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.


Half full or half empty?

June 13, 2019

There is an old adage of how we look at life” do you see the glass as half empty or half full?” This is a common theme that plays out time and time again when looking at situations. How one sees things is always in the mind of the beholder.

Recently, I sent a photo to two friends while visiting family out in California of Palm trees with a mountain background taken during my early morning walk. The caption to my one friend was simply a good morning to her. I received a reply that the photo looked serene and peaceful. In other words, she had a positive response to an image that was pleasantly received. As my other friend lives in a northern climate still experiencing chilly weather, I captioned the photo that I was sending sunshine. His response involved questioning the temperature to which I told him over 100F… “an oven” was his response… he knows that I totally enjoy my morning walks in the sunshine because I don’t do it at home. Yes it’s a bit warm even at 7 am, but it’s so beautiful looking at the mountains and the Palm trees that it’s my favorite thing to do while out west. We don’t have Palm trees in Virginia.

So where are we in this story? My first friend is a positive person about most things so it’s not so surprising that she’d have a positive response to the photo I sent. She takes life well and I enjoy being with her. She holds down an important management consulting position and juggles being a Mom to two young adult boys. She’s a genuinely nice person.

My other friend tries to be a nice person too but he gets lost in the negativity of the world. As a result he sees the negative in little things that people do or say and in this case, he missed the beauty of the moment or the kindness of the act by over analyzing the situation. I still like him for he has some lovely qualities, but he struggles to get through life. Such a small thing like looking at a photo and deciding what you will see. But that’s the point.

It’s a decision how we will interpret what comes into our mind. So will you see the glass as half empty or half full next time? Try to catch yourself if you start to be negative. With practise we can move into being more positive people and in the process we will be happier too. Comments are always welcome.


Every year above ground is good

January 24, 2019

When you remember someone that has passed, are there funny sayings or mannerisms that come to mind? In the case of my father, I always remember what he used to say when I asked him about his getting another year older and his practical response, “every day above ground is a good day”. So each year when I’d ask him, “Daddy, how does it feel to be 85, or 86, etc.?” “He’d reply, every year above ground is a good year”. Even though I knew what the response would be, I continued to ask him every year until there wasn’t a response. He passed the day after his 90th birthday and he wasn’t able to talk on his special day.

What is the alternative? If one is not above ground, then obviously, one is not alive. But to live, really live means to be more than just above ground and room temperature. This is the lesson for this article. Sometimes I feel like life is moving so fast that there isn’t time to do more than just keep up. When I thought about all the things I had to do today and realized that I was tired, I decided to just take a nap. Once I woke up I realized that none of the really important things that I had on my list were important at all. If none of them got done, it was really ok. In the overall scheme of the universe, none of it was important.

So what is important? When we are above ground, during our living years as the song goes, we should aim to make each day count, but for what? What’s really important? Some possible answers are to be a good person, to love, to help others, and to learn our lessons. Now you might ask how one knows what their lessons are? I’ve written many articles about life lessons so it’s not an easy answer here except to say that we have to pay attention to what happens in our lives and do our best to follow the path that’s best for us. Sometimes what’s best is not what we really wish to do. When I think about my father, he was always busy with hobbies and studying things. He valued education and taught us to do the same. He also valued hard work, probably a product of his depression-era younger years; although still a good foundation for him and a good legacy he gave to his children.

We each have to figure out how to use the time we have above ground and make sure that every day above ground is a good day.


If a tree could talk

January 7, 2019

Ever walk by an interesting tree and wonder about it? Old is It? Do animals live in its branches or inside part of its trunk? What stories could it tell you about people that have been walking 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.tree

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.

After a heavy rain storm, I decided to get out and take a walk on my to find the path blocked by this fallen tree. For some strange reason I actually felt sorry for the tree, as it had come to the end of its life. Then I thought again. No, perhaps it was the end of its living life but in death it would provide a means of life to other creatures. Does that mean it continues on in another fashion?

Can we say the same thing about our own lives? When we end our physical lives and change our form do we continue on in another fashion and live life in another form ourselves? It might be another version of us; the spiritual version that is eternal just like the tree continues on even when it decays into bits of wood and then into bits of earth. It then becomes elements that give nourishment to plants and other living things.  As we change form do we help other living things to flourish? Does the spirit inside us help others to flourish? I believe we can do so when we become spirit guides also known as guardian angels. This is when our souls choose to help others while we are in spirit form.

