Blog 16–Back to the beginning

In the past posts to you I have covered where we have gone and some of what we have done, with some inspiration intermixed. Starting with this post, I want to include more motivation and ideas for you to add to and, perhaps, make your life better. That is what I would like to do, as time permits, of course.

Loving life on the road, Tina and my life are growing bigger and better each and every day.

August 28-September 5—Still heading back toward our old home area near Allentown, PA. Why, look at that, the Allegheny National Forest in right on the way! What a joy, back to the woods for us. This large forest has many campgrounds; we picked a smaller one at first, less people and such. No connection for the phone or computer here.
Image result for allegheny forest camping

Nice not having any connection to the outside world, like the old days it is.

Minister Creek for our stay, and so glad we did. With only six campsites, we were the only ones in the campground for the first two nights, it was during the week. As weekend came more people came. We were camped right next to a stream, how nice.

Two days at Minister Creek, then off to Buckaloons (Buckaloons is a fun word to say, huh?) campground, a big change. No stream or lakes to speak of, more people here, hear some traffic on a road traveling by (do you like how I used “here” and then “hear”?) But, they have grass covered campsites for juggling and there are showers. So, a trade off.

​But, just one night at the Buckaloons was all we could take; the morning traffic was just too much to bear, although we did hear more birds. Minister Creek was calling us back; we both had our ears open, off we went.

At Minister Creek, one week ago, a tree fell on a girl asleep in her tent, death occurred. (makes me thankful that I am still here to write these words to you.) But, we cannot live in fear of death, yet, we have to complete all we want to before your end (I have so much more to do.)

Every morning and evening I am taking charge of having a fire, as I wrote before, fires are so mesmerizing to stare at. Your mind simply drifts off, have you experienced this? You get lost in your mind and go to a good place. Sending some time out foraging for dead trees and wood for the fire; I am easily finding much. Of course, it is for sale, too. Yet, $10 for a small amount simply won’t cut it.

You can tell that I have been tending to the fire; I have hardly any hair on the back of my hands. Chest hair in OK, though, I keep my shirt on. From birth I have not had much hair on my chest (well, one or two), it is not because of the fire.

A question for you—as a fire burns, where does the wood go? I know it is a chemical change, but a pile of 4 meters of wood turns into a 4 millimeter pile of ashes.

Perhaps I should have studied science more? Can you explain this to me?

As above, I’ve decided to start using the metric system, a much better system of measurement. It will be a new language to learn—I want to! I wrote before that President Jimmy Carter was trying to convert the US to the metric system, but lazy Americans did not want to learn this new language.

My challenge to you: learn and start using the metric system.

The trouble I have been finding with the fire is that people before us use this as a garbage pit, instead of a fire pit. After arrival, I have to clear out old cans, cigarette butts, foil and more, to throw away, before I start using the pit for a fire, what a terrible thing.

What is especially dreadful is seeing cigarette butts scattered around the campground at times.
In these beautiful natural settings people do such a dastardly deed.
If you do smoke (for some weird reason) please extinguish your cigarette then deposit into a trash can.

One nice thing I am finding is cooking directly on the grill over the fire. Somehow the food tastes better.

In the creek right outside our backdoor Tina saw some crawdads doing what they do. When I was young (6-8 years of age, I forget), Sandy and Tommy used to take us camping and we were able to catch many many crawdads. A good dinner, I must say.

A stream is a strange thing for me. The water seems to flow through quite constant on it’s way down and toward the sea. There has not been much rain in the area, yet it keeps coming at the same pace. I know that this stream starts at, perhaps, a lake upstream then feeds into a river down the way. It’s just the constant stream of water in the stream does not stop. Where does it come from?

There are some bugs around, flies and mosquitoes and such. Once again, the English language is a strange beast. We call things the go in the air—be it a bug or a jet—that they fly or are flying.

Why call this little insect a “fly”?

What a lazy thing, simply to call this small bug “fly”. People walk, why were we not just called, “walk”? Seems quite lazy that the people who coined this English word did not take more effort to develop a word for this bug?

There is another one. Things that bother us we say, “It bugs us.” Bugs are such a big part of the earth; a good thing. If there is something we don’t like we should not say, it “bugs” us. Is it a problem that we could not find another word to use? That does bother (not bug) me.

Now to the alphabet. The letter “W” is a real problem for me. This is the only letter with more than one consonant. There is “U” and then “V” and then, instead of calling it with the sound, such as, “wa”, they called it doubleU, because it “looks” like two u’s. Talk about lazy. Now we have to use that, when speaking this language, for all eternity.

Now to numbers. All numbers are just one consonant except “7”, why would they not simply call it something like, “sev”, with just one consonant, instead of the double consonant of “seven”? Now, once again, we all have to live with this little mistake forever.
Sorry I went off like that (no, I’m not sorry.)

