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Blogs Entries


Thin Places

Thin Places

Category: Blogs
Posted: 01-01-2015 12:25
Comments: 0

I’ve been in many “churches” and some of them were actually buildings erected over the last millennium as sacred spaces to worship our gods. I’ve stood at the altar of Westminster Cathedral, in the transcept of Rosslyn Chapel and at Stonehenge at the breaking of dawn and felt the incredible energy. But I’ve been most touched by the opportunities to visit the personal spiritual places of quite a few individuals close to me. There is, of course, the high Yosemite, the spiritual place of the intrepid Scottish naturalist who founded our national parks system. And the Grand Canyon, which when I peered over its rim the first time while holding tightly to the hand of my then young son, I whispered: “This must be where God lives”. There is a ridge in the lofty San Juan mountains in Colorado. There is the shore of a small lake, a knob on the elbow of a quaint river, a place revered by its owner as his spiritual place, and now referred by him simply as “Spirit Lake”. And another personal spiritual place - acres and acres of deep woods entrusted to conservancy rich with mature, natural hardwoods and rare, under-canopy plant species reminding us of what this place looked like before development. There is a bench along a lake positioned to capture the morning’s first light. There is an island, the very act of getting to which is freeing; as if you could just close your eyes, stand still as the mainland receded away and the island drew nigh. There is a beach from which both sunrise and sunset are visible – one best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, the other with a glass of wine. There is a rose garden – The Garden of Love – in an urban setting. And there is that incredibly quiet space in a nursery as you look over the edge of a crib to a closed-eye newborn baby softly breathing and you know you have been touched by the grace of God. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

Time's Hold

Time's Hold

Category: Blogs
Posted: 11-01-2014 12:25
Comments: 0

One of my favorite commercials features an older man holding the hand of his grandson walking down a path from a cottage on their way to go fishing. The voice over says something like: “it’s been a great cabin all these years, but still haven’t found a good place to hang a clock.” It says all it needs to about Time’s hold on us, our schedules, our lives, our perceptions… and the incredible release we feel once breaking free from it, if even for a short period. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

The Work of Childhood

The Work of Childhood

Category: Blogs
Posted: 08-29-2014 12:26
Comments: 0

You can see it on the lake, or at least in the activity on the lake. From the Fourth of July
until Labor Day, the number of boats churning up the water inevitably dwindles. Vacations
elsewhere, other family activities and back to school preparations are all to blame. Oh sure,
there will be one or two more “last hurrahs” when the weather is so perfect that nearly
everyone gives it one more go, another burst of fun before putting their boats away for the
school year. It’s a rhythm of the place that we are now used to, and a welcome one at that.
The lake becomes more serene and more enticing as fall approaches, especially to us sailors. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

Stillness in a Crashing Surf

Stillness in a Crashing Surf

Category: Blogs
Posted: 07-01-2014 12:26
Comments: 0

Early this morning, I walked a path I had not been on in nearly twenty years. it meandered around in a high and steep cliff overlooking the ocean on a peninsula in Southern California. There were many natural lookout points to just stop and gaze - to see the play of the surf on the rocky beach so far below me and, as it receded, the evidence of its long history in doing just that, to see the sea birds gliding gracefully upon the dancing winds, to hear the doves cooing in their nests amidst the bushes blooming in the crevices, to see the sun sprinkling its light where shadows end, and to feel it all and feel one with it all. I walked, I sat to drink in this moment, this salty and sweet pause in my life, but mostly I just admired. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

Beautifully Weird

Beautifully Weird

Category: Blogs
Posted: 05-01-2014 12:27
Comments: 0

Slipping out of a harbor in Southern California, the large sailboat crawled across the flat surface of the ocean, its sails furled as a concession to the incredibly still morning. Were they hoisted they would have proven totally useless and inconvenient. The only sounds to be heard were the drone from the small engine below, the bark of some distant sea lions sun bathing on a channel buoy, the dull roar of traffic on a freeway, the screech from passing sea gulls and the voice of an occasional child frolicking on a sandy beach nearby. The “sailors” on board were mostly silent, enjoying being on the water, feeling the warmth from the sun upon their faces, but mostly in reverence to their mission – executing the final wish of a beloved ancestor, a US Navy retiree. She requested that her ashes be scattered upon this vast ocean in accordance with the timeless, universal tradition that spans civilizations, cultures and religions. It is a ceremony that has existed in one form or another for thousands of years, nearly as long as man has put upon the sea. The crew was feeling connected to this eternity, yet somehow alone out there, despite the fact that 6 million people in the city were busily going about their day on the other side of the beach they could now barely see. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Category: Blogs
Posted: 03-03-2014 12:28
Comments: 0

