Personal Accountability is the Way to Go

September 5, 2019

There is so much in the news lately about planning for retirement. We have at least 40 years to start putting some money away to take care of ourselves when we get older. Yes but you say, what about the current house, kids and bills? There just isn’t anything leftover. Well I disagree. I see how people spend their money. The kids have to have candy and soda at the movies or the parents have to have the next version of the iPad, cellphone or tablet. Perhaps it’s the necessity of eating lunch hour or going to Starbucks…

Yes you can enjoy your life when you’re young but one must pay the piper when they are finished playing as the saying goes. Whether its small change or dollars saved, there are ways to do it. Something has to be given up in order to have something later. Sorry but one cannot have their cake and eat it too. Why is it the government’s responsibility to provide for all that a person can’t pay for? I’m not talking about those truly in need. I give plenty to charity and believe in helping those less fortunate. I’m talking t people that get caught up in living the good life and then wonder why they are still working at 72 because they can’t retire….as they don’t have enough money to live on.

Let’s break this down. Daily Starbucks is $25 A week just for the world week. Then lunch is another $50 if it’s kept simple. What’s wrong with fixing a teabag in the office or a cup of coffee? And there are a ton of options to save money lunchtime from prepared meals from the store to actually making something or even just sandwiches from home. If one adds up 40 years of teabags and lunches from home we have lots of money. Ok not enough? Vacations once a year versus every holiday.. staycations can be fun too. An event locally can be fun and usually a lot less expensive than a quick trip to the Caribbean over  four day break. An exaggeration? Perhaps, but I know people like this…

I might be the exception but I took my lunch to work most days, ate a nice salad at the salad bar otherwise, was careful about electronic consumerism and was moderate about vacations. I paid extra on my mortgage to pay it off by retirement and saved yearly. I can now reap the benefits of the savings that I slowly put away year after year. In other words, I’m living the American dream. I worked my 40 years in a normal corporate job, saved my money and now can pay my bills and do a fair amount of travelling. I feel blessed that I have the money for doctor bills, household expenses and a trip here and there. Being in abundance by giving to charity means that God lets me keep the rest.

In summary, personal accountability is the way to go; slow and steady for 40 years not trying to screw the system in the last few years to make up for what you did or didn’t do all along. We pay into social security and Medicare so these are earned benefits not optional entitlements. That’s my version of the story and I’m sticking with it! Comments are always welcome.


Adopt Yourself!

August 1, 2019

Love yourself in order to be the best you can be!

Do you have a dog or a cat? If you’re a pet owner and your fur baby needed help, whether special care or a visit to the vet, would you go out of your way to make sure they got what they needed? If you have a child, to what extent would you go through to help your child? The subject of this article is to treat yourself as good as you would treat your child or fur baby. In otherworld’s, it’s time to adopt yourself!

There are people that take such good care of their pets that they’re like children, my guy Skylar is a case in point. He’s in renal failure and needs a lot of daily treatments as well as medications. I’ve had people tell me they’d like me to adopt them! Skylar gets all kinds of vitamins and really good food. He likes his water bubbly and fresh and he loves his greenies that clean his teeth. I’ve even started to use a liquid that cleans his gums to help with gingivitis. Skylar especially likes me to kiss his head and purrs when i tell him Mommy loves him. Sometimes it’s hard for me to do all these things for myself!

Do you make sure that you eat properly, have clean water to drink and get exercise? To what extent will you go to make sure you leave space in your life for friends and love in your life? I’ve asked one of my close friends who runs around for mothers doing for them, helping with their lives, with her own children yet rushing to get her hair or nails done. Sometimes I feel that I have to remind her to take time for herself…real time. She does goes to her yoga class but there is very little down time… then she gets headaches; it’s no wonder with the pace of her life and what she squeezes in.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours. How you divide it is up to you. Allowing some time for others is great but leave time for yourself. Love yourself enough to do for you as you do for others. Adopt yourself!


If a tree could talk

July 17, 2019

Ever walk by an interesting tree and wonder about it? How old is it? Do animals live in its branches or inside part of its trunk? What stories could it tell you about people who have walked by. Some trees are called witness trees because they’ve seen horrible events… or maybe two people got engaged under a tree. All of these are possibilities if a tree could tell you what it’s seen or heard.

