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WoW: I’m Full!

“I’m full!”

“I’m full” is what we will probably say as we push our plates away at the end of our Thanksgiving feasts. Fully satiated, we will stagger to the living room to have “just a little” dessert, watch a football game or just talk. There will be much to be thankful for.
 
But why wait for a holiday to give thanks? What if we could say, “I’m full” every day of our lives, if we could wake up in the morning and be full of gratitude, appreciation and excitement as we anticipate what the day will bring?
 
What if, for one moment, we could put aside the frantic striving to achieve and accomplish, the desperate need to compete, earn, prove, sell, buy, fix and change that propels us out of the bedroom to immediately look for our phones, full and endless lists that tell us what to do, where to go, who to meet?
What if we could simply pause and give thanks for what we already have? Every day. . . without one iota of concern for what we have to do?
 
What if we took just one minute at the start of every day to simply be content with what we already have? It won’t take but one minute, one simple, quiet minute to recognize how “full” we already are with all our blessings. Even with our personal struggles, fears and life challenges, we are among the most fortunate people on this earth.
 
So let’s not wait for a special holiday to give thanks, let’s make every day a time for humble gratitude. As we go through our days, let’s take a moment here, and a moment there, to simply appreciate — to say “Thank you” right out loud for what is already good in our lives. I think we’ll find it all boils down to very, very simple things.
 
If we sit very quietly and just for one minute, let go of the angers and hurts from the past, let go of the worries of the future, let go of not being enough or having enough or doing enough and simply savor each breath in the present moment with what we already have, we’ll open the space to feel “full”.
 
It’s the perfect time to thank the universe for the gift of life, the opportunity to begin again, the chance to choose every single moment what we will say, how we will think, who we will be, how we will act, what we will feel and what we will do.
 
What greater gift could we ever ask for – than this moment?

A Life Well Lived

“Life well lived, is long enough.”

 

I only have a minute

Sixty seconds in it

Forced upon me I did not choose it

But I know that I must use it

Give account if I abuse it

Only a tiny little minute

But eternity is in it . . .

 

Elijah Cummings’ first speech to the US Congress 1996

A Time To Begin Again

“Sunrise . . . a time to begin again . . .”

 

A huge thank you to the unbelievably heroic firefighters and first responders who saved so many of us from the Kincade fire. Their tireless efforts have been nothing short of extraordinary. . . and I personally thank all of you – my friends, family, colleagues and clients, who so generously shared your well-wishes, offered your homes and help. Your kind thoughts and words of encouragement meant a lot during this very unsettling time.

 

Here are some of the statistics:

 

  • Over 78,000 acres burned so far
  • It won’t be 100% contained until ~ Nov. 7th
  • 5,000 fire fighters came from across the USA, Australia and New Zealand
  • Over 200,000 residents were evacuated (almost all of Sonoma County and part of Lake County)
  • More than 2.5 – 2.8 million residents and businesses were without power for 5 days to 1 week. Many have still not been restored power or gas.
  • Fire threatened 90,000 structures with 59 structures damaged and 372 destroyed, including 90 homes.
  • Winds reached 93 mph (close to a category 2 hurricane) in Healdsburg and were directing the fire straight toward my house.
  • With wind, fire travels at the rate of 100 yards per second.
  • Embers can travel over 1 mile away with the wind and quickly start a new fire.
  • Deaths = ZERO!!!

 

Sadly, as you can see, not all have been as fortunate as I and my heartfelt sadness and empathy flow to those who lost their homes and everything they owned for a lifetime. Lots of people have been out of work for over a week, but our incredibly, hard-working farm workers have been especially hard hit as most live paycheck to paycheck.

 

For those who returned to a home still intact, many still don’t have gas, hot water, heat and electricity and our temperatures at night have been below freezing. For them, it has been a true tragedy. They really need support.

 

We are a strong community here and life will go on. Today is a new day and we will recover together. As the saying goes, ”Sunrise…a time to begin again”, and we shall do so together. But you too, as a fellow human being, are a part of our community and this is the time when many need an extra hand…

your hand…to help them get a leg up.

