How Many Summers?: A Look at Life through Ordinary Eyes

How Many Summers?: A Look at Life through Ordinary Eyes

by Wade McGauley

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504302319
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 05/17/2016
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.33(d)

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How Many Summers?

A Look at Life through Ordinary Eyes


By Wade McGauley

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2016 Wade McGauley
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-0231-9



CHAPTER 1

How Many Summers?


Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, Blowing through the jasmine in my mind.

— Seals and Crofts


Most of us at some point in our lives have felt like the little mouse running around and around on that wheel, getting nowhere. We just want to hop off and reassess our lives. We may ask ourselves the famous questions: What is life? Why am I here? Is this all there is? We may feel consumed by work, money, and relationships, often getting what we don't want and not getting what we do.

I was inspired to write this book after many years of working in the hospitality and service industry. I spoke to many people over this time, including family, friends, and strangers. I learned a lot about human behaviour, and I guess I gained a little wisdom along the way. Through it all, I came to realise one thing: each of us has a precious human life.

I once read that in the Western world, the average lifespan is about seventy-five years. But in reality, our departure from this earth can come at any time. We really don't think of it much, or we believe it always happens to somebody else. We are in denial.

When I was a child, I used to love summer. It was a holiday, so the beach and fun took up most of my time. One day would drift into another, and soon it would be back to school all over again. Each year passed very quickly.

If we really think about it, we see that we cannot predict how many summers we may have left. Maybe we should try to embrace every day, face our fears, and show some kindness and a bit more love. Let's enjoy the journey and ask ourselves, "How many summers do I have?"

There is no time to waste. Let go and enjoy. The past is gone, and the future is not here yet. All we have is the now.

CHAPTER 2

Birth


When a child is born into this world, it has no concept of the tone the skin it's living in.

— Nenah Cherry


The miracle of birth. We have all experienced it. Yes, even you. You arrived ...

After the first breath, the journey begins. Once you were not here; now you are. Take a few moments to think about that. Birth is truly amazing.

Of course, we all know we are born after our mother and father engage in intercourse and form a union. Pregnancy takes place, but the beginning of a new life cannot really be explained. It's still a mystery.

New babies need everything done for them. They must be fed, sheltered, bathed, and most of all, loved and protected. I guess after being looked after for so long and having everything done for them, as soon as they develop, they try to be older and to show adults they can do things for themselves. You will understand what I mean if you ask a five-year-old child, "How old are you?" On most occasions, the answer will be "I am five, but I am nearly six." Try it.

It's kind of funny that from an early age, we want to project ourselves into the future and to be older. This goes on into our teen years. Kids will always say, "I wish I were a teenager. Then I'd get to do stuff — cool stuff like an adult." A twelve-year-old can't wait to be thirteen, and the thirteen can't wait to be sixteen. Then the eighteen-year-old of course wants to be twenty-one. Can you see where I am heading here?

At some point, a shift in thought occurs, and age gets looked at and talked about differently. When we get older, we often start saying things like, "Where have all the years gone?" or "Everything has gone so fast."

When we are young, we wish to be older, but most adults when ageing may wish to be more youthful. Time moves very quickly. It really is a short life, as people say. The only way to look at it both ways — either young or old — is to try to accept where you are in that moment. After all, we cannot stop time.

Ageing happens to all of us. Encourage young people to enjoy the age they are — to be children while they can — because adulthood will soon approach. As for us adults, we can resolve to treat each day as if it were our last, because I've got news for all of us: one day it will be.

Reassessing what is important in your life may help you stop putting off things you wish to do. Maybe you will face some of your fears or take some risks, or find your purpose or things you enjoy. Don't be so hard on yourself. Try helping others, and be kind. Showing a bit more compassion and love can work wonders, not just for everyone else but also for you.

Embrace this special event called birth. Be grateful you are having a human experience or a spiritual one. However you are looking at it, give it all you've got.

CHAPTER 3

Ageing


I taught myself how to grow Now I'm crooked on the outside, And the inside's broke.

— Ryan Adams


I was once sitting in a café in Hawaii. As I sat there drinking my green tea, a tour bus pulled up to the curb. Out jumped about ten boys and girls in their early twenties. All of them were fit and healthy, their bodies in prime condition. A moment later, another bus arrived, and getting out of it were much older citizens, the years showing in their faces and bodies.

As I watched the activities of these two groups, I went into deep thought. Those older folks were once like the young group, and the young will be like the old. It struck me that this is the cycle of life. But we never contemplate this in our youth.

