Precious

My baby passed away today. I’ve known her for the past 5 years (almost to the date). It seems like much longer than that. She was around 18 years old, and we’re not 100% sure of her exact age.

She was white with a bit of grey, mostly on her ears and face. And her tail was really beautiful, w/dark grey rings all the length of it.

She was a generally scared being, most likely from some early trauma or maybe a fight with a brother or sister at an early age. Precious, or “the princess” as we sometimes called her, was very selective of who she would approach, and only a few people were ever able to get close enough for comfort — her “inner circle.”

She spent most her life in the comfort and safety of her indoor palace, but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t like going outside. She loved being outside actually. Loved the breeze, the sound of birds singing… and of course eating grass.

You’ve prob’ly realised by now that my “baby” walked on four legs and was covered with fur.

Precious-20151007-01

When she didn’t get her way, she’d get cranky, which happened quite frequently. (There’s a reason she’s nicknamed “the princess”). She loved to play, and it usually ended up with her getting really pissed off, which was oh-so-cute in her adorable little kitten body.

And when it was time to love, she loved. We described her as a “lovey” kitty. Much more so than most kitties. She would give kisses when the mood struck, usually when she was lonely from being home alone all day, ready for bed, or right after just we’d just woken up. Oh, she was so happy in the mornings! Love & treats! She started eating wet food several times a day (her mom spoiled her so much). So much so, that if her treat was ever late in delivery, she’d start yelling for it.

Precious-20151007-02

She and her brother had a tolerate/hate relationship, where he mostly tolerated her, and she hated him. Haha! He was about 3x her size, and could probably throw her around… yet this older sister mostly managed to keep him in line… at least she kept him away from her.

But he was also a big, sweet younger brother. Sometimes he’d lay beside her on the bed and they would nap together, just inches from each other. She wouldn’t even know it!

Oh yeah! About 2.5 years before she passed, she developed cataracts & couldn’t see. Quickly went from seeing fully & clearly to completely blind. So that’s why brother was sometimes able to sneak naps together with her.

Of course this changed her, too. Her blindness actually caused her to get a lot more mellow & less scared, once she got used to it. “New people” weren’t so scary after that.

She also got a bit more cranky than before… but maybe that was her old age.

In her later years, when she’d had enough “play time”, she’d get angry and start growling… which only made us want to play some more (because she was such a cute angry kitty!)… so funny! Really funny coming from that little 6.5-pound kitten anyway…

She was such a big part of our family. The whole family loved her. (It would be impossible not to.) We’re sure going to miss her. I will always have her in my thoughts and memories. My sweet, Precious little kitten.

Precious-20151007-04

Success Habits

Some Sunset with Trees
Some Random Sunset that has Nothing to do with this Post

I started reading Robert Ringer’s Million Dollar Habits this afternoon and just got inspired to make a list of success habits myself, before even reading any of his own. Only one came to mind at the time I started writing, which was to rise early. Then the rest of this list just sorta… rolled out onto the page. But I think they’re good habits that compound, especially if one is consistent over several days or weeks. I tried to be practical, with pragmatic advice that anyone can implement immediately (and I myself need to start implementing my own advice, for most of these).

I’ll just leave with a Robert Ringer quote from the intro to the book:

Put in metaphorical terms, success is not a grand-slam home run. Rather, it’s a matter of consistently hitting singles and doubles day in and day out. The individual who makes it to the top concentrates on staying at bat and avoiding the big mistake. Then, when that perfect pitch comes across the plate, he hits it out of the park.

(Just to re-iterate, this is a list that I made up, not from Million Dollar Habits.)

  1. Rise early. Wake up at 5 AM.
  2. Make your bed first thing every morning. It gets you started taking action and instills good habits.
  3. Some physical exercise, every day. Yoga, bodyweight exercise, walking or light jogging to start. Maybe some weight and/or resistance training.
  4. Eat healthy. The less animals, the better. The closer to nature, the better (including raw foods). Treat your body like a temple.
  5. Just say no. To intoxicants, toxic things. Cigarettes, alcohol, greasy/fried food.
  6. Clean environment. No toxic people or unhealthy thoughts. Healthy mind = healthy life. Healthy music too. Don’t hurt your eardrums.
  7. Learn every day. Read books, learn languages. Use audio courses, self-study from books, even YouTube courses. Just learn something.
  8. Get 6-7 hours of healthy sleep each night. Be consistent with sleep habits.
  9. Produce meaningful work, and try and contribute to society. (Grow a garden. Make music. Prepare healthy meals. Help old ladies cross the street. Get paid for some of it. Do some for free.)
  10. Stop trying to look cool. You know if you are. This includes music, clothing… social choices. Worry about achieving the goal, not appearances.
  11. Take care of yourself. This means caring about yourself, and loving yourself. How can you love others if you can’t even love yourself?
  12. Don’t make excuses or rationalize. About 99% of the time, the phrase “I don’t have time” really means “It’s not a priority”. You do have time — that’s why you wake up at 5 AM, right?

