What World Will You Leave to Your Descendants?

Last month was the first anniversary of my husband’s death and I had a lovely day thinking about what he meant to me and how much he had made an impact on the world.

Bob certainly left a legacy in his work by designing a structural engineering program that helps create stronger airplanes and bridges and cars.

He also had an impact on the earth when he walked in the mountains, leaving the smallest footprint he could. In fact, he made it a habit of picking up trash as he hiked in the hills he loved, often coming home with pockets full of junk others had left behind.

His life was reflected in the idea of an earth for which we are all responsible as noted by Adlai Stevenson many years ago:

“We travel together, passengers on a little space ship, dependent upon its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, committed for our safety to its security and peace, preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave to the ancient enemies of mankind, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew, can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all.”

I have tried to also do my part to protect the earth and the people on it. I hope that the many words I’ve written, and the love I have tried to share, enrich the lives of others so they, too, will recognize the need to protect this precious planet — the only earth we have.

Several years ago I wrote a poem that expresses my feelings about taking care of the earth. You can read it at When I Am Gone and can also see a slide show about the earth that my children, your children and all our descendants will inherit — and our need to protect it.

The Five Stages to Changing One’s Behavior

Two articles to help you make positive change in your life.

Coastpath south of Treyarnon (4) - geograph.org.uk - 1473712 How often have you watched someone struggling with a problem that would be easily resolved if only they did things differently? Probably lots of times.

Why don’t they see what needs to be done? Why don’t they enter therapy or in some other way actively work to resolve their problems, reduce their symptoms and retool their lives?

Well, it seems that everyone needs to go through five stages before they are able to actually change their behavior, and to maintain those changes by having insight into how their behavior affects their work and relationships.

Read more about these stages in Transformation Now (or maybe later).

Knowing this is a common process for all of us may make you more tolerant of a spouse, child, friend, etc. who seems stuck in behavior that is getting him nowhere.

As I wrote in You Have to Open Your Own Egg, you sometimes just have to be patient until the other person is ready to deal with life in a new way.

No Training Required for Marriage?

Compassion for others —and ourselves —is key

This is the third post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.

The ability to disagree with somebody but still respect them . . . that’s not something we’re taught anymore.

— James Finn Garner

You took math and reading when you were in school. But you didn’t have to take Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution, Respect for Personal Differences or Positive Parenting. And yet, you’re allowed to get a marriage license and have children—with no preparation for the two most challenging and difficult experiences in life.

It’s no wonder that most everyone hates to date, feels threatened by intimacy and fights in the most brutal and destructive ways. Where would we have learned otherwise? We copy our parents, we mimic the movies, we get advice from friends—hoping to be more successful.

The fact is, every one of us deserves compassion for our struggle to love well. With no training in even the basic skills, we need to feel more compassion for ourselves (and for everyone else). Today, be kind to yourself and your partner by remaining aware that you never got a class in even Relationship Basics and that you are learning as you go.

Reinforce today’s ideas by saying this to yourself:

I deserve compassion for all I don’t know.

Wild Poppies Offer a New Perspective on Relationships

Ladder leading to pictureThis post is part of the “Step Into Pictures” series that offers you a new way to explore both difficult relationships and those you treasure. Visit the Step Into Pictures Archive to learn more about it.

04-20-15 - Wild Poppies Fearman-Valley-Spring

Poppy Preserve, Antelope Valley by Lynne Fearman

 Click on picture to see enlarged view

I wholeheartedly recommend you visit the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in the Mojave Desert near Lancaster north of Los Angeles. Each spring the valley comes alive with a mosaic of colors that changes daily.

Oh, sorry, you say you don’t live in Southern California?

Visit the Desert in the Comfort of Your Own Home

Let me suggest an alternative: Step inside this painting by Lynne Fearman. In fact, there are several advantages to using this technique to visit the reserve:

There may be only a few blooms, which depend on rain, although even good rain isn’t always a reliable indicator of a spectacular season.

There may be wicked winds that cause the poppies to curl up.

You don’t need to worry about getting dehydrated, which can happen if you rapidly lose water into the dry desert air.

You can control the temperature that can vary widely and change suddenly in the desert.

There is no problem with parking in a crowded lot.

There are no Mojave green rattlesnakes, which are active in the daytime on cool to warm days, and in the evenings on hot days, although they will let you know when they are around because they don’t really want a confrontation with you.

Okay, if you don’t live near the Reserve, I hope I’ve convinced you to experience this lovely place by entering the picture and bringing a friend with you.

As always in the Step-into-Pictures program, the person you bring with you may be either someone with whom you are having difficulties, or a friend who would like being here in the quiet of the desert with only the birds singing and hawks gliding silently overhead.

No matter who you bring with you, enjoy the trip to the Mojave desert in this painting by Lynne Fearman.

What Do You Remember About the Fifties?

A nostalgic look back at the Fifties.

I imagine that every now and then you get emails with pictures from the past. If they are from the 19th century, you may have a new insight into historical events you have only heard about. If they are from the 20th century, but before you were old enough to experience them, they can help you understand events your parents and grandparents talked about.

However, when videos and photos are about events you have experienced, it can be amusing to see how foolish we were, how unsophisticated, how blind to injustice, how willing to accept political certainties. Life certainly seemed simpler back then.

Today, I bring you a video titled “Lost in the Fifties — Another Time, Another Place.”

Every person or thing I saw in this video brought me right back to those days of soda fountain counters, snap-on roller skates, drive-in movies, vinyl records, hula hoops, Swanson’s frozen dinners, Tonto and the Lone Ranger, comic books, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, as well as hand-painted signs for and against segregation.

I could go on much longer, but that may give you an idea of what you’ll find in this four-and-a-half minute video.

Whether or not you were alive back then, sit back and enjoy.