Summer’s Pause

A Barbados day, some time long ago, yet still like yesterday

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” 
― Douglas Adams

I’ve been writing here, pretty much on a daily basis, for over a year now. It’s time to step away.

I feel like I have said all there is to say in so many different ways. This blog was never meant to be mainstream, just a place where I could write down thoughts and feelings and musings. I’ve done that – I’m done doing that.

I’m not sure if it will start again, but for now it has come to a graceful end. Like everything else in life, things begin and then they fade away. It feels like as good a time as any.

Be good to you. Take care of you and those you love, and take care of the vehicle that carries you through life. Instead of writing in this space, I am going to spend my time meditating on all that is good and right in the world. My time has become more precious to me in recent days and I want to spend every moment engaged only in what I want to do.

Thank you for reading, whoever you may be. Enjoy whatever life presents to you next, as I will. And remember – we always get exactly what we need.

“All the world’s a stage, 
And all the men and women merely players; 
They have their exits and their entrances; 
And one man in his time plays many parts, 
His acts being seven ages.” 
― William Shakespeare

Releasing – The Daily, July 31, 2020

Nothing is more soothing than observing nature and all of her creations

“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” 
― C.S. Lewis

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” 
― Mark Twain

Meditation is a wonderful tool. If you have tried it and were unable to turn off your thoughts, it probably didn’t do much for you. It’s worth working at it and trying again. To be able to sit in quiet awareness without judgment and perception is both liberating and healing. By going within, everything makes sense.

The duality of perception becomes apparent, and the realization that we split the whole into parts can release us from the dream of separation. We experience a dream, a light in which forms appear, and that is what we see as life. it is something that is happening, but it all happens inside of us. Everything is lived on the inside. This is an observation that can change how you look at the whole fabric of life.

Moon in Capricorn – Earthy, practical, and wise, the Moon in Capricorn encourages us to use our common sense and not get caught up in the hysteria that surrounds us. Just because certain things are repeated over and over, it doesn’t mean they are true. Don’t follow along blindly without feeling your way through and rejecting what doesn’t resonate with your own intuition.

Thought of the Day – Go within. Be the silence, the quiet witness that is in the world but not of the world. Nothing is good or bad, but we classify and judge and make it so. Acceptance and gratitude will pave the way for a life of bliss and joy. Have a special day with less input from the outside world and more feeling of your own consciousness.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

Finding Easy Answers – The Daily, July 30, 2020

The beautiful beach in Puerto Rico that I spent so many hours walking on and learning to just be

“I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” 
― Bob Hope

“Reality is wrong. Dreams are for the real.” 
― Tupac Shakur

There is a lot of noise out there right now, all of it competing for our attention. Some of it is designed to help, some to mislead, and some to profit those who share it. It’s never been more important to exercise your own common sense and think for yourself.

Belief can be a dangerous thing. When we believe something to be true, we invariably shut out anything that opposes that belief. It’s important to stay as open-minded as possible as we all navigate through the current times. It’s easier to have flexibility of mind and to be able to adapt to changing information than to be fixed in one mindset and then find out you may have been wrong.

Progress – From, a new study has shown that heparin, a seaweed extract, showed promise as being more effective than remdesivir in inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 infection in mammalian cells. Researchers from the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS) at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute are looking at getting the virus to lock onto a decoy molecule that offers a similar fit to human cells. The neutralized virus would be trapped and eventually degrade naturally.

“What interests us is a new way of getting at infection,” said Robert Linhardt, a Rensselaer professor of chemistry and chemical biology. “The current thinking is that the COVID-19 infection starts in the nose, and either of these substances could be the basis for a nasal spray. If you could simply treat the infection early, or even treat before you have the infection, you would have a way of blocking it before it enters the body.”

New developments are occurring at a rapid pace. There likely won’t end up being one overall answer to controlling the pandemic, but many.

Moving Forward – Venus ended its post-retrograde shadow yesterday. We have likely seen forward progress in projects or relationships that may have stalled in May or June. Look around and see what you may have started and have been unable to finish, and then decide what is important. Sometimes we do just for the sake of having something to worry about doing. If it isn’t important, then let it go.

Thought of the Day – It’s a beautiful July day, one of the last of the year. Break free from the prison of social conditioning and indulge yourself guilt-free in something you enjoy. It’s usually the little things in life that give us untold pleasure. Feel how good it feels to stop thinking and to just be in the moment. Indulge yourself in silence and enjoy. Have a carefree day.

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” 
― Bob Marley

Change and Momentum – The Daily, July 29, 2020

Change your perspective, change your life

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” 
― Robert Frost

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” 
― Confucious

Constantly refining and defining who we are and what we want is part of growth. If you are blessed not to have people in your life who criticize you every time you try something different, then you are fortunate to be able to experiment and try new things without needing to explain yourself. That is a blessing, because sometimes you have no idea if you will enjoy something until you do it.