A wise person once said, "We are born. We age. We get sick. And we die." Hard-hitting stuff, I know. But hey, it sounds like the truth to me. Ageing comes to us all. Each day we are changing. We try to prolong our lives, but there is no magic potion to stop death. We may be able to slow it down a fraction by looking after ourselves — eating right, exercising, de-stressing, or even Botox-ing — but it will get us all in the end.

So the only thing I've got to say is, "Don't fight it. Embrace it." It's all part of the process of life. Use the little wisdom you gain along the way. There is nothing else to do, and no need to worry.

CHAPTER 4

Health and Fitness


I feel good.
I knew that I would.
I feel good. I knew that I would now.
So good, so good.

— James Brown


If we are going to enjoy our time on this planet, my friends, maybe we should feel good about it and about ourselves. If you were given a fully functional body, you should be able move around in a free and natural way. I like to think of our cars in this case to give an example of what I am trying to get at here. Our cars get us from A to B, which is similar to what our bodies do in our day-to-day activities.

Sometimes we look after our cars with more care than we do our bodies. We get our cars serviced to keep them running smoothly. We change the oil. We fill them with fuel and wash them. (Well, not all of us wash them ...) Meanwhile, most of us neglect our bodies. We don't refuel them with the right food and liquid. We let them get run down and sick.

Unfortunately, unlike our cars, we cannot trade our bodies in. However, if we are mindful and make a few adjustments, we can feel more vibrant and energetic. Change of lifestyle can only come from our inner thoughts and discipline. Small steps and changing habits bring big results. It's best to check with a doctor, nutritionist, or fitness expert to get started or educated.

In the Western world, most of us have access to fresh food and water. Sometimes we become lazy and take the easy options, like fast fatty foods, too much sugar, and little or no exercise. Think before you refuel your body. Most eating and drinking patterns are habits, and of course, habits can be broken.

It takes a combination of things for this to happen: willpower, getting help from the right sources, wanting to change, encouragement, and your own thought process. Lack of motivation, laziness, lifestyle choices, and many other excuses can arise. It's up to you in the end to make the change required. Take responsibility for your own actions and health. Don't blame others, and take healthy steps if this is the direction in which you wish to go.

If you would like to feel and even look better, keep your body moving with some form of exercise. Find something you like doing, such as swimming, jogging, going to the gym, and walking. No excuses. You can find something. Just do it. Your body and mind will appreciate it.

Small adjustments to diet and exercise can bring great results. Mobility improves, a feeling of wellness develops, and a sense of happiness arises. Yes, you have a choice, just like you do with your car. You can look after it or wait until it falls apart.

Be good to yourself. Diets and fads come and go. Come on, we have seen them all. I think it really comes down to common sense about food and drink, don't you think? Consult an expert if you are not sure or need help. Simple things like lean meats, fish, plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and smaller portions might be a good start. Plenty of water and of course chocolate, plenty of chocolate ... sorry, I got bit carried away there.

Really, it just comes down to common sense about lifestyle and diets. Everything in moderation, and enjoy it. Break out the treats and your favourite foods every now and then. Enjoy a few drinks with good company and laugh a lot. That's about it.

CHAPTER 5

Breath


Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe and to love you. — The Hollies


Do we ever really think about our breathing on a daily basis? We need breath for survival; oxygen supplies the body with its most vital nutrient. Yet because breathing occurs automatically, we are not very conscious of it.

We'll do an activity like running and say, "I am out of breath," or do an activity like swimming and hold our breath underwater, but on most occasions, we never think about our breath. It just happens, in and out, in and out. On most occasions, our breaths are very shallow and fast. This is due mainly to our lifestyles. We hurry a lot, stress too much, and have anxiety and problems to deal with.

Modern technology also plays a big part. We tend to spend more time inside on our devices, and this stops us from exercising and getting fresh air, breathing deeply, and clearing our lungs. Deep breathing nourishes our bodies, giving us more energy and vitality. Shallow breathing, on the other hand, can lead to health issues and lack of energy.

Try deep breathing every now and then; it will relax you. When you're overthinking or feeling overwhelmed, tense, and uneasy, turn to deep breathing. It's a simple but effective tool we can all call upon. It can be done anywhere.

Next time you're angry or tense, consider how you are breathing. Maybe slow it down a little, using conscious deep breathing, and bring yourself back to calmness. Even in the car stopped at traffic lights, breathe in a few times and release tension from your body. Just make sure you move when the light turns green.

Be aware of your breathing at different times of the day. Check your emotions and feelings at the same time. A few deep breaths may be all you need.

CHAPTER 6

Death


Everybody wants to get to heaven,
Everybody wants to get to heaven
but nobody wants to die.

