What is your journey? – A Testimony to Life

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“A man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.”
-James Allen

We all have a journey.

Some have a bucket list, some a mission and others are just content being ignorant assholes that are so narrow-minded by prejudice and stereotype that they contribute to the hatred in our society.

Throughout this journey of life, we will all get lost. Each day is a path of twists and turns, corners of darkness and visions of light. If a day did not go by where we thought for a brief moment, an end would simply and shorten the madness we love and hate so much we would not be human. In the end, the journey is about something. It is a quest for moral right and a rendezvous with destiny.

It all works out though.

Some have a short journey while others are long and full of evolutionary change.

Life is never about you!

We all find what we are looking for and in the end, it is never about us. Think about it. Is it about your daughter who looks at you each morning with her baby blue eyes and smiles at the sight of your morning glow? Is it your partner for life who you sacrificed your soul to spend every breathing day of your life with? Is in your mother and father who led by example and shaped you into the person you are? Is it the refugee camp that is suffering from death and disease that you have dedicated yourself to saving? Is it your true love who soul was brought to you in an act of fate? Is it the music and lyrics that touch millions of lives and turn a lost soul away from the bridge to live one more day?

We are here with purpose.
We are given the gift of breath.

What fascinates my mental being is how some of us choose to get lost in the sea of uncertainty. All too often we guess and second guess our own purpose in life without accepting that we are fulfilling it through our passions, our actions, our unselfish hand and ultimately the lives we help bring meaning to.

We are all granted the ability to be angels on earth with a chance to hold out our hand and offer shelter to those in need.

I love that we all have gifts and talents. Some is through song, some strength, some compassion but at the end of the day, the gifts we use are not for us, not for self-fulfillment or any personal pleasure. They are for the stranger in the street, the homeless child, the girl with the broken heart, the sick friend.

Find your purpose and share it.

It’s all about love

How amazing is a life where we have this much power to help others. No matter what our talent, no matter what we say or do it is all guided by one common force that brings us all together; love.

Love is and will always be the answer to life’s unanswered questions. No matter which direction we go, love is all around us.

How can you not wake up each morning and smile with that thought dancing in your head.

I know I can’t.

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Everybody has a dream…What’s your dream?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

There you have it.

As working class adults you are witnessing unprecedented times. As many of us are parents, the fear that times may get worse and our children will be suffering the same or worse fate than us a frightful thought. The world in a period of extreme concern. Civil unrest, terrorism, unemployment, poverty and personal struggle have put our dreams on hold.

Then again, some of us never pursue our dreams. We get comfortable in knowing a pay check is coming every week and lose sight on what our true passions are because of the risk. The risk of losing money and falling out of our comfort zone.

As a child, we all dream about being something amazing. Then we grow up, work 9-5 Monday through Friday and drink beer watching our athletes achieve all their goals. Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?

Why are we holding back our dreams?

There are many success stories I have heard in the last few years about people leaving their jobs and starting their own businesses or moving to remote locations to starting something amazing. One of the things that makes every human unique is the talents, courage and the compassion we are all dealt at birth. Harnessing these qualities and translating them into something that is fulfilling, memorable and reflective is what so many of us lack.

We take comfort in:

1. Income – The ability to pay our bills
2. Following – Living vicariously through the lives of our favorite celebrities and trends
3. Routine – Having the comfort of going to the same places and seeing the same people
4. Low risk – Not taking too many chances or risks in our lives
5. Technology – Why would I put that in there? Easy: Technology makes life easier and more efficient.
That does not always mean better.

What would it take to throw it all away?

I hear stories of people traveling around the world, moving to Alaska and starting a band, climbing to the clouds, writing the great novel, helping children around the world find homes and families, run community gardens so everyone can have a nutritious meal or volunteering so that everyone has a fair chance at life.

That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Unfortunately, these are isolated stories. Stories of inspiration for us to glance over on our social communication channels but not absorb and understand.

Life is a continuous path of education and learning. Through shared experiences we become stronger. In this strength we find personal fulfillment and greatness.

What are you waiting for?
I’m talking to all of you.
Find it in yourself. Do not hold back. Never look to your past and say to yourself, “I never tried”.

Is that what you want?

Take some time and think really hard about your life and if you can answer the question, “Am I happy and where I want to be?” with a positive answer, then you are on the right path.

If not…..

A Folly Starfish Christmas Story

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By Minta Pavliscsak

It was Christmas Eve in our little slice of Folly Under the Sea. This year things around me seemed more calm than usual. Everyfish seemed to be ahead of the typical hustle and bustle of the season. That is, every fish except for me. I like to live in the here and now, which means I am really good when it comes to what others view as procrastinating. I like to think of it more as I work well under pressure. That aside, I was bobbing from store to store as quickly as I could but a starfish can only go as fast as the current takes him and today the current was in no rush.

Somehow I managed to squeak in grocery shopping, picking up my famous last minute –but always perfect– gifts, visiting a few friends, and even getting a relaxing arm massage at Sacred Arm Massage & Healing Arts. Floating home, I looked around at all the happy fish. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was glistening brightly through the waves. There were even surfboards overhead, and not a shark sighting all day. The small fish were playing with each other and singing carols in anticipation of what tonight would bring. The bigger fish were holding hands and sneaking kisses, just as giddy as the little ones.

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Finally making it home, I put on my favorite Michael Bubble Christmas album and started wrapping presents. Later that evening, I enjoyed the sunset in my back sand where I could see the human’s Folly Christmas tree off in the distance. Those humans are so creative! Who would think to put a Christmas tree on the beach anyway? ?After Christmas Eve dinner and appeasing carol singers who literally would not leave until I gave them figgy pudding –good thing I picked up dates at the store– I finally settled in to rest until Christmas day.

