Dancing Turtles


ElectraLikeMine

My answer to an extremely tight personal economy, coupled with my need to get healthy, and a desire to further lessen my carbon footprint while enjoying more of life, led to the re-discovery and subsequent clean-up of one of my favorite bikes.  I live roughly 3.2 miles from town, and it made no sense to add to the ugly statistics regarding automobile commutes (82 percent of trips five miles or less are made by personal motor vehicle).  It made tons of sense to save money, burn some calories (rather than fossil fuels), and enjoy a scenic bike ride whenever there’s a need to go to town.  My cruiser/chopper was called into service.

It was a gorgeous Monday morning and my mood was riding high (cycling pun intended).  I had prepped the backpack for the day, and located my iPod Shuffle.  I wedged my Etyomic 6i’s into my head, threw on the backpack and hit play.  The iPod was in shuffle mode, so I had no idea what was about to enter my head.  And then something wonderful happened….

7 Story Mountain by Railroad Earth (audio)

Oh lord, to see a light, but fail in strength to follow,
Sometimes it’s hard to let it go.

Oh lord, to fail in heart, and each day grow more hollow,
Sometimes I just don’t wanna know.

But the road that led me here, it’s begun to disappear.
Sometimes I wonder where I am.

Oh lord, to hear a voice, but let it fade and wallow,
Sometimes it’s hard to let it go.

Oh lord, to find the words, but keep them in and swallow,
One day the top is gonna blow.

But the road that led me here, it’s begun to disappear.
Sometimes I wonder who I am.

Oh lord, to stumble blind, for years without knowing,
Sunrise has burned my eyes again.

Oh lord to crumble quiet, watching from the silence,
Sunrise has burned my eyes again.

It’s a seven-story mountain. It’s a long, long life we live. Gonna find a light and fill my heart again.

It’s a seven-story mountain. It’s a long, long life ahead. Got to find a voice and fill my throat again.

7StoryMountain

Oh lord, to see a light, but fail in strength to follow,
Sometimes it’s hard to let it go.
Oh lord, to fail in heart, and each day grow more hollow,
Sometimes I just don’t wanna know.
But the road that led me here, it’s begun to disappear.
Sometimes I wonder where I am.
Oh lord, to hear a voice, but let it fade and wallow,
Sometimes it’s hard to let it go.
Oh lord, to find the words, but keep them in and swallow,
One day the top is gonna blow.
But the road that led me here, it’s begun to disappear.
Sometimes I wonder who I am.
Oh lord, to stumble blind, for years without knowing,
Sunrise has burned my eyes again.
Oh lord to crumble quiet, watching from the silence,
Sunrise has burned my eyes again.
It’s a seven-story mountain. It’s a long, long life we live. Gonna find a light and fill my heart again.
It’s a seven-story mountain. It’s a long, long life ahead. Got to find a voice and fill my throat again.Why this song? A tune that’s gotten me through low moments during my divorce, and that’s helped me face and surmount many sizable challenges.  A song that strikes a chord deep within me, one of those we all have that touches our soul.  Why now?  What was the chance of this happening?  A BHS (big huge smile) burst forth as I pushed the bike out the door.  The first few turns of bike pedals in a long time led to absolute bliss.

We all have these moments.  Moments SQuire Rushnell has aptly named “God Winks” .  They’re moments that touch something deep inside.  Some last only a blink, while others have a wonderful depth of duration (like my bike ride did on this day).  Some of us recognize them, while others just smile, perhaps mutter “cool”, and move on.  Many of us know they’re indicators we’re headed in the right direction, and that all is well.  Others rack them up as mere coincidence or silly happenstance.

Northern LightsWe enjoy and remember some of these moments more vividly than others, depending on how well we’ve tuned in.  As we should, because they’re not just nods or affirmations, they’re truly gifts.  At one time or another we’ve all decided to take the path less traveled (like Happy Lotus/Jewel, Dreams, Faith & Me or Serene Balance/Leap Of Faith).  Then we’ve asked ourselves if we’ve done the right thing, and wait for the answers.  And we do receive an answer to these questions, we just don’t recognize them because we’re not of a quiet mind.  We often fail to notice moments of grand affirmation because they’re so very sublime.  If you watch and listen carefully, however, you can see glimmers in the darkness, and hear whispers on the wind.  We don’t always receive them when we want to, but they’re there, arriving often when we least expect it.

