Penny wise, pound foolish

A popular idiom that I learned during childhood. I Googled the origins of this idiom and found out that it was coined almost 500 years ago, in England and first recorded in Francis Meres’ Luis de Granada’s Sinners Guyde, translated in 1598:

Least he (as it is wont to be sayd) be penny wise and pound foolish, least he I say, gather ashes, and cast away flower.

Isn’t that imagery very striking, to gather ashes while casting away the flour (wasn’t flour spelled flower in the olden days)? How apt.

I am sure we all have battle scars from our forays into the consumerism world, buying the lower cost product and then realizing later, that the quality was commensurate with the price paid. It may have been better to buy the higher priced product and had greater durability and other qualitative benefits. Clearly, this doesn’t apply to ‘branded’ products, where a significant percentage of the pricing is for the image/status of being a ‘prideful’ owner of said branded item.

But money is not the only exchange medium that is called to mind with this idiom. How about TIME?

Clearly, when we are considering life investments, be it a home or our retirement options, we would and should be spending lots of time given the years of living in said home, or relying on said investment income for retirement. What happens if it’s one of those items on Amazon? Or a hotel night in town X? A defined budget may dictate getting products or services that fit within said budget. But ultimately, the trade off is whether to purse the best value price offering by spending too much time, or securing a good enough value price offering with the right enough amount of time. Would budgeting both money and time, when researching/evaluating future products and services be a more optimal use of our scarce resources, of which time is the most uncertain? Are there other areas of my life where I treat ‘Time’ as pennies, thinking that I had an unlimited bag of it (ala those addictive seasons on NFLX and the like)?

Is RELATIONSHIP another possible exchange medium? How can I be penny wise, pounds foolish in relationships? Perhaps if we consider how we relate with children in an environment of conflicting time demands/priorities, the insight might be revealed. Missing a child’s play for the sake of overtime work (so that we can get a better bonus, or score the ‘deal’) seems the right thing to do, since we rationalize that we can always catch the next year’s play. And sometimes that does work out. But other times, this rationalization becomes ingrained, and the rare mis-attendance turns into a common routine where the other partner picks up the slack.

What about adult relationships? What constitutes pennies vs pounds? Perhaps we count the pennies of mis-perceived ‘slights’ and forget the pounds of ‘care’ and ‘concern’ that friends showed during the relationship.

Additionally, social media have allowed us to be kept informed of many more friends’ activities than pre-social media. But if depth of relationship is the pounds part of this relationship equation, why then do we spend more time on social media than on face to face interactions? Clearly none of us want many superficial relationships over a handful of deep relationships, right?

A final example – is HEALTH another possible exchange medium? A pennies approach to health might be subscribing to the view that there’s a pill for any and every health deficiency. That medical care and pharmaceutical offerings have advanced to the level that one only need minimal attention to the rigors of a regular exercise regimen, good nutrition and good rest/sleep. Who has the time and energy for a pounds approach to health?

You may come up with other exchange media. It might make for an interesting reflection of how culture and social norms have re-calibrated our inner compasses of young.

Pennies wise, pounds foolish. Short term vs long term. Immediate gratification vs future sustainability. Tangibles vs intangibles. Surface vs Within. Image vs Character. Pain-avoidance vs Soul-building.

Learning from frogs in a pot of water that goes from lukewarm to boiling

We all know about the frog that is comfortable when placed in a pot of lukewarm water. And when the fire on the pot is slowly adjusted higher, the frog stays in the pot. Until it’s too late.

There’s a biological reason for this. The frog is a cold blooded creature. Thus, its body can regulate its internal temperature to the surroundings. Thus, as the water in the pot gets hotter, the frog is able to tolerate this. Again, until it’s too late.

Shouldn’t we regard this positively, as a sign of adaptability and resiliency? After all, if the water did not reach a boiling temperate that endangers life, the frog could be taken out of the pot, and it will go on living.

What’s that line between adaptability/resiliency and life threatening for the frog?

Aren’t we humans also susceptible to adapting ‘too much’ to an environment (culture, ideology, etc.), believing that we have the resiliency to bounce back to life if there’s a clear and present danger? But aren’t the dangers that are most pernicious and difficult to escape, those that have long fuses?

