Sunday, September 30, 2012

Beyond Sunrises and Sunsets

 One of my favorite lines from any song is taken from the song If I Needed You by Townes Van Zandt :

“Well, in the night forlorn, oh, the morning's born; and the morning shines with the lights of love; and you will miss sunrise, if you close your eyes, and that would break my heart in two.”

I also know that in the face of death, I would ask for one more sunrise. I wrote the following poem to explain why one more sunrise is so important to me.  

 Out of the Darkness: Sunrise
September, 2012

I feel the darkness of fading days
Yet, I seek the light and the warmth of the sun’s kind rays
Just one more sunrise; just one more or maybe a few
Just another chance for another view
When morning breaks at first dawn
My spirit arises and my heart beats on
Another day, another chance to live and to be
I sense the dawn and another chance to see
The sunrise calls life anew
All life responds as if it knew
Life goes on and hope springs forth
The new day brings the sweetest birth
Sunrise gives us the chance to be reborn
It is the song of the early morn
Even if clouds seem to surround you
Remember, the sun is always warm and the sky is always blue.
So, I ask the Universe once again
For one more sunrise to be my friend.

In recent years I have photographed many sunrises and sunsets. I have included a number of them (but far from all of them) in this post. Nature photography is usually a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I took all of these photos using my IPhone.

Enjoy the view! If you wish to use any of these photographs you may, however, please site the source.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Deer and the Dolphin: A Love Story

The end...not really. The beginning...most likely.

Once upon a time there was a Deer who had become lost in a deep, dark forest. He was wandering and wandering, far from home. There were no familiar scents or sounds. This Deer was feeling very lonely and really sad.

One morning, when the sky was very cloudy and sun was lost somewhere beyond, Deer was visited by a Spirit Voice. Spirit had come to save Deer from being lost but more importantly, he or she came to save Deer from losing his life. Spirit knew Deer was very lost and needed help to find his way back home.

Surprisingly, Spirit encouraged Deer to visit a strange land. Spirit told Deer that this strange land was far from the places Deer had known. Even though Deer was lost, he was told he could get to this new place by following the path described by Spirit. It would take day and night and then some more time. It would not be an easy journey. Deer decided to go.

When Deer arrived in the new land, he still felt lost. It was a very strange place. There were parts of this new land that he liked and remembered, perhaps from another life. However, his only friend was the Spirit Voice whom he rarely saw. He wondered why he had even come to this strange and lonely place. He was reminded on a daily basis. 

One day Deer, who was both forlorn and sad, came to a large, friendly looking tree. He wondered if the tree could hold answers to his dilemma and situation. He laid down beneath the tree and feel asleep. While he was sleeping he dreamed that he actually climbed the tree. When he woke up it occurred to him that perhaps he should try to climb the tree. He walked around it and looked up through the branches toward the top. The top was far away because the tree was a really big tree. He shook his head thinking that he could never climb the tree. After all, deer do not climb trees. He certainly had never even tried to climb a tree. Yet inexplicably, he decided to try and climb it.

Deer knew it was a difficult and challenging task... a deer climbing a tree? He tried anyway. He grabbed the lower branches with his legs and pushed himself up using his rear legs by stepping up the huge trunk of the tree. Once he got to a branch, he hugged it for deer life. He almost fell several times. He was about to give up. It was way too hard. There was no way he could make it up far enough for the tree to help him. He was more sad, lonely and lost than ever before.The difference was that he was now up a tree without an escape plan.

So, Deer thought…where was Spirit Voice? Spirit was no where to be seen or heard. Deer was stuck in the tree. He could not climb higher nor could he climb down. He was clinging to a branch. He was dangerously perched on the branch looking down at the surface below. He realized it was water he was looking at. He glanced out a large body of water. It was a lake. Although he could swim some, he was not a good swimmer. He was very scared. Why had Spirit abandoned him? Why had Spirit brought Deer to this land in the first place?