I thought I’d write more about other such moments I’ve had, but decided it might block your ability to reach inside and renew a few you’ve experienced.  Suffice it to say I have many I’m fond of that I will forever cherish.  Here’s just a handful of mine to lend a spark to your own personal fire:

Papa Cardinal

Papa Cardinal

The arrow on the pipe that appeared at just the right moment, telling me I was headed in the right direction to see some of Marquette’s prettiest falls – and have a moment with my deceased father.  The appearance of a male cardinal when things are rough (my Mom and I shared a belief Dad’s spirit was in cardinals, his favorite bird).  Loons that answered one night when I asked myself some difficult questions.  The handshake when I met my wife for the very first time – a handshake I oddly, rapidly withdrew from, like I’d been shocked in some way.

When one of these moments presents itself, stop and give yourself a few more seconds to think about it.  Make it a gift to yourself by making a memory of it.  It doesn’t matter how silly you think it is.  Hell, who cares what others think when it comes to these types of things?  These are your special moments, your winks, your signposts along the journey telling you you’re going to be OK, you’ve done the right thing, you’re on the right path.

Because you are.

Maybe your bike should get dusted off too! Check out –> www.2milechallenge.com or www.1world2wheels.org

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TerrapinThis moment in Life was a long time coming. With the help of some close friends, some old friends and some new friends, I decided it was time to come out of my shell (turtle pun intended). I realized I needed to do this. I needed to let folks in, rather than shut them out, hold them off, or pretend I didn’t need the Love of family, friends and strangers. I’m part of the “mix” that is Life itself. I need you, you need me…whether we like each other or not. Shared experiences create a bond, no matter what the emotion, but first the experiences, the knowledge, and that which makes us US, must be shared, to create that bond.

So here you go, I’m sharing, for both of us and others these words might help. I’ll try to keep the little monster known as “ego” bottled up, so the message is not distorted. I’ll try to make this experience beneficial to you, as well as to me, and all those we may share it with. I’ll try to keep it positive, although Life isn’t built on a foundation consisting purely of joy and happiness. You have to experience opposites in life in order to fully enjoy the acquisition, the accomplishment, the highs, the joys, the births, the pleasant smells, the beautiful sites, the bright lights.

PopeyeI’m no sage, nor am I a superhero, and I’ll try to not come across in either manner. I am what I am and that’s all that I am (thanks Popeye). I’m sharing what I have with you with the hopes you gain benefit from it. I want to help you choose your path by sharing the wisdom of someone who’s chosen the path less traveled, that’s turned a page in a book you have yet to read, that’s “bent my ear to hear the tune”, that’s seen things you have yet to spot. My life hasn’t always been easy, and often times it’s been my own damn fault.

Over the last few months I’ve begun sharing those lessons, and lo and behold, people found benefit in what I had to offer. I noticed my Life’s lessons were of value to others, and I also noticed some of my wounds began healing in doing so. The pain, the laughter, the tears, the smiles, the joys and the sorrows – we all have them, we all need to share them, for that is how we learn to live, to move forward and how we leave a legacy for others. My lessons are yours, if you care to submit yourself to them.

TooterWho the hell am I? Really doesn’t matter, does it? But some of you have an innate need to know (we’ll work on judgments in a later post). For that purpose, check out my About page (a work in progress) or just keep reading. For some personal reasons, I will not divulge my name or exact location in the universe. You see, I’ve had some of life’s lessons beaten into me at the hands of others, and I don’t care to hand the club back to those who would enjoy furthering the beat down with my own words. One of these poor souls is my ex-wife (and her conflict-loving attorney/boyfriend), others that only know the color of money, and then there are those life forms that seem to exist only to make our lives miserable (because they know not what to do with their own).

Suffice it to say, I’m a kind, generous, warm-hearted, emotional, grateful, justice-seeking, God loving, nearly 50 year old guy that’s finding his way out of a dark place by following the light. I’m very spiritual, and becoming more and more holistic. I’m a recovering Catholic, who immensely enjoys the UUC (Unitarian Universalist Congregation).

