Saturday, March 31, 2012

THE NATURE OF GOD – A Pantheist Persuasion

Recently, one of my new followers here on One Man's Wonder (let's call her Lucy) commented on how much she'd enjoyed my post on "screen-bound" kids and their growing alienation from Nature.

Almost as an aside, Lucy asked why I seldom refer to God in my writing. To be honest, I hadn't really thought that much about it, but as I've reflected on her question I realize I have something of an answer.

                                               ^   ^—   —^
WHOSE GOD IS IT?
It's true, you'll seldom see the word "God" in my posts, and when you do it's likely the kind with a small "g." A word you'll see far more often—always capitalized—is "Nature." This is very deliberate.

Don't get me wrong; I do believe in a god. When you get right down to it, I suppose I even believe in the God, whatever that means. But, ultimately, one's notion of what God is and how to portray and follow that idea is a very personal matter.

Still, as varied as our spiritual paths may be, doesn't every one of us who believes in any higher power at all come to that conviction by way of needs, hopes and instincts that originate in exactly the same place? It seems to me that place either is, or has something to do with, what we might call "the" God—a single, universal God.












MESSIN' WITH PERFECTION
Where most organized religions get it wrong is not in their core values. After all, everyone with a heartbeat wants basically the same things: to live in peace and harmony, to experience love, to do something of value, and to be reasonably happy.

What happens, though, is that faiths somehow always manage to lose their focus on those principles, allowing a few of their leaders or proponents and their self-serving agendas to hijack their missions. They fool people into losing touch with love; in its place, fear and negativity start seeping in.

With all those various interests and agendas, religion has gone to seed. At last count there were more than 20 major religions and over 270 subdivisions of those faiths in the world. The Christian moniker alone comprises thousands of denominations; in just the US and Canada some 1,000 of them claim to be the only legitimate Christian denomination.*

I don't know about you, but no god I could worship would have time for all that nonsense.

Religions expend way too much of their resources on defining and defending their differences, and too little on pursuing the values they share. They focus more on what they—or even worse, others—can or can't or shouldn't do instead of who they are and what they can become.

So you see, it's all become way too complicated. Instead of spiritual, it's gotten all intellectual, hierarchical, political. They've squeezed the joy out of being spiritual.




I don't know about you, but I'm confused and disappointed with organized religion. No god I could worship would have time for all that nonsense. This is why I find my god—what I suspect is indeed "the God"—in Nature.

A HOLY CONVERSATION
For most of my life I believed in, and prayed to, what I thought was "the" God. It was a concept I'd been taught as a child—someone else's concept. God was an abstract presence, a faceless, formless, lifeless power that supposedly existed at once everywhere and nowhere. And whatever communication I had with  him consisted of prayers that felt very much like shots in the dark. It was pretty much a monologue.

Since my gradual conversion, though, I converse with my god—Nature—all the time. Like a good old friend, he's approachable; he accepts me for who I am, not for who I should be; he commands my respect not for his power, but for his wisdom, integrity and constancy.

Notice I said "converse." Indeed, I chat with animals and birds; I listen to trees; I touch the wind and pour my heart out to the skies. As with any good conversation, my dialog with my Nature/god is often less about talking and more about listening and wondering.

Every day, I discover new evidence that everything—and I mean everyone and every thing—is connected, and that each creature, thing or place, large or small, is nothing less than holy.

What do I hear from Nature? I hear wisdom in its timeless patterns and rhythms; humility in its power and scale; inspiration in its sublime beauty. I find as much wisdom and guidance in that counsel as I would in any book—including one supposedly written by or through "the" God (though this is yet another bone of contention among man-made religions).

 










The more I practice this Nature-as-God faith, the better I get at seeing that the conversation extends far beyond my dialog with my immediate surroundings. Every day, I discover new evidence that everything—and I mean everyone and every thing—is connected, and that each creature, thing or place, large or small, is nothing less than holy.

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
Lest you wonder if my Nature-based religion has any place for the human species, let's just say that, for the most part, I see us as just another species of animal, in the end no more or less worthy of God's blessings than any other.

Does Nature care if I get through the day safe from harm? 
Probably no more than "the" God cares if Tim Tebow completes 
the game-winning pass.

Does this mean that Nature doesn't care about me and whether I get through the day healthy and safe from harm? Probably no more than "the" God cares if Tim Tebow completes the game-winning pass.

