Friday, May 4, 2012

My body has not been cooperating with me. Why? The weather has been so wonderful that I am spending more and more time outside. I started working outside for about 20 minutes, then advancing to thirty minutes to 45 minutes and then the hour. However with the storms coming and going and my persistence of staying out longer my body has been very sore. So the other day, while slowing down, I was watching two bumblebees circle around each other. They would spiral up and then back down to about a foot or two above the soil. Up and down always in a circle. I was fascinated about this flight pattern. My first thought was a mating dance. It seems that bees, insects, animals, birds all have their own unique rituals. Look at us humans, with our own myriads of proper courtship. With most of them having been learnt from the many animals and birds that surround us. This morning while Ellen and I were drinking our coffee along with breakfast sweets, she noticed two bumblebees connected swirling around and around, up and down, always staying connected. They remind me of the American Bald Eagles where the lock their talons together climbing higher and higher then plummeting to the earth, talons still locked swirling ever faster, thinking that at any moment they will crash to the earth. You probably wonder what this all means while my body is in such pain. I was forced to sit and slow down and while slowing down on the yard work, I have noticed so much, missed if I was involved with pulling weeds. I have also noticed the many different types of butterflies, this spring, the Red Admiral, the Morning Cloaks, the Painted Ladies, the Commas and others. The short life span of butterflies, some have days, other a month, regardless they have enough time to accomplish all that is necessary in their short life. I hope that the same is with us, in our short life, we all have just the right amount time to experience life. With a wink and a nod-HeWal

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The weather has been great this past week. A new driveway has been laid and it looks great. We have lived in this house for over thirthy years and never, I mean never have worked on this driveway. Even after both boys started driving nothing. The driveway out by the road the corners have been cut and the little bit yard by the bushes was just a mud hole. For the last few years, I have had only enough strength for work. I went to work and that was it. Just going to work. S the house started to look sad without the loving care it needed. The garage door didn't work, the windows had not been cleaned and that driveway. Just close my eyes and it was gone u til the next day. The flower garden were also pretty sad looking. Now that I am retired I am seeing more of the saddness in the yard. Starting in March when the weather was mild, I started edging the beds and culling out the vinca, lemon balm, and a few other flowers that have over taken the gardens. I am done with both and the yards seem happier. With catching up with the work, around the house, that had been so neglected also seem happier. There are days when I want to curl up and not wanting to see the light of the next morning. How can I continue when I hurt so badly? I can only function taking heavy doses of strong pain medicine. What sort of life is it when it hurts to walk, to sit, to bend down,to move from one spot to another spot? If I ponder to long my current situation in life with a disease without a cure, always progressing to worst pain, never giving me a break, I wonder why continue? It comes down to adjustment. I daily, hourly, each job I need to accomplish, I adjust. I adjust my five senses. The five senses are a flood gate of ceaseless streams providing pleasure for each pain that I feel. I and all others lust for knowledge, knowledge that feeds the mind. With each particle of knowledge, I adjust. I see a weed by the roadside, I wonder what good cand it bring. I see a gnat on the breeze and wonder it's purpose. I look at the gold lined cloud, with it's royal splendor of purple and crimson and wonder at the vaulted heavens and their purpose. Even in pain I hunger for knowledge, I thirst, I strive. From a million fountains bursting forth with cool, crystal droplets of knowledge, I adjust. With each adjustment I forget. I forget the sadness that surrounds my body. It provides a momentary relief from my shackled life. I realize that the door of forgetting, is within my reach. And only I can open that forgetful door.
With a wink and a nod-HeWal