 

If you are fortunate enough to be in the comfort of your own home right now, and if you feel moved to do something that will make a difference…here’s how:

 

We are a tourist community, so please don’t stay away!! Our hotels, stores, restaurants and wineries are all OPEN and ready to serve you the finest of everything!!

 

Through no fault of their own, Latin evacuees need groceries (food goes bad without refrigeration), baby diapers and formula – simple everyday stuff like toothpaste, etc.

Please donate to Corazon Healdsburg at: https://www.corazonhealdsburg.org

La Luz Center at https://www.laluzcenter.org

and UndocuFund at https://undocufund.org

 

Donate to the Sonoma County Resiliency Fund, established after the 2017 wildfires, donations go toward long-term disaster recovery efforts and mental health support. Donations can be made online at: https://cfs.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?setc=1&funit_id=1652

 

The Redwood Empire Food Bank is accepting monetary and food donations. For monetary donations, visit: https://refb.org/

For food donation information call 707-523-7900.

 

Assist those who lost their homes or businesses by donating to the United Way of the Wine Country’s Kincade Fire Emergency Relief & Recovery Fund at: https://unitedwaywinecountry.org/comm/

and the Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund at: https://www.sonomacf.org/ 

 

If you are local . . .

 

Make meals for the remaining evacuees by signing up with Sonoma Family Meal at https://www.sonomafamilymeal.org/volunteer/

or with World Central Kitchen at https://wck.org/volunteer

 

Volunteer at the remaining open shelters in Sonoma County by emailing Petaluma People Services at admin@petalumapeople.org

or submitting an application to the American Red Cross at: https://www.redcross.org/

 

Open your home to the remaining evacuees by calling or emailing Share Sonoma County at (707) 766-8800 and info@sharefire.org

 

Donate gift cards for groceries and gasoline to community organizations for them to pass out to so many in need of help. They have lost wages and food and struggle to pay the rent and restock groceries in their refrigerators.

 

We are all in this thing called “life” together and we thank you for caring. Your generosity at a time like this is so, so appreciated.

 

Dearest Family, Friends and Colleagues,

Thank you to all for your texts and emails checking in with me with regards to the fires in Sonoma County. I truly appreciate your kind words of support and prayers!

Over 180,000 people have been evacuated from Sonoma County – including all of Healdsburg, so I am currently staying with friends further south out of the danger zone. I have both dogs with me and Bill the cat is with my daughter, Gabi. All are safe and sound.

I do not know when we will be allowed to return home as the fires continue and Highway 101 has now been shut-down from to Santa Rosa to all the northern areas where the fires are.

Wifi/Internet access is very limited for me, so please understand I may not get back to you in a timely fashion, should you email or text me.

I assure you we are all safe and sound. I am sending you all – and all those affected by these fires, my love, prayers, and good thoughts during this terrible time of fires, power & gas shut-offs and evacuations.

Please stay safe!

Sincerely,

Martha

Not Everyone Will Like Us

As much as it is a pleasant experience to be liked, the reality is not everyone will. Yet, how much time and energy do we sometimes waste, trying to get someone to like us? We adjust our personalities to suite others’ wants and needs, we laugh at things we don’t think are funny, we say what we think others want to hear, we are overly helpful to a fault and often at our own expense.

When we come to depend on the approval of others and measure our self-worth by their judgments, we lose our way. We lose ourselves.

Like tends to attract like and usually if someone doesn’t like us, it’s because they aren’t like us. They operate with a different energy, have distinctly different opinions or perspectives and see the world through a much different filter. What is important to us, may not be for them and what makes sense to them, may seem ludicrous to us.

This does not mean there is anything wrong with us or with them, it’s just that we are attracted to different things and people, and no matter what we do, they may still not like us. We could stand on our head, twiddle our thumbs and spit nickels and they still would not be attracted to us.

