Fear seeks safety. Love seeks Truth. Please read and enjoy. Productive, truthful feedback welcome.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Do Rules Rule?

Rules are
made by those who don't trust others and are followed by those who don't trust themselves.

I admit, this quote is a bit one sided and, for most instances, not functional.

Also, I fully admit that there are times when I mollify myself with the above mantra, exasperated with the makers and keepers of said rules who unwittingly thwart my plans for doing (or not doing) what makes sense to me at the time.

I also accept that my propensity to dispense with the formality of some rules can drive other people just as crazy, my “. . . but I would be right!” thought-bubble notwithstanding.

And if each of us is honest with ourselves, I suspect even those in the middle ground are hedging closer to one pole or the other, rather than hugging dead center: There are those who see rules as rules and those who see rules as guidelines. Both would be right. Nonetheless, we each would favor our own spot to set up camp.

Now that we have made camp in our respective sites, let’s go exploring together.
Here’s what the trail map says:
  • Rules are restrictive by definition. They tell you what you can or cannot do.
  • Guidelines on the other hand are less restrictive.  They give you a rough draft of what is expected and invite you to use your judgement. (Hopefully your best judgement to the greatest good of all.)

For example, when the map admonishes us to Stay on the trail at all times!, that’s a rule. But when we come to a spot where the trail has washed out, we must momentarily get off the trail to reconnect, that’s a guideline.

Rules and guidelines are the yin and yang of life. You cannot have one without the other, not without falling out of balance.

Having only rules would reduce living to merely existing. There would be no choice.  
Having only guidelines might result in chaos. There would be insufficient structure.

Rules and guidelines of necessity work together, yet retain their own distinction.

Rules establish boundaries.
Guidelines stretch them.

Rules say you must!
Guidelines suggest you may.

Rules stipulate either don’t or do.
Within guidelines, experience tells us don’t, and curiosity pushes us towards do.

Rules create order and predictable outcomes.
Guidelines invite things that might not work.

You can stand behind rules. They are safe. They are specific. Their outcomes should not vary. And to a very large degree, rules serve a purpose.
You can walk beside guidelines. They are not necessarily safe, they are certainly not specific, their outcomes are much less predictable, but, like rules, guidelines serve a purpose.

And there’s the rub.

Both work—rules and guidelines. You might be a rules person or you might be a guidelines person. There will be times you will find yourself in a rules environment just as there will be times you will find yourself in a guidelines climate.

Neither one is a one-size-fits-all. To be successful you must be able to navigate both realms.

With rules you need to know them, but you do not necessarily need to understand them. You need only simply follow them. With guidelines it is helpful to know them, but it is of utmost value for you to understand them. You then will be able to refer to them.

So let me rephrase my opening quote:
Rules are created by those who see the need for order and are followed by those who best operate within structure. Guidelines are created by those who see that risk and growth go hand in hand and are followed by those who flourish when things are in flux.

What about you? Do you create structure from which others grow or are you one who grows because you see structure as guidelines?

Me? I don’t go out of my way to break rules. But neither do I avoid sidestepping those that don’t hold purpose in that moment.

How about you?

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Beginning of Love

Someone sent me this picture of a Thomas Merton quote.  It speaks for itself.


CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Just Want to be Four

This is not just another proud grandparent post. Well, it kind of is. But hopefully it's subtle so you'll barely notice.

Here goes.

Right smack in the middle of Harriet’s third year she proclaimed, “I just want to be four.”

Like being three is such a rough year. I’ve asked around. Nobody remembers their third year. But a lot of folks recall pieces of their fourth one. In fact, that’s often where memories get a foothold.

Maybe that’s the point.

Maybe that’s why Harriet wanted to be four—to move on to a year she’d remember.

Or to move away from a year she wanted to forget.

Maybe it was because she knew that while still in her threes she’d lose her two front teeth climbing up metal slide steps where she literally did not get a foothold.

Or maybe it was the time she banged her eye on the handlebars of her tricycle.
Still three.

Come to think of it, her older sister was 6 at the time, so maybe that was it—maybe she wanted to be like Ramona, but figured she’d just shoot for four to start out with.

But for whatever reason, Harriet just wanted to be four.

We do that sometimes, don’t we. Sometimes we are having a tough year, or tough season, or tough spate of time and we just want to move on.

Or maybe the time is not so tough, in fact it is quite good, but nonetheless, we are still anticipating that next thing.

Or maybe we are more wistful about it. We’d like to have something on the horizon but that thing is just far enough away that we feel a bit like a ship adrift in the doldrums.

But for whatever reason, we just want to be four.

And there’s nothing wrong with that—to want to be four. In fact, it’s good to want to be four. It’s good to want something else. It’s good to grow, to stretch, to dream, to plan.

(There’s always an unless, isn’t there).

