Sky Walz

As I walked along the moonlit beach
And looked into the sea
My eyes were captured by the sight
Of her reflection next to me

As I strolled she followed me
Closely by my side
As I stepped, she kept pace
Affected only by the tide

It was only weeks ago
That the moon was waning new
A mere sliver in the sky
Not filled with light, but blue

Now she’s coming into herself
The light outshines the sky
I’ve watched her growing everyday
I do not question why

No longer looking for completion
She has so much to give
The darkness cannot hide her light
Her only choice to live

I hope I have the pleasure
Of seeing her full and bright
Providing light for everyone
A beacon in the night

As I walked I thought these things
And held her in my hand
Not owning or possessing her
This reflection in the sand

Then my gaze went skyward
And I told her face to face
That I love her more than all the stars
Suspended now in space

Her beauty fell across my soul
And I knew our love was true
With fullness in her future
There was nothing more to do

I watched with expectation
And with each passing of the night
Knowing I need not complete her
Alone she would find her light

And as my own source bubbled forth
As one born unto the sun
I realized we were much the same
There was nothing left undone

One day soon the moon will rise
As the sun slowly slips away
With perfect synchronicity
They will both share night and day

As they gaze across the horizon
Into each other’s eyes
They know this dance will last forever
As they waltz across the skies

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Moonbeams

Once there was a searchlight named Barney. As a young bulb, Barney traveled with his family from parking lot to parking lot as he watched his parent’s brilliant white beams of light illuminate the sky. When he finally grew into a young spotlight, he tried to shine as brightly as his parents, but it was useless. Their beams were too bright and too strong. No one even noticed Barney’s light, including his parents. They told him their lights were bright enough for the whole family and he should just let them light his way. So he did.

Finally, after many years, Barney grew into a good size searchlight. He had a glorious bright beam, but he couldn’t see it. All he could see in the evening sky were the beautiful beams of the other searchlights off in the distance. He wanted to meet them, but he was afraid to leave the light of his parents. He was afraid of the darkness.

One day a young searchlight, about Barney’s age, was wheeled into the parking lot next to him. She was stunning and had a beam of light almost as bright as that of his parent’s. She and Barney became good friends. One night, when it was time for her to go, she invited Barney to go with her. He knew this was his only chance to leave home and enter the world without entering the darkness alone. So he bid his parent’s farewell and in spite of their protests, followed the path of his new friend.

Years passed and Barney made many new friends. He was transported from town to town and parking to parking lot. He always managed to have someone by his side which was comforting to him. After all, he was so much more effective if there was another searchlight beside him because he was too dim when alone. As they rotated, side by side, Barney’s favorite part occurred when their paths crossed. Only then did he truly feel alive and vibrant. When he continued his circular path every evening, he paid no attention to the stars or the clouds or the sky. All he wanted to do was focus on his companion beam, admire her beauty and wait for that split second when their paths intersected.

One day Barney was taken to a parking lot of a brand new Kroger store. It was daylight and he was quite sleepy. He barely remembered a searchlight was set up next to him that day. As evening came and the generators were fired up, Barney emerged from his sleep. As he looked around, he noticed the new searchlight beside him. There was something different about her although he couldn’t quite figure out what it was. She was more beautiful than anything he had ever seen and she felt so familiar to him even though he was sure he had never seen her before. He was intrigued by her in a way he had never experienced.

As their motors started and they began their rotations he noticed they were incredibly well synchronized. Before, Barney had always been either faster or slower than his companions and he was always adjusting his speed to theirs. This searchlight, however, was in perfect tune with him through no efforts on his part or hers. He was in awe of her grace and beauty. She introduced herself and told him her name was Sally. They talked as he had never talked to anyone before. She was kind to him and really listened and cared about what he had to say. When their paths crossed the energy was incredible. It was so intense that Barney became impatient with the time it took for their paths to cross each time. He decided the importance of their beautiful synchronicity paled in comparison to the rush he felt when their beams met. He could think of nothing else and he became obsessed with her. Faster and faster and faster he spun. By the time each morning came, he collapsed in exhaustion. Despite his exhaustion, he had trouble sleeping each day in anticipation of sharing his nights with her. He lived for that split second during each rotation when he could share her energy. It was the only time he felt alive.

