The first time I saw parakeets flying free was in Northern India – an eye-opening sight to behold. The beautiful, bright green, miniature birds were flying, sitting in trees, chirping and doing what free birds do. They weren’t sitting in a cramped cage with a mirror to look into to keep them from going crazy in confinement. I realized as I stood gazing up at them that despite knowing that parakeets really do fly, I had always equated them with little caged birds, with clipped wings. I hadn’t thought beyond that until I saw them in their natural habitat and that was a result of the limits I placed on my thinking – of not allowing my thoughts to expand.

It’s similar to the question we’ve heard before,
‘Do you see the glass of water as half-full or half-empty?’.
       We assume the question refers to the water in the glass, but what about the air?
The glass is always full with a mix of air and water. It’s another example of how we limit our thinking.

Recently I moved from one part of the country to another and with that came a lot of ‘goodbyes’ and ‘so longs’ to many friends, colleagues and co-workers. During that time I began to notice the different ways we view distance. Some folks viewed the pending distance between us as a barrier or an obstacle and I sensed that the bond of our relationship would soon fray and unwind. Others however had a different perspective, one not so focused on the pending distance as much as the ways that our relationship would remain in tact; albeit in different ways. As I prepared to move I considered which bonds would fray and which ones would remain and why. I knew that I would be willing to hold onto my end of the proverbial tie that bound our relationship but I couldn’t hold onto theirs.

We can view distance as an obstacle too difficult to prevent a bond from breaking or we can view it as a stepping stone that carries us to a different level of relationship; the choice is ours. I have begun to experience the unravelling of the bond with some and the strengthening of the bond with others; it has been an interesting observation and experience.

This reflection isn’t intended to judge right versus wrong only to observe…to contemplate…and to learn how we view things and to understand that our perspective, our choices and our thinking creates our life experience.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven


Source: New feed

As I snapped the photo of Stephanie up on the step ladder, drill in one hand, measuring tape dangling from her neck hanging my beautiful new curtains we had shopped for earlier in the week, I giggled to myself and wondered if perhaps she was wondering what would have happened if she had not chosen to sit in the open seat beside me on the airplane that day. Perhaps she would have been relaxing on that Friday night, out at a concert or seeing a movie, but she had chosen to take the seat and the result, 13 months later, was my friend the interior designer, working hard on a step ladder on a Friday night to make my new home cozy and comfortable.

In our increasingly-isolated world where we’re making it easier and at times more acceptable to talk with our thumbs than our tongues, I’m glad to know that Serendipity is alive and well and just waiting for an opportunity to enter our lives.

Sitting on the plane ready to take off for Austin with an empty seat beside me, I had begun to experience the realization that I was going to have two seats to myself for the duration of the flight. The concept of luxury of space on an airplane is an industry that employs thousands of engineers and designers; to have an open seat beside me was a valuable, win-the-lottery-type luxury and in a matter of seconds, I opted out. I noticed the three seats across from me: a morbidly obese woman with an energetic young child, a large bag of pungent fast food in-between them and a woman about my age, clearly crowded out by her seatmates. I didn’t hesitate when we caught eyes and invited her to take the empty seat beside me; she accepted.
                                                  Serendipity, welcome aboard.

It turns out my new seat-mate was moving to the city I was visiting and we shared many things in common including a willingness to talk with a stranger on a plane. By the end of the flight we had exchanged contact information and planned to stay in touch. We did. A little over a year later, I too was moving to Austin and discovered the place I intuitively recognized as my new home was less than four miles away from Stephanie.
                                    Serendipity, so glad you decided to hang around.

Would I have moved to Austin anyway?  Yes.
Would it have been as fun?  No chance.

That’s the thing about Serendipity. It’s there lying dormant, neither exclusive nor independent but needs to know it’s invited and welcome. Serendipity wants to feel special and requires good company…the company of those who are willing to step outside their comfort zone, who are willing to speak to a stranger and perhaps give up a little airplane luxury without ever considering the return on that ‘gesture investment’. Serendipity is attracted to courageousness and genuineness, we can’t fake our actions and have it result in Serendipity gifting us a fantastic outcome. When we show a genuine interest in others and engage with our fellow humans whether it’s on a plane or in line at the grocery store, Serendipity will notice. Serendipity hovers…waiting for an opportunity to do what it does best: to make our life experiences richer, more valuable and more fun. We can exist on our own but without Serendipity I’m not sure we can truly live, experience and appreciate its depth of richness.

