The tapestry of an adult’s life is made up of thousands of threads of small personal victories and setbacks. We weave this tapestry over the decades. Sometimes we rejoice even in small advances. Other times we seek the lessons in matters that did not turn out so well as we wished.

This morning, Elizabeth and I got to celebrate a small personal triumph. One¬†could say, it¬†was a victory of “mind over matter: If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” ūüôā

What is this about? Well, one month ago exactly, on June 11, we set a goal to lose some weight gained during our May travels in Europe.  And not just in Europe. We were also feasting when I got back to our Yang home in Arizona, and again when we returned to our Yin home in Maui. Overindulgence.

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So on June 11, Elizabeth and I¬†resolved to lose some weight. But¬†one does not speak of a lady’s weight any more than one does about her age. So I will stick just to my own numbers. Suffice it to say that¬†Elizabeth was¬†also this morning within a hair’s width of her goal.

This is what I wrote down in my Journal one month ago:

“I resolve to start to bring my weight down 10 pounds from this day forward. No more sweets. No more glutens. Very little meat.”

What brought this on? Well, when we left for Europe on May 13, I weighed 170.6 pounds.  One long trip, birthday and several dinner parties later, my weight had bloomed to 175.6 pounds by June 11.

No big deal? ¬†Only 5 pounds. Actually, it was. ¬†It’s called the weight creep. ¬†And before you know it, you’re up in no-no land.

When I returned from Peru at Christmas in Dec 2012, for example. my weight was 164 pounds.  I like to keep it under 166 pounds, and had been able to ever since Elizabeth and I launched another weight loss quest in July 2012. Until this trip and the feasts that followed.

So it was time to get real with oneself again. And we both did. Elizabeth and I each set specific goals for respective weight loss.

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(Purpose: cutting junky jungle trees to give the Royal Palm more sunlight)

Of course, that’s easier set than done. What helped, though, is that I have been doing a lot of “farmer’s yoga” in the last week or so. Heavy duty chainsaw and other lumberjack work typically caused my weight to drop 2 to 4 pounds each time.

This morning, for example, it fell¬†from 165.6 to 162.4 pounds before breakfast! But after¬†my “lumberjack yoga” down in the gulch, at the Royal Palm Trail (see above pictures).

Of course, most of it is just loss of liquids. Eventually, you drink most it it back up. But some small benefit remained each day. Half a pound here, a quarter of a pound there.

And so here we are… 10 pounds less. Under 166 again. A small victory of mind over matter. ūüôā


Which calls for a small celebration.  Elizabeth and I are planning to go out tomorrow night to a nice shrimp dinner in Lahaina.  And then stop by a Bon Dance (Buddhist fiesta) in Paia on our way back.

And then,¬†our¬†battle of “mind over matter” will have to continue. No respite for the weary.

If there is one thing we lament from time to time, it is that it used to be so much easier to do that when we were younger. Oh well, but back then we did not have the wisdom to understand why¬†these “mind over matter” battles are so important. It’s not only¬†about weight, you know.

So there is a silver lining to everything, including aging.

Life for a Life: Palm for a Palm

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The expression “life for a life” usually has dark connotations. ¬†Revenge murder. ¬†This story, however, is about giving life after taking a life.

The main purpose of all my¬†“lumberjacking yoga” in the last seven days was to provide more sunlight for some Royal Palm trees. I also did a lot of pruning in this area in Dec 2010 for the same reason. Since then, however, the invasive “junky” jungle trees have outgrown and overshadowed the two Royal Palms. Literally.

A Steward of the Earth is occasionally called upon to play a referee for the sake of protection of the endangered species.  In this case, our two Royal Palms.

Well, this Steward of the Earth screwed up. He made a judgment error last night. After researching and planning carefully how to take down a large (40-ft) invasive tree that was overshadowing one of the palms, I thought I had it figured out.

In fact, I was quite proud of my chainsaw work when a 40-foot tree fell exactly where I had wanted it to drop.  Alas, one of its top limbs, which no chainsaw known by man could have ever reached, caught the top of the palm tree on the way down.  I was hoping it would have just brushed over it.

But the palm bent, groaned, and then gave up the ghost.  Its top 15 feet or so snapped and broke.

It also broke my heart to witness it.  I literally felt like crying. Not because of the tremendous amount of physical effort and planning I put into it. But because in the end РI failed to protect it. I killed the palm I was trying to save.

So last night, during my midnight meditations, I apologized to the Spirit and asked what I was to do. The guidance I got was that I was to get another palm and plant it into one of our new rock wells. It would stand alone there.  Thus it will be in no danger of being overshadowed by any other trees.

Ptychosperma Elegans: Solitaire Palm, Native to Australia,

Which is what I did this afternoon.  But instead of going to a large nursery, something guided me to go to our local hardware store. I remember seeing some plants outside when I was there last.IMG_1965

Lo and behold, there was one palm there. Just the perfect size for our needs. The label on it read “Solutary Palm.” I had¬†never heard of such a palm. So I walked in to ask the store owner about it.

“What kind of a palm is the¬†‘Solutary Palm?'”

She laughed. “That’s Gary’s spelling for you. I told him to change the sign.”

“I don’t understand?”

“It is a Solitaire Palm.”

“And that’s a breed?”


Later, I found out that the actual name of this particular palm is Ptychosperma Elegans. We actually have  some elsewhere on our property. And that one is indeed solitary.

I also learned that the Solitaire palm is native to eastern Queensland, Australia, where it occurs in coastal rainforests.  So now I understand why the Spirit guide me today to that little hardware store with the only palm they had.  It helped reconnect me to the land Down Under in which I once had a home (see the Bolt Hole, WA).

And now, this is what this “Solutary Palm” looked like after I planted it this evening. ¬†When I did it, I did not know it was native to Australia. As it turns out, this “Aussie”¬†is¬†now¬†right next to two Eucalyptus Trees. ¬†And they are both under the Eucalyptus Hill.

Guess that’s now our “Little Australia” at the Rainbow Shower. ūüôā

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PS: I have just discovered that we already have a Solitaire Palm. And it is actually NOT a solitary plant. It is a triplet, nestled between our living room where my Steinway is, and Elizabeth’s studio (see below – a shot from last September),



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