• BLOG 55—The Grand Canyon is quite Grand

    Awakening in a Walmart parking lot is not always the best of things, waking up in the wilderness is so much better on the mind, but sometimes a different place has to be where we lay our head. Actually, as I wrote before, when you’re asleep your eyes are closed and you have no idea where you are, so it is alright.

    I know, I know, I was going to get this out to you every Sunday, two days late, whoops. I will try and plan better. I had wanted to wait until we saw Vladik’s show, which we saw last night.

    There are so many impressive things to see in this area of the world (the four corners) that it will be difficult to get to all, I expect we will return (again and again.)

    I’ve been writing this blog for you for more than a year; it is a joy to have you on this trip with us. In recounting these events by writing about them makes my brain happy. Also, I hope these words I script are inspiring you to do better in your life. That’s my mine aim with this text, to inspire and entertain.

    Monday, October 3, 2016—In driving toward the east we are moving into Monument Valley, still in Utah. What we are seeing as “monuments” are huge buttes that just stick up out of the desert floor, so debonair they are.

    There are so many impressive things to see in this area of the world that it will be difficult to get to all, I expect we will return.

    Here is a video of Monument Valley, these lands are rather unique, enjoy >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKN70tgSfLk

    These areas we are going through now are tribal lands; they stuck these native people out in the barren/desert land many years ago, so sad to me. Now the government is trying to put a stupid gas pipeline through more of their land, what is with these American’s, don’t they see the harm they are doing? It just makes me so angry that these people were desecrated by the American government now and in the years past.

    And, now these rich people, the elite of the world, are doing the same thing to the people in the Middle East.

    THIS MUST STOP!!

    I just want to go to The Dakotas and help them get their land back, in any way I can.

    I wrote before about how I do not like using the word, Indian. You see, when Christopher Columbus first came over to America (he was not the first, by the way), he thought he had sailed the back way from Europe and gotten to India, so he named these native people, “Indian”, and the name stuck, a bad thing, to me.

    I call these wonderful people “tribal” or “native” or best by their chosen name for their group, such as, “Apache.”

    I just came upon this article, please help how you can >>

    http://www.care2.com/care2blog/lessons-from-standing-rock.html

    Next, we took a 17-mile drive on a dirt road through Monument Valley, a tourist destination; yes, many people here. For a twenty dollar fee, you can drive through and see this astonishing land features up close; some of the tremendous natural structures created by erosion.

    I think that many people who go through there do not know it is Navajo tribe who run things.

    The welcome sign for Monument Valley has a statue of a man, women, and child in front of the sign. These people on the statue seem to be of the European look, what an insult to the people who were first here. The statue should be of Navajo peoples. Also, the white man (I guess I am one of, how embarrassing) named this area, “Monument Valley.” I am sure Navajo people have a special name for the area—this fabulous place should be called by that Navajo name!

    In Arizona now and I heard of some canyon, that, I am told, is quite grand, so, we had to take a look. This same day we were at Monument Valley we drove into the southern rim of The Grand Canyon.

    The sites we saw were hard to believe. So wide, so deep, this canyon is a treasure (I guess that is why it is a national park.)

    Last night the temperature got down to about -1.6c (29f), with plenty of blankets we lived through the night happily in the van. I parked right next to the Grand Canyon Lodge; open all night, which, once again, had free wifi available. So, because I wake early (3am today), I was able to go right into the lodge, get on the computer, and let Tina sleep.

    Once again, we heard many accents from people who were not from this country. And, so many people here, surprising, this being a Monday afternoon/evening with a strong and cold wind blowing. I can’t imagine the amount of people here on a sunny summer weekend.

    As we drove along the south rim road we had peeks to our right to the amazing canyon below. At various points, there were lookout points where you could drive into and walk out for a better view. Hope you like the photos I took.

    And, here is a video of the south rim of The Grand Canyon for you to get pleasure from >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eh_5Pnv39cY

    This one, taken from a helicopter >>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT3hQlY4oek

    We took one of the buses that run about every 15 minutes out to see the canyon views. Cars are not allowed to take this drive, only buses, which is a good thing. There were nine lookout points where you could get off the bus to see and then get back on a later bus. This, being a Tuesday and early, the crowds were small, but on our way out we saw a big line of cars waiting to get in.

    Vegas here we come!

    Oct 5–We are at Costco in Las Vegas buying tires, a big expense for us right now, but we have to.  I am finding, once again, so many people are not friendly, at all. In walking around, I am not discovering anyone who makes eye contact or smiles. I’ve written about this in the past.

    I try and make eye contact and have a friendly smile for everyone I see; I am not finding others doing that, at all, currently. It is so easy to be friendly and it makes such a better world for all of us–why are so many people unfriendly? (I hope you are not one of the unfriendlies.)

    If fact, take dogs for example. Most every dog will, at least, go up and sniff another dog’s butt and also wag their tail. I am not saying to sniff my butt, but (how about that wording–butt, but) at least acknowledge the other person in a gracious way.

    Vegas has grown much. Like most all big cities, it has all the same business establishments and traffic and such. So, of course, this being a city, we will be out of here and back to the wilderness as soon as we can.

    Las Vegas is so very different now. I first started coming to this town in the 1970’s to see top jugglers. Back then this was mainly just a casino town with some restaurants and hotels mixed in. Now it is “everything”, with some casinos mixed in. In driving down Las Vegas Blvd (The Strip), and to see McDonalds and CVS and other places was so different,

    The reason we had come to Las Vegas at this point is because Tina saw an advertisement that the movie “Young Frankenstein” was being re-released and was showing here, so we had to. We saw the movie yesterday, a joy to see once again. You may know, Gene Wilder died recently, a sad thing, but that is why the re-release. Have you seen the flick?

    Death is a creepy thing to think about. We all know we are going to die some day, but seldom think or talk about it. I am prepared; the thought does not irk me. I try to have a good life and help as many people along the way as I can.

    And, as you might know, I think that when you die, you are just gone forever—no heaven—heaven is a good hope for some.

    The huge movie theater multiplex is part of a casino, so strange. Tina and I each gambled a dollar each; the casino is $2 ahead because of us (we also bought two good margaritas for only a dollar each, so we are ahead, really.) Have you have to remember, some people lose $200,000 in a single night, we will never be part of that group.

    What is so strange is to watch the gamblers faces—they lose, no expression change, they win, no change. Not one person on the gambling floor seemed to be having fun—this was very bizarre to me.

    Oct 6—Spent the morning working on the van and cleaning. One thing I do constantly make small improvements how I can to the van, my life, and mine and Tina’s life together. Today I worked on the window covers, now no light will go into or out of the van when these are on the windows. You can always find simple ways to improve things.

    You see, all the little things add up and will make your life enhanced. Of course, it is much easier to run things as they have always been and not make any changes, but, try doing one or two small improvements, daily, they will add up to make your life enhanced.

    Sure, it will take some effort, but the payoff will be a better life.

    Then we went to the 6pm gathering of local jugglers for the weekly get together. Some great juggling tonight was seen. Someone I have known for some time, who is an excellent juggler and was there is Doug Sayers. Take a look at Doug>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUi3zn2FBVI

    Oct 7—On awakening, we were parked at the place where we juggled last night, a quiet and calm night of sleep. Then today we went to The Circus Circus Casino to see what jugglers might be performing. We saw on the list, Raul Cubillos, who I do not know, but we will be seeing him later and you will hear more.

    We did return to the stage later and enjoyed Raul’s juggling act. He is from Argentina and has a very fast style, good to see. He had not heard of my book, Juggling with Finesse, so I gave him a copy.

    Here is Raul >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL2z7-E6ajI

    I do get pleasure from writing these posts for you. My writing seems to be improving; you will have to let me know. I’ve found that the key to good writing is in editing. I go over the material many times with an analytical eye and make improvements, often.

    And, for writing, you just have to start, once you do things come to mind. That can be quite hard, finding the initial terminology and will to start.

    Oct 8–Someone I have not seen for years took Tina and me to a superb lunch today. John McPeak is 70 years old, but looks and acts in his 30’s, and still performing; great to see him and his wife, Bern. Take a look:

    http://johnandbernmagic.com/

    Being itchy to get back to the wilderness, Tina and I drove 15 miles out of Vegas to http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/redrockcanyon/camping-at-red-rock-canyon/. Turned out to have no trees and, being out in the desert, was barren and hot. We read many good reviews, did not see the pleasure here.

    As I wrote, Vegas is growing, much.

    On the way out to Red Rock Canyon, we passed many many condos in a housing complex. What was outlandish was there looked to be only 3 or 4 feet between each. I know that the more they can pack em in the more money they make, so they made sure things were tight.

    For sleep tonight, back to a Walmart we stayed at in the past. Wifi here, so I will be able to get this email out to you tomorrow, Sunday, my new deadline for getting these words to you.

