs or spread out blankets by their campers and trailers, waiting for days to be a part of the passing show of renowned bikers.  Supporters carried accordions, I-Pads and every country’s flags (Portugal, Italy, Spain, French, German, USA, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Japan, England and Sweden to name a few).

We were amazed by the brightly colored bikes used as guardrails and even more wide eyed by no rails on nail biting cliff edges, gullies and narrow road drops.

We flinched as we endured torn and bloody skin suits, bandaged body parts and pounding falls onto cement and tar.  We smiled as we beheld pairs of young stylishly coordinated young women double European kissing winners of various podium standings while stuffed lions and bouquets abounded as gifts.  We celebrated the streamers of yellow, green, white and red and white polka dotted shirts criss – crossing overhead the athletes through ancient towns and yellow, white and green balloons strewn along low walled chateau estates.

I longed for France as I noticed ornamental iron balconies, brightly colored shutters on aged and textured stones and stucco, black, burgundy, indigo and forest green awnings covering well worn walkways under doorways and entrees.

Teams displayed and announced their sponsors proudly:  BMC, SKY, Movistar, Astana, AG2R La Mondiale, Tinkoff/Saxo, to name a few.

We were entertained by the British voices of Paul and Phil who have been covering the Tour since the beginning of their sportscaster’s careers. We listened to the American, Todd Harris and his sidekicks Bob Roll, an old-timer Tour racer and Christian Vande Velde, just retired from last year’s Tour.

Even though tomorrow is a mostly ceremonial trip into Paris, it culminates with a wild, sprint finish, Eiffel Tower in the background, that you will not want to miss.

Y2 – Day 213 – OC Fair 2014

You still have until August 10 to make it to the fabulous and ever incredible, tongue in cheek, OC Fair at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, off of the 55S Fwy.

 As they say in England, whilst last there, I partook of (for the first time but it won’t be the last time) fried desserts (bad, bad, bad me).  I was encouraged by my cousin’s insistence she would never have the opportunity to try this indulgent treat again and my ‘pledge’ to never, ever have another.

We sank our teeth into battered up, fried up Oreo cookies (at least they were vegan, but the batter alas is not, I am sure) and after what seemed forever, a freshly, fried Almond Joy that pretty much took me and her to coconut/chocolate (can you say at least 1000 calories?) heaven and when we returned, we were still talking about it to anyone who would listen.

The deep fried Almond Joy can only be found at one trailer joint in all of the fair – right across from the chuck wagon wheel dining area.  It is listed as the manager’s special and I cannot even guarantee when you arrive it will still be available, but if it is, do not hesitate to order one and share if you must because you have never, ever tasted anything sooooo good.

Also, as always there is respite in the air conditioned buildings with displays of all kinds and music and booths and food and gardens and domesticated animals and rides.

Concerts are held every night and we enjoyed the Happy Together Tour again with M’s mom.  This is our third summer to see who The Turtles (who manage the Tour) bring onto the stage.  We heard some old tunes, every one of them identifiable.  I probably listened to most of them on a battery charged transistor radio on the beach in the heat of summer growing up or on the school bus on the way to elementary school field trips.   The headliner was Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame. They sang Henry the Eighth as well as the moving There’s a Kind of Hush (all over the world, tonight – remember?)

We purchased the requisite cement garden animals, (you too will find your favorite must haves).  I ate some corn in a cup one day, a baked potato the other night.  Some people love the funnel cakes, the chocolate covered fruit and pretzel plates or the curly fries.  Some fair goers go for the hair raising rides, the farm animals or the displays.

Everyone has their fair extravaganza spree and you do not want to miss finding out what that could possibly be!

Y2 – Day 212 – Zorro

Just finished Isabel Allende’s Zorro.   I finally got my hands on her first novel written in 1983, translated in ’85 and made into a movie in 1994, starring Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Winona Rider and Antonio Banderas – which lo and behold I have never seen.  Probably because the early ’90s revolved around pregnancies, babies and toddlers  – not indie movies.  The only movie I remember seeing when I was pregnant with my second was (the ‘One’ night I went to the dollar AMC where there is a Walmart now) A River Runs Through It (the first time I saw Brad Pitt in a movie BTW) and of course, Jurassic Park, when V was just 7 days old (because her brother was fanatical about all things dinosaur) and Alladin, Toy Story, etcBut somehow I missed The House of Spirits.

