June 30, 2005

Driving to the Post Office the other day to get my mail, I started to think about the price we pay to live on Shelter Island, especially in time. No mail delivery. Time. No garbage pickup. More time. To leave the island or return to it, we have to wait in line for a ferry. Even more time. I can’t imagine some of my up-island friends taking the time to drive to the Post Office every day to get their mail. Their heads would explode!

Of course, wherever you live, life can be as hectic as you want it to be, but in my experience, places seem to have an energy of their own. Haven’t you noticed this? I lived out west for a few years in Tempe, Arizona, and I found the energy there to be more welcoming and friendly than in New York City, for example. The energy on Shelter Island seems a bit more leisurely than the rest of Long Island. Not that we don’t work hard here, but even when I’m busy or on a deadline, things don’t seem as crazed as they might.

Shelter Island seems to be saying to us, slow down. The signs are all around us, literally. Look at the speed limits. Even if you wanted to race around like a crazy person, as soon as you get in your car you are reminded to chill out and relax a little.

Einstein once said, “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.” I’m by no means comparing life on Shelter Island to sitting on a red-hot cinder! The point is that we experience time differently in different circumstances.

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My Beach

June 9, 2005

People are often surprised when I tell them I live on Shelter Island.

“I haven’t seen you before,” they say. “Did you just move here recently?”

“No, I’ve lived here for eight years.”

“Eight years?!”

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Until Today! – Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind by Iyanla Vanzant

June 2, 2005

Until Today! is a book of “Daily Devotions for Spiritual Growth and Peace of Mind,” as it’s subtitle reveals.

The book is broken into twelve sections—one for each month of the year—each centered on a different theme. For example, January is life, February is love, and March is awareness. What’s nice about this structure is that the power of the themed devotions builds as the reader proceeds day by day through the month. Like peeling an onion, you’ll find yourself going deeper and deeper in your daily reflections. Of course, that requires you use the book consistently, but even if you don’t, you’ll likely still enjoy it.

The devotions can be used as a personal development tool, too. At the end of each one, Vanzant offers a suggested action for the day. “Just for today…” The action could be a shift in perspective for the day, or a change in attitude, or a new belief. Often it is a suggestion to quiet your mind and experience your inner or outer world in some new way.

I use the book as a source of inspiration for meditations or journaling. It’s a spring board for thinking about my beliefs and attitudes about myself and the world. Some of the daily devotions are more effective than others—you can’t expect all of them to resonate with everyone—but when it works, it works well. I’ve learned quite a bit about myself as a result of reflections that began from one of Vanzant’s devotions.

To anyone who wants to begin or continue a practice of daily meditation or reflection, I recommend Until Today! by Iyanla Vanzant.