    Sunday, October 9, 2016—Woke very early today, 2:30am, and could not get back to sleep. So, into Walmart, I went to plug in and use to put together words for you.

    Today we got together with Vladik Miagkostoupov, his wife Anna, and two young daughters. I first met Vladik’s dad many years ago, also a great juggler. With his dad’s training, Vladik has become the incredible juggler he is today. Here is Vladik:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ypzxkvn8eiA

    Tonight we went to see Jeff Civillico at The Flamingo Hotel. Jeff took my juggling/performance workshop many years ago, a great guy. We witnessed a superb juggling/comedy show for about an hour and a half.

    Here is Jeff >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXV_HZW5SYM

    Last night we went to Vladik at Planet Hollywood. What a fantastic show we saw.

    As usual, we do not know where we are going next or when, but we will get there and I will let you know. Right now, though, in Las Vegas, in a nice park typing offline, beautiful weather, cannot ask for much better.

    Hope you will be able to help us out each month with a contribution to help keep us going.

    LOVE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Kit


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  • BLOG 54—Zion on my mind . . .

    Deep in Utah . . .

    And yet another post from Kit, every time I start this I wonder what to write and where to go with the words. Then things just develop in our travels and in my mind. So, have you ever had a blank sheet of paper and had to get something down? It really is not difficult to write, things develop and come together—but you just have to start—How about this, create your book(s) now! I know you can do it.

    As I am enjoying writing these words to you, I hope you are getting inspired by what I script. Let me know and I will send you any of the books I have written attached to an email. And, please let me know what you think of these words I am jotting down for you, send me an email at kitsummers@gmail.com

    Hoping these blogs I am writing will be one day turned into a book one day, to inspire others, along with you.

    Speaking of “book”, at the end of my blog is another chapter from one of my books from the series, “Beyond Your Potential.” By including sections from my books I am hoping to inspire you to find more in life and add to your success. And, I do hope the words I write in my blog inspire you, as well. And, our recent outings in Utah could be a book in itself.

    Driving into Utah, many more splendors for our eyes awaited us. As I had written about Colorado in a past blog, I thought you could not get any better than what we saw there, but then there’s Utah.

    The state of Utah holds so many stunning and elegant places. I have been through here a number of times, and, of course, there will be return visits. When I went through before I did not take the time to really see the lands, “just passing through”, as they say. Glad Tina and I are doing that now. What a perfect season to drive through here, as well.

    Because the time is fall, it’s an ideal time to be in this area. The colors on the leaves are ever changing now, as well the temperature and weather. The temperature is getting colder, about time to head south, which we are planning.

    So nice not to have to face the cold and snow, to be able to go where we want–when we want—makes life quite comfortable.

    Vincent Van Gogh once wrote:

    “It is not the language of painters, 

    but the language of nature, 

    which one should listen to . . .”

    Sunday, September 25, 2016—As we are driving out of Canyonlands Park into Capital Reef National Park, we are seeing more spender of American Wilderness. The road goes through somewhat of a desert land, with cliffs and buttes on both sides of the road. There are hardly any homes along these 100 miles; although we did see a motel—in the middle of nowhere—how do they stay in business?

    All along the route, we are meeting people from other countries, almost more than we are seeing (hearing) Americans, I’d say more than half are foreign peoples. This is America’s backyard, why aren’t there more Americanish here to see these wondrous sites? Seems that many from this country like to vacation in foreign lands, when, right here, it is incredible! (have you been to this area yet?)

    As we are driving along Tina looked to our left and we saw eight mountain goats having lunch along the side of the road. We pulled over for a time to watch them. There must have been 15 cars that passed by and did not even see this astonishing site. Then, they got spooked by a vehicle and they climbed almost straight up the face of a rock cliff—it was amazing to see.

    We just took a path and came upon petroglyphs on the side of the canyon walls from thousands of years ago. These ancient carvings in the rock were simple but so very old.

    Petroglyphs are rock carvings (rock paintings are called pictographs) made by pecking directly on the rock surface using a stone chisel and a hammerstone. When the desert varnish (or patina) on the surface of the rock is chipped off, the lighter rock underneath was exposed, creating the petroglyph.

    Archaeologists have estimated there may be over 25,000 petroglyph images along the 17 miles of escarpment within this area.

    It is estimated 90% of the areas petroglyphs were created by the ancestors of today’s Pueblo people. Puebloans have lived in the Rio Grande Valley since before 500 A.D., but a population increase around 1300 A.D. resulted in numerous new settlements. It is believed that the majority of the petroglyphs were carved from about 1300 through the late 1680s.

    So good to see this ancient drawing and carving in the rock, and, great to see the animals in the area, such as deer.

    Next up, a herd of Mule Deer eating grass, a pleasure for my eyes, seeing them with their big ears; out for the evening, they were as lawnmowers. These guys and gals are quite used to humans, I almost was able to go up, climb on and ride one, they wouldn’t have been bothered, it seemed.

    This park has only one road going through it, east/west, and no other way through. For that reason, there is no fee to drive the distance. And, such a nice drive it is.

    I had asked a ranger about the name of the park, Capital Reef National Park, he said it is called this because there is a white dome of rock that, as early explorers thought, looked like the capital building in Washington, DC. Then, because it was so hard to negotiate through in the old days, the cliffs are like a barrier reef.

    Sep 26—We stayed in a Broken Spur Inn last night, well, we were parked in a motel parking lot and slept in the van. Motel lots are good to park in overnight, being quiet, no one with bother you and quite still most often; we sleep well.

    The drive today is so majestic. Going by way of route 12 down to Escalante, we are seeing more amazing canyons and lands of the earth.

    We just passed a guy, working for the township, who was mowing the shoulder of the road, a little grass sticking up. To me, this is such a waste of time and money. So what if the grass grows a few centimeters more. I am seeing about three meters wide on each side of the road that would need mowing, There are so many better things a person can do with their time.

    And, we just passed another cemetery, there are so many. To me, this is another big waste–of land this time–sorry if you don’t think the same. For me, after death, I want to be planted in the ground, naked and in a National Park, so that my leftovers will go to bugs and back to the earth and my available energies will not be wasted.

    We’ve moved into the Grand Staircase National Park region, looking forward to seeing more magnificence of the earth. This was named “Grand Staircase” because of the more than 6,000 vertical feet of cliffs, terraces, and plateaus that make up the area.

    I am finding different and superior landscapes as we go.

    Now into Bryce Canyon National Park, this being a Monday, I would not think many people would be here—this place is packed.

    What’s strange, as I wrote before, seems that more than half of the people are from out of this country. So many languages, so many accents, so many looks–so good to see.

    Sep 27—As we were on our drive to see more of Bryce Canyon we were driving down the top of a windy road and came upon a heard of Elk crossing in front of us. One we saw was a huge buck with a big rack of antlers. So very close they were.

    Being that there is so much see here, it is hard take it all in. We just saw a huge lake that was down below us, with pine trees and aspen trees all around us. All these natural wonders, then you have the people and the cars, that’s another thing.

    We found the Bryce Canyon Lodge, with room in the lot, so we parked for the night. There is a place to shower and a place to wash clothes, so we did both. At the lodge, there is free wifi with no password, so I have been. The lodge is open all night, so I was also there while Tina was finishing up on her sleep in the morning.

    On our drive out we saw that there is a bike path following the road all the way out—such a good thing–I wish there were more bike paths all over America.

    We just passed this huge motorhome, towing a car, with a bike on the back of the car. Very nice, but way too big for our tastes, we are more comfortable with smaller and only necessary things.

    As you have seen, every week I send you photos of our journey. You have to know, what you are seeing is just a brief glimpse of what is coming before our eyes. For that reason, I am seeing that you will have to take this drive yourself, to really witness this wonderland.

    Looking for somewhere to park the van and sleep, then we found one in the national park. This is a beautiful and clean campsite way out in the wilderness.

    Big fire last night, and also this morning, warm and cozy it was. 

    Although it was more difficult in this area to find dead/dry wood for the fire, we did, and it kept us warm.

    Sep 30—Last night we parked right next to a lake and slept well; nice to wake up to see a big stunning lake out your front door.

    Yesterday we moved into Zion National Park, where took a short drive in on Kolob Canyon Road. On this five-mile scenic drive we went past the spectacular canyons and red rocks of the Kolob Canyons area and ended up at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint before we drove on to the main Zion Park.

    Zion is full of steep cliffs, narrow canyons, and unpredictable weather to add challenge and adventure to our visit.

    We found Lava Point Campground, where we spent the night. This free campsite is incredible!  Plenty of wood for the fire, not many people, and” free”,  we want to live here all next summer.

    One strange thing we are finding, a high percentage of cars in this area are colored white, a bizarre occurrence. Our van is white, so we feel part of the party.