The same is true in reverse. We also may not like everyone we meet. I’m sure we can all think of someone we just don’t “fit in” with, or someone who rubs us the wrong way, annoys and frustrates us. We find ourselves judging and criticizing them as we try to change them to our likeness, hoping they will be more like the person we know they “should” be. Likewise, when we allow our disapproval of them and the way they think and act affect us in negative ways, we lose our own way. We lose ourselves.

However, if we allow others to think as they do about us without taking it personally, then we give them freedom to be themselves and we reclaim it for ourselves as well. When we accept others as they are without making them wrong and accept the differences, then we too, are set free to be whom we are.

Rather than try to shape ourselves into someone we aren’t or try to force someone to change to our liking, through acceptance, we can each move along our life’s path free to be ourselves and free to attract those who do vibrate with the same energy.

If we do this well, we will not only learn one of life’s greatest lessons, we will be a gift of love to all we meet.

“Keep what is worth keeping and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

                                                            Unknown

Keep What Is Worth Keeping

They were solid, good, hard-working people, their life was simple and focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, my Dad in trousers, t-shirt and a hat as he worked on the farm and my Mom standing by the hot stove cooking something wonderful while; lawn mower in his hand, and dish-towel in hers.

It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things they kept.

It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing, I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there’d always be more.

But then my mother died, and on that clear summer’s night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away …never to return. So . . . while we have it …it’s best we love it … and care for it …. and fix it when it’s broken … and heal it when it’s sick.

This is true …for marriage … and old cars … and children with bad report cards … dogs and cats with bad hips … and aging parents … and grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.

In the middle of the consumer driven world of today, where we frequently trade in our iPhones, TVs and computers for the latest and greatest, it’s important to remember to keep what is worth keeping; things like a best friend who moved away or a classmate we grew up with. There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special … And so, we keep them close in heart and mind and spirit.

We keep the good memories… of times that warm our hearts, put a smile of our faces, and delight our spirit… and we keep the lessons learned from past choices we don’t want to repeat of things we did and said that we regret, or of those things we didn’t do and say we wish we had.

And all the rest . . . with a breath of kindness . . . we simply blow away . . . 

“It was good for the skin to touch the earth.”

Luther Standing Bear – Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief

There were very few Native American leaders who were able to occupy the rift created between the traditional way of life for the indigenous cultures and the new way of life forced upon them by the arrival of European pioneers and explorers.

However, that doesn’t mean it never happened. People like Black Elk, Charles Eastman, and Gertrude Bonnin knew what life was like in the Great Plains before the Europeans arrived and they saw what it was like afterwards as well.

Another prominent figure who lived through the transition is Luther Standing Bear. He was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who was raised in the traditions of his people until he was 11, then he was then educated at the Carlisle Indian Industrial Boarding School of Pennsylvania, where he learned how to speak English and learned the European way of life. (Carlisle is recognized as a National Historic Landmark, but still remains as a place of controversy in Native circles.)

Like his contemporaries whom we mentioned above, Luther Standing Bear had deep native roots. This left him as a unique conduit between two cultures. He was extremely successful in the white man’s world; he landed numerous roles in Hollywood films, but his enduring legacy was the protection of the way of life of his people. By the time he had passed on, he published 4 books and had become a leader at the forefront of a progressive movement which focused on preserving Native American heritage and sovereignty. Here are 10 quotes from the great Sioux Indian chief known as Standing Bear that will be sure to disturb much of what you think you know about “modern” culture:

  • Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
  • Children were taught that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and the older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured person. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right.
  • Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’…and in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect… strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given the false characterization by the white man of being a stoic. He has been judged to be dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling.
  • We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, the winding streams with tangled growth, as ‘wild’. Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was it ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.
  • Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakotas come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue.
  • This concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.
  • It was good for the skin to touch the earth, and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth… the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.
  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint.
  • …the old Lakota was wise. He knew that a man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence.
  • Civilization has been thrust upon me… and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity.”

H/T Wisdom Pills

Image: Kirby Sattler

Thank you to my good friend Erika Kolod for sharing this with us