Friday, August 29, 2008

Teaching is an Art

I'm home from my trip to the island of Maui in Hawaii. My mom, niece and I had a wonderful time.

Here is a picture of us at the wedding we attended on Oahu! Talk about paradise!!

While we were on Maui, my niece and I took a surfing lesson. It was my second lesson and her first.

Sarah and I before our surfing lesson:

I had a lesson on the Oregon coast last summer (in a wet suit and FREEZING cold water!). This one on Maui was a bit disappointing in comparison.

I have no doubt that our instructor was an excellent surfer himself. No doubt what-so-ever. He didn't seem to possess much interest or skill at actually transmitting that knowledge to others.

First off, we were confined to a small area with about 100 other newbie surfers. You couldn't take off on a wave without someone being right in front of your path, or emerging on top of you as you stood up. That wasn't our instructor's fault... but it was not conducive to learning. It would be like trying to learn to drive... your first time... on an LA freeway.

But something else was lacking in our lesson. Our surfing instructor was so much an expert, that I believe he had forgotten what it was like to 'not know.'

We all know what its like to understand something so completely, that it is difficult to relate to people who have 'no knowledge' of the subject.

I believe that was part of the problem with our instructor. He gave us a few basic concepts, but didn't cover the mechanics that would be needed for a beginner to really put together the moves you need to get up (and stay up) on a wave.

I am somewhat of an expert in particular aspects of technology. I have successfully taught many people to use computers. Some of my friends who are even greater experts than I cannot teach new users. They find it too frustrating, and they are unable to 'go back' to the basics, even in the interest of good teaching.

Being great at something, and being a great teacher do not necessarily go hand in hand. It take patience, understanding, and an ability to 'go back' in order to be a good teacher. Not everyone has that gift!

We need to respect the teachers in our lives. It is, indeed, a gift!

Also, when we are called upon to teach, it is important to try to put ourselves int he place of the beginner... and 'go back' to what a beginner would need to understand!

Happy learning... and teaching! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sometimes You Have to Be Stuck to Appreciate Being Free

Yesterday, my niece and I took a surfing lesson in Kihei. That's another story for another time! Trying to get out of Kihei and back to the Kaanapali area (where we are staying) is what I want to focus on today.

After our surfing lesson, we cleaned up and had lunch at a restaurant near the beach. Then, we found a store we really liked and spent some time trying on clothes. After our shopping experience, it was time to drive the 50 minutes back towards Lahaina, so we could do a little more shopping and have dinner.

As we started out onto the roadway, we found ourselves sitting still in traffic. I mean STILL. The only 'progress' we made was when someone would turn off the road in exasperation. We were seriously stuck.

We heard on the radio that there was a grass fire on one of the only two roads into the area. We were on one of those roads. Traffic from the other road was being diverted to our road and we were stuck in a massive jam.

After sitting in the traffic, broiling for about 45 minutes, I decided to turn around, find a restaurant and just hang out for a while. This was certainly not our plan. We were going to go do a little shopping, head back to our condo and relax. That was not to be.

We spent about 1.5 hours in this restaurant killing time, and then it appeared that the traffic was moving again. We headed out, and although we hit more backups on our way (related to the fire) we were moving steadily the whole time. It felt so good to be moving!

It's all relative. The slow pace at which we actually ended up leaving Kihei would have been irritating and annoying to me any other day. When comparing it to sitting absolutely STILL in traffic, however, it felt wonderful to be moving!

Our plans had to change and we had to readjust. It wasn't any one's fault that it happened. It didn't do a bit of good to get upset or frustrated. We had to just roll with what we encountered. So we did.

There is no better way to appreciate moving freely than to be stuck or held back for awhile. That is an instant refresher course in not taking things for granted!

Appreciating everything is a practice I encourage us all to work with!

"It's all relative" is a powerful concept that it would be wise to remember.


Been a Little Absent...

Aloha from Maui! I've been offline for a few days. Having fun in the surf and sun! I've been slacking! I'm heading home tomorrow (Wednesday), so things should return to 'normal.' If one can begin to define normal, that is!

I am going to try to write about a couple things that we've encountered along the way. I hope. If I can muster some motivation! :)


Friday, August 22, 2008


I'm tired today... so, all I want to do is share a picture of paradise. This is the view from the table at a restaurant where I had lunch today. When I think of Hawaii, this is what I think of. The water color, the crashing waves, the palm trees. It is truly paradise.