In transit to Taiwan

The last 2 weeks of life have been a complete blur. I’ve been running around like crazy trying to get loose ends tied up in Arkansas, get assets moved around and re-allocated, and sell my big stuff (e.g. car) that I won’t need abroad.

Right now I’m in the Narita airport in Japan, about 80 or so km east of Tokyo.

And unlike my last short visit to Japan, this trip’s layover is only about 3 hours, so there’s really no time to get out and see any of Japan. So I’m staying in the international terminal, getting some food in my stomach and waiting for my evening flight to Taipei.

If I hadn’t already booked the flight all at once, I might have broken it up and stayed in Japan for a few days, then flown out. But then I’d want to spend quite a bit of time in Japan once I was here, see lots of sights and things. Maybe one day soon, before I leave Asia.

Oh yeah, I bought a one-way ticket to Taipei. I’ll be traveling around Asia, working on building my own living out values that I believe strongly in. Such as mobility, financial independence and freedom, and monetary freedom (achieved via FinTech such as Bitcoin and Dash). I also just freaking love east Asian culture, food, mindset, and the cities. Ah, … the city.

My wife is still in the US. For some, that causes heads to turn. Others seem to be a bit more understanding. For various reasons, she’s staying back in Arkansas, but mainly it boils down to:

a) the cat
b) her personal development

She loves her pet cat that she’s been with for about 16 years and doesn’t want to leave her. Precious (the cat) gets really depressed when my wife is gone for long amounts of time (over a week or two and gets really bad). Her health deteriorates. We’ve almost lost her a time or two, and we’re pretty sure it’s got a lot to do with Brittany’s presence.

She also feels the need to stay for reasons of helping certain individuals, and building her own sense of independence, which she’s never really had and is the next stage of personal growth for her. So that’s that. It’s been difficult not being able to communicate with her, but we texted briefly a bit ago. We plan to meet up in a few months once we’ve both accomplished what we need to.

I’ve got a bit of personal development to do as well, mindfulness being one of my primary goals for my own.

I just realized that I’ve gotta so see about changing my seat to an aisle seat, so I’m gonna leave off here. But since I’m trying to be prolific, just gonna go ahead and ship this one out the door.

Thanks for reading, and please drop me a note if our interests align, and you’re in Taiwan within the next few weeks or months and wanna meet up.

Crazy side note:

I met a couple (Jonathan and Rachel +1 cute baby boy) flying from XNA (in Arkansas) to Taipei, same exact route as me. Crazy. I never would have thought that I’d have the exact same itinerary as someone else originating in Arkansas and ending up on the other side of the world. Small world.

Just Do the Thing.

Zhu Li, Do the Thing - Varrick

Sometimes you just gotta Do the Thing you’re putting off.

After a recent serious bout of email anxiety, I’ve finally got to Inbox Zero. Tonight.

I wasn’t going to do it tonight. I almost left my house. Had something else to do — I still do! But I had been putting off emailing Valeska for too long. I had to at least get some momentum. Before I left the house, I had to at least prepare for emailing her upon my return tonight. Then I thought — no, I have to get started on the email. At least to write the initial greeting, formalities, etc.

So I did that — then I kept going. Just kept on. I had momentum, finally. It wasn’t so bad! I’ve been putting off this email for 3 days now, procrastinating both consciously and sub-consciously. That’s the scary part — the sub-conscious procrastination. I’d eventually identified that, and realized what my mind and body were doing to me. Well, mostly my mind, but the body acts in accordance with what the mind wants.

Anyway, I gained momentum and before I’d realized it, I was 80% done. Just had to finish! So I did. Just powered through it. Clicking ‘send’ hadn’t felt so amazing in such a long time. Then I was down to 1. Yeah, that’s right, I was still at Inbox One. Like Air Force One. Not really.

