When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.

-John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra,1911

John Muir wrote down his thoughts and feelings. When others read these words it changed their view of the world.

The natural world was not a dangerous and fearful place to be conquered and subdued. It was beautiful in its wildness and worth protecting and conserving. Not just for plundering.

In his quote about individuals and their place in the universe, he talks about our place in the universe. Although we may seem independent and separate, we are connected invisibly by a thousand cords that cannot be broken.

Our very being, flesh and bone, comes from the air, water and food we consume. Our thoughts and feelings come from the sun, air, dirt, rocks, plants and animals. If you take a fish from the river or the sea it cannot remain being a fish. We cannot exist without the dirt, bugs and slime we stand on and rise above.

Our thoughts and actions are not ours at all. They are but variations, combinations and derivatives of things we heard, read or were taught. These inputs came from others who spoke, wrote or taught to us. And those speech, writings and teachings came from still others.

From isolation and contemplation, we find connectedness. A connectedness as invisible as it is unbreakable.


Love them, hate them or eat them.

We love pets and animals that are cute. Dogs and cats especially. Fuzzy and furry, They can help you reduce stress and fill a need. They can also trip you up and make you fall. Adorable pets are all over advertising now. Sex sells, but I think cute pets sell is the new motto.

We hate creepy, slimy pests. Some animals are harder for us to apply human like quality. Anthropomorphism is giving human quality to animals. We will kill mice, bugs and other pests in our homes.

Some animals we eat. We never see the cattle, pigs or chickens that we eat. We are mostly ignorant of the industrial meat production. It’s invisible and out of mind.

Animals and us are separate. But our relationship with animals is full of contradictions. Animals probably don’t need us. But it can be argued that we could not live without animals.


Physiological Needs For Life

1. Air to breathe

2. Water to drink

3. Food to eat

4. Rest and sleep

5. Exercise, movement, stress

6. Sunlight

Close your mouth, breathe through your nose, slow your breath and hold your breath. Mouth breathing and over breathing are unhealthy habits. Concentrating on slow nasal inhalation, brief breath holds and slow deliberate exhalation is a basic meditation technique. And it’s practice never fails to bring on a profound calm and sense of well being.

Water consumed when thirsty is a healthy habit. Avoiding or eliminating processed sugary drinks is a healthy habit. Caffeine, sugar and other unnatural additives are highly addictive and highly profitable for the food industry.

Don’t eat too much, don’t eat processed food or sugar. Have a wide variety of vegetables, some fruit and moderate amounts of meat.

Food is nutrition and fuel satisfying the body’s needs. It is constantly moving, operating, decaying and rebuilding.

Rest and sleep are essential for bodily and brain repair functions.

A sedentary lifestyle leads to weakness. Regular movement is essential for good health. Muscles, tendons, circulation and nerves all need to be exercised. It makes you feel good as well.

Sunlight is essential for vitamin production. Light is a mood booster and helps regulate sleep wake cycles.

Why? Avoiding illness may be a good goal. Achieving challenging physical activities as part of an active lifestyle might be a higher goal. And how about just plain fun?! This is my why. What’s your why?

Hiking in Yosemite

It may seem overwhelming and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Start small, keep it simple,remember your why and keep going strong.

Be like water

Bruce Lee tells us to be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Pour water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. Pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip or it can crash! Become like water my friends.


Vernal Falls Yosemite National Park

Bruce was a philosophy major in college. His quote suggests to me that the world and maybe life has a molding effect on us. Our self image takes on a set, solid, rigid cast. We must depart from rigidity and linearity in our thoughts and actions.

Being like water allows one freedom of thought and expression. Freedom to physically become something different than what we are today. Freedom from a mindset and any preconceived images placed upon us by the world. Preconceived notions are nothing more than imaginary limits, falsehoods to be ignored.

Being like water is being one thing while simultaneously being something else. Water follows a channel while cutting a new path. We can conform to a particular situation and still be true to our essence. This duality is normal and natural. Our thinking and words invoke abnormal preciseness that leaves little room for contradictions.

Self reflection of one’s thoughts and actions can be helpful. An analogy to the fluid states of water helps us think of our own tightly held beliefs. And hopefully loosen that grip just a little.

Be like water.