Unless, we forget to be three. Not forget that we were three. (We already decided that we don’t remember that year anyway). But to forget that we are three. Let’s not forget to be three while we are three.

Let’s not forget to do all those things that are set before us while we are three so when we get to four we will have brought our three-year-old tools with us.

The good, the bad, the mundane.

The good encourages us.
The bad help us to grow.
The mundane gives us time to reflect.

These are the tools that make four older than three. These are the tools that make our next thing more healthy than our now thing. These are the tools that help us do three well.

So let’s do three well. In fact, let’s rejoice in being three!

Four is on its way.


Your turn. What is your "I just want to be four" story?
(Please feel free to leave a comment)
Also . . .
CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Power of Love

Heart Rock from Sedona

Love is the only true change agent. 

All other things we try (usually in earnest) merely redefine a previously existing struggle. 

Love is a paradox: it is arguably the world's most powerful entity yet it exerts no force. 


CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

When in Rome . . .

Boulder Falls' Credo

On a hiking trip near Boulder, Colorado, I snapped a picture of the above sign.

In this post, I imagine Earth's sign would look something like this:

Earth's Credo
Several life changing events have occurred on this globe as a result of being curious. Being curious is allowed.
Visitors are encouraged to stray from the trail.

Lessons in the creek of discovery are deceptively swift, powerful and exhilarating.
Venturers are regularly given second, third, fourth—seemingly innumerable—chances.

My conclusion?
When at places like Boulder Falls, be forewarned.
When on the rest of Earth, be curious.


CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

From my fortune cookie:

Wouldn’t that be nice!

Imagine that everything we ever hear or receive will be great news.
All positive! All uplifting!

Nothing bad to hear. Nothing bad to report.
A newspaper’s nightmare!
A wise man once said he always reads the sports section first: It celebrates mankind’s successes. The front page reports only man’s failures.

What if we never go to the metaphorical front page at all? What if we decide the front page is not really news, but merely dressed-up gossip?

What if we don’t look at people or events as failures at all?
What if, instead of seeing failures, we see only differences? Differences that we choose to see as just one more ingredient in the complex global stew of cultures and habits and quirks and personal situations or unavoidable outcomes that has become our world.

What if we move beyond the gossip, beyond the front page?
What if we really want to lift up others instead?
No, really!
What if lifting others up is our sole motivation for everything we do, everything we say?

What if we extend to others—ALL OTHERS—the grace we hope they will extend to us? What if, in grace, we have nothing bad to say? Nothing bad to hear?

What if our heart is so full of grace—so full of charity, so full of love—that our words and our actions toward all others are only positive, only uplifting?
What if everyone does that for each other, for all others?

What if it starts with us?

What would that sound like?

All the news you receive will be positive and uplifting!

CHECK OUT The Bottom Turtle ~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Has This Ever Happened to You?

This may or may not have recently happened:
l was sitting in my chair by the fire and had just written a letter. I needed an envelope so I ran downstairs to grab one.

Some laundry caught my eye.

Carried it down.
Put it in the basket.

Heard the furnace kick on.

Was reminded to check whether it was time to change the filter.
It was.
Changed it.
Grabbed the old filter, the new filter packaging, and other debris from a nearby waste bin.
Took them out to the garbage can.

Dusted off my hands.
Went back into the house.
Jobs well done—laundry, filter, trash.

Sat back down in my chair by the fire.

Saw the letter.

Chuckled as I walked downstairs to get an envelope. And a stamp!

Being present or being sidetracked?

Has something like this ever happened to you? I'd love to hear your story.

The Bottom Turtle~For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book.

Thursday, January 25, 2018



I acquired the above painting from a beautiful soul, a talented artist, and a seeker of the deep truths of God.

I teach yoga and get the opportunity to greet each student when they first arrive. Occasionally, someone carries in with them this unmistakable aura of being in the presence of Peace. Anna is such a person; calm transports her through the studio and settles deeply around her as she practices.

I do not recall how I learned her craft was painting, but it fits, especially when you see her work and read her words behind each piece. That calm she lives daily, lives in her work as well. Her art will transport you to a distant and—at the same time—an intimately near place that will settle deeply around you.

The piece I have, Spirit, does this for me.

In Spirit, I see the Spirit, God’s Spirit, distantly settling upon the trees, holding space for everything above the Earth. And at the same time, I feel his Presence surrounding me as if I am actually among the trees themselves.

Below the trees, I sense the shadow of His love supporting me, protecting me, guiding me. Spirit invites me to feel God encompassing me from above and below, while affirming His beauty, and my value, here on Earth.

I especially like how she snuck her signature among the trees. Can you spot it?
Find Anna's gallery of art HERE.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

On Growing Older

Older only seems old to me until I get there. Then it doesn’t feel old. It just feels like me.


For musings from Dave on how to Love More and Judge Less link to his new book, The Bottom Turtle.