What is Love?

“Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Happy Valentine’s Day!  It is the day we pick to celebrate love.  But, I have a question.  What do we mean by “love”?  I mean, really, what is love?

Did you know that there are seven distinct words in Greek that describe different kinds of love? With the Olympics going on, I reflected back on the two years I spent studying the Greek language and ancient Greek manuscripts as part of my Master’s program.  I have to be honest, I barely got by.  I kept looking at the Greek texts and thinking about math problems.  I found it way easier to understand quantum mechanics than how to conjugate ancient Greek verbs into the correct indicative mood and pluperfect tense.  Yet I found it profound that there are seven Greek words to represent the one word we have in English: Love.  We have so overloaded that word that it seems to have lost all of its meaning.  We “love” sunsets, our favorite Super Bowl winning football team, cars, family, artwork, friends and weekends.  Is it all the same?  The ancient Greeks didn’t think so.

Three of the seven Greek words for love really resonated with me. They are seen throughout ancient literature.  I think they can give us a modern insight into love that we may have lost today.  They are: Eros, Philia and Agape.  In the spirit of the Olympics, I think they represent the three winning medals: bronze, silver and gold.  I won’t make this a full course in etymology, but if you will bear with me, I would love (no pun intended) to unpack each one of those words and see how it relates to our modern concepts of love.

Eros is ἔρως.  I warned you it would look like a math lesson.  If that seems like it is all Greek to you, well it is.  This bronze word represents love as a feeling and a passion.  Plato and Socrates argue that eros is the soul acknowledging beauty.  The emotional elements of this type of love are strong and is the etymology behind words like erotic.  By far, this is the one form of love that we sing about the most.  Huey Lewis says it is the “power”, The J Geils Band would say it “stinks” and Foreigner just wants to know what it is.  Queen, Beyoncé and Jay-Z think it is “crazy”.  Captain and Tennille think it keeps people together, but Tina Turner just wants to know what that has to do with it.  Ray Charles can’t stop it and Whitney Houston will always have it.  The Bee Gees want to know how deep it goes and Diana Ross and Lionel Richie know it is endless.

Philia is φιλία.  Are you thinking about a fraternity or sorority by now?  This shiny silver form of love is related to friendship, community, loyalty to friends, care for family and kindness to fellow equals, often expressed as “brotherly love”.  Philia is the root of words like philosophy (love of wisdom) and philanthropy (love of human kind) representing the affection we place on things familiar and close to us. We see this at work in our lives through our affection and attraction to a group of like-minded individuals who also support us.  In our community, this is expressed as a connection with individuals that have shared needs, experiences or goals.  It can be tribal, national, or even global.  Building communities and getting to know each other builds philia, which I think we can all agree, we could use a bit more of these days.

Agape is ἀγάπη. The Greeks built on the Phoenician characters, creating the first true “alphabet” (alpha beta) by including vowels along with constants.  This form of love begins with alpha (α), the first letter.  In a lot of ways, this golden form of love is elevated above the others in its expression and could be considered “the first love”.  Unlike the other forms of love, this love is not determined by the object of the love. It is solely determined by the originator.  Said differently, agape is not a love that arises from passion, reciprocation, community or even the loveliness or the familiarity of the object being loved.  Instead, it is a willful, volitional love that is solely decided upon by the giver of this love without expecting anything in return.  We often call this “selfless” or “self-sacrificing” love.  It expresses itself in random acts of kindness, empathy, volunteer work and charity.  It thinks about the other person more than itself.  It is often considered a divine love, tightly coupled with mercy, unmerited kindness and grace.  It seeks the good for others.  It is the antithesis of hate.  It gives.  It endures.  It loves no matter what.  In this way, it is the pinnacle of love.  It can change the world.  In my mind, it gets the gold.

On this Valentine’s Day, I wish you love…. eros, philia and agape… but most of all, I wish you agape.  Set your sights on the gold!  Love others with all your heart.