Just as this tree will one day provide a place for a nest for birds, a home for squirrels as well as mosquitoes or even other little creatures, we too can help other people thrive once we cross over.


Angels on my Shoulder

December 10, 2018

During my recent trip to Portugal I had several experiences where I felt that synchronicity was at play to the extent that it must be my angels at work helping me. The story I’m going to relate in this article is that of my day trip to the historic town of Sintra, where just when I needed help, it was available to me.

After several attempts to take a group tour on this particular Saturday during my vacation failed, I decided to go it alone. Armed with travel brochures, internet information on the key sights, and information of what not to miss, I left my hotel about 8:30 am with a very positive outlook. I had already mastered the metro system to the point of knowing where the nearest stop was and where to get off, but I didn’t know how to find the connecting train station for the out of town trip to Sintra. Buying the ticket was easy at the ticket booth which was manned with a live person, asking in English is a forte of mine as I don’t speak Portuguese.

angelThe next step was to get off the metro and find the train station. I started to inquire of my fellow metro passengers who either didn’t understand me or didn’t know. This was strange to me since it was with in a short walk of the metro stop. Everything is different when one is in another country and not familiar. On the third try I happened upon a family with an elderly gentleman who seemed to be the local resident and the others, the visitors. In asking this group about the location of the train station, I discovered they were from Poland. I chimed in that my heritage is Polish as my Mother’s father came from Poland in the early 1900s, a town called Silencia. To my surprise, I was told that they came from this same place. I was asking for help from people of my heritage land! As we got off the metro, the elderly gentleman, most likely their father, speaking no English but made to understand my goal from his relatives, pointed the way to the train station. Yes! Mission accomplished!

Having my ticket in hand I quickly found my train on the track already arrived. I barely made it into a seat before the train left so my timing was quite good. As I settled in the seat I had found after searching for one up and down several cars, I noticed French spoken near me.

 In my usual brilliant way, I asked the young woman closest to me “are you from France?” She replied, “yes, we are from Lyon”, referring to the 3 couples in her group. This brief introduction began a conversation about our day in Sintra and planned itineraries. After hearing about the place I wanted to see they changed  their plan and decided to join me. I was thrilled. We all got off the train together and for the next 6 hours became a new unit, wherein I was treated like one of them… something like being an adopted Mom. The young woman had left her 8 month old baby at home for this weekend away with her Mom so perhaps she was in a very nurturing mode.

It turned into a wonderful day for me, where at first I thought I’d be alone I was accompanied by a nice group of friendly people all day while touring interesting sights. We even stopped and had tea together. It was a very warm feeling to chat and interact with these young people for the day. About 3pm we parted company as our desires changed… with me wanting to view the inside of the Pena Palace and their only wanting to see the outside gardens.. We said goodbye with invitations from the young woman to visit Lyon.

About an hour later I walked down the hill, took the bus back to the train station, then the train to the metro and as I was coming up the stairs from the metro station I looked up in amazement… could my eyes be deceiving me? There was the same group of French people looking just as amazed! I knew then that I had been experiencing a divinely inspired day complete with angels on my shoulder to look out for me. How else could I have met the same group back in Lisbon?

Although I had a two week vacation on my own and did some organized tours during that time, some of my best moments were when I just trusted that I’d be ok on my own and went out into the great unknown. It was when I was in the hands of my guides, that I was truly guided.

Comments are always welcome.


Trusting Guidance

July 26, 2018

Ever get a funny feeling in your stomach and realize that a little voice residing there is telling you something?  It’s becoming well known how the stomach has a second brain with lots of emotional intelligence. But the point of my story is that I get my own inner guidance in many ways, one of which may be discomfort in the stomach.

Over the weekend, I had dinner with a dance friend. Our plan was to enjoy dinner and the jazz group that was playing at the Vietnamese-French restaurant nearby, then we would drive to a local dance venue. It would take about 30 minutes to drive over. Normally, this would be a routine trip, nothing to be concerned about except on this evening there had been reports that heavy rain was due to fall. I tried to tell myself that a bit of rain was nothing to fear; that said, I kept remembering the terrible rain that I drove through back in January when a truck tire exploded and like a missile sent the remains crashing into my car causing me whiplash and $2,000 damage to my almost new car. Needless to say, it was upsetting and traumatizing. I had come out of it alive when such a crash could have killed me. Hence, there was trepidation over driving in heavy rain.