All my god cares about is that everything fits in the whole, divine Scheme of Things—that magic that explains everything from the birth of the universe, to the great interconnectedness of life, to eternity. In that context, I'm powerful only to the extent of my ability to love and create. To the universe that might not seem like much, but it does matter, and to another human being it may be everything.

CONNECTING AT THE SOURCE
Again, it's all a very personal matter, but for me Nature is a way—possibly the only way—of interpreting God that I know is both immediate and timeless; that both surrounds me and fills me; that teaches me both how small I am in the whole scheme of things and how powerful love can make me. And, as far as I can tell, Nature is the only god I can trust to remain always true, honest and positive.

So, since God is everywhere and every thing, shouldn't we be able to find him wherever we choose? I suppose I could look for him in buildings, on Sunday mornings. I could honor him in doctrine and ceremony created by human beings. I could study him in books—again, a medium of our making, not his.










Or I can experience God at the source, at places that show his true countenance, places where there are no walls around my awe; where the ceremony is life itself, where all the wisdom is written in his own hand;  places where I can not only speak to him, but literally become one with him.

That place, that sacred state of mind, is Nature. That's where my God and I find each other.
                                               ^   ^—   —^

POSTSCRIPT – My new friend, Lucy—that woman who commented on my blog—suggested, when I tried to summarize my religious beliefs, that I might be a pantheist. I looked it up; it's someone who identifies God with the universe and who acknowledges the validity of all gods. I try to avoid labels—they tend to manipulate and/or limit thought—but if I have to wear one, perhaps pantheist is as good as any.

Where do you find the face of God? Is it floating around you in the air, or is it in something or someone? Is it a kindly countenance or a  stern one? Does your god care about you?

And what's the name of your faith? Just in case you march to your own drummer like I do, here's a site that might help you decide what to call yourself: http://www.selectsmart.com/RELIGION/ 


* Source: http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm

Monday, March 26, 2012

I SPOT EYE SPOTS – The Small Wonder of Floaters

Most people assume Nature exists somewhere between arm's length and the horizon. Isn't that where we're accustomed to pointing our curiosity, to finding beauty and wonder?

But that assumption's not necessarily true; I have to keep reminding myself that Nature’s never any farther away than my own skin. For there, on me and in me, resides a whole other world of small wonders, just waiting to be discovered.

One of these little, inner wonders in particular has always fascinated me. Not for
its size or speed or any elegant design, but because to find it you have to close
your eyes.

It fascinates me, not for its size or speed or any elegant design, but because to find it you have to close your eyes.

OUT, DAMNED SPOT!
Just the other day I was out sitting on the deck, enjoying the very early spring that's sprung here in Minnesota. I was facing right into the sun, and even though my eyes were shut I was struck by how much there was to see.

My field of vision was flooded in bright, fiery red-orange, the result of that powerful light penetrating my translucent, blood-laced eyelids. Every so often a cloud would drift across the sun, muting the glow to a sumptuous deep burgundy.

     

Against this dramatic backdrop, one of the human body’s most arcane little quirks stood out like bugs on a TV screen: floaters. Floaters are actually shadows cast on the retina (the eye’s light receptor) by tiny clumps of cells or of the gel inside the vitreous, the clear jelly-like substance that fills the eye.

Nature’s never any farther away than our own skin.

Floaters look like tiny organic shapes dangled here and there in front of your eyes (if your eyes were open, that is). Mine look like little bits of thread or lint. They’re there all the time, whether your eyes are open or shut. When they're open, though, your vista's usually so filled with a busy pattern of other stuff that you don’t notice them.

     

FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY
Once I notice my floaters, a little game ensues. I pick out the biggest, most complex one and try to look right at it. Trouble is, it’s located a few degrees off of center, just to the left of where I’m looking.

Try as I might to look right at it, the moment my eye moves so does the floater, staying always slightly peripheral. Like a young Mohammed Ali, it glides back and forth at will, just beyond the reach of its hapless opponent's best jab.

This is made all the more maddening by the slight lag time between when I move my gaze and when the shape follows! I imagine it being on an elastic leash. When I tug, at first it doesn’t move; it only stretches the leash. Then, a fraction of a second later, the energy transfers to the object, which then slides greasily—alas, not to where I want it, but again just to the left.

How ironic that the only way you can stop looking at something is by opening your eyes!

I always tire of this losing game after a few minutes. I open my eyes and try ignoring the floaters. This is easier said than done. What would happen, I imagine, if I couldn't stop seeing them? I'm thinking this could drive a person nuts! Fortunately, it never takes me long to tune them out.

