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

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Summer Yoga

Ah, summer in Minnesota. Finally. And we need it.

After all, we’ve just come out of a spring that allowed itself to be bullied by winter. A winter, that in its own right, was pretty proud of itself, hanging around an extra month or so, playing hide and seek with our dress code. Do we wear shorts? Hats? Light sweatshirts? Shades? Some days saw us regaled in various combinations of the above: winter boots, shorts that showed off white legs, a scarf and a wool hat accented by the latest in sunglass fashion and topped off by students stylishly clutching their yoga gear; mat slipping out of one hand, towel shoved (mostly) into our gear bags, and water bottle left in the car. We NEED yoga (and snow angels) to get us through those eight short months of winter here in the cities.

Ah, summer in Minnesota. It’s finally here. Winter boots become flip-flops, high collar jackets turn into t-shirts, and wool hats give way to sassy shades. So, let’s each take a mental step back to ask ourselves, what do my winter habits give way to?

There’s no right answer, therefore on the flip side, there’s no wrong answer either. What we are left with is whether our answer results in a productive or non-productive lifestyle. The next questions to ask: how has yoga been productive for you during the winter months? And what can you take with you into and throughout the summer?

As you contemplate these questions, keep in mind yoga means different things to different people. As such, we each approach yoga according to our own needs, according to our own understanding. These very likely will differ from that of the person on the mat next to us. In spite of, or perhaps because of, these differences, yoga, at its core, seeks to unite us. A consistent yoga provides the opportunity for each of us to find common ground on our way to unity.

At Modo Yoga, the common ground is suggested by its six pillars:
Be healthy
Be accessible
Live to learn
Be green
Be community

Some of these pillars will resonate with us more than others do. We need not adopt them all at once, or even all of them for that matter. But we should take some of them along with us on our journey towards unity. Furthermore, whether practiced in the hot room or outside among nature, to be effective, they must be practiced regularly. One of the best places to practice is the hot room. This ensures we will get consistent exposure to the ideals we desire to incorporate into our lives. However, regardless of where we practice, when we tap into these pillars in a consistent fashion we begin to find common ground. And when we arrive together on common ground, we begin to find

So little time. So much to do. Put your shades on and get outside. Don your yoga clothes and sweat in the hot room. Spend a bunch of time with friends. Spend a bunch of time leaning into the six pillars. Be healthy. Be peace.
Ah, summer in Minnesota.
We need it!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Story Time

When we encounter something that initially troubles us, very often we have incomplete information, and, we have choices.  

We get to choose what level of energy to spend on it.
Do we choose to ignore it?
Do we take it at face value?
Or do we add our own energy to it?

If we do add energy to the event, we do so by telling ourselves a story to fill in the gaps.
Not the actual gaps.
We can't know those without further discovery.
But the gaps as we see them.
The gaps that help us place ourselves in the event.

Will our take on that story be one of grace and graciousness,
giving other players the benefit of the doubt?
Will it be one where we portray ourselves as the victim,
affirming that their intent was to slight us?
Or will it fall somewhere between,
establishing a safe middle ground where we take the high road while still looking down on them?

What we choose exposes our securities and insecurities,
where we are vulnerable,
where we are confident.

But in every case, we get to choose, unaware perhaps, that our story does not illuminate the truth of the event,
it merely illuminates the truth of our own heart,
reflecting our current self.

If we love the stories we tell ourselves,
if we find them to be healthy,
no change is needed.

If we don't love our stories,
if they pull us down,
perhaps we need to choose differently.

The takeaway:
By choosing to put a generous spin and positive energy to the stories we tell ourselves, we actually begin programming our heart to choose grace.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Time to Let it Go

Time does not make wounds better.
Letting go does.

Sometimes wounds hold onto us. 
And sometimes we hold onto wounds. 

But in both cases, to get better, time is the variable and letting go is the constant. 

The former—those wounds that hold onto us—live below our consciousness, and require awareness and vulnerability before we can let them go. These can take time to recognize and to shed.

The latter—the wounds we hold onto—live completely in our awareness and are fed by pride. These we have recognized and refuse to shed. Furthermore, whether we hold them in part or in whole, and whether we hold them against ourselves or against another, getting better requires only one thing: Forgiveness. Time is not a factor. Letting go is.

When we turn to forgiveness to loosen our grip on these wounds, we hold more space for healing.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What Does Healthy Look Like?

Be Healthy!

What a great idea!