So, what’s that line that will help us humans assess if said environment is a question of adaptability/resilience or [ultimately] life threatening?

Here’s a possible answer. It’s our unique ability to project and anticipate. Humans are good at brainstorming various possible outcomes, and through human experience, weigh the probable outcomes. If we fail to exercise this intelligence, then, we probably become part of the Darwinian outcome.

By the way, isn’t it interesting that the history of past empires (and societies) tell us that it’s difficult to detect this slow boil is because we are benefiting from said environment! The sharpness of our intelligence (morality, spirituality, etc.) gets dulled by the pleasures and benefits of that long fuse.

The Shortest Day

Dec 21, 2021. This is the Winter Solstice, when it’s the shortest day time and also signifies the start of winter. A rapidly darkening day, when our bodies are not yet tired out by the day’s activities, sends conflicting signals. Did my day just speed by without me noticing since it’s dark? Or, even when it’s dark, I seem to feel that I can go on like the Energizer bunny and accomplish more in the day? Which way are you [psychologically] inclined to?

In reality, the number of seconds, minutes and hours in the day hasn’t changed, despite the change in the number of day light hours. Perhaps what’s being contemplated is, “What is my relationship to time?” regardless of the amount of sun light hours.

We affectionately use Mother Nature, and we intuitively relate to nature, acknowleding the nourishing rest She provides. Being with Mother Nature restores us to our wholeness.

But what about Father Time?

An Allegory of Truth and Time by Annibale Carrac

The winged figure of Time has brought his daughter, Truth, from the depths of a well to reveal her to the light of day. Truth radiates light and looks in a mirror, while two-faced Deceit is trampled under Truth’s feet. Framing the scene on the right is Happy Ending and on the left, Good Luck or Happiness. The moral seems to be both ‘all’s well that ends well’ and ‘the truth will out’.

Father figures are a bit complicated, which may be an understatement for some. On one hand, some associate fathers with being the disciplinatarian, on the other hand, others associate fathers with protection and provision. Regardless, Father Time is undoubtedly most generous to us. Like the air we breathe, we expect an endless supply of His gift of seconds, minutes and hours.

So, how do we treat these gifts of seconds, minutes and hours? Does taking these for granted diminish our capacity to fully harvest every drop of it? Should I agonize over the buckets that slip [un-noticed] through my hands? Or do I even notice or care?

The movie, Dead Poets Society is one of my favorite. Robin Williams play maverick English teacher John Keating with the immortal line, “Carpe Diem, seize the day, make your lives extraordinary!”

There’s wisdom too in the Book of Ecclesiastes, “For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

Unfortunately for all of us, Father Time’s largesse will run out before Mother Nature’s bounty. And so, we must make best of His largesse. And many of us, find that when we consciously relate to Father Time in Mother Nature, we come to rest in ourselves. Which takes us back to, there’s a season for everything.

Finally, may we realize the wisdom of “vanity of vanities, all is vanity” to spur us to plant our gifts from Father Time as seeds of love, in the lives of all around us.

p/s. A secret to internalize – Be in the present.

Surviving vs Thriving

In Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book, “Warning to the West”, in his first speech to the West, he expressed hope that the West would learn from the Russians’ experience. This was when Solzhenitsyn was released from the Gulag, and had commenced a speaking tour to share his experiences. As time progressed, and the West started bending backwards as a result of détente, Solzhenitsyn pulled back on that optimistic expectation, and expressed doubt that human experiences could be transferred, that it seemed to be part of human nature to only learn first-hand. And thus, history does repeat itself.

On the COVID pandemic front, we are seeing this play out as un-vaccinated patients are hospitalized with the Delta variant. Mostly, they offer excuses for their vaccination hesitancy, with a handful still hanging onto their delusions as they are put on ventilators. Fortunately, the vaccination rate increases though the level of objection to proven masking tactics is stupefying this late in the pandemic; namely, this is the FOURTH wave, with several localities hitting all time records in ICU ward occupancies.

It appears there’s a lesson in this. That we can go through life solely based on our experiences, or taking in informed experiences of others. Clearly, we have to develop and exercise a critical discernment faculty when we start scanning and absorbing what is beyond our personal experiences. Perhaps that is the difference between surviving vs thriving.

Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of GOD.

Charles H Spurgeon (on Psalm 76:10)

After mastering the 3 R’s, isn’t the next primary task of getting an education, the inculcation of a critical thinking/discernment ability? If so, how has America’s education system performed?

But there’s a critical assumption, that facts and logic will win out. Unfortunately, some are willing to bet their lives on deeply held convictions. This would be noble when a loving God was involved, not so when it’s self-centered values of individual liberty without regard to the common good.

And so, this generation will learn through their first hand experience. Perhaps the scars and trauma will serve the next generation(s) better. But unfortunately, our track record isn’t promising.

Reflecting Back to Journey Forward

A year unlike any, must surely be handled with care. Brought out the instruments, the special scopes, the probing devices because there’s much to discern. For to slumber through this reflection will surely result in fool’s gold being mistakenly added to my treasure store.

It was a year when I judged less, but discerned more. Judging matters in courts of law, but discernment triumphs in the court of life.

Blessings came disguised, sometimes wrapped initially as losses. The closure in cinemas consigned our annual unlimited movie pass into the back of our drawers. But the hours freed up enrich us beyond expectation. We cannot buy Time, so price-less is it.

Being scammed of a minor amount turned out to be another blessing in disguise. Anger at being fooled, a disruption in inner peace, an internal seething – all never made an appearance. What joy to know that this no longer troubled me. What joy to see it as God helping someone else, with what He blessed me with. Or what He consented to have me steward.

Walks, near and far, fair weather or drizzling rain was nature’s therapy to our souls. Conversations could not but work to bond us, as we employed our hearts more. Growing in the companionship, giving and receiving the simple joy of walking together, in the presence of each other. Aren’t these ingredients for love?

Friendships deepen, friendships die. A mere handful blossom into fellowship. Giving up others un-burdens both, as growth requires different.
As the exterior distractions shrinks, the interior opens up. Wisdom is so accessible and available, not requiring one to seek and visit sages in person like of old. My birthday gift of bookshelves are rapidly filling up. Perspectives change. Hearts softened. Hands reach out.

Pain and hurts arose. But not a few are due to internal expectations. And when I examined latter closely, I realized that it was much easier to re-calibrate those expectations than to manage or bury the pain and hurts. It’s like kicking the soccer ball first, and then, putting up the goal posts after the kick. How sweet.
Oh, I have taken a step forward and two steps back. It happens. Crying over split milk doesn’t do any good. What does good is knowing the motivation/trigger for the different steps. And making sure the feet is pointed in the right direction when moving forward.

The year in reflection is not so much the changing scenery outside my cabin window as I traveled from January to December. It’s more about the changes in me. And for that, there’s only One to thank.

“What is grace?” I asked God.

And He said, “All that happens.”

Then He added, when I looked perplexed,

“Could not lovers say that every moment in their Beloved’s arms was grace?”

Existence is my arms, though I well understand how one can turn away from me, until the heart has wisdom.

(St John the Cross / Daniel Ladinsky)


It has been a tumultuous 2020, with several more weeks to go. The news here in USA from the Covid-19 battle front are grim, with all time highs in various measures, be they daily infections, daily deaths, total hospitalizations and total infections. Within our own households, we have our own unique circumstances and challenges. Much has been communicated about the anticipated dangers in the winter months ahead. We are fatigued. How can we continue to cope?

How did generations before us cope during the multi-year world wars? There was “hope” that people clung to. Hope that appeared time and again. Man is a persistent species. In this pandemic period, the vaccine beckons as hope, that immunization will allow (adapted) life to continue. It matters not if others do not vaccinate, what matters is our own decision.

How should we then wait before mass vaccinations? Perhaps the first step is to examine the label we are now using, namely, “coping.” This label implies we are in a situation where there’s an externality that has disrupted our usual patterns, our lives. And we yearn for said externality to no longer pose a threat, to go away, so that we can resume our usual patterns and lives.

So, is there a better label than “coping?” What about “metamorphosizing”? Can this curtailed period be one in which like the caterpillar, we become convicted of what matters in life, and resolved to carve more time, more energy, more resources for it, post-curtailment? So that life after vaccination is one that no longer mirrors pre-pandemic life?