Rivals for Improvement

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions. – Ken Blanchard

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is on!  My wife absolutely loves watching skating, hockey and curling.   She is glued to the television when any of these come on.  I’ve never been a sports fan of any kind and regularly embarrass my wife and son when I try to talk about any sports.  But I do find the Olympics fascinating.  What impresses me is the level of skill that these Olympians achieve.  I watch the competitions and I’m blown away at how anyone can assess the minute differences between these top-notch athletes.  They are clearly at the top of their game.  Just being there is an accomplishment.  They are the best of the best.  Yet to them, the goal is to still be even better, at least better than their competition and earn the gold medal.

I’m not competitive by nature, but I recognize the power of the rival.  Having someone you compete with can make you better.  You try harder.  You take necessary risks.  You stretch outside of your own comfort zone and go beyond yourself.  You improve.  Your opponent can be a trainer, a friend, a family member or even your own shadow.  You try to step ahead of where they are, envisioning, enduring and exceeding.  You push through obstacles that were limiting you and you level up.  Your rival does the same.  It’s a virtuous improvement loop, constantly taunting you to keep going, try harder, be better.

Who is your rival?  Who challenges you to be better?  A good rival is not necessarily an enemy.  In fact, the best rival can be a friend who gives you the gift of honest feedback.  It can be that mentor who encourages you to use your strengths and challenges you to overcome your weaknesses.  You can even be your own rival.  Challenge yourself.  Do honest self-reviews and grade your own performance.  I often find my biggest critic stares back at me in the mirror every morning.  It is a gift you can give yourself.  And it’s good to have someone else who can be real with you and provide honest feedback.  If you don’t have that, be proactive and ask for it. 

Are you a good rival for someone else?  Do you give honest feedback?  I confess, I default to encouraging with kindness over pointing out flaws.  But providing others with candid and sincere insight is also a gift.  It is a form of encouragement and love, if delivered in the right way.  Be kind.  Give feedback.  It’s an improvement area that I seek for myself and encourage you to do the same.

What am I or we doing wrong?  What can I or we do better?   Many on my team are not shy in giving me answers.  Thank you for that!  I invite all of you to do the same and ask those same questions.  We all get better when we know what we can improve.  Embrace the challenge and be a friendly rival too.

Rivals in Business

The virtue of having a rival in our life to be better also applies to business. Our companies need rivals. Just like personal rivals, corporate rivals force businesses to try harder.  They must invest and take necessary risks or they become obsolete.  They stretch outside of their own operational comfort zones, reinvent themselves and enter new markets. They must improve their ways of working and deliver their products and services with higher quality, efficiency, speed, and relevance. Yes, competition is a threat to a business’s survival. But it’s the existence of that threat that keeps the business alive, innovating, adapting and improving. Embrace competition as a healthy rival… and win.

Now back to the winter Olympics, curling… and Nathan Chen.

Olympic rings - Symbol of the Olympic Movement

Tiny Wonders

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” – Confucius

Prochlorococcus.  Try saying that ten times fast!  Prochlorococcus is the smallest photosynthetic organism on Earth.  This microscopic phytoplankton measures a mere 0.6 μm (0.0006 mm) but is the most abundant photosynthetic organism on Earth.  Without any ability to move, this faithful little bacterium spends all its time floating around in our oceans absorbing the warm rays from our sun and converting that energy into oxygen.  Scientist estimate that this unseen creature is responsible for producing 20% of all the oxygen in our global biosphere.  That’s more than all of the tropical rainforest combined!  Take four breaths.  Now take one more.  That last one was oxygenated for you by your friendly neighborhood Prochlorococcus. 

Isn’t life on our planet amazing?  All around us are tiny wonder, fellow creatures, seen and unseen that are playing out this incredible symphony of life. That includes us! Do you sometimes feel invisible? Insignificant? Maybe it seems that what you are doing doesn’t amount to much. If so, look to the Prochlorococcus. That little fellow can’t even be seen with the naked eye! Talk about invisible. Yet this brilliant little guy is responsible for helping sustain life across our incredible planet.  So are you. No matter how small it may seem, your actions add up. And not your actions only, but those of others around you too.

It’s easy to pass by and miss the beauty, the story and the miracle that is happening right before us. People and fellow creatures all around us are going about their business, making oxygen for their friends, their families and the world. We are part of that. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself buried in my screen, my projects or my worries.  I lock myself away in my own mental prison, completely oblivious to the spectacular wonder that is going on all around us.  Look up.  Step outside of your zone and breathe in.  Look for the beauty and priceless wonders that are all around us.  Appreciate those around you, doing their job, making a difference too. Soak in those golden moments and exhale.  It’s good to be alive!  

