Tag Archives: Inspiration

“My God, I’ve arrived. I’m there”, why your life is not a journey

Two years I began this post, each time getting lost in the power of the words and beautiful imagery – “Alan Watts & David Lindberg – Why Your Life Is Not A Journey.”  

No words yield justice to the perspective garners from the video. The difference, when I take time to listen and open my heart to hear. Far beyond the cliche, “I hope you dance”, “Life is a Journey”, “Success”, “Heaven After Your Dead”. 

“If we thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead. But we missed the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played. “

 

Scenes from Tree of Life

Music: 

Sleeping at Last Song, Saturn

Sleeping at Last Song, Uranus

A few you YouTube comments that resonated with my essence. 

Youtube Quote 1

Youtube Quote 2

Youtube Quote 3

The beautiful words of Sleeping at Last Song.

Youtube Quote 4


The existence, the physical universe is basically playful there is no necessity for it whatsoever.

it isn’t going anywhere, that is to say, it doesn’t, have some destination that it ought to arrive at. But it’s best understood by analogy with music. Because music, as an art form is essentially playful. We say you play the piano, you don’t work the piano. Why? Music differs from, say travel. When you travel, you are trying to get somewhere.

In music, though, one doesn’t make the end of the composition the point of the composition. If that was so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest, and there would be composers who wrote only finales. People would go to concert to hear just one crashing cord. Cause that’s the end. Say when dancing, you don’t aim at a particular spot in the room, that’s where you should arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance.

Now but we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our everyday conduct. We’ve got a system of schooling that which a completely different. It’s all graded and what we do is put the child in the corridor of this grade system with a kind of “come on, kitty, kitty.” And you go to kindergarten, and that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade, and then come on first grade, leads to second grade and so on and then you get out of grade school you’ve got high school, And it’s revving up, this thing is coming. Then you’re going to college, by joe, by then you get into graduate school. And when you’re through with graduate school you go out to join the world.

Then you get into some racket, where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’ve got to make that. And all the time the “thing” is coming, it’s coming, it’s coming, that great “thing,” the success you’re working for. then when you wake up one day when you’re about 40 years old, you say my god I’ve arrived , I’m there. And you don’t feel very different from what you always felt. Look at the people who live to retire, who put those savings away, and when they are 65, they don’t have energy left, they are more or less impotent, and uh, they go and rot in an old people senior citizen community.

Because we simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line. We thought of life by an analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at the end the thing was to get to that end, success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But, we miss the point the whole way along. It was a musical thing and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

Touch vs. Feel

A discussion about the senses earlier this week ran through my mind today. I reflect back on that afternoon; the smell of rain, dark clouds above and the sound of raindrops hitting the street. My friend reached out, quickly grabbing a leaf from each tree we passed. Not saving them, picking out a new one along the path. He described the rationale behind catching a small piece of each tree. What did he feel in each leaf? What made them different from the one prior? Had I felt a lamb’s ear plant?

We see, smell, hear and taste. How often can we say we touched something? I have an extensive cologne collection, appealing to a sense that perhaps, I’ve missed out on entirely experiencing aspects of life.

Touch defined as; come so close to (an object) as to be or come into contact with it.

In seeking clarity, how did feel differ from touch?

Feel defined as: be aware of (a person or object) through touching or being touched.

About the definitions, feel building upon touch, when we go beyond touching something and honestly feel it.

My intention today, Touch.

  • Can we touch something that is not tangible?
  • Can we not only come into contact but become one with a purpose, emotion, person?
  • Surely we cannot forget how someone made us feel? Can we vividly describe how something felt under our fingertips?
  • In our hands?
  • Next to our cheek?

Touch, in all simplicity, can enable us as we wander this earth to develop a connection to the world around us. Part of defining The Human Element is not to come into contact, instead to become one with a purpose, emotion or person. I continue to walk the earth today on my relentless journey to define The Human Element.

Be humble, be grateful, be true to you,

 

365 Gathered Truths

“True, that’s some good food for thought,” a fascinating phrase when I think about food to give me thought. Of course, it has a meaning of something too stimulating you to have a perspective of something or to think through something.