One night during their nightly rotations, after several weeks had passed, Barney reached phenomenal speeds. Then suddenly an incredible thing happened. The motor that enabled Barney to turn stopped abruptly in the middle of his rotation. It was weak from Barney’s excessive speeds and had burned its wires. Barney panicked! Then, he realized that Sally’s motor had also been shut down just as their paths crossed in the darkened sky. The energy Barney felt was incomprehensible. The oneness he previously felt for only brief periods was finally sustained.

Sally took this rare moment of stillness to notice the true beauty of their world. She remarked on the beauty of the midnight sky, the glimmer of the stars, and the soft cushions of clouds as they waltzed through their beams. Barney refused to look. All he could see was Sally and all he wanted to do was stare at her and enjoy her beauty. She tried to get him to see the moon, the eternal beam that would light his path forever, but he refused. He was afraid to look away for fear he would lose her. He wanted to feel this way for eternity. They spent the entire evening together, locked in each other’s beams. Although he fought the inevitable sleep when morning came, he finally succumbed to his weariness and drifted off.

The next evening, Barney awakened and, to his horror, discovered he was alone. Sally was gone. He felt lost and he was sure his life was over. He didn’t want to shine anymore. No one would see his weak little beam and no one would come to the store. They would surely send him to the scrap metal yard.

The hum of the generator grew louder and louder and the motor began to turn Barney around and around. He then noticed a note taped to his stand. It was from Sally. It said “Once you can find yourself in the light of the moon, we can be together again.” At first he didn’t understand for he had found himself in her. She was the only thing that could make him happy. He didn’t want to look at the moon, it was too bright. All he wanted was the energy he felt with Sally.

As he turned and his beam cut through the black sky, a peculiar thing happened. Cars were coming from every direction. Barney was amazed! They could see him! He then realized he had no other beam to watch, but his own. He was astounded by the beauty and brightness of his beam. When he followed his path and then looked beyond it, he noticed, for the first time, the twinkle of the stars, the softness of the clouds and the mystery of the sky. He was no longer afraid of the darkness.

During his next rotation, off in the distance he saw a familiar beam. It was Sally’s. He smiled to himself as he knew he no longer needed her light to reflect his own. He could finally enjoy her in freedom and separateness and truly knowing that fact comforted him. He had a life of his own to share with her now and he knew in time he would. As he followed her beam from the ground to the sky he saw something he had never seen before. As her words echoed gently in his mind, he stared directly into the brightness of the moon and allowed the comfort of its eternal light to illumine his soul.

A Little Here, A Little There, A Tribute to Rose

Years ago, when I was still working, I ran into God in the most unlikely place.  My time for lunch was limited; I had three dollars in my pocket and no time to find an ATM machine.  I decided to go to Taco Tico which was near my office and purchase as much food as I could. I only had a few seconds to study the menu in the drive thru before placing my order because the lunch crowd had arrived.  Cars were lined up in front of me and behind me. Quickly, I calculated and ordered two tacos and a burrito. A woman’s voice over the loudspeaker gave me my total and I had just enough money to pay for my meal. She then asked if I wanted anything to drink and I declined knowing I did not have enough money.

I waited my turn and pulled up to the window, feeling a bit harried by the wait. It all dissipated as soon as I saw God. Please understand, I did not recognize God right away. She was disguised as a thin middle age woman with glasses and long brown hair, but the whole world stopped at that moment.  She looked at me as though I was an old friend and the only customer she had seen all day. She explained that for almost the same price I could get a combo meal which would include a drink. I confessed that I only had three dollars and if the combo meal was more than that, I would just stick with my original order.

She entered a combo meal into the computer and announced the total was $3.60. I thanked her for trying, but explained I did not have another sixty cents, so I would just take what I originally ordered. Without hesitation she asked me to wait a minute as she reached into her purse. She withdrew sixty cents and placed it in the register to pay for my combo meal. Although her name tag said “Rose,” I knew she was not working alone at the drive thru that day.

She then asked me what I wanted to drink and I ordered a Sprite. She fixed my drink and asked

“Did you know we have Country Time lemonade?”

“No,” I replied.

I was in shock because I love lemonade and it was not on the menu. She then asked if I would rather have lemonade,

“Yes, if it’s not too much trouble” I said.

She set my Sprite aside and fixed me lemonade and handed me my meal. I thanked her and drove away. I had just encountered God at the drive thru at Taco Tico and my life was forever changed.