But what if this externality (i.e. pandemic) has a silver lining that we have overlooked? While the disruptions had real adverse impacts on our lives, many have gained precious time that was wasted in rush hour commutes, in mindless window-shopping excursions, etc. Time was given back to us. But if our mindset, our expectations is to cope, and we are anxious to resume our usual patterns and lives, then, this time given was likely squandered. A quick self-test is whether one can fill more than a few pages to share with grandchildren in the future how such time yielded un-planned blooms in one’s life.

Perhaps this quote from Bruce Lee, the famous martial artist actor can help with that inner metamorphosis:

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

I recognize some are struggling mightily with the pandemic-related impositions and adversities. That there are severe psychological, emotional and mental struggles. Hopefully, they have loved ones who are supporting them. If nothing else, this pandemic has revealed that without love, one has nothing, one has gained nothing (1 Cor 13:2-3). And with that insight, if all we can do post-pandemic is to sow abundant love, we have lived a rich life indeed.

Self Actualization

I recall my idealistic genes kicked in real hard during my mid-teen years, when I was 17 years old. There was a not-brief interlude when I fell head over heels in love, but these genes kept on plugging away.

That period was colored by a greater awareness of the social and global issues prevalent then, and continues in one form or another to this day. It was augmented by respected teachers who broadened one’s awareness beyond the formal school curriculum. It was sharpened by student leadership courses and late discourses with those of like mind.

In hindsight, it seemed natural, not unexpected, when those idealistic genes turned its focus to the question of one’s own potential. After all, didn’t Michael Jackson sing that change started with the “man in the mirror”?

Thus, there was quite a prolonged period during my career when I devoured self-improvement books like cereal in the morning. It was all about self mastery, uncovering and honing one’s strengths and potential, and cultivating new mindsets and habits. I found this cool label, “self-actualization” that appealed to my evolving consciousness. As I was also attempting to climb the corporate ladder, there was a healthy mix of management, leadership and organizational reading thrown into the blender. I probably accumulated more than 150 books, if not more. I never did an exact count and many were left behind as I made the trans-pacific journey Stateside.

So, how has this worked out for me? There has been no regrets. I feel strongly grounded, confident and self-assured. There’s no doubt that this internal work has positioned me for career opportunities that I was able to take advantage of. There’s also no doubt that this “self-actualization engine” will not take me where I want to go in this next phase of life. What do I mean?

Life is never a straight climb upwards. Life provides us plateaus. As the commercial goes, the “pause that refreshes.” Plateaus allow us to cast our eyes ahead in time. To discern if the anticipated (future) outcome of our current trajectory remains our desire now that we are further in our journey. To ask if success is still the aim, or if significance and legacy is the new aim. Some fortuitously perceive a ‘better’ path ahead. They become self-aware, and paradoxically, adjust that internal engine, from self-actualization to other-actualization. The “other” can be children, grand-children or even a larger community. Those of us familiar with William Shakespeare’s notable quotes will recognize this, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet“. And thus, “other-actualization” is the same as Christ’s Second Commandment.

For me, the plateau involved an awakening of my spiritual self. The new self was stirring itself. And I threw off my self-actualization totally with these Scripture from Isaiah 64:8.

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;

    we are the clay, and you are our potter;

    we are all the work of your hand.

How wonderful the thought, that all we have to do is yield, be pliant and God will wrought His goodness according to His will. I can rest in Him and cease all my striving.

F a l l

A friend told me that her favorite season was fall. I intuitively understand why winter sports fans would opt for their season. Likewise, the horticulturally inclined will prefer spring. And then, the majority would opt for summer, given the longer days and warmer weather that facilitates outdoor parties/picnics, BBQ get-togethers, sports, outdoor recreation, etc. So, the fall response was un-usual.

But as we started walking daily this summer, typically for an hour, the walks in early fall have been serene and colorful. The air is much brisker, and reinvigorates the body. There’s also a stillness in the air, as the summer noise has dissipated.