Recently, I read Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia.  Read Daughter first, Sepia is a sequel, unbeknownst to me.

From Zorro’s bi-cultural roots, born in 1790, wherein his maternal grandmother guides him through a vision quest in California to Zorro’s honing of his fencing skills in troubled Spain and back to his homeland, Allende takes us through historical moments braided and woven into intricate backstories of brotherhood and justice – always righting the wronged.  The way the author wraps up stories, returns back full circle to events, dialogue and clues, is precise and satisfying to the reader.  Her team of researchers find and check all her injections of true facts into the tale so that the events become part of the plot and the characters display authentic voices of the era.

Summer is a great time to read.  Allende is a great author to read if escape to another time and place with depth of perception is where you want to imagine yourself being in these next few hot weeks.


Y2 – Day 211 – What a Wonderful World

I am 55 today and happy!  Thank you to G for gifting me with a music jewlery box reminding me of this absolutely perfect song by Louis Armstrong.

“What A Wonderful World”

I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom, for me and you.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.I see skies of blue, And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day, The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.The colors of the rainbow, So pretty in the sky.
Are also on the faces, Of people going by,
I see friends shaking hands.
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying,
“I love you”.

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow,
They’ll learn much more, Than I’ll ever know.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself,
What a wonderful world.

Oh yeah.

Y2 – Day 210 – Current Events

What is taking place, has taken place before.  We are bound to repeat lessons and history we have not learned from.

“Those who cannot remember the past

are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

Learning is changing.  We learn to change our perspective through love and forgiveness.  Forgiveness is the means to Truth.  Truth and Sanity equal Peace.  Marianne Williamson once said in regards to the Middle East, “The road to spirituality is not a reason for apathy.” But we need to learn/change and rise above the same reaction to the same thing.

“The world is a dangerous place to live;

not because of the people who are evil,  

but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Albert Einstein

Where would we be if we were not advocates for animals, children, the downtrodden and the meek?  How could we live with ourselves?

But, personally,  I would love for everyone to just put their weapons down and come to their senses.  What barbaric, cold and casual answer is War?  Could we put our efforts and money into cleaning up the planet instead?  Educating and feeding the masses?

I believe a conflict or judgment is actually a call to Love, as the course instructs.  Taking sides just infuriates all parties and misses the solution to any problem.  I am not the judge and jury.  I am not the victim or aggressor.  But I need to do something and not be apathetic.  I need to support whomever has a vested interest in it and how I do that is in a peaceful manner. That is just who I believe I am.  I instead, want to  “rise above the battlefield” as Marianne suggests and “reach for a higher truth in our minds.”  In this respect, I do not need to be private or quiet about my response and I am letting you in on what is happening in my brain.

Carl Jung spoke of ego’s impediments and proffered, “Humanity’s biggest problems cannot be solved; they must be outgrown.”

“The problems of the world will not be solved on the level of thinking we were at when we created them,” wrote Einstein.

It is my humble opinion, we need  “a new kind of thinking as a basis for the creation of a new kind of world.” – MW. –  “War, quite simply, is insane. For those of us who wish to be part of the solution to war — not part of the problem — it is time to change our own minds, to accept a healing of our own war-like thoughts, in order to create a new field of possibility.”

And, As M. Williamson suggests, I need to be a spiritual activist. It is all I can do.  Spiritually, we are all one.  We are not separate.  I can be of service to those touched by the horrors of war by not accusing or withholding forgiveness in my own mind, by eliminating the idea of violence, revenge or war, in my own thought system.

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound

to that person or condition by an emotional link that is

stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to

dissolve that link and become free.”

Catherine Ponder

I sometimes believe I am not evolved enough, not brave enough, not capable of shedding resentments, complaints or criticisms but I must have that ideal and seek this connecting thought if we are ever going to get past our own littleness.

Let it begin with me, today, and I know there are countless souls praying, meditating and sending thoughts of peace awareness and peace possibility wherever they are – to all lifeforms.

 “One person with commitment accomplishes more than a thousand with an opinion.”

Orrin Woodward