20 May 2017 : Give and Take Garden

You may know that Melinda and I got a puppy last September. As a refresher, he is a Malti-Poo (Maltese-Poodle ) and Melinda located the breeder in Texas. So, yes, she flew to Texas last September to pick him up. And given our attraction to the politician Lloyd Bentsen who schooled Dan Quayle in the 1988 vice-presidential debate (and was from Texas), we named our puppy Bentsen.

So anyway… I regularly take the puppy Bentsen on long walks in and around our neighborhood. These range from shorter walks, which are 1-2 miles, to longer walks, which can be up to 5 miles. I see the walks as good for both of us. They get me some useful exercise and time to quiet my mind. And for Bentsen, I hope to tire him out so we can have some quieter time at home. He’s a puppy after all, and is basically a bundle of lovable energy.

A few days ago I took him for one of the shorter walks. It was early evening and we walked east on NE 60th toward Bryant Elementary. If we turn right in 30th Ave NE and go down to NE 55th, we can do about a mile loop in 20-25 minutes, depending on how many things Bentsen decides he has to check out with his nose (which can be quite a few).

On this particular walk we noticed something after turning on 30th that we hadn’t seen before. You can see Bentsen in the photo here completing his olfactory inspection. This was a pretty serious review on his part, which gave me time to stop and think about what was actually being presented to us.

It was a Give and Take Garden. It said so right there on the sign.

Is this a child’s creation, something in which they are excitedly placing items for people to take with the hope that passersby will leave things? I decided this is exactly what is happening. Since I didn’t have anything to “give” on this particular walk I decided it wasn’t appropriate to “take.” But I have designs on making several stops at this garden, and am considering what to give. Your suggestions are welcome.

The garden certainly captured my attention, not to mention Bentsen’s. I think I might have to alert Rick Steves so he can put it in one of his travel guides as a Seattle landmark.

3 April 2017 : Strategy For Happiness

I have this grand idea that when I retire I’ll be able to make a modest living by promoting kindness. Perhaps it sounds far-fetched, but I like to imagine a world in which a person can get paid to shine a light on the nice things people do. This idea has occupied a lot of my thoughts during the dark months of this recent Seattle winter. And over the last few weeks I decided to do something about it.

Some great new art from Kind Living artist Fish Astronaut!

In fact, I decided to take my own advice. You see, I often tell my students what I think is a pretty sound strategy for happiness. I tell them it’s a secret, but really it’s not. It’s pretty simple, although lots of things conspire to make it complicated. Here it is.

First, identify something you want to achieve in the future that excites you now. Pay attention to that second part – the “excites you now” part. It’s critical that what you want to do in the future fills you with excitement in the present. It can’t be what someone else wants for you. It’s something that you not only want, it’s something that gets you FIRED UP!

Next, do one thing today that moves you closer to achieving that thing. It need not be huge, just that it moves you along the path toward the thing you want in the future. After completing that thing today, take in the information you got from it and re-evaluate what you want to achieve in the future. Has it changed in any way with this new knowledge? If so, adjust what you want to achieve accordingly.

Continue this day by day, doing a new thing that moves you toward what you want. Consider the new information you get and adjust your future goal to it, making sure you remain excited by it in the present. When you do this, opportunities will start to appear to you, almost miraculously, things related in some way to who you want to be. To who you ARE. When these opportunities appear, accept them. Say yes.

What you’ll find over time is that you are living the life you want to live and not waiting for that future achievement to be reached. That goal, that thing that excites you, only serves to get you moving in a particular direction. Staying tuned to it and excited by it takes care of the rest.

So what thing did I do today that moved me toward my goal of making a living by promoting kindness? It took me all of 20 minutes. I wrote a description for a kindness workshop I’m offering via silent auction to help PSCS raise funds.

How about yesterday? Yesterday I spent several hours updating the Secret Agent of Compassion website I created a couple of years ago.

Want to help me out? Click on the links above to learn about my kindness workshop offer and how I got involved with the Compassion Games. Who knows. Maybe you’ll be part of an opportunity for me.