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Archive for Adaptability

Smooth Sailing and Eddies

As I go on my morning walk, I pass a ditch. Small trees and shrubs line its path. Weeds and flowers are abundant. Sometimes it is filled with water to the brim, hustling along to a large culvert at the end of the road. It burbles and bubbles as it travels, paying no mind to anything but its journey. One time water flooded a nearby field, refreshing the grasses but causing havoc for the owner.

Then there are times when it is dry. I can see the bottom of the trench. It is cracked from exposure to the sun, not seeming to be useful to anyone. But once the water begins to move, this drainage area is ready to serve its function. The water flows once more.

Right now, there is movement in the ditch. Water is smooth as it glides along, rippling occasionally as rocks on the sides or the bottom interrupt its journey. Peaceful. Serene. Tranquil as it goes. But there are times when the water is blocked. Debris may pile up or the flow may narrow so much that there is no other place for it to go. Eddies are created as the water backs up, but are soon dispersed when the pressure increases and the flow continues once more. Drifting along to its final destination.

The flow in this ditch is much like your life. Sometimes, your world is filled with excitement and adventure. Just as the ditch when it is almost brimming over with water, you too have a busy life and are intent on your journey. Others may be involved or it could be a solitary trek. But the flow is rapid and quick, causing you to make snap decisions and move quickly to keep up with the flow.

Then there are times when there seems to be nothing going on in your life. To your way of thinking, your life is dull and boring. When this occurs, you might reach for a distraction: a food indulgence, binge watching a favorite series, picking a fight with someone nearby. Not necessary, but it can happen.

Your life can also move smoothly, with few ripples and waves to distract you from your goal. Everything falls into place, almost as if it was orchestrated. You feel calm inside. At peace. Content. Smooth sailing. But no challenges, so no growth.

Then there are the eddies. There are times when you have prepared and are ready for an event or occasion. Then life appears to stand still as you wait and wait. Almost going in circles as you watch life go by. But this is time for growth. It’s the opportunity to develop patience with yourself and go within, discovering the myriad of facets that are a part of you. What you find may surprise and delight you. Or again, you may move into being distracted and slow your learning. But much as the water in the ditch, the pressure of life’s energy increases. Your life picks up again and you are moving along, going with the flow.

I’m curious. What choices do you make? How do you react when your life is so busy you can hardly breathe? When it slows to a seeming crawl? When it’s smooth sailing and you’re going with the flow? When you come to an eddy? Take a moment before each movement and check your inner landscape. You can change it to what you would prefer and create another pathway in your mind. You can even have fun with your life, moving along with what happens. It’s all up to you. That’s living unstuck.

Are You a Now Person?

Recently, a good friend of mine was involved in a severe car accident. When the other driver hit her head on, her entire world changed. She has a large garden. Fruit trees that need pruning. A thriving greenhouse right off her front entry, filled with soothing plants and spring growth that require loving care. A colorful garden in front of her cottage. A home that welcomes. You know the kind of place. Where you feel a warm hug and invitation to “sit and visit” for a moment, even as you step onto the property.

But after this misfortune, her life changed in an instant. Chores that were easy are a challenge. Where gardening was a major love, it is now a hit-and-miss activity as she regains her strength. That adds to her distress, for she thrives in the outdoors. Her home is not kept the way she wants it to be. She found a new car. But there is grief in releasing the other vehicle, with all its memories and treasures. She is a strong woman and will recover. But not without a struggle.

One thing struck me as we were having breakfast. She said, “I’ll never be the same.” And that brings tears to both of us. I am in tears now as I consider all she has had to give up. My friend wants to be in charge, and I respect her need for privacy and independence. So I do what I can. I look up websites and refer them her way. I send funny things via the internet. I mail cards. But it all seems so inadequate compared with what she has been through.

