Don’t pull off the octopus or you’ll drown.

That title doesn’t make any sense you say? Actually it does.

Years ago I was scuba diving off Catalina island with my two sons and a group of scouts. We were diving at night. I almost drowned. I panicked. I even spit out the octopus (the mouth piece connected to the air tank) and pulled of my mask. At that point I could no longer see or breath. It was my own fault. I did everything they said someone who was panicking would do, and had it not been for my son Bryce, who literally pulled me up out of the ocean as I was sinking the final time (after having resigned myself that my boys would be going home without their dad) I would not be here today.

There is a a lot more to that story, but suffice to say for our purposes here, I learned by reflecting on that experience that it was the panicking that would have killed me, not the water, not the weight, and not a lack of skill, knowledge or training. I have tried to remember and apply that lesson ever since.

Right now my life is as hectic, stressful, busy and challenging as it has ever been. During these times of uncertainty and pressure I realize that possibly the most important thing I can do is, sit back, put my feet on the desk, take a deep breath and just relax. When I relax I start to see more clearly and breath more easily. It is during those moments of relaxation that I receive a clarity of thought, a sense of purpose and more definite direction. I believe that I am able to receive those things by allowing my mind to reorder its thoughts to take advantage of education and experience; but I also recognize and accept that mostly I get those insights from the gentle calm influence of a kind and loving Father in Heaven who wants his son to achieve his potential and meet the measure of his creation, and he is helping me to do so. Knowing that I can always call out to him and have his assistance is a powerful influence for stability in my life.

Despite its ever-increasing demands, life continues to provide me with great joy, satisfaction and hope for the future. Sure maybe things are a little rough right now, but I’m still very happy. Some people have suggested that I enjoy life because I operate with blinders on and that I don’t really understand what is happening around me. I beg to differ. I know that I am happy precisely because I do understand what is happening, why and how it all fits into the great plan; not coincidentally called “The plan of happiness.”

If, as passengers on this great space ship planet earth, we are meant to be happy, then that is what I intend to be.

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