Thanks for all you do!  Your kindness, thoughtfulness and deliberate efforts are how we keep moving forward as a human family. And even when your work may seem invisible like our Prochlorococcus friends, remember, the work you do can make a global difference.  Look up from the screen.  If you can, go on a walk and breathe in the amazing life around you.  Those moments are like oxygen to the soul and ultimately make us better at what we do.  Take some time today to appreciate the tiny wonders of our world and the incredible life we have been given.

Have a great week!

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ocean-oxygen.html

Status Quo

“Here we have Franciscans, Armenians, Greeks, Muslim guards, and Jewish police officers. We hope and we pray that this will be a real message that the impossible can become the possible.” – Thephilos III

We love watching National Geographic documentaries on Disney+.  This weekend, my wife found a NatGeo exclusive, where scientist expose the original surface of what is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ.  The tomb had been covered since at least 1555 A.D.  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection, is situated over the burial tomb.  The Roman emperor, Constantine, had commissioned the church to be built at the site in 325 A.D.  It is currently under the custody of six Christian groups.  As you can imagine, they each have their own ideas, plans and dreams for this sacred place.  Throughout the years, disagreement and battles would erupt between the different parties.  

Keep the Status Quo!  In 1852, the groups came together to establish cooperation and peace.  “Things, as they have been running until today, shall remain as at present, pending a final agreement.”  A system of rules would regulate this holy place.  Nothing would be allowed to change without the agreement of all parties.  This was called the “Status Quo agreement”, from Latin meaning “the existing state of affairs, the way things are.”

Well intentioned efforts to drive peace and reduce disruption can have side effects.  Earthquakes, weather and natural erosion began to deteriorate and put this sacred place at risk.  In fact, without intervention the entire structure around the tomb was at risk of collapsing and destroying this beloved place.  Sadly, no agreement could be reached.  The Status Quo remained in effect for over 160 years.  Finally, in 2015, a restoration project was launched.  The National Geographic Society received the blessing from the religious communities in alliance with the National Technical University of Athens for cultural heritage preservation.  The ongoing work to reinforce the structure and preserve the site had finally started… the impossible had become the possible.  

What is your Status Quo?  Is something preventing you from taking necessary action to improve things?  I challenge you to spend time today thinking about the “Status Quo agreements” that are controlling your life or actions.  Are you finding that those imagined constraints or real agreements are preventing necessary change or maintenance?   Is unchallenged consensus immobilizing innovation or restricting required progress?  If so, it is time for a resurrection.  Challenge the Status Quo!  Make bold and ambitious plans to deliver the change needed.  Think big.  Start anew!  The impossible can become possible.


Think Big

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Harry Belafonte had an idea.  He wanted to organize relief aid to Africa.  Harry, a successful Jamaican-American singer and songwriter was well-known for his recording of “The Banana Boat Song”, with its signature “Day-O” lyric.  He envisioned writing a new song that would inspire the world.  He made a few calls.  Soon, other singers and songwriters were onboard, including Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder.  American record producer, Quincy Jones joined in and reached out to Michael Jackson who had just concluded a tour with his brothers after releasing his Thriller album.  Jackson was enthusiastic about the opportunity and told them he not only wanted to sing it, but wanted to help write it as well. Lionel joined Michael at the Jackson family home in Encino, California and went to work writing the song.  They wanted something that would be easy to sing and remember, yet still an anthem.  Richie had a melody which Jackson took. He added music and words to the song on the same day.  A week after starting, Jackson and Richie had the song.

“We Are the World” was recorded a week later.  An incredible cast of 45 artists joined Jackson and team, including Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Willie Nelson, Huey Lewis, Bette Midler, The Pointer Sisters and Jackson’s siblings.  Upon entering the recording studio, the musicians were greeted by a sign pinned to the door that read, “Please check your egos at the door.” They were also greeted by Stevie Wonder, who proclaimed that if the recording was not complete in one take, he and Ray Charles, two blind men, would drive them home.  