That incident prompted me to decide: I want to live in the Now. Along that line, another friend told me about the “5-second” rule from a book she read. She asks herself, “What can I do in the next 5 seconds . . . to reach a goal, to further myself?” and then follows through. After almost losing my friend, I thought: what a great idea!

I too have become a Now Person. I text, send people emails or call them when I think of them, for I only have Now. When my husband, Ken, was failing, another dear friend used this rule and called me as the day was closing. I was exhausted from what was going on. But a three-minute phone call beginning with, “How are you doing?” in Ann’s soft, gentle voice made all the difference. I could, and did, go on. A short call, but thoughtful and heartfelt.

As I walk through the door of my home, I use this little rule. What can I do in the next 5 seconds? Take the trash out? Pick up discarded items tossed about before I left for the day? (And put them away.) Check my body: do I need to sit for a moment and gather myself? Play with the Duff? Organize what needs doing the next day? All are possibilities with the 5-second rule.

Are you a Now Person? My friend’s accident showed me how precious life is. And it can change or be taken away in a heartbeat. Someone can be there. And then they’re not. We thought we had more time we say. We were planning to go on this excursion, to launch into this new adventure. But life has changed.

I say: become a Now Person. Do it Now. You have today, and then it’s gone. Make the most of it. That’s living unstuck.

I hope I have opened doors to the little things . . . on the Mountain.

No Whining

Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.

—President Theodore Roosevelt

Duff here. I found this Quote quite interesting. And Amusing. I am not a Whiner, for My world is too full of Things to Explore and People to Meet. If I run up against a Problem, I not only Pose a Solution but I act on It. An example? This Morning was very cold. Snow and Ice all around. And it was time for Me to Exercise. (That’s one Way to live unstuck.)

Mom is a Trusting Soul. She didn’t hook up My Leash before We stepped out the Door. Big Mistake on Her part. I tricked Her and shot down the stairs, heading for Spaces where She could not Get Hold of Me: under a Large Truck, in front of Cars, on a Vast Sheet of ice. I finally found the perfect Escape Plan. A Pristine Field of two feet of Snow. I have 4 legs to Spread Heft and am Light of Weight. I skipped across this Expanse. No problem! Mom? One step after Another, she sank knee deep into the Snow. (I even turned and Encouraged Her, but was Not well Received.) She was almost stuck.

After a Time I was done Exploring. I met Mom at the door of our Place. She had Turned around and Returned to the Spot We first Began. That’s living unstuck to me.

What about You? Do You Complain on and On without making a Suggestion for Change? Or do You Evaluate the Issue and List Solutions, finally selecting One that Suits? I Recommend: Work on the Second Concept. You will Open Your Mind to new Horizons. And even Tickle some folks along the way. Live unstuck. #unstuckliving#nowhining

Maintaining Your Road

So many signs along the road as I go for my morning walk! Some are about upcoming events (Dance! Friday night!). Others to locate a lost pet, complete with picture, description and contact number. Then, there are road signs. Dead End. No Right Turn on Red. School Zone. But the one that intrigued me was: Primitive Road. Caution. Use At Your Own Risk.

Roads, especially the dirt ones, are a specialty of our rural areas. What makes for a well-built road? First, they are graded to become flat and smooth. The best ones have a slight crown in the middle of the roadway to allow rain or melting snow to drain away. A very durable material of surface gravel, stones, and fine dirt is then dumped on the area and smoothed with massive pieces of equipment. Next is a layer of finely compacted earth, designed to be long-lasting to the weather.

But after a while, washboarding occurs. That’s the choppy ride you get when traveling over five mph on this jarring surface. The road itself resembles an old-fashioned washboard, hence the name, and if you speed along, can even be hazardous. Potholes can also be menaces, threatening axels and alignments of cars. But to repair and maintain them, huge graders are brought in. They take about an inch from the top of the surface, blend it with new materials and lay it back down. The road is smooth again.