That small gesture of kindness filled me with so much joy that day. Whatever troubled me disappeared. I felt loved and wanted to share that love with everyone I met. I was no longer in a hurry and I became a much more courteous driver on my way back to the office. My whole outlook on life changed and I still remember that feeling as if it was yesterday.

I realized every person I encounter is special and important and should be treated as if he or she may be the last human being I will ever know. Rose was able to see and honor the Divine in me and I, in turn, encountered the Divine in her. She taught me the importance of being present in each situation and with every person who crosses my path. Her kindness toward me impacted the world.

As I sat in my office enjoying my lunch and basking in the wonder of my experience, I noticed a small package in my lunch bag. As I removed it from the bottom of the bag, I realized it was a Mexican fortune cookie.  I marveled that such a thing even existed. Excited by my find, I carefully opened it and pulled out the small slip of paper carrying my fortune. After reading it, I laid it on my desk in awe of the wisdom it contained.  It said “A little here, a little there.”  I realized that’s all it takes to change the world. It’s a memory that comforts me when I am discouraged and that fortune remains one of my mantras to this day. Thank you Rose!

Murray the Mockingbird

There once was a young mockingbird named Murray.  He lived among the numerous flowering trees and shrubs in a small village called Sunorma.
Murray, like many other mockingbirds his age, could replicate almost any sound he heard.  Passersby heard the sounds of robins, cardinals, crows, finches, starlings, and others, but they had no idea these sounds usually emanated from just one bird.  Murray was proud of his skills and his ability to fool others.

One day, Murray perched on the limb of a beautiful maple tree in the back yard of one of the houses in the village.  He noticed once again a small child who had spent several weeks watching and listening to his antics.  Today the child sat with her back against the tree and interrupted Murray with a question while he was in the middle of his repertoire of bird songs.

“What does a mockingbird sound like?”

At first Murray neither heard nor noticed she was speaking to him, so she asked her question again.  Murray stopped singing and looked at her quizzically.  The child gazed back at Murray with her eyebrows raised and palms up, waiting for his response.
Murray took a deep breath and once again bellowed out his usual litany of birdsongs he learned from others.  Once he finished, he looked down at his young friend with pride at his accomplishments.  She looked at him with disappointed eyes.

“You don’t understand”, she said.  “I want to know what a MOCKINGBIRD sounds like.”

Once again, Murray puffed out his chest and recited every bird sound he had ever heard as well as a few cell phone tunes he had mastered.  Once again his young friend looked at him with tears welling up in her big blue eyes.

“You keep singing like all the other birds, but don’t you have your own song?”

Murray gripped the branch underneath him with all his strength in his toes.  He had never heard such a question.  At first he was angry that this young human was questioning his abilities.  After all he had a greater repertoire of bird songs than any other mockingbird in Sunorma.  He was also the only mockingbird he knew that could recreate the sound of a cell phone.  He momentarily pondered his delight at memories of people around him scrambling in their purses and pockets every time he sang those tunes.  Indignant, Murray spread his wings and flew off in a flurry of disgust at the lack of respect from this insolent human.

For the rest of the day, Murray flew from tree to tree more than he sang.  He was restless and could not sleep that evening.  The question kept repeating itself over and over in his little bird brain.  He could not figure out why this was bothering him so much.  He had done nothing wrong.  He was just being a good mockingbird by doing what mockingbirds do.

Weeks went by and Murray was exhausted from his anger and his lack of sleep.  He was no longer interested in singing at all and soon he was experiencing a full blown depression.  He lost his appetite and he had no interest in anything or anybirdy.  He felt like he had flown full speed into a picture window.

One day, just as Murray was about to pull his feathers out, he heard something.  It was a familiar, yet strange noise.  The faintest of chirping sounds was coming from a nearby honeysuckle bush.  Murray mustered all his strength and flew over to investigate.  To his surprise, he found a baby robin had fallen from its nest.  It was hopping in circles on the ground just under the cover of the shrubbery.  Murray landed beside the baby bird to see if he could help.   When Murray opened his beak to speak, the only noise that escaped was an exact duplication of the scared cries of the baby bird.  Since Murray had no voice of his own, he could only mimic this scared little bird.

