Glorious Water

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Sport silhouette on the water
Summer 2018

I love being around water – it is life to me.

Author’s quote

 

Water. 

Who can describe this substance? Who can attempt to articulate its powerful and magnificent force?

Water is a seemingly fleeting and evanescent element, that literally can slip through our finger’s. It cannot be held, grasped, or contained; yet, we rely on it for nourishment for our bodies. And water is just that: a necessary invitation to intake for our own survival. 

Its expanse knows no end and its devastation no end. Even still, we depend on it for our own amusement and enjoyment, including water sports fun, such as: rowing, water-skiing, skim boarding, boating, snorkelling, or diving. For when you’re on top of the water you’re gliding and when you’re under it you come alive & are awakened to the sub-water universe. To add, when you’re on top of the water you really don’t know what’s all beneath it. It’s a big unknown and sizeable mystery. This applies to any size of body of water, whether it’s a marsh, a stream, a river, a lake, a canal, a channel, a strait, or the ocean. What’s under the water is just as enticing and exciting as what is above it. 

Nothing is more powerful, elusive, or mysterious than water. To illustrate, not even the Periodic Table of Elements has enough room in its columns or rows for the element of water. This may seem odd as water is the most basic and fundamental element of life. Even still, water is the most basic element that composes all the other elements. The reason for this is simple: they all depend on water for their unique composition. 

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A Good Night’s Sleep – Part II

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Beautiful Palm Springs, California

Photo taken by the author

 

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”
– William Penn

“Many things – such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly – are done worst when we try hardest to do them.”
– C.S. Lewis

 

As the sun follows the moon in nature’s rhythmic pattern, just as each season follows the other during the calendar year, so also is sleep nature’s way of working in us as individual’s. This is so because in everything there is a natural restoration to the balance of all things created.

Sleep contributes in a large and powerful way to our bodies biological and circadian rhythm. And just what is meant by the term, circadian rhythm? Below are some descriptions of this term:

  1. Our body’s rhythms are governed by a “master clock” located in a tiny region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. It works much like a conductor, striking up one section of the body’s orchestra as another quiets down, taking its main cue from light signals in order to stay in sync with the 24-hour day. (1)
  2. The circadian timing system (CTS) has been shown to be involved in the coordinated daily variation of almost every physiological and psychological system evaluated thus far. Maintaining synchronized circadian rhythms is important to health and well-being. (2)
  3. Often referred to as the “body clock,” the circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, rise, and eat—regulating many physiological processes. This internal body clock is affected by environmental cues, like sunlight and temperature, and determines whether one feels wide-awake and energized or tired and depleted at different times of the day. (3)
  4. Your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle. (4)

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
– Irish Proverb

I know for us in the West, the minimum eight hour sleep that is recommended by healthcare professionals, is often not always followed as we are surrounded by activities, of all kinds, that compete for our attention, which naturally results in our own lack of sleep. However, each of us knows by now, or is in the process of learning and discovering, what is the number of hours of sleep needed, in order for us to function well the following day and to maintain our optimal levels.

Like anything else in life, some people are better than other’s at falling to sleep, and staying asleep. For these people, their heads need only touch their pillow (or whatever they set their head on, horizontal or otherwise) and they are instantly out. Meanwhile, for the rest of us mortals, it can take a significant more amount of time for our eyelids to reach that shut-eye effect and for our brain’s to finally turn-off. The gift of sleep, as I am coming to discover, really is just that – a gift.

“I love to sleep. I’d sleep all day if I could.”
– Miley Cyrus

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
– Homer

Sources:

(1) https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/power-of-circadian-rhythms

(2) https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/892.html

(3) https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/circadian-rhythm

(4) https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/what-circadian-rhythm

A Good Night’s Sleep

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Oceanside Dock Silhouette

Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

 

“A well-spent day brings happy sleep.”
– Leonardo da Vinci

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
– Ernest Hemingway

 

This one thing is certain: we all crave a good night’s sleep.

Our bodies need it just as much as our minds and our own well-being do.

We will do almost anything to get it, even taking sleeping pills, to achieve this shut-eye effect.

It is a need, not a want; a requirement, not an extra – if time permits.

I have noticed that often the very first thing we ask those we live with in the morning is, “How did you sleep?” Isn’t this amazing? That the first words we utter, or struggle to get out to our loved ones, is not “Hey, what’s for dinner tonight?” or, “What are we doing this weekend?” or, “Do we want to go to Maui or Vancouver Island for our vacation this year?”