This is taken from Mama's Fish House, near Paia Maui. An awesome place to eat if you are ever blessed with the chance: Link to Mama's Fish House website


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fighting the Tide

Aloha from the beautiful island of Maui! As I said earlier this week, I'm here on a vacation with my mom and niece. We arrived yesterday and are having a fabulous time already!

We got up fairly early today and headed to a wonderful beach. My niece and I swam in the ocean for over 2 hours, while my mom held down the 'fort' (our sheet, lawn chair, and beach gear).

I was amazed at how uncomfortable I felt initially, out in the water. There was a current and a definite high wind that was blowing us down the beach. We had to continually swim back to our starting point, which took a lot of effort. I kept getting hit by waves and ending up with salt water in my mouth. That was unpleasant. Treading water seemed to take a lot of energy. I put on my snorkeling flippers at one point, and that was like learning to walk and swim all over again. Very awkward and tiring.

Then, at some point, something happened. I started to figure out how to relax into my environment. I started to automatically move my body in ways that 'worked' with the water, instead of fighting against it. It was like a revelation to me that I could relax... float... and let the water hold me rather than struggle against the natural rhythm of the waves.

Even in my flippers, I learned that if I moved my legs as though I were running in slow motion, it was almost an effortless way to tread water. It felt great.

The flippers also helped me easily reposition myself when I would drift down the beach. It was much easier than swimming without them.

I also experienced the ultimate relaxation... leaning back into the water and floating. Simply allowing myself to be supported by the water. I didn't have to do a thing except... be there. What a joy. It was the most relaxed I can remember being in quite some time.

What a life lesson that is. How often do we use way more energy than we have to in the living of our lives? How often do we struggle, when all we really need to do is relax into something? How common is it that we resist with all our might, when what is called for is simple surrender? How many times do we feel that we are in danger, or that we need to flail against something, when in actuality that is totally and completely unnecessary? I suspect it is more often than we realize.

My teacher, Dr. Chuck Bruni used to always tell me, "What we resist persists, what we fight against grows stronger." Ain't it the truth!?!?!?

I have several more days here in Hawaii to be taught about relaxing into life and giving up my struggle oriented approach to things. I intend to make use of every precious minute of this invaluable education!

Happy floating!

Nim's Island

I had the opportunity to watch a very sweet movie yesterday called, “Nim’s Island.” I have to tell you that when I saw the previews for this movie, I thought it might be amusing, but I wasn’t completely excited about it. I adore Jody Foster, however, so when given the opportunity to watch it on a flight, I was eager to see what the story was about.

It was an enchanting story from the start. Sweet and heart string tugging. Definitely a “Nola movie” as my friends would say.

What was most appealing to me, however, was the message (surprise surprise) in the unfolding story. Jody foster stole the show with her performance as Alex Rover, an adventure novel writer who suffers from Agoraphobia (fear of being out in the world/marketplace) and a touch of OCD (Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder. She is terrified to leave her San Francisco apartment and she is even more afraid of germs!

Alex starts an email conversation with Nim, a little girl living on a remote island. When Nim’s father fails to return home from a two day trip, and Nim is injured in a journey to research the island’s volcano in response to one of Alex’s questions, their adventure together begins.

Nim must find the courage to deal with the challenges of her island life without her father. She’s has a cut on her leg and has the threat of invaders coming to take over her island to deal with. One of the funniest lines in the movie is when Nim writes in email to Alex that she has a cut on her leg that has started to swell and has pus coming out of it. She asks Alex, “How would you handle a 5 inch cut that is swelling and has pus coming out?” To which Alex, who is sitting in front of her computer screen, mutters aloud, “BADLY!” I almost died laughing.

Nim, thinking she is emailing with the adventurer himself, asks Alex to come to the island to help her. Alex in a phobia driven world is torn between the 11 year old girl’s request and the grip of her consuming fears. In the end, she decides she must make the journey to try and help this little girl in her isolated and frightening world.

Alex’s journey to Nim’s Island is fraught with challenges, germs and fear filled scenarios… but she faces each one down (not always gracefully) in order to help another human being in need. It is so often true that we can often do things for others that we would never do for ourselves. The goodness of our human hearts often comes rushing forward, conquering our fears, when another person needs our help.

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we see this theme again, when Indiana must
take action to save his dying father. He must take a ‘leap of faith’ out into a seemingly open chasm, and trust that the foretold footbridge will appear. Indiana would never have taken that step for the sake of adventure, or even for the sake of the treasure he was seeking at that moment. Only his love for his father and his desire to save his life gave him the courage and drive to take that step.

