Friday, May 25, 2018

For Me, Goals Happen More Easily with a Daybreak Habit

The sun peeps over the horizon, rays of light burnish a new day, a brisk wind holds the promise of a majestic day. What do you do with this time? Sleep through it? Drag your butt to the office with a twelve-ounce mug of coffee at the ready? Jog? Take the dog to the park? This time, in my opinion, is the best time to set the tone for the rest of the day, the best time to achieve success on an important goal.

If you have an ambition you want to accomplish (for me it’s completing a novel), this is the time to perform a habit that will help make that ambition happen. A morning writing habit will get the book done. Simply wishing for the book to write itself, or saying I’ll do it “tomorrow,” doesn’t make it happen.

If you have an important goal, try making a morning habit focused on it:
    If you want to lose weight, create a morning walking habit. Or morning strength training. Or prepare a healthy breakfast with fruits and non-fat yogurt.
    If you want to start a new business, create a morning session where you brainstorm new industry ideas over that first cup of coffee.
    If you want to become more mindful during your day, create a morning meditation habit.
    If you want to work on your relationship with your spouse, have a morning habit of talking about your relationship over coffee.
    If you want to journal or blog, make it a morning habit.

Why is morning a better time for important habits? Why not afternoons or evenings? I’ve found that time to be quieter, less chaotic, better for reflection and focus. I also feel that it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

My morning routine combines three of the objectives in the list above. Before sunrise, and first thing out of bed and after dressing, I enjoy a cup of coffee by myself. During that five minutes, I try not to think about anything. I simply let the enjoyment of sipping hot coffee pull me into the moment. As soon as that’s done, my husband and I leave the house for a brisk walk. We like to get out just as the sun makes its appearance, and we walk for three to four miles each daybreak. 

I use that walk as a form of communication with my husband, as we usually spend several minutes talking over the day’s activity list or some future plans; I also use that time for meditation, as I let the sounds and smells and visual delights of sunrise in Palm Springs pull me deeper into the present moment; and during that last mile, I use that time to plan out what I want to accomplish on my story that day.

By the time I get back home, I’m ready for a quick breakfast, and more importantly, ready for work. I have a plan and I’m excited to get started. That brisk morning walk sets a tone. It relaxes me, it charges my creative batteries, and it carries me on through the rest of the morning. I love it, rain or shine.


I know many people are night people and don’t function well in the A.M., but I’ve come to depend on my morning rituals to help accomplish my writing goals. For me, it’s become a religion.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Zhujiajiao Village - the Venice of Shanghai.


Zhujiajiao "江南古朱家角" - the Venice of Shanghai. Two hours from Shanghai, it is one of several villages on the canals. It was so pretty...we spent a day including dinner, but we really didn't want to leave.


The main bridge in the village.

Street food everywhere.


The main temple.


Enter the land of the Buddha.



Not the last Emperor.

Taking a boat ride.



Our view from a rooftop restaurant. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Surviving Immortality Can Now Be Preordered

I’m pleased to announce that my latest novel, Surviving Immortality, will be released on June 5th. It can now be preordered in paperback and any eBook format, at

Dreamspinner Press Publications https://tinyurl.com/y7kffs4a


Blurb:
This is a story of discovering the fountain of youth, and the upheaval that breakthrough brings to our slightly craze, slightly paranoid, overly greedy society.

When Kenji Hiroshige discovers a formula that will keep people youthful and healthy for several thousand years, he tells the world he will not divulge his formula until every gun, tank, battleship, and bomb has been destroyed. When the world is free of weapons, everyone can live forever. And then he goes into hiding.

Before he disappears, his stepson Matt is exposed to the formula. Kenji takes Matt on the run with him, but as they struggle to elude both government agencies and corporations who will do anything to profit from Kenji’s discovery, Matt learns that world peace might not be his father’s only goal. There may be a darker purpose at work. But what can a young man who’s barely stepped foot off his isolated ranch do in the face of something so sinister?

This is the story of human greed and man’s lust for violence. It’s the story of a world on the brink of destruction, but it’s also a tale of one young man who finds in himself the will, courage, and compassion to stand against the darkness—both outside and within himself.

This is a story of hope.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shanghai Museum

There is no place better to visit on a rainy day. One can spend days to explore these wonderful collections. Some are breathtaking.
Mongolian Autonomous Region costumes and Jewelry







Jades



Paintings


Ceramics

Pillow with a house motive

Fat Lady 


Jian Drum

Thursday, May 17, 2018

We Are Nothing But Stardust and Thought

I read something on the net this week that seemed to encapsulate what much of Buddhist thought points toward, and I’d like to share it.

It’s breathtaking to consider: each human being, and most animals, have two eyes, each composed of 130 million photoreceptor cells. In each one of those cells, there are 100 trillion atoms—that’s more than all the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. 

However, each atom in each cell in each eye formed in the core of a star, billions of years ago, and yet, here they are today, being utilized to capture the energy released from that same process. All to expand the consciousness of each person or animal.


The universe has an interesting sense of irony, in that you are the universe experiencing itself. All you are is stardust and thought.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Bund, Shanghai

Shanghai, the NYC of China, is a city of contrasts, with temples and pavilions hidden down quiet streets to glitzy soaring skyscrapers. A fun interesting place.
We are staying in a hotel right on Shanghai’s most popular tourist attraction, the Bund. It’s a river walk that spans several miles and has some fantastic views.
The view across the river from our hotel.

Tourists from yak herding regions.

Riverboat dinner cruise. 






Seventh tallest building in the world.

Sometimes it seems like Paris.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Life Lesson I Keep Relearning

I can, of course, only speak for myself, but in my years of practicing Zen, one of the lessons I have to relearn and relearn is that of letting go of the past.  Sounds easy, right? Oh so wrong…

Zen practice is all about staying in the moment, to be open and fresh for whatever this moment offers, or in some cases, whatever this moment throws at you. It’s about not carrying the weight of the past around on your shoulders. Believe me, personal history becomes heavier by the day until you become bogged down by the dense mass of it.

I don’t have to keep defending or explaining my past. It’s over. It’s not who I am anymore. And most importantly, it doesn’t have to influence the decisions I make now or in the future. 

The lesson I have to keep relearning is to forgive myself, for both my failures and triumphs, and move on, focusing on discovering what is right before me in this moment. 

One of my favorite quotes is related to staying in the moment: If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Leave behind all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. – Glenn Clark