spirituality

Make Each Moment Paradise

My wife and I are in day three of our St. Thomas vacation and she decided to get her nails done in a little nail salon on the tourist strip in Red Hook and I decided to explore the area a bit.I bought a baseball cap to shield my sunburned forehead, chatted with the shopkeeper and she offered me a seat on her, "husband couch" until my wife's nails were done but I graciously declined. Having seen all of the tourist shops I could bare (2) I simply stood outside in the blazing heat hoping I wouldn't get charged with loitering. A baby iguana scurried right up to my feet and stared at me tilting his head. Right then I realized that I should make the most of this quiet moment. I decided to catch up on my email for a few minutes so I read James Altucher's latest blog on minimalism and really connected with it.  

   After I read his blog post I was inspired to write this one, and thought about how everything is connected. Each of our actions cause a ripple effect of which we'll never know the full extent of. In a way each of us are a tiny epicenter. Since studying the Tao Te Ching and trying to put its teachings into practice I've learned life is about surrendering to and making the most of each and every moment. Do I always remember to do this? No, but when I do life just flows better. A successful and joyful life is about learning the lessons, then teaching the lessons you learn in the subtlest most unobtrusive way possible. Most often the best way to teach is merely by example. Sometimes the very best moments in life are completely spontaneous, so we must be prepared to be awake enough to notice when they arise. These moments can be triggered by a blog post or a baby iguana. Your guards must be down and your heart must be open. So many people move to a beautiful place like Saint Thomas believing that living there will solve all of their problems. This much I have learned, paradise is not a place. Paradise is more like an attitude, it's a state of being. You must begin by radiating happiness wherever your feet are currently planted. When you begin to do this your life will start to miraculously change for the better.  I know this trip to St. Thomas is the first leg of the future my wife and I have dreamed about for years: traveling the world; writing; meeting interesting new people; learning; teaching; and loving.  I have many more miles to put on these feet, many more beautiful places to visit and so much more to learn but paradise, I've already found. ~Eric Vance Walton~

Deep Pockets, Empty Souls

So many little stories unfold  all around us we must smile

and try to enjoy

our brief journey, the intricacies 

of which we 

know nothing 

about, really we must dig deep

to find our greatest joy

and relish each moment

in its wonder only then we will know

this isn't just a world of 

deep pockets 

and empty souls. ~Eric Vance Walton~

Fire

May the itch of wanting 

to know what's

around each bend

always nag you

may your bearings

you never fail

to find,

and a pleasant calm

drift over you 

and usher tranquil sleep

each night 'till rise and shine

may your soul

always be 

at peace

when life takes 

you far from home,

may you follow 

in the footsteps 

of your Father

in whichever 

world you choose 

to roam

may you be wise enough

not be saddened

by the embers' fading glow,

but have the wit 

to build your own fire 

whenever cold winds blow. ~Eric Vance Walton~

How To Fail

HOW TO FAIL MISERABLY AS A WRITER (or anything else) It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you think you are, if you can’t figure out how to connect with readers you’re not going to sell anything. Internet marketing for indie authors is especially tough to figure out. Often our budgets are small or even non-existent and the rules are changing often.

This is important stuff. If you don’t figure it out eventually you’ll be discouraged enough to give up on your dream. I admit that marketing has never been one of my strong suits. This is one of the reasons it took my writing career so long to take off.  I was that skinny and awkward kid with thick glasses that few things came naturally to. I would practice things hundreds of times until I perfected them. One of the few things I had on my side was persistence. I’m still that same kid inside, only larger, with a few gray hairs, and the nagging thought that time goes far too fast to waste it.

A month ago I tried to make a poached egg. It ended up looking like egg drop soup. It was terrible. Ten or so attempts and a few YouTube videos later I can make a perfect poached egg. The secret, once I learned it was like magic and made the process easy. What is the secret? Soak the eggs (still in the shell) in white vinegar for five minutes before cracking and boiling them. That was it.

Things are incredibly hard until you figure out the secret and then they’re easy. To find success you must have to have the patience and persistence to get to the EASY.

Most of us have heard the quote by William Faulkner, “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” If a sentence or passage doesn’t work for the good of the overall project you must get rid of it no matter how brilliant you think it is. This is excellent advice but it isn’t easy to do partially because of ego but to a greater degree because of fear that you can’t write something better.