Suddenly, a big gust of wind came up and the tree began to shake. The sky became dark and some lightening was followed by the booming sound of thunder. Now, he was really, really scared. In fact, Deer had never been this scared in his life.

He could not move up or down nor forward or backward. He was just frozen in place! As the wind grew more intense, the tree began to shake more as if it were a blade of grass in a tornado.

This predicament felt like the end of the world to Deer. Just then, a huge blast of wind shook the tree so hard that the branch that Deer was straddling broke and Deer began falling helplessly toward the lake below. If he survived the fall, the water would be deathly cold and he would surely drown. Deer knew he could swim across a stream but he had never tried to swim in a deep lake. He would certainly be swallowed up and drown.   

Ker plunk! Splash! Deer hit the water still tightly on to the broken branch. He began sinking deeper until the water completely covered him. He sunk deeper and deeper into the water. It was cold and dark around him. This was it, he thought. It seemed hopeless and he could not hold his breathe much longer. He was doomed!

About the time that Deer had just about given up all hope of surviving the fall into the lake, he heard a “swish” sound above him. He looked up only to see what looked like a shark coming toward him. Quickly, the thought of a shark left his mind. Deer had lived around streams and lakes all his life and had never seen a shark in these waters before. It did not matter. Deer was frightened beyond belief. If the lake did swallow him up then surely this monster would do it. Deer began to kick and flail against everything that surrounded him. Due to this kicking, his fall into the depths of the lake stopped and he began to rise toward the surface. As he rose, he realized he no longer had the strength to fight against anything. He had no choice; he just let go of his fear and relaxed.

Suddenly, he popped through the surface of the water and into the light of the day. Wow! He was still alive. He had survived the fall but he still had the lake and the monster to deal with. He began kicking his feet and moving toward the land. Just then he was surrounded by the large dark fins of many sharks. Now that he was above the water, he could not see the forms that swam around him. Their huge dark bodies darted toward him then turned away, then returned. It seemed like they were just playing with Deer or just waiting for him to finally give up.

Deer, however, did not give up. He looked for the shore of the lake. It was close yet, in spite of his constant kicking, he was not getting closer. The only thing he was getting was tired. Right then, one of the monsters bumped up against him. It was so close he could see its eyes staring at him. Deer closed his eyes knowing he would be eaten by these creatures. Then, he was nudged again by more of the creatures. They were not biting him but rather just gently pushing him.

He opened his eyes and realized that these creatures were not monsters; they were not sharks but rather they were dolphins. Like Deer, dolphins were gentle creatures. One dolphin in particular stayed close to Deer. She asked Deer to get on her back and she would take him to the shore. Holding each other tightly, they moved together toward the shore. Deer had never been this close to a dolphin. In fact, he had never seen or met a dolphin before. Deer felt warm again. He felt the warmth of Dolphin. He felt safe and once again had hope that he would return to his home in the forest.

Dolphin carried Deer to the shore and Deer jumped off her back. They looked into each others eyes and could not stop looking. A strange new feeling was coming over Deer. Of course, he was grateful to Dolphin but it was something more than gratitude. True, his heart was pounding but he was not out of breath. His heart was pounding because he was falling in love with Dolphin. It was love at first sight.

Deer stood up on the land and Dolphin rested her head on the bank of the lake. They wanted to be with each other but Deer could not swim very well and Dolphin could not walk on the land nor could she live out of the water. How could they be together? Was this the end when a moment ago it seemed it was just the beginning?  

Deer sadly turned to walk away while at the same time Dolphin slid back into the water.

So, is this the final chapter in this most unusual and amazing story? Was this really a make believe story? Do deer climb trees? Do dolphins live in lakes? Could a deer live in the water or a dolphin live on the land? Does Deer get home? Where did Dolphin go? What was this story really about and what can we learn from it?

Trust me, this is a true story. 

