The Blanco Republic
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By Ernest O’Dell at The Blanco Republic

I read an article recently in a European publication (not in English) where an observation was made about one aspect of American life: The noise level here is very high. We live too fast paced for our own good and don’t take enough “time outs” for reflection. Even lapses in conversation quickly fill with chatter or some kind of interference.

It’s been said, “A wise man has something to say. A fool has to say something.” How many times have you been sitting at a table when someone just had to talk just so they could hear their own voice? Truly, I must ask, was anybody else listening to them?

It made me realize just how important it is to have quiet time – usually about three hours a day – in order to stay balanced. It’s time I use to read and reflect, and I’m always refreshed and “recharged” by this. It also gives me material to feed my writing, whether it’s working on a chapter in my book, for an article, or a letter to a friend or loved one.

For me, early morning hours are the best for this kind of reflection. I’m an early riser, usually up by 2:00 A.M., and if I get up at 3:00 A.M., I’m “sleeping in.” This early morning time gives me a few hours to read the papers and magazine articles, catch a few chapters in a motivational book I’m reading, or catch up on a biography. Then I head out to the ranch.

There’s a couple of favorite places that I like to visit early in the morning at sunrise, and at sunset. One of them is Las Gemelas (Twin Sisters, in Spanish), and the other one is El Capitan de Las Lomas. El Capitan is named after the famous El Capitan in the Guadalupe Mountains of Texas; not the “other one” on the Left Coast.

El Capitan stands alone and is unique. And so is El Capitan de Las Lomas. The latter is the future home site for the hacienda that will be built there which will be the most unique house in Blanco County, Texas. It will be the largest house ever built in the county: over 24,000 square feet on the ground floor (what’s visible). The rest of it will be in lower ground levels buried two stories deep in the Texas limestone on the ranch.

El Capitan de Las Lomas sits atop 622 acres of the most pristine Texas Hill Country, surrounded by a game reserve. Early in the morning, you can sit in your car on the top of a 75 acre plateau and watch the sun come up in the east. At sunset, you can sit on the same plateau and watch the same valley go through shades of azure and teal as the sun sets its ray across the tops of the mountains.

Sometimes I fall asleep because it’s so peaceful. I’ll wake up with a book in my hands, sometimes Socrates or Plato. Sometimes some other philosopher. I don’t get to read as much as I would like, because there are just so many demands on my time. I’m grateful for the contributions that our library has made to encourage reading in our community. It’s a way for one to escape into their own fantasy land and take a vacation in the nether most regions of our minds and imaginations.

When I ask people what they’ve been reading (and this spans from kids to adults) I hear of the deplorable state of reading in this country, because too many people just don’t read. I hear excuses all the time ranging from, “I’m a slow reader,” to, “I just don’t have time.” Well, when it comes to reading and exercising the “gray mush” up in our skulls, you just have to make time.

I like movies and television as much as anyone else, but here lately I haven’t turned on the television in a while. And I’ve found that I’m not as turbulent in spirit because of the negative media. I’ve spent some quality time reading inspirational books and by reflecting while alone.

One of my favorites in the inspirational category is The Inspirational Writings of Robert H. Schuller “The Be-Happy Attitudes & Be Happy You Are Loved.” While some of his writings might be considered trite by a few of my compatriots, nonetheless, I have found “nuggets” of inspiration within those pages.

I have also come to learn a difficult lesson through all this time: I can choose to be happy. No matter what is going on around me, or what is happening (or not happening) in my life, my choice to be happy or disgruntled is up to me. Nobody else can dictate my state of mind. Nobody. Not you, or anybody else.

And the same goes for you. You can choose to be happy right now. You can choose to take time to reflect on the people who have been an inspiration and a blessing in your life. Or you can choose to mull over life’s problems… many of which there is nothing you can do about anyway.

Take some time for reflection. If it helps, take a look at your reflection in the mirror and tell yourself, “I love you.” Even if nobody else does. Heck… what do they know?


2 Responses to “Reflections”

  1. Yea! You “got” it! Happiness is a way of travel, not a destination! And, yes, happiness is a *choice* – so is love, so is faith, so are all the other virtues. All are acts of the Will.

  2. I just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my corner of the web.

    I’m having to live each day as it comes – and I totally agree with everything you said. It was a confirmation that I needed. I know I can create great things to happen and I’m looking forward to starting.

    I’ve also come to realize that I have neglected my own “alone” time to reflect – and hence forth will make the effort to put time aside for myself.

    Again – I thank you for your words and taking the time to share them with me.

    Jenn H.

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