Discernment from guidance

July 30, 2020

As a spiritual person, one can be called by our guides and angels to assist others – whether as an individual or a group to move towards the light. I recently had experiences representing both of these types of “SOS assistance calls” to which I responded. Although I feel good that I did respond, I also learned my own lesson of discernment. Discernment is ascertaining just when to start trusting, assisting while maintaining one’s own boundaries, in any type of relationship.

My first personal lesson of discernment concerns a spiritual group to which I belong; in fact, it is the group from which I was ordained 11 years ago. My favorite saying is that some spiritual people are not so spiritual. The reason I say this is that the human ego is present in all of us on this physical dimension, and even those souls who profess to be spiritual can have an overactive sense of self-importance. Case in point is the various leaders of this particular group who have taken over after the original self-less leader led the way for over 30 years. I give people who are dedicated to a cause much credit, so don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the role that they play. It’s just that when they ask me for help and I comply, they have tended to give me a really hard time.  

 The most recent situation that has me rather irked is where I spent time developing a meditation for their Friday night service. The program that I developed was well received by this particular leader. I was then informed of the date when it would be aired on Facebook live. I did the work on my own in order to help the organization promote their spiritual message. That said, it is common practice to provide creators of programs credit for their work. My bio and hi resolution photo had been requested but it was never posted on the website. Although their website did note a program to be held that evening, there was no mention of my meditation. I tuned in that evening to hear the pastor give her talk and then my meditation came on. Unless one was online and just listened there would be no way for anyone to find it on the website later. This is contrasted to other visiting people doing programs and being very much recognized. Just to make the point that I don’t develop these programs for personal gain nor recognition, but it’s only right to give someone credit.

I did send a note to the leader indicating what I thought was a mistake and asking for it to be corrected. I never got a thank you for the program nor did I receive any indication that my concern would be acknowledged. I made a tough decision not to make further contributions for this group. I didn’t call and complain. I just will step back. If I decide to develop other programs, I will post them here for my readers to see. So my discernment is that this type of unrecognized behavior is only using me and does not serve me to do anymore for them. It’s a basic rule of the universe that when we give out we should get something back, not necessarily money, but some exchange of energy to preserve the balance of nature. Apparently, the so-called spiritual people involved are not so spiritual.

The second example involved an individual that I felt called to help. A few weeks ago I came into contact with a man who was had recently separated from his marriage. Normally, I stay clear of this type of situation knowing from past experience that it doesn’t go well. Newly separated people have so much baggage to process, yet in this case I felt that guidance wanted me to assist him. Our initial contacts were cordial but after a couple weeks it became clear that he wanted to go out. I agreed to meet for dinner thinking that he just wanted a friend with whom to hang out.

Unfortunately, after just a couple weeks of interactions, he became controlling, manipulative and although I could see it coming, he had some endearing qualities which were engulfing me. I was in a quandary. I knew better than get involved, yet I felt myself slipping. My desire to help him, after so many years of life coaching this is a trait that is hard to leave behind, yet he was attaching to me very quickly. He was an energy vampire and it was taking its toll on me. Everything that happened to him was a major drama and as I tried to help him sort it out, I was getting more sucked in. I didn’t want to be his life coach, nor his therapist so my comments stopped at suggestions that I would make to any friend. Still I could feel my own energy draining.

Finally, this past weekend, my angels gave me the signal. It was time for it all to end. The balance point had been tipped. He was really wound and did some things that I couldn’t stand for which gave me cause to be snippy to him. My goal was to give him reason to end it with me so that he could save face. It worked since by the end of the day he was upset. That evening, he sent me a “good-bye” text. I was very happy. My plan had worked. I had been concerned that he would disintegrate if I walked away from him. Sometimes this approach is necessary. The very next day he tried to communicate with me but I didn’t respond. I now feel better. Whatever help I was supposed to provide, I did so until the balance point was reached. This is discernment in action. It’s good to help others but we must watch out for ourselves. I’ve also let my guides know that I’m done with this type of assistance in the future!

 Comments are always welcome.


