The 59ers

On September 28 I begin the 59th year of my life. My fifties have been grand, and I have so much to be thankful for. In no particular order, following is a list of 59 things that I am tremendously grateful for:

  1. Breathing—the ability to breathe with ease
  2. My senses: taste, touch, vision, hearing, smell, equilibrium, intuition, and my sense of humor
  3. Health — body, mind, and spirit
  4. Connection with divinity, family, friends, and companion animals
  5. A world of ethnic cuisine to enjoy (especially Asian)
  6. Trees
  7. Travel
  8. Books and libraries
  9. Photography
  10. Farmers—”no farms, no food”
  11. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds
  12. Gentle dog groomers who work with animals without scaring them
  13. Blue skies
  14. Thunderstorms
  15. Mountains, log cabins
  16. Oceans, lakes, rivers, streams
  17. Creativity
  18. Music and singing (I’m a rock star in the car!)
  19. Exercise: yoga, bicycle riding, swimming, hiking
  20. First responders: Red Cross, firefighters, police, paramedics
  21. Teachers who make positive, life-long impressions on their students
  22. Healing: traditional, complementary, integrative, and alternative
  23. Color (especially green)
  24. Laughter, smiling
  25. Personal safety
  26. Treats: peppermint ice cream, red licorice, BBQ chips
  27. Peace
  28. Intentional kindness
  29. Manners
  30. Backgammon
  31. Spontaneity
  32. Flying with a safety conscious pilot (Len) who keeps the ease of his passengers — seasoned or otherwise — in mind
  33. Imagination
  34. Mental acuity: focus, memory, concentration, and understanding
  35. Sensitivity
  36. Comfort with being alone (enjoy my own company), personal getaways
  37. Sunrises and sunsets
  38. Flowers, color
  39. Drinkable water that flows from a tap
  40. A roof over our heads
  41. Geothermal heat
  42. Proximity: we can walk or ride our bicycles to everything we need
  43. Dreaming
  44. Indoor plumbing, electricity
  45. Volunteers and humanitarians such as hospice, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, Conservation Society, Doctors Without Borders, Habitat for Humanity, and Conservation International
  46. Curiosity, observation
  47. Color blindness — nonjudgment based on skin color
  48. Philanthropy
  49. People who leave places better than when they found them
  50. Ergonomic desk chairs
  51. Scented soy candles
  52. Glasses that help me to see clearly
  53. Physicians, surgeons, dentists, optometrists, medical technicians (etc) with well-developed bedside manners
  54. Flying kites
  55. Appliances: refrigerator, stove/oven, microwave, coffeemaker, etc…
  56. Enjoyment of learning something new
  57. Entertainment: screen, stage, and sidewalk (i.e., buskers)
  58. Uncluttered space—inside and out
  59. My lifelong partner, Len

Big, little, tangible, or intangible, name three things you’re grateful for.

Note: we are currently traveling. I won’t be able to respond to comment until Wednesday.

It’s All About Attitude

I took this photograph from the passenger window of a Cessna 172. What you see in the cleft between the mountains is not clouds. Rather, it’s smoke from the ongoing Pioneer Fire that’s responsible for burning more than 150,000 acres in southwest Idaho.

Outbound flight from Boise to McCall

Outbound flight from Boise to McCall

When I was in the corporate world I designed and delivered a workshop titled “It’s All About Attitude.” So imagine my surprise on a return flight from breakfast in McCall when we hit turbulence—like a zealous toddler with a balsa-wood airplane—and Len said:

“It’s okay Laurie. I’m going to make a change in attitude, not altitude.”

Len didn’t mean his emotional attitude. When hit by choppy air, if the pilot tries to maintain altitude (the higher/lower aspect), the plane can suffer damage.

If, however, the pilot keeps the attitude of the plane straight and level, you’ll keep flying, get through it, and the plane will remain in tact.

From my perspective, that’s a great analogy for life. Sometimes we encounter turbulence on the journey. When that happens—and it will—it’s important to keep a straight and level attitude. If we do, we’ll keep going, get through it, and remain in tact.

When was your last patch of turbulence?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Full of Hot Air

Typically the term, full of hot air is used in a derogatory fashion. For example, “Don’t pay attention to her, she’s full of hot air.” Not so at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic that takes place annually on Labor Day weekend. In fact, it’s a requirement!

The sound of hundreds of dragons breathing fills the air as spectators get an up close and personal look during inflation and liftoff. And while these ginormous bags of hot air look a bit unwieldy on the ground, they exude delicate dignity as they float gracefully against the backlit morning sky.

No strings attached, the pilot and passengers aren’t tied down to anything; they’re quite literally untethered.

Do you have any strings attached?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Seeing Spots

Mary Engelbreit is famous for her quote — Everyone needs their own spot — and her colorful, smile-inducing artwork. And while she was referring to dogs in this quote (a big nod to Willa here):

I think everyone needs their own spot, too — as in location. Some indoors, some out, I have several. Here’s one example:

In addition to any animal companions you may have in your life…

Where’s one of your favorite spots?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Got Mud?

When I travel to the San Diego area I make a point of visiting the meditation gardens at the Self-Realization Temple in Encinitas. Located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, their aquatic gardens are home to colorful koi fish and lotus flowers.

A lotus flower grows from the bottom of a muddy pond rising upward, emerging at the surface where it blooms into a beautiful flower. At night the petals close and it sinks beneath the surface only to re-emerge in the morning with the sunrise.

In my perspective, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s observation, “No mud, no lotus,” is a lovely metaphor for the human experience.

Have you got mud? Turns out, it’s a good thing!

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Flight of Fancy

Hummingbirds — their name comes from the fact that they flap their iridescent wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise. They can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, and even upside down.

Using strategically placed salvia, hyssop, and a sugar-water feeder, we’ve intentionally created a hummingbird hideaway. “Build it and they will come,” they said. That’s an understatement. They’ve come all right—in droves—and I’m enamored.

Laurie Buchanan TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Once I started researching these colorful little creatures, I quickly discovered that they hold a wide variety of symbolism in different cultures around the globe, but there are a few core similarities:

  • Joy — the foundation of joie de vivre
  • Exuberance — high energy
  • Tenacity — persistence, determination, sticktoitiveness
  • Flexibility — they bend but don’t break

Laurie Buchanan TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Which hummingbird attribute best describes you?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Rock On!

Cairns—we saw them aplenty when we climbed Ben Nevis. We noticed quite a few in Nova Scotia. We spotted them as trail markers in John Muir woods, on Palomar Mountain near the observatory, and now in the shallows of the Boise river—in this case, parents built them symbolically, one cairn each for a family of seven.

Used by people around the globe, cairns — human-made stack of stones — serve many different purposes:

  • Utilitarian: to mark a path, territory, or specific site
  • Spiritual: inviting passersby to stop and reflect
  • Ceremonial: when placed within a circle of enclosing stones
  • Memorial: when friends and family members voice a fond remembrance of a loved one while adding adding a stone
  • Symbolic: the uses are endless including love, prayer, and artistic expression

Have you ever built a cairn?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com