To become a successful writer you must subdue your ego and have the confidence to believe that great ideas come from an endless source within you. When you believe this amazing things begin to happen.

The opposite is true as well. The surest way to fail at this is to write from a place of fear or hold on to ineffective ideas. They become bars in an invisible prison cell that will keep you stuck right where you are.

I know this “kill your darlings” philosophy works for writing so I applied it to marketing. Sometimes the entire marketing idea stinks and has to go but sometimes part of it can be saved, retooled to try again. I’m not getting any younger and the books aren’t selling themselves so I’ll only try a retooled idea once. If the idea doesn’t get results it must go to the scrap heap.

Some of you might remember last summer I had a marketing idea that I was super excited about. While traveling I decided to hand out a few copies of my novel, Alarm Clock Dawn, to random people for free. There was a note inside the front cover asking the recipient to leave me a message on Facebook letting me know what they thought about the book. After they were finished reading it I asked if they would pass the book onto another friend to read and they could do the same, and so on. The whole idea was based on the Pay It Forward philosophy. It was a hard thing to accept because I was sure it would work but the whole thing fell flat. I waited for months but all I heard were crickets...not a single response from anyone. Ever. I had to accept it and move on to something new and better. All of us are a constant work in progress. 

Failure is not an option. Next week I’ll be traveling to Chicago for a long weekend, partially for business but mostly for fun. I’ll be visiting a few independent bookstores and doing some research for my new novel Truth Is Stranger. Along the way I’m going to try this Pay It Forward marketing idea once more. It’ll be interesting to see how it works after a few tweaks. I’ll be updating you all on my experiences throughout this process.

All it really takes in this world to be successful is working through the hard to get to the EASY. I hope your path to easy is a short one. More importantly, I hope you learn quickly from every misstep along the way.

With Gratitude, ~Eric Vance Walton~

What If?

What if all that we've been taught is wrong?   What if we live in a world

where vanity is a kind of virtue? A place where confidence and

self-love are the first steps

in opening up your heart

to the miracle that exists

within you. What if reality, as we know

it isn't truth at all but its antithesis? Comprised of falsehoods 

that serve all but the greater good, 

bars to keep us imprisoned 

so that we may never know 

the true power of our souls. ~Eric Vance Walton~

The Way (we’re supposed to be) 

These days, it seems we engross ourselves 

in bucket lists,

and dream often

of the excitement 

of far off, distant places

 

we constantly seek escape 

from the mundane 

and dive deep 

into the blue glow 

of our screens

while ignoring our dreams

and the gift of life 

unfolding all around us sometimes our peace

lurks in the familiar, 

the energy we feel 

from the person across the table, 

in the micro-expressions,

the slightest twitch of an eyelid

or that certain sarcastic smile sometimes our answers 

are tucked away in the most 

comfortable of places,

where people know us deeply

but love us just the same

 

as I find myself 

in the full vigor 

of my middle years

I know in every 

cell of my being

that we must learn to 

love who we are,

to feel joy right

where we stand,

at this very moment.

 

and if we find 

we can’t do that, 

then something 

must drastically change. ~Eric Vance Walton~

PROJECT - PAY IT FORWARD FOR THE HOLIDAYS

A chance encounter with an old co-worker yesterday sparked a crazy idea. Well, maybe it's not so crazy. It began like this...I asked her what she was doing for the Holidays and she said, "My family has decided we have enough stuff. We're very fortunate so we're going to hand out twenty dollar bills on Christmas Eve." This is how it all started. (Thank you Joan.)

The news this year, more than any other year I can remember in my 44 years on the planet, is full of violence, racism, war, and fear mongering. It seems our world is going haywire. This really got my brain going about how we could start a wave of love and positivity. Through my social media pages I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty good sized global audience of amazing people. I'm a firm believer that there is still more good than bad in the world and I'd like to prove it.

Our society has turned this Holiday season into a frenzy of consumerism that brings with it a whole host of negative emotions for a lot of people. More than any other time of the year, the Holidays make people long for loved ones who are no longer here, brings back feelings of regret, it can make people feel like they don't have enough money or things, and like they don't measure up in general.