None of these important matters are mentioned when one’s feet touches the ground and our bodies somehow stumble into the kitchen to get the coffee maker doing what it does best. Instead, what we often ask or try to communicate to another is how one’s rest was the night before. Only then do we enter in and ask the more pertinent questions, if any words are spoken during one’s morning routine.

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

As we know, anything techy these days has a good ‘ole-fashioned restart button, which is mostly used when anything on our much-too-beloved devices goes wonky. Having said this, sleep is the natural restart button for us as human beings. It is the normal design for every part that makes us human: spirit, soul, and body. A good night’s rest does wonder’s to our inner core, including our beliefs and values, as well as to our mind, will, and emotions, and the physiological components we all share that makes us who we are.

Sleep, I believe, is designed to wake us up. Its natural calming effect is to do just that: namely, to calm our tri-sector beings while we rest at night and to give us the green light come the morning, in the wake of a new day.

Sleep is also like the delete button we are all so fond of when going through our emails, as a good night’s sleep deletes whatever was negative, unnecessary, or not-right from the day before; thereby, allowing us to enter our new day clear-headed and in a positive, level-headed, and well-balanced framework.

Changing of the Seasons

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Life is better above the clouds

Photo taken by the author

 

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
– William Cullen Bryant

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

Change, or any kind, big or small, is never easy for anyone to deal with or to go through. Even those who admit that change comes easier for them also struggle with it, even if only adopting its new arrival. This is because the very word ‘change’ gives evidence that something will soon be different, once again. In one way, the suddenness of a change requires learning new things and developing new habits and routines. The change itself is a time of letting go of what had previously existed and opening one’s mind to what inevitably is ahead.

For myself, I find change to be difficult and even unnerving, at times. It feels like just when I have become accustomed to something and have gained some familiarity with, I then find it ripped out suddenly from beneath my feet, whereby leaving my feet with seemingly nowhere to land. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with change. I enjoy seeing the new horizons that have opened up when going through a particular change as well as the momentum that is gained, even if only within myself. However, it’s the upstart I am not particularly fond of a new and decided upon change. Something I recently learned about myself is that I don’t like surprises, and a change feels like this: a big, sudden surprise. At first it catches me off-guard, until the apparent shock has worn off and the new change has had a chance to form its new course.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
– L.M. Montgomery

Of all places, nature seems to have the most consistent change amongst us; namely, in the changing of the seasons every year. A change in the seasons is evident here in YYC from summer to fall. I have been in the denial stage of this season’s change but have slowly moved myself to the acceptance stage with autumn’s approach. Recently I have begun to think about this change in a different light. Instead of thinking about all the fun times from the past summer months or the cold, damp weather that is soon to encamp around us, I have been thinking this change also means there are innumerable opportunities in this new season, that may not otherwise would have been presented to us.

So, instead of dreading the onslaught of (yet another) winter wonderland, let’s embrace this new change and take in the glorious season that fall distinctly offers: the beautiful array of colours as the leaves on the trees change from an emerald green to a strikingly yellow, vibrant orange, and crisp red. Let’s take time to remember the awesome, fun memories we made during this past season of summer, enjoy getting back into a routine, as well as having fun getting into ‘learning mode,’ as school is back in session, so we might as well learn something new for ourselves by creating our own classroom. As well, this season may just be an opportune time for you to begin or try a new sport or hobby that has held an interest with you for some time.

“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”
– John Burroughs

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”
– Emily Brontë

Of course, I would rather be where the sun is shining, the lush, pure colour of green is everywhere I look, and with the clear, blue sky prominently on display above. But, I am also looking forward to the many opportunities that are in anticipatory waiting to be fully discovered and realized. And who knows, this new mindset might even make up for the low quantities of Vitamin D I’ll be receiving!

Book Signing at Dalhousie Chapters

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Victoria Oceanfront
Photo taken by the author

“I remember the days of sitting at book signings, playing with my pen when no one would come, and still I even then thought I was living the dream, because I had a book out.”

Harlan Coben

 

“I loved travelling around the country and meeting people at book signings.”

Mike Gallagher

 

I’ll be having another book signing at Dalhousie Chapters on Saturday, September 1st, 2018 from 11 am – 3 pm.