But what does it take to be healthy?
And what does healthy look like?

Some are said to be the picture of health. But that doesn’t really help too much, does it?
Whose picture?
Some random other’s we find in a magazine?

And let’s not stop at pictures. What about healthy sayings? The sayings that tell us what it’s like to be healthy.

On the extremely healthy end of the spectrum-of-health we encounter the following:  
Healthy as a horse.
Strong as an ox.
Fit as a fiddle.
Right as rain.
Fresh as a daisy.
Alive and kicking. (So we can kick the habit? And and thereby presumably postpone kicking
the bucket?).
Full of beans (Beans, beans the musical fruit, the more you eat . . . And who doesn’t want to
feel better?)

And somewhere beyond the middle of the spectrum-of-health we find these gems:
Frog in your throat.
Under the weather.
Sick as a dog.
White as a sheet.
Run down.
A pain in the neck (or other parts south).
Weak in the knees.

And finally, we arrive at the other extreme.
As our health dwindles, as it ultimately must, so, too, does our list:
On your last legs.
One foot in the grave.
At death’s door.
Kick the bucket (It was bound to happen).
Pushing up daisies. (Maybe that’s why they’re fresh.)

So should we then. . .
Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die?

I cannot answer that for you. Maybe we should. Maybe we should not. It depends a lot upon how you eat and how you drink and how you make merry, doesn't it?

And to be honest, in 300 to 500 words, what can I really tell you about being healthy that hasn’t already been extensively covered in books, blogs, and magazines the world around?

What I can tell you with confidence is that abiding health is not found at either extreme. Health is found somewhere near the middle. And just to be clear, your middle may not be my middle, and my middle may not be other’s middle. And it may also depend upon whether you want to look like a horse or an ox, or a fiddle or a daisy. Nonetheless, “somewhere near the middle” for each of us can
be summed up in these eight words:

Eat well.
Think well.
Move well.
Love well.

And these eight words can be distilled to one.


That’s what it takes to be healthy.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Secret to Getting Along

Listen. Learn. Love.
Mix and match as needed.

Reader's feel free to comment. What L words would you add?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Growth Spurts - We Can Still Have Them

To grow we must learn.
To learn it helps to be curious.
To be actively curious we must be vulnerable.
To be vulnerable we must be brave.
To be brave requires optimism.
To live optimistically is to expect outcomes lined with silver.
To anticipate silver linings is to accept the chance to learn. 
To accept learning is to invite growth.

Here's to lifelong learning. 
May we grow old and wise.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Faith: Is it Blind, Dead, or Merely Unpracticed?

It's winter in the northern hemisphere.

And if you live anywhere in the northern United States and don't know it's been an unusual winter, I'd say you'd have to be blind.

This year, 2019, has been a prolific year. Snowcover up to 40 inches or more stretches from coast to coast courtesy of one February snowfall after another.  Schools have been closed, workplaces start late or, in some cases, take the entire day off.

Like I said earlier, you'd have to be blind to miss it.

Or maybe not. Not, maybe not blind. But, maybe not miss it if you are blind.

You see, in the midst of one of the messy snow systems—people staying indoors, streets marginally plowed, sidewalks deeply blanketed with the wintery white stuff—on two different occasions, I drove past a pedestrian who was blind. Two different days. Two different pedestrians. Each of them was effectively navigating an unshoveled sidewalk. And each of them, on that day, were the only pedestrians along the entire stretch of a normally well-trafficked pathway.

On the first occasion the pedestrian was a 20s-something female traversing the difficult conditions with the aid of a guide dog. Her progress was a moderate pace, with an occasional pause to ensure her footing. But always it was forward, fluid to match the terrain, and comfortably determined.

Two days later, I twice observed from the comfort of my car a 50s-something man utilizing a white cane as his guide. (We crossed paths, apparently on both legs of our respective errand.) And though the snow was less deep on this day, he barely slowed his pace.

As I marveled at how well these two amazing humans navigated their respective paths, I became curious. Could I, a fully sighted person, walk around my neighborhood with my eyes closed with only the aid of a dog or that of a white cane walking stick?

And it just so happens, I have both—a dog, and a white cane. So I gave it a try.

We have a daily walk, Wrigley and I. This time I closed my eyes and let Wrigley lead me. He had no idea what I was doing, and I had even less idea how to do it. First I closed my eyes from a standstill. Next I closed them after I got my bearing while walking. It made no difference. My unsighted steps were few and uncertain. On every attempt, I took about a half dozen steps before I began to peek and wonder whether Wrigley was angling toward a squirrel or about to let me walk into a car. After a few such forays, I bypassed peeking and went straight to eyes-wide-open, and headed home, with Wrigley none the wiser. I'd hoped the same was not true of me.