Saturday, April 7, 2012

It took me years to understand the concept of what a team is all about. At work there is the team of bosses and there is the team of employees. If these two very different teams cannot mesh together then issues arise. Instead of the teams understanding each other, the two teams are in conflict. Butting heads, slowing down on the job, grievances abound, with both shouting that I am right. I have come to realize that we all are in teams. You need to have teamship with your neighbors other wise the fences can get pretty high. You need teamship while sharing the roads with others. You can just imagine the disasters that will occur. You need teamship with your doctor. Once again you can see the dangers when both of you are on a completely different page. And you also need to understand the team within your body.
Most of the reasons, the teams, that are in our lives are in conflict, is because we have not taken the time to understand each member and their rolls. Instructions miss the mark if you do not AIM for the person. Learn to make allowances for human conditions, talk specifics and methods for instruction. Both you and the team need to cover the who, why, what, where, and how. At the very beginning of any issue the team is facing, these four 'Ws' and the one H need to done immediately. Your first paragraph, your first conversation, your first action, need to be accomplished quickly. If your team does not understand why their jobs count and where they fit in the big picture, you will never have team you are proud of. Do not start your team before you and they know what you are doing and don't do all of the talking. The key in running a good team is a skill you cannot do without. The key to a good team is sound planning and follow thorugh. Think the assignment through and know each member on the team. Once all understand that jobs depend on quality, you can count on your team members to produce. But first you need to look around at yourself, rate yourself and then get going. A trivial misunderstanding can sometime wreck efficiency, put an end to teamwork. What is the best insurance against such foul-ups? Constant communications and an eye on the human factor. Be perceptive, avoid vagueness, be clear, factual, meet with the team with regularity and accept responsibility. When dealing with a progressive disease, with no cure, a disease that is so painful it becomes easy to neglect the magic of a team. At times I have allowed myself to become withdrawn and become focus on the dark side. It is worth a million dollars a year to have the habit of looking on the bright side of things. The one who conquers the difficulties of being dishearten, the one who conquers instead of bending to the storm is the kind of man who never fails. One needs to hammer and forge yourself, instead of dreaming yourself into a character. It requires a good and strong man to say " I was mistaken and am sorry." A weak individual will fail to do the right thing and often hesitates.
Remember your team within. It is that team that will make you, strengthen you, allow you to move one toe at a time. It is not easy to pull yourself up. BUT you are the ONLY one who can.
With so many teams in our lives it is a good thing to understand them all, and then we can move forward and deal to the best of our ability. It all starts with only a smile.
With a wink and a nod HeWal

Sunday, March 25, 2012

During the winter, seeds lay beneath the cold earth, while our hearts dream of spring. In the depth of our soul lies our desires and hopes. The seeds of our hope are gentle reminders of the warming of days. Lying deep within our creased brains as silent reminders, having knowledge of the future like the seeds in the soil. Are these hope, these dreams misleading us? Or is the knowledge of what is hidden below the snows are as sure as the sprouts we will see in spring? The seeds stand naked in the bitter cold with biting winds spiraling the little bit of earth while seeking nutrients around them. With a tiny bit of sun warming the earth they stir even though the very breath of the winds carry hoar frost and snow.
Have our hopes, our dreams, faded with the cold? So deeply buried, we wonder if the sun can stir us, warm us. With the freezing winds, our very breath, are frozen upon the air, like sparkling crystals reflecting the sun's rays. Like restless waves moving up and down. Back and forth, back and forth thus our moods sway us. Dark to light, white to black, dust to crystals. This rainbow which we can create prods us, moves us, reminds us that our seeds will sprout. The spring flowers, the moon in autumn, the cools breezes of summer, the winter's snow, its idle concerns do not cloud the mind, this is the happiest season. The sun stirs our true instincts of nourishment, reproduction, social and sleep. We are are the water we drink, the air we breath, the soil in which we eat. We are never separated/isolated from the earth always reconnecting with the earth. No matter how hard the soil and how deep our seed is buried the earth is healing.
With a wink and nod-HeWal

Friday, March 9, 2012

We live in a time when many hope to have their 15 minutes of fame. Some will go to extremes in order to achieve that 15 minutes. The shock factor is alive and well. One of the reasons for the shock factor is the presumption that there is little room for new discovers. Oh once in a great while you will hear of a new frog or insect, but for the most part nothing of great importance are to be found. Most of us know the laws of the land, they are clearly defined and unchangeable. Many of the reality shows on TV try to push the boundary, going to the extreme in creating a masterpiece, experimenting in music, art, building or foods. But what about us? It has been said that the finest art is the art of living. The art of living could be found in any of these areas-health, writing, painting, habits, dress, grooming, manners, home life, religion, recreation, etc. However for many, we make our fame in how we deal with our struggles of life, health. All you have to do is to listen. Listen to others and you learn that their 15 minutes of fame is how the handle their illnesses. Are there not a hundred, hundreds of hostile germs that wage a war on our body. In early days we were provoked into making the most hazardous experiments. Many were lost in these tussles with sickness and still are being lost by hundreds daily. You might not discover a toad, but many of us have found a combination of this herb, with this vitamine, with this pain pill and wonders of wonders we fixed ourselves. We found a cure. The conquering of MY ills sheds a bright light upon all who I share it with. Only to find that the dispot of germs still has us shackled. I have found that by listening, paying attention to another's word, their stories of woe, is the best way to find my 15 minutes fame. This fame is held out to all of us. Imagine what the world would be like if just for a moment we close our mouth and open our ears. The art of living is the art of listening. The testimony of their experiences are the trophies we gain. These trophies are the fame we seek. This prize, this fame is the noblest kind of success. It takes effort on our part but so worth it.
With a wink and a nod HeWal

