The Advantages of Booking YMCA Classes Online

Several times a year I spend time trying to figure out which activities I am going to sign my kids up for at the YMCA. I spend hours poring over their booklet trying to match available activity times with the kids’ home and school schedule.

My first step is to try to remember the name of the last Ballet, gymnastics, basketball or swim class that they had finished so that I don’t mistakenly schedule them for a class they had previously taken. When I finally feel confident that I have figured that out I highlight the classes I need to sign the kids up for in the YMCA booklet and head for the YMCA, with kids in tow, to schedule their appointments. I had tried doing this over the phone in the past but was disappointed when they had scheduled my daughter for the wrong swimming class and the one I wanted her in was filled up by the time I noticed the error. So I opt for reserving the classes in person to avoid these types of mistakes, even though it is a hassle having to make this extra trip.

On the first day of my sons swimming class I noticed that the class my son was in had 12 children and one swimming instructor. This was okay, but a class at the other end of the pool had only 4 children with one instructor so they were receiving a more individualized instruction. I mentioned this observation to the woman next to me and she said that the YMCA provides a way to view the class sizes online. She went on to tell me that she views each class she is interested in and chooses the one that is least filled. It turns out that her daughter does not do well in large group settings and the online service allows her to choose a class that is better suited for her child.

I was very much intrigued by this and inquired at the front desk about viewing the YMCA class availability online. The YMCA gave me all the information I needed to log on from home and view all the classes and class sizes from home. I also found out that I could utilize the online service to view the history of which classes each of my children had completed, schedule the classes and pay for them all from home. This turned out to be a huge time saver for me and also gave me the peace of mind that the correct classes were scheduled.

I can say without a doubt that the best way to find and reserve the correct classes at the YMCA is to book them online.

Video Screen Splitter: Transmission of Signals From Multiple Sources to a Single Destination

A Video Screen Splitter is a device which is used to relay images from multiple sources simultaneously on a single display device. Alternatively known as a distribution amplifier, this device transmits images without data loss and it appears as though the source is directly connected to the display. Consisting of two units, a local transmitter placed next to the source and a receiver placed next to the display, this device has the capability of splitting and boosting the signals. Available in 2, 4, 8 and 16 orts, they can also be cascaded or daisy chained together to achieve a greater configuration. Amongst the various models of the screen splitter available in the market, the most common ones are the DVI Splitter, the VGA Audio video splitter, VGA Video, S-Video, Component Video, HDMI Video and Composite Video splitter. All these models are classified on the basis of the video signals that they relay.

Some key features common to all these models are easy installation, plug and play functionality, no requirement of additional software or device drivers and long distance transmission of the video signals while maintaining signal integrity. While the DVI and HDMI splitter are highly demanded models, the most basic one is the VGA splitter.

On the other hand, the Quad Video Splitter is the most innovative device in the KVM industry as it simultaneously displays signals from four analog or digital sources on a single display device. This unit has numerous display modes such as the Quad mode wherein the screen is split into four fields of equal size with each field displaying content from one source respectively. The PIP mode is one in which up to three video sources is displayed as thumbnails on the right hand side of the full screen image. The dual mode allows the left halves of the full screen images from two video sources to be displayed side by side at full size and the full screen mode allows one of the four video sources to be shown at full screen size and maximum resolution.

All the different types of the Video Screen splitter are FCC and CE certified as well as RoHS compliant and allow switching between sources through front panel push buttons and RS232. High end models enable switching through IR and TCP/IP control as well. Ideal for situations where images from various sources need to be replicated on a single screen, they find usage in remote monitoring and surveillance facilities, financial, commercial, educational, government and military environments.

How To Stop a Dachshund Puppy From Biting

Dachshunds are tenacious, independent and smart, originally bred to hunt and kill badgers.  These characteristics have been passed down the generations which can cause problems with barking, biting and aggression if Dachshunds are not well trained from a young age

As soon as you see your Dachshund puppy biting it is time to address the problem.  Dachshund puppies look cute and you wouldn’t think that the small nips they give would be a problem, but not stopping the behavior can result in significant aggression problems later in life.