A Flowering Heart: Love Poems 3

Note: This image is the creation of Kim Birdsong, an artist who lives in Carmel, CA.

 April, 1995

I know how much flowers mean to you.
You know how flowers, especially pansies, brighten and cheer your day.

I know how much you mean to me.
You must know, then, how you brighten and cheer my world.

You are a flower to the world.
You are my flower.

Hearts Ease
May, 1995

A pansy is a pansy is a pansy...
No, a pansy is you.
Couldn’t be. Or, could it be?
You put my heart at ease;
You fill my heart with sunshine;
You bring me joy and peace;
You give and give and give.

Why else would they call a pansy, a Heartsease?
The pansy is a heart shaped flower.
It’s desire to live is strong;
It’s beauty is desired;
It’s colors are radiant and warm;
It’s center is filled with sunshine.

Is there any longer any doubt?
No, you are a pansy.
You surely are. It is so!
You put my heart at ease;
You fill my heart with sunshine;
You bring me joy and peace.
You give and give and give.

Heartsease, Heartsease, Heartsease
Pansies, Pansies, Pansies
You, You, You

Morning Flower Cloud
 May, 1992




Our Love
January, 1997

it makes
our sunsets gleam;
our mountains green.

it makes
our rivers flow;
our candles glow.

it makes
our nights light;
our flowers bright.
it makes
our days long;
our life a song.

You Are
 August, 1980

you are like a meadow
my words cannot describe;
like the splendor of the mountains,
wherein my heart resides.

you are like a flower,
where all the beauty lies;
made by God to love,
beneath the clear blue skies.

you are like my dreams,
where ever I may be.
the realm of all my longings;
my breathe and life to me.

all the words can never tell,
all the actions never do.
how shall I ever express
all my love for you.
 Everything Important
 February, 1984

you are everything important
you are
my essence in the wind
my smile at sunrise
my stillness in flight
my rainbow at night
my light in the darkness
my colors in the shadows
my heartbeat in the sky
my eyes in the stream
my song in the forest
my footsteps in the clouds
my raindrops in the desert
my dream in the sunshine
my sigh in the meadow
my dance on the moon
my mirror on the pond
my breath upon the grass
my touch upon a star
my thoughts at sunset
my calm in the storm
my laughter in the valley
my play on the mountains
my spirit in the flowers
you are Everything
you are Important

The Power of Love
October, 1990

Today as I ran up the creek
I felt a special closeness
To all that was around me;
A renewed feeling of joy and relatedness
To all things living
To my place and the present moment.
I felt truly alive, truly connected.
Yet, somehow something was missing.

I was alone, feeling even more alone.
I felt isolated, imprisoned within my aloneness.
The joy, the beauty, the moment, the place
All were very special, needing to be shared.
Yet, I was alone and this hurt deeply.
The pain and depression slowed my progress.
Taking away all the energy I had.
Emotion filled my body.

My thoughts were with my love.
She didn't even know where I was or what I was doing.
I wondered if she even cared.
She had her own place, her own space.
Distractions, perhaps, but reality.
Busy, busy, go, go
A different path and direction
From where I was at the moment.

Then as I came upon a meadow green
I came to my senses.
I realized I was far from being alone.
I was, in fact, surrounded by friends.
Escorted as I moved, part of a living force.
A heart rock helped to shift my thoughts
From my mind to my heart
Where I could at last see.

The world around me was alive.
Fall was in full array.
The air was fresh, the sky clear.
The colors hidden only by the random shadows.
The creek was full and noisy.
The sun bright and warm, giving quality to the living.
The wind was brisk and refreshing.
And I felt close, oneness, truly connected.

My loneliness was broken
As I began to converse with my companions.
I spoke to the pine, whose beauty I had long admired
I touched the aspen, whose golden leaves glittered.
I reached out to the asters, yarrow, and paintbrush.
I exchanged with the willow, wild rose and tall grass.
I called out to the flicker, jay and robin.
I joined hands with the wind and sun.