Creating a loving reality

May 19, 2020

If you ask someone what is missing in their life, many will respond that they’d like more love. The younger generation might feel that they didn’t get enough love from their parents, whereas the older generation might feel forgotten by their kids. Or, the working class might feel that they’re not appreciated at work. Those of one belief system may feel those of other beliefs (whether religious, organizational or political) are against them. And even there are those that judge themselves unworthy of even being loved.

Wow, with all this unloving going on it’s amazing that anyone is happily in love! But of course, there are many people that walk around with smiles on their faces while in relationships, having wonderful children, and happy at their jobs. So what creates loving vs. unloving situations? The question is an age old one of how can one be happy because in actuality, we create our situations (most of the time).

According to brain research as well as ancients religious texts, we create our world one thought at a time. I recently watched a great video on GAIA, the spiritual equivalent of AMAZON PRIME VIDEO Channel, which explained how the brain is wired. This video went on to explain how our thought patterns create new neural networks almost like beating a path to a door from constantly going there.

The result of constantly re-hashing how others were mean, angry, abusive or otherwise non- appreciative of us, is creating a mental state where we begin to believe that we are only deserving of abusive behavior. In other words, by thinking negatively about ourselves we begin to believe the negatively about ourselves which in turn becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. This was a scientifically based video. The other end of the spectrum is the spiritual view where Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet and great psychic of the 20th century, promoted the idea that thoughts become actions become our world; or, as we think so we become. So here we have a case of science meeting spirituality; both systems giving support to the idea that thinking negatively is counter-productive to create anything positive.

Now my own universal law appropriate here is that nothing positive comes from a negative. In the case of love, if you don’t love yourself, how can anyone else do so? It also follows that if you want to be loved you need to be more loving yourself, as like attracts like. This is also promoted by many spiritual beliefs as well as the work of Edgar Cayce.

If we create our world one thought at a time and we need to be loving in order to be loved, what is the best way to create a loving reality? I believe the answer is clear! Be positive with your self-talk, have compassion with those around you, think before you speak working towards being the best version of yourself that you can be avoiding throwing stones at others for holding a contrary viewpoint; everyone deserves a place in the world and to express  their reality even if you don’t agree. Hold love in your heart for your fellow humans; one day we might need each other. There are many challenges at hand. No one knows for sure what will happen in the future. Have empathy. Stay in the light and be positive. These are all loving qualities to nurture and behold the love that returns. Voila, you’ve created a loving reality! (Granted, this may not be a perfect solution, but give it a try and see how life improves!!)

Comments are always welcome..


Sewing skills come in handy during a pandemic

April 24, 2020

I learned to sew in High School home economics class, where in I learned how to make very simple items. At the time, I never dreamed that these skills, somewhat more developed as I grew up and needed to alter dance dresses and make pillows to decorate my home, would help me get through the worst pandemic in my lifetime. As of late, I’m learning to make face masks for protection while going out into the public during this difficult period.

My first fore into making face masks didn’t go very well. Although I selected what appeared to be a straight forward pattern, complete with a how to video, I still didn’t get the final result correct. The finished product just didn’t look like the example in the video; it was too small. Taking a step back, I realized that my estimating wasn’t working; I was going to have to really measure and be accurate. Ok, so eyeballing it was the way I’d done things most of my life and this simple face mask just seemed too easy. Then again, during this trying time, my brain wasn’t working at full capacity. I guess when one is stressed the mind is so distracted that it’s harder to focus.

Home made facemask

As it was time for me to venture out for a weekly grocery run, I decided to take the masks with me. I put the five masks in the zip lock bags in my car and went off to the store. Waves of emotion came over me from embarrassment to suggest that someone take a handmade mask from me to pride that I was trying to help people who didn’t have protective gear. It made sense to me to bypass those customers already wearing masks moving on to those customers not wearing one. I asked one lady if she needed one for a family member and she refused, not even very politely. At this point I felt like she thought I had put the virus in the bag instead of a mask. Didn’t she get I was doing a good deed? Oh well, some people don’t understand the concept of helping others. Ok, keeping at it meant overcoming my own fear of rejection. On to the next person who was a lady not wearing a mask. I called out to her, “Excuse me, but would you like a mask? I’m making them” This time, the woman took it and commented that it looked very nice. Her response and acceptance made me sigh with relief both for her and for me that my efforts were ok. By the end of my grocery run I had given away four of the five masks. I took my groceries and my pride home.

