Late Summer Sweetness

It’s getting to be late summer in the Pacific Northwest. As the days are beginning to grow shorter it is also time to find the ripening berries. It is time to pick the ripened raspberries and blackberries. In my life, it is getting to be the late summer and fall of this incarnation for me. It is time to pick The ripened berries of my life. Their sweetness and my wisdom gained from all of my years is now time to share.

I do not look for the future with the optimism of youth. I look much more into the present moment rather than looking into the what is possible and what could be. Though I am aware of lessons learned from my past, I attempt to mitigate the anxiety from most past trauma in ways to see the present without the filters born from past difficult learnings. I find Gratitude for all the lessons… Past Joys and Sorrows can be equally Blessed.

These days with less judgment, I enjoy the sweetness of my life and of the world that surrounds me. It is a time to reflect on lessons learned, even with sour taste or the bitterness of certain life challenges. It is time to find the joy in working through the lessons that I have experienced and the things that I have accomplished. Not every ripe looking berry picked is sweet. The Joy which can be found in sour life experiences can find sweetness as shared wisdom.

There are times when I have to put my head down and walk into the breeze which my day presents. It is refreshing and yet requires extra effort to weather any storm or any headwind that I may encounter. It is also time for me to share value from my lessons in a way that may save some of the time and energy for the witnesses of these conversations. In sharing, I am acting in service from the perspective of my current incarnation. As a possible guide or beacon, my learnings may light the way and offer perspective to those souls I am lucky enough to connect with.

Without the metaphors, this past Wednesday, August 19th, I celebrated what would have been my 36th wedding anniversary. My bride passed into her next life over 8 years ago but the sweetness and the joy of our lives together still vibrates within me. The difficult lessons We learned, I learned, are ever present and awaiting any appropriate chance to share, with gratitude, my memories and learnings. That is what life masters attempt to offer when appropriate. I no longer need to force my grief on others. I can share when the time is correct for a soul whose life buzzes close to what I encountered. The richness of learning from difficulties can be of service and give me a sense of value… (In sharing I also find perspective and value in my “old” story.)

It is not that I do not care about the future. The future of the world. The future of my children and family. It is that I am not as attached to the outcomes. I am not living with the expectations that the world is going to be easier or better. My lessons have taught me that the struggles have been the most valuable thing in my learning. And it is time to acknowledge that everyone must work through their difficulties as these are the lessons that they have come to learn from in this life.

It has come time to acknowledge that if I were to die today, I would have no regrets. I have found a level of acceptance of myself and of the accomplishments that I have made which allow me to find peace. One of the goals in life is to learn about oneself. To develop deep self knowledge. And to find a way of accepting even the flaws I may find as tools for mastering or changing my life and then living in the most positive ways.

Living your life is a miracle. It is a treasure. But to be too attached or anxious about your life seems to me to be an unwise use of time and energy. Self-love and self acceptance seem so important to me as I near the end of my seventh decade. There are adventures and appreciations in life yet to be AND I honor all that has been presented to me along my way…

You are a Miracle! Thank you for being you.

Thanks for your time and consideration. Your insights and experiences are unique and a blessing, so please share these…

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Back to School

Its Almost Time for Fall

Today, I am shopping for school supplies for my “little brother,” Mr. Ethan. Ethan is now 13 years old and is entering 8th grade. He has been my “little brother” for almost 4 years. We have had this school supply ritual for the past 4 years as we prepare for another school year. We both feel the optimism of the fresh start and have hopes for a school year filled with success. There are many memories of school preparation that I recall from my own student years and the years of raising my 2 sons. I remember battling with my father to squeeze 6 or 7 dollars worth of new school supplies out of him. It was the only nightmarish part of returning to school. My sons and Mr. Ethan do not have difficult memories of getting my support for their academic experiences.

In the United States, the school year usually begins at the end of the Summer months and in the beginning of the Fall season. There is a lot of history for me of major life transitions at this time of year. Besides school starts, I remember that my mother passed away on September 10th, the night before 9/11 in 2001. I have experienced relationships begin or end in the Fall. I remember jobs starting in the Fall. I remember moving and travels and my birthdays and many other significant experiences that historically have happened to me in September and October. To be honest, I have mixed feelings regarding the period that transitions from the end of Summer into the Fall seasons. Everyone has these anniversaries than can affect the emotional sensitivities of certain dates or of specific times of the year. Every year my wife asked me about how I am doing with my emotional survival at this time of the year because she has had to weather some tough Fall seasons with me in the 29 years we had together.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Fall. I love the change of weather and the days growing shorter. I love the football season and the World Series. The changing colors of the leaves and the crispness in the early morning air are things that I celebrate. And yet, after living for 60 years+, I have ambivalence about what life may bring in these coming months.

I challenge you to reflect on your own memories and feelings about the changes of these seasons. Perhaps, for you, there are other times on the calendar that inspire you emotionally and historically as Fall challenges me. If nothing else, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere remember to begin to prepare. Gather fire wood. Harvest nuts for the Winter. Make your nest safe for coming cool and wet months. And, as always, gather your family and friends for a chance to enjoy the fading warmth and light as the seasons change.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, forget all this maudlin drivel and get ready to celebrate Spring and your warm lazy days of Summer…. There is always a different perspective to embrace.

Take good care of yourself. If you require support or assistance with stress or anxiety consider contacting the Stress Education Center for coaching or group trainings at and send your emotional blessings to my “Little Brother,” Ethan, as he embarks on his fresh academic start.

End of Summer, Back to Work

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, September signals the end of Summer and the transformation into the Fall season. Days are getting shorter. The temperatures will begin to drop. The rainy season (if you have one) may be starting to approach. In the U.S., children return to school and vacation time ends. Many people begin to gear up for the work push that starts now and continues until the mid-winter holidays.

At work, we have discussed the late Summer vacation trips and now prepare for the Fall Firestorm of Frantic Fanatics. In mental health, this means that people who have ignored their symptoms because of Summer time distractions will now charge the office and demand assistance in dealing with their depressions and anxieties. The world governments are gearing us up for the cataclysmic “Swine Flu Pandemic” that is about to hit. (Remember to “WASH Your Hands AND Cough Into Your Elbow (if you have a cough and a spare elbow.)) (This reminds me of the drop to your knees and cover your eyes if an Atomic Bomb explodes in your neighborhood advice that we were instructed to do in the 1950’s.) So craziness resumes in every sense imaginable.

In the Fall, we need to gather our resources to prepare for the short, darker days of Winter. Many of us will turn our focus to inward or indoor thinking. People will be more pressed together in school, at work, or in social activities. Communication will be tested and so our communication skill-set will benefit from improvement. Thank goodness we will have something relevant to discuss like the Baseball playoffs or the football season or who will win on “The Voice.”

In fact, I believe that it is time to take stock in what you require. What keeps you healthy? Do you need to make time to exercise? Do you need to pay attention to what you eat? Do you require a long term goal and plan for things that are fun, important, or financially beneficial (or all of these)? Do you need “Healthy Relationships” in your life and where do you go find these? And do not forget, make time to celebrate and participate in activities that truly feed your spirit and your soul!

Yes, the coming season of the Fall, can be a time of positive self-reflection. Take the opportunity to assess or to re-assess what you require for health and how to achieve it.

Please take good care of yourself.
Stress Education Center