Ascent 59 – A Day Unplugged

For my first today, I chose to go off-grid and not use any electronics. No smartphone, no computer, no social media, no TV and so forth. I posted the intention yesterday on Facebook and received good feedback and encouragement for the venture. This morning, I opted to act.

When I woke up, I promptly turned my phone off. I normally turn on the Roku & TV to play Zen Garden on Pandora as I burn incense and do my morning centering routine. Today, it was just the incense.

It has been a rather refreshing day today. I focused on some project activities and got some great ideas documented. I found myself more tuned in to inner guidance & intuition as my awareness was not getting fragmented & diverted by an onslaught of messages on a multitude of disparate topics.

I did turn my phone on briefly while I was camped out at a Starbucks in Long Beach NY while Sue did some work duties. It was solely for her to reach me if needed and to coordinate meeting up. Shortly after, it was turned off again.

Kindle

While at Starbucks, I did read my Kindle for a while. I didn’t consider this a violation of the ‘off-grid protocol’ as it was not interactive and, to my mind, was the same as reading a physical book.

 

When I got home, I prepared dinner and after cleaning up, prepared my work clothes and did some more coloring in Amy Scott Grant’s Patterns of Purpose coloring book.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed being unplugged today and will add it to my weekly self-care regimen. I will redefine the rules to allow things such as listening to music via Pandora. I was reminded of what Thich Nhat Hanh said about activities such as watching TV (or most anything): Be Mindful. If there is no tangible value to an activity, why allow it in your space? I will practice this with everything.

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Ascent 58 – Nolan’s Baptism

The first today was attending the baptism of our friends – Ella & Ed – grandson Nolan. The young man had just had his 2nd birthday, so it was a dual celebration.

Sue and I joined the family and friends at the Cure of Ars church in Merrick, Long Island. The town of Merrick has a great atmosphere and it’s always refreshing to visit their. Especially in the company of great people.

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The service got underway and Mr. Nolan, like most 2 year olds, wasn’t content with just sitting still and wanted to have fun. He did great throughout the formalities and received his baptism well.

 

 

After that, we headed for Ella & Ed’s home, where a wonderful spread awaited. We assisted with the final preparations to ensure everything was set out and heated properly. And then, the celebration began. The buffet was wonderful, with several of my favorites in plentiful supply. My intentions for a rippling six pack were put on hold for the day as I enjoyed sharing this food and company with great people. There was plenty of coffee and jelly beans also, which further contributed to a wonderful experience.

After the meal, it was time for Nolan to open all his birthday/baptism gifts. He was excited as each one was opened and a new treat presented. He promptly found his favorite and proceeded to play with that for the remainder of the afternoon.

What a great lesson for all of us – find your favorite something and play hard.

Ascent 57 – Political Musing

WeThePeople

My first today is expressing myself politically. I typically tend to keep my views to myself and have no desire to engage in the arguing in the public forum. Today, I shared a perspective on my FaceBook wall and got some great responses. And, of course, some interesting ones. Here’s the post I shared:

I rarely post anything political for obvious reasons. I want a President who understands, honors and commits to the Constitution. “We the People” is a simple concept. I want a President who will take tangible action to improve & preserve the environment and eliminate nuclear weapons. This is our only home. Rather important we care for it now. I want a President who favors peace on the globe and not create the next war that a generation of our kids will suffer in. And I want to see those who already served given the respect and care they deserve. I don’t care what the denomination or affiliation is. Such labels tend to segregate us, not unite us.I don’t care if a candidate made a mistake in the past. I care that they are open and honest about it and are committed to not repeating it.Finally, I love the adage “Promote what you love rather than bashing what you hate”. It’s all about moving forward.

This is my first year of being able to vote in a Presidential election. I had the great privilege of becoming an American Citizen in 2013. I must admit the current field of candidates is rather disheartening. Yet, I am a firm believer that I must do my part or I will be a part of the problem.

At this point, I have no idea who I will cast a vote for. I confess that my values have been more on the conservative side in the past. Yet, I cannot vote with good conscience purely on a party denomination.

My simple hope is that the “United” part of USA is re-established and opens the door to global one-ness and community.

Ascent 56 – Two Old Goats

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For my first today, I tried a rather awesome liniment: Two Old Goats Essential Oils Lotion. My shoulders & neck get a bit stiff and achy, probably due to too much time at a steering wheel and a keyboard. I see a chiropractor once a month who attempts to wrench my head from my body and actually has me feeling much better.

When Sue and I went to Charlotte for Chris & Christine’s wedding last Halloween, her Dad told us about the lotion. Sue had recently had a knee surgery and was keen for anything to ease the discomfort. He handed us a sample bottle and, intrigued by the name, learned a bit about it.

It’s a vegetable glycerine base with goats milk and 6 essential oils. Developed a few years ago by Karen Pharr, a professional quilter and fabric artist who frequently had dry, chapped, tired hands after long hours of work. Other products were oily or stained the fabric, so her quest for an ideal lotion was born.

Sue swears by it and uses it daily. I, however, had not tried it so a first experience was in order. I applied it generously to my neck and shoulders, It instantly felt soothing and had a very pleasant odor. Shortly after application, it stopped tingling and my I felt much less discomfort. I was pleasantly surprised with this product and will certainly use it again.

