Are You On The Right Menu From Fast Food To Whole Foods?

Over the years I have written about many issues concerning health, from Omega 3 Fish Oil from New Zealand, to the benefits of dark chocolate, the amazing cancer killing properties of the fruit known as Guanabana, to an herbal product known as Protandim.

I have read some amazing information by Dr. William Davis about how wheat has been hybridized to become addictive in our body system in his book, Wheat Belly. Research has been done on countless claims by those wanting to sell the latest diet fads. Always on the lookout for the “magic pill” that would change health and life expectancy for all, only to get smacked in the face with the truth. The “magic pill” is us!

There is an invisible war going on out there, as Al Davis says in his newest eBook, The Diet Fallacies, which can be found on Amazon (currently a free download if you hurry). He speaks about how we have been, in my words, sold down the river by our own government and the BIG FOOD industry.

It’s no secret for those who care to research what government entities such as the USDA are really responsible for. Follow this link to just one article that will start you on a research path to uncover what not just this government agency, but the FDA and others as well REALLY do…or don’t.

In short, what you will discover is our government is more interested in business than our nation’s health. Rather than agree to force producers to label foods containing GMO’s, there’s reason to believe a collaboration exists to keep this hidden. It is clearly known by those companies producing Genetically Modified Organisms that any food containing these artificial sources would be shunned by the public, drastically cutting into massive profits.

Many tests have been done on fast food products, showing that even the bugs don’t like it, even if humans consume massive amounts of it. That sort of puts the bugs on a greater intellectual level with humans on that score.

Whether it’s the sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, and modified fat sources, it all contributes to the general populaces food addiction, or at the very least food dysfunction. No matter what label you apply, it is clearly visible in the visual epidemic of obesity in the American populace, from adults to their children.

The Diet Fallacies: Change Your Diet, Change Your Weight, End Food Cravings, and Transform Your Life! One of the best sources of where to get more information about Whole Foods is Kaiser Premanente. Al mentioned this in his book, and Kaiser is the largest managed care organization in the U.S. With over 10.1 million members in their health plan, and recommending changing food consumption to Whole Foods, it gives cause to find out why.

Kaiser offers two booklets on adopting Plant-Based eating you can download from their website. An interesting quote found in one of those booklets by author Michael Pollan says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t!” Kaiser obviously endorses such thinking as they strongly support this mindset of Whole Food eating.

Just research “whole food eating” in Google and you’ll pull up over 7 million links on the topic. Granted that in and of itself does not create an endorsement, rather lends some food for thought. The cure for health may be found in all those things you have resisting eating. We need to go back to the days when spinach was popular and Popeye was a hero.

Growing some of our own herbs and veggies in the back yard or flower pots on the balcony is not such a harebrained idea after all, and it’s not just doable but economic. The price of Baby Spinach or Chives at the grocery are ridiculous!

We used to eat whole foods 60 years ago. How did we change? Like always, it was gradual. Just like boiling a frog. You don’t throw it into a kettle of boiling water. As a populace we waded into cool waters and it seemed safe. By the time we discovered otherwise we were hooked. Are we smarter than the frog? Time will tell.

I’ve got some organic strawberry/papaya/raspberry juice calling my name! Later.

Do You Do What You Love Or Do What You Have To?

Getting up excited about the day is where you are? You jumped out of bed knowing what lie ahead for the day, fully expecting surprises along the way. You know you’re capable of handling whatever comes your way.

Cortisol just climbed to high levels with the sound of your alarm. Dragging yourself from the bed to the bathroom is not where you want to be. Those reports are nagging you to get finished and it’s like dragging yourself through molasses to get them done. It’s only “hump day” and you’re already exhausted.

Which of those two scenarios describes you? These days there is a good deal written and talked about concerning doing what you love as opposed to whatever job you can find. Greater yet is attempting to answer the question: If you could do anything you wanted and knew you COULD NOT FAIL, what would it be?

Chances are you have no idea how to answer that question. Welcome to the club. First off, there may be many things that come to mind you have never tried, like being a professional athlete. How many men would give their eye teeth for that sort of opportunity?

Then there are the many things you have done in life, some of which you actually enjoyed and wouldn’t mind repeating. The question comes back to the word, anything. A blank could just as easily be put there, and it would still get the same result. A great big “huh?”