And there were many more friends along the way.
Those seen and those more shy.
They all joined to help me understand.
What I shared was from my heart.
My words expressed the pain I was feeling.
My tears expressed the depth.
What I shared was the triumph of hope over despair.
It was a moment that transcended space and time.

I asked the pine and aspen to carry my message
Within their roots, through the earth
Along the hidden system of connected arteries,
Until it reached the ground beneath my love.
"Let your vibrations tell her I care and that I miss her.
Hear me wind. Take from me the force I feel for her.
Tell her, strong wind, the depth of my feelings.
Pass it on until it surrounds her soul.

Take wing robin, jay and flicker, go to your friends,
Pass my message within your songs.
Convey it to your winged brother and sister.
Sing our song, tell her how much I need her.
Spread the word until it reaches her gentle ears.
Sunshine, take her hand and warm her body
As only I could do.
Tell her, she brightens all of my days.

They heard me and they knew.
They knew how limited a single being can be.
They knew I needed to communicate.
They knew I needed them.
And in their presence I discovered that
I am capable of much more than perceived.
I am limited only by myself.
My prospective is limited only by my perspective.

As I ran back down the trail
My feet never touched the ground.
I outran the wind.
I flew over the creek.
I shouted my joy.
I knew I would return.
I knew, next time, I would not be alone.
My friends, my love and I would be together.

And I did return with my love,
Who at that time didn't know
How much I really cared.
We returned just two days later.
We shared a beautiful weekend
In the meadow with the bluest sky,
All of my friends and at night
A warm campfire and full moon.

It was the first of many
Magical and memorable moments.
It was the most wonderful time
I could have ever imagined.
Closeness, intensity, intimacy, and passion
Accompanied us on our way, together.
We became friends, lovers, sojourners
Seeking sunshine and peace.

But somewhere we lost our way.
Emotion, selfishness, guilt
Somehow crept in and joined us.
Creating a fog and darkness
We were separated by a coldness
Brought about by fear
Made greater by confusion and uncertainty.
We lost touch with Love.

It was Love that brought us together.
It was Love that confused us.
It was Love that scared us.
It was Love that separated us.
It will be Love that shows us the new way.
It will be Love that keeps us together.
It will be Love that brings us back to the meadow.
It will be Love that will join our hearts, forever.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Early Visions; Later Reality

This is Darlene, the girl of my dreams. Really! She grew up at the same time as me and also living pretty close to me during my childhood years. I never met her during this time. I had visions of her way back in the third grade. For whatever reason, my visions did not become reality until much later in my life. Of course, this is the reason that I am sharing this. Dreams or visions can become reality. Darlene is just another example of this dynamic working in and through my life. Reality often begins in the mind; in a dream. I have learned that we can manifest many things in our lives and we are the ones that make things happen in our lives; it is not magic, paranormal or other worldly. Let me explain this phenomena in more depth by sharing the story about Darlene as she moved from the dream world into my real world. 

Although Darlene lived only in my imagination when I was a young boy, she was not a  figment of my imagination. I knew she was out there yet I never met her or saw her other than in my dreams. My real life evolved and I had to move on and I forgot that she even existed. In my journey away from her (and toward her), I was fortunate to meet and share my life with many wonderful partners and friends. Everyone one of those partners and friends have blessed my life. They were my best friends. They were my teachers. They were gifts. They were angels helping me on my journey. They helped me to make it through the lows of a high life; through the rough times and past the many challenges that came along. It took two memorable marriages and a few amazing adventures to bring me back to my vision.

When did it all begin? I was nine years old. I knew what I wanted to be in life and I knew who I wanted to be my partner (her picture is above). No one else knew this. I kept it a secret for most of my life. I trusted that someday I would become in reality who I envisioned to be back then AND that I would be with the women who was burned into my heart and mind at a very early age. I am smiling now because both of those early childhood visions did became reality!