I knew that my attempt to make the masks was not perfect but they actually looked pretty good. The first batch was pink, pretty much limiting my offer to women. In any case, the next day I was in the drug store and a woman actually came in looking to buy masks. I overheard her request and the clerk’s negative response, so I chimed in that I had one to give her. She initially thought that I wanted to sell it for money and I just shook my head and walked her to my car, keeping our distance. I reached into my car grabbing the last mask, handed it to her and was relieved to see her smile when she saw it. Ok, yes, it’s external gratification but sometimes it’s ok.

I’m continuing to make the masks with the material that I have and a bit more that my neighbor gave to me for this purpose. I expect that I can make 6-7 more masks which will not save lives nor make a difference in the overall death count of the country but it will keep me somewhat busy here and there. In addition, it might help a few people have some additional protection than they would have and if no more than comply with the current legal requirements for facemasks in public settings. In the end, it did make me feel like I was helping. Now I know how the women who worked in the factories during World War II felt each day as they came home. Everyone should do their part, even if it’s really small.

As always, comments are welcome.


Destiny or Blind Luck?

April 10, 2020

I’ve been thinking about how the events of late regarding the Covid-19 virus reminds me of a movie. Was it ordained by God or rather by some hate monger? What are we meant to learn from it? I see both sides of nature with some people being evil hoarding goods for themselves while others try to share in any way they can. One thing that I know for sure is that we will not be the same, nor will the world ever again. Is this the Apocalypse we are living through? Is it the new world on the other side?

It’s said that when the 10 lost tribes of Israel are found the Apocalypse will begin. They have been found by an Israeli historian. The story is on Amazon and is a great video. But according to the Jewish religious beliefs, it’s not the end but the beginning of the new age. (Check out Amazon for the back story).

Just last month, when I was leaving Buenos Aires 3 days early from my vacation, just hours before the Argentine government closed the borders; hundreds of people were in line many hours early for the last flight back to the US – the one I was on to DC. Many people were then making connections to other parts of the country. There were 12 airports doing testing prior to allowing entry – I had selected routing through Houston – the only airport, as it turned out, that was not doing testing. Those other airports had lines many hours long. I went through quickly. After a 17 hour journey, it would have been horrible to wait in line for hours. Was I lucky or was it ordained?

While I was in the check in line in BA, people were in panic mode. They weren’t thinking straight. I found out I could print my luggage tags at a kiosk rather than wait so long in the main line. So someone watched my bags while I went over to the kiosk and printed my baggage tags. Putting them on is pretty simple. One merely peels the paper strip apart, put one end through the handle and stick the two pieces together. Several groups of elderly people were holding the tags in their hands with empty looks on their faces. As I gazed at these people who clearly needed help, I began to ask if they’d like me to assist in putting the tags on to speed things up. Their empty looks turned into big smiles as I was handed their luggage tags as this single gesture became an act of service. In turn, I was given a rare opportunity to feel good in the midst of a crisis situation. In addition, as I periodically looked up, I could tell that my efforts were being noticed by the United Airlines staff who, with their eyes told me that they appreciated the support too.

I did get home and have been doing safe distancing for these last four weeks. I do appreciate having food and enough money to pay my bills. I know that it could be months that we need to stay inside. I plan to organize my day to do what I can by dividing my time between being active and resting, talking and writing. The hours will go by. At least men are not shooting at us. We are not going to gas chambers. But I’m in the high risk category by virtue of my age. My wish is to live through it, to stay busy, and be of service where I can.

 What do you hope for? Comments are always welcome.