You know what happens next. Momentum. Powered through that one too. And this one had been put off for about 2 weeks now. And it’s not that I don’t like these people or didn’t want to email them — on the contrary, I really like and respect both of these individuals. Very much. But that’s what made it so hard.

Sometimes, you just have to sit your ass down, and Do the Thing.

When the pain gets great enough, you just do it. No more excuses. No other things to do. Just Do the Thing. And it feels great. Feels amazing, like I can finally breathe freely once again. Fresh air. I love fresh air. And sushi. What? Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah, since I already had the momentum of Inbox Zero, and the wonderful feeling of having Done the Thing, thought I might jot this down. Maybe it will help elseone struggling with Doing the Thing.

Side note: If ‘elseone’ doesn’t make sense to you, please remind me to post my Proposed Additions to the English language note. I’ve typed it up somewhere and pretty sure I was putting that off too…

And now, I leave you with a montage of Varrick requesting that Zhu Li… “Do the Thing”.

ScreenCap Credit: KatherinaXC

Email Anxiety

Inbox - Email
Breathe while reading your email!

I don’t know if email anxiety is a real thing, but I definitely have it, regardless.

When composing an email, sometimes it takes me one, two, … up to three hours or more. To write an email. Not a long email of a few thousand words (I don’t believe most emails should be that long). Just a simple, short introductory email.

“Hey, how are you? I’m Nathan. I see you’re doing [INSERT COOL THING HERE], I think that’s cool because [REASONS] and just wanted to connect with you. I’d love to help if you need it with [SOME THINGS I CAN HELP WITH].

Anyway, take care,
Nathan

<<--- this template took me 2 minutes to write. An email that looks just like this template, but with details filled in and written completely from scratch, can take me hours to write. My anxiety is that bad. Side note: I really should start using templates like this to make life easier.

I agonize over the process, how will this sound to him/her? What words should I use? What should I say? This is especially true with people that I respect and admire.

Replying to emails is the same way, sometimes even worse. Because someone’s taken the time to write me a message and respond, meaning they at least don’t hate me. They took time out of their day to write me something. So I’ve now got to step up and really deliver value.

I know it’s over-analyzing. It’s really a form of perfectionism. I don’t want to mess anything up, say something one way where it could have been said better, or more elegant, or more precise.

Analysis paralysis – the reason why I don’t get near as much accomplished as I’d like to. But I’m committed to being prolific, so I’ll have to just power through and as my friend and colleague Chiara told me, “I think you need to get out of your head, and get out there and talk to people… just talk to people, I think the biggest thing that’s holding you back is this perfectionism. You need to practice moving fast.”

I also have this internal rule where I always reply to emails unless I think it’s spam (like from a tech recruiter — those people really are the worst). So, if you’ve emailed me and I haven’t replied, and the email warrants a reply, then it really is on my TODO list, promise. It’s likely that I respect and admire you, and just haven’t had the time (read: hours) to sit down and craft a well-written, perfect response to you, because that’s what you deserve. I’m sorry, I do want to write back to you, and I will eventually.

So my challenge for today is to:

1. Get this post up & published, and:
2. Get to Inbox zero — reply to all emails where I’ve been putting off emailing them (which is why my Inbox isn’t at zero now).

Thanks for reading, thanks for understanding, and you’re awesome.

Illustration credit: Marie-Chantale Turgeon – Breathe while reading your email!

On Being Prolific

Cut to the chase – I’ve decided to commit to being prolific. YOLO, and I’ve got so much stuff that I’ve worked 80% on, then just left it there. Articles that I’ve left it on my hard drive, never published. Ideas for amazing things, workshops, businesses, just left in my notebook.

A couple weeks ago, I had an idea for a non-profit. It just came to me in the shower, but it was so detailed, and the potential upside so big, that I had to write it out. It’s just sitting in Evernote now, but I’ll be publishing that publicly very soon.

(Note: Here it is. It’s tentatively called “Foundations”.)

Some of the things I’ve worked hours on. Some things, probably 20 – 40 hours at least. And yet, they’re just not good enough yet. I still don’t feel great about the end result, it’s not polished enough or whatever. So I let it sit for later. I intend to finish, but then never get around to it. Something else catches my attention, maybe a newer, better project. So the old one, it stagnates. Even though I’m 70% done.