This is similar to having a Genie pop out of a bottle and giving you three wishes, only the first two don’t count. How do you pick that one thing you want to do and could not fail? The thought comes to mind, if I could not fail, then let me be successful at every single thing I try! That has a good sound to it.

Mindset seems to be the key to the question. If I am determined to be successful at something, anything, and willing to do whatever it takes ethically, morally, personally and spiritually, then how could I fail? Believing in myself to that degree would appear to be the most important key. So where does this tend to break down?

I like what T. Harv Eker says, as to how we’ve been trained from childhood by all those in authority in our lives, that we have to fit a mold, educating ourselves as some sort of professional. That is a mold that has been broken for decades.

Take a look at all the Masters degrees, Doctors, Attorneys, MBAs, Engineers, Accountants and others, who are floundering. Are you one of those? What were you told  at seven years old you could never do? Maybe again in you teens when you demonstrated a talent for something out of the mainstream, like being a radio broadcaster, or inventor with way out of the ordinary ideas an creations that actually work.

When this came to the surface you were made to feel stupid, immature, unwise, irresponsible, to name just a few of the comments made to intimidate you into thinking there was no possibility that you could have an inkling what might be best for you. Are you nodding your head recalling such moments in the past?

With these labels carried throughout life that jump out from the subconscious mind to haunt and repudiate everytime we dare to test our fear factor, what are the chances of ever rising above unbelief? Effort to overcome those labels and that fear take work and commitment, which translate to change. Now this, change, is the name of everyone’s favorite topic.

Can you say, “been there, done that, got the poster and T-shirt!”? Then you will want to follow this series of articles dealing with how that change comes about, as I go on that journey. I’ve been to the mountain top once, and rolled down the other side, bruised and beat up in an environment that only added to my insecurity to attempt anything like I had just accomplished.

On the Cuicocha Trail around the lagoon!
On the Cuicocha Trail around the lagoon!

At a point where most would be ready to hang up the gloves, there is still too much to accomplish, and no reason not to do it. Age certainly is not a factor, so it’s time to beat down all the things that have been allowed to rule up till now.

Writing about the experience may encourage another to do the same, as for once that determination and commitment is right where it needs to be. Join me on this journey, or be a bystander. Whichever suits you at the moment.

Do You Play The Change Game Or Just Do It?

“It’s Easy To Change. It’s Just Easier NOT to!” Dr. John Morgan

I don’t know if this is original with Dr. Morgan, but it appeared on the marquee outside his Chiropractic office one morning at least 20+ years ago.

John once played with one of the NFL teams and to have a quote like that in his back pocket would not be unusual. This quote has stuck with me for all these years, and served as a reminder on many occasions just when a change was coming with the choice of do or don’t.

Change always seems easy, until faced with the realities. Rarely does change not involved stepping outside one’s comfort zone. Right there is what makes huge differences in acceptance. Change is fine until faced with being, doing, performing in a way contrary to our habits.

Ahh, there we have the real problem. Compare driving on the left side in England, or many other countries. How much of an adjustment has to be made? Speaking a foreign language, even though it may have a multitude of similarities to English such as Spanish.

Amazing what happens with a little banana juice!
Amazing what happens with a little banana juice!

Perhaps as a female working in a male dominated culture where you MUST submit to some indignities, such as not being included in meetings. Going from a secure job to being self employed. Possibly a favorable situation until faced with all the responsibilities of providing direction, creating revenue streams, sourcing supplies, all the things done by others in an employee scenario.

Most never have an idea what’s involved in running a business. They may have a great idea, but have never taken the time or made the effort to source out the necessary details of the idea they have in mind. Results show quickly within months in most cases, evidenced by closed doors and For Lease/Rent signs in the window of vacated locations.

Others by sheer tenacity tough it out, determined to do whatever it takes. Working 20 hour days, sleeping 4 hours in two hour shifts. Using personal transportation to personally go and pick up supplies, then to turn around and go make deliveries of products to customers. Collecting checks or excuses, basically surviving from one day to the next on the days receipts.