Every year at this time, I prepare for my annual journey to Anaheim, California to attend the National Products Association’s Expo West. This is the largest product exhibition in our industry geared primarily to retail stores. Over the years, the event has gotten larger and more elaborate. There are three primary benefits for me continuing to attend: the opportunity to meet with 30 or so of our suppliers in one weekend; to gain perspective for what is going on in the industry including what the new ‘hot’ items are (none of which we have ever added to our line!); and finding new suppliers or product lines, some of which have been excellent. The value to me changes year to year – but I am still drawn, still eager to attend. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

TOO MANY ANGELS

TOO MANY ANGELS

Category: Blogs
Posted: 12-30-2013 12:28
Comments: 0

The concept seems simple enough – pick an ornament off the tree, read the gift requested by a needy recipient, buy the gift, wrap it, and put it back under the tree. You feel good knowing that you have provided a nicer Christmas for someone truly in need, in the spirit of the holiday. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

NATURAL LAWS

NATURAL LAWS

Category: Blogs
Posted: 10-30-2013 12:29
Comments: 0

When you are open to it, inspiration can come from anywhere, or anyone, and at any time. And sometimes you just have to piece it all together. Walking behind various machines over the weekend as I tended to my lawn, intently focused on the 18” strip right in front of me for hours on end, I got pretty familiar with the terrain – a rise here, a ridge there, a valley or dip over yonder. I felt that some of the equipment just “rode” the natural contours of the land, and I let it, choosing not to fight the machine and force it to where I wanted it to go. It was following a natural curve, obeying the laws of nature. I realized that the same thing happens in farms all across the country at this time of year. Farmers don’t set out to create art as they carve their tractors through the fields. They are too utilitarian for that. Yet the fields are a work of art, the fine parallel curves that seem to perfectly match, accentuate and even highlight the flow of terrain. And when the soft muted light of a later dawn hits them, it is magical. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

BE MORE

BE MORE

Category: Blogs
Posted: 09-03-2013 12:29
Comments: 0

Years ago in my former “corporate life”, I had the good fortune to attend a conference at a resort in Ka’anapali on the western side of the island of Maui. With its incredibly beautiful beaches, scenic natural wonders, crystalline waters, near perfect weather and the opulent resort complex perched amidst it all, the venue lived up to its hype. The welcome dinner was one of my most memorable dining experiences – a combination of the lanai setting at sunset, the wonderfully prepared fresh, local food, the wine, and of course the company. Dutifully, I agreed to play in a golf outing the next morning, but when I arrived was still not able to shake the scenery that surrounded me. And, I thought, why should I? I went through the motions, but at the turn called it quits giving in to the scenery which had its hold on me, sat on my golf bag looking out across the Pacific until a breaching humpback whale broke the surface, joyfully interrupting my view. I looked at the hills behind me and they were calling my name. I threw my golf bag in the car, changed clothes right there in the parking lot, donned my hiking boots, grabbed some water and headed for the hills. (PLEAASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)

HEEL TO HEAL

HEEL TO HEAL

Category: Blogs
Posted: 07-01-2013 12:30
Comments: 1

Last weekend was very special. I accepted an invitation to crew on a sailboat in a local benefit regatta. The boat’s owner spent the last four years restoring this antique daysailer, originally built in 1947, and it’s now looking even better than it did when it first rolled out of the boatyard. I hadn’t raced in nearly 40 years, but was honored to have been asked. The boat is the same class as mine and as I am quite familiar with it, it wasn’t a random invitation. I went into this event and (I am happy to say) came out of it with the mindset that “it’s all about the boat” and determined not to let the racing get in the way of enjoying it. This beautiful boat did garner its share of “gawkers” as my skipper proudly referred to them, and they, too, had a genuine interest in her story. (PLEASE CLICK ON THE TITLE ABOVE TO CONTINUE READING.)