Many of that will never see the light of day. Some of it could have helped a person or two. Instead it sits on some cloud server where it’ll eventually get deleted or the physical disk will crash (most likely disk hardware/firmware, but that’s being pedantic).

We’re all gonna die some day. It’s scary to think about, but it’s true. A lot of us, myself included, live like we have all the time in the world. The truth is that none of us know when it’s our time to leave this world, and we only get one shot at this thing called life.

This is your life. You get one of them.
— Sebastian Marshall

I haven’t been publishing much lately. That’s not to say that I’m not creating. I’m doing lots of things every day. Proactive, positive, productive things. Strategies. Ideas for things. Building good will, trying to help people out.

Developing a personal system of policies and ethics. Reading the Credo. Reading a lot of really good books. Learning to type using Colemak.

I’ve been scattered, but trying to consolidate.

I have lots of disparate interests. Trying to bring all those under one umbrella, into one place and have it all make sense, is hard. But I’m starting now, and I’m committed to getting things done, even if they’re not 100% perfect. That’s one of my problems – most of my life I’ve been a detail person. Now I’ve had to learn to be a “big-picture” thinker instead. I still sometimes fall back to being detail-oriented. At times I catch myself trying to fit into that role, instead of realizing that I’m growing beyond that, and can’t have everything. I can’t do everything. I used to think that I could. Over the past year I’ve been realizing that I can’t. So, in an effort to just “ship” as they say, I’ll be putting things out that may not be 100%. Some details might be overlooked. That’s ok. They can be changed later. Details can be corrected/fixed/added/subtracted. But something that’s not shipped can’t be used by anyone.

This also means that I’ll be more vulnerable, which I don’t like to show. A lot of people like me don’t like to show that side of themselves online.

If you’re reading this now, then I’ve already created & scheduled quite a few things to be produced, published, or otherwise released to the world. This might mean code, books, articles, plans/strategies, ideas, businesses. Most of it will probably be at my blog, but I’m branching out from there. That’s the entire point.

In fact, I almost just tabled this to be finished “later”. I have somewhere to go, a few little errands to start on now, and then… then I realized that I was doing it again. So, I apologize if this seems unfinished. If the closing paragraph isn’t as polished as I’d like. (It almost certainly isn’t.) But I have to get this out to the world, as well as many other things.

In closing, watch these spaces for changes and general awesomeness:

nathanmarley.com
ngmarley.com
blackcarrot.be

(This list will be updated as things happen/unfold/are created.)

Thanks for reading. Oh, and please get in touch if you have any inclination to do so.

Foundations

Foundations – Name of a non-profit organization to work with young people and teach them to make good decisions.

The basic idea is that the decisions we make, big and small, are the very reason that we’re exactly who & where we are at this moment in life. So, for people to affect their future in a positive way, they’ve to have a solid base of decisions. The non-profit would organize a workshop for juveniles (both delinquents and school children) to not only demonstrate the power of decisions, but give very specific tactics for pragmatic implementation of making good decisions. Teaches basic entrepreneurship and community involvement.

Example: a workshop on how consumer credit works, brief overview of credit scores, how the bureaus determine scores, examples of bad credit and consequences, and how to start building good credit when young, before it’s needed.

Another example: a gardening workshop which teaches community gardening (local business or person can donate space to a comm. garden), organic methods, how to grow produce, pH levels of soil/medium, companion planting, in-season planting, etc. Even rooftop gardening to maximize use of space.

All these workshops would be integrated into a weekend programme. The organization would work with judiciaries and officials to offer this program to young offenders in exchange for community service time, or some kind of reduced sentence.

The youth learn valuable skills and also have to spend less time doing work that’s… less rewarding (e.g. the standard community service).

Community volunteers teach the courses/workshops for the weekend, and the local area children are more educated. More educated, and hopefully less likely to fall back into a life of bad decisions.

The juvenile detention centers are less full (always a good thing), and the community is overall a better place. Future value of the local community increases tremendously as a result, because the young today are our future businessmen, entrepreneurs and politicians.

This is obviously still in idea stage. I’d like to implement something like this one day, if for no other reason, just to give back to my community and try and create the world I’d like to live in. Anyone who wants to take this and run with it, feel free. Also please feel free to get in touch if you’d like to collaborate on anything like this or just bounce ideas around.

