Saturday, September 30, 2023

Webs We Weave

Long before we texted and used shortcuts like AFAIK, B4N, IMHO, and LOL.... long before marketing began abbreviating store names to BK, DQ, JCP, KFC and McD... and long before we understood the differences between WWI (World War 1), WWII (World War 2), www (world-wide web), ww2 and ww3 (alternate web servers to balance load)... there was another WWW... one that we didn't want to acknowledge or market: that is, the Webs We Weave!

Oftentimes, we don't understand or pay attention to the impact that we have on others.  As we "pass along information" (gossip) or "stretch the truth" (fibs or outright lies) to "protect others," we are weaving an alternate reality that is harder to remember and track.

Where is your focus?
(Photo: full moon above trees - Larry Gardepie, 2023)

I was thinking of this as I was watching a full moon rise above our trees in the backyard.  My attention was drawn first to the brilliance of the moon and its light.  I wondered about the "sheen" that surrounded the moon: it was a warm and dry evening so little moisture was in the air.  Then I noticed two industrious spiders and their elaborate web!

As the moon rose, the spiders continued their work -- capturing the moon's brilliance in their gossamer threads.

How do you rise above?
(Photo: Web Brilliance - moon, spiders, and their web
- Larry Gardepie, 2023)

I wondered about our lives, our experiences, and the stories we create and retell.

Do we:

  • Celebrate another person's achievements and their brilliance?
  • Capture and redirect what is said to serve our own purpose?
  • Redefine or shorten historical definitions to remarket our beliefs?

What do you try to capture?
(Photo: The Webs We Weave -
moon, spiders, and web - Larry Gardepie, 2023)

When I moved around the backyard, the spiders and their web were left behind:  in order to see the full moon as it rose above the trees and fence line, I needed to reposition myself; the spiders and their web were no longer part of the view.
It took this self-positioning to return to the true focus of that moment.
Maybe that is what we are called to do now:
  • Notice the webs that we and others weave;
  • Reflect on and accept the impact these webs have on others; and,
  • Move beyond and around so that we refocus on the true brilliance of our lives in relation with others.
May Life's Beauty have an impact on you this week!

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, September 23, 2023


Arrgh!  THEY did it again!  Apple came out with a new iPhone and revolutionized their Apple Watch design... which meant every Apple device I owned had to be updated!  Over the course of a few hours, I focused on downloading and installing the iOS for each device, reviewed previous settings, and learned what was new.

Angst extraordinaire!  Wasted time, I thought, that could have been spent on other projects... or cleaning out the garage (that I have put off for months!).

I used to think that the younger generation has an "I want it NOW" syndrome... until I noticed how impatient I had become anytime I saw the Loading sign on the next device... waiting, waiting, waiting...

When do you get impatient?
(Photo credit:  Loading..., Freepik)

New information is being downloaded into our mental and emotional systems every day.  Sometimes we are impatient with this new information; other times we don't want our previous worldviews or mental models to change.  There is a struggle between whether we want to reset our value systems and learn something new or stay with what we know... where we are comfortable.

And more often than I want to admit, I run against an error in my way of thinking!  The advice with computers is to call someone who knows -- Support!

Are you willing to ask for help?
(Photo credit:  Top 15 Common Computer Problems
that Get under Your Skin
, Revolutionaized)

Thus, we come against another struggle:  setting aside our ego and pride and asking for help.  Having to acknowledge that we don't know how to handle a situation and finding someone who has the skills or knowledge we don't have is a difficult step to take.

In this complex and divided world, though, that is what we need to do more and more: becoming humble enough to acknowledge we don't know and asking another person about their experiences and what they know differently.

Can you relax in the middle of your busy-ness?
(Photo:  Sea Lion Nap, Monterey Fisherman's
Wharf - Larry Gardepie)

It is only then that we can relax and enjoy our wonderful world when we:

  • Set aside our own version of I Want It Now;
  • Realize that maybe we don't Know It All; and
  • Seek out people and ways to download new information.

It is only by loading and installing a new Way of Being that we can enjoy the new features that our world offers.  (I guess it's time to thank Apple for causing me to change my outlook this week!)

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Monday, September 18, 2023

Stories Untold

Life is amazing!  Think back on your childhood -- or if you are a parent, think back when your children were little:

  • The world was a wonder to be explored.
  • Everything was new, mysterious, and an adventure.
  • Learning and growth were the norm.

We smiled and clapped at every discovery.  We were cheered on with each accomplishment and milestone.  We walked through many doors with anticipation... and sometimes with fear and caution.  But, in those moments, I remember being encouraged to try something new.

Do you experience joy at open doors in your life?
(Photo:  Balloon Arch - Larry Gardepie)

Childhood memories and stories were being remembered and shared this past weekend at my grade school's alumni reunion.  We were celebrating the school's 65th anniversary.  As a member of the planning committee, I saw the reunion ideas form and come to life.  Leading up to the event, the empty parish hall was transformed outwardly with balloons, flowers, table clothes, photos, candles, and every festive object that reminded us of the school.
What was also fascinating?  The transformation of the alumni as they walked through the doors and saw long-forgotten faces, and began sharing tales and reconnecting with their childhood innocence, curiosity, and energy.

Are you ready for the party to begin?
(Photo:  Empty Hall - Larry Gardepie)

Isn't that what life is about:  the reconnecting of past and present; the joining of our world experience with others; the rekindling of what is lost and finding new ways to experience life?
Questions that we may want to ask ourselves:
  • Have we lost the ability to wonder and explore... why?
  • If we no longer cheer on accomplishments and milestones... why?
  • Do we encourage others... do we feel encouraged... why?