    As evening is dropping I built a big fire. We ate a delicious meal of fettuccine, a good sauce on angel hair pasta. We are eating well, at low cost.

    And, that evening, we played cards. I taught Tina to play cribbage, a game I learned when I was a youth. She has gotten good, we are about 50/50 on wins—we have fun with this game. Do you play?

    The morning of October 1—As usual, I was up before the sun. The gentle rain came down now and then; I stayed under a tree to avoid the drops. Jennifer and Alyssa were passing by the campsite and stopped by for a chat. They live fairly close and come to the campground often. I told them how Tina and I travel around the country and of this blog I write. They wanted to get on the list to receive my postings, so welcome, Jennifer and Alyssa.

    For breakfast it was potatoes and onions, cooked directly over the fire, we both ate well once again. Last night there was a gentle rain, so everything looks shiny and clean.

    The air feels so clean here to breathe, I love it.

    On the morning drive, we went back into a different part of Zion Park. As we go back on the same road we came out on, we are seeing a totally different view, a new perspective. Two deer were passing on the road in front of us, reminding us that we are out in the wilderness, the place I like to be.

    Here is about Zion:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fci4ylynQwI&spfreload=10

    So excellent to traveling through this majestic park again, although we are noticing whole hillsides with dead trees, must have been a deadly beetle bug that took them out.

    As we were driving along, Tina suddenly said, “Look, a bighorn sheep!” Up on the hillside, he was standing proud. We pulled over, stopped for a time, and let others know what we were seeing. So many people would have simply driven by and missed this astonishing site of the sheep on the hill. Zion has so much to offer.

    We found out that the name “Zion” has a religious background, meaning “Quiet Sanctuary”. Much of the park has religious overtones, in that the Mormon’s discovered much here.

    Someone at the visitor’s center said that there will be a large population of Chinese coming to the park soon. They are heavily advertising Zion, and, because many Chinese have gobs of money now, they will be here in force. Just today there are so many people here (and, you know how I don’t like a lot of tourists), I can’t imagine how it will be after the Chinese invasion.

    We drove up and took the bus that goes through Zion; this is the only way, besides walking or biking, that you can see the body of Zion Park. Around every turn was more out of this world scenery. The cliffs, the foliage, the incredible views, it was hard to take it all in. I am hoping the photos are going to come great so you can see the splendor of Zion.

    While riding the tour bus people noticed climbers way up on the walls of the canyon free climbing. I’ve done some climbing, but nothing like this. We saw at least eight climbers on the wall of the canyon, way up there. It looked quite scary to be up like that.

    The time is 5pm now, and what an incredible day!

    So much more to see, I am sad we are leaving this majestic area of the earth, and can’t wait to return to see more in the future.

    Oct 2—We stayed at a Walmart last night, comfortable, but I would so rather wake-up in a park somewhere in the wilderness. Last night Tina took me to dinner at a place she ate at before. Her son Mark lived in this area and she loved to visit. We ate at Xetava Gardens Café, a superb eatery.

    The night before we left the temperature was  c, about 35F. Last night it Was about  c, 63f. A big change coming down

    I must say, I am surprised more people are not taking advantage of the internet and travel. You, yes, you, could be out here traveling and having the time of your life. We purchased the van for only $3,000 and then I put in about $1,000 to turn the van into our home.

    YOU COULD DO THE SAME! 

    There are numerous ways to earn money while on the road, too, check out YouTube for ideas.

    Down to Vegas soon, you will hear more . . .

    You will find my book below the attachments.

    Here is another chapter from the series of books I am writing:

    Beyond Your Potential

    The Comeback Kit, From Coma to Comedy

    BOOK FOUR—LIFE CHANGING

    A Series of Books to Change Your Life

    By Kit Summers

    Chapter 28–Joyful Experiences of Travel, and Tina Comes into My Life

    “The World is a Book,

    and those who don’t travel,

    only read a page.” 

    Saint Augustine

    Once I had been home for a bit and was able to breathe again, I decided I had had enough. I was hit by a truck, twice, I had been put in jail on a false charge, where I had to spend a month, and my love life was going nowhere. I had to get away!

    I had to get my mind away from the mess:

    1. 2009–Going through a divorce, after a 23 year marriage.
    2. 2010–Being hit by a truck, the second time, much of my body broken.
    3. 2011–Spending a month in jail on a false charge. 

    In the past, I had traveled across the United States to present my juggling workshop to help other jugglers advance their skills and performances. I had been able to set up workshops in various parts of Europe on three different occasions, and I also traveled to Japan three different times to present workshops.

    Even though I can’t juggle like I used to prior to my first accident in Atlantic City, my experience and knowledge of juggling and performing are deep and extensive and I have been able to use that to help others improve.

    As I debated on where I wanted to go, I pondered that I had never been to Australia or New Zealand. I knew there had to be jugglers in those countries.

    I HAD TO GO! 

    This was my new goal, what a lofty goal it was. I wanted to run away from all the pain I had been in during the recent years of my life and start creating some new memories and experiences helping people.

    I started contacting juggling groups and circus schools in Australia and New Zealand to set up workshops. I knew that our winter was their summer since they are south of the equator so I scheduled to be there in their spring and summer time while it was cold back home. The warmth and light of the sun make for a more enjoyable vacation.

    Beyond this book, you can read about details of my trip in my blog atwww.kitsummers.com/blog.

    Things came together well, and I was able to set up four workshops in New Zealand and four in Australia. I found it was much less expensive to fly out of San Diego, my home town, so that was my plan. Before flying to the down under, I had to drive across the country.

    I left my home on August 10, 2011 for the five month trip. I decided to make the most out of my cross-country drive by presenting workshops to jugglers in the United States in several cities between Philadelphia and San Diego.

    I was able to set up workshops in Chicago, Kansas City, and in Boulder, Colorado.

    The workshop at Boulder Circus Center was excellent. I felt accomplished as the participants learned lots of new juggling skills and performance tips. I made quite a few friends at that workshop.

    In combination with the workshops and getting to know some new people, I also decided it would be good therapy for me to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery across the states, so I visited quite a few national parks and wilderness areas. My mind felt free and light. At times, I camped in my van, away from the world in quite, scenic areas with not a person around for miles. Getting back to nature was an incredibly healing and uplifting experience.

    While reviewing the map for my journey and deciding which route to take, the road from Boulder to Salida, Colorado looked somewhat barren and boring, but it turned out to be a fantastic drive. There were mountains, forests, streams, small quaint villages, all of which reminded me of scenes from trip to Southern Germany.

    I thoroughly love to drink fresh clean water from mountain creeks, something I have not been able to do in years because of where I was living. The taste of the water in the streams in Colorado was so refreshing. I was also able to drink fresh water from streams in New Zealand which was absolutely delightful.

    As I continued my drive through Colorado, I had seen a dirt road with a sign declaring that a National Forest was just ahead. After driving a distance down the dirt road, I wound up in a scenic area and decided to park my car under some trees. I saw no other people for two days, I had no cell phone reception, and I couldn’t get any clear radio stations in my van. I enjoyed the solitude. I hiked, read, and just rested. I was truly pleasant.

    After the excellent and therapeutic drive across the country, I was able to spend three weeks with my mom in San Diego before my flight. It was quite a treat to visit the city where I spent my youth. I rode a bike around Ocean Beach, the place where I grew up. Everything there was different, but so was I. I cruised down streets where I used to play, passing a recreation center where I used to practice unicycling and juggling. Then I got to Newport Street, the main street where I grew up.

    When I got to Newport Street, the main street where I grew up, fond memories flashed through my mind of when I would ride my seven foot unicycle up and down the street. It was hard to envision myself doing that now. I took some time to talk to some of the shop owners on the street who remembered me and my unicycles, especially the fourteen foot one that I had built in high school metal shop and rode in the area.

    After my time in San Diego, I flew to Melbourne, Australia. I was so excited that I didn’t sleep a wink during the sixteen hour overnight flight. When I left the states, winter was beginning, so naturally summer was just beginning in Australia and New Zealand. Spring was in the air. Melbourne was a great city to land in first. I presented a workshop to a large group and then attended the Melbourne Juggling Convention the following week.

     It was quite a joy!

    The workshops I had scheduled were set up and planned prior to me leaving Philadelphia, but I had no idea where I would be staying in Australia and New Zealand, what I would eat, or how I would be getting around.

    I usually don’t concern myself with these things when I go somewhere.

    I have found that these matters will always fall into place, and when they don’t, it just makes the experience that much more exciting and memorable. In both countries, I met friendly and caring people who allowed me to stay with them. I also spent some nights in hostels which are very cheap, and I found other people willing to allow travelers to stay in their homes on a website called Cough Surfing (www.couchsurging.org).