There is no shame in discovering that the time you put into a project hasn’t produced a result of any consequence. Every moment contains within it the ability to learn and to grow, and by exposing your mind to new ways of looking at things, the day will come when your ideas take flight in ways you couldn’t have imagined. To do this with the joy of discovery and the freedom of expression is a right we should all have.

Go out and create. Hurt no one, help those you can, and express yourself in any way that feels right. That is the way to live a joyful life. Never allow the opinions of others to stop you from expressing who you are. Don’t die with the regrets of a half-lived life as your final companion.

Get It Done – The Moon is in Sagittarius today and this can make us welcome more spontaneity in our lives. This position blends with the fiery energy of the Sun in Leo, encouraging an “I can do it” attitude, and the Moon and the Sun form a trine this evening. Do whatever you want to do today and do it with passion and style. Live like this is the most important day you will ever have to live and enjoy everything that enters your world.

A Little Hedonism Goes a Long WayIn this study, according to new research from the University of Zurich and Radboud University in the Netherlands, researchers found that enjoying short-term pleasurable activities that have nothing to do with long-term goals contributes at least as much to a happy life as self-control. Eating a satisfying meal or having a snooze on the couch are the little pleasures of life that keep us feeling balanced and happy. But don’t give yourself a guilt trip afterwards, because that takes all of the fun out of it.

Thought of the Day – Do what you would do if no one was going to judge you for it. Express yourself as who you really are and stop pretending to be someone else. This could be one of the most freeing things you ever decide to embrace. Have a special Wednesday.

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” 
― Aristotle

Being Fit, Feeling Good – The Daily, July 28, 2020

Express yourself fully and seek your highest potential. Nature never holds back

“From the bodybuilding days on, I learned that everything is reps and mileage. The more miles you ski, the better a skier you become; the more reps you do, the better your body.” 
― Arnold Schwarzenegger

“If I hadn’t lost my hearing, I wouldn’t be where I am now. It forced me to maximize my own potential. I have to be better than the average person to succeed.” 
― Lou Ferrigno

The human body is an amazing thing. If you are alive in any form, then you have the ability to change it in any way you choose. No matter how old you are , it is possible to build muscle, gain cardiovascular strength, lose fat, and be a bit healthier every day. By eating less and moving more, the weight will come off and every system will function better. When you remove toxins and harmful substances from the diet, you can change the way you feel almost overnight. The body is one of the most forgiving things there is and it is never too late to make changes to support it in all it does.

In many cases, and especially if you are overweight, the best thing to do if you aren’t feeling well is to go on a medically-supported fast. Even switching to a raw plant-based diet for a few weeks can assist the body to heal on its own. Consider the possibilities, do some research, talk to your doctor and explore the idea that reaching optimum health is in your own hands.

Touchy-Feely – The Moon is in Scorpio all day, and it is a good time to get in touch with our feelings. How are you doing? Really ponder this question for a moment. Many of us are trying to find a sense of normalcy but it isn’t easy. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and those close to you during these challenging times. Find ways to cope without resorting to harmful behaviours like excessive drinking or mindlessly watching television and do something that makes you feel good. Going for a long walk, reading a good book, or decluttering part of your house are calming activities that help soothe an anxious mind.

Thought of the Day – The end of July is approaching, and summer continues to slide by in all of its magnificence and growth. Flowers are abundant, new life is everywhere, and the days are long and warm. Appreciate that the Earth supports our ability to thrive and to be alive. Everything that we need is already here, and we should appreciate it more. Have a special Tuesday.

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.” 
― William Blake

You Get What You Are – The Daily, July 27, 2020

Abundance is everywhere in nature, and it is there for us to appreciate

“You are as good as anybody and better than most” 
― Regis Philbin

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” 
― Eckhart Tolle

Why do we look for things we don’t want? This may be the ultimate definition of futility. Going out of our way to see things that are wrong in the world around us invites that energy into our immediate experience. It’s like saying that the world is a scary place and then deliberately walking down a dark alley alone to find evidence to prove that theory. Why bring it into your life when it wasn’t there before?

Look for what you want. If you want to feel good, fill your eyes and mind with things that make you feel good. It’s the opposite of looking for everything that is not what you want and filling your existence with that. If it is a choice, and it most obviously is, then make the choice that brings you joy and peace.

A Dog’s Nose Knows – Using dogs to sniff and detect different diseases is nothing new. Now a medical charity in England is attempting to train them to identify the smell of COVID-19. The charity, called Medical Detection Dogs, has successfully trained dogs to detect malaria and is partnering with the Tropical Medicine and Hygiene School in London along with Durham University for the project. Dr. Claire Guest, a behavioral psychologist and principal member of the charity, said, “The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic and tell us whether they need to be tested.  This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed.” This could work well in airports and other crowded areas.