Harry’s big idea had become reality. Once released, the song went on to raise $63M for the relief effort and topped music charts throughout the world.  It became the fastest selling U.S. pop single in history, becoming the first to be certified multi-platinum.  

Think Big!  It’s easy to think small.  But thinking big requires stretching outside our comfort area and more importantly, reaching out to others.  To scale to the impact that “We Are the World” had, Harry knew he needed help.  His vision succeeded because he engaged and inspired others to follow and join his effort.

What are your big ideas?  Who are you going to enlist to help accomplish your mission?  Be bold. Have faith. Think big. In the words of the chorus that might be going through your head by now, “It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me.” 

Let’s go make a better day!


Picture on Post: “We Are the World” Album Cover Art

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AjkUyX0rVw

“We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me”

Let’s Talk About Bruno

“I feel like I missed something…”  – Bruno

Let’s talk about Bruno!  Wait, what?  We don’t talk about Bruno?  For those of you who haven’t seen Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto , you are missing out.  I won’t post any spoilers, but let’s say it is definitely one of those multi-play movies, especially at the Cox home, and likely for any of you with kids at home.  I hear the soundtrack playing again right now.  

Over the holidays, I had the pleasure of going to the theater to see Encanto with my entire family, including my son who moved away.  That’s something we haven’t been able to do together for several years now.  In typical Disney fashion, the story unfolds a powerful moral narrative, celebrates family decorated with spectacular magical moments, music, characters and beautiful vibrant colors.  We talked about it as a family for hours afterwards.  Great memories!

It’s a joy and a privilege to work at Disney. We make moments that last a lifetime.  But I think we can get so caught up in the day to day, log4j or sprint of the moment that we forget the incredible impact that our work, our company and our fellow cast members have on our human family.  We make magic.  The artistry, the technical innovation, the story telling, and the signature quality of our products all power our ability to deliver enchanted experiences.  Those interactions create moments and memories that last forever.  They help craft and elevate personal narratives and family stories that pass down from one generation to the next.  Like many of my fellow cast members, I often hear family and friends excitedly convey their personal or families’ first experiences with Disney, perhaps a Mickey Mouse short, a character, a movie or a trip to Disneyland.  A smile crosses their face and they close their eyes as they reminisce and cherish those wonderful moments.

Can I suggest something?  This isn’t unique to working at Disney. All of our actions, our work and our jobs impact others. Take a few minutes today and look up from your laptop screen, walk outside and gaze out into our world.  Look at the horizon of the fabulous Earthship we are riding.  Across our world is a magnificent variety of amazing people, families and connections.  Imagine the infinite experiences happening to our human family across the globe right now. The work we do matters to them.  We can make a positive difference. 

Now, let’s go make some of that magic…. Oh, and let’s talk about Bruno!


Encanto – https://movies.disney.com/encanto
© Disney, All Rights Reserved, Disney Entertainment

Halfway Out of the Dark

Solar Winter

“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, ‘Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’ Back on Earth we call this Christmas.” – Doctor Who

I confess, I’m addicted to data.  I love building graphs and colorized charts to visualize that data.  When we installed our Tesla Energy solar panels back in September, I was delighted to have our house powered by that ancient and reliable thermonuclear fusion reactor that shows up each day in our sky.  But, I wanted to see the data!  I soon discovered a wealth of information available from our new Tesla Energy Powerwall system.  I began mining it and even created a simple python library, pyPowerwall, to make it easy to manipulate.  Using that and Telegraf, InfluxDB, and Grafana I had an observability platform and dashboard to feed my data and visualization appetite.  Naturally, the graphs were in full color.  

It’s getting dark.  You don’t need a graph to tell you that.  Our days get shorter in the winter.  We all observe the blanket of darkness that gradually pulls over us, stretching deeper into our mornings and evenings.  But what you may not know is how dramatic that change can be in terms of energy.   Our solar energy system went online at the beginning of October, with 35kWh of energy captured from the sun every day.  It has been on a steady ramp down since that first day.  As we tick inescapably towards our winter solstice, in just two months the energy we get from our heavenly benefactor has dropped in half to 17kWh per day.  The day-to-day graph shows the flattening of the curve as it bends down ominously towards the winter solar abyss of December 21st.   It’s victory over us is felt in the cold wind, the fading colors and the melancholy shadows that scrape against our souls.  Darkness is here.