Don't cry for me

March 23, 2020

My dear friend Teresa died yesterday from complications of a rare form of cancer. She knew she was dying and totally prepared for the event. I was fortunate in being able to see her before I left on my trip to South America in early March.  I was one of the few of her friends that saw her in her last days before her doctor prohibited such visits due to her weakened condition. Our friendship was unusual in that we rarely saw each other but for some reason that I can’t explain, there was just this underlying like and appreciation for each other. Unlike myself, her life path had included a very healthy marriage with children and grandchildren that loved her very much.

During my visit with Teresa, she recounted a near-death experience she’d had several years ago, where, during a heart attack and treatment in the hospital she essentially died on the operating table. During this episode, she sensed her soul floating up to the ceiling of the operating room, hovering over her body where she could see the doctors and nurses working to revive her. She was aware of what they were saying as well. I could appreciate what she was telling me, although never experiencing an out of body experience, I have spoken to souls after they’ve passed on. So there was no issue in my believing her story. She also told me about seeing the most magnificent light as she travelled very fast through a tunnel of time and experienced what she believed was God. She was told that it was not her time and she needed to return to the Earthly plane.

When she returned to her body, the doctors had no rational explanation. Her heart seemed fine and she fully recovered. But Teresa knew in her heart, excuse the expression that she was merely being given time to prepare her family for her eventual passing. However, she was also angry with God for sending her back. She felt such love that she really wanted to stay in that other spiritual dimension. For the last two years she’s really been in a preparation mode planning her funeral her last days being happy with her family knowing full well that she would leave. Thus, when the diagnosis came of cancer it came quickly without much warning but she was ready.

Teresa and her husband had gone on trips that had many happy days and she was ready; so, in her words “Don’t Cry For Me because I’m going to be okay as I know what it looks like on the other side and my departed family are there and I am looking forward to being there too. I know my family will be okay here; they will miss me but they will be okay.”  So when the call came last night from the rabbi’s wife that my dear friend had departed yesterday morning, part of me was glad that her suffering was over.

I will try not to cry for you. You were a good friend and I will miss you.


We are our own worst critic

October 5, 2019

We know that being judgmental is not good behavior yet we judge ourselves all the time. That voice inside our heads can be positive or negative; this is called self-talk. Unfortunately, that inner voice is more often negative than positive reminding us of all of our faults rather than of our wonderful qualities. Why do we do this? The answer is low self-esteem.

                                                            
There are times in our lives when we don’t feel good about ourselves like when we decide that we’re not moving forward in our lives in some way that we think we should. We have a tendency to look at others then judge ourselves. They have the house already or a better job therefore we failed. We should be thinking that the other person is just ahead of us and we will get there in our own time. Everything in its own time, right? Or that’s how it should be. Instead, we judge others for having more or being prettier or thinner or going on a neat vacation.

Rather than judge ourselves, or others why not just accept the situation for what it is? Its human nature to compare one to another; we are creatures of a pack, team or community. But in those relationships we must take care not to think less of ourselves for our points that are just different. We all do this. Last night I almost didn’t go out dancing because I’ve gained a few pounds due to less activity while my ankle was healing from an injury. I convinced myself that I needed to go out and that being with people would make me feel better rather than being alone. The woman in charge of the dance who is very tiny commented that due to her hurting foot she had gained 8 pounds. Wow I was surprised. So it happens to many people. I felt ok and decided that rather than judge myself for having gained weight I would focus on losing it now that my activity could increase.

In other words when your self-talk becomes negative find a way to stop yourself to make it positive. Life will flow better and you will soar along with your self-esteem. Comments are always welcome.


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.


People and processes don’t always cooperate

August 26, 2019

We all know, or have learned the hard way that human communication is not an exact science. The old adage is that’s why there are lawyers! Today, I’m going to relate a situation that I experienced regarding a transaction on EBay. The whole interaction went from a misunderstanding to bad then to worse. Then it got ugly! Sometimes people and processes just don’t go as one might expect.