Over the past two months, I have sought out ways to give my soul something to ponder, work through, understand perspective, determine what, if any is a takeaway which I can learn from. A means to drive stimulation in my brain, evoke a feeling in my heart (both positive and negative) and a self-journey to determine the existence of a connection to my soul. This is one of several ways I continue to challenge my level of vulnerability with myself and when before others.

This week I picked up 365 Gathered Truths from one of my favorite stores, Sugarboo & Co-Dealer of Whimsy. A collection of 365 thought-provoking cards from an array of individuals, groups, and spiritual being.

 

Truth defined as; a fact or belief that is accepted as true… the quality or state of being true.

About the definition, “belief that is accepted as true.” Accepted as truth by who? The individuals surrounding me have similar beliefs, but many different which makes us the variety of people to seek out conversation to expand our mind. Though in the definition, accepting of truth, anyone which I cross paths with could hold a belief so as truth, as outlandish it may be. To the extent of such a substantial feeling to be a conviction.

Impossible for each quote to be true for merely being printed on the hand-cut paper. My intention today, Truth.

  • What if I gathered my personal truths?
  • What if I was so honest with myself that the vulnerability could leave me hurt?
  • What if the words I write on a paper if shared, would change the perception the world has on me?
  • Would I roam the world in fear of more judgment?
  • Would I be too concerned with judgment, to be honest with myself?
  • What if I accepted something as being true, or a state of being true, which I learn to be a fallacy?

Giving thought to the new context in my Bullet Journal, opening my heart to myself. Only to garner more clarity to what my existence is, opportunities afforded to make a difference in life. I continue to walk the earth today on my relentless journey to define The Human Element.

Clarity?

Returning to Yoga last month has improved my physical but even more, my spiritual health. Each journey was concluding with food for thought leaving my mind racing. Yesterday, Tricia shared the intention, “Clarity.”

Clarity defined as; the quality of being clear, in particular. the quality of coherence and intelligibility. The quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound.

With each movement, I continued to remind and reinforce, Clarity. The class ended, but the journey concluded in a night of restlessness. In the still of the night, I awoke around 1:45 with the word clarity emboldened in my mind. Tossing and turning, telling myself to try to get some sleep. The word continued to be present, closing my eyes, seeing it spelled before me. I saw a child bouncing a blue rubber ball in the distance, with each toss closer to me, the imagery became clear. I began to whisper the word, Clarity, in pursuit of understanding why this one word was reverberating. I could feel myself exploring the deepest parts of my mind. Unable to dismiss the word, a focus, why can I not stop thinking of clarity?

Clarity:

Acknowledging, and ownership for improving additional aspects of my life. A new sunrise, own the journey.

Acceptance, thinking through recent engagement from others, more often, asking favors. A relationship can sunset, it does not mean the end, it was good but not intended to last.

Apology, those in my life that I have lost and those fortunate to still be a light in my life. Extending empathy to those I have hurt, those who are in circumstances of pain beyond their control. People who are unable to step into moments of light, energy; limited by restraint, emotional and physical.

Humility, reflecting on what I consider critical in my Bucket of Importance. Charging through some of the most challenging times with an enormous worry for those impacted by my outcome. A time to sigh.

My takeaway from Tricia; When you have CLARITY of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.

Despite very little sleep, the compelling self-exploration of self-awareness outweighed the much needed; I will walk the earth today on my relentless journey to define The Human Element.

The perfect piece of art, a song, and a napkin #MondayMotivation #Music #theHumanElement

Over the weekend Nick and I stumbled upon Sugarboo & Co at Town Brookhaven. I entered the store and froze, gazing at a piece of art while a song (Spotify: Heartbeats; Jose Gonzalez ) hit my heart giving me a sense of calm. A minute… or two passed, unaware of the price I grabbed the art and gave it to the employee to purchase it. This store has incredible things, all unique, many intricate things that you cannot find anywhere else.

This new addition to the house needed to be in the heart of the home. In a location where the simplistic words would remind me often. Typing this on the couch, Jasmine asleep by the fire, classical music playing and the shelves illuminating the fleet.