Everyday presents a new twist. Raw ingredients have suddenly become scarce because providers hemmed in by subsidized prices have decided it’s time for a raise, creating false shortages to force the issue.

A critical piece of equipment breaks down, throwing production to a halt. Drastic measures must be taken to get things up and running. Electricity goes out due to a storm, and stays down for hours. A driver for a delivery route shows up late. Key personnel call in sick. What do you do? Punt!

Change is easy, except when you have to! Dreaded by most, welcomed by few, just possibly the most feared occurrence in life. Chances are the greatest way to overcome change and the fear of it, is to just do it! There’s no question that Nike may have popularized that quote, still it’s also possible no truer words were ever spoken.

So the next good quote may be, “It’s easy to change. It’s just easier Not to. Just do it!”

Is There Really A Super Food Or Just Super Fools?

What is a Super Food anyway? Do they have muscles or can they fly? As a food does it give you super powers? What makes it super to other foods? Is it just a marketing ploy to charge more for it? Can this be yet another example of just hype?

For 40+ years I have searched for that magic potion that would address the physical ills of humanity. It started with Shaklee Products in Texas back in the ‘70s, and includes AMWAY, Tahitian Noni, Herbalife, Melaleuca, Xango,Natures Sunshine, NuSkin, doTerra, Omnilife, Life Vantage, and likely a few more that have long since been forgotten.

In each and every instance I was convinced the health products above all else were the answer. I took them, drank them, swallowed pills, certain I had discovered the answer to human health. If you could swallow it, then it wouldn’t matter that you ate crappy fast food and basically did everything to damage your health. This was the cleanse all, repair all.

In all those years since 1975, I have found one product that actually worked. Or at least it seems to have done what it claimed. I’m still out to lunch as whether of not the product worked, or it was something else. What I do know is I no longer suffer from acid reflux, or the beginnings of gout and arthritic pains. These disappeared wishing weeks of taking a product named Protandim.

I still have to support this product, simply because it is the ONLY one that has been “peer reviewed” over 15 times which can be found in the National Institutes Library of Health Reviews at pubmed.gov.

I freely admit that each and every time for a short period, these various products seemed to be improving my health. The one I got the most benefit from never phased my significant other. Her diabetes and other health issues remained unchanged. None made my hair grow back or clearly increased my energy level. In fact, at one point some of the Shaklee products actually caused me to become hyper-active. More likely me than the products, but it’s hard to say.

So what’s the point here? Do they work or not? And this is where it gets back to something basic I have covered in other articles. Remember the placebo effect, and how the mind and a persons desire to believe is actually what made the difference? Are these products any different? Is it possible we are really victims of our own minds ability to make the difference and not the product?

Grapes are one of those foods that contain an abundance of what are called antioxidants. These are the rust inhibitors that wage war against the free radicals that with age, slowly rust out our bodies from the inside out. While our bodies produce greater amounts of the antioxidants when we are younger, age begins to reduce this and we all know the result. So anything that can reverse this process has the potential to be the fabled “Fountain of Youth!”

Scientifically years and lives have been dedicated to discovering such a product. Protandim has been studied by the best making every effort to disprove it’s seeming ability to do what no other has.

I was talking about grapes, and how they possess the same antioxidant quality found in a pill. The only problem is you would need to consume about 18 pounds of grapes everyday to equal the amount of antioxidants in this pill. That many grapes on a consistent basis just isn’t going to happen.

So is it the pill, or the peer reviews? Is it the amazing combination of 5 herbs into a pill, or the powerful impact of seeming proof that it can do what is claimed? This information, much like that given to a group involved in a double blind study where placebos are involved, could be strong enough to convince the mind to do the work instead of the pill.

This idea has not escaped the medical profession nor manufacturers of drugs and OTC cures. Recent studies have exposed that a huge majority of patients diagnosed with depression, have been receiving placebos, and their depression is held in check. The medications are not cheap, and the pharmaceutical companies will stop at nothing to keep that away from public knowledge.

So here’s another example of the mind being used against us. The questions is, are there really super foods or just super fools? There are many foods that we should be eating, and none of them are processed or pasteurized! Maybe the real super foods are simply those that are natural and organic. Although “natural” has been horribly misused, and even organic has lost it’s value now that the USDA has become the so called watchdog and certifier. They aren’t a watchdog and they don’t follow up on certification inspections.