Still, how ironic—some might say demonic—that the only way you can stop looking at something is by opening your eyes!

     

HERE'S LOOKIN' AT YOU
Do you have floaters? Let the rest of us know what that's like for you. Do you rue the day you first noticed them, or have you found ways to make peace with them—perhaps even celebrate them? 

We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

SPRING'S EARLY BLUSH – Winsome or Worrisome?


The bold strokes of their branches already applied, trees welcome the pointillist's dappling, for now but a thin veil of vibrant color.
 

This barely-unfurling, still-becoming green is tender, innocent, as yet unspoiled by the unseemly dust and grime of urban summer. 

And oh, for just this moment, how it glows against still-gray bark and branch of other, envious trees!

(This revisits a reflection I first posted last year—on May 20! While I work very hard to make sure each of my posts is fresh and unique, this one just cried out for a second look, since the very same trees have donned the very same garb this year, but two months earlier.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SLOW FOOD – And That's An Order!


The caricature in my high school yearbook showed me shoving three hot dogs, buns and all, into my mouth at the same time.

I just assumed that, come mealtime, I’d sit down, the food would be there and I’d eat it.

Being the son of a restaurateur, you'd think I'd have known and appreciated
food more than that. Someone like me was supposed to dine, not wolf it down
like a starving man. I suppose, like most teenagers, I didn’t have much time for eating—or anything that didn’t involve learning, sports or my friends. I must
have just assumed that, come mealtime, I’d sit down, the food would be there
and I’d eat it.

At any rate, it took a stint in the US Army for me to realize that food was no
longer something I could—or would—take for granted.

                                            ~//~          ~//~          ~//~

ON EDGE
It was July, I was at Fort Dix, New Jersey for basic training, and I was the lowest of the low. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such an oppressive collusion of heat, humidity, physical exertion and psychological intimidation.

After a grueling day of drilling, marching and physical training, punctuated by verbal and physical harassment, even that staple of institutional feeding, “shit on a shingle” (creamed beef on toast) was looking mighty good to me.


Our drill instructors made us perch on just the 
front two inches of our chairs while we ate.

But the powers that be, in their efforts to strip us recruits of any pretense of autonomy, weren’t about to make anything easy, not even a well-deserved meal. In a trick borrowed from the Marines, our drill instructors made us perch on just the front two inches of our chairs while we ate.

You can imagine how hard it is to relax and enjoy a meal with your tailbone grinding on that unforgiving edge, your thighs straining to support some of your weight. The good news was that, at worst, we’d only have to endure the pain for ten minutes; that’s how long they gave us to eat.

And, as if that weren’t enough abuse, the guy serving mess that night (that pimply, gap-toothed guy from Arkansas, drunk with power from his recent promotion to corporal), might have been having a bad day—or maybe just hated you because you went to college—in which case you got only half a portion.

So, as much as I’d have loved to really enjoy those grudging morsels, I learned to shut up and chow down. In fact, if such a thing were possible, I learned to eat even faster in the Army than I did in high school.

The whole experience was about as close to incarceration as I ever hope to get. All the while I dreamed of freedom—especially the freedom to take my time and really savor a meal.

FOOD FIGHT
Ever since my last day at Fort Dix, I’ve seized that dream. So much so that a present-day update of that high school caricature would more accurately show me leisurely sniffing the bouquet of those hot dogs. A real lunch laggard, a dinner dawdler, or...no, I've got it: a mealtime mullosk.

Don't they realize the freedom, the privilege, the gift of an unhurried meal?

I see so many poor folks rushing their meals these days, acting as if eating were the last thing in the world they want to be doing. Don't they realize the freedom, the privilege, the gift of an unhurried meal?

Slow food?

Now I’m certainly no connoisseur, so it doesn’t take fancy cooking to please me. But I know good food when I taste it and appreciate the dining experience on many levels. Whether it’s a burger and shake or sake-poached prawns with rutabaga confit, I enjoy every nuance of presentation, taste and texture. Not to mention the good conversation a leisurely meal so often nourishes.

For this I must thank my parents, of course. It was they who set such a good example for me of patience, discrimination and moderation. But I give even more credit to Corporal Billy-Bob or whatever his name was and United States Army for teaching me about freedom.

So...this might be a good time to apologize to my family and friends for the countless aggregate hours they've patiently—and not so patiently—waited for me to finish my meals. I hope this helps explain my odd behavior.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

HOW TO BE IN THE MOMENT – 101 Tips

TIP #26
See generously.