However, in reality things (dreams and visions) did not happen so easily or come so quickly for me. As a result of circumstances beyond my control, I landed on a far away "planet" (really a place on this planet in a town very different from where I had grown up) and I had to survive; actually hoping to thrive as best as I could (wounded and shaken by a dysfunctional family situation).

In the country this city boy was fortunate to meet an angel and fortunate to make her my first wife and mother of my two sons. She was beyond perfect; I was, unfortunately, distracted. She was a true angel in every way. Together, we achieved a whole lot as individual and as a family and we enjoyed a wonderful life for many years. Sadly but on purpose, our marriage fell apart. It was not what I had intended or thought that I wanted. We were together for over twenty amazing years. Sadly, the metaphor that came to be in our lives was: "Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall and all the kings men and all the kings horses couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again." We tried really hard. Our falling out just happened but it happened for a reason. She went on to marry my best friend and I went on (although it took a while) to meet the girl in my third grade dreams. By itself, the story of how Darlene and I met and came together a stroy beyond explanation or description.

So, were things perfect for everyone involved? Not really, but they were OK because I believe everyone involved in this story is happy today.

I guess the moral of this sad/happy story is that our dreams can come true. I have worked hard every day of my life. I have tried to be the best partner, the best father, the best student, the best athlete, the best teacher, the best coach and the best friend that there could ever be. I have failed often yet, yet I never stopped trying and I never gave up. More importantly, I never stopped believing. 

There is a powerful message in this story for anyone else who has struggled trying to understand their journey and their life. When we know, we just know. We may get sidetracked and distracted but it is important that we never forget our dreams and our visions...never, ever!

All I can say at this point in my life (now past seventy years of reflection), is "thank you" to everyone who has ever helped me along the way. I have been truly blessed. Can you say the same thing? If not, it is time to get to work and make it happen in your life just as you have envisioned it. It can happen...believe me. 

Why do I create a post like this? I create it in order to share  a message. I create it because I want to honor everyone involved in my life. I create it because maybe, just maybe, my story will speak to someone else and they will move closer to making their dreams become reality. Oh, and by the way, be sure to be thankful for everyone who had been a part of your life. They were there for a reason!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Path of Purification and Realization

Please note: Many of these ideas and some of these words are taken from the book A Heart As Wide as the World written by Sharon Salzberg. This book has been both a gift and an inspiration providing me with greater clarity and giving my life focus while bringing it both peace and freedom. I might suggest that you make the path your path for the new year. So, onward to the path and upward toward…

The path of purification is taken from classical Buddhist teachings. The path represents a journey from morality to ultimate liberation. It is a journey of the mind which leads, in a cause and effect manner, to true happiness and liberation. For an individual with a spiritual orientation or interest, it is a path that is logical and possible. It simply makes sense. As Richard Bach in, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, reminds us: 
Each of us is in truth an idea of the Great Gull, an unlimited idea of freedom…break the chains of your thought and you break the chains of your body, too!

The path begins with morality. The definition of morality differs significantly from the western or Judeo-Christian view of morality. It has nothing to do with right or wrong. It is, in fact, a way of life that anyone can attain. Morality means to live with intentions that reflect our love and compassion for ourselves and others. The key word is intention.  Most individuals intend to reflect their love of self and others. The challenge becomes one of living our intentions or acting in a manner that is consistent with our intentions. On the path, there is no one or no “higher power” that is judging us. We merely have to live in harmony (as much as possible as often as possible) with the innate truth of our interdependence. Our focus is on self and others. Conversely, the focus of others is on themselves and others (or me). If we remind ourselves and others of this on a daily basis, we help to maintain the focus on living with intent to reflect our love and compassion for ourselves and others. Every person simply needs to decide…do I wish to live with this moral intent? 