Alex, in this story, was only able to step outside her apartment to respond to the needs of the little 11 year old Nim. She wouldn’t have done it for herself.
Never underestimate the power of love and the desire to help another person. It can give us the courage and motivation to do what needs to be done!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Sometimes in life, you just have to take a break! I'm off today to Hawaii with my mother and niece. We're going to go do a little swimming, snorkeling, surfing and just plain relaxing!

I will be blogging while I'm there, but I will be on "Island Time." That means, I'm not sure I'll be as predictable as I usually am! It's time to bust out of the box for a few days and let the warm, tropical beauty of Hawaii work its magic on me.

The three of us will be spending some wonderful time together... and getting geared up for the "back to school" time of year. My mother is a former teacher, and I know that each August still feels like a 'revving up' time to get ready for the new crop of kids coming through. My niece will be starting back to school soon, and I, even though my school days are long past, still always feel like I'm 'starting over' in the fall.

These last few days of summer are an excellent time to rejuvenate and restore. I personally want to launch into my fall with more enthusiasm and vigor than ever before!

Even if you can't go to Hawaii... I encourage you to find a way to celebrate the last few days of summer and prepare yourself physically and mentally for 'a new season.' It's right around the corner and it's available to all of us!


Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to School for Foster Kids

Back to school time is such an exciting, wonderful time for children. I remember the anticipation looking forward to the first day of school every year. Buying my new clothes for school and buying the needed supplies were part of the annual ritual.

Each year, it was a new beginning. The new clothes and the brand new notebooks were like a clean slate. The new things helped me mentally step in to the year fresh and enthusiastic.

I did not grow up in a wealthy family by any stretch, but we always had what we needed. I was fortunate to be raised with both my parents there to provide for me and help me along my way.

Foster kids are in a very tough situation. Separated from their families by sometimes horrible circumstances, they find themselves in foster homes, being cared for by people who start out as strangers to them. The money available to care for these kids is nowhere near enough to meet their basic needs.

I came across a wonderful organization here in Seattle a few years ago called, "The Treehouse" which provides a wide variety of support to foster kids. They have some tremendous programs... everything from providing new school clothes and supplies to providing 'coaching to college' mentoring. It is a wonderful organization that makes a difference to countless kids. Their goal is to help foster kids have a more 'normal' experience in their day to day lives.

Here is the website for the Treehouse. Check it out: The Treehouse Website

I have supported various 'drives' that the Treehouse puts on to help these kids. Currently, they are having their back to school drive to collect the things that kids need to start their bright and shiny new school year on the right foot. I have a shopping bag that I will take to the store and pick some things for a foster kid, to let them know that someone cares about them... and wants them to have a great school year.

Whenever I do something like this, I like to involve one of the kids in my life. I have them pick out the things, as though they were shopping for themselves. First of all, I have more confidence in what they would pick out for someone their own age over what I would choose! Secondly, I like for them to think about kids who don't have all of their advantages and share some time and effort to help someone out. It's a win-win situation.

Think about helping out a less fortunate child as they start this new school year. It doesn't have to be a big expense. It doesn't take much to light up a child's face. There are plenty of good organizations out there that provide ways for us to help these kids. I encourage you to find one... and volunteer some time, or some resources to make a difference in a child's future.

Their future... is our future!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Let The Cake Bake!

There is a useful analogy I've used with many clients over the years that I'd like to share with you today. So often, we are impatient when it comes to waiting for things to unfold in our lives. Whether it's a relationship, one's financial security, or your career, there are times in life where you do the best you can do... and then you wait.

We can't simply WILL something to be different in this instant. It will take what it takes to get to where we want to be. Our job is to do what is ours to do and then let it be.

The analogy I use with people is the example of making a cake. If we mix up the cake batter and put it in the oven, we can't go back 5 minutes later and expect the cake to be baked! If we pull it out after 5 minutes we shouldn't be surprised if we have a gooey, gicky mess that in no way resembles the cake that we seek. Yet, so many of us do this regularly. We expect the cake to be done, simply because we want (or need) it to be. That is not the way that a cake, or life for that matter, works!

Our wanting or needing something to be true is not what makes it happen. The cake takes what it takes in order to completely bake and be ready to eat. You have to prepare the oven at the right temperature and you have to put the cake in and LEAVE IT ALONE! If you continually open the oven door to check on it, or pull it out when you WANT it (even if it still has time left to bake) you will not get the cake that you seek.

