Floating

floating in a tranquil sea
my thoughts drift to what might be
concerns and chaos slip away
as I inhale a perfect day

clouds above sail slowly by
white against an azure sky
I close my eyes and feel the grace
the sun’s caress warm on my face

years of pain
the tides of time
have scoured the beaches
of my mind
at last, surrendered
to my fate
I no more struggle
with death’s date

floating in a tranquil sea
I smile and simply
let it be

tio stib
2015, 2018

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Paddling a Submarine vs. Living an Authentic Life 

Last night I dreamed I was paddling a canoe up a lake in the middle of the night. It was calm, I felt peaceful, yet there was one concern. The canoe was underwater. I was trying to paddle a submarine.

I’ve spent years listening to my dreams, paying attention to patterns, weighing the emotions of dreams with respect to my life at the moment. I believe larger forces speak to me in that unconscious world, forces that can guide me to awareness of deeper truths. This pushes me to wonder, why was I paddling a submarine?

I know there are many ways to interpret dreams, but ultimately, I tend to accept that my dreams are about me. Over the years, I’ve noticed that when I’m honest about how I feel in my dreams, they have given me clues to parts of me I needed to pay attention to.

Paddling a submarine. I feel this dream was about my need to live an authentic life. Paddling the canoe was me moving forward in life. My goal was to get to the end of the lake, to a state of inner peace, but I was struggling because I was keeping my emotions below the surface. If I would allow my feelings to express themselves above the water, I would have less resistance to life and my journey would be immensely easier.

I need to be genuine, original, true and trustworthy, and not be in fear of what the world may think of me in my many moments of  smallness.

Authenticity means to be honest, to be vulnerable, to take risks. Authenticity is built one day, one choice, at a time. It is a process of continually stepping out of my comfort zone and engaging the world from a place of worthiness vs. shame.

Authenticity is a daily journey into the wilderness of being fully alive.

What’s the greater risk I ask myself? Living life based on what other people think, or being vibrantly alive based on how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?

This blog, “Travels with Tio, a blind writer’s path to happiness,” is my journey, my choice, to be all of me, fully alive. It is one way I will raise myself from paddling a submarine, to paddling a canoe, to perhaps even flying.

What does authenticity mean to you? How does it affect your life?

Please share your feelings on being the authentic “you”.

tio Stib

2013, 2017, 2018

Brene’ Brown recently gave a TED talk, “Listening to Shame,” in which she explores the challenges of authenticity. Brown believes authenticity is a process, a series of choices we make in our lives, choices made each day, in each moment, to be real…or not.

Here’s the link: http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/15/opinion/brown-authentic-self/index.html?hpt=op_bn2

 

Selling Out to Google Maps

I may be blind but I can still feel the sun’s warmth on my face and if it’s noon, I know I’m pointed south. On a recent family trip, I felt the sun’s noon warmth and knew we were driving south. but, Napa was north. We were headed in the wrong direction. What had happened?

The driver had entered the desired destination into Google Maps on his smart phone. However, deep into conversation with his front seat companion, he’d missed a turn. We were now not only headed in the wrong direction, we were about to cross a toll bridge.

Yes, the female Google Maps voice did eventually sort things out. We turned around, paid the toll to recross the bridge, and got headed north. but how had the driver made such an obvious mistake in direction? I pondered this question as we drove on in search of amiable wineries and fine wines. I noted several other google Map miscues, the computer guide was far from perfect. We were doing our third circle of the same block before the driver realized he’d missed another turn.

What happens when we sell our souls to Google Maps?

In this case, the driver had surrendered all connection with the reality outside his vehicle. He had no idea which way was south and that south was the wrong direction. He had no vision of the larger world he was operating in, trusting that a voice from a computer would take care of his directional needs.

True, google Maps did eventually get him to the wineries he was seeking. but at what cost? What did he miss along the way? what sights, what experiences, what happenings were left unnoticed because he was content to live within the isolated bubble of his automobile reality?

I wonder what kind of world it will be when the majority of people around me are content to live in such bubbles. It seems obvious that such lives would be self-centered, caring little for most of what lies outside their isolated existence, things like, weather, sunsets, Nature in all its wonders.

Ouch! Not my kind of world. Not my kind of life. I’ve been blessed with a lifetime of adventures with road maps, topographical maps, nautical charts, maps on napkins, all kinds of real, touchable maps. How boring life would have been without all those maps guiding me to lost places, crazy characters, and unexplored  frontiers.

“No, sonny, Denio Hot Springs ain’t on the map. Buy me a beer and I’ll show you where it is.”

“Damn, I’m thirsty! Do you think the name ‘Sometimes Creek’ means it’s not here in the summertime?”

“I think that vacant gas station we just passed was the town of Desolation. So much for our cold beer break.”

“The vulture sitting on the sign seems to say that things are not so great in Paradise, population 2.”

“Yeah, that big X on Wally’s map meant big rapids. Next time, tell us before we get sucked into a monster like that.”

“I know we’re out of gas, but that spot you thought was a town is a piece of chocolate.”

I dare you to break your bubble, turn off your smart phone, grab a real map, and chase your own adventures.

You might even get lost.

Tio Stib

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My dementia diary – Beginnings

Five years ago this month, two things happened which changed the course of my life. I lost my sight and my wife began to lose her mind.

I’d already lost vision in one eye when, one day, my other eye clouded over. For the second time, a rare blood clot condition had fried my remaining healthy  optic nerve. The same week, my wife had a seizure which resulted in total amnesia. Fortunately, within twenty four hours, her memory came back, but her mental ability to reason, remember, and connect with reality began to deteriorate.

Sudden blindness left me disoriented and depressed. It was months before I was able to start on the path towards re-inventing my life with the help of folks from California’s rehabilitative services program. While  riding the emotional rollercoaster of adapting to my new world, my wife was also changing.

More and more, she was showing the signs of dementia, repeating questions many times and forgetting recent events. Over time, the dementia symptoms became more obvious. Her ability to plan and organize disappeared. Her creative activities got simpler. Where she once enjoyed abstract painting, she now spends hours with coloring books, her mind unable to deal with mixing paint colors.

She has become a child who loves life, no longer distracted by adult worries or conceptions of what life should be. I deal with practicalities, grocery shopping, money matters, scheduling. We have found a new balance, becoming a unique partnership of attitudes and abilities..

Do I miss the dreams I had for our life? All the time. I miss the adventures we had and the ones I’d hoped to share. I miss saying, “let’s go!” jumping in the car and taking off to nowhere. But, as the popular saying goes, “it is what it is.” The work now is making the most of the life  we still have.

That’s a daily challenge, one I’m going to explore in writing this journal. I invite you to join us as we walk together, blind and demented, down the road of life.

 

this child who once was woman

she laughs at dancing butterflies
smiles at babies passing by
clings to me when brought to cry
this child who once was woman

her zest is sparkling innocence
a love of life without a fence
a mind released from circumstance
this child who once was woman

a singing bird
a playful word
the mirth of anything absurd
she hugs
she screams
she loves
she beams
this child who once was woman

my heart beats glad, she is such joy
reminds me when I was a boy
of times preceding plots and ploys
this child who once was woman

the change, I was slow to see
as fog crept over memories
and here is all that she can be
this child who once was woman

now I hold her close and dear
do my best to soften fears
not to shed a single tear
make the most while she is here
my wife who once was woman

tio stib
2017

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hibernation

an eye opens
grey
no bright light
no sunshine
a dark, gray, day

deep in the cozy comfort of warm blankets
I snuggle

the mind stirs
no “to do” list
no appointments to miss

the eye closes
I choose hibernation

again

tio stib
2018

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