Cultivate flexibility; then you can better weather the unpredictable

Weather is an interesting phenomenon. We live in it. We complain about it. We can’t control it. We want so much from it, at the same time wishing for rain and wanting the sunshine.

The temperatures go up and down in spite of our plans, and still we carry on. Picnics in the park become picnics in the living room. Golf dates become 19th hole camaraderie. We find ways of adjusting our lives to the weather we cannot control. We can all be flexible when we want to be. Flexibility is a conscious choice.

Our relationships are also interesting phenomena and sometimes just as unpredictable as the weather. Some of our interactions are intimately personal, and some don’t seem like contact at all, but no matter how independent we feel, we are inescapably entwined and mutually reliant partners in the dance of life.

Flexibility is a quality that allows us to move through changes in the weather and changes in our world. We all have ways of adapting to the situations in which we find ourselves. What actor/dancer Fred Astaire said about ballroom dancing can also be applied to our interactions with friends and family, even strangers in the grocery store: “Cultivate flexibility. Be able to adapt your style to that of your partner. In doing so, you are not surrendering your individuality, but blending it with that of your partner.”

We do not all have to like the same things, have the same beliefs, the same experiences, nor the same values in order to blend with the people around us into a harmonious whole. Just as we can’t control the sun and the rain, we can’t control the people in our lives, but we are in charge of the way we relate to them.

We can reach out in whatever way is available to us and enrich our connection. Social media, the telephone, nodding to each other in the grocery store all are ways of acknowledging our bond, our common situation. We can let go of worrying about the things we really can’t control and focus on the present moment. When we do, we may find ourselves easily moving into kindness and flexibility.

In these difficult times, it is good to see each other as partners dancing in the rain, waiting for the sun to shine.

The Rev. Linda McNamar is a Laguna Woods Village resident.

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It’s all about the dog in the house

I should probably be shredding as I go through all this gosh-darned financial stuff. But oh no … I can’t do that because I might wake Lucy.

You see, Lucy my little Chihuahua, is sleeping … taking a cat nap, so to speak. And heaven forbid, I might just wake her. My life revolves around her, the love of my life.

Like when I need to go out to my car in the carport. Instead of taking the direct route (out my front door and down the sidewalk to the left to the carport), I go out my front door and down the sidewalk to the right, then go out toward the street to reach a neighbor’s sidewalk and then back to the carport off in the distance. I’m essentially doing a U-turn. But it’s only adding 50 or 60 feet. And Lucy won’t be able to look longingly out the window at me.

Those of you who do not have dogs are probably shaking your heads at this and thinking, “No way.”

Those of you who do have dogs are probably saying, “Tell me about it!”

You see, when you take on that special little doggie, he or she eventually takes on the status of being most important in your life. I had a husband once who said, “You love the dog more than you love me.” And I said, “And your point is?”

However, I had a dreadful fall once. And — did Lucy help?  No. She was useless. She didn’t even run to the neighbors to get help.  “Hurry hurry, Timmy fell down the well.” Oh no. And therein lies the difference between Lucy and Lassie.

Anyhoo, Lucy is a little Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix who weighs about 10 pounds. What a cutie — I really lucked out adopting her. So later, when I was asking Lucy why she didn’t go get help … she muttered something to the effect that she couldn’t reach the door knob and she doesn’t have opposable thumbs either. What a whiner.

But I still love her — and how!  A new resident Lou said it best when he was telling me about his cat, Oreo. Pets really become a part of our family and are so very ultra-important in our lives. And as Lou said, it was something a non-pet owner would never understand.

Non-pet owners sometimes say, “Oh the vet bills are so expensive.” “Oh they require so much time. “ “They pretty much run your life.”

Yup … and I’m just fine with that.

Diane Duray is a Laguna Woods Village resident. Contact her at

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