This sound did not help the baby bird at all.  She thought Murray was in distress as well and began crying louder.  Every time Murray opened his beak and tried to speak, the chilling cry just became more intense.  The baby bird was frantic. He realized he could help no one, not even himself, if he could not find his own voice.  With that realization, Murray became very still and remembered all the sounds he had ever heard.  He then cleared his mind and stopped thinking about what sound he was going to make.

Murray finally opened his beak he realized the true importance of having his own voice. The most glorious sound ever made by bird or human was released from his little bird soul.  It sounded like everything he had ever heard and like nothing he had ever sung.  It was the sound that expressed who Murray truly was.  People stopped in their tracks and listened, birds stopped chirping, dogs cocked their heads to one side, and cats found the nearest hiding place.  A passing veterinarian, upon hearing Murray’s song, sought out its source and rescued the baby bird.  Murray was astonished at the trickle effect of expressing his authentic voice.

The next day, Murray sought out his young companion beneath the maple tree.  He spotted the child under the tree and landed on her shoulder.  To her astonishment, Murray began singing his new song.  Murray was no longer angry.  His anger had transformed into gratitude and from that day forward he spent his life singing a new song – his song.  And so it is.

Surfing the Ride

When the heart breaks
It opens
At first the influx of energy
From the outside
Is very painful

But when I breathe
And sit holding my heart
Gently in my hand
I am no longer resistant
To what is

I am no longer attached
To the ego that screams
For me to place my heart
In a box for safekeeping
Sheltered from vulnerability

I realize it is better
To go through life
With heart wide open
Than to wrestle
With a guarded heart

Endlessly following my intellect
And my ego
As they work furiously
To maneuver around the pain
By living only past and future

I no longer choose
A life of numbness
Devoid of sadness and of joy
I know it is impossible
To feel one without the other

Instead I choose
To fully integrate
Heart and mind
Body and soul
In breath and out breath

Remaining open to love
Intimately guided
Continuing to surf
The ebb and flow
Of this ride called life

Treading Water

Treading water
is easy at first
then the arms tire
soon the legs follow suit
all in an effort
to keep my head above water

What happens
if I stop resisting the water
do I sink to the bottom
never to return or
do I explore depths
never before seen

I was treading water
just the other day
and I stopped
to see what would happen
But I did not sink
to the bottom of the abyss

Instead my body righted itself
my head never submerged
I lay there
fully supported
and in the absence of struggle
I felt the presence of the Divine

The Journey Home

I ran until I could go no further
Bent double, hands on knees
Heaving gasps of air toward tattered shoes
Ragged from the wear of a heavy heart

I could not catch my breath
My heart pounded against rigid ribs
I was unable to take another step
Incapable of turning around

And then my heart broke open
The shuddering stopped
My breath eased
I knew it was time

As I turned to face the beast
That chased me from the shadows of grief
Something shifted in the darkness
And a light appeared

No beast or monster lay in wait for my soul
It was the tiniest of creatures called fear
Fear that looms large in the darkness
And all but disappears when illuminated

As I stared at this creature
The light grew brighter and fear vanished from view
I was left with great peace
As I turned to make the journey home

The Only Remaining Color Was Yellow

Once upon a time, in the lush green woods of Sequaria, lived a young tick named Sarah.  She spent her days climbing the expansive network of branches connecting the oaks, maples and hickories of her forest home.  As with all young ticks, Sarah was an orphan, for as soon as a tick egg is laid, the mother tick latches on to the next warm blooded creature that passes by, never to return.

Sarah was not like the other ticks.  For one thing, Sarah hated the taste of blood.  Her favorite food was the sweet nectar of the maple trees that were plentiful around her home.  The other ticks avoided Sarah because she was different and sometimes this made her lonely.

As Sarah grew older, she watched the other young ticks come and go. They never questioned their destinies.  No one but Sarah seemed to wonder if there was more to life than permanently attaching to a living creature and feeding there until death.  Although Sarah knew what was expected of her, she could not seem to take the step necessary to become like the other ticks.

One day, while perched on a limb in her favorite maple tree, Sarah heard voices.  Two hikers passed below her.

“Stop” the woman said.

“There’s a tick climbing up your pant leg.”

She swiftly grabbed the tick and smashed it on the nearest rock.

“I don’t know why God created ticks in the first place.  They have absolutely no purpose in the world!”