The next night I grabbed the white cane—which I acquired when a neighbor sold their house and dragged a bunch of unwanted stuff to the curb for garbage pick up. There it was. I couldn't resist. Hey, don't judge me—and proceeded to walk, not around the block, but to our mailbox and back. (My first thought was, I want to do this before it gets dark, which makes zero sense because that's precisely what I was testing—not seeing.) Anyway, our cleared sidewalk was bordered by two feet of snow on either side which is where I'd end up if I misstepped. Thanks to years of muscle memory and an embedded mental picture of the short route, I avoided the whitewash and made it safely to the mailbox and back with my eyes securely close. However, my trip with the cane took me just this side of forever. I can only imagine what it would have been like for me to so travel either of the aforementioned sidewalks.

Again, my curiosity was piqued.

How was she able to follow her dog, comfortably and determined, for blocks when I could only go a few steps? And how was he able to go from point A to point B and back again with a steady pace when I took an excruciating long time to do a simple task I have done for years?

Well, for one, she had an actual seeing-eye-dog. Mine was eager to for me to take him on a walk, but totally untrained and unaware of how to take me for a walk. And for the gentleman walker, I had the official cane, as did he. What I did not have was his practice. and without the assurance that comes with practice, I trusted neither my dog nor was I confident in my ability with the cane.

Was that it? TRUST? I think, yes. But there is more to it than that.

True trust requires action. Trust without action is rhetoric. Trust in action demonstrates faith. Faith in the unseen.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seenHebrews 11

Our two travelers trusted what they could not see, and by taking action based on this trust, successfully navigated a stretch of uncleared sidewalk. Had they been able to see, they would not have moved in faith, but in certainty. We cannot have faith in what we know: That is knowledge. We cannot know what we do not see: That is reserved for faith.

Furthermore, we are told that faith without works (action) is dead. James 2.

She had the dog. He had the cane. They may or may not have voiced faith in their respective guides, but by their action—their works, if you will—their faith lived, not blindly, but over pathways navigated by evidence of the things not seen.

I had the dog but I did not trust the unseen. I opened my eyes and did not walk in faith. It can be rightfully argued that Wrigley is not a trained service animal, and that I was right not to trust him in this capacity. Agreed. However, I believe had the woman invited me to let her dog guide me around my block, I would have still opened my eyes. I could not confidently sustain my action. My faith in this instance, though not dead, was unpracticed.

With the cane, and by my experience, I was able to walk in faith—in the unseen. I was able to put my faith into action. I had more practice. My faith was nurtured and more fully developed.

I tried one more thing. Days after I observed the two blind travelers, my wife Marcella and I donned our snowshoes and took a winter hike through some wooded hills. I became curious again. What if I asked her to guide me on the trail? Would I be able to trust her? Not, was she trustworthy. I am 100 percent certain she is. But, could I take the action to demonstrate my trust? I knew I could say it, "I trust you", but could I do it? Would my words be rhetoric, or would action turn them into faith?

We can say we have faith, but without requisite action, our words become hollow. Real faith takes place in real time, real life; it is scary, at times dangerous, and whether it exists in us is always revealed by our actions. And faith navigates the unseen, not the known.

Where is your faith? Can it grow? Is it blind? Dead? Unpracticed? Flourishing?

Where do you place your faith? In things? People? Infinite Spirit? God?

When I placed it on Wrigley, it was misplaced and unpracticed. It was not faith.

When I placed it on Marcella, I walked, not by sight, but by faith. It was one of the most beautiful stretches of the woods I did not see.

I can only imagine the beauty that would result in a more intentionally practiced faith in God. 

Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Google Plus'ers, Don't miss out on LoveFearlessly

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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

For One Who Is Exhausted . . . (A Link to a Poem)

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

These beautifully poignant words are not mine, but we can all adopt their meaning.

I invite you to read the poem by John O'Donohue in its entirety here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Spoil Each Other

Spoil Each Other

You remember my grandparents from last week, right? Gale and Mabel. In case you missed the post, it was about kindness. Theirs. And how they delighted in sharing it with others. (You can read it here if you’d like.)

