Tag Archives: soul

Retreat Goals

Despite the turmoil of the months leading up to this weekend, my goal in going is to get away from the overwhelming every day – to focus on some of my own writing. I brought with me several projects to follow up on, which will include editing, designing, formatting. I hope to finish a few things so that I might move past this block that haunts me. Another novel to be done – An Italian Son – and my first kid’s picture book needs drawings. Can I determine the style I want to use for the illustrations?

I have also a company project in tow that I want to finish editing – it is in layout format so working through the reading achieves more than one end.

I am also hoping there’s a poem or two to be had – I will try to force the stoppage in order to free some words into a composition I will be happy with – I used to be so connected to poetry. What happened? Did it abandon me or did I abandon it? I know it’s not lost forever… just temporarily misplaced.

My camera is also my constant companion – there is always visual inspiration around, especially here: the birds are welcome subjects, trees and greenery, wood structures and pathways, squirrels and other wildlife supposedly around out there somewhere. If only the rain would let up. I will go out for walks to get some fresh air and connect with nature. It’s cooler, though, and cool, wet weather is not my friend.

Sidebar…

I wrote my goals at the beginning of the weekend – it was gloomy when we arrived but soon gave way to rain for the past couple of days. We definitely need the rain and would happily send it up north to the forests. In truth, we couldn’t have a fire inside in the fireplace the first couple of nights because of the dryness here at the Creek. Finally, the rain gauge showed enough moisture accumulation and sharing alongside the fire was a possibility the last two nights of our stay. I love warm spring weather, though… Sunshine – the one from the sky – why have you abandoned us this weekend?

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Day 9 late, but here :)

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

Day 9 – Someone You Love 

Day 10 - photo challenge - Someone You Love

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2014 comes to a close…

The end of another year… it seems to be the place to look for new beginnings. The year ahead may hold major change, needed adjustments, or an unknown future. In this moment, we may just be looking forward to an evening with friends or one in quiet contemplation… no matter which way you decide to usher in the New Year, I encourage you to look back over the last 12 months with positive reflection. Take note of the good things that happened, these are the memories that will carry you through into 2015 and beyond. To all my writing friends and readers of my blog, I thank you for your never-ending support and appreciation. I look forward to the New Year with a renewed commitment to my writing and creativity. Happy New Year everyone and here’s to another awesome year in this amazing journey!

2014 personal recap for FB

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From Where Does Inspiration Come?

Thank you to Spiritual Echoes Community FB page for this image. Check out their page for more inspiration.

 

As with many writers, I am often overwhelmed and overtaken by everyday life. We get caught up in the passage of time doing what we need to do to make a living, all the while in our hearts we desire, dream, demand something totally different for our lives. We become complacent and comfortable with that which is around us while our very soul needs another place, another time, another focus… The picture above spoke to me – as most with the magnificent horse do… but the sentiment by Faulkner hit home as I profess to be “freeing the creative spirit” in mantra, yet let myself get so wrapped up in stress and situation that my spirit is literally penned (or un-penned if one is referring to the writer in me… pardon the play). And too often I find myself confined by my desire to help others that I cannot help myself – I support while ignoring my own inner desires all the while they are screaming to be free. So, in all this… from where does inspiration come?

I confess I do not have to look far to find it as I have a huge supply of creativity ready to burst forth – old ideas needing revamping, fresh ideas needing growth, new ideas needing encouragement, interaction with groups, and association with loving friends… some ideas spring forth and take over coming to fruition in record-breaking time – see our new calendar for the WFSC 10 year fundraising efforts! For me “freeing the creative spirit” IS freedom. And in that freedom inspiration grows. My journeys and retreats this year – to visit words, mountains, lakes, wild horses, and loved ones – those were freeing and inspirational, and… oh, for an endless supply of money and time to do them continuously! Realistically, I am pleased with what I did this year and it gave me many good memories (and photos). If given to heeding my own advice, I would say, “stop being so hard on me,” as I managed to explore and achieve and produce and create…