Sarah was horrified.  She had never thought that perhaps her life had no meaning or that she had no purpose in the world simply because she was a tick.  After some serious thought, Sarah decided it was time to find a suitable host.  Only then could she fulfill the destiny appropriate for a tick.

Sarah gathered all her strength and leaped from her branch onto the back of a beautiful golden retriever that was following the hikers.  Once she landed, she fell in love with the comfort of the golden shafts of silky blond fur that surrounded her.  After basking in the warmth of her new home for a little while, she remembered what she was there to do.  Dreading the salty taste of the warm red liquid and the permanent loss of freedom once she was attached, she closed her eyes and bared her fangs.  Just when she was about to pierce the flesh of her host, a tiny brown creature landed by her side.

Startled she said, “Who are you?”

The little creature answered, “My name is Tony and I am a flea.”

Sarah replied “Oh, I’ve heard of fleas before, but I’ve never seen one standing still. You’re supposed to be randomly scurrying about and tormenting this creature.  You’re not supposed to stop and talk to me.”

Tony looked at her smugly and said, “And you, my friend, are supposed to be attached to this creature, unable to talk to me.”

Sarah became quiet.  Tony, sensing her struggle, snuggled up beside her and began telling her his story.

Tony knew early on that he was different from other fleas.  As a young flea, he used to lie in the grass and watch the other fleas scramble about, mindlessly jumping from animal to animal, constantly dodging their host’s frantic attempts to stop their endless torment.  The other fleas seemed to love this dangerous game.   It all seemed so pointless to Tony and he knew there must be more to life.  He attempted many times to convince the other fleas that they did not have to live the way they did, but no one would stop long enough to listen.  He was sure his purpose in being different was to change the way the other fleas lived.

Then one day he decided he could no longer stand being different.  The loneliness was more than he could bear, so he decided to join in and live like the other fleas.  After all, there must something wrong with him because he was the unusual one.  Besides, everyone hated fleas anyway, so what was the point in being different? No one would ever notice or care about a flea.  With these thoughts in mind, he jumped onto a young cocker spaniel who happened to be passing by.  It took so much energy for Tony to jump that he fell fast asleep on the pup’s back.

Later, he awoke, startled that he had traveled so many miles from home.  He climbed to the tip of the dog’s stub of a tail and looked around to see where he was. The pup was stretched out beside a silvery blue lake that mirrored the clear summer sky overhead.  Tony had never seen water before and he was in awe of its beauty and serenity.  He decided to postpone acting like a flea until he could take a closer look at this new world.

After several weeks of being on his own, away from the other fleas, Tony found a peace he had never before experienced.  He finally understood that it was okay to be different.  Although he was in fact a flea, he did not have to “act like a flea.”  The only rules for his life were those he imposed on himself.  He was free to be whatever he wanted and he discovered he loved riding across the country, jumping from host to host, without them even knowing he was there.  He was seeing the world, something few, if any, fleas had ever done before.  Although he met many fleas along his journey, he no longer needed to try and change them.  They were all doing what they needed to do and were where they needed to be.  He was so at peace within himself that it no longer bothered him that he was different.  He enjoyed being different.  He was finally able to love without judging himself or others.

Sarah was intrigued by Tony’s story.  She knew he was speaking to her soul.  She gave him a hug, bid him farewell and thanked him for touching her life.  Sarah knew she was no longer just a tick, she was Sarah.  As she crawled her way back to the woods on the horizon, the only remaining color was yellow on the maple tree of truth that she called home.

The Chinese Lantern

It had rained for four days straight, but the clouds parted for a post dusk beach walk.  The night sky was softly illuminated by a half moon that floated in and out of the rotund clouds scattered across the sky.  Stars hidden for days flickered and danced their constellated waltz.  It was a perfect night for a walk.

As I pondered my life’s path on the way back to the car, I was startled by the release of a Chinese lantern into the night sky no more than twenty feet from where I was standing.  The bright orange flame illuminated the small balloon that carried it skyward.  It floated over my head at an amazing speed seemingly toward a known destination.

I stood transfixed by this primitive device as it rose under its own power.  Nothing more than the physics of heat rising caused its ascent.  Soon it was almost out of sight on an apparent collision course with the stars. For a brief moment it looked exactly like a star, indistinguishable from the ancient reflections of light in the night sky.  When it disappeared from view, I wondered if the flame finally went out or if it was just too small for my naked eye to see.