Dr. Guest continues: “We know that other respiratory diseases, like COVID-19, change our body odour so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionize our response to COVID-19 in the short term, but particularly in the months to come, and could be profoundly impactful.”

Sounds like another wonderful project in the works.

Thought of the Day – If you think of what is good in life, you will feel better. Your body will work better and your mind will be calm. Give yourself the gift of looking for what is going well instead of finding ways to make yourself unhappy. It’s your choice to make.

Enjoy a wonderful day.

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” 
― Lao Tzu

Eating Well – The Daily, July 26, 2020

Beautiful ocean off the coast of Australia

“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – never knowing.” 
― Jim Rohn

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now” 
― Zig Ziglar

It’s such a wonderful time of year to eat well, get fit and breathe fresh air. Fruits and vegetables are plentiful, the days are long, and the warm weather makes it easy to be outside to enjoy it all. Building good habits now will help us to carry a healthier mindset into winter when it is a bit more challenging to stay motivated.

Do it for your health as opposed to wanting to look good. That is a better motivator. If you feel confident that you can stay healthy for a long time by paying attention to what you eat, how much you exercise, and to your sleeping schedule, then the feeling of control can assist you in sticking with the good habits. Willpower isn’t necessary when you have clearly defined parameters of what it takes to operate at your best.

Waxing Moon – The Moon continues to cruise through Libra today, and that can inspire us to seek fairness and harmony. It moves into the mysterious sign of Scorpio next, getting there at 12:12 AM EDT tomorrow. It’s beginning to gain a presence in the sky again as it reaches its full first-quarter stage tomorrow. Plan the work and work the plan. This isn’t the time to let up on the momentum you have built. Nothing gets done without the doing part.

Better Testing – In some good news, Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found that testing for COVID-19 is more effective when using people’s saliva as opposed to the rather uncomfortable long cotton swab currently used. They examined how often different collection methods produced a positive result. For nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, the rate was 54 percent, for oropharyngeal swabs, 43 percent, and for sputum, 71 percent. The rate of viral detection was significantly higher in sputum.

The timing of sample collection also mattered. Detection rates were highest within one week of symptom onset for all three tests. Jonathan Li, MD, a faculty member in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Brigham, said, “When it comes to testing, the earlier the better, as diagnostic accuracy is improved earlier after symptom onset, regardless of the sampling site. Unlike antibody testing, it’s very rare to have a false positive qPCR test when diagnosing COVID-19 early in the course of the disease using these methods.”

Progress towards effectively dealing with the virus is happening. You never know when the major breakthroughs are going to occur, and hopefully it will be soon.

Thought of the Day – Do what is within your control to feel good today. Think better thoughts, eat better food, and breathe cleaner air. It can change how you feel starting today, and that can inspire you to do even better tomorrow. It all makes a difference in the end. Have a satisfying day.

“Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally ‘count our blessings,’ give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.” 
― Shakti Gawain

Getting Back to Normal – The Daily, July 25, 2020

Just some bushes being bushes, nothing more and nothing less

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” 
― Vincent van Gogh

“Stay mad, but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different, but learn to do so without attracting attention.” 
― Paulo Coelho

It’s amazing how quickly things change. It has been seven months since Christmas, when no one outside of a small area in China knew anything about a virus that was beginning to spread and show signs of acting differently than a normal flu. Now here we are, seven months later, living in a pandemic. We can’t do what we used to do. Some people are coping by trying to ignore it, others are getting through by telling themselves that it won’t last much longer. The only thing we know for sure is – we just don’t know.

Life as it was is no more. Even when we eventually move past this, the way things work will be different. More companies are discovering that their employees can work productively from home and are moving in the direction of making that permanent. Those who can work from home are choosing to move away from the city, no longer needing to be in close proximity to the office. Education and travel are changing and many other things we used to take for granted are either no longer available, or no longer important.

Some refer to it as the “new normal”. It’s really just a different set of habits we are learning that has altered our lifestyles due to our susceptibility to a virus. This is about survival and the changes that will be necessary to move forward from here. The direction we go in now is what matters. Normal is being able to take care of our base needs like food, shelter and clothing. Then go from there.

Time Goes ByA study from the U.K. has shown that social and physical distancing measures put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic significantly impacted people’s perception of how quickly time passed compared to their pre-lockdown perceptions. A survey found that more than 80 percent of participants experienced a change in how quickly they thought time was passing during lockdown compared to pre-lockdown. Older people or those less satisfied with their current levels of social interaction were more likely to experience a slower passage of time over the course of the day or the week. Time is relative, after all.

Thought of the Day – The day is ahead and to live it consciously will allow you to see the opportunities around you. Make your home and work space a pleasant place to be and then enjoy being in it. We should at least be happy where we are. Have a beautiful Saturday.

