Monday, November 19, 2007

It's a Small World...With Big Possibilities

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
Walt Disney

I am presently reading a biography on the Life of Walt Disney. I like to read about People who have accomplished a great deal in their lives. It gives me great inspiration. Some may have called Walt an eccentric. Some may have called him a dreamer. Many would never have gotten up as many times as Walt Disney did, after being , not only knocked down, but taken advantage of, and the truth be told--failing. Yes, he did fail many, many times on the road to becoming one of the most recognized names in American History. So, he had great courage in the face of defeat, and pushed forward as he was driven not only by excellence, but also by novelty itself. He did not only want to improve on an existing concept--he wanted to create new concepts all together.

Walt's family moved numerous times in his youth, but what left the most indelible mark on him was living in a small idyllic town in Kansas City. As the child of a father who would not settle for mediocrity, he was expected to work from a very young age delivering newspapers there for the family paper route. This allowed him little time to be a child, yet every spare moment he did have was spent in an imaginary world created by his own pencil. He created characters and visions all through out his school days, and there were people along the way who encouraged young Walt--People whose comments, Walt says supported his great passion--Like his High School Principal who honored him at graduation with an award-- "the Artist" and a local shop keeper who would display his drawings on his shop window, eventually paying Walt to create an ongoing series, which his customers looked forward to seeing each week.

It wasn't until Walt was able to successfully create animation with audio--on the heels of Al Jolsen's The Jazz Singer, that Walt Finally seemed to make it--but the demands he placed on himself and his colleagues for excellence and novelty strained his family life, business life and his own mental health --eventually suffering a breakdown, realizing at last the need to balance work with leisure. He did come back stronger, but continued to struggle with a need not only to outdo himself, but ultimately, whether he realized it or not at the time, with a desire to create leisure for the common man. Very Interesting, indeed, that what Disney World represents today is Leisure itself, fantasy, and family.

"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique."
-Walt Disney

Thursday, November 8, 2007

When I Walk with My Dog

Lots of people talk to animals. Not that many listen though. That's the problem.

When I walk with my Dog, I learn many things.I observe his downright Joy at just having the opportunity to be outdoors with his fellow four-leggeds.

His nose is down from the moment we leave the car,
for he's sure that he smells them already!
And he's off!
Full speed ahead, no gear but high!
"I must go full boar, for I've been wandering around the house now for hours,
picking up socks
and bras
and sticking my nose in the house plants

But they just don't satisfy my need for speed

I need to hear the crackle of the leaves
as I leave them in the dust
and investigate
every piece of matter

for when I am back in doors
it's all the same

The chair
the couch
the bed
the crate

see it
and again

day after day

and it all smells the same

but I look out the door
and I'm sure that there's more
There's lots to see
and more to do!

Before too long
I'll be knee deep in snow
and I'll have to run faster

My lungs fill with air
my heart fills my chest
I sense there's a Deer
and a Fox
and His Lair

I must step with care
for we share the same Lair

And we share it with care
for we're only turn-takers there

And as I round the last fork
in the sweet smelling wood
I climb back in the car

then the chair
then the couch

where the vantage point is fair
to see a Bus driver near
carrying children I know
who have only one gear!

Touch is Essential & the 3 Breath Hug

The most important thing I have learned as a massage therapist, which was really just a reinforcement of what I already know, is that Touch is absolutely essential to our Wellbeing. Tiffany Field,Founder of theTouch Research Institue, pioneered research in the field of Touch.

As a person who really enjoys a good hug, I already instinctively knew this. 16 years ago, when our first child was born, he spent a very short period of time in the neonatal intensive care unit. His blood sugar was low, and he was quickly released. What I noticed when we were there, though, was that the parents of premature babies, were physically heartsick at being unable to hold their newborn babes. Imagine if you will, now, the child, who has been embraced by the womb of his mother for nine months, and now is laid upon his back, without the protection of his mother, nor her warmth, nor her smell, nor her rythmic reassuring heart beat. It's a cold world! So both are suffering without the physical and emotional connection that flesh to flesh contact provides.

What I learned through observation was that the nurses, with their hands through the armholes of the incubator, were massaging these day old infants--of course in the most gentle and reassuring way possible. Babies who are massaged, whether premature, or full term, simply stated, thrive better. Massage therapy in and of itself decreases heart rate, increases circulation, slows down respiration,induces a state of relaxation and alert awareness, and speeds the healing and regeneration process. It is a fact that babies in orphanages who are not held and nurtured beyond feeding and bathing and changing, and are typically developmentally delayed. Without the eye contact and physical interaction, they even become averse to touch and cuddling--it becomes foreign-- and fail to physically, emotionally and intellectually thrive like babies who are cared for in the conventional way.

So, flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone, what would make us as adults, any different? Starved of touch, of human interaction, we Fail to thrive. An author whom I am very fond of, Thich Nhat Hahn, suggests in his book, Peace is Every Step, the 3 breath hug. Try it the next time you are in the position to give and recieve a hug. It may seem odd at first, to you both, since most hugs don't last nearly that long. The longer your breath, the more value you will receive, the more "connected" you will become. It's even better if your breaths coordinate with one another, but that's another blog, and another time

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wear Blinders, and Soldier On

"Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires...courage."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have a battle cry. I want to scream it from the highest mountain: When you have an idea stirring inside you, and you're sure it has potential to better our lives, WEAR BLINDERS and SOLDIER ON. You have that idea for a reason, and If you look for approval from others, the sad truth is you may not receive it. It's true. You may choose to tell someone in hopes they'll hop on your bandwagon--maybe even drive your bandwagon while you conjure up the steps you'll take to make it happen. And if you don't receive the support you were expecting while in your delicious cloud of unbridled enthusiasm, your hopes might be dashed, and you may melt like a popsicle on a sidewalk on a late summer's day. It's only natural to want to share your dreams and schemes with someone, especially someone you love, but You must be committed to courageously march forward , even when one or many may not see with your vision. And, that's another story all together; for your vision is unique to you, and therefore, can not be felt by others with the enthusiasm that only YOU can feel. Of course, there is support out there in the world. It comes in many forms. Think about these folks: In fact read about these folks, or others like them, and see if their determination in the face of opposition, and sometimes failure speaks to you: Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Dyson (yes, the Vacuum Guy) Leonardo Davinci..(Very Few of his major Ideas were even feasible during his lifetime, yet were either created later BECAUSE of his Idea, or were the stepping stones for MUCH, MUCH greater technological advances...) Among Many, Many others. And consider the fact that if you don't give your idea, which has the potential of bettering the world, a shot, it may never come to be, for it was YOUR idea, and Your ideas are no accidents. Here is a great place to begin, if you think you may not know where to begin:

"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out if they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you."
William James1842-1910, Author

As my 11th grade Literature Teacher would say, "Now put that in your pipe and smoke on it."

Here Goes....

I like to read...A lot. I like to Think...A lot. I like to Dream...A lot. I like to Ponder...A lot. I like to Discover....A lot! I like to Theorize a lot. I like to Encourage....A lot... and I like to Help...A lot.

I hope that somehow, through the words that will follow, YOU will be encouraged to Read, and to Think, and To Dream, and to Ponder, and to Discover and to theorize, and to Encourage. They are all Connected, and We are all connected, and With that, It is with a GREAT BIG DEEPLY DUG Breath, that I give you this first installment.

Your desires are God Given. For you to live them is your purpose. Listen to them, write about them, and they will come to pass.

Think about what moves you most--your passions, your gifts, your skills, your attributes. Think about genuine compliments you've been given through the years. I'll bet they've been repeated again and again, by different people, at different times in your life. The truth is: We are all unique. Of course, you've heard that before. I'll bet your preschool teacher was one of the first ones to tell you. Well, she was right. Everyone has gifts. We all have something to offer the world. Do you believe it? If not, why not? I read a book maybe 7 years ago, called The Purpose of Your Life. (Not to be Confused with The Purpose Driven Life,)

There was an exercise in the book which asked questions about your childhood. After answering them, which was fun, you soon had a picture of yourself. The author suggests, and I believe It to be true, that the qualities that made up your childhood identity--how you saw yourself, and how others saw you--WAS and IS the essence of God's Earmark For you. O.k.--Now I 'm not talking about behaviors that were a result of immaturity or inexperience, but of the soul's early attempt at making its presence a part of the puzzle surrounding it.

Who we were as a children is indeed who we are today. Can you see it? Maybe just a little? When you have a moment, think about some memorable childhood compliments that were given, or some activities that really moved you. Write them down if you dare. Now think about the skills that were required to engage in those activities...think about what those compliments meant in a larger sense, and how those attributes surfaced in years that followed.

One thing I know for sure, is that the deeper you dig, the more you're likely to find a valuable artifact, and that artifact might be you!