Close the oven door and let the cake bake!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Shifting Gears for the First Time

I was recently teaching a young friend to drive a stick shift vehicle. I learned many many years ago. When my father taught me, there was limited instruction given, followed by a lot of jerky driving as I learned through trial and error exactly what to do... and not do.

As I taught my friend, she practiced starting and stopping the car. Over and over again, she went through the procedure of taking her foot off the brake, putting it on the gas and slowly releasing the clutch as she gave it the gas. Sometimes she did it flawlessly. Other times she jerked a bit. A couple of times she killed it. Each effort was equally useful to the learning process. Finding out what does not work is just as valuable as finding out what does work!

On the second lesson, after a review of starting and stopping, it was time to learn to shift from first to second gear. We talked the process through many many times. She practiced sliding the gear shift from first, straight back into second with the clutch depressed and the break on. we 'rehearsed' the process over and over again to get her familiar with the sequencing of what she would need to do. We identified the exact spot in the parking lot where 'the shift' would take place.

I explained that it was actually much easier to shift from 1st to 2nd gear than it is to start from a dead stop. As reassuring as I was, my friend was still really afraid to actually DO IT! She was afraid she would hurt my car. She was not sure what the worst case scenario would be. She was trying to compare what might happen to the worst experiences she had when launching a jerky start.

She didn't feel she was ready. I knew she was. I finally said, "No matter how many times we talk it through, or how much you prepare, you won't know you can do it... until you do it. GO!"

And... Go she did! Her first shift from 1st to 2nd may have been an internally stressful event, but she pulled it off perfectly in the external world! I was so elated for her! She'll never again doubt that she can do it!

For so many experiences in life, we simply don't know we can do something... until we do it! There's no other way than to take the leap and do it.

I can't remember what it was like when I made my first shift back in 1980, but I got to relive a bit of that thrill with my young friend. I was absolutely certain she could do it, but she was totally unsure. I was reminded again that often I am indeed ready for something, but I don't feel like I'm there yet.

Sometimes... you just have to DO IT! I'm no exception... and neither are you!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Enjoy The View Table for Goodness Sake

A couple weeks ago, I was staying at a lodge on Lake Crescent, which I believe is the most beautiful lake in the world.

Although the photos here do not do it justice, you can take a look at the Lake Crescent Lodge Website.

Of all the times I've eaten at the restaurant at the Lake Crescent Lodge, I had never been fortunate enough to get a window table, until this visit. My friend and I were given a beautiful window table for the breakfast that we ate on our last morning there. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the sunlight reflecting off of the crystal clear water.

One thing that I've noticed when I'm in places with a water view is how often people don't even look at the view they've been given! Often people sit with their backs to the view, even if they could sit facing out towards whatever the surrounding beauty is! I'm always simply amazed. Why would you ignore the beauty that is available to you?

I think often times we get so caught up in the day to day or the details of our lives we literally forget to look around. Or, in the case of a fabulous view table in a restaurant, perhaps we simply don't know what to do with it once we've gotten it!

I'm one of those who loves to stare out at whatever view I have available to me. It helps me think. It helps me connect with my present moment. It helps me forget my troubles and realize that there are many beautiful things in this life to be enjoyed, even when I have problems.

Next time you are given the opportunity to enjoy a great view, where ever you are, take advantage of it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chasing Jumping Fish

I'm at the beach enjoying a quasi-rest with a good friend of mine. We were having a discussion about investing, among other things, and how it is important to pick a strategy, implement it, and then give it time to work without constant tinkering or redirecting.

He gave a fantastic analogy of the futility of constantly shifting directions. He talked about how, as a younger man, when he would go fishing on a lake he would see a fish jump and move his boat to that area, believing 'that's where the fish were.' As he would sit in his new spot he would see a fish jump in another area and he would move his boat again to the new 'hot spot.' This process would continue, usually without catching any fish, until his fishing time was through.

Instead of simply picking a spot and waiting for some fish to come along, he was chasing that 'apparent' fishy spots one after another. Each time he'd move his boat, he would most likely be disturbing the fish in that area, causing them to go somewhere else. The lure of the visible, jumping fish was somewhat of an illusion, but it was an intoxicating and compelling illusion!