The path of this small lantern reminded me of my own.  At first it was bright and clear, full of possibilities, and with a direction certain.  As time plays its game, the light of the path dims and sometimes I lose sight of it. Often the path I was on no longer exists.  It was there as long as it needed to be, but I completed the journey without awareness of the end. 

I also pondered the intention of this lantern.  It seemed to know exactly where it was going, but in reality it was merely following the path of least resistance.   It allowed the currents to carry it where it needed to go.  All paths have this route at their core.  What is sometimes tricky to understand is that the path of least resistance may not always be the easiest path.  My personality/ego can sometimes make the path of least resistance difficult.  I can also get lost in the quagmire of what feels good rather than what my core tells me is best.

I no longer believe I have only one path in this lifetime.  The lesson is to pay attention and know when one path ends and a new one begins.  I am called to learn not to hold on too tightly and to live fully in the “in between.”  It need not be so difficult to come to the journey’s end even when I do not yet see the starting point for the next one.  The next path is always there as the gift of hindsight clearly demonstrates.

So what ultimately happened to the lantern is not important.  It served its purpose both for me and for its creator.  I am reminded again and again to let go.  Just like the lantern, I can find my way when let go, stop resisting and allow the currents of life to guide my way.

Letting Go of the Knight

I was walking along the beach when I came upon an injured Anhinga. He was a magnificent bird with a solid black head, a long beak, and black and white speckled feathers. I knew he was injured when he failed to move as I approached. I knelt beside him trying not to frighten him, but he seemed oblivious to my presence. Although he did not appear to be looking for help, I ignored his indifference, put on my knightly armor, and grabbed my sword to rescue him from his apparent distress.

Not knowing what to do and not wanting to cause more harm, I grabbed my phone and googled animal rescue. I found a listing and sent them multiple emails with pictures and location information. I provided my cell number in case they needed anything further from me. I said a prayer to St. Francis, assured the bird help was on its way, and let go.

The bird remained on my mind and I looked his direction occasionally, as I strolled down the beach, to see if the rescue people arrived. An hour or so later, I walked back and he was peacefully sleeping with his head turned and his beak nestled in his back feathers. I knew he was dying and I felt helpless. I did all I could do, but I wanted to do more. I walked away hoping the rescue society would respond.

The next day I returned to the spot where I left him and his lifeless body lay stretched out in the sand. I drew the blame gun out of my arsenal to shoot myself with shame for not doing more, but then I heard my God-self talking. I realized his passing was an example of the ebb and flow of nature and life. There was nothing I could or should have done differently. The bird knew that, but I wasn’t paying attention.

I thought of all the times we each suffer death. Sometimes it is death of the body and sometimes it is the death of an idea, an identity, or a relationship. I was reminded that the only constant is change and that resistance is the root of all suffering. Some things need to die and the trick is to know when not to interfere. I ruminate now on the times in my life that I interfered. Well meaning, but destructive interference. I ignored my God voice and tried to help those who did not need nor request my help. My arrogance is thinking I know what is best. It is a hard lesson to learn and I keep receiving opportunities to “get it.” My gratitude extends to this bird for providing yet another opportunity to learn.

I walked later along the shore composing these thoughts in my head and I returned to my rented beach house to put my thoughts on paper. On my way, I passed a woman in a pickup truck frantically calling to her husband who was working construction on a house nearby. She was begging him to come closer to look at something, but he was clearly ignoring her.

She looked at me with pleading eyes “Do you know anything about turtles?”

“I know a little,” I said

“Could I show you something?”

I approached her truck. Tucked away on the passenger side was a grapefruit sized turtle she found in the road. He had clearly been struck by a car as his shell was slightly crushed and blood trickled down his legs. It was hard to tell how badly he was hurt as he was active and clearly frightened to be handled by humans.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said as tears welled up in her eyes.

“It is probably best just to let nature take its course and take him back to where you found him.” I said. I assured her there was really nothing she could do. I could tell she knew that already, but she just needed permission. Permission was my gift to her.

It is not often that I am given the opportunity to learn a lesson and, almost immediately, put the lesson into practice.  However, that is precisely what this, my island home, provides to me daily. It is a place for me to learn and a place for me to teach. Opportunities abound when I am at home with myself. I am grateful to be in a place that allows me such freedom.