So what has happened. Once again it comes down to a question of convenience to consumers, looking for the fast fix. It’s just easier to swallow whatever, instead of taking the care and time to eat right. So business paid attention and we have health in a bottle.

That allows the end user to believe it makes no difference when they eat all the foods which make them unhealthy. The feeling is that the “pill” will magically reverse unhealthy trends happening in the body, but it doesn’t.

So you are the resource that makes the difference. However you use your mind, it always works according to the input.

Are You Really Sick Or Just Think You Are?

You’ve read about all the latest illnesses, viruses, diseases, and for every one there is a drug. The media uses every resource to inundate your mind, first with the sickness, then with the “cure.” Pretty soon every time you sniffle, have a stomach cramp, a headache or nausea, you start wondering which of those problems you have.

Does it occur to you that maybe you’re not sick with anything at all, other than the imagination of a brainwashed mind? Companies pay billions for advertising, and for what? Just so viewers see pretty pictures and anything from cartoons to classy 30 second productions? Which by the way, have no impact on the viewers according to Ad companies trying to dodge bullets that their ads are corrupting young lives or responsible for dysfunctional behavior.

James Vicary added subliminal messages to a movie titled “Picnic” in 1957. It suggested “Hungry? Eat More Popcorn. Drink Coca Cola.” Supposedly sales for both items rose substantially. Then in 1962, a startling confession was made. Here is the quote.

“In 1962 Vicary suddenly confesses that he fabricated the results of his experiment… Why would someone discredit himself in such a way and lose his dignity and credibility? It’s obvious that he was paid to do so by those who use subliminal messages to manipulate you. Remember the quote from “Usual Suspect” : The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist… That’s exactly the trick they are trying to pull, I.E. convincing the world that subliminal technique does not work.” Read the rest on this item here.

Time has proven it does. Here’s another link to some interesting facts about this source of manipulation. It’s no joke, but you’d think it was as the general attitude by viewers is it doesn’t work. While statistics can be manipulated like any other report, sales of particular products following such advertising have always been followed by increased sales.

Convinced yet? Read on.

The idea here is to help you understand how you are allowing your thinking to be controlled and manipulated to do, think, feel and act in ways that are programmed. A logical, reasonable, thinking person would never knowingly, willingly allow themselves to be manipulated the way multitudes are today. What is happening is worse than the tale of the Pied Piper! Political ads are some of the most devious. Food ads spend more money than any other product, and the U.S. has the obesity to prove it!

So let’s take this back to health, mental as well as physical. Whether you believe it or not, you are being told what to eat, how to get sick, and and the way you should live your life. The average viewer watches 5 hours daily, and is submitted to roughly 281 ads during those 5 hours. Add that for the 7 days and it comes to nearly 2000 brainwashing exposures weekly.

Now repetition is powerful. Don’t think so. “Just do it!” “Got Milk?” “Tastes great. Less filling.” “Good to the last drop.” “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” Those are just a few and chances are you know everyone of them by heart. So don’t say it doesn’t work. If you habitually buy any of those products, then the point is made.

So is this starting to sink in, or do I need to repeat it some more? The question is, are you sick, or just think you are? Sounds silly, right? How about diabolical? Can you make yourself sick? Better yet, can you “think” yourself sick?

An earlier article reveals the power of the placebo effect. What is the placebo effect other than the mind’s ability to strongly believe in something? If because of repetition you begin to strongly believe you are sick, what do you suppose is going to happen? If you also strongly believe due to repetition that the drug related to your illness is going to make you better, what happens next?

Now here’s the billion dollar question. What would happen if the opposite were true? You were getting constant repeated messages that you are healthy, happy, peaceful, content. These messages were greeting you 2000 times weekly. How would your life be different? Is this getting through?

Your mind, mine, have all been subjected to hijacking. Some are more susceptible than others. Others are just too stubborn to let the messages come through. But wait! Are those the ones who are healthy? Think about the ones you know to be somewhat rebellious. There may be a hint.

