Back from Dad’s

I missed writing yesterday due to my trip across Pennsylvania to visit my 88 year old father who lives on the other side of the state. I check in with him weekly on Sundays by phone from wherever I am, but a physical visit periodically is important to both of us.

Here is a man who is nearly 90 years old, still cooks, cleans and does laundry for himself, and , uh, also drives himself to the store and doctor. I won't go into the wisdom of this latter accomplishment, but suffice it to say he's at least agreed not to drive at night anymore.

So he's fine. At least as fine as one can be with a heart that gives him difficulty, an inability to walk very fast and a body covered in skin cancers in various stages of development or healing. Seeing him live as well as he does gives me encouragement that I might hopefully have those tenacious genes to enable me to live well into my "second hundred years."

He is nearly twice my age, but as I near my next birthday I realize I have the next 50 years to completely live my life over if I choose, or continue with what works and release that which no longer serves me. That's barring any unforeseen circumstance that might cut my life short.

It is that possibility that makes it so crucial for each of us to live each day as it might be our last. If you had only one more day, one more week, one more month or one more year to live, how would tomorrow be for you? What would you want to have accomplished? What would you simply NOT put up with anymore? And finally...what is stopping you from doing what you want to do with your life right now?

My father may not have another 50 years. But I expect I will. Seeing him this weekend again reminded me not to waste one single, solitary minute of that time.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Why It Matters

It’s been two days since we here in the States have had the answer to the question about which man would be our President for the next four years.

I’m sure each of you have your own questions, disappointments, joys or feelings of some other kind about the results of our national, state and local elections. I know I do.

A friend in England posed one question to me: Why did Bush get re-elected? Apparently there was a poll done in the U.K. that asked citizens of almost every nation (except the U.S.A.) who they thought should be elected here in America. The result was unanimous: John Kerry. So why are our results so diametrically opposed to the rest of the world?

First of all, there hasn’t been a closer election since the beginning of the last century. It’s not like Bush won by a landslide. Not even close. So perhaps Americans as a whole are not so much different than the rest of the planet.

Whether you wanted him defeated a second time or back in office, we are all now faced with the same question: What going to happen now in my life, the life of my family, my career, my plans for retirement, or to the care I’m currently receiving as a retiree? These are all valid questions and ones that are worth exploring, because the answer depends less on George W. Bush, the Republican Party and big business interests and more on us.

Our country is far worse off in many ways than it was in 2000. There are a number of reasons for this that are far too familiar to all of us. What is better is the amount of involvement Americans now have with the political system and locally in our own communities. It would appear that the events of the last four years have caused a good number of people to take more responsibility for their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. This is a good thing.

Personally, I’m confident that people can take responsibility for their lives without the disastrous events we’ve seen in the recent past. But, history being what it is, we now have the daunting task before us to continue to place the good of planet and our global community at an even higher level. By thinking globally and acting locally, we can affect change in our own neighborhoods, towns and cities. Changing even one small part of the collective group consciousness of the planet is worth it. I’m willing to continue doing my part. Will you continue to do yours, or join in doing so on an even more conscious level?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Blessed and Highly Favored

I walked into a business today, smiled and asked the clerk how she was. "OH! God! ISN'T it a miserable day!" I thought, Gee, I know I'm not happy about the election, but it just seemed like a normal, brisk, somewhat cloudy, eastern Pennsylvania, Matters were made worse for her, I'm sure, because by the time I left it had started raining quite heavily.

As I left, she said, "Isn't this just awful?!?" I looked at her and said, "Actually, I'm feeling pretty good. I was thinking about where my leather coat out today because it was so chilly, but then had a senior moment and forgot it. If I'd remembered to get my coat, the rain would have made a mess of it!"

Okay, so I'm not always Pollyanna, but I'd sure rather be a little over-the-top-too happy instead of finding a dark cloud in every blue sky like this chick was. Sheesh!

I have a standard reply when I'm asked how I am. "Blessed and highly favored." I can't take credit for that. It's something I picked up in the south when I lived in Georgia. A southern boy I knew said it was something his grandmother always said without fail. She never complained about anything. She just counted her blessings and knew she was favored by God.

I'm not saying we shouldn't recognize the problems in the world, our country, our community or our own lives. But recognizing them and spending a good deal of time lamenting them while we are unwilling to do anything about changing our situation is counterproductive. It also makes us really unpleasant to be around.

We are blessed to have the good in our lives. We are favored by a Universal Consciousness that knows only how to give. The trick is to open to that abundance and utilize it to the best of our abilities. You know the old saying, "If life gives you lemons, for heaven's sake slice one up and plop it into your Bloody Mary!" Hey, screw lemonade.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

Adventures in Cement

It’s 58 degrees in the Lehigh Valley this morning, or at least at my home, but with the wind chill it feels like 48. Actually, to me, having just spent an hour outside repairing the sidewalk in front of my home, it feels like 28. I had to come back inside just to run my hands under warm water halfway through the project.

Do you know the difference between cement and concrete? I never did until a high school friend whose father was in construction corrected my use of the words one day. I always thought they were synonymous. I was told cement was the dry mix and concrete was the finished product.

Here in my borough, unlike anywhere else I’ve ever lived, the sidewalk, curb and driveway are the responsibility of the homeowner, not the borough. While I feel strongly that my property taxes ought to be paying for this, I remind myself that my taxes are minuscule when compared to other states. The harsh winter we had here last year and the salting of the sidewalks created quite a bit of damage. Most of that is now repaired thanks to my efforts this morning.

