Making the Best of Your Moments
I recently received an email from my sister-in-law Shoshanna Cogan and my brother Shan -- better known to Shoshanna as "Shannon" -- telling of their Indonesian trip:
Shannon and I recently arrived back from our trip to Indonesia and are transitioning from a tropical 85 degrees to near-zero temps. We've decided winter is much more fun when you're cross-country skiing, so we're grateful for the fresh snow.As you can see from the photo above, Shan and Shoshanna are both athletically inclined, and I can now add "cross-country skiing" to the list of their activities, among other things. Here's what they did in Bali:
Highlights of the Indonesia trip included leading successful pro-bono workshops for the Balinese at an alternative college (we even did one training together for the first time ever), snorkeling (and scuba diving for Shoshanna) with giant turtles and iridescent fish in the gorgeous Gili Islands, rice paddy massages for $6, sponsoring some young folks for their education through the Bali Children's Project and Karuna Bali Foundation, mountain biking (see photo) down from the volcano December 25th through village ceremonies, white water rafting (especially dropping down the waterfall at the end), hanging out at Monkey Forest Sanctuary (see photo of one napping on my head), and most of all, connecting with the overwhelmingly friendly Balinese people.That's quite a sentence -- and quite a photo of that sacred monkey in all its shining glory! Quite a trip too, though it doesn't compare with the trip that my family and I took last Saturday to "Water Joy" in downtown Bucheon, near Seoul. We had the experience of a lifetime enjoying a raft trip on artificial waves that swept us along in a circular path that one could repeat all day long! I didn't, of course, for there was also the attraction of drinking beer outside in the bitter cold while sitting in a hot pool and enjoying the steam rising from the water's surface. Not to mention the "Black Hole Water Slide," a ride that I expected not to survive, given certain well-known facts about singularities . . . . In some miraculous way, however, due to the marvels of modern technology, I passed through that "Black Hole" and came out the other side suffering only from a bump on my head and a concern that I might be trapped in a parallel universe in every respect exactly like the one that I had always known, a rather discouraging prospect, but I faced my fear like a man and made the courageous decision to do the best with my time remaining in this less-than-perfect world in which I've found myself.
Enough about me. Back to Shan and Shoshanna:
Bali, unlike the rest of the Indonesian islands, is Hindu and unique to the region in ways only a visit can demonstrate. I used to say that the Fijians were the warmest people I've ever experienced; now I may change that to the Balinese. They may well be the most photogenic too (see attached pic of elder woman in ceremonial garb).
Other events of 2008 include: To our amazement, we paid off our house; Shannon had another successful year (his 8th) at Niagara University and is in process of getting another professional book published, through the American Counseling Association; Shoshanna co-facilitated with some fabulous colleagues at an international conference in the Netherlands, followed by a great family visit to France; we completed our first Sprint Triathlon to celebrate turning 50 (even received 3rd place in my age division).Publishing a book! Oh no, another successful brother! Like my brother Pat, but successful in the academic world! My world! Well, at least I turned fifty first, and nobody can take that away from me! Except for older brother Pat. Well, I'll always be your older brother, Shan, no matter how much more successful you are at a younger age.
But I'm willing to bask in the glow of others' success, especially when they are so generous with warm feelings:
We are grateful for each of you in our lives, for good health never to be taken for granted, and for continual opportunities to make a small difference in the lives of others. Our hope is that 2009 be overflowing with abundance, radiant health, and contagious joy, for you and for our precious world.They don't realize that this world is in a universe parallel to another one from which I came last Saturday, and if there are two of a kind, the precious quality diminishes in value. That's a hard truth of the marketplace, but it needs to be pointed out to people who haven't read an economics textbook like I have.
Nevertheless, one has to make the best of one's moments, much as Shan and Shoshanna have been doing.