The mornings are getting colder now, although, for our whole trip, we never did run into any uncomfortable weather that was a temp higher than 80 or lower than 65 (18 and 26 celsius) That is what we want to aim for, the nice weather, always. So, traveling to meet the good weather we are.

A few more nights with the Minister, then on to another camp, Dew Drop Campground, a fun name, for a few days. A bigger camp this one, more people, yet, less to do.

Back to nature?—far from it at Dew Drop:
Dogs barking
People talking
Someone pounding a stake
Motor boats on the lake
Cars driving faster
Power generators
Someone’s chainsaw
Crows saying “Caw”
(Kind of rhymes, huh?)
Nice to get out of there.

Two days ago I came upon this quote from Horace Mann, which I had read before:
“Until you have done something for humanity, you should be ashamed to die.”
This says so much, and what I have lived by for many years. I am hoping I am adding to your life in a good way.

September 6–In driving from away from the Allegheny Forest we came upon a sign for Kinzua Sky Walk, and had to see.
http://visitanf.com/kinzua-state-park-sky-walk/

An amazing bridge that was built in the 1800’s before mechanical ways to build. I am wondering how they accomplished what they did. The bridge was originally built from iron in 1882 and was billed as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, holding the record as the tallest railroad bridge in the world for two years. In 1900, the bridge was dismantled and simultaneously rebuilt out of steel to allow it to accommodate heavier trains. It stayed in commercial service until 1959 and was sold to the Government of Pennsylvania in 1963, becoming the centerpiece of a state park. Restoration of the bridge began in 2002, but before it was finished, a tornado struck the bridge in 2003, causing a large portion of the bridge to collapse. Corroded anchor bolts holding the bridge to its foundations failed, contributing to the collapse.

September 7—Off to State College, PA to see Tina’s daughter, Tracy. She is doing so well in your life. A great job, wonderful place to life, and living a happy life.

Now: Back to the Beginning.

We have circled around the northeast of the US and ended up back where we started. After our short visit with Tracy we drove directly out to the Allentown area. After arriving, I wanted to get back to the mountains, right away. South toward Key West is next on the agenda.

We have arrived where we started this trip from. Tina wanted to be here for the Jewish holidays and to be near family, so, back we go to the Allentown area.
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Living the Flow Life
by Kit Summers

As my life is running now it reminds me of a feeling I used to get back when I worked on my juggling and was very successful. You see, as I’ve grown and matured in my life I have noticed a recurring pattern:

Things move smoothest—family life, friendships, business, and my plans—when I am in a state of flow. What I mean by “flow” is a feeling of happiness and moving ahead in the present while having a positive expectancy for the future.

Flow is pushing your mind and body to full fulfillment of potential.

I first captured this feeling back when I practiced juggling many hours a day; time was not present, only my juggling props and having them fly right. Later in my life I got this same flow when things were running smoothly and advancing, with no thought included.

In high school I did a lot of running and was on the cross country running team. I achieved this same “flow” while running. It is the pushing of your body and mind toward the limit.

As I was when juggling passionately, I was in an ecstatic state to such a point that I felt as though I almost didn’t exist. I experienced this time and again. My hands seemed devoid of myself, and I have nothing to do with what is happening. I just stand there watching the juggling pattern in a state of awe and wonderment. And the juggling props just flowed out of itself.

By learning how to enter the state of flow you can increase your productivity, perform better, be more creative, and be happier—all at the same time!

When you are completely involved in the process of practicing or creating something new, you don’t have enough attention left over to monitor how your body feels, or sense time passing by. The fact that you’re hungry or tired, or to even think about other things, doesn’t even come to mind. People in the flow state, like the juggler I was, enter a state of ecstasy as if they don’t exist.

Juggling is an activity that requires intense concentration. The passionate juggler’s body and his identity disappear while they are juggling because they don’t have enough attention to be able to juggle well and at the same time to feel that they exist. It’s as if their existence is temporarily suspended while they are creating. This passionate flow can be geared toward anything you are doing—intense concentration is the key.

To develop flow, try this:
You’re completely involved in what you’re doing: you’re completely passionate, focused and concentrated.

There’s a sense of ecstasy–of being outside of everyday reality, almost in a different world.

There’s a great inner clarity: you know what needs to be done and you get immediate feedback on how well you are doing.
You know that you are capable, that you have the necessary skills to complete the tasks successfully.

You lose your sense of self and all of your worries and concerns drift away, your mind goes to a different place.

You lose sense of time and you’re completely focused on the present moment.

There’s a natural motivation—whatever produces flow becomes it’s own reward.