This is so true in life. We have to give our strategies time to work before we pull the plug. Sure, it is important to look for signs of redirection, but we must also realize that most things don't happen instantly. It takes time to know if something is going to work... be it a job, a relationship, a recipe or an investing approach. If we mixed up the ingredients for a loaf of bread, but didn't give it time to rise before baking, we would not get the result we hoped.

We have to sit still in one place to catch a fish. We need to let our bread dough rise before we bake it. Constantly flitting around from approach to approach will not usually yield a good result.

Patience and time. That's what most endeavors require.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We Can't Do It All

I came across this quote today,

"One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

It reminds me that sometimes I get a little too eager and take on too many projects all at one time. I have a tendancy to be interested in everything and often want to be involved in more activities than a realistic alottment of time will allow.

I even feel a sense of urgency about it at times. I begin to feel frustrated when I don't have time to do all the things I want to do.

Over the years, I have learned to work with myself around this challenge. I remind myself that tomorrow is another day and I will have other chances to do what I didn't get to in the current day. I carry it further at times and remind myself that I will be learning new things and experiencing new activities for as long as I live. That seems to help me relax a little bit.

I also have to accept that I might not get to do absolutely everything I have an inkling to do! I'll give it my best shot, but I might not be able to do it.

That's what the quote reminds me of. No one can collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. It's impossible. The trick is to thoroughly enjoy the ones we do collect - both the process of getting it and enjoying the item (or experience) itself. That's the key!

As you 'collect your shells' today, remember to enjoy every moment, and admire the shells you have in your hands, and let go of the ones you haven't gotten to.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Celebrating Feet

Have you ever really stopped to think about your feet and all they do for you? I think our feet are one of the most under appreciated parts of our bodies. They are absolutely miracles in their own right, and yet, most of us take them for granted each and every day!

It isn't until we have a problem with our feet (or lose one or both) that we truly appreciate what they do for us.

I was at my Physical Therapist's office yesterday, and we were discussing the marvelous things that our feet do for us. On any type of terrain, we are held upright, as our feet make the adjustments necessary to keep the rest of our bodies upright and level.

There are tons of little bones in our feet, muscles, tendons, all working together to keep us in balance and moving through our lives.

We abuse our feet. We put them in tight, hot (but oh so cute) shoes. We just expect them to keep going... and going... and going... no matter what we put them through.

Yet, our feet carry us through our days with stability and dependability - far more than we give them credit for.

I am a big believer in showing appreciation to those things that serve us. When was the last time that your feet had a great massage? Or a good soak? Or were just propped up and elevated to give them a little break?

Take a few moments today to appreciate your feet! Your life would not be the same without them!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Lift the Toilet Handle For Goodness Sake!

One of the restaurants I eat at quite often has a problem in one of the women's toilet stalls. The handle you press down to flush the toilet gets stuck in the down position. This happens each and every time the toilet is flushed.

Many times I have opened the door to that stall to find that someone has used the facilities, but has not flushed, because the handle is in the 'down' position (and there is nowhere to go from there!)

I'm astounded by the fact that the people who are encounter this 'problem' do not think to lift up the handle. That is all that is necessary to restore the toilet to working status. Yet, people try to push 'down' (on the handle that is already down), it doesn't work, and they abandon their endeavor, only to leave a mess for the next person.

I know that these folks are not doing this intentionally. To them, they believe they have encountered an unsolvable problem. Yet, the solution is so obvious, and is staring them in the face.

I'm also amused that the restaurant managers haven't thought to put up a simple sign to explain this to people.

The shower curtain article I posted yesterday talked about 'simple solutions' to problems that we see as complex. This posting is another such example.

Sometimes the answer is easy and obvious, yet we believe ourselves to be trapped or stuck. Think outside the box. Sometimes you have to 'lift up' instead of 'pressing down.' :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Curved Shower Curtains

What a revelation! For about the past year, I've been noticing something amazing in hotel rooms across America! Someone finally invented a way to keep a shower curtain from blowing into the shower and plastering itself to the body of the bather!

It seems so simple... and yet, many travelers have suffered from slimey shower curtains sticking to their bodies for years and years and years!

The solution? To make a curved shower curtain rod! The bottom of the shower curtain stays safely within the confines of the tub, while the top billows out away from the bather. Brilliant! And yet... so obvious!

Why did it take so long for someone to come up with such an obvious solution to this irritating problem?

Often, I think we expect that solutions will be hard or complex. We can't imagine that answers could be obvious or easy. So, we overlook the solutions that stare us straight in the face.