    I was even able to haggle with one of the hostels for a cheaper rate. I offered to perform a juggling show and to provide some juggling lessons to other people staying at the hostel if I were allowed to stay there for ten dollars a night. The owner agreed.

    After Melbourne, I went to Brisbane. This stunning city was one of the cleanest and nicest places I have ever seen. The workshop at Flipside Circus School was a lot of fun, again I met some really great people.

    On to Sydney, and what a lovely city it is. It still strikes me as amazing that both Australia and New Zealand were such clean and tidy places and that all the roads and parks were well maintained. I never saw litter or trash all over the place and I didn’t see any graffiti.

    The public parks and even the private yards were well kept and contained beautiful scenery. In my mind, the landscape was in stark contrast to the dilapidated and crumbling infrastructure of Philadelphia with its litter laden streets and alleys.

    I spent quite a bit of time in Sydney. I found it to be a friendly and beautiful city. While I was there, I tried the Australian delicacy of kangaroo meat. Although I was mostly vegetarian at the time, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity.

    I had the experience of eating horse in Japan which is almost taboo in the states so I knew this opportunity too would probably be my last. I like to try things native to the culture I’m experiencing. It makes the experience much more authentic and memorable.

    After my enjoyable time in Australia, I was off to Wellington, New Zealand for the next portion of my trip. Once I arrived in New Zealand, which was only a short trip from Australia, I quickly realized that even though the two countries are so close together, they are quite different. The people even spoke with slightly different accents. Every day of my trip was a new adventure with new insights and experience – I loved it!

    In Wellington, I presented another workshop to help jugglers perform better in their art. There was a woman in Wellington named Alice who helped me set up the workshop. She allowed me to stay in her home for a week while I was in the city. She and I are still great friends.

    Wellington is on the north island of New Zealand, and from there I took a boat ride to the south island. There is a big ship that takes people regularly from one island to the other. The huge ship holds about sixteen hundred people and three hundred and sixty cars. It’s a beautiful three and a half hour trip on the warm sea.

    Before taking the boat ride, I had contacted the management of the ship company to ask if I could do a juggling show during the ride. They liked the idea and allowed me to take the trip at no charge. There was a group of school-aged children on the boat that day that loved it and I got to spend some time with them teaching them how to juggle. I even got to teach some of the employees on the ship to juggle and, to their surprise, by the time we landed, they too could juggle!

    After my arrival on the south island, I made my way to a facility called Jugglers Rest Backpackers in Picton. Picton is a small town with a wonderful character. Jugglers Rest is a small hostel owned by a woman named Nikki. It was squeaky clean, well organized, and very comfortable. Nikki was a wonderful woman, and I must admit, I fell in love with her during my short stay.

    Nikki originally lived in a town in the middle of England. She at one time had taken a trip to Picton herself and she had stayed at the hostel she now manages. She liked the hostel so much and her experience there that she returned to Picton to work for the hostel and after some time, decided to purchase it.

    The historic villa has wonderful plants and gardens surrounding it and the interior is quite beautiful. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, the hostel’s theme is that of juggling. You can find juggling toys scattered all around and you can take juggling lessons during your stay. When in New Zealand, you must stay at the Jugglers Rest hostel.

    While on the south island of New Zealand, I went to the wilderness as much as I could. There was one day where I decided a nice hike on a mountain sounded like a wonderful idea. I asked around and learned of a great hiking trail through the woods near Jugglers Rest.

    The trail climbed back and forth up a mountain through trees and bushes on both sides. It felt like what I thought being in a rainforest would feel like. The mountain is only accessible by foot which I thought sounded adventurous. The sun was bright, the temperature was cool, the view was fabulous, and the setting was perfect.

    Up and up I climbed. I passed by a couple of people who were on their way down the mountain and laughed as the trail was barely wide enough to allow more than two or three people to pass at a time. Once I reached the top of the mountain, I was glad to see a bench where I could take a break. After taking in some of the beautiful scenery and basking in the cool air, I started making my way back down the mountain.

    The trail was narrow, and the hill on my right side was quite steep. On the left side, the landscape just dropped off. My balance and my eyesight are far from perfect, and my knee at times was still wobbly and weak even with the pins in it.

    I took an accidental step too close to the left edge of the path and down the slope I slipped. I must have fallen at least five meters – laughing at myself the whole way down.

    At that point in my life, I had endured so much physical pain already that injuring myself didn’t faze me. As long as I don’t die, my body will mend and my life will go on. When my body had finally come to a stop, I just sat there for a time wondering what to do.

    I turned and looked up the hill to assess where I needed to go. The hill looked very steep. I attempted to climb back up, but down I slide again. Even further down the hill this time.

    I just sat there and thought for a time. I thought to myself, “I could just stay here and eat the plants, or any bugs and animals that might wander by. This could be my new life.” Then I said to myself, “Nope, I like ice cream way too much. I have to find a way out of here.”

    I got up again and started hiking parallel to the trail for a few meters and eventually saw another way up the hill. I grabbed any trees or shrubs I could to help maintain my balance and made my way back to the trail chasing an imaginary bowel of ice cream. I was much more careful during the rest of the hike. I finally made my way back to the hostel.

    After Picton, I made my way to Dunedin which was a special pleasure. I traveled by bus and by foot exploring the fine city.

    Dunedin has a rich history and enjoyed learning about it. It just so happened that near to Dunedin was a festival called Circulation. This festival is an annual event that occurs from Friday through Tuesday with nonstop juggling and fun for the hundreds of people who join. I had to attend!

    The setting of the place was stunning. Beautiful green landscapes with lush trees all around and a few nice buildings hidden away in the background. I was in a paradise. There is no internet connection there which was quite strange. It felt like the old days. I was running a number of classes and workshops and so the festival coordinators provided me with a bed and meals. The building I stayed in was all wood. It was quite different, but nice.

    The meals were all vegan, meaning they contained no animal derived ingredients. They were delicious. I ate a curry vegetable mix on rice one of the nights – it was amazing. One morning it was an organic seed and oat cereal along with an excellent bread and tea. The meals alone were worth the visit.

    The Circulation event felt kind of like the hippy gatherings I used to see in California when I was growing up. There were lots of people with long hair, piercings, and tattoos, and many of the events and workshops occurred outside in big tents.

    One of the classes during the event was a hula hoop class which many people participated in. I saw one woman swirling the hula hoop around her waist while she had a baby strapped to her chest. She even had enough talent to breast feed while hula hooping. I saw a lot of hooping in Australia and New Zealand.

    After the first night, I woke up to the sound of birds in the trees and the sight of a mist over the valley through the vegetation. It was a beautiful and memorable morning. As usual, I was up with the sun, and slowly and quietly slipped out of the room so I would not wake my two bunkmates.

    After I ate lunch that day, I noticed someone eating alone at a table. I could tell that he was having trouble getting food to his mouth. I went over to his table and introduced myself, asking if I could sit with him and help him.

    The man said his name was Dunkin. He explained that the he had been involved in an accident sixteen years ago that had put him in a coma for two and a half months. Since the accident, he hasn’t regained very good control of his muscles and limbs. His left arm didn’t work so well and his speech had been affected. I told Dunkin about my similar experience and showed him my book, Juggling with Finesse. After spending time with Dunkin, who had a brain injury very similar to mine, I still feel fortunate to be able to do all the things I can do.

    For the last night of Circulation, there was a traditional Maori dinner. The ritual took place in the woods among the trees. Food was prepared underground on hot rocks where a fire had been extinguished earlier.

    First a hole is dug in the ground and then rocks are put into the hole. A big fire is built and hot coals are allowed to build under the fire. Food is wrapped in foil and then put on the fire, and the whole thing is covered in dirt again. The meal and gathering was called Hangi. The food was so delicious I ate way too much.

    To celebrate the last night of the festival, there was a huge fire, about three meters across. The flames kept everyone very warm after the sun went down. After dinner, there was a performance of belly dancing – some of the best I have ever seen. Five percussionists on bongo type drums made a wonderful beat and the three dancers synchronized their body movements precisely to the beat. It was fabulous.

    The night was a magnificent end to the five day even. I’m hopeful to return some day and do it all again.

    The next morning when it was time to leave, there wasn’t a cloud in the bright blue sky. After the sun was fully up, I looked through the trees – the area is truly magnificent. I made many new friends there and it felt like a big family get-together.

    After Circulation, I went to see Milford Sound – the loveliest part of my trip. It was paradise on Earth. I had met a juggler named Clinton at Circulation and him and I rented a car to travel through the Sound. One moment we were juggling snowballs in the mountains, next we were at the warm sea. After that we were in a forest drinking from a stream. The land had so much to offer.

    We were traveling together for five glorious days. New Zealand was truly a wondrous place – I’m looking forward to returning as soon as possible.