Such similarities the words have to my guiding principle that I briefly talked bout in Post: Undercover Boss, Clergy and a Californian #HumanElement #TuesdayTakeaway .

Art on Wall

New Art 1

The you, your and your resonated with me, “CHANGE YOUR WORLD” . Exploring every inch of the store, afraid to miss a thing, I randomly pick out a folded linen to read.

Napkin

My sister passed along many pearls of wisdom while we traveled on vacation in Europe. On our flight home from Paris we both became a bit emotional thinking of Parker’s passing at the very young age of 15. Her wisdom, we have 86,400 seconds in a day to live, live each and every second for all we have now. I thought about, if our heart beats 60 times per minute, our heart beats 86,400 a day, that’s 86,400 opportunities to be thankful we are alive and make a difference.  It’s not about money, possessions, it’s about being kind to one another and believing in the Human Element. Post: A journey to define the Human Element (THE)

The Song playing in the store – Heartbeats, Jose Gonzalez.

 

Have a wonderful week, Be humble, be grateful, be true to you.

Douglas

Undercover Boss, Clergy and a Californian #HumanElement #TuesdayTakeaway

My adventure to Europe with my sister is coming to an end, posting this from Delta 170, CDG-MSP. Heidi with Delta has been top notch, a great trip back to the US. Trump, that’s the Apprentice… am I the Undercover Boss… say what? Over the past week I had three interactions which made me reflect on my journey in life and give thought to pivotal moments that changed me. A quick search through my site, I found a post from July 2, 2011, Helping out a Stranger in the Armed Forces, Reflecting Back on my Day where I first openly shared my goal in life in quote I discovered in 2009.

Each day when I awake I know I have one more day to make a difference in someone’s life.

James Mann
Author

Time to circle back to this trip. My trip began with an overnight stay at the Holiday Inn Express SF Airport North. In the morning I met the breakfast attendant, an elderly woman named Jackie. In lieu of dashing to the airport to wait for my sister’s arrival I wanted to get to know Jackie.

In sitting down, I thanked Jackie by name which she was perplexed, “you are the second person to do that today”. Jackie joined the hotel 12 years ago under a different brand but is a fan of the brand, and an ambassador. Jackie works two mornings shifts a week to allow her lunch money the other days . The more we talked, the more she was intrigued, who was this stranger listening to her. What appreciation I had for Jackie’s walk of life when she posed an interesting question.

“Have you heard of Undercover Boss, are you from that?”  I frequently watch the show, more enlightening at it’s series start, I was stumped by the question. “You used my name, asked me about working here, not many people care that much, I am thinking to myself, you must be Undercover Boss”. A chuckle in my response, I confirmed I was not connected to the show, but was also an employee of IHG. I shared how much I appreciated her, a genuine thank you, and she wished me a wonderful day.

Now that we are leaving reality TV behind us, let’s join the clergy?  Barbara was the flight leader on our Delta flight to Atlanta from San Francisco. In passing through the galley, Barbara asked if I was a member of the clergy. Clergy? Perplexed, had alcohol, traveling with my sister, unsure why she would think that. We talked for a bit, she explained she thought I was potentially in the church because I expressed a genuine interest in her, appreciated her, used her name and engaged with her directly. In passing, my sister explained that I was in the hospitality industry which for Barbara, that explained it.

Now that we have walked away from Undercover Boss, opted to not pursue the clergy, let’s revisit California. A young french mother of two young kids was boarding the Eurostar to Paris. The steps were high, the bags were big, and her hands were full. I retrieved her bags from the platform and stowed them away. I brought her other items to her seat. as full, another rider of 3 had luggage, two young kids, and in need of settling. I thought nothing the more of it, mid travel she pardoned to interrupt us with a question, “Are you from California?”

This being my third moment of inspiration in just the first 3 days, she explained, “I was in California last year, the people were so nice, you were so helpful, you must be from California. People in Europe don’t do that for others”. My sister and I briefly talked about chivalry and the world we are in. While being originally from California I don’t believe that’s the connection.

It all comes back to – The Human Element. Read: A Journey to define The Human Element (THE) . Jackie, Barbara or the young french mother cost me nothing and made me richer in life.