I guess the serious nature of my contemplation recently is due to a change in my current situation, and there are several things in the works. The liberal freedom part of me wants to “get the hell outta Dodge…” while the conservative weighted “stick to what I know” part of me is timid and partially stressed over the impending transition. It’s not bad – not bad, at all. It’s change. It’s something different. And it’s not just because I want to pick up and run… it’s because there is someone in my life with whom to make this move, to share this change. We both want less, which to us equals more – less stress, less confinement, less congestion, less interference… and all this equals more. “Living the freedom” is how we see our future. Still it’s an easy thing to say, but in all honesty, hard to perceive. Why not go for your dream, when given our limited time upon this earth? Inspiration comes from the freedom of doing what you love. Freedom comes from living the way you dream. Giving meaning to both is by being true to yourself and by loving someone who rounds out your life with happiness and pleasure.

That’s where inspiration comes from – from inside, while taking note of your surroundings and appreciating what you have. Be happy with the life you make for yourself.

blogging wordle

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

~William Wordsworth

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Day 4 – Catering to the Lazy Artist

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…

Fresh air and exploration takes it out of you – or, perhaps, it’s that feeling of satisfaction that just keeps you rooted to one spot – a happy, inspiring spot made for self-reflection and creativity. The camera was quiet today although the mind’s eye was a flicker with all the images snapped and transferred over the course of Day 2 and Day 3. Had I not found the horses yesterday, I would have been more eager to go out today – to seek and to find, confirming for myself that I could see them how they are, free, in nature. Had I not found the band I did, I would have had to go forth in order to fulfill my sense of holiday destiny.

If I had arrived Friday, I would have been moving on today, but the delay had a way of working out in the end especially when things are relaxed and flexible. Three days at “A Bed in Heaven” really was relaxing and desired. The weather held nicely today although the wind was cool at times, but in all reality, there is still snow on the ridges and hillsides nearby, in the fields and in the shadows – the breeze whispers chilling messages as it grasps the cold and flows by…  in its windy way, it asks me what I discovered on my journey. How can express my appreciation and gratitude for this opportunity? As I write, it is calm now and the sun’s warmth feels heavenly upon me as I sit on the deck outside my room.

I discovered, as I have known for many years, I am good on my own, with more than enough interests to keep me busy, entertained, and occupied. That does not mean I am alone, nor do I want to be for any length of time – I want to be in love and I want to care about people – I deserve those who love and care about me. It’s really like the saying: the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. This… truly, has always been my quest.

I discovered that although I like to think I could go back to the ways of the world before the Internet and advanced communications, I don’t believe I could and don’t care to… there is just too much connectedness with my work and my networks through it to give it up completely. I have my lap top with me. I admit… I watched some TV. I checked emails and I posted to Facebook and to my blog. I could not text or phone, however… so it was quiet in a way that it isn’t when I am home. We are, though, bound to the limits of the technology itself. When there is no reception, no hook-ups, no way to connect… it doesn’t matter what you want or desire.

I discovered I am only limited by my own fears and insecurities – this is nothing to do with being loved, not about having friends or others around, not about jobs or work or money – but just about living without fear of what might happen. I keep to the path and stay safe. I know my limits and won’t push for more. I am contented with my journey – is it as exciting and adventurous as some? No. But it’s mine and I take it as I please. Because you step out of your comfort zone your mind tends to focus on the things you don’t know and cannot see – a cougar stalking you, coming across the path of a bear. In the wild, these things are my fears and tend to keep me tame in my quest. Again, with someone along for the hike, it might be a different story, but why put oneself in harm’s way, just because you can. I can treasure my memories because, for the most part, they are not marred by incident. Yesterday’s issue reminded me of being 23 and so wrapped up in my own little world, lost in a stranger’s arms, that it panicked a travel companion to the point of reporting me missing. I never wanted to be that person again – it leads me to believe you cannot ever be free without someone standing there with your bridle and reins, saying, “Dammit, where is she?”

