Breadcrumb Legacy

Have you ever taken yourself on a long hike or walk on a trail you’ve never travelled before? Or perhaps you have decided for no good reason other than boredom or curiosity to drive yourself a different way to work or home? Some folks might consider these behaviors as frivolous, careless or downright wasteful of one’s valuable time! Especially given the high likelihood of getting lost when we attempt travels into the unknown. But really, what’s wrong with getting lost once in a while? Isn’t this the stuff of life? And besides, if we choose to take a detour on purpose, we may certainly take precautions before and during the journey to reduce our chances of getting lost. This is the 21st century after all. We have GPS devices on our phones and in our cars. Getting lost is harder to do these days!

So, in honor of our explorer nature, I’d like to wander and weave my thoughts through this post today. What follows are some of the musings and wonderings I had while ascending a neighborhood trail on my morning’s walk. Usually, I walk and jog the sidewalks and surface streets in my neighborhood. Staying on the hard-pack is the most efficient (less strenuous) way to get in my daily miles. But for whatever reason, the idea to hike the strenuous, rock strewn summit trail 2000-ft above the neighborhood, seemed like the thing to do this morning. I’m not sure why I thought today was a good day for the summit trail; I did not have the right shoes for the hike, nor did I have my trekking poles; but the hill was summoning me to ascend and I felt willing to oblige its call.

“There are two ways to get lost: To get lost unintentionally, to get lost willingly! There is adventure in both, but the difference is this: The first has fear, the second has joy!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

Perhaps it was the verdant, extravagant shades of green covering the usually brown hills; or maybe it was the cool temps of this late summer morning that urged me onward and upward in breathless revelry? Regardless, I’m not sure when it commenced, but at some point on my way to the summit, I began to think about those breadcrumbs. You know, the breadcrumbs that Hansel cast on the trail to guide him and Gretel safely out of Grimm’s dark forest. It was a brilliant idea of his and well executed too. Unfortunately, Hansel had not considered the birds and beasts of the forest who would eat the crumbs and obliterate their hopes and plans for a safe return journey.

It occurred to me, while I was trudging up that summit trail this morning, that we often do the same thing as Hansel did. Have you ever noticed or found yourself on life’s path in a place you had no intention of travelling? Sometimes a sickness or a lack of attention or an unforeseen accident or happenstance can force us to take an off-ramp on life’s highway. Adversity always takes us to a place far from the safety of our own neighborhood. Then there are other times where we choose to travel like an explorer, and we’ll purposefully traverse unknown territories. It seems to me the explorers who journey on purpose, these ones usually have the luxury of following in the footsteps of others who have travelled the route before them. They are like the birds of the forest who pick up the breadcrumbs left behind by former pilgrims.

“It’s okay to get lost every once in a while, sometimes getting lost is how we find ourselves.”

― Robert Tew

So these were the thoughts which carried me onward this morning as I stumbled and bumbled my way to the summit. Those thoughts swirled in my head like vultures over carrion. There was a strand of thinking about how we leave breadcrumbs for ourselves as we journey into our own dark nights and scary forests. Things that look like breadcrumbs for me are activities like journaling and meditative reflections. Especially helpful breadcrumbs are those cathartic sessions of venting and downloading and expressing or wishing and dreaming with friends or loved ones as I as journey through the the land of the lost. You know we all have these times, of living with the loss of our health, or the loss of a loved one or the loss of a relationship or work or the loss of our ‘normal’ life because of a global pandemic.

I realized too, how much we need to leave breadcrumbs for each other, because at some point, we’re all going to get lost in the forest of life. And this is where we have an opportunity to leave a legacy for those who come behind us on the trail. Have you ever considered what sort of legacy you are leaving for those who know and love you? Whether you plan your legacy or not, you are indeed leaving your breadcrumbs for those others who come behind you on life’s byway.

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.”

― Mandy Hale

Your legacy is left in all sorts of places. You know that, right? And these places you leave your breadcrumbs might surprise you. For instance, in this age of social media, what ever you cast out into the ether of the Internet, you leave behind a trail of yourself with every post you make on social media and/or every electronic message you create via your phone or computer. I think this is something worthy of your consideration, don’t you? What kind of breadcrumb legacy are you leaving your family and friends? I hope you’ll make your exchanges count for those who read you after you have crossed over into the high country.

If you don’t use the modern technologies, you still have breadcrumbs to scatter! Your legacy is branded onto the memories and hearts of all those with whom you interact. Are you teaching them how to show up bravely when you are under stress or duress or sick in your body or soul? Are you showing them how to love and care for the needs of others who are struggling with lack of resource or ability? Perhaps you leave your legacy by taking care of those lost and broken others found in nature; the wild things we share space with: the animals, the plants, our environment?

I hope you realize that your lostness in life is not a thing to evade, but rather a life-line to chase and embrace. It is your lifeline and mine; we each need those breadcrumbs to find our way home. When we willingly travel to the high country, where the air is thin and the vistas expand, it is from these heights that we might remind each other…we are not lost when we walk with those who journey willingly with us. And all those others who have gone before, they too show illumine our paths. When we follow the breadcrumbs of trustworthy pilgrims, we are walking each other home…through the dark forest to the place of the rising sun. Carry on, faithful explorer; the view from the summit is worth your each bumbling step and straining breath.