Your Participation Is Requested.

What I propose, if you can spare it, is to invest $20 in the goodness of humanity. You can use this $20 to help someone you know or a stranger you cross paths with. Pay someone's bill in a restaurant, buy a homeless person a hot meal, or simply hand someone a twenty dollar bill and say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or whichever Holiday Greeting you prefer. It's easy to forget that each of us are fighting a battle every day and, despite appearances, we have no idea what kind of struggles others are going through.

This idea is very simple. It serves a twofold purpose. It may just help renew someone else's faith in the goodness of humanity and, I promise, it will make you feel INCREDIBLE! This simple act will bring you much more joy than anything the $20 could purchase. In fact, it might be the best gift you get this year.

I'm doing it and will report back my results.

If you decide to participate, please report your results on my author page as well. I'll be reposting this a few times per week until Christmas. Please SHARE this post. Let's start a wave of light to drown out the darkness of this world...or maybe just forget about it for a little while.

Thank you for your interest in my work this year. May your Holidays be rich with all the things that truly matter.

With Gratitude, ~Eric Vance Walton~

Contradiction 

Our consciousness  is the conjuror 

of many contradictions,

this world 

in which we live 

is a lavish stage

of grand illusion, each act is filled 

with sharp edges

and serene softness,

twisted knots,

and breathless beauty, reality is nothing 

but our soul's mirror,

it takes such courage 

to gaze into it,

and admit our thoughts

create everything we see but sometimes 

it's not bravery at all,

sometimes we're just tired 

of being broken and 

simply have no more 

tears left to cry.

~Eric Vance Walton~

The Curtain

As the curtain of darkness is drawn tight

and the incense smoke hangs still,

muse settles in

and I become its channel it’s quick to remind me

in its soft murmurs

that possibilities and hope

are still within the reach of my mind muse, my sweet amnesia,

makes me forget my wounds,

my worries and

the prickly ache of time passed once refocused in the moment

it’s easy to see my scars

make me who I am

but do not define me worries are only time wasted,

my muse is otherworldly

and Heaven sent,

it leaves me lifted, with the warmth of it

wrapped around me

I can brush the

the frigid throes of this world

from my shoulders again I can walk

with head raised,

proud of each facet of my soul,

happy in every cell of my being,

filled with the anticipation

of what might be. ~Eric Vance Walton~

10 WAYS TO PIMP PROOF YOUR LIFE*

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10 WAYS TO PIMP PROOF YOUR LIFE*Pimped (slang): To be persuaded, smooth talked or tricked by another person into doing something for their benefit. Apparently I'm an extremely slow learner because it's taken me twenty years to just begin to find modest success as a writer. In my defense, writing is one of the most difficult professions in the world. In the last twenty years I've learned some hard won lessons by being pimped (i.e., taken advantage of, swindled, led on a professional equivalent of a snipe hunt) in almost every imaginable way. Below are some of the most effective ways I’ve learned to shield myself from the pimps of the world:   1. Realize your true worth and never tie that self worth to anything outside of yourself. Your self worth should never be measured by anything external like money, possessions, looks, or anything other than the treasures you hold within yourself. Never seek acceptance or validation from others. This alone takes away most of the pimp's power of persuasion. If you are walking around with a general feeling that you don’t measure up this is a good indicator that you have work to do on yourself, spiritual work. I realized this in my early twenties. I began a self improvement regime that prompted me to move eight hundred miles away from home and to master meditation. I became a new person because of it.   

2. Get to know your true self. This isn’t as easy as it seems. Have the courage to learn who you really are beneath the mask that you’ve become accustomed to wearing so you will be accepted and liked by others. This takes courage and honesty, this takes deep reflection, this involves assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Pimps seek out victims who don't know who they are, the confused, and the indecisive. We spend too much of our time and energy trying to figure out other people and events in our lives but not nearly enough attention on introspection and contemplation of ourselves. Once we know ourselves we can learn to love ourselves. If we don’t like what we see, we can also identify what we need to work on.  