The sign and the road are like life. At a very early age, you begin to build a foundation of belief and knowledge. This is similar to creating a smooth road and is indeed Primitive. The sources of this base usually come from your mom and dad, other family members, school experiences and sometimes your church. As a baby and toddler, you are cautious, for the world is new to you. Slowly, you build a framework of know-how. What is successful is retained, while you toss that which is not useful. Over the years, you develop a pattern of life for yourself.

But every now and again, a pothole pops up or you hit a washboard. Life is bumpy or even treacherous. Your experience from the past cannot cover this new event. Perhaps it’s the death of someone close to you. Or the failure of a business you started up. Or the frustration of not dropping those pounds that appear to be glued on permanently.

You can choose to stop there. After all, the sign says, “use at your own risk.” But then you take a chance on getting stuck where you are, never venturing out to new horizons or trying new venues.

But how to positively maintain your road? Here are some ideas:

  • Check out your beliefs. What was useful in the past may not always be what works in the present. And may not fuel those dreams for the future.
  • Test your risk quotient. Take a chance and venture to somewhere new. Do something you’ve never tried before. Stretch your horizons.
  • Take a look at your personal potholes and washboard situations. A relative rub you the wrong way? A friend try to put limits on your life? Start the day with a negative outlook? Time to grade the top layer? Or perhaps dig deeper and sort through some of the stones and gravel of learning placed there years ago? Take an inventory and make some changes.

Life is an adventure. You can keep on traveling the washboard of experiences. Or begin new adventures to smooth your life and enjoy growth for your heart and soul. The time is now.

Duck Bottoms: Diving Into the Depths

On my morning walk, I pass by a pond lined with plants of all types. The drought caused the water levels to get lower and lower over the summer, and I watched the waterfowl fly away to find more comfortable homes. Over time, they left in twos and threes until there were few left. Here on the Mountain we have been fortunate to have some monsoon moisture this year. After a microburst a few weeks ago, the pond was nearly full again. And the birds returned.

As I considered these flying creatures, it occurred to me: they are at home on land, in the air, and on the water. Remarkably adaptable, they can find nourishment on the ground or in the deeper depth of the pond. They scavenge for bugs and grubs in the tall grasses, protected from other predators that might lurk nearby. Duck bills are wide enough to gather up the bigger edibles.

These remarkable creatures can also dive deep beneath the surface, with their feathery bottoms in the air and webbed feet keeping them stable. I wonder: what do they see in the underwater habitat? These versatile feathered animals may bob back to the surface with bugs or a fish in their beaks. Or they may be unsuccessful and submerge themselves underwater once again to secure some nourishment. But they are as comfortable in the water as they are on land and in the air.

Are you as adaptable as these waterfowl? Able to duck your head into emotions to discover the authentic you? Or are you more comfortable on solid ground, connecting with the earth? A few tips to begin to know yourself are:

  • Find peace in the outdoors. Frenzied with the ongoing fuss of everyday life? Get out in nature and be still. You will be able to dive more in-depth when you feel calm and tranquil.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes each day in solitude. The inner mind is continuously chattering, searching for answers to untold questions. When still, your mind calms itself. Much easier to dive deep and discover your own inimitable treasures.
  • Discover flexibility inside of you. How adaptable are you? Can you both float on the surface of your being and plunge deep within when you choose? Both are skills worth developing.
  • Take stock of past patterns of behavior. To learn more about yourself, chart a timeline of past actions and attitudes. They will provide a map for both the present and future. This activity also makes goal setting, life focus, and purpose.
  • Get curious about yourself. Are you bored with life? Want to know more about yourself? Be adventurous and take the journey of discovery to who you are as a being. Bring your inner values to light and revel in who you are. You too can fly, be in the depths of feelings and ground yourself each day. You will travel farther and faster than you have ever dreamed.

I’m curious: how do you dive deep to discover what’s within you? How do you fly high? Or are you comfortable where you are? Let me know below in the comments.