Some general impressions of my Easter long weekend journey:

  • Why must some people throw cans and other garbage to the road side?
  • Why do some drivers of trucks have to drive so fast?
  • Why do those in a hurry travel the road less taken?
  • To some people, horses make a mess… really?
  • The numbers of wildies don’t warrant such opposition – less than a thousand animals? There is so much country out there – really?
  • The tallest of towers does not provide reception amongst the tallest of trees and the tallest of mountains.
  • My hosts at the B&B are amazing people.
  • I take too many pictures!! Good thing this is the digital age and not 32 mm film!! (Regarding my comment above about the camera being quiet… I just downloaded 42 pictures… and I didn’t even leave the deck…)
  • I see pictures in everything – except people – why is that? (My biggest regret was not having a recent picture of my mother – yet I still neglect the subject of people, for the most part.)
  • You can pack all the fruit and vegetables and cheese and nuts you want… I feel like I am going to eat a gazillion hamburgers upon my return.
  • As much as it would have been nice to have someone else along for the ride, I did do this thing for someone special… me!

Oh, yes… the lazy artist thing… well, I don’t think I was lazy at all. I only slept until 8:00. I worked on some editing. I read through and plotted the illustrations for two stories I am working on with one of my DWP authors. I wrote and posted 4 blogs so far. And I took a gazillion photos. I did not put any miles on the car today and plan to be up and out early tomorrow morning. I haven’t decided my return route but I like a road I have not taken before… or I could return the same way. Thinking like a wild horse… that’s the power of freedom.

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Day 3 – Easter Sunday

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial – continued…

8:00 am

I spent time with my delightful hosts, Ingrid and Mike, over breakfast and coffee served in their beautiful, awe-inspiring home. It is built on a southwest facing parcel of land complete with trails and a creek, lots of trees and long winding driveway. They share their dream of coming to Canada and eventually obtaining this amazing property, building their home, and living each day to the fullest. Ingrid shares stories of sledding with her dogs, designing web sites from the very beginning, and Mike – he ensures firewood is always cut – their home is fully heated by a wood burning external fire “place” that channels warmth to the in-floor heating. A severely cold winter depleted the firewood stores…

My plan for the day was to go out and take pictures – make hay while the sun shines, so to speak – it was a beautiful foothills morning.

11:00 am

I am sitting in this bowl of sunshine and silence with an alpine breeze threading its way through the valley – it’s cool and it whispers through the pines. It comes down from the snow-covered ridges… listen to it. I am all alone, yet here, with respect and awe, I feel as if a part of something much large than me. No other traffic has passed me – no other life forms walk nearby. The tempo of the wind rises and falls, rustling the new evergreens… they sway and relay the soft sung message of the mountains. I can tell it is close to noon, now, as the sun is directly overhead, but as any city slicker would… I check my phone… 11:55 am. Some would think it crazy to just sit here alone. But always alert, I watch the weather, the roads, and listen to the sounds of nature all around me. I don’t wander off. I am not a hiker; besides Ingrid pointed out before I left – we are in bear country, and watch for the cougars… they are more of a threat. I haven’t seen any, yet.

The sky is that Alberta blue and the fluffy white clouds drift in, plump up, then scatter… leaving clear, direct warmth from the high noon sun. This is a great spot to bask in nature, draw its calming effects into my soul – take time to contemplate and write these feelings. This point is about 25 kilometers in and I decided this would be where I turn back because the road ahead not only climbs further into the back woods, it also appears to narrow, there is more snow, and it’s muddy from the seasonal melt. I do things I like to do but I don’t push the limits – a four-wheel drive and companion might allow for further exploration that way or another… or maybe even dry summer roads? There is no cell phone service here – my phone hasn’t picked up a tower since I left the B&B. I wrote this while sitting in the sun without worry to anything else. (Note to self: it would have been good to alleviate the ensuing issue by signing into the Wi-Fi before leaving on the day’s excursion… or perhaps, not taking a break from connectedness the night before by sleeping – could have got the Wi-Fi code the previous evening??? Oh, and don’t forget the backup Rogers Rocket Hub at home… because then you have absolutely no connection to anyone but yourself…)

I am almost a tearful happy it is so inspiring and almost too much – can that be? I hear my own heart beating and feel gladness having found my reason for this deep sojourn into the trees and foothills. I assume I found my wildies – the herd grazed contentedly along the edge of trees, scratching themselves on tree branches, and laying in soft pine needles. They watched me – parked at the road’s edge – and were not bothered to move on until I got out of my car. They didn’t rush off but took time to regard me with indifference as they ambled beyond the rise and down beyond to where I would not follow. The mare stopped to look once more.