3. Be original. Once you have removed the mask and are comfortable with who you are relish it then unapologetically flaunt the h@ll out of it. There's only one you, a single person who sees the world through the exact same lens as you. Don't dare compromise your future fans and/or customers by emulating anyone else. There are many people waiting to connect with your uniqueness. Do you. Learn to be confident and comfortable in your own skin and others will be drawn to you. People can feel genuine confidence and are attracted to it like a magnet. Authenticity sends the pimps running for an easier target.     4. Live, eat, and breathe your business or craft. You must learn your business or craft inside and out. It must be absorbed into your DNA. It’s cliche but knowledge truly is power. Your passion in life should not feel like work. I repeat it should not feel like work. Your business or craft should give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning and provide you with hope that is the guiding light through dark days. If this is the case, it is a very good indication that you should doggedly pursue it. Your passion simply must feel like one of the greatest loves of your entire life.    5. Don't be afraid to fail. Pimps can smell fear from a mile away. Unless you're extremely smart or very lucky you will fail a few times. You may even fail five times like me, or more but that’s okay. I published five books before I sold even two hundred copies of a book title. Sure I was depressed about it but I learned something from each and every failure. If you learn a lesson it’s never a failure.    6. Do the work. Research shows that it takes ten thousand hours to master a new skill. I would argue it takes another five to ten thousand hours to learn the skill well enough to put your own unique stamp on that skill. This will set you apart from everyone else doing the same thing. The most important thing is to start...start today. It’s absolutely not necessary to “pay dues” in anything, never let anyone let you believe this line of thinking. This is a trick the pimps of the world use to exploit you. But you better believe there’s no way around having to do the work. There’s a difference.    7. No excuses. Believe me, I've used them all, "I'm too old, I don't have enough time, I don't have enough money, no one will publish my work, no agent is interested in me, I don’t know the right people, etc." This is pure bull$h!t. Very few people are handed anything in this world. The problem is some people just make it look easy. The clock of your life is ticking, don’t delay. The sooner you begin the sooner you’ll eventually find success.    8. Be patient. The universe unfolds according to its own timeline, not yours. For fifteen years I watched almost every single one of my peers far surpass me in every measurable way. Have faith and trust that everything that mystifies you will eventually make sense in hindsight.Trust me, it will. Most people quit when they’re just inches away from the finish line. Don’t quit.    9. You can’t do it alone. Trying to wear every hat and be an expert in everything will not only lead to exhaustion it will take you years longer to achieve your goals. Outsource what you’re not proficient in to the experts and focus on your strengths this creates a shortcut. Do you remember those first five books I mentioned before that didn’t sell? I failed because I did everything myself from book layout to cover design, to promotion. I spread myself too thin to spend enough time on the things that mattered. Learn from my mistakes, assemble a talented team to help you achieve your goals. If you don’t have money offer to trade skills or offer them a percentage of future sales up to a certain amount. Also, find an altruistic network of people who support you and provide honest feedback. I found a wonderful online forum of like minded individuals on Facebook called, “Choose Yourself” (based on James Altucher’s bestselling book of the same title) that has been a tremendous help to me.   10. Help others whenever you can. This is especially important to do when you’re feeling depressed or like you’re a failure because it boosts you up! This kind of behavior is the ultimate pimp-repellent. It confuses them, they don’t understand it. In truth, there’s so much success to go around that it should never be hoarded, rather it should be shared. There’s plenty available for everyone to have their own piece. No matter where you are in the pursuit of your passion there’s likely someone you can teach or encourage. When you do this the world literally opens up to you. We’re so lucky to live in an age where it’s easy to connect with large groups of people to share our stories and teach. Others can learn from the mistakes you made and you can offer them the invaluable gift of providing a shorter path to success. The really beautiful thing is the universe rewards this kind of behavior and you’ll ultimately find much greater success because of it.    I hope these tips have helped to give you something to think about. In reality, the pimps of the world are cowards and bullies that thrive on intimidation, scare tactics, and empty promises to survive.    These people will never find happiness and true peace until they learn to evolve and become a better version of themselves. Even if a few of the steps above are mastered your life will quickly become more pimp proof.   Each of us have a right and an equal opportunity to experience life as a victor instead of a victim. The only true limits are the ones we perceive in our minds. Life can be much more wondrous than we can even imagine. The choice is yours, which path will you choose?  ~Eric Vance Walton~

