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Monday, February 28, 2011

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

There's a new planet? In our solar system? Have any of you heard about this? It's not like I'm a complete news junkie or anything, but how do you miss the possibility of a new planet? Well, ok, so it's not officially official yet, but geez.

Tyche is the proposed name for this new planet. It's supposed to be huge too. Something like four times the size of Jupiter. And far away. If the earth is 1 Astronomical Unit away from the sun, Tyche is estimated to be 15,000 AU's away. That's 1.4 x (10 to the 12th power), or 1,400,000,000,000 miles. It's a cold gaseous planet too. No wonder it took so long to find it.

I had to look up just who this Tyche (Fortuna for you Romans out there.) was. She was the goddess of fortune, chance, providence and fate. She is represented carrying a rudder for steering the affairs of the world, or with a ball for the unsteadiness of fortune, or with a horn of plenty. She governed good fortune and prosperity of cities. Each city venerated it's own version of Tyche.

So, as with so many things in those days, if your luck was running high you had someone to praise for it. Of course if your luck had run out you definitely had someone to blame. I found an Aesop fable that features Tyche. I got this directly from theoi.com. It seems she has grown weary of taking the blame for every misfortune.

"The Traveler and Tykhe (Fortune). A Traveler wearied from a long journey lay down, overcome with fatigue, on the very brink of a deep well. Just as he was about to fall into the water, Lady Tykhe (Fortune) it is said, appeared to him and waking him from his slumber thus addressed him : `Good Sir, pray wake up: for if you fall into the well, the blame will be thrown on me, and I shall get an ill name among mortals; for I find that men are sure to impute their calamities to me, however much by their own folly they have really brought them on themselves.' Everyone is more or less master of his own fate."

Dig that moral? Everyone is more or less master of his or her own fate. Aesop lived in the mid-sixth century BC. Something like 2650 years ago? Give or take? What book do you suppose he got that from? What website did he pull up on his iPhone? What? No printed books back then? No pocket computer? Huh. Seems ol' Aesop knew way back then what so many have forgotten today.

No one rules over us. No one controls us. Yes, yes I know - there are ups and downs in life; how we handle them, how we respond, is completely up to us.

We spend so much time wishing something would change. Hoping someone will set us on the right path. Thinking about losing weight, or joining that gym. Quitting smoking.

Well, it's up to us though, right? If you want change make it happen. Create a goal. Envision your result. Announce your intention to the universe. Make a plan. Take that first step. Put one foot in front of the other.

Had enough? Ok, guess I'll let ya off the hook.

Keep your stick on the ice. Peace.



Friday, February 18, 2011

Burning Down the House

I think all the natives here in New England pretty much know what to expect from Old Man Winter. Most of us hunker down and wait for that red red robin. Oh we shovel once in a while. We complain about the people who drive too fast or too slow in the snow. We always hope for a warm winter so buying heating oil doesn't lighten our pockets too much. It's life. It happens every year. Now, I really do know that many many people are used to way whackin' cold and tons more snow than me and mine. This winter we have had more snow than I can remember ever having. Towns are hiring kids who are old enough to shovel snow off of school roofs. Schools are closed for fear of accidents because bus drivers can't see around corners as they drive. Towns are considering dumping snow into the sea just to get rid it. When the kids of today tell their children or their grandchildren that it doesn't snow like it used to, they won't be making it up.

I have heard more people say, "So much for global warming" than I can count on my fingers and toes. The argument for all the snow this year is that it is a natural off shoot of warmer temperatures. I'm sure you've heard it. Warmer temperatures mean moister clouds. Moister clouds means more snow fall. I don't know where you land on the whole global warming thing, but c'mon. You can't really believe that we humans can contribute so much poison to the air; reduce the oxygen giving trees- all in the name of comfort and ease, and not have some kind of effect on the ecosystem. Unfortunately when it comes to this looming catastrophe we are all from the Show Me State. We all need some kind of proof we can believe. The problem is is that you're not just going to wake up one day and BAM it's 20 degrees warmer than it should be. You are not going to leave for work one day and discover you suddenly live on the shore.

Just after I started writing this post I heard a story on NPR about global warming. A study was done using thousands of computers to test weather patterns with and without global warming. This was done in England and was so massive they had to find volunteers around the world who would let their computers be used to process information. Without global warming the weather patterns were pretty much as normal as expected. With global warming? Heat waves, blizzards, droughts, stronger hurricanes. Some are taking this study as definitive proof of global warming.

So I guess this is the point where I have to ask where this leaves us. You and me.

Sometimes it all seems too much. There are jobs and kids and bills and homes to keep up and cars to take care of and commitments and loved ones fighting wars a long way from home and unrest in other countries and vanishing wild life and on and on and on. And apparently global warming.

I mean what can we DO?

Seven generations. Ever hear of that Native American philosophy? Try to weigh some of your choices as though they'll matter seven generations from now. Let's be stewards of our planet not just passengers on some galactic roller coaster. Get those reusable grocery bags. Check the air in your tires once in a while for better gas mileage. Put your computer to sleep if you keep it on all the time. Try the dreaded curly florescent light bulbs. Not only can you find some ways to save money, but you might help future generations enjoy a habitable planet.

Thanks Lysa

Don't forget, I'm pullin' for ya. Peace