I often think of the flight that day to Austin and how my life would be different had I chosen to stay immersed in my book or Ipod keeping the extra airplane seat to myself.  I wouldn’t have all-new colors in my bedroom, I wouldn’t have so many new friends and I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Mopar and Rubi, two of the best dogs ever. Stephanie wouldn’t have a friend who is a built-in dog walker and dog snuggler, fellow hiker and canyon explorer and soon-to-be best ever frozen drink preparer!
                              Cheers to you Serendipity and lots of dog kisses too!
Thanks for reading,

Source: New feed

Have you ever noticed it is oftentimes the most simplest of things that carry the most depth? Like the feeling that comes from drinking a cold glass of water when you are dehydrated and thirsty? Pure and simple water quenches my thirst like nothing else and during those times when I’m really thirsty I’m always amazed at how good the water tastes, how rich and fulfilling it is. Sometimes I ask myself,

                                         ‘Why doesn’t it taste this good all the time?’  
                                                         And then I  think…or does it…
…and perhaps I’m just not as aware when I’m not so focused on satiating an arid thirst.

I traveled to Thailand recently and had the pleasure and privilege to become immersed in a culture that in a lot of ways reminded me of the same feeling I have when I experience something so simple, yet so rich, like the glass of water when I am thirsty. There is a simplicity that emanates from the people I met who carried with them a richness that was palpable; an intellectual simplicity that was refreshing.

That experience gifted me a new knowledge…a new understanding of a way to be in our world…a way to interact and a way to live by connecting with people and thinking of others before we think of ourselves. These weren’t conscious choices on their part it was how they live each day. By far, they were the richest people I have ever met. They were not materialistically rich with cars, houses, clothing and all the things our culture can fall prey to believing we need; these people were rich with the understanding that they didn’t need any of those things to feel whole, happy or worthy. They’re already whole, happy and worthy. On the surface I suspect they could come across as simple but with just a token effort it was easy to see that they had something figured out that perhaps many of us are searching for.

There is a lot of media attention these days about the idea of living an authentic life. My sense is that
                                  it’s easy to lose the truth in the search for authenticity.

The Thai people I got to know well, were rich and not deluded by attempts to be authentic, in fact, they weren’t searching or trying to be anything which was where their richness was founded. They know who they are, what they believe, how they feel and are excited to share themselves when interest is expressed. I loved that they didn’t define themselves by their work or life circumstances; those are things they do or that have happened, it isn’t who they are or how they define themselves. 

                    Do you know who you are? Do we? Do we really know who we are?   
                  Not what we do, not who we raise, not where we live…but who we are?

In Thailand, Ghing told me when I feel stress to put it in my pocket…it’s not worth feeling something that isn’t worthy and if it’s that important it will be there tomorrow and it might look a lot different after being wadded up in my pocket. Things look different with a fresh perspective and a little less ego involvement. As we walked along the riverbank and stopped for mango with sticky rice, Tam  compared the feelings of love and gratitude toward others as a gift that we hold. She asked why anyone would hold onto a gift like that without sharing it; she said if we are lucky enough to have that gift that it needs to be shared so it will grow and be shared again. And finally Chia gave me a beautiful protection amulet as I was setting off to continue my journey and said to me,don’t take fear with you on this trip or in your life, it is not a worthy companion, only be afraid of not seeking what’s around the bend”.

The Thai people taught me and I enjoyed experiences, sights, food and even elephant rides that I could never have imagined but ultimately I left Thailand a richer person for having spent time with the people. To have the awareness to enjoy whatever is in front of me (a glass of water perhaps), to allow my heart to share with others how I feel and to think of others by putting my own concerns in my pocket and consider what it might be like for someone else. These simple yet rich Thai jewels will show us how to connect with one another and that is what we need, those are things that are most important.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven


Source: New feed