THE WAY TO THE SECRET GARDEN (INSIDE YOUR HEAD)

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Just this morning a coworker told me about her recent vacation to a family lakeside cabin in mountains of Pennsylvania. She said her favorite memory of the whole trip was picking huckleberries that grow wild around the lake. Her family fashioned a metal pail with a shoestring from the handle so they can hang the pail around their necks. This way have both hands free to pick berries. With the most serene expression on her face she said picking those huckleberries for an hour was the best therapy in the world. These moments, to me, are like visiting a secret garden inside your own head that only you can access. The time spent in this garden is special and it is sacred. Our world today is so demanding that to stay balanced we need access to the garden more than we realize. We need the visit the garden as much as we need to breathe oxygen. For most people a trip to this garden is can be triggered by some external thing or memory (most often connected to childhood). When discovered, this trigger can act as a magical pathway to that wondrous place.

When we were young it was easy. We could find the garden instantaneously. Our lives were uncomplicated, we still believed in magic, our heads weren't filled with excuses of why we couldn't do things. Somewhere between childhood and where we are today our worlds became a lot less a land of laughs and magic and much more of a scary and dangerous place. A small portion of this scariness is real but most of this is false perception, propaganda, and conditioning. These false perceptions keep us from achieving our best life.

It’s easy to see that we don’t have to live each moment of our lives in fear once we find our way to the garden. The trick, as a lost and stressed-out adult is rediscover our triggers that we once could so easily access. Ask yourself...what made me happiest as a child? Once you have the answer to that question think how this can be integrated back into your life as an adult, even if it’s silly. The sillier the better, we need more silliness!

As I child during summer vacation my feet rarely touched the ground. Except for meals I was on my black Huffy BMX bike from sun up until the streetlights came on. As an adult I can still spend hours not only riding my bike but also restoring them. My father taught me how to fully dismantle a bike and restore it by the age of eight. My latest project was a 1958 Raleigh three speed bicycle and it’s a gem. Any time spent with or on a bike transports me instantly to the garden.

One major hurdle to finding our triggers is technology. You must put your mobile phone on airplane mode and ignore it for a while. As useful technology can be, it occupies all of our attention and robs us of our chances to experience these sacred moments. It's difficult to calm our minds and be present when we're constantly connected. In all reality have you ever paid attention to how many times you check your mobile device in an hour? It’s astonishing. Anything that keeps your ears from tuning in to the music of life is a roadblock to the garden and the music I'm speaking of can't be found on iTunes.

What are your triggers? I urge you to delve into your deepest of memories and answer this simple question. Once you find your triggers I urge you incorporate these things back into your routine and see how quickly your life changes.

Do you know someone who needs their own trip to the garden? If so please share this post with them. By all means, after you revisit your garden come back and let us know how it felt. I guarantee the world will seem like a better place.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Eric Vance Walton is a novelist, poet, aspiring world traveler, and tea junkie. He invites you to follow his unfolding story by "liking" his Facebook author page at for updates and promotions on his current and upcoming projects. You can find Eric's new book One Word At A Time: Finding Your Way as an Indie Author, on Amazon in print or as an ebook. Article © 2015 Eric Vance Walton

The Best Way

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Thousands of years  reside in each 

of our moments

we are the

derivative of all those 

who came before us

each smile 

they ever smiled,

each mile 

they ever traveled,

each idea 

they ever thought,

each tear 

they ever cried,

every struggle 

they ever fought

you are a link 

in this kinetic chain

that builds upon 

the story of humanity,

one experience at a time

face your fears

live your dreams

fulfill your curiosities

listen to your heart

be your best self

interject yourself

into the narrative of 

the Universe 

this might be 

the best way,

the only way 

to give a proper

thank you to 

the many who lived 

and died for 

you to enjoy 

this very breath.

~Eric Vance Walton~

The Perfect Pause

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I don't promote this book much anymore. It's not because I don't like it but it's already been in print now for a decade and I'm more focused on writing fiction now.  I still believe in it. More importantly, I believe in the incredible power of meditation. A little about this book:

Did you ever wish that life came with a pause button? The secret is that it does!