My 1st Chapters book signing at Crowfoot was a great launch. This next signing will launch us into the next splendid season of fall (which I am still in denial of), over the last long weekend of the summer.

I’ll be there, rain or shine, so come stop by & get your signed copy of “The Search For Life,” & get geared up for your fall reading.

I look forward to seeing you there.

D

On Birthday’s – Part III

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A Walk in Nature

Photo taken by the author

“Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever.”
– Walt Disney

“None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
– Henry David Thoreau

Birthday’s remind us that we are indeed special and that we do matter in this world. The marking of a new year added reaffirms our confidence and our place in this world. We are reminded that this world is a better place because we are living here. Who we are as a person reinforces our place in this world as well as our influence in the heart’s and mind’s of those we have had the good fortune of interacting with. It is always a good thing to be reminded we are here for a reason and that there is a purpose for our existence, even if that purpose may not yet be fully known at this time. Birthday’s are God’s reminder to us that He has not forgotten about us either and that he has created us with a specific purpose and intent in mind, overall, and for lots of mini-purposes along the way. Birthday’s reveal that we are part of a grand design, one that is designed by a grand Designer. If you think about it, this thought alone can bring peace to our heart’s knowing that Somebody is thinking of us, whether we are aware of it or not.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

– Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America

Birthday’s also reveal that time is a very real concept and that it is one of the few guarantees in life. What this means is that time is always moving in our world in the same way as there is always movement in the human race; that is, in the coming’s and going’s of our daily lives. Birthday’s, as a celebratory reminder, serve as an expression that time is continuous and is always moving forward, one second at a time, until eventually this addition of time culminates into another year passing, leading up to one’s birthday. In speaking of time, birthday’s also reveal our existence on planet Earth, whereby gently and kindly informing us that our time may be up one day, with there being no more time left in our Earthly pilgrimage. Thus, each passing of time serves as a timestamp as part of our mortal condition. In this way, time serves as a useful tool in showing us where we’ve come from as well as all of the great adventures that are still ahead for us. Time helps us to re-organize our priorities and determine what area’s of our life are most important in this next year – one’s that we are most passionate about as well as freeing us to discontinue other area’s as they no longer hold a value of importance for us.

“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.”

– Frank Lloyd Wright

All in all, birthday’s are a very special and important time in a person’s life. While they serve many different kinds of purpose’s, the greatest among them is that they reveal to the birthday holder that we are important, we do matter, and we do hold significance along this peculiar journey called life. As John Lennon once sang:

Another year over / And a new one just begun

“You don’t get older, you get better.”

– Shirley Bassey

On Birthday’s – Part II

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A Golfer’s Paradise

“Let us never know what old age is. Let us know the happiness time brings, not count the years.”
– Ausonius

Birthday’s are those once-in-a-year times where time just kind of lingers and seems to stand still for a brief moment in time. It’s in these times where a person gets to reflect on what the past year held for them, whereby creating an internal survey of what went well and what could be done better, as well as those events we are glad are over and those one’s that were truly sensational for us. It’s these memories that are worth going through, in reflection, as we realize just how much and all that has transpired for us in the past year, leading up to the official day of our day of birth. We remember all the ups and downs, and sideways one’s too, and are amazed and grateful for each experience as they taught us a little bit more about ourselves and our place in this grand narrative that we call life – all in a year’s time.

At the same time, we are glancing ahead towards the next year, a brand “new one,” as Lennon sings about, and what it may bring for us. It’s like there is a brand new canvas in front of us. It’s just white, with no colour’s or writing’s or event’s or description’s or revealing’s – just a blank sheet of an artist board waiting for new life, and all the assortment of colour’s, to be splashed upon its blank sheet. This dry canvas waits for what it is to be revealed in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead. Then, exactly one year from now the subject for whom this painting was commissioned for can again reflect on and draw upon everything that this upcoming year had in store.

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”
– Voltaire

It is in this phase of forward-looking where we often have high hopes for what the next year may bring as well as those dreams and desires in our heart’s that we would like to see a completion stamp marked on them. It’s like the last few day’s of a school year when we were in Middle School. Everyone knows those last few “mandatory” school days require attendance, yet at the same time, not much that is productive in teaching or learning will really get done. Then, the last day of school arrives and it is always a blast waking up the next day knowing that summer vacation has finally arrived and will be in full swing for the next two entire months!