What is precipitating this question for me? Recently there was a tree that fell across the walking path behind my townhome. As I stood looking at this huge brown tree devoid of leaves, essentially dead, it fell across the path, having fallen due to excessive rain, I wondered about its life. It was a very large tree and yet during a bad storm it was taken down. After many years of standing tall, its root system gave way to old age and poor drainage. It was a product of a bad ecosystem.

Yet, this downed tree lying on the ground still had a story to tell. I stood there and just looked at it. There were lots of holes where animals could make a nest and live. Perhaps birds were born in its branches when it stood tall. I’m sure that it provided shade to other smaller trees, to animals that ran through the nearby vegetation as well as for people who might be passing underneath. There are many possibilities of how this tree could have been productive during its life. Even now in death, this tree will eventually decay to nourish the soil around it to help other plans and tress flourish.

I’ve heard stories of witness trees. These are trees that are normally over one hundred years old that were standing during revolutions, wars, major events, hangings, or other atrocities. Or, on a happier note, there are trees that have witnessed people falling in love, making babies, having lively conversations or passing important information along. One can only imagine what a tree might say, if it could talk!


Simple Things Can Be Fun

July 3, 2019

We take so many things for granted. Sometimes even the simplest things in life can be really fun. This is an article about how we can miss the simple things in our quest for the Holy Grail – that is, for the big things we think are more important.

traveling to Ghent, Belgium

On my recent trip to Brussels, Belgium I had the opportunity to ride the train to Ghent. For the locals, taking a train is no big deal. For me, each step of the journey was a jigsaw puzzle requiring a complex analysis to figure out and once completed, a sense of accomplished was attained. Anyone looking at me must have been amazed at how much joy I was getting out of successfully procuring my 18 Euro roundtrip ticket to Ghent and then actually finding the right train track, correct car, and then a seat. Each piece of the puzzle coming together to accomplish the first task – get on the train! I sat there so pleased with myself! Others must have wondered why I was smiling to myself. I was so happy to just be able to figure that much out.

Honestly, it’s really not that complicated; it’s just when it’s a different country and you have no idea where a place is, the concept of first or second class seat in a special car and many trains travelling on a single track the whole thing becomes more complex. Where I live in Washington, DC there are rarely more than one train travelling on the track at a time. And if there is, I find it difficult to tell which train is arriving. Now multiply this by very many trains going to ever so many places all on each track and going in either direction, one must decide, and quite quickly I might add to jump on the train. Trains are on time and everything moves very quickly. One cannot stare at the trains and wonder too long. People are jumping on with or without luggage, and it’s important to get on and find a seat; unless it’s a reserved spot. Whew! So, again, I was quite pleased with myself.

I had briefly checked out spots to investigate once in Ghent. I was in Brussels for the Tango Festival and had completed the 5 days of the program having danced my legs off. I was sufficiently tired and could hardly get up the morning of my trip to Ghent, yet, I was determined to ride the train! Ghent was a good destination, being less than an hour and easy to maneuver, or so I was told. However, when one is on foot, getting around can be a project.

Then there was the issue of which station to disembark. One of the websites indicated one station while fellow travelers informed me that no, in fact it was better to get off at a different station. So I complied with the advice. After disembarking at the station, the next piece of the puzzle was to get to the downtown or centreville. There were many trams running on tracks to take people here and there. I had no idea which was the one I should take and. I became a bit panicky until one of the attendants indicated that I could buy an all-day tram pass inside the station. I was really having trouble buying the tram ticket from the machine outside. There might be a button to push to get English, but I had no idea of how to get there. Even for a bit more money it was worth it to me to get the all-day pass so that I’d know that I could get on the tram to get back to the station. It was only 7 Euros, so not a lot of money.

Once back inside the station I waiting in the line to buy the all-day tram pass and with a bit of explaining was successful in procuring it. Yeah, step two completed! Then I went outside once again and looked for Tram No. 1 that would take me into town. Now I had to make sure I was going in the right direction. The Tram was packed with people on this unusually warm Tuesday afternoon in June as I watched the landscape change from the station through winding streets to the centreville. Just that little trip was a bit of a sightseeing experience. It all was a wonder to me.