The stallion came out of the trees to the right and stood to watch me, too. I took a couple of pictures; then let him be… the attention aroused him.

My writing was interrupted by a group of hikers descending from an adjacent path – time to return. The trip back was punctuated with more traffic, some speeding by – where are you going in such a hurry? So much for the quiet Easter morning trunk road… I understand the work crews and truckers who are making a dime, but do you others take the road less traveled so you can get to where you are going quicker? What happened to appreciating the journey?

1:30 pm

Arrived back at B&B to appease my friends and family of my status – I am fine. There is something to be said for disconnecting.

I feel disconcerted but am happy with my holiday discoveries. I am reminded of Ingrid’s statement at breakfast. She told me of taking a session on Time Management … and employers loved her ability to manage time. She wondered, however, of her ability to manage her life time… after all, you only have one.

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Day 1 – Searching for Wild Horses

Easter Long Weekend 2014 Blog Pictorial

Best laid plans...

Best laid plans…

With the generosity of our workplace allowing both Good Friday and Easter Monday as stat holidays, and my regular day off falling on Tuesday… this year’s Easter weekend is super long… ah… 5 days! What are my plans?

I am not sure when the idea hit me but it was in the midst of 2013 amongst the angst and anger and residual anguish – I decided that when all was said and done I would begin to do some things just for me – without feeling like it was selfish and without guilt of experiencing happiness. I read several quotes recently that proposed a life unlived wasn’t a life at all and doing something different would expand not only your external experiences, but equally contribute to your inner growth. I, therefore, would plan a trip to seek the Alberta wild horses. At that time, it was not determined when the trip would take place although claiming it to be mine solidified for me that it would, indeed, happen…

Earlier this year, I decided my trip would be in April. Prompted by the ominous winter (it’s always ominous, and for me, it gets more so as the years go by…) and encouraged by the fact that 2014 is the year of the horse on the Chinese calendar… well, it just made sense – there is almost a serendipitous magic to it. Why seek the horses, some may ask? Many confess to loving horses… most respect their beauty and devotion to purpose. Some own them. Some admire them at a distance, their large stance even provoking fear in some. Some advocate for the wild one’s protection while others are ignorant to their plight. I did not grow up around horses but I do remember the love for them perpetuated by those around me – my mom being one who loved them from a distance but feared them up close. I think I was born with this connection and would grow to experience my own quest for freedom through their spirit and tenacity. I did all the things that girls who love horses do – they were a favored subject for artwork, I purchased horse magazines when I was in Junior High… coveting the photos and dreaming of my own as a wanna-be equestrian, I went to all the horse shows and rodeos and my walls were pinned with their picturesque beauty. My off and on encounters, over the years continued and included: trail riding on the ridge above the town site of Jasper AB, working promotional sales at the big white Cavalia tent in Toronto in 2005, attending the Cavalia horse show in Edmonton with a dear friend in 2012, tattooing my wildhorse logo on my shoulder… and writing under “freeing the creative spirit” as willdhorse33 online. Is your tattoo a horse?

There is no reason why my desire to be near to them is any more than any other who feels as I do… it’s just that it is something very personal, deep inside, almost inexplicable – it’s an emotion that hits when you see them standing out there in the fields; your heart begins to race when you see them run, and it’s almost like you can feel the breeze as it passes through their mane.

In going out there one might ask what I am looking for – is there something I’m expecting to find? I would answer that I have found it in the decision to go, to seek, to search for that which connects so deeply to my own spirit. I am not fearless and adventurous – I won’t go traipsing into the bush with high hopes of capturing their images. I just need to be there, where they are… I am not the activist although I will always support efforts to protect and stand for the cause. I am an artist willing to draw them and a photographer wanting to immortalize my experience.