What You Pay For – (Linking Thinking #6)

Are you getting what you want? From your relationships? Your health? Your fitness or physical training? From your occupation or employment? Are you more content or happier today, this week, this month than you were six months ago? A year ago? You might think these are rather self-absorbed types of questions, but I have a point in mind for your consideration.

Today’s post is a continuation of the theme behind all the Linking-Thinking blog posts this year. I hope you’ll read or revisit the previous posts if you haven’t read them yet. You may find them helpful reminders in applying the principles of purposeful awareness to our thought life. Namely, the posts reiterate in one way or another the value of recognizing the patterns of our thinking. Why is this skill so vitally essential? Because the thoughts we curate (pay attention to or attach our beliefs to) are the thoughts that run and create our every day reality. There are no exceptions or work-arounds to this universal truth. Thoughts are energy, and as such the energy they generate is relayed through the brain into the body. Thoughts in motion create energy too, as emotion. The body responds to this emotional energy without bias; this is the nature of human physiology. The autonomic responses to sensory energies are working on our behalf and in our subconscious psyche, 24/7. The physical body is designed specifically to collect and interpret sensory data received from the outside environment on behalf of our biological operating system. Our sensory system has served humans well through the eons. However, these systems have not evolved much though the eon. In this respect, our base instinct nature is similar to that found in all of the animal kingdom.

Remember, the goal right now is to gradually change your response to what you can’t control. To grow stronger on the inside day by day, so that in the long run almost nothing on the outside can affect your inner peace and wellness without your conscious permission.

marcandangel

So when you ask yourself the above questions and if the answers come back with negatives, you might want to seriously assess your thinking thoughts. Are the majority of your thoughts in any given day about the things you want or don’t want in your life? This is an important point to note! If you treated your thoughts as dollars and cents in your bank account, what sort of experiences are you paying for with all the minutes, of all your days?

Energy is the currency of the universe. When you ‘pay’ attention to something, you buy that experience. So when you allow your consciousness to focus on someone or something that annoys you, you feed it your energy, and it reciprocates the experience of being annoyed. Be selective in your focus because your attention feeds the energy of it and keeps it alive. Not just within you, but in the collective consciousness as well.

Emily Maroutian

Seriously, your best life is literally held within the confines of your own mind (not to be confused with your brain)! You create your reality over and again with each and every thing you choose to think (and believe). Might you decide, on purpose, whenever you realize you’ve slipped into unconscious patterns, to spend your attention, on the things you want? It is my hope for you today, as I finish this last series post, that you will task yourself to spend your thinking thoughts wisely. Choose as often as you want, and make deposits rather than withdrawals into your best-life account. Because to think about what you don’t want, simply invites the economy of compounding interest to give you more of what you don’t want or need.


Chasing the Beautiful

This morning as I ambled the streets of my neighborhood, everything seemed dreamy and quiet under the heavy clouds from last night’s monsoon. The cool air, dank and heavy in the low lying streets and washes, lathered my skin with a mixture of goosebumps and sweat. And that shiver of goosebumps induced by the unseasonal chill, roused me awake. I had dressed expecting a warmer temperature. But now I was intrigued by the brisk cool I encountered. Surely this is a portent of cooler days to come…oh September!

Be brave enough to turn away from shiny objects, and toward the light that makes them shine.

Martha Beck

The specter of change was fresh and palatable this morning; and like the goosebumps rising on my skin, my senses were alerted to the beauty arising with every step I took. The morning’s landscape seemed to be emerging with radiant light even as the sun struggled to beam through the rain clouds of yesterday’s storm. And this is when it struck me that I was traveling through a sanctuary of magnificent artistry. Everywhere I looked beckoned my noticing. The morning’s light playing hide and seek with the waving wands of grass. The flowers opening big and bright and loud to capture the sun’s warm and drying rays. Is there no better medicine for one’s soul and happiness? And look this balm is free for all…for all who have eyes and ears open to noticing. Where is the light for you? Have you tried chasing the beautiful…putting your self in the Way of Beauty…Everyday? I hope you’ll find a way to make this a regular practice in your life…I think you may find it quite magical and life enhancing.


Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Phillippians 4:8-9

Your Next Life

Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting. Quite the opposite: Letting go requires remembering the gifts of the past and the clues the caterpillar left you to navigate life as a butterfly.

Steps forward require steps down. “Our next life,” Glennon Doyle writes, “will always cost us this one. If we are truly alive, we are constantly losing who we just were, what we just built, what we just believed, what we just knew to be true.” Any real change requires you to die before you die—and know that dying can be the beginning, not the end.

