Mountain of Gratitude

Life at times flows effortlessly, and other times there are huge mountains to climb, obstacles to overcome, and new seas to sail.  It is during these times that we will be blessed with people to help us through our journeys, as they lift our spirits, support us emotionally, listen to our fears and offer guidance to help put our minds at ease.

Sometimes in life, the people that we hope or expect to be there for us, disappoint us greatly, while others may lift us up and support us along the way.  For all of you that have helped support me over the past six months as I have made some major life changes, I want to thank you.

To all my friends, close and far, and to all my blog followers and to the people I have met along the way, thank you for being a part of my life, as you have filled me with hope, joy, and gratitude.  You all have made my journey a truly blessed one that has changed my life in many ways.  As I continue to begin anew, I will make this journey with peace and serenity that you have instilled in me through your wise and compassionate souls.

So to each and every one of you that have reached out in support, I truly thank you for being a part of my life.  I am truly grateful in more words than I can ever say.

Life is good…

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Minimal Waste

Preparing for relocation from the tropics to the mountains, I decided to downsize again and began the painful process of going through my belongings and discarding what was no longer needed.

Living in southern Florida, I already owned flip-flops for the beach, but I ended up purchasing several more pairs shortly after arriving because they were on sale for $1.00, thinking they were cheap and convenient, I threw them into my shopping cart and went on my way.

I wore the flipflops all throughout the summer and they continued to stay in relatively good condition but I knew that I didn’t need or want a bunch of flip-flops in the mountains at an altitude of 7000 feet, so they had to go.  Not wanting to be a part of a throwaway society, I thought about what to do with them.  Goodwill and other charities would not take them because they were cheap and worn.

Most people would have just tossed them into the garbage without a second thought, but I didn’t want to contribute to the landfill and thought about all the products that are for a single use or one-time purpose only, and end up polluting the environment for decades or more.

Then I started to ask myself some questions.  Why had I purchased them in the first place?  I no longer wanted to spend my time or money on material things which brought short-term pleasure and extended misery, yet I had made an impulse purchase.  I knew I had to do better in the future.  I thought about all the stuff that I had purchased over the years and the money I had wasted.  Then I realized that I was participating in the wastefulness that I did not want to be a part of.  Something even as small and insignificant as a pair of flip-flops has a great impact on the environment.  I then remembered a story about a man in Africa that was making artwork out of old flip-flops that had washed up in the ocean. That was my answer!  I could send the flip-flops to the artist in Kenya. After some research, I found the organization but they responded that due to the country’s levying duty, that they were no longer taking donations. Instead, they suggested that I donate them to a local school where children could make recycled art out of them.  I loved this idea!

The simple act of buying a pair of flipflops isn’t simple at all but impacts your personal finances, your environment, as well as making a global impact.  What we discard here, may cause environmental problems somewhere else. For me personally, I wasted my own money, brought more unwanted junk into my home, then had the problem of how to get rid of them in an environmentally friendly way.  If I hadn’t purchased the flip-flops in the first place, I wouldn’t haven’t had to deal with any of this.

Next time you buy anything, think about how many purposes the item or object has before it is thrown away.  Sometimes we can’t avoid a single use product, but if we try to think outside of the box, we may be able to keep things out of the landfill and oceans by giving them a longer lifespan.

Check out this link!  This guy is inspirational!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZV9J62Z2Vk

New App for Anger, Depression and Self-Esteem

The Dirty Cloud Maker

Available on Amazon, Kindle, Apple Store and Google Play

The Dirty Cloud Maker is a therapeutic tool for addressing anger, depression, and self-esteem issues in children and adolescents.

Read along with the paperback version, or use the interactive story app that allows children to pop dirty clouds and make negative emotions disappear as they journey with the Dirty Cloud Maker as he transforms his dark and miserable world into a joy filled happy life.

The Dirty Cloud Maker is an inspirational story about an angry troubled character who turns his bad thoughts into dark dirty clouds and sends them out into the universe where they negatively affect others.

The Dirty Cloud Maker is a reminder of the power of choices, and how each choice we make either brings us closer to happiness or leads us deeper into despair.

Available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Cloud-Maker-Karolee-Bulak/dp/1721216847/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1533213981&sr=8-2&keywords=the+dirty+cloud+maker

Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FNH5FQ4

Apple Story App (Interactive):

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dirty-cloud/id1406543017?mt=8

Google Play (Android):

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=book.KaroleeBulak.TheDirtyCloudMaker

Navajo Country

I knew that I was traveling to a remote part of the country, but I didn’t realize how far away I was actually going until I boarded my last flight out of Phoneix on a tiny Pilatus PC-12 aircraft that seats eight passengers maximum, eventually landing on top of the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona.