Start Young

If you were to watch a puppy grow up in a litter you would see that biting is regulated by the puppies themselves.  When one puppy bites another, the outcome is typically that the puppy they bite turns round and bites them back.  This is a very effective deterrent resulting in most puppies knowing not to bite by the time they are ready to go to their new home.

If you have problems with your Dachshund puppy biting, take immediate action!  At this young age your puppy is play biting.  You should never hit your Dachshund, especially not at this age when they will not understand what they have done wrong.  Doing so will frighten them and can lead to problems with anxiety and aggression as they grow up.

To stop your Dachshund puppy biting you need to take a consistent, fair approach, not just to the biting, but to their behavior in general.  Reward good behaviors and discourage bad behaviors, making certain that you are not giving mixed messages.  For example, if you want to stop your Dachshund puppy biting then you shouldn’t play games that involve chasing.  Remember, Dachshunds were bred to chase and catch prey and will likely grab hold of you if you run from them.

Ways to Stop Puppy Biting

When your Dachshund puppy bites your instinct may be to punish them, but this is the wrong thing to do.  Instead tell them “no”, or make a high pitched squeal when they bite, then giving them something acceptable to chew on such as a dog toy as soon as they let go.  Making a yelping noise can be very effective in stopping biting as it is similar to the noise that your puppies litter mates made when they were bitten.  Your Dachshund puppy will soon learn that biting you is not OK, but biting their toys is.

If you get an older Dachshund puppy who has not been taught not to bite your task may be more difficult.  If the technique described above doesn’t work then you should consider taking them to puppy training classes.  In addition to having expert help with the biting problem, your Dachshund puppy will have the opportunity to be well socialized with both people and other dogs their age.

At This Time What is the Best Treatment For Swine Flu? Disappointing News

At this time the best treatment for swine flu is prevention. Doing everything possible to avoid the flu may be more effective than the drugs and vaccine that we have (or maybe don’t have). The vaccine for H1N1 is scheduled to arrive in mid October but there will only be about 45 million doses and those will have to be doled out according to priorities set by your local health department.

The fact that we don’t have enough vaccine to go around may or may not be a problem. This vaccine was rushed into production and has not undergone the extensive testing that other vaccines have. The first question is will it work. The second question is what are the side effects. We won’t know those answers until late October.

There are two antiviral drugs available for flu, Tamiflu and an older drug Relenza. These drugs can be used to treat the flu or be used to prevent the flu in high risk populations like nursing homes. The good news is that the U.S. has at least enough stockpiled to treat 25% of the population. The bad news is that H1N1 might be immune to Tamiflu. In tests done in New York City last January, 99% of the H1N1 cases were Tamiflu resistant.

The other bad news about the drugs is that they work best when administered within 48 hours of coming down with swine flu. They won’t be prescribed unless the person tests positive for the strain. Now that the World Health Organization has stopped asking for test results, tests may or may not be given as readily as they were.

There are basically three types of tests. One can be completed in your doctor’s office in about 30 minutes. The problem with this test is it misses the flu roughly 30% of the time and also has a reputation of giving false positives. The other two tests require a lab. The actual test takes three hours to complete but add in transportation time and backlog and you’ll be lucky to see results in four days, two days longer than the recommended time to administer antivirals.

So the best answer to what’s the best flu treatment is, don’t catch it. If that doesn’t work; then your back to traditional treatment like fever medicine, rest, plenty of fluids, nutritious diet and Mom’s chicken soup.

This is going to be a big one and something you can’t ignore. It will affect your life either directly or indirectly. You need a plan on how to deal with it much as you would for dealing with an earthquake or hurricane.

Developing a Plan: The Basis of Successful Investing

Warren E. Buffett offers the following advice on the qualities of a successful investor. Buffett essentially suggests that a successful investor does not need an extraordinarily high IQ, exceptional business acumen, or inside information. To enjoy a lifetime of successful investing, you need a solid decision-making framework and the ability to maintain your emotions.

A successful investment strategy requires a thoughtful plan. Developing a plan is not difficult, but staying with it during times of uncertainty and events that seem to counter you plan’s strategy is often difficult. This tutorial discusses the necessity of establishing a trading plan, what investment options best suit your needs, and the challenges you could encounter if you don’t have a plan.