My friend was insistent that I go out with him and to help alleviate my concerns he offered to drive me and then take me home later since we’d met up for the dinner as dance friends often do. I reluctantly agreed. So off we went under an umbrella with me thinking, “Well, it’s not raining hard now. Perhaps we’ll get there before the downpour”. We were only about a mile from my home, and the local plaza where we’d eaten, when I felt a really strange feeling in my chest and stomach. I don’t normally have such pains. I told myself that it was only a 30 minute drive and that I would be ok. I assumed it was just a bit of fear after having had the accident back in January; leftover trauma, so to speak.

alarmAs we approached the highway entrance, an alarm on my cell phone caused me to say, “Stop and pull over”. I knew the sound of that siren type of alarm. It was used to indicate an emergency situation. In this case it was the NWS warning people to get off the road due to the impending dangerous weather, heavy rain and possible flooding. My reaction was immediate. I said, “No! I’m not going.” And we turned around and my friend drove the short distance back to my house.

Now one might ask,”Was it a coincidence that the alarm came in just before we got on the highway when it would be more difficult to turn around and go home?” We were only one mile away, so returning was easy. And my friend certainly understood at this point so no harm done in any case. I got inside the house and was totally grateful to be safe, then settled into the rest of the evening in front of the TV with my cat Skylar. I was never so happy to be in my PJs!

I do believe that my angels were watching over me. That when I needed them, guidance helped me with an outward signal that staying in was the right thing to do. The next day I saw on the local internet about all the down trees, accidents, cars that got stuck in water, people that had to be rescued from their cars, etc. it wasn’t a joke, nor a figment of my imagination. There had been real danger and I had been warned. I am truly blessed. Comments and observations are welcome.


Was it 11 dimensions or a case of abundance?

June 26, 2018

Over the weekend I was preparing to leave for a trip. On Saturday evening I wanted to wash the dishes and put a cleaning pod in the dishwasher and attempted to turn it on as usual, but nothing happened. No lights went on so I checked the various possible places that could cause a malfunction…a basket that wasn’t fully retracted, removing the pod and putting it back in, repeatedly opening and closing the door… well you get the idea. I really wanted to have clean dishes while I was away and not leave a full load of dirty dishes for a week until a service man could come out to fix the dishwasher.. or this was my thinking at the time.

After several attempts at fooling with this and that myself, I then went to the old standby… Utube and the internet…what info was there about what could go wrong with a Kitchen aide dishwasher? It wasn’t very old so the prospect of paying for a service call was quite upsetting as well as the fact that it was 8:39 pm on Saturday night before Fathers day. I had doubts that any service person would even come out on a Sunday anyway. Then I went out for the evening.

Upon my return, I decided to accept my fate that there just might have to be dirty dishes for a week and the world wouldn’t come to an end. I try to be neat and clean, but of course, situations occur and one must be flexible.  I should add a note here that in the afternoon I had gone to get my nails done and found that my nail lady’s son graduated from high school. As we have a very long and sociable history, I wrote a check to the young man as a gift for his special accomplishment. I’ll come back to this point later.

Back to the problem of the non-functioning dishwasher.  Miraculously, the dishwasher turned on. I stood back in amazement. What had I done differently? Somehow it reset and all was working. Ok so here’s where we go from the physical reality of the situation to a more spiritual view. As I believe that everything is part of a bigger plan, was I meant to have the dishwasher experience to teach me to take things as they come and when I relaxed about it, I changed the outcome from one of difficulty to one of comfort?; that is, a different dimensional outcome came into being? Or, another possibility is that my earlier action of providing the gift in abundance diverting the expense of repair from the universe to a return of abundant energy, saving me from the expense, the net again being a change in the dimensional outcome?

11dimensionsThe law of abundance provides that what we send out comes back to us multiplied. Kabballah speaks to unlimited possibilities all existing simultaneously so that we are free to select an outcome based on our choices each step of our lives.

So now you must decide for yourself. Did I just load the dishwasher wrong and when I corrected it all went right? Or, are there multiple dimensions (thought to be 11), and when I went into abundance via the graduation gift which took me from one dimension where I would have a repair into another where I wouldn’t.  A simple answer or a very deep One? It’s up to you. Comments are welcome.


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