    While traveling between workshops and cities, I had time to see a lot of landscape. What a breathtaking place these countries are. The mountains of New Zealand are especially spectacular.

    When my time abroad was up, I flew back to San Diego. I immediately drove to Portland, Oregon to visit friends and family. I was born in Portland, but had not been there in about forty-five years. I was surprised at how much of the city I remembered.

    I traveled east from Oregon, visiting more friends and family and also was able to hold several more workshops across the country until I arrived back home in Philadelphia on January 17, 2012.

    I learned a great deal while traveling. I can’t stress how important it is to learn from everything you go through in your life, good and bad. At times, it is tempting to think that if we could hit the fast forward button, everything we go through is a lesson to be used for later in order to manifest our dreams and turn them into reality. We must live through the hard lessons and embrace them and keep moving ahead, knowing that good times will meet us.

    Always keep in mind that in a special way, the journey is as important as the destination. This was definitely the case on my trip to Australia and New Zealand. Without the wisdom you gain on the journey, you may not be ready to fully embrace and enjoy your end result—the destination.

    So keep enduring, my friend. Your destination is on the way in perfect timing. Until you finally arrive, please know that even while you are still traveling, you have really already arrived.

    What a magnificent time I had away for five months. The journey I took healed me in many ways. In fact, I can’t wait to return to New Zealand and Australia, and this time, I would be taking the love of my life with me.

    TINA

    As rewarding as my trip had been, it didn’t take long for me to feel quite lonely again once I got home. I had spent so much time with other people during my travels; I don’t think I had felt lonely even once while I was away. Now that I was home, I had to reach out and meet that special someone. I met a few women on a dating website, but nothing developed into anything special.

    Eventually, the website introduced me to Tina. The relationship was slow building at first, but we hit it off quite well. Tina told me when we were started seeing each other that she thought we were both old enough to know what we truly want in life. We have both found just that. It’s like we were meant for each other.

    We talk about our future together with wonderful hope. Our love is always just beginning. It feels new every day. Such a love doesn’t just happen though – we make it happen that way. You see, in a good relationship you both have control of where things are going.

    For Tina and I, the sky’s the limit.


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  • Blog 53—Utah is next on the agenda

    What a delightful time we are having. 

    Seeing wonderful sites on the earth that you must see.

    Just keeps getting better and better. 

    Sept 20–After staying with Cindy for a week in Boulder, Colorado–we had to get back on the road again–back to the wilderness. As we left we had to drive through Denver–yes, another city like all the others–the same businesses, the same traffic, and the same rude people.

    THE TREES ARE CALLING, WE MUST GO

     As we are going toward the west on I-70 out of Denver, the forests started appearing on both sides of the freeway, the temperature dropped and we saw different foliage. Then we got up over 10,000 feet, we understood why the changes.

    Driving on I-70 through the Vail, Colorado area and seeing golf courses and many houses that look to be over a million each—this is a rich area. This is a winter time ski area, a summer time luxury area—your choice.

    Sep-21—So good to be away from cities, back to where we belong, in the wilderness. Through freecampsites.org we found one, although it was pretty much already filled up with people. Someone there told us of another campsite about five miles away with a small stream. We took the drive there, and I am so glad we did.

    Today, as we were driving on a small road, Tina looked up and saw two bald eagles (they did have feathers on their head, so they really weren’t bald.) What a great site to see.

    Tina’s eyes are so much better than mine, even with glasses on. I feel that I am missing so much out of life by not seeing well. I recently wrote about how my sniffer does not work well either. But, if you don’t have it, you don’t know what you are missing, so I am alright.

    Then, at the campsite, she looked across the stream and up on the hill, there she saw two big horned sheep grazing. What a find, it was phenomenal to see these wild animals. We have binoculars, so we could see them pretty good. These sheep were very muscular, powerful animals. It was a joy to see them.

    Sep 22—As I am typing this right now I am at a picnic table and can look out across a stream to a mountain that is very steep as it goes up. To awaken here and hear the water flowing down the stream is a great way to arise.

    As usual, I made a big fire to warm me through the morning. Always up before the sun, it can be cold at this time.

    On our way out of the campground, we saw a dirt road heading off into and up into the mountains. Because we have no time constraints, we decided to see where the road leads.

    We went up, higher and higher on this dirt road to see where it might go. We finally decided to turn around (after we found a place on this narrow path.) We saw some eye-opening sites in on this steep mountain, well worth the time for this drive.

    Currently, we are driving through a canyon with a river flowing through, very pleasant. I am seeing sheer rock faces with trees all around; quite a happiness to see. I’ve driven through here in the past, a few times, and am impressed each time through the pass.

    After exiting that glorious canyon, we got out to open land once again. I love Colorado and hard to leave the area. But, into Utah, we are finding even more sites with even nicer and more breathtaking views of this world we inhabit.

    Today is cloudy; hoping tomorrow will provide more sun for better photos. I want to show you some of what we are experiencing, but, of course, seeing it first-hand is the best.

    Our plan is to go to National Parks and areas toward the north while it is still warm here. As cold comes, to the south quickly for the warm weather; neither of us likes the cold–at all.

    And, the views keep getting better and better.

    As we are nearing Arches National Park and the sites are becoming amazing. After the beautiful natural settings we witnessed in Colorado, I did not see how it could get much better—it has! I was at Arches back in the 80’s, so I know how nice it is, but I am still overwhelmed.

    Getting later in the day, we usually like to find somewhere to bed down around 5pm, so a searching we will go. We, just being curious, stopped by a KOA campground—they wanted $41 just to park for the night, we said no. Found a campsite, which was quite crowded, at a national park campground, not for us, with a cost of $15, and money being tight right now, we moved on.

    We found another free campsite, Needles Overlook, and decided to see what it offered—the place offered much. Not many people, on a large beautiful canyon which is part of Canyonland National Park, this place is magnificent! Very quiet and a slight breeze blowing, the campsite we chose overlooks a canyon; with side walls that are very high (watch your step.)

    Sep 23—Into Arches National Park, spectacular views await, I am sure. And, we weren’t disappointed, this park is superb. We did some long hikes there, including one up to the main arch there, one and a half miles each way. There are over 200 arches in this park, so many to see.

    Saturday, Sep 24—Right now, as I am typing, I am sitting before a fire in the early morn. The view beyond the fire is the tremendous canyon, with side walls that must be ½ mile down and the canyon being, perhaps, a mile across. All around is prairie/desert like. There is plenty of dry wood for a fire, so I did last night this morning. This is the life I choose and it is working out exceptionally well.

    An overcast start to the day, but the clouds are already clearing, looking to be a fabulous day. I have the container for water, to go toward a shower later, in the sun heating up. If you have never taken a shower in the out-of-doors while naked you are missing much (I’d do a photo, but it I not the same as being there, and, you might not like what you see, but then again . . . )

    As we were exiting the area, an antelope crossed the road in front of us.

    We decided to go into the upper entrance to Canyonlands National Park this afternoon. But, there is much to see, may return tomorrow. What we did see was extraordinary; I was just expecting some canyons to look into.

    What we did see at one point was Upheaval Dome. This is where a possible meteorite landed on earth. Or, they say it might be from an ancient sea that was in the area. The funny thing is, they do not know.

    We are returning to where we stayed last night to spend the night again, the parking lot of a McDonalds. As we are coming back, we are seeing much different views on this same road we took in. You see, we did not see from this direction, so everything looks unique and special. You might look behind you and in different views to see your own life in different ways.

    What we are finding are many people from other countries visiting: Japanese, Italian, Norwegian, Netherlands, Belgium, Korean, Switzerland, and more. These are people visiting the US to see these amazing sites, but where are the Americans? These places are once in a lifetime viewing, you must find a way to see.

    As I wrote in a past blog, I want to get this out to you every Sunday, so here you go. I would love to hear from you, yes you, reading this.


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  • BLOG 52—Ready to get back on the road

    Whoops, I posted the last blog as 52, it should have been numbered 51 (but, you knew that.) And, I had written that I wanted to start publishing this blog every Sunday, missed a day, and are you mad at me?

    Perhaps you know, in 2011-12 I went to Australia and New Zealand to present my juggling/performing workshop. I wrote many words toward a blog then, too. If you have interest, read from way back on my blog >> http://kitsummers.com/

    September 11–As we are entering Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) from the west entrance, we started the climb. From about 6500 feet up to 12,000, higher and higher we went. The air started getting colder, the forest trees changed, the road windier as we went higher.

    When we arrived at the top there was a ranger who was answering questions of people, a good thing, I had many questions for her.

    After we reached the summit, on the road down we saw people who were stopped, then we saw the moose out in the woods. Really, the only wildlife we saw in RMNP.