One of the most amazing accounts focused on the power of the mind and thought, is a book titled “The Intention Experiment” by Lynn McTaggart. 51bxPCmxwCL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Perhaps the most flabbergasting  part of this book are the scientific experiments, to show the power of just thought. You may not become a believer, but it will definitely give you a feast for thought.

In the end, whether you choose to think yourself sick or otherwise, it will be your thinking, or someone doing it for you. What do you willingly choose?

I wonder what hidden messages are really in the instrumental music I’m listening to in the background? Since it is on more hours of the day than the shows, they must be good. Maybe music really is what makes the world go round! No wait, I think that was love. They are both in my mind. What’s in yours?

Is It Your Business Or None Of Your Business?

“None Of My Business?”

“Once I asked another person what they were doing and they told me it was none of my business. Considering that for a scant moment, the fleet winged thought crossed my mind of the infinitesimal possibility they might be right.

Had it not been for all the trouble pursuing that thought to it’s logical conclusion would have caused, I would have let them have their way. Prudence being the better part of valor, shouting “Cops!” proved to be the wiser solution, as efforts to relieve me of property were quickly discouraged.”

As I reread this, another thought arose. Did I write this, or is it a short piece copied from elsewhere? Must be, as there is no memory ever of any such confrontation. What’s more interesting, is whether or not I would have ever yelled “Cops!” Corporal action of some sort would likely have ensued…maybe running?

Now can you imagine yourself in a similar situation? Maybe a perpetrator is holding a knife, more threatening than actually up against your jugular. What do you do when the demand to hand it over is made? Do you meekly do so? Does fear reign to the extent you’re paralyzed, unable to make the slightest move, petrified what may happened?

Is there any move on your part to avoid the situation, such as running for your life? Would you stand there and yell, “COPS!” at the top of your lungs? Here’s a good plug for pepper spray. Got any?

Has it happened to you yet? Chances are it has to someone close to you. Remember how they related the incident in such fine detail, you could feel the fear and panic? So here you are faced with a similar event. What next?

How many times do these scenarios get air time in our noggins? The news is constantly reminding you hundreds of times everyday how vulnerable you are. Here’s where all those defensive moves you were shown by detectives at your workplace come into play. What they really couldn’t show you is the nerve to do it.

When these attacks take place it is usually by surprise, catching you completely in another world and time. Not paying attention to your surroundings, thinking about the latest Cable episode, what you’re going to wear tomorrow, that game of golf at 3 PM, a board meeting where you have to present, and the list goes on.

It’s difficult to say how many assaults would be avoided if the victims were simply aware. According to David Erath Jr. in his book, The Ultimate Guide To Unarmed Self Defense, awareness is one of the key factors in denying an attacker their opportunity.

He offers two chapters to his book for free, so it might be a great idea to see what he writes on the topic.

Knowing that it can happen at the least expected moment, should be a clue to keep constant vigilance, even in those moments where there seems to be no imminent danger. Remembering that looks can be deceiving applies as much to people as it does places.

Without question constant awareness is the hardest for most. This doesn’t imply you should walk around in the parking lot in a karate stance, suspecting anyone and everyone. Being relaxed and aware is the name of the game.

Walking is one of my everyday events, starting at 5:30 in the morning while it is still dark. The walks are 3 miles long in a woods. There is ample opportunity for elephants, rabid Lamas
or squirrels, stray dogs too for that matter, as well as an unseen assailant to pose an attack.

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My walking stick made of Eucalyptus wood.

For this and other  reasons I have made a large walking stick that has a pointed tip 2” long.

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Notice the 2″ tip!

It also does a great job with balance and traversing the mountain bike trails over very rugged and uneven ground.

This can be brought into action quickly and effectively in hands that know how to use it. More importantly it is a deterrent, at least to any human element. The elephants and squirrels don’t exist so that just leaves Lamas, dogs and humans.

 Point being it is an element that provides security, along with constant awareness. You will find that staying aware will become a habit. Strangely enough that could be a bad thing, as once habits are developed they become subconscious, meaning you go back into a state of unawareness.

Do a check on yourself about awareness. See how long you can stay focused on your surroundings, without your thoughts going off on a tangent somewhere. Chances are you won’t last more than 10 to 15 seconds in the beginning. It proves a point, and that is the purpose.