The benefits of developing a trading plan

You can establish optimal circumstances for experiencing solid investment growth if you stick to your plan despite opposing popular opinion, current trends, or analysts’ forecasts. Develop your investment plan and focus on your long-term goals and objectives.

Maintain focus on your plan

All financial markets can be erratic. It has experienced significant fluctuations in business cycles, inflation, and interest rates, along with economical recessions throughout the past century. The 1990s experienced a surge of growth due to the bull market pushing the Dow Jones industrial average (DIJA) up 300 percent. This economic growth was accompanied by low interest rates and inflation. During this time, an extraordinary number of Internet-based technology firms were created due to the increased popularity of online commerce and other computer-reliant businesses. This growth was rapid and a downturn occurred just as fast. Between 2000 and 2002, the DIJA dropped 38 percent, triggering a massive sell-off of technology stocks which kept indexes in a depressed state well into the middle of 2001. Large-scale corporate accounting scandals contributed to the downturn. Then in the fall of 2001, the United States suffered a catastrophic terrorist attack that sent the nation into a high level of uncertainty and further weakened the strength of the market.

These are the kinds of events that can tax your emotions in terms of your investment strategies. It’s times like these that it is imperative that you have a plan and stick to it. This is when you establish a long-term focus on your objectives. Toward the end of 2002 through 2005, the DJIA rose 44 percent. Investors who let their emotions govern their trading strategies and sold off all their positions missed out on this upturn.

The three deadly sins and how to avoid them

The three emotions that accompany trading are fear, hope, and greed. When prices plunge, fear compels you to sell low without reviewing your position. Under these circumstances, you should revisit the original reasons for your investments and determine if they have changed. For example, you might focus on the short term and immediately sell when the price drops below its intrinsic value. In this case, you could miss out if the price recovers.

An investment strategy that is based on hope might compel you to buy certain stocks based on the hope that a company’s future performance will reflect on their past performance. This is what occurred during the surge of the Internet-based, dot-com companies during the late 1990s. This is where you need to devote your research into a company’s fundamentals and less on their past performance when determining the worth of their stock. Investing primarily on hope could have you ending up with an overvalued stock with more risk of a loss than a gain.

The greed emotion can distort your rationale for certain investments. It can compel you to hold onto a position for too long. If your plan is to hold out a little longer to gain a few percentage points, your position could backfire and result in a loss. Again, in the late 1990s, investors were enjoying double-digit gains on their Internet-company stocks. Instead of scaling back on their investments, many individuals held onto their positions with the hope that the prices would keep going up. Even when the prices were beginning to drop, investors held out hoping that their stocks would rally. Unfortunately, the rally never happened and investors experienced substantial losses.

An effective investment plan requires that you properly manage the three deadly sins of investing.

The key components of an investment plan

Determine your investment objectives

The first component in your investment plan is to determine your investment objectives. The three main categories involved in your objectives are income, growth, and safety.

If your plan is to establish a steady income stream, your objective focuses on the income category. Investors in this category tend to be low-risk and don’t require capital appreciation. They use their investments as an income source.

If your focus is on increasing your portfolio’s value over the long term, your objective is growth-based. In contrast to the income category, investors strive for capital appreciation. Investors in this category tend to be younger and have a longer investment time frame. If this is your preferred category, consider your age, investment expectations, and tolerance to risk.

The final category is safety. Investors who prefer to prevent loss of their principle investment. They want to maintain the current value of their portfolio and avoid risks that are common with stocks and other less secure investments.

Risk tolerance

While the main reason for growing your portfolio is to increase your wealth, you need to consider how much risk you are willing to take. If you struggle with the market’s volatility, your strategy should focus more on the safety or income categories. If you are more resilient to a fluctuating market and can accept some losses, you might favor the growth category. This category has the potential for higher gains. Nevertheless, you need to be honest with yourself and the level of risk you are willing to take as you set up your investment plan.

Asset Allocation

As discussed in the previous sections, part of your investment plan is to determine your risk tolerance and investment objectives. After you establish these components, you can begin to determine how you will allocate the assets in your portfolio and how they will match your goals and risk tolerance. For example, if you are interested in pursuing a growth-oriented category, you could allocate 60 percent in stocks, 15 percent in cash equivalents, and 25 percent in bonds.