— Stephen Cummings


Okay, so nobody wants to read or hear about death, right? If you've gotten this far in my book, could you please read on? We really must be more open to the discussions about the end of our lives.

When I was young and my grandparents passed on, my parents never discussed it with me. It was hushed up and kept very secret. I went to the funeral, and it was quite confusing because all these people were there, some crying, all of them looking sad, and most of them whispering. I guess my parents were just trying to protect us kids and thinking we didn't need to understand this death stuff because it might affect the way we look at life.

Even back then, when I went to funerals and watched the coffin lowered into the ground, I wondered what happened to that person and where are he or she was going now. It was never discussed after the funerals, and our lives just went on. I look back now and wish we all had been a bit more open about it, reflected on it, and tried and understand the cycle of life and death.

If we look at the daily news, death is everywhere. When it's someone we don't know who passes, we disregard it very quickly. We may pause and reflect on it for a moment, but soon we get back to whatever we were doing. It takes the death of a family member, a friend, or a loved one to shake us to the core, and that's when reality hits.

When we do attend a funeral, it's about the only time we think of our mortality. It's not morbid to think of your own death every now and then. In fact, it can actually wake you up a bit, and you may realize you want to enjoy every moment you have.

Tomorrow could be your last day. So come on, my friends, embrace each day as it comes, no matter what it throws at you. Each moment you experience will come and go.

Of course, when you do experience a death of someone close to you, your heart breaks. Your emotions are clouded, and your life changes in seconds. You may become confused, upset, and even angry. The hurt can be unbearable. Losing someone we love brings pain and mental anguish.

Mourn the best way you know. Use your faith or spiritual beliefs, or obtain comfort from family and friends. Maybe think about what comes next for the departed. A better place maybe, peace, freedom ... whatever your thoughts are, wish them well. This may bring some comfort to you.

After the mourning process, however long it takes, reflect on that person's life and how you were part of it. A passing of this kind can bring you back to reality and truth. It can change your way of thinking, and you may well want to live life to the fullest and each day as your last, because one day it will be.

If you are born, you will die. That's a fact.

Look, I know this is not a great topic to think about, but we have to put it out there. Try not to worry too much about your day-to-day problems. Love your family, friends, and life in general. Everything goes in time; you only have now.

I keep saying it, but be content, show some loving kindness, laugh more, and seek happiness. This is a precious life we have; we may as well enjoy it, Who knows how much time we have left? We always think we have more time, but we don't.

Appreciate how brief life is. This can bring freedom. It can help you focus on being happy and present. Tomorrow is never promised. Give it your best shot.

CHAPTER 7

A Personal Moment


Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away, I know I have to go away. — Cat Stevens


On a wet Wednesday afternoon as I was driving home from work, an unusual feeling came over me. Two voices were fighting in my mind. One was telling me to go to the gym and get some exercise, and the other was saying to go home and get some rest.

I was feeling somewhat drained and tired. Just a few weeks before, my father had passed away, and the grieving process and my emotions about the whole thing were still with me. I decided at this time it was best for me to go home, rest, and reflect. As I lay on my bed reading, I could hear the thunder and rain. Before long, I was sound asleep.

A few hours passed, and I was awakened by a loud scratching sound that was coming from a screen attached to a balcony door in the next room. I lay there listening and decided I'd better investigate what this sound was. As I approached the door, a bird was trying to get in, with its claws attached to the screen door.

It was very dark outside because of the storm, and as I looked closely, this bird was quite distinct to me. Its colours and markings brought back some memories. The bird I was looking at was a cockatiel — a small breed of parrot. As I clicked the door open, the bird hopped onto the floor.

This was interesting. I thought, What do I do now? Do I push it away or try to bring it inside? The bird and I stared at each other for a few seconds. Instinct made me whistle at it. The bird chirped back. I repeated the whistle again. The bird chirped back again.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from How Many Summers? by Wade McGauley. Copyright © 2016 Wade McGauley. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments, xi,
Chapter 1 How Many Summers?, 1,
Chapter 2 Birth, 4,
Chapter 3 Ageing, 7,
Chapter 4 Health and Fitness, 9,
Chapter 5 Breath, 12,
Chapter 6 Death, 15,
Chapter 7 A Personal Moment, 19,
Chapter 8 Forgiveness, 22,
Chapter 9 The One You Feed, 26,
Chapter 10 Nature, 28,
Chapter 11 Travel, 30,
Chapter 12 Change, 32,
Chapter 13 Strange Little Moments, 35,
Chapter 14 Thoughts, 38,
Chapter 15 Quiet Time, 42,
Chapter 16 Happiness, 44,
Chapter 17 Quotes, 48,
Music Artists Quoted, 141,

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