October 2011

The air is cool and it’s actually deliciously crisp in the mornings. We have colorful leaves on the trees here in Los Angeles – the trees that still have leaves. Sunset is before 6:00PM. There were deep oranges and reds in the sunset this evening. I had the urge to go apple picking today! The best I could do was call my “apple-picking” buddy in Ohio and chat about that!

Welcome to Fall in Los Angeles!



Did you ever fight that negative voice? I’ve fought it many times, but recently I waged a full-blown battle.

It was an overcast, cool morning and I was on vacation. No pressing reason to jump out of bed. Yet, there was no reason to stay supine. I felt rested and had energy. That’s when the battle began. First, it was a small voice, “You’re tired. You’ve worked hard. Stay in bed and relax.”

I countered, “I’m rested. It’s a nice cool day. It’s time to get up and greet it.”

“Why,” the voice asked, raising itself a few notches. “You’ve been saying how tired you are. Relax.”

“I can relax after I’m up and moving,” I responded. “It’s nice a cool – a great time of day for a walk.”

“What?!! A walk!” the voice yelled.  “But your foot hurts. How are you going to walk? Stay in and rest up!”

“I’ll walk slowly,” I calmly and firmly responded. “I want to move around. And if I’m tired, or my foot hurts too much, I can rest it later.”

I started to sit up and something pushed me down.

“Don’t you push me!” I retorted. And I quickly, deftly dodged the next push as I jumped out of bed.

And you know what? My foot didn’t hurt any more. The walk was lovely. I enjoyed crunching some of the early colorful leaves on the ground and breathing the cool, crisp air.

And I wasn’t tired. One battle won!

Early one morning I heard a thunderous crash outside my kitchen window. A noisy motor pierced the (formerly) quiet morning. Then I heard another deafening crash that shook my building – a mixture of feeling an earthquake and hearing ear-splitting thunder. Tentatively, I peeked through the curtain. The sun was just rising and so was this huge, yellow/orange arm of a crane! I saw the crane move up and then its mouth – complete with oversized jagged teeth – came toward my window.

 “YIKES! That mouth is going to eat my building!”

And just as the mouth was about to bite, the arm attached to it swerved carefully toward the building next door. Chomp! Crash! Boom! The wall of the school building next door crumbled noisily to the ground. This mouth wasn’t satisfied though. It wanted more. It deftly and hungrily chomped through the rest of the building.

The long-awaited (for the school, that is) destruction was in process. The school was destroying one of their old structures and will build a new, modern facility. And I had a front row seat!

“Well,” I thought, “If I have a front row seat, there is a reason. What does this mean for me? What can I learn from this scene?”

The obvious: In order to build a new structure, we have to completely destroy an old structure. Then we move the rubble away.

The not-so-hidden: In order to build up my character traits and good habits, I need to destroy those traits that hold me down, keep me from making progress. If I want to grow, I may need to destroy some old, rotting structure.

The hidden (and thanks to the friend who revealed this): In order to build any building, the construction workers dig a sturdy foundation. And if you want to build a tall building, there must be a proportionately deep foundation. So too with spiritual growth (or self-improvement): If I want to grow to great heights, I need to dig down deep, uproot the character traits that no longer serve me. Only then can I begin the building process.

Chomp at those habits and negative character traits. Toss them in the dumpster and have them hauled away. Destroy so we can build.

I wish the school much success in this process! And thanks for the lesson!