The Beauty of Death.

The autumn is in its full splendor in my corner of the world. Golds, browns, orange and red hues are everywhere, and are almost magical to me in their beauty. I am in awe and I love driving and walking through the changing trees. What I find most profound about this process of change, is that the vitality and brilliance that is fall colors is an indication of the end of life, an indication of death.

As I age, I think more frequently about the death of all things. Not just the eventual death of my physical body, or of those that I love. But, the death of all things, whether that is fellow living beings, the ways in which we live our lives, or ideas. In the past, the death or ending of anything was very frightening for me to consider. An ending to me meant that something was lost, gone, or no longer in my world in some way.


Today, the death of a person, or a way of living feels much different to me. It feels more natural and part of the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It feels like I have come to an acceptance of the true nature of things. It also has come about as I deepen my appreciation for and the presence to the circumstances that are my life. For much of my life, I have been what I would describe as a happy person, but have approached it almost as a routine- the same day most every day. I wanted to believe that life could be relied upon to unfold with certainty and predictability. I wasn’t very spontaneous and didn’t much like surprises. I also lived in the future much of the time, making plans and expressing ideas for what I wanted to come next.

I am acutely aware now, that all we ever have is this moment.  Right now.  Life only happens now, not at any other time. As I connect more deeply each day to my essence, the core of who I really am, I shine the Light of that essence more brightly out into the world. I understand also that Light to be Infinity and Eternity.  I know that all that is, is as it should be, and since all of us are from the same Source, the same Light, we are and always will be part of and with one another.  There is no death or loss in that way. I believe that the further along as humans we are to the end of our physical form, the closer that we feel that death is, and yet, the more brightly our true essence, our Light, is able to shine through.

Just like the autumn leaves show their brilliance as their physical form is dying, so to can we as humans, shine our Light more brightly, radiate our true essence, no matter how many breaths there are left within us. Connecting with that infinite, eternal essence is simply remembering who we really are.


Looking Up.



The autumn is settling in here in our home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  There is a chill in the air that lingers past noon; and then the warmth of the sun penetrates the cold and fills me up.  I love being outdoors much of the time, but Fall is one of my favorite times.  An extra layer, a hat, and feeling cozy.  I really enjoy and appreciate the change of the season.


I have been appreciating a lot of change in my life lately.  As a writer, and as a lover of other people’s writing, I would often, in the past, want my writing to primarily be relatable to others, and so would be what I would write.  I would also relate closely to what others would writer, so when I read other writers’ blogs, I would tend to follow the ones that spoke to me in some direct way, either through their experiences, or feelings about those experiences.  Reminding me of something in my own life, perhaps. 


Yet lately, I have been sensing a change, a change in perspective, over the last couple of weeks in particular.  As I have been appreciating and embracing my own, unique writer’s voice more deeply, I have had a more genuine appreciation for all of the unique writers’ voices that I have been reading.  I have expanded my willingness to see life from a variety of perspectives.  This has opened up to me to the realization, thank goodness, of every person’s story being of worth and purpose.  It has reminded me that it is always refreshing, and fun, to see things from a new perspective.  




I’ve been so afraid of that in my life at times, to see a different point of view.  I mean, if I look at the world in a different way than I have before, won’t something go wrong?  Doesn’t that dismiss anything that I have believed before?  I understand now that the answers to my fearful questions is no, and that I am ready to appreciate, and celebrate, all of the unique manifestations of our Universal selves, in all their varied forms.  And, looking at something from a different perspective isn’t a dismissal of what I already know, nor does it threaten it in any way.  It is just different, plain and simple.




I headed out with my camera yesterday, my other, brilliant instrument of expression, and instead of viewing my world only horizontally, I looked up.  What a brilliant, amazing new perspective!  And, what beauty was waiting there for me.  I only ever need to look at the world, just a bit differently, just change my view ever so slightly, to see the awe and wonder that lives there.  It is astounding.



A State of Grace.



Most mornings for a few weeks now, myself, and my wife on some days, walk to the lake that is right near our house.  We walk in one mile, and back out and home.  We sit by the water.  We spend time in nature.  It is an amazing way to begin the day for me.


As I walk in at the lake, I spend the first mile considering what I am grateful for.  Initially, when I first started this morning ritual, I would make a list in my mind, of all the people, things and circumstances in my life that I have gratitude for.  It enabled me to find gratitude for things in my life that might have felt challenging, or persons in my life that I had conflict with, or thought that I did, at one time or another.  It helped me to more deeply understand that gratitude is not just for the pleasant things, but for each and every thing, event, or circumstance that I find myself in.  Learning and growth comes from every experience.


Recently, instead of a list of things to be grateful for, I find myself simply feeling gratitude, being in the presence of that feeling.  To do this for me, means to be completely in the moment; and when my mind wanders, to come back to the present as often as possible.  A state of gratitude is remembering that everything that comes to me is a gift; every moment has something that it is offering to me, has beauty, depth, and value; and that if I am in a state of gratitude, I am able to see the beauty and worth in every moment.


Brenda described that to someone yesterday as being in a state of grace.  I have always had a difficult time understanding the concept of grace, and what that really means.  Yet, I believe that I have an understanding now that makes sense to me.  To be in a state of grace, for me, is to be present, and to be prayerful.  I may not be consciously saying prayers as I walk every morning, yet I am certainly aware of the beauty, sounds, and smells all around me, and have deep appreciation for them.  I am aware of nature and all that She offers to me.  I am aware of the strength and beauty of my body as I walk and move.  I am filled with love and compassion for others that are in my life, and beyond.  I feel inspired, blissful, peaceful.