    There is this one main road you travel through the park on (everyone does.) If you really want to see RMNP you need to hike off-road, I mean, way into the wilderness, this is a huge park. We were not prepared for that, so we didn’t.

    This road down eventually brought us to Estes Park, quite the tourist’s town. We drove through, but, because we are not tourists (ever), we did not stop.

    I have to say, RMNP has some fascinating mountains and woodlands, but neither of us are very impressed with what we saw there. This, being a Sunday and near the end of the season of visiting the park, many people here, I can better deal with fewer people (of course, I would love it if you were here.)

    You may remember, in a recent post I wrote that I wanted to start motivating you more with words from my book series that I am writing. Starting with this one, I will be posting writings, enjoy the read at the end of this blog.

    For Tina and me to get on the road like this and live in a van, we had to develop a certain confidence that is holding us on this path. As these ideas helped me, use the words to build yourself stronger.

    Sep 12—In Boulder, Colorado now at http://bouldercircuscenter.net/, good to see you, Cindy. Next Sunday I will be presenting a juggling/performance workshop, I am hoping it will go well. Here is Cindy >> http://www.cindymarvell.com/

    Today Tina and I walked through Boulder and went to The Pearl Street Mall. Back in 1981, I did many street shows at this mall. Today, being a Monday, there were no performers around; we’ll go back once again while we are here.

    In walking through the mall, it was hard to recognize anything; in fact, I could not find the place where I performed back then in 1981. In 2013there was a big flood which destroyed and/or changed much.

    September 16—Tina and I returned to Pearl Street Mall, Friday, by the way. We were entertained by four jugglers, two of whom were Peter Irish http://www.feetsofcomedy.com/
    and Derek McAlister
    http://derekderek.com/wordpress_DerekDerek/
    Excellent shows by each. I tried, once again, to find the place where I performed at the mall in 1981, but things have changed so much and I could not.

    When we saw Derek’s show, but before we talked with him, I said to Tina, “He might be too young to know of me.” After I said those words I thought, “I never thought I would ever say words like that, I must be old now.” But, he did know of me, as did all the jugglers we met. In fact, he called me, “The world famous juggler, Kit Summers”, nice to hear.

    Sep 17–Boulder has been a pleasure to be at for a week. We would love to live in this area, but, as you know, we do not like cold or snow, so we will have to pass on Boulder about settling down here.

    September 18, 2016—Today I did a short version of my juggling/performance workshop at http://bouldercircuscenter.net/. Because this was introduced so quickly, I only had one juggle who I worked with and a great juggler at that. Kyle Cody Cox will go on to become a star.

    It’s been to be in one location for a time, but Tina and I are antsy to get back on the road, toward the west and Utah.

    Sep 19—Tina and I went to see the movie, Sully, a good flick.

    Just received this link from my friend Daniel Edward Powell, about being in the out-of-doors. Get out and heal yourself, my friend:
    http://www.theinertia.com/…/scientists-at-stanford-just-p…/…

    From my third book in the series,>>Beyond Your Potential, here is chapter 17>>enjoy the read.
    ==========================================
    Chapter 17 Confidence and Fear

    “Having confidence will bring you far.
    Fear is mostly in the mind.
    Have the confidence and use fear to benefit you.”
    Kit Summers

    I have noticed that many people go through life lacking confidence, following fear, and being anxious about many things. The words below are to help you to build confidence, to alienate fear, and to help you to get past anxiety. These words can be used to battle any anxiousness you may have in yourself.
    CONFIDENCE

    A sense of confidence enhances your life in numerous ways. From relationships to business dealings and any other area of life, your confidence will bring you closer to success. You will live a fuller, more contented and supplementary abundant life.

    A firm confidence will make you stand out as the leader you are.

    As your confidence grows, your good influence over others will grow too. Others will look up to you and expect more from you, and you will be able to supply more to them. Over time, you will recognize both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations to have such confidence and the responsibility that comes with this drive forward.

    There are two types of drive: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is your internal motivation that tells you to meets your personal needs. Things like juggling, running, or pleasure seeking activities are based on inherent drive. We do these skills because we like them, not because we are required to do them.

    Extrinsic motivation is when you are encouraged by external influences that are given or controlled by someone else. Many people are extrinsically motivated to go to work every day solely because they get paid to do so.

    If we can find ways to build our intrinsic motivation to go to work every day, we can go further in our careers and in our lives than we ever thought we could have. We can do this by, perhaps, building our confidence and earning more respect from our peers and, therefore feeling accomplished and like we want to accomplish even more, This concept, of course, applies to all aspects of life.

    Confidence is not something you have naturally; it comes through practice.

    Even if we enjoy our work and have mastered the art of intrinsic motivation, we may still encounter things we don’t like doing such as disciplining other employees for job performance issues or having to fire someone or lay someone off.

    We sometimes have to do undesirable tasks as part of our jobs, so we have to find the confidence and the motivation to ourselves to get through the more depressing things in life. That’s where intrinsic motivation is vital.

    Confidence will factor in when you have work you don’t like to do. If you apply yourself and confidently do the best job you can do, no matter how mundane or upsetting the job may be, you will eventually learn to like what you are doing regardless.

    To learn to like your job or any other aspect of your life that currently isn’t your ideal thing to be doing, train yourself to do things with a different heart, with confidence, and with intrinsic motivations.

    When I used to professionally perform as a juggler, I would have to look deep inside myself to find a confidence in my juggling ability as well as the confidence within my ability as a performer.

    Most everyone, at one time or another, has seen a street performer or a speaker deliver their performance with little confidence – it’s not very entertaining to watch – and even can be quite disturbing.

    The following are fifteen traits of you as the confident person you are:
    If you don’t already have these traits, they can be developed.

    1 – You try new things. As you know, familiarity is the best teacher. Try new things all the time to allow you to evolve as a person.

    2 – You accept change. You cannot get from it, change is the only invariable. As a highly confident person, you may not always like the changes occurring. Do you best to accept the changes and do your best to ride the wave of change?

    3 – You have a strong sense of self. You have knowledge of what you like and what you don’t. You have most likely built a strong sense of self by living a broad life and having a variety of experiences. Stretch yourself for more and new experiences all the time.

    4 – You learn from your past without dwelling on the memories. The past will be a role in helping us move ahead in life, but not if we get fixed in your past.

    5 – You go after your goals and dreams. Drive forward as you can toward your good future, always reaching for more toward your end results.

    6 – You have a strong sense of individual limits. Don’t attempt to satisfy others just to make them happy. You must see your results and keep yourself happy.

    7 – You distinguish “mistakes” as learning opportunities. Don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes; realize that every slip-up is a chance to learn ways to be more victorious the next time. As a juggler, when you drop the ball, pick it up, learn, and continue.

    8 – You take risks. You make informed choices even if there is some risk involved. Know how to differentiate between a gamble and a risk. Get ready as much as they can and then go forward for those risks you feel are worth the effort.

    9 – You refuse to be under self-pity. As a highly confident person, you refuse to let the difficulties make you feel victimized. Of course, you feel sorry for yourself at times, but it is important not to linger in self-pity.

    10 – You can be alone with your own thoughts. Being on Earth can be quite a lonely place at times. Live your life without needing to fill every minute with conversation with others or by use of technologies (cell phones, e-mail, texting, yelling really loud, etc.) After all, each of us is finding our own individual direction.

    11 – You trust your instincts. Our mind will help guide us on our path to make the best decisions. Trusting your instincts helps you to make better choices; therefore, we have a better life.

    12 – You take care of yourself. You must treat your body with esteem by giving it a high quality diet in the form of healthy food, relaxation, fresh air, and activity.

    13 – You enhance others, not degrade them. As a confident person, you don’t feel the need to build yourself up by putting others down.

    14 – You don‘t beat yourself up. Of course, you are not perfect. Even the most confident of us have frail moments. Dust yourself off and keep going.

    15 – You celebrate your successes and the accomplishments of others. Truly confident people are not envious and backing away from other people’s successes. They celebrate other’s achievements. Now, it’s time to get out there and do something incredible that you can rejoice in!

    There is an overall confidence that must be developed in order to become a good performer, whether one is juggling on stage of Bally’s Casino, or perhaps just giving a speech in a community college classroom. I remember quite often being backstage at Bally’s waiting to start my routine, and I would be activity engaging my mind and my heart to find this spirit.

    Eventually, the music would start; the lights would come on; the curtain would open; and I would come blasting out on stage as if I were the strongest and most able person ever to appear on this stage or on any stage.

    In my mind it was almost like I was overpowering the audience.

    I can find this same confidence now when I need it. This confidence is something that must be developed, and the ability to tap into that confidence at a moment’s notice will come with practice. Train yourself to remain confident, even when bad things happen.

    When I was recovering from my accident and coma, I found that when I had confidence in myself and my ability to get better, I was able to get much further through my rehabilitation.