Living with moral intent allows an individual to reach the next step along the path. This step is called restraint. It is at this point that we make a conscious effort to avoid harmful action to self and others. Of course, everyone is capable of inflicting harm. As we live mindfully, we choose to restrain (as best as possible) from inflicting harm in any form or fashion. Again, there is no judge or negative consequence awaiting us if we (accidentally) inflict harm. Inflicting harm is not our intent. We can keep working at it and getting better at it. This ongoing effort on our part creates a “gladdening” within us. We feel good about ourselves. This leads to a state of lightness and ease in our lives. As we avoid harmful action to self and others, we keep feeling better and better. We will experience a true and heartfelt connection to others because we are doing fewer and fewer things that separate and more and more things that unite.

At this point, we are feeling really good about ourselves and getting closer and closer to others. This makes us happy. In fact, happiness is the next step on the path. More and more, we are experiencing peace, composure and strength and they do not leave us. They become our constant companions. This level of happiness is based on the knowing of  our interconnectedness to others and on the integrity of acting from our deepest values. We are being true to ourselves and this makes us really happy. We are being true to others and this makes us additionally happy. We are respecting ourselves more and respecting others more. This state leads us to the next state on the path.

So far, we have not been religious or had to follow any religious doctrine or dogma. Instead, we have been true to ourselves, others and the universal principles of love and kindness. Does this not create a better world? 

Instead of being religious, we have been spiritual. We live with an internal knowing which is based in our spirit, deep within our being. We are, therefore, being spiritual and following our spiritual intuition. We just needed a reminder or two. It is not difficult to begin the journey. The path begins with what we already know. It began with the state of morality and has lead us to the state of happiness. We are, however, just at the early stages of our journey along the path of purification. 

Because we are happy, our life becomes more tranquil. The state of tranquility is the next state on the path. We have a quiet mind. We are content. We are glad. We have few worries, no guilt or remorse. We are peaceful (tranquil) and comfortable with the moment. We are not living for some future event or for some future judgment. Our energy and focus is on the here and now and we continue to live with moral intent. 

The next step evolves from this tranquil place. In a tranquil state we are able to concentrate with few distractions. We have a steadiness of mind and a focus that brings light and happiness to ourselves and others. This is the state of concentration. It is the doorway to insight and wisdom and the foundation for the development of correct knowledge and vision. We can see things as they really are. This allows us to be a part of everything and detached from everything both at the same time. We see how we fit into the scheme of the universe, life, community and all of existence. We are detached because we understand how we are unique and how the path is working both on our behalf as well as on behalf of the entire universe. Concentration leads to detachment. 

Dispassion follows detachment. We simply exist. We are relaxed and confident about our living. We have a sense of wholeness and sufficiency regardless of our life situation. It becomes easy for us to let go in the face of the changing circumstances that confront us. This state of equanimity empowers us further. Our experience is our experience, nothing more, nothing less. We, on the other hand, are on a mission. Greed and anger fade away. We no longer hold on to pleasure or flee from pain. We are simply, working the program and following the path! 

If this is confusing to you, go back, review the progression and retrace the states on the path. So far, they are:  morality, restraint, happiness, tranquility, concentration, detachment and dispassion.  

The final state is liberation. Liberation is arriving home. It is the “sure hearts” release from all other states. The “sure heart” is the heart within us that knows, that knew all along, how to be. This is the state of true knowing and fully being. It is knowing the truth so powerful that there is no turning back from it. It is the arrival. It is the place where “heaven” enters earth and beings become enlightened on earth and life continues on earth in a “heavenly” state. Our own experience has led us to the truth of all life for all beings. We are liberated from all restraint, from all limitation and we discover freedom as we once knew it before we were created. No one or no thing can control us. We have arrived and our journey is complete!

