Gratitude for the journey

I’m thankful for the last ten years of my life, which have been a journey of discovery. From the dark days of depression and uncertainty, I have come to a place of purpose, joy, and connection. Through writing I have found a passion, and I am proud to have had my work shared with others. I have also found ways to give back to my community, serving in places like Meals on Wheels and the local food pantry. I am also the President of the Chautauqua Cattaraugus Library Trustees, and a prostate cancer survivor. Most of all, I am blessed to be married to my wife for forty years and to have two children and five grandchildren, with two more on the way. Today I am grateful for all the blessings in my life.

The Third Act

I love TED talks. They are a preferred learning network and yes I prefer them to regularly scheduled cable television. Tonight I watched a couple of really interesting and inspiring talks. I’m approaching another birthday. Next month I’ll be sixty-one. Recently I retired and I’ve been exploring what that means for me. This talk by Jane Fonda about “Life’s third act,” is profound for me because it inspires me. Though I’ve entered my seventh decade of life I’m still young at heart. I still love learning and sharing what I’ve learned with others. Retirement has given me an opportunity to pursue some new ventures like working at the Warming House. I’m able to spend more time reading and writing. Just this week I’ve returned to daily Mass at the local parish. Daily Eucharists were part of my life as a young man.  I hope you enjoy this talk as much as I have and that you draw from it inspiration for your own journey.

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Lately I’ve been brimming with gratitude for a new beginning in my life. Grateful for the opportunity to begin another chapter in the book of life. “Sit finis Libris, non finis quaerendi.” That quote is found at the end of “Seven Storey Mountain,” which has been central to my life. August 31 was the end of one book and the beginning of another. I’m finding new life and purpose as a volunteer at a number of venues including Blount Library, The Warming House, Canticle Farm, Mt. Irenaeus and elsewhere. My days begin and end with yoga and meditation. Hot oatmeal, honey, flax seed and coconut milk are my companions too. Long walks, short naps and ample time to read highlight my days. Thank you for my life and retirement which is more like reinvent. Peace and all good.

A new beginning

This poem has hung above my desk at work and lay germinating in my conscious and subconscious mind. It’s funny how the spirit moves within us. Thanks to its author, John O’Donohue, a man I will never meet but whose words brought new birth and direction for my life. The title is “Blessing for a New Beginning,” and so it is.

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.