If you like to experience it, check it out at www.twooldgoats.com

Ascent 55 – Curry & Co

A delicious first tonight: Food from Curry & Co. Last weekend, as the weather was nice, Sue and I went for a walk down by the strip mall. About 1.5 miles. On the way back, we stopped to look at a bus schedule and walked into a restaurant to get some quarters.

curryco

It was a brand new place and that all-too-familiar scent hit me. Curry! It was a new franchise that was essentially Indian fast food. All the favorites were there. Tandoori, Vindaloo, Samosas, Nan, Basmati Rice and more. You basically put your own meal together from whatever is available and slip into a curry nirvana.

We didn’t actually eat that time as we had just had lunch albeit we took menus and vowed to return soon.

We were going to have a couple of frozen Indian entrees for dinner tonight and Sue stopped by Curry & Co for some bread. And came home with Samosas, Dal and Basmati rice. Which was basically a meal by itself. I set a bowl on each plate and filled each halfway with rice. Then topped them up with the dal. A Samosa on one side and a half slice on naan bread on the other completed the dish.

The food was simply amazing. The samosas were perfectly cooked and were not greasy. The Dal had a bit of spice to it that was just enough to make the dish tantalize the taste buds. It was a perfect dinner – just enough to fill us up and not feel like we overdid it.

Will definitely return there soon to sample the rest of their offerings.

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Chicken Tikka Rice Bowl

Ascent 54 – A Return to Cyprus

For my first today, I’m contemplating what it would be like to return to a place from my childhood. I spoke with my older brother today as he was preparing to board a plane with his wife to head to the island of Cyprus to live for a while.

cyprus

cyprus locationCyprus is a jewel of an island located at the east end of the Mediterranean, close to Turkey, Syria and Israel. I spent 6 years there, with the first 3 starting when I was 2 and the next 3 when I was 9. I don’t remember much about the first trip albeit I was assured I had a very good time. The second tour I do remember more off and have a lot of wonderful memories. You can pretty much get across the island by car in a day and there is so much history there and places to see.

The island has an ancient history and you can still find Roman and Greek coins and artifacts to this day. The central mountain – Troodos – is also known as Olympus. The home of the Gods. Every weekend we would make a trip somewhere. I have seen castles built by Richard the Lionheart. Open graves with skeletons of a man and a horse, side by side. Castles built so high up a mountain, you look DOWN on eagles gliding as you ascend. And there is so much beautiful coastline and beaches. We would often just pull off the highway and stop at a restaurant right on the water. The pelicans were pacing the dock waiting for the fishermen to return. And, getting close to our table as our food was served. My favorite was the fish mezze – a multi course fish and seafood meal with copious amounts of salad, pita bread, yogurt and wine. (the latter I didn’t partake of at the time).

Camping was a favorite pastime and we would often head off to some beach campground with other families and spend the weekend in pure heaven. During school holidays, we lived at the beach. Fishing, canoeing and generally just enjoying each precious moment. I learned the habit of shaking my shoes before putting them on, as scorpions and other nasties, loved to nest in them overnight.

For the bulk of the second tour, we were on the Royal Air Force base of Akrotiri. Obviously placed there for strategic reasons. (A very short flight from the then Soviet Union).

I am so blessed to have parents who loved to spend time with us and to get out and explore what an area had to offer. We often got off the beaten track and went through the small villages, meeting the real people of the area.

We were there in 1974 when there was a brief war between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. There was no impact or danger to us as they both knew their conflict would end a lot faster if they engaged the British. It ended with a once-unified island being separated, which makes me sad to think about.

To this day, my dad and brothers still cook kebabs the way we did back there. Love those family traditions. I must admit, I am a bit of a grill-meister myself.

Talking with my brother today, brought back all these memories. He is returning there tomorrow. I intend to return not too long after that. It will be interesting to return as an adult and revisit some the places I enjoyed as a child. In a way, it will be a first.

Ascent 53 – Random Musings

2015-09-28 19.07.21No epic accomplishment or radical new experience for my first today. Of course, each & every day is a new experience, if we so allow. I love the quote by Heraclitus: No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. Or woman, of course.

This is the beauty of journeying in an awakened state. Once you have chosen the path of awakening, it’s an ongoing process. It’s a delicious adventure into the higher realms of your awareness and your being as you evolve into who you were created to be. Sometimes it’s a big bang. Other times it feels more like erosion. Either way, you’re making progress and the key is to be present to now, release what needs to be released, receive what is there to receive and allow all to unfold.

It’s not for the faint of heart. Too many stop short of recognizing their greatness because they stopped reaching before they got to the gold. The process of transformation is not always an easy one. There are some parts that are smooth and, the more you commit to the process, the easier it does become. And, it’s not always that the journey is less arduous – it’s more that you’re in a different perspective. You see everything as opportunity and are not intimidated by the challenges that previously would have seemed daunting.

The paradox is that the process is more about un-learning. When I experienced one of my earlier awakenings, I realized that I needed to become willing to release everything I had ever thought, felt, known or believed. It didn’t mean I actually had to let it go – I was just willing. The process itself will show you that which you retain and that which is optimal to allow to slip out of your awareness. It’s akin to when you choose the path of fitness. When you truly commit to it, you align yourself with the energy, people and resources of that world. What serves & supports you becomes readily apparent to you and that which does not will cease to exist in your reality. Which greatly simplifies the process. There will be some things which will take some focus and efforts to identify & resolve, possibly even layers of it, yet they all can be dealt with and disempowered so they no longer impede you from living the full on life that you desire and deserve.

Loving the journey.