In case, you were wondering what this has to do with you…consider this:
Are you being true to yourself and to others? Are you truly happy? Does your life have meaning? Do you have a purpose or direction for your life? Is the world, as we know it today, in need of more unity and less separation? Can one person make a difference? Does making a difference matter? If each person pursued the path of purification, would not the world be a MUCH better place for all beings? What do you want for yourself, your family, your friends, your world? 

The path of purification is a gift that I pass on to all who read this. You must then give the gift to yourself. Live it. Let your true being become you. If the path becomes your way, others will know. You may, at some future point, desire to share it with someone who does not know about it. What more can we do with our lives? Just imagine…

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Be Unique! Live on the Edge

Note: This is my son, Tom Riggins, a world champion Powder 8 skier, doing one of the things that he loves to do.

The following message is one that I channeled (conveyed in different ways; at different times) to my two sons early in their lives. It is also the message that I have passed on to many of my former students. The intent, in each situation, was to inspire both my children and my students to be unique and to be the very best person possible. Perhaps, the words of this message will inspire others as well.

Be unique. Be strong. Be your heart. Trust your heart. Believe in yourself. Go anywhere. Be anything. Love what you do. Love who you are. Love all things. Be a player. Inspire.

Be one of a kind. Be original. Live on the edge. Be confident. Full speed ahead. Peddle to the metal. No looking back. Show the way. Be there. Go beyond. Be change. Be brave. Get back up. Share.

Be yourself. Take chances. Be willing to risk. No fear. Respect everything and everybody. Play to win. Finish. Lead the pack. Go where others fear to go. Just do it. No regrets. Dare.

Go beyond normal. Model edginess. Discover what others will not know.  Accept the challenge. Go deep. Follow your dreams. Intend. Have vision. See within. See beyond. Go beyond. Be safe.  

In retrospect, my two sons have gotten my message. They have excelled with most areas of the message, meant to offer inspiration and challenge. They are now in their fifties and going on the edge.

Like them, I trust that  many of my former students have done the same or, better yet, are doing the same.

True, the words are full of risk, challenge, danger and opportunity. If incorporated into one's life, they will bring satisfaction, excitement, challenge, success, happiness and many great memories.

Just remember, everyone: be smart; use your head; follow your heart!

Note: This my other son, Tim, on the right, and on top of the world. He has gone far in his lifetime! Journey on, Tim!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Contridictions Make Sense

Note: This image is snapped from the video called "The Mountain" on Vimeo. Worth a look!

We need dark to see the light. It may seem like a contradiction but, in fact, dark and light are intimately related. We need the dark to see the stars. This paradox is like many others that I have discovered and used in my teaching over the years. I never provide the answers because there are many answers. Sometimes you have to turn it upside down and see the other side. The real answer is never obvious.

Check out the list below. Think about each statement. What is the deeper meaning? If you are so inclined, write out your answer or response to each one in your journal or notebook. Paint it; write a poem or a song; find something to photograph the captures the essence of it; personalize it; share it. 

Agree to disagree
Holding on or moving on
Give in order to gain
Strength is gentleness
Losing is winning
Getting lost in order to find
I've lost what I can never lose
Back off to go forward
Close your eyes to see
To see big see small
Above may still be below
Letting go is keeping
Not to be perfect is perfect
If you get lost, you can always be found
Stop searching to find
Sight is not seeing
Looking does not mean seeing
Peace says a lot
Magic is not magic
Inaction can result in movement 
Keeping up is bound to slow you down
By giving we receive
Stars cannot shine without darkness
Lose all in order to find all
Look back to see ahead
Getting there first does not mean you won
Great minds think alone
Quietness says a lot
You are confined only by the walls you build
Existing is not living
Falling up
Become in order to be
Painful can feel good
Blindness does not mean you cannot see
Spend in order to save
Letting go but holding on
The end may be the beginning
Enter the dark to find the light
Dying having never lived
Smart might be dumb
Hurrying can cause delay
Near could be far
Dreams can be reality
When you lose, don't lose the lesson
A friend walks in when others walk out