    When I had doubts or fears, my progress would stall or stop completely. Then I discovered something that helped me a great deal. If you fake any feeling or emotion long enough and often enough, you will develop that feeling or emotion, including confidence.

    When you have confidence, you can do just about anything.

    I learned that it’s totally possible and even desirable to fake confidence to yourself and to others when necessary. Even if you are just faking it, you will still feel better about yourself; you will achieve more, and others will believe in you and your abilities. Remember, fake or genuine confidence will take you far in your goals.

    If there’s some area of your life that you’ve been struggling with such as finding a new job because you feel that you don’t interview well or making new friends because you don’t think anyone likes you, muster up some fake confidence and go for it! You will be surprised at the outcome.

    What do you think I’m doing now by writing this book? Not really, but then again, who knows for sure. Always have full confidence that you will reach excellence, and you will end up there before you know it.

    Confidence is a habit that you can, and must, develop for yourself.

    You will go much further in life if you have confidence in yourself. True confidence is not about being arrogant or cocky. It’s simply about believing in you, trust in your abilities. Confidence is trusting in yourself and what you can do.

    This confidence and boldness comes by preparation, hard work, and maintaining a proper mindset even in the midst of great risk. Later, I will be writing about risk-taking, something you cannot do without confidence.

    I’ve developed a ten step system toward self-confidence. Try some of these steps and will see them making you stronger and more confident.
    Expect to be successful. This must be first thing in your mind before you try anything. This mindset will direct you toward the success you desire. Confidence and success go hand in hand. Shift your vision toward this expectation. Most people expect the worst, and, so often, that is what happens. As you maintain this positive outlook, you will see and experience more and more successful outcomes in your everyday life.
    Make eye contact. Maintaining eye contact with people is a huge display of confidence. Sometimes this is difficult depending on who we are talking to. Some people have a super intense look in their eyes and you might feel like they can see every little bad thing you’ve done in your life simply by looking at you! If you happen to be speaking to someone like this or any other person who intimidates you, just remember to smile and look at the bridge of their nose right in between their eyes – they will never know the difference. They will only see how confident you must be because you are maintaining that eye contact during your whole engagement with them.
    Appearance and confidence are a team. What you wear and how you present yourself will make or break your image to other people. Now, I’m not saying to get all jazzed up or to worry about which direction every little strand of hair on your head is going simply to please other people. The idea here is that when you look good, you will also feel good, and it will be much easier to maintain an overall good mood and sense of confidence. Basic practical steps include being clean and smelling good. Additional things to try might be maintaining a clean shaven face if you are a man, jazzing up your wardrobe even if it’s with second hand clothing like from Goodwill or Salvation Army, or working out and sculpting or building your muscles. All of these things will help you to feel better about whom you are what you are capable of doing.
    Included in maintaining a proper appearance is being aware of how you carry yourself. If you walk around really slowly with your eyes pointed at the ground and your shoulders slouched forward, it might appear to others that you completely lack confidence and direction in your life. This type of appearance will reflect inwards a sense of sadness and a lack of purpose. Try walking faster or with a little pep in your step. Keep your chin up and a smile on your face. Walk with purpose, even if you don’t have one in that specific moment. Others will see you differently and want the confidence that you project. You will also feel better about yourself.
    When you have time, listen to motivational tapes and watch uplifting videos. There are many tapes and videos out there that will help to lighten your mood. Also consider creating your own personal motivational tape or video. Talk about your strengths, your plans, your successes in life, and your goals. If you are having an off day, listen to your tape as a reminder of what you are working toward and how awesome of a person you really are. Reminding yourself often of your good attributes and how you’ve used them in the past to keep you moving forward will help you to maintain strength and confidence.
    People are here to help each other. Connect with people to get help when you need it. Talk with them in a positive and confident way about where you are going in your life. Seek their counsel and advice. The more connections we have in this world, the more confidence we can claim as we will have others to lean on when we feel we need help. Remember to pass confidence and encouragement on to others also when they need it.
    Help other people. As I wrote before, the more people you help, the better your life can be. Also remember that it’s usually the teacher who learns the most, so work closely with others to help them, and you’ll get grow as your confidence grows.
    Focus on the positives in life and surround yourself with them. Many people focus their conversations on negative things like the bad experience they had at the grocery store two days ago or how their partner mistreated them that morning. Instead of talking about negative things, praise and compliment other people or tell a story of an extraordinary happy moment in your life. Compliments are like ice cream – a sweet treat. The more you build someone up, the more positive both you and the recipient will feel. You will like you more and your confidence will grow. By looking for the best in others you will bring out the best in yourself.
    Sit in the front of the room. I’ve noticed at shows and classes and other events that many people tend to gravitate toward sitting in the back of the room as far away from the presenter or teacher as they can possibly get. Most people don’t want to stand out or be noticed and perhaps risk being the center of attention should the presenter call on them to answer a question or assist in some sort of demonstration. Yes, this is a confidence issue. You will always find me front and center. I don’t want to miss a thing. The next time you go to a show or a class or some sort of presentation, sit in the front!
    Try new things! New and different experiences will build your mind and make you feel better about yourself. Challenges bring on confidence. Even if you don’t necessarily succeed as you intended, you will gain confidence in knowing that at least you were brave enough to try. The more new experiences and challenges you go through, the stronger your confidence will be and the faster it will grow. Starting today, commit to trying something new every day!
    As we live our lives, we will find that we may be naturally confident in a certain task we do routinely or a particular ability that we possess. Think of an area of your life where you are naturally confident, be it in your job responsibilities or in playing a musical or instrument or a video game.

    The confidence you have in that area of your life can be transferred and used in an area of your life where you are less confident. Draw from the secure areas of your life and apply that confidence to other things. Your confidence will overcome your fear.
    FEAR

    Fear is mainly in the mind. I’ve heard fear referred to before as False Evidence Appearing Real. You be the judge. You can take control of any fear you have. Fear is in the same realm as anxiety. Everything we’ve discussed about confidence can also be applied to the realm of fear.

    There are ten basic fears that many people share.
    The fear of rejection – being afraid of not being accepted by a person or a group.
    The fear of change – going down a path that has not been followed before.
    The fear of failure – things will not work out the way they should.
    The fear of success – feeling guilty for our accomplishments and our successes we have achieved.
    The fear of poverty – where will your next meal come from or whether or not you have somewhere to sleep tonight.
    The fear of disapproval – what will people say if you do this or what will they think if you do that?
    The fear of ill health – getting sick or getting hurt.
    The fear of people not liking you – will anyone like you? We all have a strong yearning to be loved.
    The fear of old age – growing old and perhaps losing more and more independence and health.
    The fear of death – something that will happen to all of us (yes, you too.)
    One of the ways I have found to conquer fear is to view what I need to do as a challenge rather than as a seeming death sentence.
    When I first started performing, sometimes a healthy fear of negative criticism would pop into my brain. I would then challenge myself to give the audience the best show they’ve ever seen in their lives. The fear would quickly subside, and the show would be great!
    Another way to overcome fear is to keep doing what you are afraid of doing until the fear goes away. If you have a fear of speaking in front of an audience, find a venue where you can speak in front of people such as in business meetings or at community gatherings. If you have a fear of swimming, go swimming a couple times a week until you aren’t afraid anymore.

    A third way to conquer fear is to learn as much as we can about the thing or person that we fear. If you have a fear of being struck by lightning, for example, it will help to eliminate your fear if you were to research lightning recorded fatalities and injuries and then discover ways to protect yourself and also learn that the chance of something like this happening is slim to none.
    Or that person who you have a fear of, learn of them and their passions. Become their friend if possible. Gain knowledge of them as you get to know them.
    Knowledge is the solution to fear.

    Fears are simply your state of mind at that time. There is a saying I heard once, “Don’t should on yourself.” When I talk to people I never say, “I should do that,” or “I’m working toward that.” I work until I accomplish my goal. If I encounter fear along the way, I use the strategies I’ve shared with you and I JUST DO IT! Your mind will conjure up fears, founded or unfounded. Fear of the future is pointless.

    Live in full confidence that you will get through anything.

    Fears are usually precarious, but they can be good sometimes—Surprise, Surprise—there are good things about fear. Fear can help us to stay focused; they can keep us safe, and at times, fear may even keep us alive.

    Your mind and body react with fear sometimes as a way of protecting you, but you can control that reaction such that the fear doesn’t overwhelm you. When we are afraid, our first instinct is to tighten up our body and turn off our minds — we develop into the opposite of sincerity and playfulness.

    Being open and playful will chase fear away. Reducing fear and anxiety and opening oneself up to new dreams and potential is the first step toward a more lasting sense of achievement. Stir up hope and positive thoughts in your mind as soon as you feel fear to reorient yourself towards a better direction.
    Transforming fear into hope is never a one-time event. We will have to do this many times in our lives. It follows then that we must develop ongoing strategies and habits to continually keep any fear at bay.
    Think about it.