The falling leaves that clutter our backyard lawn does send a powerful reminder of the changing over. The need to periodically rake these leaves is off-set by the lengthening frequency required to mow the lawns. Various preparation activities are needed, so that ‘things’ are prepared to weather the winter, be it fertilizing the lawn, prepping fruit trees from diseases, etc.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

As I glance at the above verses, some call to me more than others. Definitely, as we near the end of the calendar year, there is a reflection of what must be put to death (“time to die”). The Covid-19 pandemic wrote quite a list for us given the restrictions and shut downs that have resulted. The vast majority on the list are actually beneficial as they were a short term gratification of senses. Thus, we have no regrets that we were unable to use our unlimited movie pass. For those activities that fall on the other side of the ledger, like the inability to socialize or hug others, there are creative alternatives that force us to be more expressive when we have the opportunity. It doesn’t totally make up, but as they say, the wait intensifies the hunger and greater will be the satisfaction.

But the interesting equation of that phrase is a “time to be born.” What should be born as we enter into a season of preparation, a season when most of nature and the animal kingdom slow down? How should we think about this? The breadth of possibilities is endless, and perhaps a guiding light might be, how would one’s joy or peace (or whatever quality is your priority) be enhanced in the new year through the birth of something new.

In that regard, for us personally, it has to be our closest circle of relationships. For after all, who will visit us when we are in need? Who will share a shoulder when we are in need? And thus, shedding any hurts or grudges (“time to die”) is a necessary step to renewing any strained relationships. And if fortune is such that all relationships are healthy, why not figure out how to draw the circle closer in, through more authentic sharing of persons, dreams and values?

Part of the new birth this year has been sharing our values and spiritual beliefs. It would be truly sad if at the end of our lives, friends who thought they knew us well, expressed that they never witnessed those aspects of our persons.

Do I have a favorite season? I would like to say ‘No’, as I want to relish the uniqueness of each season. Though I’ll admit that I tolerate the heat much better than the cold. But as they say, it’s “all in the mind.” 😊

On the fun side, we bought new waterproof boots and snow shoes, as we are looking forward to traipsing through the winter land trails. Nature beckons, and fall and winter are truly lovely seasons.

What will make this Fall be a better one for you?

The Great Un-covering

When we Americans look back on 2020, a defining moment will be the Covid-19 Pandemic. An equally defining moment will be the Nov 3 elections for the Presidency and Senate. In this piece, I will share some thoughts on the Pandemic.

Let me upfront acknowledge the immensity of lives lost, the inconsolable grief left behind and the shadows of uncertain futures ahead for families who have lost a breadwinner, a pillar of their hopes. These shattered lives will have meaning when we painfully self-examine the failures and establish readiness systems and measures to contain and best such pandemics.

The Pandemic is an event that I will label the Great Un-Covering.

Firstly, it un-covered our inner selves to ourselves. To what extent is my life dependent on externals, be it retail therapy, entertainment, travel, socialization, etc? To what extent can I not just only survive, but thrive, as I patiently wait in isolation? What does it imply if I cannot manage self-isolation? To what extent has this Pandemic revealed what gives me most meaning in life? How can my post-Pandemic life be qualitatively better? Such questions, by growing deep roots, gives us the contemplative nourishment needed for a towering life. But if such questions are batted away, perhaps, it has un-covered that our outer self is all we have to fritter away to the end.

The Pandemic un-covered many around us, in society, in friendship circles, in various leadership roles, etc. Like the poles of a magnet, it either attracts or repels us. And both situations are telling. This public un-covering is akin to the adage, “I cannot un-see what I have seen.” While there’s anguish at what one perceived, the un-covering is a blessing. One’s eyes have been truly opened, and all have been un-masked (pun intended).

The Pandemic un-covered that while we have technologies and conveniences that far surpass olden days, our base human nature has not evolved as much. It’s very much a survival of the fittest, the fastest man to the life rafts. In the early panic days, wealth fled on private yachts, some fled to luxurious enclaves in remote islands, etc. Those who could not afford to stop working, were exposed to high risk situations, ala meat processing workers. It would seem that as a human race civilization, we should move to a maturity (evolution?) classification that’s no longer based on GDP per capita, but on “well being” per capita. It has been said that one can tell a society by how it treats its poor, marginalized, defenseless.