Upon arrival in the actual center of Ghent, I disembarked and realized that the main sights I had in mind to see where nearby. I headed towards the canal and walked along as many tourists were doing. I really felt like I was in Disneyland except this was a real place. The United States is only a couple hundred years old but this area of Europe dates back many centuries; this charming town had cathedrals, churches, and other types of buildings dating back to the 15th century. It was definitely a walk back in time. I loved it all! What a joyous day, totally alone with no one to talk to but happy within myself.

Once I understood how the streets followed the canal I felt safe that I wouldn’t get lost and began to wander around looking at this place or that for several hours. Of particular note was the Castle, called Gravenstein of which I took the audio tour. Whoever wrote the script was a real comedian and listening to the voice describing stories of the goings on in the castle during its history made me laugh. I must have been a sight myself walking around laughing to myself. One fun story credited this Castle as having the first fireplace.

When I got tired, I found my way back along the canal, like Goldilocks with her breadcrumbs, took the Tram No. 1 in the opposite direction to return to the station. Within minutes the train came to Brussels. The train system in Belgium is amazingly efficient and very fast! I never waited more than a few minutes for a metro or train even on Sunday.

I arrived back at my hotel about 9pm very tired and ate a salad that I’d put away in the room frig happy that I didn’t have to find some place to eat. Sometimes it’s just nice to go into the kitchen and get something to eat and not have to go out. As this was a hotel, the next best thing was to keep food in the frig for one of my meals.

All in all, I’d had a very good day filled with simple activities, yet quite satisfying. I appreciated not getting lost, all the people along the way that had said a word or two of guidance, and especially those that could speak English! Sometimes the best things are very simple! As always, comments are welcome.


Time to take a stand for oneself!

April 16, 2019

It’s a beautiful spring day. The trees are blooming and look refreshing and new. It’s warming a bit so that it’s not so cold as before. It would be nice to talk a walk out in the sunshine.

I choose to think positive thoughts; to read my book on the fascinating history of the Templars in Portugal; to help others by mentoring and to do other volunteer efforts which bring me joy. I started assisting my university alumni with offers of mentoring and immediately had a taker… the very next day. It was a pleasure to help this woman assess her current career situation and how to move forward according to her desired plan. These are all pro bono sessions but they provide me a venue for giving back and that brings me joy.

An old project management colleague contacted me to be interviewed for an article that he was writing and I was glad to assist. The piece was on the value and impact of various certifications and as I have several very unusual ones, he chose me to be included. It was fun to participate and wonderful to receive a digital copy of the finished product several weeks later. More joy came to me in helping him.

Those that chose to stay in a negative place will be left behind. I can only help so much for it drains me if there is nothing ever coming back, nor appreciation; just chaos left in the ashes of my attempts to be of service. Thus, to those that are negative energy I say that I must detach from you all. It’s just too oppressive.

For there to be a friendship, it must be a two way street. The same holds true for a relationship. Both parties must acknowledge their participation otherwise, there is nothing? It’s all just a fantasy.  I care about all the issues that other people have but no one wants to listen to me or care about what is going on in my life. Am I too independent? Too willing to take on the world? At some point, I have to say that it’s enough and I’m going to stop being the world’s baby sitter, or mother or care taker. I have to look out for myself and have proper boundaries.

So if your mood darkens and you refuse the light that I offer, so be it. I can do no more. I will not be your psychologist to figure out what’s going on with you. Only you can decide you want to figure all that out and then it’s part of your soul’s journey to take the road ahead.

So here is where we part company. I choose to take the high road, be positive and follow my path to be of service. My goal is to help souls one by one to be all they can be in order to raise the vibration of the planet. But each soul must move forward in his/her own way and in their own time.

It’s your decision now. What will it be? Will you stay behind in the darkness or come with me into the light? Comments are welcome.