Though seeing may seem a kind of acquisition, it is as much about giving as taking.

Let go of agendas and schedules; surrender the cell phone; commit  your time and attention; pay attention and share wonder.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SCREEN-BOUND KIDS – The "Missing" Generation

PART 2 (continued from 3/9 post)

So kids are screen-bound; what's wrong with that?

NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER
Research* is just beginning to document the effects of screen addiction—  specifically from children's growing detachment from Nature. So far, studies suggest that it's manifesting in wide-ranging ways: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

           

Richard Louv, in his groundbreaking book Last Child In the Woods, makes an eloquent case for why the phenomenon merits the sweeping moniker, Nature Deficit Disorder. It's a condition which, if left untreated, will surely have profound implications for our country and for the world.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
•  Kids who regularly spend time outdoors (especially before adolescence) are more likely to develop positive attitudes towards the environment as adults—something our planet desperately needs if we are to tackle the daunting environmental challenges facing this generation. To protect Nature, decision-makers and voters have to care about it, and to care about it, they must know it and know it well.

•  Just as the United States is beginning to grapple with the out-of-control costs of health care, an epidemic of childhood obesity is weighing down even the best of solutions. This is a complex challenge, one that has to do with more than just poor nutrition choices. But, of the many factors contributing to the problem, the most obvious is sheer inactivity; watching a screen and tapping one's fingers burn almost no calories.


Children's ability to communicate with clarity 
and nuance is evaporating.

•  Spending time outdoors affords other physical and developmental advantages too. Among them are capacities involving spacial relationships, principles of physics, empathy with other living things, a healthy sense of self, problem solving, socialization...well, you get the idea.

•  Children's ability to communicate with clarity and nuance is evaporating. In an environment of sped-up, dumbed-down messages—few if any of them exchanged face to face—too many parents and educators seem to be conceding, perhaps unwittingly, that colorful, evocative language, facial expression and body language no longer matter in how we relate to one another.

       

• Finally, in an area too often given short shrift in the children-and-nature discussion—one close to my heart—Nature Deficit Disorder is leaving a generation of children starving for the even the most essential, least controversial of spiritual experiences, those involving wonder, awe and gratitude. While kids might feel some emotions from things they see on a screen, those emotions are very unlikely to include wonder and gratitude.

So let's not confuse a declaration that something is "awesome" with the kind of experience Nature can provide. To truly experience any kind of beyond-the-self awareness, young people have to look up and witness something bigger, faster, more beautiful than anything a two- or a six-inch screen—even one packing umpteen thousand pixels—can ever begin to render.

      

WHAT TO DO
So, what to do.

• First, we, as parents and grandparents, can take a more active role in determining what our young people are reading, watching and doing on their screens. The wisest approach will acknowledge that kids, especially teenagers, value peer acceptance more than their parents could possibly understand. We did when we were young and so will generations to come.

So let them use their technology to stay in touch and have fun. But set limits. Provide appealing alternatives. One example is to schedule unplugged, outdoor family time—Nature walks, camping trips, picnics, or just sitting on the deck or porch and seeing how many small natural wonders each person can spot.

(You can find more ideas for screen-free activities at the websites of many children-, family-, and health-focused organizations, including the Mayo Clinic, the Sierra Club and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Take a closer look at the many myths about how dangerous it is to let kids play outdoors.

• Maybe you can strike a deal: for every hour they spend outside, without any kind of screen, they get to spend another hour web-surfing, texting or gaming.

• Set an example. It's not that kids don't want to enjoy Nature; it's that they've never learned how to do it. Show them. Prime their inherent curiosity by pointing out small wonders and expressing the joys of curiosity, wonder, awe and gratitude.

• Take a closer look at the many myths about how dangerous it is to let kids play outdoors. Instead of listening to the media's self-serving, overwrought, negative slant, do your own research. Louv's Last Child In the Woods is a wonderful place to start, offering more balanced, realistic assessments of risk—and the statistics to back them up.


• Get involved in promoting the integration of unplugged, outdoor activities for kids throughout the community—in their schools and churches, in municipal parks and recreation programming, in health care protocols, and in cultural organizations like museums, orchestras and zoos. And let your elected representatives know why these priorities matter to you and your community.

• Finally, be ready for the push-back. One of kids' main jobs in growing up is to begin finding their own reality, even if that conflicts with that of their parents. Be strong; know what you're talking about; present a united front with other adults in your family; form alliances and share information with other parents in your neighborhood.

