Connecting Dots

“Many times the wrong train took me to the right place.”

Paulo Coelho

I’ve been thinking about how things connect lately, and how life is sometimes like a series of dot to dot. Sometimes I wonder if technology is what causes me to move from one thing to the next in lightning speed, or if I just get bored easy.

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that I’m always munching on teeny bytes of information (like a smorgasbord) as I move through life, picking out as many things as possible without spending too much time on one in particular.

What I love about this habit is that it’s kind of like Coelho’s quote. Maybe it’s not the wrong train that I get on, but it’s the fast track. It’s always en route to some mysterious destination, and it always seems to take me to the right places (most of the time).

One example is my most recent dot to dot escapade. A while back, I enrolled in an online class and the professor’s name was Valerie Garcia. Something I like to do is check Rate My Professors to see what previous students said, or I just google the instructor.

When I did this for Ms. Garcia, the website came up–and she is a speaker, consultant, and encourager. Her topics seemed to relate to my class, in my own head anyway, so I signed up for her newsletters.

First, let me say that I just love her newsletters. They are fun, simple, informative and interesting, and she provides lots of little links to other fun and interesting things. Second, once the class started I realized that these two women were not one in the same. But, I am still a subscriber.

In one of her last newsletters she mentioned that she was reading the book “Hero on a Mission,” by Donald Miller. I searched for that book, of course, and ended up buying a copy. I haven’t finished it yet, but I made it to the end of chapter 3. In one of those chapters, Miller says that John Steinbeck’s “Journal of a Novel” taught him the discipline and joy of writing.

So… there I was, ordering a copy of Steinbeck’s book. Now, I had no idea what this book was, but it’s a series of letters he wrote just about every day while he was writing his novel East of Eden (another book I’ve never read). It is a fantastic read thus far. So much so that… yes… I bought and have started reading East of Eden. I want to read them in unison so that I progress in the book as he progresses in his letters “about” the book.

Anyway, somewhere in all of those dot to dot moves it hit me. It was like being on one of those quiet little trains that went on autopilot, and it took me to where I needed to go, or to “what” I needed to read. I really do want to write. And sometimes I forget and I need to be reminded.

Trips like that don’t always happen when you’re absorbed in goals, or following daily to-do lists to the hilt. Sometimes all of that planning simply causes us to forget our purpose. Dots connect when we’re spontaneous and willing to travel to unexpected places. Yes, we need a plan in life, but… like Coelho says, sometimes the wrong route takes us to the right place.

About the Image

The featured image is from something I saw on Pinterest. They should call it “Pinspiration.” Anyway, I’d love to know who the original artist was. One user mentioned George Callaghan, but I couldn’t verify that. Anyway, I did my take on it in Illustrator, as usual, but instead of lines I used dots. And let me tell you… it was a LOT of fun.

It’s interesting too, because I used dot art in one of my graphic design class projects a few years ago and I used what they call the blob brush. Basically, one tap gives you one dot. So, I took that brush and painted my design one “blob” at a time.

Well, here’s the thing about tutorials. I rarely look at them but when I do… I’m like “OHH… THAT is how you do it!” What I’ve learned since is that all you need to do is make the lines, and then change them from solid to dashed—then tweak some of the settings and… voila, you have dots!

I took the file to my BeCasso app without the outlines so that there wouldn’t be a bunch of black smearing, and I gave it a painted effect. Then I brought it into Photoshop and moved my dotted outlines from Illustrator to a layer over the painted image.

I like that the man is fishing. He looks relaxed too. I think that when you let go and follow the dots in life you feel like that. And then when you least expect it, and because the waters are so still… you catch a whopper.

That’s about all for now. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed! I put my ongoing story on low priority tonight, but I’ll be looking at that very soon.

Peace & Love to you…

“I was in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time.”

Dr. John

Sweet Surrender

I’ve been pondering this particular rewrite for several weeks now. While thinking about it, I created the featured image so that I could offer you a visual representation of what surrender looks like “to me.” What’s fascinating is that, in the process, what I was creating taught me a little something about surrender that I had never really thought about before.

In the original story, this chapter was an anecdote about the time a good friend offered to let me stay with her so that we could work on getting me sober. My stomach was in knots, and my mind was chattering non-stop; telling me that if I went away, I would surely lose my business. In hindsight, I think it was the alcohol talking. I see no common sense behind the idea. When you’re stuck in those addiction-mind-games, you fail to see that you will “most certainly” lose anything that you’re holding onto if you continue to drink (or use), so trying to convince myself that taking time out to “help myself” would be the straw that would break the camel’s back was preposterous.

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”

– Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Anyway, that was my first experience with surrender; I had the marvelous realization that nothing was more important than getting the help that I needed. I had to let go—and go. Still, it would be hard to define surrender at the time. I just knew that I was letting go of whatever it was that was keeping me imprisoned—and I was going after whatever it was that would set me free.

What I noticed about the image is that the things that we hold onto (or that hold onto us)—power, money, clutter, habits, desires and worry (to name a few)—are things that we often “think” or “feel” that we need. I thought it was interesting that they are at the top, and you have to wonder if the poor girl spent half of her life pursuing these things. I mean, she must have had to work really hard to get up there to attain them, right? Some of these things don’t come easy, so it’s almost understandable that she is trying so hard to hold on.

In contrast, the things that we “actually” need—contentment, joy, love, serenity, peace and acceptance (to name a few)—are at the bottom, growing freely. If I were to guess, I’d say that if this poor girl were to let go, she would actually crash land into a soft cushion of all of the things that will make her a happier human being. How weird is that? We fight to get the things that can destroy us, but we fall into the things that we need.

It made me realize that we work really hard to get the things that we “think” are important. We have to push and climb, struggle, sweat and go through a shit load of pain… but we keep going. We WILL get there, dammit, and nobody can stop us. So, it’s no wonder we hold on so tightly when we know we have to let them go.

But the things that we REALLY need, all of those things at the bottom… don’t require hard work hard at all. We just need to let go and take the plunge. I mean, how many times have you talked to someone about their dreams or goals and heard them say something like…

“Well, my short term goals are acceptance and peace, and my long term goals are love, joy, and contentment. I know, I know… I have a long hard road ahead, but I will never give up. I am willing to sacrifice my blood, sweat and tears to make it happen.”

It just doesn’t happen. Not in my world anyway.

Thinking about this reminded me of Adam and Eve, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I often wonder if that tree had something to do with our inclination to think that “we know best,” because that inclination can kill us. I think that’s why I added the snake (that was actually an afterthought). These things that we desire, crave, and fight for—the things that we “think” we need—are like temptations, and they can actually cause us harm. They taunt us, beckon us, and then… when we get close enough… they entangle us. Like the spider’s web traps it’s prey.

That being said, I think that another way to look at surrender is that it is the willingness to let go of the things that we “think” we need, in order to accept the things that God wants to offer us. No sweat required.

We just need to open our hands.

Thank you for reading—
I hope you found something of value here!


“Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere.”

Michael A. Singer

Life: From A to Z

I’m back for my series Life: From A to Z and I’m nearing the end now… with the useful letter “U.” I’ve decided to combine the letters X, Y, and Z, so I have just three more posts to go and then I’ll be moving on to something totally new and different. Hip Hip Hooray! I love new things.

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