“I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind” 
― Edgar Allen Poe

Changing It Up – The Daily, July 24, 2020

There are never too many flowers in the day

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” 
― Dalai Lama XIV

Old habits bring the same results. Change things up today. Eat different foods, explore something new on the internet, or just go out and see if there is something new in the neighbourhood. Change up your routine today and you never know where it might lead you. Approaching the day with a sense of impending discovery instead of going through it like you usually do can bring a creative energy to all of your endeavours. Enjoy the newness that exists in the now, the sense of anticipation that is always there. Nothing needs to be the same if you don’t want it to be.

Useful Research – New research by Monash University in Australia has led to the ability to detect positive COVID-19 cases using blood samples in about 20 minutes, and identify whether someone has contracted the virus. This would be a huge breakthrough, as people could be tested before travel, or when arriving in a new country, and it would facilitate opening up the world to increased movement again. Rapid testing would also help with case identification and contact tracing, and it could speed up the development of a treatment by confirming vaccine efficacy during clinical trials. Right now the inaccuracy of testing and the time to get results is an impediment to effective management of the pandemic, so this would be a significant development.

Every day we get a little closer to a breakthrough that will help change the course of this worldwide situation. In the meantime, we need to be careful. That’s the reality of where we are. By all indications, we are likely going to see things get worse before they get better, but the research is continuing all over the world and eventually positive news will come out of it. Just keep on keeping on.

Thought of the Day – Declaring that something is or isn’t a certain way turns your mind off to the possibility that your view might not be entirely correct. Look at everything with a more relaxed attitude, and remember that we actually know very little of how the world functions. When you stop learning and being open to new possibilities, you stop living. Stay flexible in body, mind and soul and it will allow a peaceful feeling to accompany you throughout life. Have a wonderful day.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” 
― Marilyn Monroe

One Foot in Front – The Daily, July 23, 2020

Would you look at it differently if you thought it might be the last one you ever see?

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” 
― Bill Gates

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” 
― Jim Rohn

Having a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish in your mind is the key to reaching a goal, because along the way there will be many distractions, problems, and reasons that you will find for not following through. But as long as the image of what you want remains clear and accessible to you, there will be a path that appears before you to take you there. One step at a time is the best advice to follow, especially when the challenges appear and you feel like you are losing focus.

Getting clear about why you want to do something is important too. If you can get to the point where not getting to where you want to go feels like a pain that would be unbearable, then it will only be a matter of time before you accomplish what you set out to do. Steady, consistent action performed over a period of time is the way to get anywhere, and it isn’t any more difficult than that.

Gaining or Losing? – A few weeks after the quarantines began, people started to joke about the “quarantine-15”, the extra weight they had added since being stuck at home that was now a new source of stress and discomfort. It wasn’t surprising – sales of alcohol were up early on, and people turned to sweets and comfort food to deal with the uncertainty of life in a pandemic. But at the same time, others talk about having lost weight because they aren’t going to restaurants or going to grab a snack late at night from the store.

We all cope in different ways. At the same time, it’s more important than ever before to be as healthy as you can, and for this you can accept a great deal of responsibility. Be real with yourself. If you have gained some weight that you didn’t need to have, then look at the habits that are contributing to that. It’s all about choices and taking control over what you do day after day. Decide what you want and then take action to get there, because being healthy is nothing more than building quality, consistent habits that support you and your body.

Plato Knew Stuff – From Science Daily: “Plato, the Greek philosopher who lived in the 5th century B.C.E., believed that the universe was made of five types of matter: earth, air, fire, water, and cosmos. Each was described with a particular geometry, a platonic shape. For earth, that shape was the cube. Science has steadily moved beyond Plato’s conjectures, looking instead to the atom as the building block of the universe. Yet Plato seems to have been onto something, researchers have found.”

Douglas Jerolmack, a geophysicist in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences’ Department of Earth and Environmental Science and the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, said,”The interesting thing here is that what we find with rock, or earth, is that there is more than a conceptual lineage back to Plato. It turns out that Plato’s conception about the element earth being made up of cubes is, literally, the statistical average model for real earth. And that is just mind-blowing.”

The knowledge of everything has always been there – just because we haven’t proven things yet doesn’t mean they aren’t correct.

Thought of the Day – Eat well. Be positive. Choose health over gluttony, contentment over greed. The small joys in life have the ability to transport you to a place of joy and bliss, so surround yourself with them. Have a beautiful day.

“I suppose therefore that all things I see are illusions; I believe that nothing has ever existed of everything my lying memory tells me. I think I have no senses. I believe that body, shape, extension, motion, location are functions. What is there then that can be taken as true? Perhaps only this one thing, that nothing at all is certain.” 
― Rene Descartes