Feeling of Significance, and Early Access to Pumpkin Spice Latte

Autumn 2015
Oh, hello autumn. I see you there, peeking around the corner. Come on out, it’s ok. Stay a while.

“You’ll just have to wait until next week.”
YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME!! NARRGGGGHHHOOOOOOO!!!!

Wait. Let’s back up.

So I walked into a Starbucks today to get some work done – a usual location for me, and at this point I can probably be described as a “regular” for this location.

The nicest man greeted me at the register. About 50-60 years old, graying hair/beard. We’ll call him ‘Jim’, because… well, because his name is Jim. We had a great exchange, Jim and I. Just chit-chat about which drink I wanted, how I made a good choice, which syrups/mylks I could add, just small talk. But really cool guy, very pleasant.

As I was finalizing my decision, he noticed that I pulled my gold card out of my wallet to pay, and informed me that I could get Pumpkin Spice syrup (a week) early this year since I had a gold card. Nice! A perk that I didn’t know existed.

Then another barista (we’ll call her Starbucks Nazi) just had to step into our conversation and speak up.

SbuxNazi: “Do you have a code? Because you can only get it if you have a special code, you would have gotten an email from Starbucks.”

me: “Well, sometimes I get special codes when I login to the website, so maybe. I could check.”

SbuxNazi: “It’s a specific code for Pumpkin Spice. You’d know if you had it. We have to see the code. You’ll just have to wait until next week.”

NARRGGGGHHHOOOOOOO! … No, not really. Ok. Not a big deal, I really don’t think it’s vegan at any rate.

I could tell it kinda irritated Jim, just slightly. I mean, she didn’t really add any value to me, or to Jim. Or for that matter, to Starbucks as a company, because I could easily look up the code (which I did, see below).

Sure, it’s the by-the-book, official corporate policy. But she didn’t add value to anyone else.

What she did was add value to herself. That encounter massaged her sense of importance. A sense of significance, which is one of Tony Robbins’ described six basic human needs. But couldn’t she have gotten that a different way? How much good could Ms. SbuxNazi do if she would have started her shift asking “How can I provide the most value to my company, my co-workers and my customers today?”

I think that’s a question that everyone could ask themselves.

“How can I provide the most value to my company, my co-workers (collaborators) and my customers (clients) today?”

Note that the question’s not asking how you can improve your own self, but everyone else. By providing value to others (the world), you make the world a better place and implicitly add value to yourself in the process. You become valuable.

Let’s re-work the conversation to what it could have been, something more pleasant:

SbuxNazi: “Hey, you know, we actually have a code for getting it early. The gold card thing doesn’t automatically give PSL, but you can search online and get the code for it. Then you get early access! Pretty sweet, huh?”

me: “Oh, ok, thanks, that’s very helpful of you.”

Jim: “Yeah, thanks SbuxNazi, that is very helpful. Now I’ve also been enlightened for future customer encounters.”

The crazy thing is, Starbucks Nazi knows me. We’ve chatted in the past, and generally gotten on well. We’ve been acquaintances for like 5 years.

The other crazy thing? Just after that exchange, it took me a whole 2 minutes to Google it and find a code. Anyone can get a custom Pumpkin Spice Latte code for early access. So now I have one! Thanks, Starbucks Nazi. I have the option to use the code for the entire week now, and before that exchange I wouldn’t have even really used it or cared. I don’t even think it’s vegan — I’ll probably just get one for my sister-in-law.

Oh yeah, the link for early access to PSL (autumn 2015).

Finally, some solid goals.

Sunset on a Highway in Alabama
Sunset on a Highway in Alabama

Feel like I’ve had a breakthrough tonight. Maybe it’s a combination of being alone for a few hours (INTJ – I charge up on being alone), or maybe it’s the slight lift that I got from the cup o’ tea that I had a little bit ago, but it’s starting to click.

For years, I’ve wanted to “travel the world” and be mobile, yet make an income at the same time. But it was so hard to envision without getting a time-consuming and draining customer support job.

Re-reading that last paragraph, makes it look like I haven’t traveled much. I’ve been to Europe 3 times, Asia twice, New Zealand twice, Canada 3x (spent a month in Quebec), Central/South America for 3 months… I’ve traveled a bit. But my bank account always goes down, and I’m not able to spend the time I want traveling, for as long as I’d like.