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Years back when my sons were younger and my health was good, Ellen would invite a small group over for coffee and sweets. The company would stay for a couple of hours, simply enjoying the moment of conversation. Most of the friends who came over were individuals without a mate or because of age no longer can drive or be invited out. This past Sunday my mother-in-law had such an outing. She had a small group and all invited bought with them a dish to share. In the past the boys and I would fill serve the snacks, filled coffee cups and made sure all had plenty. This was the time for the host, Ellen, to be able to sit and enjoy the visit, since they spent time to make sure all was right. Since Ellen has been sick, Alex and I went to help Connie so she could enjoy the afternoon. We wash dishes, wipe counters, made sure fresh coffee was available. How I enjoyed the afternoon. However I also forget that I have an illness that is very painful. I had taken along some extra pain meds to get through the day. I was so tired by the time I got home. On Monday I felt like a truck ran me over.
I knew better. I knew that I should paced myself, I ignored the pain. Why? I ask that question a lot. Why? Why am I not in control of my body? How is it that I am in this situation? I am still a young enough man who should be still in my prime. Did I do something wrong? Am I being cursed? These negative thoughts can continue for a long time if we allow it.
When I am plagued with such thoughts, I try to immerse myself in a project. Like art, cooking or working outside. These small projects help to occupy my brain and before long the day is almost over. Yes, the negative thoughts are still there, however the time does go by quicker then just siting around sulking.
Something else that helps me is my attitude. I understand it is so easy to preach and easy to tell others how to get by. However since I have been plagued these past years I know what works for me; don't rehearse your woes or beg for sympathy. Don't burden your friends with a long tale of sorrow. It may be that they have even greater grief concealed. To unload your cares upon the back of another is selfish. You never know how great is the pack already, upon their back. The other may be bending beneath a heavier weight than our own. If you have the need to rehearse, rehearse something positive. Force yourself to find something of cheer to pass along. Watch the faces of your friends light up as you lead their thoughts away from gloom and care. You yourself will be lifted also, for others give back to us in kind. To talk happiness forthe world is sad enough without your woes. Look for the places that are smooth and clear. And speak to rest their weary ear. Brightness for brightness, gloom for gloom. The world is a mirror.
With a wink and a nod HeWal

Thursday, March 1, 2012

For most of my life I have been a talker. I have come to realize that I actually talked over others. I thought that my words were important. I had an answer or words for every conversation. When my body started to break/slow down I was hearing differently. I was listening intently to other's word and their feelings. When someone asked "how is your day?" or " how are you feeling?" they really don't want for one to go into a discourse of their life. They want just a nod of the head or the reply " my day is fine" or simply the word 'okay'. Or how often had you asked-' do you need anything?' We all know that you are not going to get anything for them. It is only a polite question without action on our part.
However I now not only nod the head but also state' NO! how are you really feeling?' Once those words are spoken the second time you are telling the other, I really do want to know. You are saying I am concerned. Or the question do you need anything? Emphasis the point that you really do want to do an errand for them. State do you need any pills from the drugstore or do you want some chicken soup? You can further state that "listen I am going to the drugstore or I am going to the corner market. It is not bother to pick up something extra."
We have become a society who just speak words without meaning, without truly caring.
I daily face pain. I daily feel useless. I am sick and have become a burden. I had to retire early because I cannot handle the long drive day after day. I am no longer the bread winner. So when I can help someone,it makes me part of the society once again. Having been forced to slow down not only my body but also my hearing, I understand what it means to be sickly and the attitude of feeling lowly, of no use.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote;
'to laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children;
to earn the approval of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to give of one's self without the slightest thought of return;
to have accomplish a task, whether by a healthy child, a recused soul, a garden patch or redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exaltation;
To know that even one;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.'
With a wink and a nod HeWal