Make sure your asset allocation reinforces your objectives and risk tolerance. If your focus is on safety, your objectives need to include safe, fixed-income assets such as money market securities, high-quality corporate securities (with high debt ratings), and government bonds.

If your strategy focuses on an income category, you should focus on fixed-income strategies. Your investments might include bonds with lower ratings that provide higher yields and dividend-paying stocks.

If your focus is on the growth category, your portfolio should focus on common stock, mutual funds, or exchange-traded funds (ETF). With this category, you need to vigilant in managing your portfolio by regularly reviewing your objectives and adjusting them according to your risk tolerance and objectives.

Effective asset allocation helps you establish a guideline for properly diversification of your portfolio. This enables you to work toward your objectives and manage a comfortable amount of risk.

Investment choices

Your trading strategy includes deciding what types of investments to buy and how you will allocate your assets.

Growth

If your strategy is based on growth, you might consider mutual funds or ETFs that have high market-performance potential.

Wealth protection/income generation

If you choose to pursue a wealth protection method, you might choose government bonds or professionally-managed bond funds.

Choosing your own stocks

If you prefer to select your own stocks, establish some rules for how you will enter and exit your positions. You objectives and investment strategies will determine these rules. Whatever approach you use, one trading rule you should establish is to use stop-loss orders as a form of protection against downward price movements. For example, if your investment drops 60 percent, it will need to increase 110 percent in order to break even. You choose the price that you will set the order, but a good rule to follow is to set a stop-loss order at 10 percent below the purchase price for long-term investments and a stop-loss order at 3-to-5 percent for short term trades.

Your strategy might also include investing in professionally-managed products such as mutual funds. These give you access to professional money managers. If you hope to use mutual funds to increase the value of your portfolio, choose growth funds that focus on capital appreciation. If your intent is to pursue an income-oriented approach, choose income-generating avenues such as dividend-paying stocks or bond funds. Make sure your allocation and risk structure align with your diversification and risk tolerance.

Index funds and ETFs

Index funds and ETFs are passively-managed products that have low fees and tax efficiencies (lower than actively-managed funds). These investments could be a good way to manage your asset allocation plan because they are low-cost and well diversified. Essentially, they are baskets of stocks that represent an index, a sector, or a country.

Summary

The most important component in reaching your investment goals is your plan. It helps you establish investment guidelines and a level of protection against loss. It’s important that you develop a plan based on an honest assessment of your investment style, level of risk tolerance, and objectives. You also must avoid letting your emotions influence your investment decisions even during the more discouraging times.
If you are still uncertain about your ability to effectively develop and follow a plan, consider employing the services of an investment advisor. This person’s expertise can help you adhere to a solid plan to meet your investment objectives.

The History of the Honda CD185 Motorcycle

The vintage Honda CD185 was first manufactured in 1978. Very few of these models were produced which makes finding parts a little difficult, but it is possible.

The stock engine was an air cooled 4 stroke SOHC twin which helped in both speed a mileage. The Honda CD185 comes packed with power, especially as a collectors item. The style of this bike is a roadster for both its ease of transportation and its high range of speed.

The transmission offers a 16 count front sprocket and a 36 count rear sprocket with a 112 count chain link. When you start your CD185 for the first time you will feel the 4 speed constant mesh every time you pull the throttle. This was a highly sophisticated machine for its time and it still has high value in performance.

The petrol capacity is 10.5 liters that will bring hours of riding before the next pit stop. This may be smaller than many current models but it still holds itself with the mileage the bike can get when maintained at 60mph on the motorway. When you have a choice to pick this motorcycle over others be sure to remember that this bike is a vintage and not to many were produced during its run.

When it comes to breaks there is both front and rear drums. The electric that will run through the motorcycle as you turn the key is 6 volts which is just enough to make your next ride a care free experience knowing that you won’t have to jump it before your next trip. The ignition is known as “points” and many review that it does its job fairly well. The Honda CD185 has many highlights that are just unseen even with today’s standards. But, that fact makes it clear that the Honda CD185 is a bike to keep your eyes peeled for.