Day 1: This is springtime in Alberta and on April 18th – it snowed overnight and Good Friday was not good in the weather department. With several days ahead, and an understanding bed and breakfast host, the trip will just be delayed. I cursed the snow… but Ray reminded me, “It’s just a delay. It will be better tomorrow.” The voice of reason and it did give us time to spend together before I departed for my dream chasing journey. Friends were comforted by my sense of caution and willingness to remain at home. But my ride is antsy and wants to run. My trigger finger is itching to take a plethora of photos to pictoralize the passage. Whoa, there… tomorrow will be here before you know it.

Awaiting departure

Awaiting departure

So with Coleman, Canon, and creativity awaiting departure, this is how Day 1 moves into history. It lazily takes me into the journey with time to contemplate the days ahead, cherish time in the moment spent with a special person, and feel gratitude for the opportunity afforded me.

“On your journey to your dream, be ready to face oasis and deserts. In both cases, don’t stop.” ~ Paulo Coelho

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Creative Spirit

 

horse

Freeing the Creative Spirit

In Every line and curve of his body there was a lithe, wild gracefulness, an exultant beauty that was strength and swiftness and freedom.  ~ Herbert  Ravenel Sass

Shortly after the completion of a busy weekend, I posted a gratitude on my Facebook timeline expressing my appreciation for those who share my passion for writing and all that goes with it. This addresses more than the usual surface “thank you” and delves deep to that place where there is a connection to words and the life we live producing them as readable works. And it dives beyond that even further… to those who share the innate need to dedicate one’s life to encouraging, inspiring, and promoting the timeless beauty of the written word.

Those of you who connect with the above thank you, do not write as a hobby, merely taking up pen just to have something to do. We write because we have to as if in answer to an urge residing deep within our soul; words are part of who we are, writing is our essence. If there were a perfume made of ink, we would give off that written scent, because it courses our veins, channeled from places we know not. Sure there is mastering techniques, studying to improve, writing to practice, and “honing the craft”… but the true ability and that “knowing within” is granted to those who eventually discover and realize its use. Upon that discovery, the love flourishes and they then continue to caress and refine their own work while encouraging others to produce, as well.

The often raised and arguable question that Shakespeare did not write his own work speaks to the doubt of those who do not believe in the given gift. He was of poor upbringing and uneducated in the way we would think for some of such literary prowess. It is preposterous to support such allegations. He was a talent that came to be through dedication and molded through passion which is a possible outcome to anyone of any lineage who finds their journey. If we truly believe we were meant to do this, it is not only for ourselves, but for the good of all.

Like the horse is built for freedom and revered for its beauty, the writer is a channel through which words flow and a creative vessel to display the end result. ~ Freeing the Creative Spirit

Herbert Ravenel Sass: A 1905 graduate of the College of Charleston, Herbert Ravenel Sass was an old school Southern gentleman – historian, novelist, short story writer, amateur ornithologist, naturalist, artist and poet. He published a number of books touching on Charleston’s history as well as on the local flora and fauna, and, for almost fifty years, published numerous articles on topics as varied as birds, the American Civil War, and race relations.

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Hello Monday – it’s Me…

Hello, Monday, it’s me… You are a day of the week as unpredictable as the weather. I remember writing this opening statement (the wordpress draft proves it) when the comparative hit me during the passing of winter into spring. I don’t know why I didn’t publish it – I guess I was as indecisive about my words as the weather was of its place within the timing of that month. May was a blur and best forgotten, and as we transgress through mid-July now it seems June is only a memory, too.

