Tag Archives: Change


One of my readers hoped that the reason I hadn’t been blogging recently was because I was off drawing with my new-found pastel chalks. I wish I could say that was my excuse for being absent this last month, but the truth is that I have been doing my best to lift the spring semester off the ground.

One of my favorite courses to teach is “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” Not only do they learn how to use the expressive arts (writing, painting, clay, dance, music and more) in doing counseling, but to use the arts to re-discover the creativity within.

This past week I gave my students an assignment to write about one of the metaphors in their lives.

Metaphors are all around us, and I offered suggestions for my students to find them in unexpected places.

One of my personal favorites is the metaphor of sailing. I’ve used it so many times in the past that it’s almost become a cliché, and yet it is a strong metaphor for me. Those of you who have been reading my posts fairly regularly will remember that I lived on my 37’ sloop for five years.

I moved off my sailboat to the Phoenix area when I was assigned to be a pastor there. About six months into that appointment, one of the men in the church came to me and said, “This is the first Sunday you haven’t mentioned sailing.” He went ahead to say that he wasn’t tired of it, but that it emphasized the fact of how many ways sailing was a rich metaphor for our lives.

We’ve seen many sailing metaphors illustrated on posters or key chains and the like. I am reminded of one metaphor in particular that continually comes into my life, and that is the way we have to maneuver the boat in order to get to our destination.

You know that a sailboat cannot go directly into the wind without being stalled. The sailor must tack back and forth, sailing just off the wind, yet never losing sight of our goal.

The same thing is true of my life. When I am not able to sail directly toward my goal without getting stalled, I don’t need to let that stop me. I can veer off course a little as long as I keep in mind where I ultimately want to go.

This has been true so many times – with education, career, home, relationships. How easy it would have been to give up, rather than to let the wind carry me in a different direction!

A hui hou!

A Season of Changes

It has been a summer of emptying old boxes full of junk, planting seeds, watering because of (or perhaps in spite of) the drought, reading delicious murder mysteries, writing a little here and there, and even spending some time being totally slothful.

Now on this sixteenth day of August, 2010, I am officially back to work as a full-time instructor in a community college. A week from now, classes will begin, each class full of students eager to learn. Well, I think most of them are.

At one point, I was working so hard to catch up with chores here at home that I was ready to go back to teaching so I could relax. By the end of summer, those chores were (mostly) completed and I had more opportunity to kick back, have a little fun.

So while I’m looking forward to the first day of classes, some new faces, some familiar faces, several students looking toward graduation so they can either go off to a four year school or get into a depressed job market.

Summer isn’t officially over, first day of autumn is still a month away, and winter is practically nonexistent here in Hawai`i, although there are seasonal changes. In the area where I live, the plumeria (frangipani) loses its leaves, there is a bit of briskness in the morning breeze coming down from the mountain, the hens are not laying as profusely, and I am delayed by school buses that manage to get ahead of me.

All of this rambling leads me to say that I’m a mixture of reluctance, anticipation, joy, relief, sadness. Through all the changes that happen in life, I hope I will continue to inspire even a handful of students to become who they are meant to be. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

A hui hou!

Comfort Zones

One of the weather announcers this week talked about the seasonal climates and how people react to them. On the mainland, almost every area is experiencing some horrendous heat, and people wish it would cool down. This person showed pictures of the same geographic area complaining about the extremely cold weather and snow conditions earlier in the year.

A statement was flashed across the screen that said the comfort zone for most people was between 68 and 78 degrees, and that anything on either side of that was outside our comfort zone. My own physical comfort zone fits into what the television suggested, which is one of the main reasons I live in Hawai`i (big smile).

We have other comfort zones, of course. Many people find a comfort zone in the way they eat, and become uncomfortable about trying new cuisine, even when they are traveling in a foreign country. That has never been one of my dis-comfort zones. I love to eat too much not to try almost anything in the way of food.

For others, the comfort zone might be the clothes they wear, or hair styles, never trying anything new or outrageous. I think it’s fun to step out of the box in these and many other areas once in a while.

I do know about comfort zones, however. Typically, I am a painfully shy person whenever I am not in a familiar setting. People who know me, have problems thinking of me as being such a social recluse and introverted person. If I am with a group of people I know well, or if I am standing in front of a classroom of students where I am “in charge,” I am fine. Mostly I tend to avoid situations where I won’t know anyone, or if I am not sure what is going to be happening.

This past Saturday, I posted about my cheesemaking experience. At least once a day after I signed up for the class, I wanted to back out, then forced myself not to. (I’m not even very visible in the picture at the top!) Once I got to the class, met the others who had come to make cheese, and got started in a process that was so much fun, I completely forgot to feel shy.

Where are your comfort zones? How would you describe them to someone? At least once a month I try to push myself into a situation where I am out of my comfort zone. What do you do to get outside your box?


Feral Fables

“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”

That is the first sentence in the introduction to my new book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange, unexplainable way.

We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.

Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and have handy at all times. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are male or female, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable.

What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.

If you are an e-book reader, you can get your copy of Feral Fables by clicking here. If you prefer to have a hard copy, a place where you can write notes in the margins, then a hard copy will soon be available. I’ll keep you posted.

You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.


Your Best Year Is Coming Up!

Tonight at midnight, it will become 2010. I’ve never believed in making resolutions for the New Year. What I like to do instead is set goals, both long-term and short-term. These are usually in several categories.

My favorite book for this is Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny S. Ditzler. It’s just a little paperback that asks ten questions “for making the next twelve months your most successful ever.” I’ve used it for the past ten years or longer, not only for myself but for my students.

This book can be used in any area of your life, from income to relationships to self-esteem. One reason I love this book is that it starts out with looking at what you accomplished over the past year. This acknowledges the positive aspects of your life rather than just those things that didn’t work out.

We may think we know what we want for our life, but until it is written down with a bit of structure and planning, it goes nowhere. We cannot leave our life up to chance.

At the end of just a few hours you end up with a one-page summary of your plan for the next year. They become your own words of wisdom for the year. This kind of exercise can help to change your life from merely “good” to “great!” That’s something we all deserve!

May you create joy and abundance in all things this next year!

I’m off to work on my own 2010 goals!

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)