The battery needed for Honda CD185 is a 6N12A-2D. The Honda CD175 have cables to operate the clutch and front brakes. It also has a manual cable operated choke. The Honda CD185 uses a 34 tooth rear sprocket and a 15 tooth front sprocket. The chain is a 428,112 link chain. Replacing the ignition switch can be a little tricky. Depending on the year of motorbike you need to check if it needs a 4 wire ignition switch or a 6 wire ignition switch. If you are looking the change the mirrors any 10mm thread mirrors would do the job. Lastly the spark plugs needed for the Honda CD185 are CR7HS and you will need two of these plugs.

The True Difference Between Motorcycle Oil and Automotive Oil

To some people, changing the oil in your car is just like changing the oil in your motorcycle. Just drain out the old oil, install a new oil filter, and pour in the desired amount of new oil and your done. So when it comes time to change your motorcycle oil, why can’t you use the same oil that you use in your car? Motorcycle oil and automotive oil look and feel the same so how could there be a difference between the two?

Automotive oil looks pretty enticing at $3 a quart but any experienced motorcycle rider knows that using automotive oil in motorcycles causes serious damage. In automotive vehicles, the engine is always separate from the clutch and   transmission  so they have separate oils for each. In automotive engine oil, there is more of what is called “friction modifiers” to help lessen the amount of friction on engine components and improve fuel economy. Of course, improving fuel economy has always been the main goal of the automotive industry making friction modifiers a necessity for all automotive oils.

These friction modifiers that are added to automotive oils are what cause serious damages when used in motorcycles. The friction modifiers clog the clutch plates in a motorcycle’s  transmission  causing serious clutch slippage and disabling the motorcycle. You see, for motorcycles to be as compact as they are, they have to combine their engine and  transmission  into one casing. This means that everything is lubricated by only one type of oil including the valves, piston,  transmission , and clutch.

Motorcycles require very little and/or no friction modifiers to help improve clutch friction and to prevent clutch slippage. But to make up for this lack of friction modifiers, motorcycle oils use higher levels of anti-wear additives such as ZDDP, also known as phosphorous, to limit engine friction and wear. Since motorcycle oil has extra anti-wear additives and is lubricating so much more than automotive oil, you can expect to pay anywhere from $9 to $15 a quart.

To some people, both oils look and feel the same but now you know the facts of each. So the next time that you decide to change your motorcycle oil, go straight to your local motorcycle dealer and buy only high quality motorcycle oil designed specifically for the type of motorcycle you own. Make sure that you change your oil periodically to keep it fresh and clean to ensure a long life for your engine,  transmission , and clutch.

Motorcycle Gas Mileage

With insane gas prices, people are looking at motorcycle gas mileage. More people are considering motorcycles to reduce their gas costs. I’ve gotten over 50mpg on my 2004 Road King Custom, which has the five speed   transmission . The new six speed will no doubt give you better mileage.

As you can see by the list below, Harley-Davidson motorcycles get great gas mileage ranging from around 53mpg for the big Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic and the Screamin Eagle DYNA, both with the 110 cubic inch engine to around 60mpg for the 883 Sportster.

If you’re considering a motorcycle to lower your gas costs, keep in mind the type of riding your going to be doing. If you’re thinking about an 883 Sportster to commute to and from work, remember the types of roads you’ll be traveling on. The Sporster gets great gas mileage but I would not want to spend a lot of time on the highway with it. If you are going to be doing a lot of highway riding, I would consider something bigger. Either way, you’ll be saving money on gas and having fun doing it. Here is a mileage estimate list for Harley motorcycles.

Sportster 883 models: 60 HWY/45 CITY

Sportster 1220 models: 57 HWY/42 CITY

DYNA Super Glide: 54 HWY/35 CITY

DYNA Super Glide Custom: 53 HWY/34 CITY

DYNA Street Bob: 54 HWY/35 CITY

DYNA Fat Bob: 53 HWY/34 CITY

DYNA Low Rider: 53 HWY/34CITY

DYNA Wide Glide 105Th Anniversary: 53 HWY/34 CITY

Screamin Eagle DYNA: 53 HWY/36 CITY

VRSV V-Rod: 42 HWY/34 CITY

Night Train Softail: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Softail Custom: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Fat Boy: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Rocker,Rocker C: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Softail Deluxe: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Heritage Softail Classic: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Electra Glide Standard: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Road King, Road King Classic, Road Glide, Street Glide: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Electra Glide Classic: 54 HWY/35 CITY