Ozan Varol – The Death of You

A Beauty-Full Life (Linking-Thinking #5)

Your life is waiting to be lived by You! It’s waiting for You to animate and enliven your body with your awareness. Does that surprise you? Do you not know that when you stay with yourself, in the physicality of your body and its senses that this is the way to experience the joy of your most Beauty-Full Life? Well that is the purpose for my writing this post today. I want to remind you, and myself, that our Presence of Mind, or by staying in the present moment, (rather than the past or future), is the place for our most peaceful living. Paying attention and noticing our bodily-presence, allows us to more fully experience our one and only wild and precious Life. If you doubt the truth of this sentiment, I challenge you to put yourself in the Present moment by purposefully setting yourself in the way of Beauty. Give it a try won’t you? It is easy and fun! Think of this exercise as a peace of mind interlude, a solstice and balm for the soul…an opportunity to play and know that Life wants to be lived through You.

To be a human who resembles the divine is to become responsible for the beautiful, for its observance, its protection, and its creation. It is a challenge to believe that this right is ours.

Cole Arthur Riley

The easiest way to connect with ourselves and our Beauty-Full Life is to go outdoors. In nature, we are able to wake ourselves up via our bodily senses. Using our senses intentionally will guide us into noticing. And noticing quiets mind chatter and allows us to enjoy Being. What do you see, hear, feel, smell? Notice what you will, without prejudice or preconceived context. Just let nature put you in its way, so it may pull you into herself and remind you of your own wild-nature.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.”

Thích Nhat Hanh

If you can’t go outside, give your senses a delight indoors by listening to the rhythm of your breathing, in and out. Does this remind you of the unceasing cadence of waves expiring and inspiring upon the breast of the shore? Or perhaps you might sit in a favorite quiet place inside your home, then close your eyes and let your imagination curate those places, people or memories. And as you conjure the beauty of these remembrances, you may soon notice only stillness and quiet as you journey along the imagined path of Beauty-Full presence. Or perhaps you could venture into the realm of textures. What might you find in your home to nudge you towards beauty? Is it the feeling of sitting in your favorite chair, wrapped in a cuddly blanket; or do you have a pet who delights in your stroking its impossibly silky fur? Or does enjoying a mug of hot or iced tea transport you into relaxed ruminations and peaceful reverie? Whatever you have at your disposal…whatever triggers a twinge or twinkle of delight, go towards it and reconnect your life-light.

This assumption that beauty is an accessory, and dispensable, shows that we don’t understand the importance of giving the soul what it needs. The soul is nurtured by beauty. What food is to the body, arresting, complex, and pleasing images are to the soul. If we have a psychology rooted in a medical view of human behavior and emotional life, then the primary value will be health. But if our idea of psychology is based on the soul, then the goal of our therapeutic efforts will be beauty. I will go so far as to say that if we lack beauty in our lives, we will probably suffer familiar disturbances in the soul—depression, paranoia, meaninglessness, and addiction. The soul craves beauty and in its absence suffers what James Hillman has called “beauty neurosis.”

Thomas Moore – Care of the Soul

I hope this little post has been a gentle reminder, an eye-opener for you, so that whenever you find yourself sleep wandering through your day, try waking yourself up with this simple movement…and put yourself in the way of Beauty. Take a Beauty-Full interlude and intersperse as needed any time you feel lost or far away from yourself. Use this practice like exercise. And just like exercise for your body, these practical movements of noticing and imagination will breathe Life and Joy into your Living and Being. It is from this place of alive awareness wherein you’ll experience a most Beauty-Full Life.


Everywhere Love

I cannot resist the urge to spread some love-life around this morning, so this post will include some of my favorite words on the most important topic in the world! Feel free to add to my list in the comments area. Enjoy and please share the love!

To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence…Love is my true identity…Love is my true character. Love is my name.

Thomas Merton

The soul is made of love and must ever strive to return to love…It must lose itself in love. By its very nature it must see God, who is love.

Mechthild of Magdenburg

Work without love is slavery.

Mother Teresa

Love comes out of heaven, unasked and unsought.

Pearl S. Buck

Love is not a mold that makes two people the same person. Love is the dream that enables both of us to be our own best person–together. Love knows that no one can fill up in us what we lack in ourselves.

Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

Vincent Van Gogh

“f you ever have a doubt in life, do what’s best for the other person. Take yourself out of the equation and you will see magically, everything will work out.”

Audrey Hepburn


The Lenten Season – Holy Saturday

In honor of this season, I will be posting inspiring music for most of the next 40 days. I hope you’ll use this music as an opportunity to quiet and settle yourself; for contemplation, preparation, and thanksgiving. May you be encouraged and realize the felt presence of Peace and Love as you hear the music; may you hear the message meant for you in each of the musical offerings. Wishing you peace and every good!


The Lenten Season – Holy Saturday

In honor of this season, I will be posting inspiring music for most of the next 40 days. I hope you’ll use this music as an opportunity to quiet and settle yourself; for contemplation, preparation, and thanksgiving. May you be encouraged and realize the felt presence of Peace and Love as you hear the music; may you hear the message meant for you in each of the musical offerings. Wishing you peace and every good!


The Lenten Season – Good Friday

In honor of this season, I will be posting inspiring music for most of the next 40 days. I hope you’ll use this music as an opportunity to quiet and settle yourself; for contemplation, preparation, and thanksgiving. May you be encouraged and realize the felt presence of Peace and Love as you hear the music; may you hear the message meant for you in each of the musical offerings. Wishing you peace and every good!