This week I want to tell you how he delighted in his bride of 65 years. I missed the first 40 years of their marriage due to the fact I was not on the scene yet. It happens. Then I missed the next two or so because I was focused on other important matters: eating, sleeping, and filling diapers, so I am told. (I have since learned by my own parenting experience that these three important matters can happen in any order and often simultaneously. But that’s too much information and beside the point.)

What is not beside the point is that I got to be around them for over 20 years, initially a month at a time, then six months, then year round. We lived on the west coast, they, in the midwest. Once a year they’d come visit their only child and park their Avion trailer at our house, adding more and more time to their stay as retirement approached. Eventually they bought a lot just down the street and settled in.

Over the span of these 20+ years, I was witness to their love for each other; my wife Marcie witnessed their last four. The picture above was taken about 10 years into this 20 year window, after Mabel had a stroke which means I saw them together and fully active for the first 10 years, then much less active over the next 10 when the lifestyle change was necessitated. What I did not see was any change in their love for each other.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. I actually did see a change in their love: It grew.

Gale cared for Mabel, willingly and with tenderness. He helped her in and out of bed, in and out of her chair, and in and out of each passing day until the chair was not enough and she was moved to a nursing home.

Though crestfallen from not being able to care for her personally, Gale traded in his twice daily walks, wheeling her the quarter mile from their house to ours, for longer walks alone to visit her in the nursing home. Each day, sometimes more than once, he’d walk the two miles to mindfully spend time with his bride. Mentally sharp, but physically confined, Mabel maintained her sharp wit and twinkling eyes. Gale, his loving and focused devotion to Mabel.

Little did we know this included him picking his way across a busy four lane boulevard to get to her nursing home. That is exactly what I found him doing one day during my summer job while I was driving a Pepsi truck. I pulled over, hopped out of my truck, and ushering him the rest of the way across. When we reached the sidewalk, I pointed out the crosswalk 50 feet away.

Me: Grandpa. You gotta use the crosswalk over there.

His reply?
They’ll stop. They always do.

His focused devotion to arrive at his destination was so acute, he’d eschewed the crosswalk detour in favor of the more direct and shorter route straight across traffic. And since he’d been making this walk for a couple of years, I figured he knew what he was talking about.

He had a wife to see and I had Pepsi to deliver so I begrudgingly bid him adieu. As I climbed back into my truck, I realized two valuable truths and smiled: One, come hell or high water, Grandpa was going to be with the one who made him whole. And two, when they gave Marcie and I advice just before we were getting married, they meant it, and they lived it.

Their advice?
And, inspired by their example, to the best of our ability combined with our own share of bumps and bruises along the way, we have.

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa.

Thank you for reading.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Garlic or Kindness

My role models, Gale and Mabel

Do you have a role model? A heroine or hero?
I do. My grandpa and my grandma, Gale and Mabel. I have others but they are the first people I remember admiring. The first people I wanted to be like.

And I still do.
Remember them.
And admire them.
And try to be like them.
Even thirty-some years later.

I remember her subtle wit.
During her last days this side of heaven, she was asked why she didn’t just let go.
I just want to see how it all turns out.
A logical impossibility but spoken with a twinkle in her eye.

I admired his penchant for answering questions with humor.
At 78 he water skied.
Behind a boat.
On a big lake.
When asked where on the lake he’d like to go.
Why don’t I just follow you guys?
A spot on answer, but clearly not what we were going for.

And I especially liked their kindness.
Oh, the kindness.
Freely given.
To everyone.
At all times.
Oh, the kindness.

The thing is, I don’t recall specific examples. That’s probably because they weren’t merely being kind. They had in fact become kindness itself. It was in them. So much so that it seeped out. Oozed out, really, kinda like someone who had way too much garlic, except kindness smells better. And not everyone likes garlic, but who doesn’t like kindness?

So during the 20 or so years we shared time on this earth, I got to watch kindness. I got to experience kindness, their kindness. I believe that's why they became my role models.

Their model profoundly shaped my choices as I navigated this thing called living. And for the nearly 40 years since, based on their example, I have chosen kindness.

Am I kind? That’s not for me to say. What I can tell you is that I try to be kind. And not only do I try to be kind, it is my goal to become kindness. Like they became.

Garlic or kindness? I am a pretty big fan of garlic, but kindness is even better.

Who is your role model?
Whose past has profoundly shaped your present?

Perhaps more importantly, whose future are you shaping today?
We may have no idea, so just for good measure throw in a touch of kindness.


Thank you for reading.

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