Each day YOU have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other, if you miss that moment, it may not come around again. Pay it forward, use peoples name and never assume peoples walks of life, never discount them and appreciate everyone you come in contact with.

The Detox I start tomorrow! I need your help! #TuesdayTakeaway

Good Morning!

Today’s Tuesday Takeaway, time for a Detox.

Phew, are we busy, busy, busy, busy people? First things first on the docket today, rollover to check my phone, tweet ( @astriker79 ), update my Facebook status, comment on my friend’s status, Facebook Messenger, post to Instagram, Home email, work email, junk email, send texts…. (lather, rinse, repeat)

I can’t fathom a world without social media, how would I talk to people? I would miss out on that post about the SNL skit and I just might offend someone by not replying quick enough. What about if the message shows read, but no reply, I am insensitive and rude!

All joking aside, I am just as guilty of maintaining a high level of online social interaction. When I think of oxymoron, is being online and social possible? I went through an unpleasant break up in 2013 while overseas. I began to have a sinking feeling in my stomach, I had a two-week vacation planned after the two month work secondment concluded in London.  How could I possibly enjoy traveling alone for two weeks, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Zürich, London then home.  Should I just fly back home to Atlanta early? I decided to turn off my Facebook profile allowing me time to focus on finding myself.

Two months later returned to Facebook at the start of my vacation to allow my family to see I was safe and share part of my adventure. What I found, it was the best vacation of my life. I explored at my pace, fought uncomfortable situations like meals alone in a big restaurant, but was able to enjoy places that I never imagined seeing.

What made my solo trip incredible was taking those two months away from our overly connected world to connect my brain with my heart. I was stronger when I returned and conquered my greatest fear, being alone.

Challenge: Dedicate one entire evening in the next seven days to step away from social media, your mobile device and computer. Find time to find you. If your evenings involve your partner, spouse, family have them partake. Your messages, Facebook, Twitter will still be there after.

The DND function on the iPhone is a blessing.


Watch the video below, can you spot a moment where you were that person? If your answer is no, you are not being honest with yourself.  #DisconnectToConnect #DigitalDetox

 

 

How One Restless Night Changed My Life #theHumanElement

Mantra: man-tra (noun) – (Originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.

  • A Vedic hymn
  • a statement or slogan repeated frequently

I often thought the phrase Happy Monday was an oxymoron. For those in the corporate world, it’s the start of the work week and conclusion of the short two day break. The past thirty days has forever changed my perspective on life which will continue to ignite my pursuit in the better of humanity. 

People have asked what changed? Did I attend a course on finding myself or attend a religious institution? Neither,  but I experienced firsthand one of the most selfless demonstration of compassion from complete strangers that united from around the globe for Postcards For Parker, Relay for Life Challenge . In just 19 days, Parker Eckburg became a household name for 100’s, receiving 3,000+ Postcards and $14,500 raised in donation to Relay for Life. I never imagined one random thought to make a big difference. I’d like to shed some light on the night that changed my life.

Experiencing a restless night, I glanced through twitter stumbling across a tweet by Life Coach Jordan Bach. The post prompted me to spend hours more awake exploring different aspects of life. The Parker phenomena idea came to fruition the next day. I also have recently expanded outside my comfort zone by partaking in therapy. I view that time solely dedicated to challenging myself and at times facing uncomfortable realizations.  From a career aspect I sought out a mentor who asked me the overly complicated simple question, what will be your brand in 5 years. All of these combined illuminated my mind, I felt like a single tree standing strong amidst a starry night.

Tree at Night

Last Sunday I felt a deep personal connection to a quote by the Dalai Lama XIV. I felt every word resonate to my guiding principle, to use each day to make a difference in at least one person’s life. I was fortunate to shake the hand of the Dalai Lama while working task force at a hotel in 2004.

The next morning (last Monday), I began a ritual of reading the quote aloud as the start of a new daily morning motivation. I have no plans of memorizing the words, discussing with others, or speaking it aloud with others present. Somedays I speak the words twice to strike my core hard to ensure I remain mindful of my ability to impact the world around me.