I was informed that I would be tired as I adjusted to the elevation of over 7000 feet, as my body began to build red blood cells to adjust to the thin atmosphere.  Not only was I tired due to the altitude, but I also had to adjust to the time change after having traveled over 2,200 miles, beginning in Eastern Standard Time and ending in Mountain Standard Time.

My week was spent exploring the area, meeting interesting people and hearing their stories, as some travelled through, while others have made their homes amongst the mountains.

Mountain life is different from the mainstream, but if you are seeking a place of raw natural beauty, where the goal of life isn’t commercialism or consumerism, then the White Mountains is a place where you will find happiness through aromatic ponderosa pines, beautiful lakes and rivers, and seeing elk and wild horses roaming the landscape.

My week in the White Mountains gave me a taste of mountain life and a respect for the people who live there.  A beautiful place with heart and wild natural soul.

Dirty Carrots

Anger, we all get afflicted at times, but instead of spreading anger, be creative with it!

John Shuman is a Professional Actor when he is not out climbing mountains or canoeing rivers.  John is a vegetarian who is partial to carrots.  Here is his story:

Carrots  Along  The  Allagash

I recently canoed the Allagash River in very remote Northwest Maine. The area is north of the famed Mt.  Katahdin and it’s northern terminus is quite close to Canada’s New  Brunswick. This was a Sierra Club trip of 10 participants, a leader, and a guide who works as a ranger on the Allagash.

It’s an amazing experience not without lots of challenges. We hit very hot weather which changed with a rainstorm and turned into a cold chill. Bugs of all kinds ruled the roost:  no see ums, horse flies( and do they hurt), black flies and of course mosquitoes. Our Ranger told us we were lucky to have only a mild bug condition. That “mild” was the worst I’ve ever encountered.

Our leader spoke to us of the importance of getting along, working together to make the ex-perience a worthwhile one. This was indeed a key factor,  I broke my tent on the first day and lots of folks pitched in to enable me to get some shelter. Cooking and cleaning of meals was shared.

With no background in preparing dinner for 12, I was beyond my comfort zone but received help.  Then again the others must have realized without help there may just not be a meal that day.

My test came with a bag of carrots. Our busy leader grabbed some carrots out of the bag one evening during hors d’oeuvres and placed the carrots next to my waiting hands.  As she turned away the  bag toppled over and about 14 carrots hit the dirt.  She noticed the fall, turned to me and said , “John- you can pick those up.”  She had assumed that I – who had already broken a tent- had dislodged the bag.

She moved on to other challenges and I had wanted to inform her that it was she- not I- who was responsible.  I have no problem with the assignment but the blame needed to be rectified, and then I realized it didn’t matter and I didn’t want to start a “you did it” argument…Getting along was more important.

So I let sleeping carrots lie.  If only the horseflies slept with them.

Diversity of LIfe

“Life is like a tomato.  When it falls to the ground, it begins to rot.”  Dooley explained, “Life rots unless we experience different things and have new adventures.”

I was inspired by Dooley’s perspective on life, being a man who celebrates diversity. Dooley currently teaches inmates in prison, helping them to achieve their GED diplomas.  He expressed that his inspiration is to help redirect prisoners lives.  He said he always goes to work being “hopeful” and said that he retains hope in difficult situations.

In the past, Dooley worked in the wool industry in Boston, the fish industry in Los Angeles, and in New Mexico where he worked in politics with Ralph Nadar.  Now he lives and works in southern Florida.  Dooley said some people say that he doesn’t know what he wants, but he said this is false because his goal is to experience the fullness and diversity of life in many ways. Dooley has run the Boston Marathon six times and bikes 20 miles a day on average.

Dooley has a great attitude towards life and says that his message is to “Stay positive and move forward.”

Unlike the rotting tomato, Dooley’s life is full of life and flavor!

Minimal Abundance

Living abundantly minimal sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t.

Having recently relocated to the tropics, I have been envious of people who have mango, coconut, orange, lemon and lime trees in their yards. I often see mangoes rotting on the ground, with the exception of birds and other small animals that eat the fruit, I wondered why people did not give their mangoes away for free.  Isn’t it better to share your abundance than to waste it?

Yesterday I drove down a new street and saw a box of mangoes on the side of the road with a sign that said, “Free”.  I quickly pulled over and walked across the street and excitedly picked out four large mangoes.  I was grateful to the person who was offering to share their abundance with random strangers. There was even a pair of men’s shoes there for the taking.

Later I thought about how living minimal, doesn’t mean you can’t live abundantly, in fact, the opposite is true.  Living minimal means there is more to share with others!

This morning I drove back to the box of mangoes and left a thank you note to let them know how grateful I was for their kindness and generosity.

My goal is to live minimally and abundantly. Think about your own abundance and what you can share with others, whether it is your garden, your clothes, your wisdom or your time.  You probably have more to share than you realize.

Happiness is a mango lunch!