Maybe we should stop trying so hard and just look at things in a more practical down to earth way? Perhaps we could solve more of the world's problems, if we stopped believing the problems to be too complex to resolve!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Bridge is No Longer There

Not more than two weeks ago, I drove to one of my favorite hiking spots. As I drove the familiar route, I crossed an old bridge I have crossed many times before. I noticed that the new bridge they were constructing right beside the old one was almost finished. It seemed to spring up overnight.

Yesterday, as I drove to my hiking trail, I noticed that the new bridge was open and I was going to be crossing that new bridge for the first time. Kind of a a neat experience to cross a bridge for the first time... but that's another lesson!

As I drove across the new bridge, I looked carefully at the old bridge. I was a bit shocked to see that the old bridge, although structurally in tact, had no deck! They had already removed the driving surface from the bridge! There was nothing there to drive across.

A shiver ran through my spine as I thought about how scary it would be to have taken the wrong road and suddenly find that the bridge was no longer there.

I started thinking about the fact that just because we've gone somewhere in the past, or taken a particular route before, doesn't mean that it will always be there. Sometimes things that worked in the past... stop working. Sometimes methods that served us in the past... no longer serve us. Sometimes something that seemed solid, suddenly falls away and will no longer support us.

I guess the lesson I took away from this encounter with the bridge is that we must always be aware of our surroundings and what is happening within us and in our lives. Sometimes we have to change course, because the old one simply no longer exists as we once knew it. This is part of life. The only response is to keep our eyes open and adjust accordingly!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sharing My Twins with the World

Just a quick entry today... I finally got photos of my twins... the baby deer I have hanging out in my yard, that is. I actually have another mother with a single baby. So I have three, precious, new lives being nurtured on my property.

I love that they feel safe in my yard. I've actually been out gardening and had one or both of the babies stop very close to me, wide eyed, and just stare at me. They are so curious and so cute.

Watching the two babies 'frolic' with each other is one thing in life that give me a lot of joy. :) They are so innocent and so playful. Ahhh.... to recapture some of that in our selves!

What a wonderful feeling! Here they are....

The proud and alert mama deer:

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Gift of Sleep

God had a really good idea when he came up with sleep! I have to say, I really do love sleeping.

Perhaps I appreciate it a bit more because I've often had difficulties with my sleeping. Most notably, I've struggled with nightmares off and on for much of my life. The nightmares are graphic and disturbing. When I have a nightmare, I frequently wake up in the morning feeling as though I've been running all night long. In other words, I'm exhausted and feel completely unrested.

It's true that when you live without something, you are more apt to sincerely appreciate it when you finally catch hold of it. Any night that I have a solid, restful night's sleep is a miracle for me. I revel in it as a gift, and I'm always sure to give thanks for it in the morning.

I don't know about you, but when I'm well rested, the world just looks better to me. I feel better and my outlook is immeasurably brighter! I feel like I can take on the world and do what needs to be done. When I'm tired things look bleaker and more daunting. I feel unmotivated and uninspired to do much of anything. It can seem like a challenge just to get through the day.

I've put a lot of research and effort into securing good sleep for myself. I do things like trying to 'wind down' for the hour before I go to bed. I'm not always religious about this, but it is my goal. It makes a difference.

By far the biggest difference for me, however, has been in paying attention to my caffeine consumption. I'm an iced tea junkie, so that is where my biggest temptation comes. What I've learned, however, is that there is a direct coorelation between the quality of my sleep and the amount of caffeine that I take in. I have even noticed a link between my nightmares and my caffeine consumption. The interesting part is, that I might be able to get to sleep just fine, which would lead one to believe they hadn't had 'too much' caffeine, but in my case that isn't really the critical factor. I seem to have a 'threshold' that if I cross it, with regards to how much caffeine is in my system, my sleep quality is disturbed and I start waking up with that 'icky' feeling in the morning - kind of like an emotional hangover.

It amazes me that I can still allow my caffeine consumption to 'creep up' into the red zone, with all the knowledge I have about its negative affects on me. Yet, it happens. I had a couple bad nights of nightmares this past week, and had to 'reign in' my tea drinking, once again. Now I'm back to normal. My past two nights of sleep have been blissful, restive and nightmare free. I'm again back to my place of marveling at the gift of good sleep.

If you have trouble sleeping, I encourage you to seek a resolution with every ounce of your determination. There is simply nothing that makes life better faster than sleeping well!

Happy snoozing!