 First, let me say that my perspective on EBay is pretty laid back because it’s not my main business; it’s very much a hobby and a casual one at that. I sell stuff to get it out of my closet and if I’m lucky, I get a few dollars for it. So what’s my story? I offered a beautiful designer red silk dress for sale at a fabulously low price plus shipping. The woman in question, whom I will call “The Buyer”, sent an offer. What I saw on my end was “an offer to buy at $50” which I accepted. I’ve been doing EBay for about 8 years so I don’t question offers. I just look at the figure and either accept the bid or not. Usually people pay within a day or two. My listing clearly states that non-payment after 48 hours will result in a cancelled transaction. If someone made a mistake in pushing “buy”, then an email to me indicating such will solve the problem. I’m not out to force any sales, so if there’s a mistake, I’ll cancel the transaction.

I accepted the offer and the EBay system put the offer in as a sale and sent the Buyer an invoice for the price plus shipping. No response. Several days go by. I sent a nice note with a reminder invoice – “is there a problem, I ask?” No response. More time goes by.  The EBay system opened a non-payment case against the Buyer automatically, which when she received the notice made her furious resulting in her sending me a scathing email stating that I hadn’t read her offer. What? I never saw any email or further detail about her offer. Apparently, she writes that she’s retired and doesn’t have the money. (Why buy if you don’t have money??) At this point it was very confusing to me because she referred to 8/30 which I assumed meant August 30, but it was August 20. I had no idea what she was talking about. Rather than calmly explain to me that she’d get money at the end of the month which eventually I realized, she raved at me that I hadn’t read the offer details (that I’d never seen) and basically was saying how stupid I was for causing this problem. As it wasn’t an auction item, just a fixed price, make an offer, she could have waited a few days until her pension check arrived. Rather, she chose to expect me to make the system work according to what was best for her. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

It became obvious to me that she had anger issues and was venting at me for other situations where she hadn’t been heard. I was just the one getting her venom over these frustrations in her life. I kept trying to write to her calmly explaining that the system was automated, that offers are translated into purchases, and that non-payment cases can be opened without me doing anything. She insisted that I cancel the transaction at this point which was impossible according to the EBay system even after I tried calling them directly. I wasted so much time over almost a week for a non-sale with this woman. I had packed this gorgeous dress with tissue paper in a strong box so that it wouldn’t get wrinkled… basically for naught. After 2 days of her insisting that I cancel the transaction, I find that she paid. It was the night before the payment was due or a negative mark would go against her. I figured that she paid to clear the case so that I could cancel the transaction. So I went into the transaction, which was now clear, and cancelled it. I thought this was what she wanted. She had not sent me an email to tell me that she changed her mind about cancelling the transaction and now she wanted it. So what happened next?

The next morning I got a wailing email, “oh, I’m going to cry. You cancelled the transaction after I paid for the dress!”  Well, yeah, after receiving email after email insisting that I cancel and no communication indicating otherwise, what else could I do? Then I get more communication about why did I do that? It’s like being in Wonderland! Ok, so I thought about it and my final email to her was my best attempt to be spiritual, “I’m sorry that you’re not happy with this transaction. Sometimes people and processes don’t go as one might want or expect. Rather than directing anger at me, a bit of patience might have been a better idea. It would also be a good idea to find a healthier channel to vent your frustrations that to direct them at me”.

The moral of the story is that when crazy interactions occur like this story; take a moment to reflect on the situation. Chances are there’s more going on than the immediate reaction. Usually, there are related experiences that the person is reacting to in this lifetime or a prior one. It’s easy to ignore the person but just a bit harder to consider how you can be a guiding light. Just consider that she needed to be reminded of her behavior and it took me going beyond the physical to tell her about it.

Although I had planned for this to be the end, there’s more. The woman wrote back telling me that “You’re a fool!” Well so much for being a messenger of light. I thought about her response a lot and I truly believe that I was guided to write back to her what I had to give her a chance to reconsider her self-righteous position. Unfortunately, she failed the test. Now the universe takes over and karma steps in. I believe that she’s really in scarcity and has a lot of hatred, anger and hostility built up over being in a compromising financial situation. But what got her there? Meanwhile, I live in abundance and reap the rewards. Comments are always welcome.             


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.


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