Call to Action

March 12, 2019

Have you ever been in bed and had ideas pop into your head? Perhaps it’s the list of what to do that day or a shopping list of activities that need to be done over time. Well, for me, I had an idea – that was almost totally conceptualized creep into my waking moments around the early part of this month and just wouldn’t let go. For days I had the same thoughts that I should create a non-profit community group aimed at making the world a better place using the energy of tango dancers. Ok, so why tango dancers? My two passions are helping to make the world a better place – or more esoterically put, raising the vibration of the planet; the other is dancing tango. The creative idea that hatched in my head used both these thoughts – tango dancing and bringing light to the world. No small task; or what many have told me when I started to talk about it, “good luck with that!”

In terms of creating a community action group, I was totally in unfamiliar territory. I seriously had no clue where to start, so I began where I always do when I don’t know – I decided to ask other people who might know. So just like any other creative project that I’ve tackled over the years, I decided to do information interviews with key influencers, who could eventually become stakeholders in this new venue. I selected friends, tango dance friends, friends of tango dance friends, people that tango dance friends knew, and so on. It wasn’t long before I had lots of people to interview and plenty of, “good luck with that” answers as well as a few good pointers along the way. I knew I would have my hands full with this activity, if it was even really viable.

After about a week of these interviews, I went to a tango dance wherein I realized that just the next week, this particular organizer was holding an anniversary dance. I quickly decided to hold a first fundraising asking permission to use their venue with the caveat that it wouldn’t impact their collected fees.  The organizer owned the space and was all about helping charity especially if it didn’t cost them anything.

The next day I set up a Facebook page for my new group which I named, Tango for Change.  Within hours one of my dance friends put a donate button on my personal page (not the new page), OH MY NOW WHAT?? So I had to figure out what to do. When you’re new at something, often times it doesn’t go smoothly the first time you go at it. Alright, I just went along with it and “SHARED” the fundraiser which had been created on my personal page to the Tango for Change page. This was a bit awkward but it was sufficient to have a few people donate. I had to work at it but by the end of the week, the initial modest goal of $200 was raised.

That night, the actual date of the fundraiser, I simply put out a decorated spaghetti keeper with a ribbon indicating the charity (a homeless shelter in the area) and with my encouragement around the room, another $83 was raised. Wow, it was hard work, but in less than 2 weeks the idea was hatched, created and implemented (with $283 going to my first charity). More on my new group as it progresses, but other than being exhausted from being emotionally trained, I’m pretty happy with the result. Now to keep the momentum going! (Of course, what you give out you get back multiplied!) So PLEASE like my new Tango for Change Facebook page to show support!!!


Are You Connected?

February 6, 2019

Ever sit in front of a TV set that’s not turned on? There’s not much happening; it’s just a dark screen. One can stare at it for hours and wonder what kind of shows or other programs are on but really, it’s just in our minds. Until we turn on the set (as in establish the connection of the TV with the electricity that provides the source of the programming), we won’t get a signal. Well, our lives are really like this.

Do you remember the movie, the Avatar? Here’s a recap just in case to make my point; the blue almost human looking creatures all have long tails that seem to connect with other creatures that we’d call horses, just to simplify the discussion. As the tails were plugged into each other, the “connection” would allow both to sense what the other needed. Rather than the rider pulling on the reins or making noises, as one would expect in this plane of existence, in the land of Avatar, only thoughts are needed. One could say that the thoughts of the creatures would be conveyed through the connection; it was like an energetic transfer both of feeling and need – what and how it should be done. Later in the film, the humanoids would do the same thing, and while swaying back and forth one could imagine a large gathering of people singing Kumbayah. This plugging in was required in their world for a connection between beings.

Just like the TV set or the Avatar creatures, we as humans have a source that we need to plug into in order to function properly. One could say that we need to receive our programming as well as interconnect since we’re all made of the same divine energy. This divine energy comes from a divine source where our inner guidance system, our life lessons, both challenges and successes are all interwoven. Unless we make a decision to plug ourselves into this divine plug, we will just walk around in a daze, blindly performing our daily duties without much thought. Plugging in can be as simple as taking a meditation walk, sitting and asking for guidance, or the act of prayer. How will you plug in today?


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