Screamin Eagle Road King: 53.5 HWY/37.7 CITY

Screamin Eagle Ultra Classic: 53 HWY/36 CITY

Beauty is Everywhere

As I look out into the world, I see so much to be grateful for. Surrounded by beauty, I am left in no doubt that we live in a spirit filled world that is becoming more authentic in the beauty that it is able to appreciate. For so long we have come to define beauty on a superficial level, but as we grow, so will our ability to appreciate beauty grow within us.

With this, understand that only can we recognize and appreciate what is truly beautiful when we have unified with the essence of our own beauty within ourselves. So many struggle to find the beauty in the world when they look outside. Fearful of what they will encounter, they see a world filled with anger, hostility and ugliness, and because this is what they see, this is what becomes real for them, and they continue to live as their self fulfilling prophecy would have it be.

Neglecting their own beauty, they have swallowed a nightmare pill which alters dramatically the world in which they see. Turning away from the spirit, they have chosen to embrace the ego, which sees things always in a distorted light. With power and strength to gain for itself, the ego is devoted not to searching for beauty, but to finding that which can build it up in the eyes of the world. Concerned with the physical world and pleasing those within it, it is not at all interested in the wisdom of the spirit.

Not wanting to be the protagonist in its own demise, the ego has a vested interest in keeping the true source of beauty from your eyes. Not wanting you to experience the awe that beauty inspires, it seeks to keep you in a state of boredom where you ask no questions of life. Asking no questions, you cease to interact with life, and you deprive yourself of the answers that God wants to give to you. This is what it means to be reactive to life, and to suffer in the process.

Called to be proactive, we do not grow in our experience of life, if we have closed ourselves off to what it seeks to teach us. Wanting to show us the beauty in the world and in ourselves, it is a willing teacher, but a teacher has no role to occupy without a student in attendance. This is why we must be open-minded in beauty’s presence. With much to give, there is much to learn about the beauty of God which manifests itself in all things.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What this means to me is that each of us has the capacity to find beauty in different things. What some label beautiful, others might label ugly, and vice versa. But does it really matter what verdict is passed on whether something is pleasing to the eye or not? What matters absolutely is the seed of beauty to be found in all things that God has created. With the beauty of the creator pervading each of his creations, that beauty is definitely there to see. The question then becomes what is the quality of the vision of the observer?

Many are capable of seeing the beauty in all that surrounds them, but even more are not. Selective in what they ascribe the label ‘beautiful’ to, these people have chosen to honour the mind above the heart, which is all to discriminating. Seeing more than the mind is capable of seeing, the heart knows that it is futile to judge, because it realizes that judgment passed on that which appears in a diminished light is falsely condemned. Seeing only a portion of the whole, much is misunderstood; and embracing only a part, much is rejected as irrelevant. See in this, the dangerous game that we play when we choose to have the ego’s eyes be the filter with which we view the world.

Seeing only fragments of beauty that it has contaminated through its own judgment, much is discarded, and even less honoured, for God cannot be seen by that which despises his presence. Wanting you not to see him, the ego will lead you to label as ugly, much that is beautiful in appearance and substance.

Intense in its loathing, the ego is not always rational in its judgment, and even in its certainty, it misses much to be appreciated. See in this how the ego’s arrogance often leads it to abandon that which could otherwise serve it. Cursed in its blindness, it makes not for wise counsel to the one who searches for a deeper experience of life.

Wanting to experience love, one must consult the heart, being the centre of beauty inside the self. Being not separate from God, it is the gift that God has given us to enjoy the world. Blessed with much, we can find much joy when we look upon the world with spiritual eyes. Hindered not by that which are the ego’s shortcomings, we can see the love behind the barriers, and the distinctions which make the miraculous commonplace.

Blessed in spirit, we must not take for granted that which is capable of teaching us who we truly are. Endowed with wisdom, all of God’s creations are capable teachers, and assuming not a separate identity from him, they are models to be emulated. With this, learn that beauty is distorted as the separation is affected. So as you travel far from him, so will your ability to experience beauty diminish in strength.