    Think back to when you were a child, you would try things that were beyond you with no fear at all.
    When we are children, we have much less fear.

    After my first accident, I had the fear that any adult might have about such a change. I was afraid I would never walk again, that I could never speak articulately again, or that I could never juggle again (gasp!) I had to develop techniques and ways to get through and over my fears.

    To get over the fear of something, study it and figure out exactly what it is that you are afraid of. In your mind, be able to accept the worst that can happen, and also the best that can happen. Then, most importantly, take action.

    Without taking action, we will stay in fear—forever.

    Taking action to eliminate our fears is a key to success. Another technique that helped me, and can help you, is to picture yourself doing whatever it is you fear. For me, it was seeing myself walking again without help. I developed the courage necessary to conquer the fear that I would fall and hurt myself or that I wouldn’t be able to walk again at all.

    An antidote to fear is courage.

    Be strong as you conquer your fear. As the cowardly lion knows, to develop courage, act as if you already had it. Just like we discussed faking confidence until it becomes natural and innate, if you fake courage long enough, you will be able to let go of the fear and only feel hope instead.

    After my accident, I learned of a man named Tony Robbins. Tony is a life coach known worldwide for his self-help books and motivational programs. He has a home (the Del Mar Castle) near where I lived in San Diego. I had the opportunity to attend one of Tony’s free motivational events after which Tony and I were able to talk.

    He invited me to one of his firewalk motivational programs which included a segment at the end of the program where attendees could walk across a hot bed of coals as a means of helping them to conquer their fears.

    During his presentation, Tony would encourage his audience and build each person up within their own minds. He would assure everyone that the coals would not harm their feet and related the fear of the coals and being burned to other limitations that people might put on themselves.

    Tony spoke of fear and how the mind can be powerful in overcoming fear. During his talk, a ten-foot path of wood was set on fire to burn down to coals. Out of two hundred people at the program that night, everyone made that walk across the hot coals.

    Strangely enough, the bottom of my left foot was not burned, but my right foot, which I have less feeling and control in, was burned. Mind controlling over your feet might seem like an automatic process, but that’s only because you’ve been doing it for so long that there is now a strong connection between your brain and your feet.

    After my accident, that mental connection was severed, and I lost a lot of the mental control that I had over my right foot which I believe allowed it to be burnt on the coals.

    Our brain controls so much of our body it is amazing.

    I’ve stayed in contact with Tony over the years and continue to enjoy his motivational techniques and programs. Tony’s programs are more proof that there are ways to conquer your fears.

    Joining Tony at his home for lunch with just him and me was a delight. Later, attending his wedding at his Del Mar Castle was a joy.

    While we’ve discussed many ways to conquer fear, some people will simply evade fear. Evading fear might make you feel safe, but it won’t take you where you want to go in life. There are several ways that people will evade fear.

    1. By being disturbingly normal.
    2. By staying away from other people.
    3. By not taking any risks in life.
    4. By forfeiting what makes them a special individual just so they can fit into the crowd.

    Engaging in these behaviors will lead to quite a boring and mundane life. Rather than trying to run from fear, engage it. Teach yourself to deal with your fear in a good way. Care more about yourself and your future and what you have to add to the world than about any fear that shows its ugly face in your mind.

    Break through your fears.

    When things look bleak, and you are afraid, feed your mind with optimism, confidence, drive, and determination. Persevere knowing that it will take years sometimes to break through some fears and become successful.

    Use problems and frustrations and fears as an incentive for you to work even harder. I know you can do it, and you will NOT fail! Fear of failure becomes fear of achievement for those of us who don’t ever try anything new.

    My friend, conquer your fears! Take off the limits and confidently accomplish your goals!


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  • BLOG 51—In Colorado

    As I wrote you in the last blog, I want to get this out to you every Sunday. That puts more pressure on me to get things together in a quality way quickly–a good thing. We are off to Rocky Mountain National Park today, you will hear more later.

    September 5, 2016–After the last week in the wilderness, Tina Miller and I are back to another Walmart parking lot to spend the night. We were up to about 10,000 feet, got very cold at night about 2.7c (37f). Now, back down to 5,000, it is much more comfortable, about 23.8c (75f).

    We went from the mountains and trees to a semi-desert/prairie; more and more wondrous lands to capture our attention. Into Colorado now, much beauty–along with gas pipelines–just did not fit.

    Sep 6–What a fantastic day! Well, we did wake up in a Walmart parking lot, so that is not so good, but the day went on to become fabulous. We went about 20 miles down the wrong road at first, but that was alright, this road turned out to be the wrong way for where we were heading, but the scenery was well worth it.

    On this diversion we did see a farm stand with fresh produce, we acquired much.

    In referring to the map we saw a small marking for a National Park—Black Canyon of the Gunnison. My expectations were not high for this place, after all, we have been seeing, but was I in for a surprise.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaHE41qrKoU

    We stopped at the visitor’s center and saw some photos; my visions for this place were starting to change. On the drive, we saw a very deep canyon with a river at the bottom—the Gunnison River. We drove to the end of the seven-mile trip down the south rim—it just got better and better.

    We decided to drive to the end, where, we were told, there were picnic tables there. I have not had such a pleasant meal in such a long time. We made sandwiches with things we just bought at the farmers market—chicken Salad, lettuce, tomato, avocado and we split a small watermelon—a delicious feast.

    A great meal in a beautiful park, warm weather, the sounds of wind and birds, the smell of pine, in the company of a wonderful person–who could ask for more.

    While driving, we both agreed that this is an experience we will never have again, going to these places once more, that is. There are so many other places to go and see, we are on our way.

    As I have written once before—experiences are much more important than any amount of money you may have—but it is up to you, you are the one who has to make the experiences happen—so start now!

    As far as experiences, you don’t have to go to a National Park or Forest to have them, even a local park will do. My friend, Daniel Powell, knows this well. He does travel much, but he makes the most of everywhere he is.

    We learned about how this area was built, initially because the earth thrust up the land. Then, through volcanoes and the river carving away more of the rock, this large and beautiful canyon was developed through millions of years.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_LPCQqKzXM

    They put many informative signs around the park; it was a great learning lesson, too. We discovered various layers when you look across the canyon at the other side, there are layers that, we were told, are from millions of years ago, and some that are billions of years old.

    When I hear of people who, according to their bible, think the earth is only about 6 to 10,000 years old, it makes no sense to me. Hard for me to comprehend how these people can think like that way and still live.

    On through this paradise, we stopped at one overlook and three buzzards seemed to be doing a show for us. They were riding updrafts of wind and flying closer and closer, remarkable to see.

    You see the photos, quite nice, yet when you see this place live is amazing.

    Sep 7—We saw on the map The Great Sand Dunes National Park, and, since we are planning on going to most (all) the national parks, we had to.

    As we are driving I am typing this on a laptop which is plugged into the cigarette lighter, so is being charged by the van battery. Right now I have to go see more fantastic sites, so, bye for now.

    Currently, we are passing over the continental divide, once again, and here it is 10,149 feet (3.09 kilometers) in Height.

    After surmounting this pass, we drove through more severely scenic mountain areas to reach The Great Sand Dunes National Park. But, it was as we expected, not much to see. I was hoping there might be some forests nearby and such, but you could just look out and see dunes. Quite interesting to see, I much say. Strange to see part of the Sahara Desert at the base of a forest, quite perplexing how this got here.
    At least we can say we’ve been there, so can you:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWvE0sBCuVc

    Funny to be in Colorado, we are seeing official marijuana stores. We recently read a story about how the pot sales business is really taking off and is making millionaires out of many who are selling.

    Sep 9—Last night we slept on some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land at no charge, many others camping here, too. Right on a river, it really us quite nice to find this place. It’s funny, right next to this tremendous place is an RV Park where you pay quite a sum to stay the night when right next door here it’s free.

    And, today we went to see Jennifer Dempsey and Joe Lobeck and http://www.thesalidacircus.com/ — what wonderful programs they have put together. I coached Joe some on his juggling and that felt good. Here is Joe >> https://www.facebook.com/profile.php…

    Now we are going through more beautiful mountains toward Rocky Mountain National Park. We just went above 10,000 feet once again; way up here.

    Passing through lovely mountain lakes, pristine forests, exquisite streams, delightful rivers—just can’t get enough.

    Sep 11—We spent the night at a campsite right on a big and beautiful late last night. We find places to stay fairly easily. As the sun rose and broke over a mountain peak, it was an enchantment for my eyes. Bring warm and light in the morning stillness, something most of us take for granted. But, out here in the wilderness the rising of the sun is magical.


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