10.02.17 (Extended)

I delivered the body of a beautiful Barred Owl to the Audubon Society of Portland today and then spent some long moments in the woods.

Last night in Las Vegas a massacre occurred killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500. 
Too many articles and thoughts and words to write anything about it. But it prodded me to just share some thoughts I’ve had over the past several months. All of the major disasters that have happened lately have made me realize that I need to just do things. Not hold back because of fear or be lazy when I could act on something. So somehow that led me to take a walk through the Audubon Society woods and think and mull over the thoughts I’ve had, and I decided I should share them. These are pretty simple thoughts, and touch on random topics, but they are things that I really want to write down somewhere.

  1. Photo albums need to continue to be a thing. We store photos on our phones, on the “cloud,” on Facebook, Instagram, hard drives, etc… but there is something important and timeless about a tangible, physical photo album.  When we are without electricity or internet, it would be a beautiful thing if we could still pick up a book and reminisce and share with others.
  2. We need to invest more time learning from the elderly. Think about it: these are the people who have seen the most life and have been at every stage of life as us all.  So much wisdom are in those minds and hearts and so many people want to share it. I’ve read a lot of interviews of people in their 80’s and older where they are asked what they wish they had done and what they are glad they did. And there were some overwhelming answers: travel more, speak up, spend more time with people you love.
  3. Drink water, cook more often (eat out less), consume lots of fruits and vegetables, and go on walks. Seriously, it makes a big difference. Obesity and diabetes are scary and becoming more and more prevalent.
  4. If you feel excitement when you get to scroll through Facebook, log out. Think about it: we used to live in a society that shared life by spending time with people. We used to not take selfies. We used to not be able to publish the best parts of our lives. I think we ought to learn from that.
  5. Sometimes the most powerful thing we can do to change the world is be nice to one extra person. Ripple effects are incredible.
  6. Learn to care about peoples’ stories. Ask people little questions that open the conversation up for them to share. You will learn things, have a better perspective on life, and you’ll make someone feel noticed and important when they may not feel they matter at all.
  7. Get rid of stuff. You won’t miss it as much as you think you will.
  8. Hug people. People always need to be held, even if only for a couple seconds.
  9. When you notice something positive about someone, tell them. Little compliments have made my life different.
  10. When you notice something annoying or stupid about someone, don’t influence others with that information. You’re closing off their minds and your own mind to the possibility that the person could be kinder, more interesting, or hurting more than you can currently see.
  11. Use written word more often. Write notes even to the people you live closest with. It’s a change to speak uninterrupted and for the person to process your words more intensely.
  12. When tragedies happen, focus on the human heart. Be vulnerable enough to experience the bittersweetness of empathy.
  13. When you want to tell someone something of importance – something you want them to know, to feel, to hear – tell them now.
    “Have no fear for giving in
    Have no fear for giving over
    You’d better know that in the end
    Its better to say too much
    Then never say what you need to say again”
    (“Say” – John Mayer)
  14. Spend time outdoors. With your phone powered off or left at home. This isn’t just for outdoorsy people who want to get their hands dirty and their bodies tired for the sake of being in the elements. Anyone can soak in the air of the woods. We’re natural creatures and there is something necessary about us not disconnecting from what is not made by people.
  15. Look at the stars more often. Maybe I am biased because I love astronomy, but there is seriously something so profound about realizing our tiny place in the vast and beautiful universe.

That’s all for today. I have millions of other thoughts but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Today, pray for the people of Las Vegas grieving and processing and in shock and terror. And realign your mind to focus on the things that matter.

“All your life you wait, and then it finally comes, and are you ready?”
― Anthony DoerrAll the Light We Cannot See


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