Have you ever worked with cement? It has to be just the right consistency to spread it, but not too watery or it won’t set up. While in its moist stages, one can easily rearrange it, smooth it and correct any glaring errors. But once set you will need a sledgehammer to correct the problem.

This is very much the way our lives can turn out. We have the ability to rearrange our thoughts for more positive endeavors before carrying them out. We can exercise the foresight to notice small flaws that over time can grow into noticeable problems. Something else I learned from my friend in construction is to measure twice and cut once. That worked when I was learning how to sew as well. It works equally well in our daily lives and our plans for the future. Taking the necessary time to be sure of the facts, even if it means a delay in the outcome, can help to insure our success.

Today, be aware of each step you take to accomplish whatever it is you are doing. How are you sitting at your computer? Are you slouched over and placing undue stress on your shoulders and back? If you have errands to run today, can you arrange your stops so that your route is circuitous, instead of a back and forth motion? If so, you’ll save time, energy, gas and cause less pollution. Better yet, can you walk to any of the stops?

My sidewalk repairs will be hardened by tomorrow and completely set up within the next 72 hours. How long will it take the thoughts you have today to take form? Once they do so, will you be happy with the outcome? If not, make a conscious choice today to prepare for the eventualities of tomorrow.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

How’s Your “Busyness”?

First, I hope each of you in the USA have or will vote today. I'm planning on a walk to my polling place to enjoy the brisk fall weather before it starts raining later. Exercise your right to vote! My Grandpa Jack never voted. Didn't want to; and, didn't intend to. So whenever he'd start complaining about politics, my Uncle Vince would say, "Jack, You don't vote, so you don't get to bitch!" Good point, dontcha think?

Now, back to why I'm writing today. I woke up pleasantly this morning, without the use of an alarm. I had a good night's sleep and was in a delightful mood. And yet, I felt a little "off". After sitting down at my desk with my coffee and getting into the day's work of computer files, documentation, phones calls and email, I felt excited and frenetic. That's why I stopped. I don't want to feel frenetic.

I want to have a calm and peaceful life, one filled with joy, love and playfulness. So why was I "feeling better" when I was actually all anxious and stressed inside?

Part of it is the answer to why so many women stay in abusive relationships: Familiarity. As humans, we like to feel comfortable, even if the situation that is making us feel comfortable is unpleasant or even dangerous. Grandma Esther used to say that the good thing about being up to your neck in horses*&t was that eventually you get used to the smell and at least it's warm. Sound familiar? There are many abused women who have reported that even though their husbands or boyfriends beat them, at least they have a home to live in. It's not right to have to put up with abuse in our lives. NEVER. But guess who is our biggest abuser? Us. Most people abuse themselves far more than they are abused by others.

My cross to break (not bear, thank you very much) this time around is that I feel I must always be doing SOMETHING, or I'm not doing my job. So, part of my healing process and growth is to do nothing and do it more often.

That's why even if you have a successful business it can easily become a stressful "busyness". The next time you feel stressed, ask yourself: "Why am I doing this?" Is it something that is a life and death situation, something you just cannot walk away from for a few minutes? The answer may surprise you.

The trick is to act on your answer, walk away, and return to whatever it is with a better attitude...or, perhaps in some cases, not at all. It's like the rest of life: It's a choice. You get to make that choice. How will you choose?

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

To Whom Do YOU Whisper?

It's Monday, 01 November, 2004 and Fall is about fallen here in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. The peak colors were magnificant last week. I grew up in southern California, but have not lived there in over ten years. I'm not crazy about Winter, but Fall is quite incredible. It's hard to describe to people out on the coast how a row of burning bushes look as they turn from green to bright red; or the gasp you get when you round a corner and see a bright, yellow maple. Truly a marvel. As are all the leaves one must rake later in the week. My last house in Atlanta had eight trees in the front yard and they dropped from last August to March. My current home has NO trees, save the arbor vitae at the front porch. I love enjoying other people's trees...and allowing them the exercise of cleaning up!

But....there was a point to my writing today. I recently heard this quote about trees:

"If you reveal your secrets to the not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees".

To whom do YOU whisper? In my line of work, most, if not all, of what I am told by others must be held in strict confidence. But when it comes to my own life, I'm an open book. The Dalai Lama says that his assistants NEVER tell him anything sensitive, because he'll likely share it at his next news conference, interview or public appearance! He has a pure conscious and no secrets. I can't say I don't have a few secrets, but wondering where our secrets may go after they leave our lips does give one cause for pause.

Be mindful of the power of your word. Use you gift of speech only for good, to encourage others and for the healing of our planet. Then, you may cast all your secrets to the wind, knowing that they are all for publication!

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry

A New Beginning?

Well, that was interesting. I just finished typing an entire segment, my first posting to my brand new blog and then I somehow lost it. I suppose in the universal scheme of things it wasn't time for those pearls of wisdom to be disseminated to the Internet?

At any rate, tonight is Sunday, 31 October 2004. I seem to have chosen the pagan New Year's Eve of Samhain to begin this new adventure. Nothing happens by accident.

I began a spiritual journey two decades ago. It has involved much study, a few degrees and certificates along the way, but most importantly, it has meant that I have had to be brutally honest with myself. All of this had been for the purpose of creating a life worth living, a live that means something - at least to me - and that in some way living life fully can help others to do the same. At least that is my intention.

I hope in the days, weeks and perhaps years to come I will be able to share more of my journey with you, and hear about yours. It is by sharing our lives, hopes and dreams that we can gain clarity of thought and move ahead. In doing so, we can help each other as well as help to heal our planet.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Dr. Terry