Light a candle.  Our human family has witnessed this solar dance since our beginning.  We measure the sky and plot the stars to know where we are. We embrace the rhythm of the year by decorating it with celebrations and traditions.  In the darkness of the winter, we light our lights.  We illuminate our winter journey with candles.  We adorn our homes with fragrant greens, twinkling lights, cheerful ornaments and glowing fires.  All the while, we know, the light is coming again.  The glory of the sun will return!   But for now, we celebrate.

It’s almost here.  The dead of winter has arrived.  Cuddle up with a warm cup of coffee or tea, your loved ones and a glowing fire.  The light will return.  We are halfway out of the dark!  Celebrate it. 

Merry Christmas! 

Enjoy the Ride

“I am confident the need for great storytelling will endure for generations to come, enhanced by new technologies that will bring these tales to life and deliver them to people around the globe in even more extraordinary ways… we will always gravitate to stories that bind us together—tales of adventure, love, friendship, and heroism, tales that enable us to escape, that comfort and inspire us, that give us hope and reason to be optimistic, tales that inform us…. and, of course, touch our hearts.” – Bob Iger, Farewell

I woke up this morning and glanced out the window to see the sun peaking over the mountain tops.  The beams of light struck the beautiful and brilliant red and golden leaves of the trees behind our house.  The backlit spectacular was incredible!  As I soaked it in, I was struck by the temporal nature of this artistry.  The occasional leaf would detach and glide to the ground.  Soon, this majestic presentation would be gone and all that would be left will be the branches.  It occurred to me, how tragic it would have been if I had missed it.  It’s a great reminder that things change.  New scenes are appearing all the time.  The lesson is, enjoy the moment, those golden nuggets of time that grace your path.  Drink them in.  Be grateful for the show that was made, just for you.

I noticed another changing of seasons today.  Disney’s former CEO and Chairman, Bob Iger’s farewell email landed in my inbox this morning.  As with the beautiful sunrise, it definitely has me nostalgic, a bit misty eyed and grateful.

A few months after I started at Disney (now sixteen and a half years ago!) a new CEO was announced, Bob Iger.  Disney was a strong brand, but creativity and storytelling had become stagnant and mundane.  Bob came in with a simple yet powerful plan.  He identified three strategic pillars that would propel Disney forward: 

  1. Creativity – We would focus on creating compelling content and telling stories that delight our guests in new and powerful ways.
  2. Technology – Second only to creativity would be the adoption and innovation of new technologies to help us create and deliver those storytelling experiences. It would help us amplify the magic, better connect with our guests and allow our guests to better connect with us.
  3. Globalization – Disney would expand into new markets around the world.  As part of that effort, our content, products and experiences would strive to reflect our diverse human family around the globe, both on screen as well as behind the scenes.

The result of Bob’s strategy was a return to epic storytelling, investments and innovation in technology and the expansion of our impact around the globe.  It resulted in us welcoming PIXAR (2006), Marvel (2009), Lucasfilm (2012) and most recently 21st Century Fox (2019) to the Disney family.  Adding those creative engines, brilliant teams and storytellers, along with new innovative technologies, amplified our ability to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe.

Like many of my fellow cast members, I feel like I have had the privilege of sitting in the front row watching the incredible transformation Bob Iger unleashed for Disney.  And like many others, I am incredibly grateful to have been able to participate and be part of that “ride of a lifetime” story with Bob at the wheel.  

I am sad to see Bob Iger leave, but I’m incredibly optimistic about the future.  The work Bob started is growing and shaping Disney into a modern force for good. I’m convinced it will continue.  Sure, we will make missteps, try and fail at times, but our mission to deliver magic, entertainment and inspiration to the world is still key.  It is an honor to be part of an organization that is about elevating the human experience across the planet, especially when it includes unlocking the potential of technology to do so.

Have a great week!  And don’t forget… enjoy the ride.