Fooling around for someone to tell you it’s none of your business, could be costly!

Writing From The Heart Or Some Other Place!

Writing from the heart. Getting into those emotions with the intent to expose them is never as easy as it seems. Confrontation that exists between the cast your cares to the wind sensation, against those that make up reason, logic and common sense wage war.

The sense of baring ones inner being kept so well disguised demands removing that mask. Coming into that discomfort zone so carefully avoided feels like playing Russian roulette. Assurances of acceptance afterwards is not guaranteed.

Only the fearless need ever attempt showing true feelings. None indulge this on any regular basis. Tears are often shed to raise up that curtain of defense. Postponing what, for any chance of recovery, is sincerely required.

Yet release and lifted burden are priceless. Relief rushes in to take the place of futile attempts at ignoring truth. A personal prison where efforts to avoid freedom were the norm. Out of which songs, poems and novels are born.

Far easier is writing with fantasy in mind, where truth never has to be faced, and endings can be dark, light, or somewhere in between. Journeys are adventurous, exciting, even perilous, when not your own.

Even you, or I, create characters of escape replacing heroes who endure. Attempting to squeeze out words capable of drawing you into this mindset are among the most difficult. Simple, easy phrases resist acceptance while those which create more anxiety are favored.

The “why” almost demands an answer even knowing that being successful screams defeat. Where do you go when that time arrives? Rehearsal of well known oft repeated words hardly filled with sincerity form themselves for rebuttal.

So let’s go to the heart of the matter. Is hope seen to bypass this, these painful moments? Are delusions in store for those who try? How can this be ignored when it is such an integral occurrence in life?

I’m digging deep here. The attempt at relating to situations which are none of my making nor my concern. Still sensing the raw, ragged emotions that rise above the surface, revealing those infected, festering wounds forces acknowledgment.

Not theirs, but my own. How do I feel what is not mine to endure? With no anticipation of inviting myself to the party, I find myself a guest. That curtain of defense finds it’s way to the corners of my eyes on an all to regular basis. Why? It’s not my scenario, so how do my emotions get cranked up?

Is this what’s called empathy, sympathy, or entropy? Maybe dopy, however the fact remains along with the moisture from my eyes. In truth, for a man to have any feelings other than anger or something related to romance, is rare. That would be me. The rare part of course.

Showing those moments when that of vulnerability is most visible are frequent, which has the tendency to make others uncomfortable because they are unable to relate.

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Yet there are as may spaces where none of this is evident, usually occurring behind the steering wheel.

Are You In The Now, Or Not Now?

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The sweet lure of memories nearly represents the “Siren Songs” attributed to Mermaids, as it draws us back into pleasurable moments, with the desire to relive them even more fully in the now! So clearly etched in mind, recording the smallest detail.

Heart, mind and spirit refuse to acknowledge time, requiring the moment to be suspended like a lingering thought, floating in limbo with a strangely familiar flavor. You can taste memories. Did you know that? Some are ultra-sweet, while others remain bland or sour.

Now has no memory, full of surprises, twists and turns. Each presents itself with no apparent fanfare, challenging the ability to respond with abandon to a greater force. Those choosing to be in the moment are unaware of time, tasting the new essence of life as it unveils itself like the petals of a rose in bloom.

There is a magnetism to experience each morsel passing, sucking the last droplet leaving nothing to waste. No routines present themselves as this depends on the past. Thoughts powerfully explode creating visions of desire, which then reveal themselves in the next moments.

Many aimlessly wander into the endless quagmire of memories, unconscious of the elixir of the now. Absentmindedness rules that the exact experience they most desire to recall was the present at one point. What has become blurred is that being in the moment is what dwelling in the past is trying to resurrect!

Constant moves forward into the known and unknown infuse the spirit with unquenchable fire. Mind, body and heart are constantly rejuvenated by the continued journey. Weariness becomes energy as weakness creates strength. Focus constantly refines direction as signposts remain non-existent. Life is completely exhausted, reborn inside each subsequent moment.

Beauty, colors, aromas, experiences are original, unique, belonging to that instance never to be completely the same. Words inaccurately attempt description. Thoughts clearly reveal with preciseness yet have no vocabulary.