Vladimir Kush

Vladimir Kush - Current

I’m dealing with some depression, and it’s a struggle. No, I’m not suicidal. No, I’m not on meds (can’t stand ‘em, I’m too sensitive to all pharma-solutions). Yes, I self-medicate – I have an occasional adult beverage (although it’s not my drug of choice) and I dislike being intoxicated, so I seldom do that anymore. I love great food and a good meal or a tasty snack. I’m overweight and need to get a grip on some health issues, for my own sake and those I share my life with.

Two Souls Intertwined

Two Souls Intertwined

I love nature in all its forms. I enjoy the beauty of the human form. My own body is showing signs of age and stress, and I should take better care of it. I enjoy the company of others – helping them reach their goals, or get through hard times. I say “I’m sorry” way too much, but that’s related to some core issues I’m dealing with (I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders way too often). I say what’s on my mind, although sometimes it doesn’t come out well, and people think I’m direct. I Love my beautiful wife – my Loving Wings, my soulmate & best friend, an awesome step-Mom & caring nurse, my greatest dream and wildest fantasy come true. I dearly Love my children, but in a “previous life” I had a soul-sucking corporate job with which I chased the almighty dollar, and was away from home 75% of the time. We had the nice things in life, and really no serious worries (like I do now, but really shouldn’t). We grew complacent in appreciating each other individually and as a family, and I grew into an existence I wouldn’t wish upon anyone – then or now.

I swear, dammit, so get over it (I’ll refrain from the really harsh stuff). I have an odd, yet fun sense of humor and believe an overdose of laughter is a good thing we can’t get enough of. I’m ADD. Oh, and I hate labels. I’m easily attracted to “shiny things”…like gadgets, phones, backpacks, sandals, t-shirts, watches, rustic jewelry, etc. I ride longboards (surf pavement, not waves) and my snowboard, paddle a kayak or ride my bikes whenever I can, thoroughly enjoy the great outdoors and exploring waterfalls, collect music and custom knives, have a goofy looking Labradoodle, and live in northern Michigan, in the woods, in a modern log-chalet, on a crystal clear river. I own and manage a couple of internet-based businesses, and am rather computer proficient. I’ve been to Hawaii numerous times, and one of my goals in life is to spend 2 months out of every year in those types of environs. I’d like to believe I’m laid back, but stress and years of being a perfectionist are hard to ignore or grow out of.

Haleakala Sunrise

Most of all, however, I enjoy Life, as best I can. As should you.
Despite our difficulties, dysfunctions, disabilities, disappointments or dis-eases.

How good does starting this blog feel? I’ve seen my Share of Life, and I have some Life to Share. Presently I’m getting the living shit kicked out of me (post-divorce bullshit), but I’m keeping my head up, and like now as I type this, letting the tears (and the proverbial chips) fall where they may. I’m trying hard not to become that which is beating me down right now, which we all can fall easily prey to. I really don’t give a shit if it’s inappropriate to show emotion either. I will no longer live, behave or “act” (in the truest sense of that word) for the sake of appearances. “I will live as I see fit, there will be those who will not like it.” (Thank you Dave, #27 is one of my all-time favs.) This blog is therapy for me, and perhaps for you as well. So it feels good….damn good. It’s my presence, for all to see. And like me it’s a work in progress, so there will always be some polished areas and some rough edges.

Vladamir Kush - Breach

Vladimir Kush - Breach

I’ve long believed and lived this statement, “God didn’t put us on this planet to serve ourselves. He put us here to help each another. Otherwise he would have put us here one at a time.” Thank you Dad (RIP 1992) for those words, and your advice, direction and Love of the woods, waters and wilds. As for my Love of music, which you’ll see throughout this blog, thanks go to my Mom (RIP 2008), who sang her way through life, just for the shear enjoyment of the tune. I owe much to them for what they taught me, and I’m still paying for some of the lessons they learned.

So get comfortable, grab your favorite beverage for this time of day, maybe have a tissue or notepad handy, make sure you’re on solid ground, or traveling in a safe vessel, and open up your head, your heart and your arms. I hope you’ll find this glimpse into my journey through life worthy of your time, that you’ll come back often, and share it with others of like mind and spirit.

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Vladimir Kush - Flown With The Wind

One last thing. I believe music says a lot about people. My favorite song? “Terrapin Station” by the Grateful Dead. Here are the lyrics, and here is a version of it. Now you know why I entitled this first post as I did.

OUR job is to shed light, not to master.