Dalai Lama“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

~ Dalai Lama XIV

Challenge: When you awake you most likely find yourself thinking of the tasks at hand, schedule before you, dog to feed, kids to tend to. In the next week, find a word, a passage a quote that resonates with you. allow it to be your morning mantra.

(Photo: April 09, 2005, Mauna Kea Summit, Big Island)

An unsung hero, daughter battling cancer, will you dance? #Pause

Often times I find solace in the flicker of candlelight. I lit my hurricane lamp trying to fight back tears, bewildered on the pain on Jane’s heart. I asked for Jane’s permission before adding some personal interactions below.

Jane is a mother, grandmother and a friend of so many. I have been fortunate enough to have Jane in my life after only two in person moments, the second time being the Jet Drag. I joined Relay for Life because Jane’s passion for the event, it hit close to home, and the greatest love sometimes can be that of strangers.

In the past 3 months Jane’s story of Gretchen has been absolutely gut wrenching. Gretchen is a very young 33 years old with her youngest daughter being 4 on May 25th. Gretchen, like Parker is battling brain cancer and each day is growing weaker.

2015-05-15_22-36-18

I ask why? how? and again, why? How could a higher being do this to Gretchen, why Parker? I can only accept things happens for a reason and the God has a plan.

2015-05-15_22-37-22

Jane is selfless, asking God to take her and not Gretchen. The love of a mother, and an incredible person. Jane is an unsung hero, Jet Drag was her footprint on life to so many and a cause close to her heart. Jane raised $16,500, big thanks to everyone’s huge support of my Postcards for Parker Challenge that raised $14,500. Jane is giving all of her existence in a fight for her family. I am having a hard time typing this amidst tears forming.  Again and again the terrible illness are inflicted on our loved ones but alas Jane has explored the what if’s.

2015-05-15_22-38-24

Jane is the rock, the strong one for so many and she has not given up.  My mother fought a mental battle, I accepted her departure was inevitable.

Gretchen is fighting for her life everyday. I can’t fathom the tearful conversations Jane has had, the bond a mother has can never be replaced. We light a flame not in memory but in Gretchen’s flight. May the flame flicker brightly, light up the darkest rooms and guide us in the unknown. May my mother surround her with strength and courage in such a turbulent time.

My thoughts go to Jane, Gretchen, Matt and her two amazing granddaughters. Let’s keep them in our prayers to keep fighting.

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Gretchen, I light the lamp for you each night, be strong. Illuminate the world with your smile, your spirit, you will persevere.

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Everyday the world reminds us of shifting the priorities in our life… What matters? The line in Starbucks too long? That friend didn’t like your post?

Air in our lungs and love is around us, I need nothing else. I hope YOU dance.


 

 

Deep breath, now exhale… You are ALIVE!

Gearing myself up mentally for a long day before me tomorrow starting early and non stop meetings. I took a pause last night reflecting on my #TuesdayTakeaway Challenge – Can’t Sleep? Maybe you are NOT living #TuesdayTakeaway

Challenge: When you crawl into bed tonight take a moment to give thanks for air in your lungs.  Give thought to one thing you will do tomorrow to celebrate being alive. After all, each day when you wake up is a good day.

I crawled into bed last night hearing the heavy exhales of Jasmine the wonder beagle asleep on the floor next to me. Karen’s killer pup, Tink in the bed with me. I gave thought to what would I do tomorrow to celebrate being alive.

2015-05-13 22.05.09-1 - Jasmine
Jasmine the Killer Beagle catching some zzz’s…

How I tackled my Tuesday Takeaway challenge. I departed the office at 12:30 for a walk through the Ravinia Gardens and Dunwoody keeping true to my FitBit challenge of 10,000 steps per day. I spent 45 minutes without music,  a phone and  conversation. Simply being outside enjoying the sun and the refreshing shade along the walk. I returned to the air-conditioned office which felt good out from the 85? weather.

Magnolias are starting to bloom allowing me to capture the above photo while out walking.  Today I give thanks for the air in my lungs and the beauty of nature around me.

Good Night,

Douglas

PS: Hitting 14,000 steps was also a nice reward.