Since my eyestrain has gotten progressively worse over the past year, I’ve wanted less and less to spend any time in the computer, much less try my hand at getting a remote software development job. And reading over those job postings makes me want to vomit. Every time.

“Consulting” was the holy grail… the one thing I could do while traveling the world, keeping my eyesight and staying free. (Freedom is my highest value.)

I always wondered how they do it — I have a mentor who’s been traveling the world and consulting for near 10 years now — he can easily make $5-$10k in a month, no problem. Much more these days I’m sure.

Tonight I was reading over some of his old writing today, some articles from 5-6 years ago… then it clicked.

He talked about wanting to have a 10x return for his work… e.g. if he charged $75 per hour, then within a year, he wants that client to receive $750 worth of value for every hour they’ve paid him.

That’s it. That’s the secret to consulting — leaving people better off than if they’d never hired you to begin with. In his case, much better off. Another thing he mentioned — as he was calculating what he needed to meet his goals.

First, he calculated that he wanted to bring in $6000 per month. So he did some brief calculations:

$20 / hr for 300 hours. 75 hours per week. Too many hours.
$40 / hr for 150 hours. 37.5 hours per week. Still a lot of hours, esp. for consulting
$75 / hr for 80 hours… that’s 20 hours per week. That was plenty of time for him to work on other projects as well as meet his income goals.

That’s when it hit me – I don’t have to try and throw myself into building a business 100% of the time every single day. That’s why I’ve been burning out for a year. That’s also why I haven’t been able to stick with a goal. Jumping around, different goals, choosing what seems easiest at the time vs doing what I’m passionate about.

Building a business (which means I can leave and still get income) vs starting a service which requires me to work for continual income (consulting, coaching).

I can do both.

Finally, feel like I’m developing some solid goals… steps for reaching exactly what I want. Discovering that I can achieve what I want, because I’m finally starting to realize what that is.

At this point in my life, I want to be spending about 20 hours / week consulting, coaching, for income. Improving the lives of others and making sure that all my clients get at least a 2-4x return for their investment, if not much more. I’m shooting low now, as far as return goes. I will be satisfied if my current clients are getting 4x return, even a 2x. Because I know that as I improve, so will those results. A 10x return within a few months’ time isn’t out of the question — as long as I stay on a tight feedback loop with lots of iterations. And getting $150 in value for $75 is still a bargain.

I also want to be able to put another 10 – 15 hours per week into building a business, systems which run even without me there, or initially with minimal input from myself. I realize that it will take 100% input at first and that number will gradually decrease as the business improves.

I also want to invest time per week (another 10-15 hours) into developing myself. Learning languages, reading about history, business, negotiations, building skills.

This seems like a lot of time, but 2 hours a day is 14 hours per week. Between reading, learning language and cultural interaction, that would be a minimum number for me, for self-development.

So, official 1-year goals, to have achieved within 12 months from today:

* ~20 hours per week consulting
* 10-15 hours per week building a business
* 10-15 hours per week in self-development (includes language, skills, etc)
* $50k in the bank
* mobility (freedom to go wherever)
* started my business and have all business banking/credit set up

Nice-to-haves:

* Credit score above 780
* Semi-fluent in another language (which depends on where I’m at)
* Lamborghini parked in front of my mansion (well it would be nice to have)

Gratitude

An Abundance of Peaches
An Abundance of Peaches

Today I had 11 dollars to spend @ the Farmer’s Market. It was the perfect amount, because I planned to spend $7 on a 1/4 peck of peaches, and the remaining $4 on tomatoes. I was so grateful that I had exactly the right amount to purchase my peaches and tomatoes (black cherry and sungold, my favorites!).

Well, not only did I have enough, but my peach guy threw in some extras and gave me a $2 discount. (Yeah, I have a guy, for peaches.) Two whole dollars! I was then so grateful because I not only had an extra dollar to tip him (he’s a good peach guy), but I also had an extra dollar to tip one of the wonderful groups entertaining the market with their music.

It really did feel like I was having the most wonderful morning. I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I was walking around. And even though people were crowding around me, and it was harder to walk through the throng, it was ok. I felt more peaceful, because of the gratitude. Because it’s hard to feel both anger and gratitude at the same time.

photo credit: Liz West – peaches