As up and down as the weather, so too have been my words. My thought processes are always going and sometimes I am inclined to just write something even though I have no idea where it is to go and where it might end up. I have even opened my notebook or a new word document, looked at it, and then closed it again… having written nothing. The inspiration bar was set high at recent conferences and just being around words and all their glory is enough to make you want to immediately put words to page. I went so far as to renew my own personal writing goals with an all out attempt (internal promises) to get my WIP completed and published this year! There have been good starts to bad weeks and bad finishes to good weeks… and if I were to be truly honest it would be to admit my blog avoidance is a result of the personal issues I’ve been dealing with… people tell me I am obviously doing things right and moving ahead but it feels like I am not in so many ways. It’s like being on autopilot – going through the motions of what has to be done to fulfill the promises already made into the direction out there somewhere. The end lies out of sight waiting ahead on an unmarked trail. Then I return to the highway of reality realizing the heap I have in front of me and, although I am doing things I love to do, I am confused by my reactions. Next thing I know, I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions >semi-happiness (albeit tame – I am not the jump up and down kind of person) and tearfully pronounced, overwhelming sadness claim my extreme up and downs. This craziness will even out, I am told, with time and healing and positive influence. I am ever thankful to those who may wade through my words whenever I do get around to posting some here. They are from my heart and they are what makes up my writing life as it happens to me right now. Although the words are scarce and it seems my creativity is blocked, I cannot imagine ever living without writing… it’s just difficult equating that to not living at all.

Postscript: as I finish writing this post and list the tag words, I contemplate if I should even publish this blog, not wanting to be one who continues with uncertainty, exposing my lost soul… my daughter comes into my room and says, “Thank you, for everything, Mom.” And the lump in my throat prevents me from speaking; my words mix with tears as I realize even in the darkest hour there is a reason and there is hope. She is mine.

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Oiling the Dry Pen

Prologue: I post this to oil the dry pen… nothing more than to put something concrete to paper to jump-start the stalled engine. This piece entitled “I am struggling…” was sitting on my desk top, with the pictures, yet unfinished and abandoned, written in the time after seeking counsel for my ill feelings. I realize, for the most part, my depression was (and is) because I was not being true to my own creative spirit. I need to do my will yet am bound to the promises I make in other areas of my life. The line about dreaming of other places and times holds truth and it is the ungrounded reality speaking. The choice of running away, freeing my soul, just being me… well, that’s a dream harnessed by responsibility and commitment. The time between then and now has elapsed and more promises were made, however, today… I feel as if I wrote this right in the now and the pull of the spiral twists me in and out of good and not so good.

Dear readers: don’t fret for me – all will be well.

Rays of Sunshine

Beyond the clouds the sun shines. In the temporary greyness there exists the proverbial silver lining…

Yet, I struggle, off and on, with few and many things, and I am unsure which of the perpetrators impedes my writing but something prevents me from putting my words to paper. There are no shortage of thoughts and ideas as they come swirling to me in teasing fashion. It’s like knowing what’s good for you yet making a bad decision – loving the bad boy instead of looking to the boy next door. There is comfort in the familiar and sanity in the sameness.

There are no lack of dreams as they harbor their details within my heart and soul, anchored safely until such time I cast them forth from my deep shores. There is desire but not motive. I avoid my journal and have for some time despite my promise – guessing I just need time and things will resume. Not as they once were, but in some other way which I presume will be in due course. My work in progress calls to me and my muse has taken up dancing to amuse herself until I listen to her beckoning call – it reassures me to know these things await me for they are the very core of me and I would not live long without them… I go on and there is so much going on that one would wonder when writing might be practiced upon. I sleep and dream of other worlds where time and money are not necessary and I could take my days upon the balcony in sunshine with coffee cup and pen in hand. I meet with my past to partake in earnest discussion, attempting to dFar to go eal with things that have not lasted wondering where the time has gone and what the future might hold in store. I ponder life and the hand it deals to each of us and how we play the cards expecting certain outcomes yet taking chances with our luck. We push it, count it, destroy it, and call for more when prompted. There is so much push and pull – yin and yang – coming and going… I love my job yet hate decisions I cannot change. I love my company yet want to be there more and can’t. I want to move on but I am weighted to this spot. I want to write but other commitments come to be number one even though recent heartfelt council revealed commitments to me are what I lack and they are to be number one if I am to heal. I desire better health but don’t or can’t make the changes; I am alone and enjoy my oneness yet I am lonely; I am pleased with what I have and who I have become in most ways yet I am not happy. Rather, I don’t feel happiness – sometimes there is nothingness and it is so hard to explain, yet alone reason its existence. There is so much to do and so far to go. I need to work on allowing myself to be happy without guilt or excuse. I need to define what my happiness looks like and make the changes necessary to get there. There is little time to waste on ill will and an unhappy heart.

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