With three months of dedicated practice and journaling you will learn how meditation can greatly improve the quality of your life by:

• Easing and improving your ability to handle stress. • Allowing you to sleep more restfully. • Teaching you to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.

The Perfect Pause is a clear, concise meditation guide, and journal that will give you the basic tools necessary to discover life's "pause button". Included in the book is a three-month journal to chart your progress. This comprehensive guide provides a reboot to the rigors of our modern life!

Click here to see a preview and purchase. 

Beyond Words

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Blessed beyond wordstruth is like a bird with a broken wing, it cannot fly but can surely sing

this song calls to me, the inner voice of muse speaks volumes, stitching together fractured moments of my life and giving each of them worth

these words bubble up gently from a place, cool and deep inside of us all that is immortal and wise, their warmth and their light wash over me to cleanse my soul and remind me that in a world the reeks of harshness we are never fools to be kind

all who seek solace will one day find in each day a reason to keep smiling in spite of the world and all its beguiling ways for it is true, we are blessed beyond words.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Meditation

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How lucid is your soul tonightas guards are put to rest? When not one is stirring ‘round you and the sun is setting West,

your true being is emerging as facades yield one by one you long to merge with oneness and to greet the golden sun,

free from inhibitions imposed by the mind you call your own freedom from the past mistakes, these karmic seeds you've sown,

cross-legged, in the lotus you begin to clear your wearied mind wishing for a sliver of a moment to leave the struggle far behind

your pulse begins to slow as the void becomes your breath your heart begins to soothe you ever-beating in your chest,

dancing somewhere in the stillness breaking shadows far and near where a worry’s no longer a worry and a tear is not a tear,

a wave is all consuming a bright beam breaks clouds above you reach your precious goal and for a moment become Love.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Too Simple To See

Time is cruelin that there are not enough minutes in a lifetime to learn all there is to know

the best of our years are spent sifting through the bullshit, the fluff, the liars, and the takers until one great day our hearts reveal to us what it is that truly matters

even if our eyes witness the truth of only one sunset there would be immeasurable worth in all of the struggle and pain

there is such beauty in this world if only it weren't too simple to see.

~Eric Vance Walton~

Know Me

You think you know mebut do you really?

You’ve savored me before like the last taste of summer wine and you have ignored me like some troubled stranger asking for your last dime

Do you remember?

I call to you softly in your time of greatest need to offer solace and love, without condition I am a steady presence who is here to ground you in times of chaos

Are you listening?

I place no blame, you were built to be a stranger to yourself in a world where the only goal is to discover who it is you really are

Will you love me?

There is no leap of logic that can bring you closer to me there is only one way, an unfolding of your heart.

I am waiting and will be here forever, I will replace doubt with deep faith I am your soul.

~Eric Vance Walton~

How Will You Spend It?

Most of us walk through life as though we’ll live forever. We don’t give much thought to our relationship with time. We’re focused on the ups and downs of life events so much more than it's measurement. Minutes and hours are merely units of measure that steadily transition from the present to the past. Very soon we’ll be setting the clocks back an hour (depending on the timezone you live in you might already have.) Although there are still twenty-four hours in a day, while this time shift still new, it will feel as though we magically gain an extra sixty minutes in our day. I ask you, if you could spend this extra hour any way what would you do with it? Would you finally take the time to call that relative or old friend who you’ve been meaning to chat with? Would you start a exercise routine or catch up on your reading?

Most years for me, the ambrosia of sleep swallows up every minute of this gift but not this year. Daylight savings time will be very helpful to my career this time around. It will be my goal to spend at least an hour of every single day writing. I’m going to use this gift to carve out more than enough time to emerge from winter’s hibernation with the first draft of my second novel, Truth Is Stranger.

How will you spend your hour?

~Eric Vance Walton~

Simplicity

Joy comes in silent ways,

happiness is more illusive

as we chase our many dreams,
wide-eyed with wonder

let us not forget
to live the breadth of each breath
and be thankful for simplicity

this life was handcrafted
specifically for us
to learn our lessons
in their perfect season

close your eyes,
quiet your mind,
tune your consciousness
to the harmony
of the Universe

realize, time takes
from us each second
but can also offers
us infinity in return.

~Eric Vance Walton~