Music, woven together with spirit inspires the moment with each rendition in complete defiance of the past. Phrases multiply with unparalleled feeling, moving beyond limitations of definitions.

Memories are the hiding place for those who relinquish the power of the present. Waiting for an ending opposed to constant beginnings. Each day not only births a renewal of time, but multitudes on new moments which in turn give life to now!

The treasure chest containing those golden moments of yesterday, grow dim compared to the undiscovered gems hidden inside now’s next segment. Eyes may lose clarity while thoughts do not. Life lives now, slowly dying while starving immersed within memories.

Ahh…what temptation attracts us to linger, unconscious of impending ends. Encouraging are those refusing but to begin. Reluctant whimpers sound aloud heard from those uninspired. Too much effort complain all those of whom it is required. Eyes bright toward the newest are those bold, with vigor in their hearts. Ever ready with expectancy, never refusing to depart.

A diversion we call memories seems to many a necessary must. When it’s likely these are the ones who have finally grown up! Those in the present don’t mark the passing of time. Youthful mindset is their prize.

Resting In The Clouds!

Anyone following my writing may think I have a thing about these billowing formations. Somehow there is a connection.

So what’s it feel like to hang out in a cloud? There are times when some might have suggested being in a “fog,” or that muddled thoughts might be similar. But have you ever been in a real cloud? Where you are high up in the altitude, like flying in a plane, only there is nothing between you and the cloud. Yeah, that kind of cloud.

Since most do not possess the ability to fly like birds, getting high enough to be in a cloud in the first place may seem a little daunting. The easy way, of course, is to find something high enough where a cloud might be likely to pass over. Like say, a mountain top!

Ok, so pick any resident mountain top for your cloud experience. Got one in mind? No? Let’ see if this will help you out just a little. Go with me to Quito, Ecuador, to the top of a peak right behind the city. It is one of the peaks of Mt. Pichincha named Cruz Loma, at roughly 11,000 feet above sea level.

Now the road up to the table on top of this peak can barely be called such. It is more like the worst kind of riverbed with no water, where ruts nearly big enough to swallow a Jeep are threatening all along the way. Speed is not an issue because there isn’t any! You could almost go faster walking, except the altitude for those not used to it would leave you panting and gasping for breath.

So you endure the wild, bumpy ride that reminds you of what it must feel like for clothes being rubbed over the ole’ wash board. Or maybe you remember in the Five and Dime Store those penny boards where you could sorta “gamble” to increase the number of pieces of candy you could buy. When you put the penny in the slot at the top, remember how a coin going down one of those boards would hit those little pegs in it, causing the coin to erratically bounce all over the place. That might best describe your ride in the Jeep going up the trail to the mountain top. No, you don’t get extra candy!

But when you arrive with a chance to stretch your legs, and adjust the rest of your body, the panorama that greets you erases everything it took to get there.

No longer are you looking at buildings, or the sides of the road covered with overgrowth blocking any sort of view on the way up. Now you are treated to the absolute splendor of a panorama enjoyed by few in their lives. Up over two miles in the air, you see the city of Quito sprawled out in front and below you. Even the arriving jets were well beneath your height as they used to approach the runway at the Mariscal Sucre Airport, now located out in the valley.

Arriving takes your senses away for just a moment, before realizing you have a camera around your neck. And photos to prove you’ve been there to everyone back home are an absolute must for bragging rights! And then it begins to dawn on you just how far above everything you are.

Ecuador 1995-1 (14)

All that you see below is in miniature, nearly the same as when you see through the window from inside a jet as you approach any airport. Only you’re not in a jet, and you can feel the cool breeze blowing all around you to prove it. So you start snapping photos of each other, the city, the surrounding peaks, when all of a sudden you begin to feel a lot of humidity and it seems like fog is surrounding you. Say hello to the clouds.

The moisture begins to coat your eyebrows, clothing and all the others around you as they stand somewhat awed that they are actually engulfed in a cloud. Your skin now feels the dampness as well and you can see the undulation of the moisture as it passes by. Everyone has changed their appearance as water droplets coat everything, and the breathing feels strange because of the heavy air.

There is no way to know how big the cloud is, or if it will pass soon. It all depends on the time of year, as during the months of the rainy season the peak is generally surrounded by clouds all afternoon.  There are rarely clouds surrounding the peak through the 6 month dry season.

