Friday, September 20, 2013

Life Colors

If we look at fall colors, what we are really seeing is another form of creative destruction in the natural cycles of life. The amount of rain we have had this year, the shifts in temperature, and the intensity of the light will influence the colors of the turning leaves.

Then when the leaves fall, they provide mulch and ground cover, turning into fertilizer for next year's growth. As they drop from the trees, the bone structure or skeleton of the tree is revealed. After we enjoy the fall colors, then we can look right through the bare branches to the horizon, and then next year they will be filled in with fresh green buds and leaves again.

Nature teaches us that change is constant.

There was a time in history when most people never ventured more than  miles from where they were born. Now we move a number of times in our lifetime, often great distances.

There was a time not so long ago when people would find one job, one career, and stay in that field until we were too old to work any more.

There was a time when people just went to whatever church or religion their parents chose. Now more and more people feel free to choose other religions or spiritual paths that they prefer.

Cycles in nature are not identical. They follow patterns but are not identical. We have had more rain this year than other years. Some years we get more snow. Some years we have more drought and more wildfires.

As we enjoy the fall colors and the delicious produce of the fall harvest, what are the other things that have changed? What have we outgrown? What are we grateful for? What is next for us?

Fall colors are life colors. How does change color our life?

The Upside of Destruction

The Tower tarot card is about destruction, often times a destruction that presents us with a new opportunity to rebuild. Right now, the damage that the floods have done will cause a lot of people to be employed rebuilding roads, bridges, homes and businesses. Yes, of course, those who have had their homes or businesses damaged and may have lost priceless personal possessions, but if we shift our attention to doing what we can do to make the necessary repairs and a fresh start, we can become invigorated with a new burst of energy.

In some cases, it is metaphorical. An example would be losing a position in business that causes us to have to reconstruct or rebuild our careers. We can no longer see ourselves the way we used to. We have to reinvent and take stock in a major way. That layoff or termination may prompt us to check into doing something that we would really rather be doing.

When we are forced to rebuild our stuff, we are also rebuilding our selves. When a career change is forced upon us, we may find that we want to really take a hard look at our careers rather than just find another position like the one we used to have. We may then be even happier with our lives after setting a new direction.

Similar things will probably happen as rebuilding is done. Those rebuilding the roads may decide to not just put it back the way it was but to look for additional ways to reinforce it now that they know about the structural weakness.

Those rebuilding their homes may take this opportunity to not just put it back the way it was but to make some changes they were thinking about.

Destruction can inspire creative renewal and that is why drawing the Tower card is not necessarily a bad thing. If destruction has touched your life, take another look at the opportunities it presents.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


During the recent floods, people had to reroute to try and get anywhere since so many roads were closed. And some people just had no roads open to get where they wanted to go.

So in a situation like that, you either know of other roads you can use or you stay home and work on other activities for the day or days. Now, of course, people in the worst hit areas had to evacuate their homes which may be heavily damaged. They will also have to reroute, although their change in direction will have to do with whether they can return to their old home or get it repaired.

Rerouting is a natural part of life. Floods of this nature have not been part of every day life here, but in the larger flow of life, how often do we have to change our plans, revising our routes and goals?

How many of us have not only changed jobs but changed careers several times in our life? How many of us have had more than one marriage or long term relationship?

In some cases, the change may have been our choice, while in others, the change was made necessary by the actions of others.

Rerouting is now part of our every day coping strategy for success.

Having extra food in the house, extra water, candles and batteries are good for coping with weather emergencies. Most of those whose homes were flooded will eventually get them repaired and move back in. Businesses that were flooded for the most part will be repaired. Even those of us who live on the high ground had to reroute because we could not go to work or we had to skip social plans. We had to reroute. We have to bounce back from setbacks and emergencies. It is human nature. It is our survival instinct. When one path is blocked, choose another.

Those of us who have GPS in our phones or cars can simply request to be directed to another route, but when we are not driving in our cars, we depend on our intuition to be our GPS. The more you trust your own intuition, the better your navigation. We all have it, but many of us just need to learn to trust it more.