• And remember, any normal child will watch you like a hawk to see if you practice what you preach. Be ready to take a long, hard look at your own inattentiveness to the real world. What you object to in your kids' media usage may be the same thing you do every day under the guise of managing your own business, household and social life.


It's a matter of will—rational and moral will, personal and political will.

WE CAN DO THIS!
What a fortunate childhood I had! I didn't realize then what a blessing it was that I could be outdoors most of the time. I just took it for granted; I think my parents did too. Today, though, far fewer kids enjoy that kind of daily connection with Nature...and that troubles and saddens me.

We know many of the causes and symptoms of Nature Deficit Disorder, and we know a number of effective treatments. So it's a matter of will—rational and moral will, personal and political will. As with any societal ill, the movement to reclaim our screen-bound children's Nature health begins with people, one person at a time. Are you ready to be one of them?


* Much of the research on screen addiction is documented on the website of Louv's Children and Nature Network (link: http://www.childrenandnature.org/research/volumes/C106/106)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

SCREEN-BOUND KIDS – The "Missing" Generation - Part 1

SMALL WONDERS, SMALL WORLD
Every generation has its love-hate relationship with technology.

In the 18th century it was steam power and the spread of the industrial revolution through Europe, the United States and Japan. In the 19th century it was transportation, telegraphy and the incandescent light bulb; in the 20th, widespread electrification, the automobile and airplane, television and finally the introduction of personal computers and the Internet.

My fondest wish was for a wired walkie-talkie—
so I could talk with one of my buddies maybe 
thirty yards away.

Every one of these advances brought profound change in people's lives, much of it for the better. But in each case there have also been troubling societal and cultural trade-offs.

Now, in the 21st century, it seems a whole century's worth of technological change has occurred in just its first decade. This time it's the continuing explosion of the Internet, the emergence of cloud computing and further miniaturization of computers applied to communication, entertainment and social networking.

 

When I consider that, as a boy, my fondest wish was for a wired walkie-talkie—so I could talk with my brother or one of my buddies maybe thirty yards away (heck, I could have just yelled!)—the range of electronic "toys" available today is almost deliriously exciting.

A phone the size of a deck of cards puts me in touch wirelessly, in seconds, with someone on the other side of the world. Even more amazing, that person—let's say a middle-class Chinese in a rural location—can afford the technology.

AN UNWITTING CONSPIRACY
Here's the problem: not one of these historic technological advances—at least up to television in the latter half of the 20th century—has come even close to the rate at which developments since then have changed children's relationship with Nature.

The problem, as I see it, has developed along several parallel tracks. The first is that, as information and entertainment have gotten channeled to smaller and smaller screens, those screens now can accompany us virtually anywhere.

Parents are less likely than ever to allow—
much less encourage—children to explore 
and play outdoors.

The second track involves parents' well-intentioned efforts to educate, engage and protect their kids. Hoping it would help their children, these parents—and I'm afraid this means a significant percentage of parents in the developed world—have failed to recognize the potential for abuse of the technology and do not set reasonable limits on its use for inane recreation.

While one might expect this ability to be in touch anywhere, any time to have eased parents' concern with their children's safety, the exact opposite seems to have happened. Whether from the increasingly sensationalist fear-mongering by self-serving news media and politicians, the stain of paranoia on the post-9/11 American psyche, or some other influence, parents are if anything less likely than ever to allow—much less encourage—children to explore and play outdoors.



Unfortunately, industries and institutions which purport to support children and families—the entertainment world, cultural organizations, government and even schools—have been complicit in the growing alienation of kids from Nature. (Everyone seems to feel its more important—or at least easier—to keep kids occupied than to let them explore, create and learn.)

The third, and perhaps most troubling, aspect of the technology-Nature clash is that the omnipresence of little screens in children's lives has blurred the distinction between what happens on those various screens and what is actually happening right in front of them.

In this area, as in the others I've touched on, technology's not the only culprit. Content seems to consistently over-estimate consumers' patience and underestimate their intelligence. Too many kids, I'm afraid, believe "reality" programming, with its shallow relationships, inane dialog, petty arguments and self-serving, "gotcha" morality, is in any way real.

Considering the well-recognized tenet of childhood development that kids tend to rise (and fall) to the level of expectations shown by their parents, teachers and other forces influential in their lives, we are, literally, letting them down.