From everything stated above it can be seen that in order to achieve the flow state the following needs to be followed:

Find a challenge. Choose something that you enjoy doing and can become passionate about. It can be anything, whether it’s juggling, playing the piano, working on your novel, skiing, horseback riding, playing golf or playing pool with a stick, and so on.

Develop your skills in order to be able to meet the challenge of the goal. Remember, if something is too easy you will be bored–and your mind is likely to wander so you won’t achieve the flow state. If something is too hard you will be overwhelmed and you won’t be able to achieve that confidence that is necessary for the flow state.

Set clear goals. You want to be very clear on what you want to achieve, how you will know you are succeeding, and what the finished goal is. Such as, I’m going to write a blog post on how to achieve the flow state. I’ll know that I’m succeeding if I can clearly explain what flow is, what flow’s major components are, why flow is beneficial, and how to achieve the objective.

Focus completely on the task at hand. Eliminate all other distractions: focus, focus. You don’t want anything to take your attention away from the task that you are performing; if your concentration is broken you’re going to lose the state of flow.

Make sure that you’ve set aside adequate time. As with my juggling practice, it’s very likely that it’s going to take you time to start to get into the flow state, and a while longer after that until you’re fully immersed. Once you enter flow you want to make sure that you make the most of it, instead of having to stop early because you have to go do something else.

Flow is a feeling of effortless action in what you are doing.

Let me break it down further. The state of flow has been described in different ways, such as “state”, “expectancy” and “positive stamina”. I believe these all referring to the same thing.

Flow is composed of, mainly, two things:
The first is being happy in the present time. This means being happy and joyful in your present state. It’s about enjoying the journey in your life and not the final destination you are aiming for. In our travels, the daily changes are fantastic; everything always new, challenging and changing.

The next ingredient is to have a vision. It’s about having a powerful, beautiful dream in your mind.

Now, ask yourself:
Who you want to be?
What you want to accomplish?
How you can add to other people’s lives?
What you want to contribute to the world in the now and in the future?
All of us can therefore exist in four states of mind based with these two ingredients.

Flow also happens when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable, so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. This is something I experienced in the various accidents and recoveries I have been through.

If your challenges are too low, you get back to flow by increasing and/or making them more challenging.

If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills and acquiring new techniques.”

You might experience flow while participating in a sport such as running, juggling, skiing, tennis, soccer, dancing.

When you are running your life as “you” want, as opposed to how others think you should, you are often experiencing flow.

Others might have such an experience while engaged in an activity such as singing, playing music, sewing, painting, drawing, or writing.

Without happiness in the present and without a future vision, you’re what I call in a “Negative Spiral” and you are going nowhere. In your mind, things feel bad now and will continue to look bad in the future. You are basically telling yourself nothing will ever get better on your path in life.

But, you can break out of this and get back to the flow.

If you’re happy in the present, but have no future vision, you are just “Content.” You are currently comfortable, but you’re not living your full potential. Two of our brain’s greatest needs are growth and contribution.

Without a future vision of who you want to be and what advances you want to make on the world, you’re really not living up to your true potential.

Next is a state that is very common with today’s workaholics and entrepreneurs: A solid vision of your future, but no happiness in your present.

This is what I call the “anxiety and stress” state. You have a vision, but you’re unhappy in the now. This is not a plan for success in your life.

The final and ideal state is “Flow.” You’re happy in the now “and” you have a strong vision of your future.

This is Flow, when the magic happens.

This mental state of flow is being completely involved in an activity or project for its own sake.

Your ego falls away.
Time flies.
Your mind is calm.
You have a smile on your face.

Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz music—smooth. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills in what you are doing to the utmost. I cannot do it anymore, but I can feel these feelings that I used to get from and with my juggling.

You have the power to bring this “flow” into your life when you need to. It is a mindset that you can set your mind to. A positive and joyful mind is what it takes. Remember, you have the power of your mind and what you think.

Flow tends to occur when a person faces a clear set of goals that require appropriate responses.

This same flow can be used to attract like minded people into your world. I am sure you have met people with this same confidence and are attracted to them. You see, “Thoughts” are really your desires and visions for what you want to attract into your life. Your “Emotions” describe your current state. The emotions you project should be positive and happy. Do you see how these two fit together so well?

And, perhaps, this is why: when we’re in a state of Flow, so many things in our life just seem to go “right”. The right people step into our lives, the right opportunities fall into our laps, everything seems to go so smoothly. It’s as if the world is conspiring on our behalf. People often call this, “luck”, but it is far and above any kind of luck.

I propose that we “chose” to live our lives in Flow.

Set big bold goals and enjoy the journey.
Your happiness should not be tied to the final achievement of your goals.
Live life in the moment and express gratitude for the little things that make you happy.

Yes, this “flow” can be accomplished at any age.

The most important discipline for me is to make sure I’m in that state of Flow every day.

Very hard to be there all the time, yet, I try.

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