Other ways our lives may get flooded may have to do with big changes in our sources of income, or the flow or non-flow in our relationships. In those cases too, we cannot just insist on going the way we used to go, we must choose a different route in order to survive. Emotional floods are the same as rivers overflowing their banks, and we just need to tune into our guidance and navigate new routes.

We may have thought that our preferred route would always be open, but now we are forced to be more resourceful and explore other routes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What We Harvest

What we harvest now has everything to do with what we did earlier in the year. Just as the harvest season is the culmination of the farmer's efforts all year, the success of our business right now is connected to how well we treated our customers last year and how good they think our products and services are, and if they refer others to us.

We can make our heavy loads feel lighter by our attitudes about them. Do we simply say "this is what needs to be done" and do it? Or do we whine and complain, and still have to do it? Which attitude leaves us feeling lighter, happier and as if we are taking it all in stride?

Whatever we are harvesting, even if it is less than we expected or less than we wanted, there are still good reasons to express gratitude to others for helping us get this far. As we have all experienced by now, sometimes a small gain can turn into a bigger one. There are great meals made out of simple ingredients because we have learned how to cook. Or the appreciative group of customers who refer other customers. Or the people who start out to be casual acquaintances who develop into close friends. Gratitude for even a small harvest can bring big results. Gratitude grows whatever we shower it on, like rain and sun on the fields.

We are in the middle of the harvest festivals and the time of the year when all kinds of produce are coming in fresh, culminating in the civic holiday of Thanksgiving when we truly stop for a moment and simply appreciate what we have harvested with our family and friends. In the midst of this season, both literally and figuratively, it is a perfect time to reflect and show gratitude. It is the joy of this season, shared.

The things we are harvesting now have everything to do with what we have done, and what we will harvest next has everything to do with what we are doing now.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Familiar Life Lesson

As I write this, the politicians are debating whether to launch military strikes on Syria. I hope that they do not. It seems to have been my fate to live in a lifetime where we get involved in wars that we do not need to be involved in, and as a result I find myself objecting, voting and earlier in my life, demonstrating against wars.

On the one hand, I dream and hope for the day when most people will choose not to act like this. Then again, there is obviously a strain of violence that runs through humanity that leads groups of people to want to use violence to subdue other groups of people.

The solution I would like to see us engage in is to simply let the wars in other countries simply run their course. Eventually one side will overpower the other and run their country.

Our politicians keep making up bogus excuses to get us sucked into the same old game again. The reasons given for needing to intervene in Syria are the same as the reasons invented to justify invading Iraq. We don't need to be involved in any of it.

Truth is, we always make deals with the winners anyway. Vietnam today is a trading partner and tourist destination, so what was the point of that war anyway? We sent troops to the island of Grenada for what? And since we have invaded Iraq twice what exactly did we get out of wasting all those lives and spending all those trillions of dollars? We bought oil from Iraq when Hussein ran the country and we continue to buy oil from Iraq no matter who their ruler is. So why bother with the war? There are many countries on earth who have corrupt, mean people running their governments. That is part of human nature too. And that does not keep us from doing business in those countries.

These political decisions are not made on a humanitarian basis. How stupid is it that we will not allow open trade with Cuba, a little Caribbean island near us because they have a communist government, but we do trillions of dollars of business every year with the world's biggest communist country, China?

Let these other countries settle their own civil wars and when the next leader is in place (and we have no way of knowing whether that person will be better or worse) then we will resume doing business with them. That's what we really do anyway.

Politicians who tell us that we somehow found plenty of money to run wars but our country can't afford to spend so much money on Social Security, Medicare and other programs that help people, are liars. It is precisely these wars that waste so much of our national budget.

We need to be resetting our priorities. We need to have politicians representing us who are more evolved. We need politicians who are willing to make the top priority doing what we can to improve our country and let the other countries hash their own problems out.

I vote for abstaining from participating in all wars and focusing our energy and resources on fixing what needs to be fixed in our own country.