When and where do you enjoy your friendships?
(Photo: Enjoying Friends - Larry Gardepie)

A fun point in the reunion was the school tour:  we saw the small, child-sized desks we had outgrown; we drank from the fountains that were too low for our adult bodies; we heard how different current teaching methods are; and we ran to the swing sets to see who could fly the highest!
Time has changed, and so has our world.  Maybe we need moments like these to remind us to reconnect with others... to re-union (re-unite) with ourselves and the childhood wonder of the stories untold.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Clear Perspectives?

So often I think that my way of thinking or seeing the world is clear... and correct!  It is as if I am looking down a corridor and can see what is ahead of me.  Everything seems so obvious!  Can't you just see it... my way?!

I forget how life is sometimes messy and unpredictable, and I forget that your experiences are just as important.

Where is your focus?
(Photo: Hotel Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA - Larry Gardepie)

I was thinking of this recently on a trip to northeastern Canada and Greenland.  In some ways, the human imprint on the environment seemed so familiar, but at times I was faced with the wonder of how humanity had adapted to such a different way of life in this harsh environment.

On tours in two separate locations, questions were asked of our young tour guides and hostesses: "What do you and your young friends do?"  The guide looked perplexed, reflected, and then responded, "We hang out with our friends."

I guess we look for The Foreign in someone else, not realizing how similar we might be... or... we want to see the Familiar and are surprised when the person reveals a different perspective.

Is this person looking at you.. or... at something else?
(Photo credit: download from Facebook, Emmy Green)

One of our stops on this trip was New York City, a place that is fascinating for me but also scary!  The energy and crush of people is sometimes overwhelming but there is a history and vibrancy that is captivating.  This duality of life and perspectives came into focus at the 911 Memorial and Museum.  Again, a guide walked us through the historical elements of the events of September 11, 2001, the aftermath, and the importance of the Memorial and Museum.

 No matter where we stood, there was silence and reverence... like walking into a cathedral and looking up in wonder and awe.  How small we are in comparison to the magnificence of Creator and what is Created!

Do we focus on the person, the flowing, or the abyss?
(Photo: 911 Memorial, New York City - Larry Gardepie)

Looking closer: we saw thousands of names -- all arranged by the connections they had with one another.  Looking outward: water and trees that spoke of life and resilience -- moving forward and upward; and the water flowing into the bottomless abyss -- places we cannot see.

I wonder:  are perspectives as clear as we think they are?

Maybe we are invited to look inward and reflect on the positions and beliefs we closely hold... and then look outward and dialogue reflectively together to understand the similarities and differences of what we see, hear, experience, and believe. 

May we remember the events of 911 and reflect on what healing might look like.

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)

Sunday, September 3, 2023

How We See -- What We Remember

I have almost 65,000 photos saved on my "smart phone"!  They showcase family, friends, travels, and adventures over my lifetime.  How often do I look at them?  Periodically, I go back to a certain time or event to Re-Member the people who are no longer present -- reconnecting and being grateful for how their lives shaped mine.  At times I want to Re-Enjoy an area of the world I spent vacation time -- recalling the beauty of distant lands, peoples, and cultures.

These photos are a glimpse of how I have seen and experienced my life and those who have shared theirs with me.  I am sure you have similar ways to Re-Live your life!

What do you see?
(Photo: Ceramic Tile - Larry Gardepie)

What is interesting about these photos, though, is how my Mind's Eye has changed over time -- that is, the perspective of viewing earlier stages of Life.  Looking at one photo I might wonder what was so important that I wanted to capture and save that image!  A piece of tile with wavy lines turns into an eye if it is framed in a certain way.

Childhood photos with my first film-camera portray childhood perspectives -- and reveal my height at the time!  With film-cameras we had to be judicious on how many photos we could take -- film was expensive and we didn't know if the image would turn out the way we expected.  I remember being more careful in what to capture and imprint.

How do you see the world?
~ ~ Click on image to enlarge ~ ~
(Photo Credit, Pearls Before Swine, August 25, 2023 - Stephan Pastis)

Now, with digital cameras and "smart phones," we can take as many photos as the memory can hold -- and we can instantly delete images that are blurry or didn't turn out as we had hoped.

Time, perspective, capturing and deleting -- all are caught in these 65,000 images saved in a "Cloud" somewhere!

How do you want to be seen?
(Photo credit: downloaded from Facebook - Anonymous)

What does this have to do with dialogue, you might ask?  Everything!  Our mind's eye captures countless images and thoughts throughout the day -- filtered through time and perspective; captured and remembered in the reality of our relationships and beliefs.  

Problems we face, though, in this fast-paced world: we no longer wait for the image (or thought) to be fully developed; we assume we know the outcome; and we don't always take time to talk through what we saw, heard or experienced.  That is, we don't reflect on and delete those encounters that are blurry -- those distortions that harm our relationships.

Just think... If I have almost 65,000 stored photos of family, friends, travels, and adventures, I wonder:

  • How many other memories have been stored?
  • Which stories and conclusions need to be revisited?
  • Am I willing to delete what is blurry and abnormal?

A question we might consider this week:  how can our stored perspectives be moved from Abnormal to Extraordinary?

Larry Gardepie

(click on link for website)