But you have just had a most unique experience, of being in the clouds. Your camera can tell the tale, as you most certainly have taken some photos…or did you? Were you so in the clouds that the suspense erased your conscious thoughts to capture the moment? If so, you could claim to have been on “Cloud 9!”

Is Your Life A Good Story Or A Tale Of Woe?

Is Your Life A Good Story Or A Tale Of Woe?

I’ve lived a fair share of a hard life. I did my share of killing in Vietnam, and have seen too many people die in and out of conflicts. There have been occasions where I lied, cheated and stole. I could say it was to live, but that would be another lie. I did those things because I could, and believed it would make a difference. It did, but not what I thought.

There was never a time when I believed I was smart, because all the messages to me were that I was a no good s.o.b. and would never amount to anything. Everything was an effort to prove it wasn’t true. For many years I set out unconsciously on a path destined to fulfill that prophecy. I nearly succeeded.

There have been a few surprises in life, such as the discovery that I was smart, more so than I imagined. Still, it never really took hold because the more negative messages usually shouted it down. I held on to the idea that somehow I would survive from youth, and that was the sole effort of my existence. Some of that still carries over to today.

The turning point for me came in Ecuador. It was here that discovery of what God really meant in my life came full face. From that point on life has been different, yet far from perfect. Still I have always claimed that in Ecuador, I began to live life for the first time.

This by no means is a memoir, or even a small portion of what my life is about. As a writer, there may come a time when I am ready to write all those chapters of my life, but it doesn’t feel like that’s going to be anytime soon.

Recently while taking part in what i will call a “writers clinic,” some encouragement was offered to another in terms of what to write. The comment was made that there are so many incidents in life that there should be no end of themes to write on. Themes are also known as “prompts.”

The definition of a writers prompt by dailywritingtips is  “simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write.”

 With that thought in mind I made the comment on this writers page, “life is a prompt.” And so it is.

Whether it deals with being the only senior in my class with enough gumption to scale the water tower in our small town. Painting our class numbers on it as was the tradition for many years, yet none had dared and school was near an end.

Accepting a stupid dare during one Halloween foray, by one of the least daring of our school, to pour black Testors Model Car paint on a brand new Ford, or holding a live bullet over a candle to see what would happen. That ended with a piece of shrapnel from the casing in my little finger.

Car wrecks, speeding tickets, suspended drivers license, being arrested for a malicious misdemeanor, are just the tip of the iceberg. All are fantastic prompts for some good stories, and you can bet several have been written.

Forest Gump said it. Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. While Whitman’s Samplers may have a variety of flavors and fillings, it can’t hold a candle to the varieties life offers.

My life could have been a tale of woe. I choose to believe it was never intended to be. All the incidents that have been part and parcel of this adventure are just that. Events that lead to the next chapter with little clue of what lies ahead.

How absolutely boring it would be to know what each minute of every day would bring forth. Many strive for that, determined to control each and every moment. Some seem to succeed, at the cost of truly missing out on life. Because while they feel in control, many of the chances to live life to the fullest are shoved away, because it seems to be attached to a risk of the unknown.

There are moments in my life that I would never want to repeat, but in truth the experiences have been priceless. To survive death in the space of an instant, while delivering a fatal blow to an enemy. Living life normally afterwards without being besieged by guilt or constant images of the event. Wondering all the “what if’s?” I don’t have to, because I know why and how it happened.

Broken toe, fractured wrist, concussion, malaria, hepatitis, infectious disease, and so much more. All prompts for writing. Were I a little more daring there are many incidents such as disappearing donut boxes on my paper route deliveries, or midnight rides on my bike to see my girlfriend 10 miles away!

Music is a huge source of inspiration for me. It is being used to do creative spontaneous writing of poetry put to musical backgrounds. it’s by no means new, but it is for me. See one at the end of this post.

Any of those topics pique your interest? There’s a least one that does and that is the point. For aspiring writers this is a great example of where to find themes to write about. Your life, and every life is a prompt. If not yours then anothers.

So if the question ever comes up as to your life being a good story or a tale of woe, either way it’s a story.