Concerned primarily with attaching labels in the moment, what eludes you is the beauty inherent in entering the moment. To enter the moment, is to join with God in your heart, and see what he sees in the physical world. With all that he created being good, you are then able to see the love that pervades everything in the light of the spirit. Appreciating everything just as it is, you understand that it is enough and that the ego does not have to be invited to enhance what is complete in itself.

Complete, the gifts of God are holy in what they hold and what they deliver. Endowed with beauty, they bring to the lost man, much that is invaluable. Longing for God, those who are lost, suffer in their desperation. Convinced of their own ugliness, the memories of their eternal beauty slip into the past. But the past is not lost forever, for every illusion stands to be corrected, and as a partner with eternity, it will not fail to reveal itself in a touch that the moment has in store, for the child who sees clearly now, not yearning for more.

One of the most memorable times that I recall beauty touching me deeply was in Florence when I went to see Michelangelo’s David. I had heard from many people how wonderful this classical piece of sculpture was, but hearing a second hand account doesn’t really prepare you for the effect that it has on the soul, when you see it in person. To say that I was taken aback by its beauty would be an understatement. I was left absolutely speechless! To think that one man saw this masterpiece in that block of marble and saw it as his purpose to bring it to life for all to enjoy is awe inspiring to me.

But as I was standing there, just gazing up at the masterwork, I knew not the distraction of thought that attempted to persuade my mind to intellectualize how the work was brought to life. This allowed me to centre myself and let the profound beauty that emanated from the shiny white surface, move my spirit powerfully in the moment. And as I just allowed the moment to touch me, I felt for a moment just how Michelangelo must have felt with the chisel in his hand and the spirit in his heart, for as I am not alone with my pen, he was not alone with his tools, for with every incision had God’s hand revealed itself so gently and lovingly.

All in all, I spent about an hour in the company of David, listening only to the silence which was my teacher. And as I meditated on what had greeted my senses, I felt a deep sense of appreciation begin to emerge, and as my eyes began to well up with tears, my constant companion placated my fears that I would miss something, a moment, which taught me who I am, not alone in war, but beautiful and fair.

To know Michelangelo must have been to be in the company of a great lover. Here was a man who made it his life’s purpose to serve the world by making manifest in physical form, the love that he carried inside. How else can you explain it? To look into the eyes of David is to know without a shadow of a doubt that he was conceived in love, and because it was this love that filled Michelangelo’s heart, the conception was inevitable.

With this, understand that love never leaves beauty unexpressed, for that is not love’s way. And in the same way that love will never leave beauty unexpressed, so will it never leave the witnesses to that beauty untouched, for the heart that was inspired to bring the beauty to life, is in no way separate from the heart of the witness who has seen in that beauty a clear image of themself revealed.

See in this, how all embodiments of beauty carry a reflection that is not one dimensional. If you were to observe a rose, you would be moved by the beauty of that rose, but what has moved you is not limited to the petals, stem and thorns which make up that rose. What you receive from that rose is an experience of the beauty of nature which is in no way separate from all that the rose is, because nature is the essence of its being. And as it is with the rose, so it is with you, because nature is the very essence of who you are. As God has breathed life into the rose, so has God breathed life into you, and in it you get a glimpse of not only its glory, but your glory as well, which is a stranger not to the glory of God.

Endowed with all that is beautiful, do not doubt what is yours to give, and as you awake from your slumber, so will your brothers and sisters enjoy a more peaceful rest. Not tormented by their hideous nightmares, a new joy will emerge in the form of a dream that is not isolated in how it comes to bless them. As beauty multiplies, so does its visions, in the mind that has unified itself with the heart.

Filled with this love, joy replaces sorrow and gratitude replaces judgment, for as the Lord has spoken, you need not open your mouth to speak. Speaking in glorious tongues, you are left in no doubt that what he has to say is real. Beautiful in its composition, it is undeniably powerful in its resonance. Teaching your heart, the mind finds rest, subsumed by the grace that has cradled it, and when it awakes, immense beauty awaits it, in both its relationship to the physical and the infinite which know no divide. Being what beauty has conquered, love has done its work, through the eye of the spirit that cannot be blinded to the world’s worth.