The Pandemic un-covered across America, that we Americans, have ‘significant’ values that are the anti-thesis of each other. It is no longer a difference of ideologies and policies. Right now, it’s a battle of which side comes up on top via the election process. In the golden age of Greek philosophers, this would have been debated and deliberated. If the latter approach had been adopted, one can foresee a sieving of values, until the final core value choices are placed, side by side. Thus, freedom of expression, rights to worship, etc. are all sieved away until two core choices remain. Love of Self vs Love of Neighbor. As Scripture puts it, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” By the way, that same Scripture covers self-love.

And thus, my pondering comes to a conclusion. Every cloud has a silver lining. What’s the silver lining for you in this Great Un-covering?


Do you recognize this number? It’s the result of multiplying three numbers that everyone, since their childhood days, are familiar with.

60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours = 86,400 seconds. This number represents the day we wake up to, expecting a full day’s worth of wakeful activity plus the sleep time when we close our eyes that night.

Time is short. Let’s do a simple pen and paper exercise. If you like, you can consult your calendar, your journal, your social media postings, etc. Pick any recent past month. Write down your key moments and experiences during that month. After completing this, scan your list and writings. Highlight those moments and experiences that ‘strike/impact’ you. The realization slowly dawns on one, that key moments and experiences don’t occur in bunches. That sometimes, we fall prey to ‘sleep walking’ without full awareness. Now, we generally live our lives as though we had decades in front of us. A decade is only 120 months. And given our pen and paper exercise, doesn’t it now feel like we don’t have unlimited runway to live out our dreams, our passions, our aspirations?

Time is passing. Time is fleeting. That means it passes very quickly, and it doesn’t register. It’s like sand in an hourglass, the seconds drip non-stop, passing through our fingers. We fool ourselves. We use a motorized lawn mower thinking it ‘saves’ us time. We hire gardeners thinking it ‘buys’ us time. We multiplex and juggle several things, thinking we can ‘make up’ time. All these are illusions, time continues to pass. The paradox of aging is that when we were young, time seemed to drag. The days were so long. When we get older, the closer we get to the end, the faster it seems to come.

Remaining time is unknown. There are many who did not wake up this morning. There are many who will not go to sleep tonight. Nothing is certain. When we reminisce too much about the Past, we live there. When we plan and project too much about the Future, we live there. Breathe and live in the Present.

Time cannot be recovered. We lose things, and can regain (repurchase, rebuild, etc.) them. Time passed can never be regained. No one can turn the clock back.

We intellectually understand all the above. But whether this understanding wakens us up to live consciously is the first question. Let me plant the following imagery in our minds to raise our awareness:

Picture an hourglass as vividly as you can. In the morning, as one wakes up, there’s a huge heap of sand at the top, representing your waking hours for the day. Then, at various points in the day, picture the same hourglass but with proportionate sand left depending on time of day. Thus, mid day, perhaps there’s only 60% left. By late afternoon, there’s only 30% left. As you turn in for the night, there’s enough sand left for your usual bedtime cycle (e.g. reading, time to drop off to sleep).

The second question is how do we live the day, so that at the end of it, we can say, ‘Today was worth the living I put in and got out’? What will work for an individual depends on one’s personality, one’s desire and one’s current circumstances. Consider the following as provoking your own ideas and plans.

Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” outlined Habit 3, “Put First Things First”. Determine the big rocks and put them in the beaker first. Then, the small pebbles. Then the sand. Finally, the water. This approach packs the beaker the fullest with the set of materials. Change the sequence, and you get a less optimal packing. Determining the big rocks is best applied over a long time frame (be it for the year, months or weeks). Then, it breaks down to the various days. Say, I want to repair a relationship with someone close in 3-6 months time. I may then figure out a progressive set of out-reaches, and then plan that over the days to come. There will be obvious open slots as this effort is fluid and dynamic.

As retirees, on non-vacation days, it’s a mix of both planned and spontaneous activities. Our passions include hiking, exploring, reading. Spiritually, there’s praying, scripture and contemplation. Nurturing relationships and staying connected. Indulging in some entertainment.

Writing this surfaced something for us. Perhaps at the end of the day, we should have an explicit dialog with each other. Perhaps lead off with the question – What should we be grateful for today? Cultivating such an attitude cannot but lead to a better tomorrow.