ON THE SCREEN; OUT OF THE SCENE
Every day, it seems, real-life, first-hand experience comprises a smaller and smaller share of the average child's development—with troubling implications for their physical, intellectual and spiritual health.

C'mon, you know you've seen it: several teenagers, all friends, sitting together somewhere outdoors. It's a gorgeous day. Maybe there's an event going on; certainly there are clouds drifting, shape-shifting, overhead; trees sway in the breeze; birds fly and sing.

They're "in touch" with something else—someone who's not even there or, worse yet, something that's not even happening concurrently.

Yet not a one of the kids realizes any of this… not to mention what his/her friends may be thinking or feeling. No, they're "in touch" with something else—either someone who's not even there or, worse yet, a program of some sort, something that's not even happening concurrently. They are, in most senses of the word, missing.

"Hey, sup? OMG ges whos c-ing Donna? Where r u? CU on FB?

Not long ago, I shared this in one of my posts:
Ask kids where's their favorite place to play, and you may be as troubled as I am by the answer. More and more, they're saying that place is indoors. Say what? With the astounding variety of places to go, things to discover and adventures to be had in Nature, why on this precious earth would a child prefer to play inside? The kids' answer: because that's where the electrical outlets are.
Already, in just a matter of a few years, this has all changed. With more and more of communications now wireless, kids don't even need an outlet any more.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Here are some statistics compiled by the Parent Further Research Institute:

Nearly one out of three kids between 12 and 17 years old sends more than 100 texts a day.

  • The average 8- to 18-year-old now spends 7-1/2 hours every day with screen-fed media, from playing video games, to watching TV, to surfing the internet, to texting.
  • This amounts to 2-1/4 more hours each day in front of a screen compared to young people five years ago.
  • Seventy-five percent of teenagers now have cell phones, and 58 percent of 12-year-olds.
  • Three out of four young people (ages 8 to 18) now own an mp3 music player (such an iPod) compared to only 18 percent just five years ago.
In addition, a Pew Research Center study says nearly one out of three kids between 12 and 17 years old sends more than 100 texts a day.

So kids are screen-bound; what's wrong with that?

(To be continued -- make sure not to miss part two by subscribing to One Man's Wonder by email or through the RSS feed)

Monday, March 5, 2012

RECLAIM WONDER – Take the Pledge!

YEARNING FOR SUBSTANCE
In this increasingly sped-up, dumbed-down, 140-character world, are you starting to hear, as I am, that little voice of unease from somewhere deep in your soul?

Doesn't some part of you just want to say no to all that virtual "reality," all the quick, shallow relationships this digitized culture expects us to buy into, and get back in touch with more real-life, first-hand experiences? Don't you yearn to recapture that sense of wonder we all felt so naturally when we were kids?

Use the ideas as goals, resolutions, or just occasional affirmations of your intention to live      a more attentive, curious and grateful life.

That's what my Reclaiming Wonder Movement is all about. It's recognizing that yearning, and beginning to make our own choices as to the kind of depth and substance we want in our relationships with ourselves, each other and Nature.

THE RECLAIMING WONDER PLEDGE
The movement can start philosophically and leads, most likely, to lifestyle changes, but it's inevitably a spiritual journey. Lots of people want to take part in this journey, but don't quite know where to start. That's why I've crafted the Reclaiming Wonder Pledge.

Think of it as a list of first steps and/or mileposts to guide you on your quest for more mindfulness. You can use the ideas as goals, resolutions, or just occasional affirmations of your intention to live a more attentive, curious and grateful life.  
You • can • do • this!!

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Print it out, frame it, or make it the background of your computer desktop. Give a framed copy to someone you know who's also yearning to reclaim wonder in his/her life.
Thanks for taking the Reclaiming Wonder Pledge! Have a wonder-full day!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

IMPRESIONES III – Zihuatanejo Snaps

Breakfast in Zihuatanejo; supper in Minneapolis. It's quite a jump in so many ways. The snow; the cold, dry air; people, the edge of whose joy has been dulled by three and a half months of winter. The view as we stepped out of the airport was like someone had just pulled away your spicy chilis rellenos and replaced the colorful plate with a bowl of cold oatmeal. Ugh! Yaw-w-n…

Oh well, we can still dream in color. Here are some more images of that beautiful pueblo we now like to call our second home. This collection is what you might call place shots, details and vistas that point to a specific locale in or around Zihua.

For those of you familiar with Zihuatanejo, do these places look familiar?