I finally understand, that grace means to be present to my world, to all that is around me, and to honor its beauty and worth with my thoughts and presence.  Grace feels like a prayer that doesn’t feel like a prayer in the way that I have previously known, yet in such a more powerful way than I have experienced before.  Grace is Presence.  Presence is Grace.  And when I remember that, I am filled with a peace that I have never known.  



To Be a Writer.



A couple of weeks ago, I decided after much consideration that I would sign up for and take a seven week writers course.  The course is being offered through The Shift Network, which offers amazing on line programs related to self discovery and improvement, as well as connection to others in the world.  The writing course is being led by an author who I have enjoyed in the past, SARK, whose creativity and words I have admired. It is being co led by Scott Mills, whose energy is also dynamic and soft.  I have already had my first session, with many other persons from literally, around the world, and I think I will be in for a treat as it goes forward.


It took much consideration for me to take the course, for many of the reasons that create blockages in my writing.  First of all, I worried that I was not a good enough writer, that there would be so many other great writers on the call, including the facilitators, that I would feel inadequate and self conscious at what I would bring to the table.  Also, I often diminish the type of writing that I do as not being “real” writing; I write a blog, I write about life, emotions, and human experience.  “Real” writers write novels, biographies, and the like.  The last reason that I almost said no to the course was because of the money.  Although it is really affordable, especially for whom is leading it, and all of the benefits I will receive from it, I saw that as an obstacle, that didn’t really exist.  However, I plowed through all of that, and said a powerful, YES.


The biggest reason that I hesitated in taking the course, and the biggest reason why I said I MUST take the course, is that I have often not described myself as a writer.  I would say to people that I enjoy writing, like a hobby that I find time for here and there.  To say that I am a writer seems like a lie.  I don’t write on a full time basis; I don’t get paid for my writing; I haven’t published any books yet (although I have been published in a chapter book in the past); I don’t make time always for my writing by being on a schedule with it.  All of these excuses I use to not call myself what I actually am.  And, not calling myself a writer is the least of it; I don’t SEE myself as a writer when I am having these thoughts of diminishment and self deprecation.


The real, loving truth is, is that I AM a writer.  I AM a person who puts to paper, or to computer screen, ideas and things that scare me, excite me, and help me.  I talk about love, grief, compassion, judgment and fear.  I tell stories of things that I have experienced in my life, and the experiences of others that I have known in my world.  And, I AM a writer, who wants to keep writing, keep growing, keep projecting my words and my thoughts out into the world, for healing, for connection, for love and for Life.  


The kicker is, all of the other persons that I have met through this workshop so far, including our facilitators, all have the same fears; of not being enough; of not making enough time for our writing; of others being better than ourselves. Yet, we each have our own, unique version of how we see the world, and that makes whatever we have to say valuable and worthy of the page.  There is so much comfort, connection and love in that.


As a true writer and lover of words, I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.


Deep Gratitude.


Yesterday was my birthday.  I am officially 54 years old, which is really a misnomer, because I feel 54 years young, as corny as that may sound.  I feel amazing.  My life is amazing.  And, I feel more blessed than I have ever realized in my life before now.  


At various times in my life, I have practiced gratitude daily for myself, and what that looked like in the past, was writing down each day what I was grateful for, in the morning before I would start getting ready for work.  I also would wear a bracelet, and count my blessings literally on the beads of the bracelet.  It was always a great way to start in the morning, before the hustle and rush of the world set in.  


Lately, I began the practice again, but not by writing down what I am grateful for.  During my morning walk, I think about all of the things and persons that I am grateful for in my world.  I find so many things to be deeply grateful for, because I am surrounded with gifts in so many ways.  


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A birthday on Facebook is hard to beat; I got dozens of birthday greetings, all lovely and caring, and celebratory.  I felt the love from every single person that wished me well.  It was really beautiful.  And, I felt grateful, for all of the persons in my life, and what a gift it is to have family and friends that surround me, at all different times in my world.  Then, last evening, I saw this beautiful message from my wife, in honor of my birthday, after an evening she had planned for me of fun and surprises.


I felt grateful for having us meet one another in the world, to walk this path together with a partner who supports me, and I support as well, and who I have fun with, travel with, and learn new things with.  It really is a blessing.  


I feel such deep gratitude for my son, and the relationship that I have built with him over the last few years, more deep than ever before.  And, as he begins this new phase of his life, it is also a new phase of mine, and that we get to share that with one another in love, friendship and support is a joy.  I am so grateful that he is in my world.


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I am so grateful for a strong, capable body, that carries me every day to my walks, to take out the trash, that does anything that I ask of it; and is sustaining me in healthy, loving ways.  I am grateful for the lovely home that I share with my wife, that keeps us safe and warm and cared for.  I am so grateful for being in nature, and seeing her sights and hearing her sounds outside my window every single day.  It is a gift to be able to live in and appreciate her beauty.


I have had challenges in my life, and I will continue to face them as life goes on for me. Yet, I find myself in joy the majority of the time, and I know that to be in a large part, because of Gratitude.  No matter what is happening with me or around me, Gratitude can always put things in perspective, by reminding me what I have that I am grateful for.


Reminding me of all of the gifts in my world.