Broken Bits

“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has – or ever will have – something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.” – Fred Rogers

Did any of you brave it out on Friday to see the bustling crowds at stores or the mall?  We did.  I’m a glutton for punishment I suppose, but I do enjoy the excitement, festive mood and the occasional good deals.  To be fair, there was much less this year.   Especially the crowds and the good deals, but the festive mood was still there. Regardless, it was a fun date with my sweetie to parade around the town and spot a good deal or two.

We started putting up Christmas decorations even before Thanksgiving, but this past weekend was the final sprint. Trees, lights, candles and greenery now adorn every room in our house and even flow outside. Present boxes, sweets, music and greeting cards begin their annual appearance.  And, as some of you know, it was the first candle lighting of Hanukkah last night.  As the days grow darker and a bit gloomy, the warm glow of the candles, fireplace and the Christmas lights are healing salves to the soul.

I’m clumsy.  I love helping set up the trees, string the lights and set out the decorations.  But in the process, I manage to bump things and there is the evitable breakage.  I was setting up a small tree next to our dining room and added a small string of LED lights.  It was a low-cost variety and had that irritating 60Hz strobing.  I decided to solder in a rectifier, which did the trick, but in the process, I knocked over one of those big LED-lit candles we have.  It fell to our unforgiving tile floor and the wax broke into bits.  

“Oh great,” I said to myself and then heard the expected, “What did you break now?”  My poor motor skills are well known to my family so they came into the dining room to see the show. They managed to piece the candle back together.  To our surprise, the candle still worked.  The glow of the light in the candle warmed up the entire cylinder and to our surprise, created a marvelous new display, illuminating the cracks and casting new shades on the surface.  It was beautiful!   It looked like a landscape wrapped around the candle, with dramatic shadows to create depth.  The result was a natural and unique work of art that now sits on the shelf.  The broken candle created something new, giving inspiration and perspective that didn’t exist before.

We are all broken.  We all have cracks.  We experience hurts, failures, disappointments, physical limitations, mental struggles and other self or externally judged imperfections.  As my youngest often reminds me, especially when my obsessive compulsiveness kicks in, “Nobody is perfect.”   She is right! The reality is that part of our immeasurable value and enduring purpose is the incredible uniqueness of our seemingly broken bits.  Where we are fractured, the light shines through us best.  Glow!  We are creating something new by embracing who we are, striving yet shining. Our uniqueness gives inspiration and perspective that didn’t exist before.  Don’t hold back.  Be the best “you” you can be and shine!

Rafting Down the Stream of Time

Did you notice it?  We often wish for more time in the day to get things done.  Yesterday we got it!  Sunday was 25 hours long.  I don’t know about you, but the only part I noticed was the extra hour of sleep.  Of course, to pay off this luxury, we will suffer a 23-hour Sunday in the Spring.  That is, of course, unless we suddenly manage to retire Daylight Savings Time.

The stream of time keeps going on.  It reminds me of my childhood when we would go river rafting.  We would find a mountain stream in the Ozarks and launch our rafts at the headwaters.  It would be early in the morning as the sun was just coming out.  There would be dew on the leaves and the air would be cool and crisp.  As we would float downstream we encountered areas that moved quickly.  We would hit the churning water of the rapids with loud and heart pounding excitement.  Frantic and vigorously we would paddle to steer clear of the approaching boulders, tree limbs and perilous drops.  

There were times when the stream would slow to a crawl and the water would become like glass.  We would hear the birds and wind gently whistling through the trees.  It was like time and the stream just nearly stopped.  We would still paddle to stay on course, navigate the river bends and slowly make progress.  Occasionally we would just simply glide along, letting the energy of the stream carry us forward.  Or we might steer the raft to the shore to rest, warm up in the sun, eat a snack or just relax.  Those are some of my favorite memories. They were beautiful opportunities to soak in the views and drink in the sounds. 

Life throws a lot of variety at us.  There are twists and turns.  There are times of rest.  There are moments of chaos.  Sometimes we face the rapids head on, quickly navigating and strongly reacting to the dramatically unfolding challenges before us.  At other times we get to glide and enjoy the serene and beautiful moments.  In all those moments, we have a choice.  We can actively participate in the journey, paddling our best to navigate the adventure.  And at other times, we can pull up our oars and enjoy the scenic serenity of living in the moment, frozen in time.   Make sure you do both.  

Enjoy the trip!