However, it was a restless sleep, and when I did drift off I had crazy dreams. One was of a psychedelic octopus. He just kind of joyfully floated in one spot, smiling and waving almost glowing in the surf. And then I woke up. Then there was the dream of a sandcastle Santa Claus. Had I seen the humans building one on the beach? Had Santa visited me and I sleepily caught him? Was Santa Claus really made out of sand? The psychedelic octopus seemed to make more sense than that! Maybe I was just as excited as every fish else that I had seen the day before. After all, Christmas is my most favorite of all the holidays. And even after all these years, I have never stopped believing. I gave into my excitement and floated out of bed, cranked up the Bubble, and got ready for the day.

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As I put on my funny Santa attire, the smile that would remain ever present for the day crept across my face. How silly of me to think there would be sleep on the eve of today of all days! The doorbell rang. My friends and family had arrived. It was the beginning of another perfect Christmas Under the Folly Sea.

From our family to yours,
Happy Christmas, Merry Everything!

Never Stop Believing

Bill Murray is Everywhere, even in my dreams

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

While most Americans were enjoying turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, green bean casserole, football and pie on Thanksgiving, I was spending my holiday on the warm Gulf Coast of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.? A paradise of snorkeling, dining, massages, Mayan ruins, yoga, beach walks and margaritas.? I am not here to tell you about the amazing memories we made, but one particular one that left an interesting and uncertain impression.

Living in Charleston, Bill Murray tends to slip into your dreams once or twice.? How could he not; he is everywhere.? Whether you see him at Rutledge Cab Company, The Alley or a RiverDogs game or on his recent Christmas Special on NetFlix, Bill is a busy busy man.? Maybe some of you just think I am bonkers and he has never been in your thoughts or dreams.

Either way, my story is still on the odd side.? Resting comfortably in a third floor penthouse overlooking the ocean 2700 miles from home, he is the last person I would have expected to be a critical character on an all night dream sequence.? Well, he was.? Bill Murray was in my dream.

I am still not sure why, but the details are worth sharing.? Mr. Murray (as he has earned that distinction with his illustrious career) invited an “elite” group of Yelpers led by community manager Scotty to an inside look at his restaurant.? I know what you are thinking, it must be Rutledge Cab Company.? It wasn’t.? This one was large and unique with a variety of rooms and an outdoor seating and garden area and it was somewhere in the Summerville area.? The structure of the restaurant seemed to be more than one floor.? Not in a traditional structural way, but almost an ode to M.C. Escher.

Oddity number one:

When we arrived, he was laying on the ground pretending to be dead.? After we moved closer and hovered over him, he popped up like a gymnast and said hello.

Oddity number two:

His staff comprised of celebrity athletes, most being NBA basketball players including Tony Parker.? My partner in crime dismissed that section as a connection to Space Jam, but I hadn’t see or thought about that movie in a long time and these athletes were much younger and current players unlike the immortal Michael Jordan.? The celebrity service staff members were friends of Bill and did this for fun on the side.? I was like ok, why not.

Oddity number three:

Not so odd.? I wanted to snag Bill for a candid interview.? I am sure somewhere in my psyche I would love to sit down and discuss things and the only time I met him, he threatened to kick me in the neck thinking I brought a script to the RiverDogs game for him to read.? It wasn’t a script, but with the manila envelope in my hand, an honest mistake.

I am manifesting this incredible set of Q&A with no focus on film, television, celebrity status or even baseball.? It would have been a legendary cross of the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and Mad Magazine.? A true Pulitzer piece of journalistic art.

I chickened out.? I didn’t completely chicken out.? Respect won over personal achievement.? Now that I think about it, why wouldn’t it.? It was a dream.? It was not even reality.

As I followed him and even got a couple of random comments from him, I just didn’t see the right moment.? He was inviting us into his fictional restaurant and what right did I have to step over those boundaries.

At the end of the dream, as I awoke, I was still there in the restaurant, no interview and no idea how any of the food was.? How could I have not even tasted the food at this fictional restaurant?

I went downstairs to the kitchen, made coffee, watched the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico and lingered perplexed as I wondered how Bill Murray got in my dreams as I vacationed far from home in Mexico.

Some mysteries may never get answered.

Thank you Bill Murray for invading my nocturnal mental chamber.

From the Office to the Water: Burton Swain Makes a Paddle boarding Dream a Reality

Article by Juliette Cheatham - Photo provided by Juliette
Article by Juliette Cheatham – Photo provided by Juliette

It’s a story everyone can relate to: attending school for years, paying thousands of dollars for a Bachelors Degree, then several thousand more for a Masters. Signing away all of your hopes and dreams to work for whichever nondescript corporation offers the highest paycheck. Of course it sounds glamorous at first; a contract with potential bonuses, savings plans, and benefits. It feels like all the hard work and money was worthwhile and everyone is so proud of your accomplishments.

Then reality sets in… Day after monotonous day in an office cubical you crunch numbers under fluorescent lighting and white walls as you sit next to Bob, or is it Rob? It doesn’t even matter; it’s not like a corporate office job allows for any freedom of expression. Is the pinnacle of life really be a 401k and dental insurance? It certainly wasn’t for Burton Swain.

Swain, a graduate of UNC Wilmington moved to Charleston, SC six years ago for a logistics job right out of school. After a few too many years being unhappily employed and left feeling unfulfilled from his work environment, he decided it was time for a change.

“I was working seven to seven, six days a week and I was completely miserable doing it. I kind of had this epiphany. I deiced to quit and spend a few months back packing around Europe rediscovering what was important to me.”

While traveling abroad, he started trying to identify what in life was most important to him and how to create a life with happiness as the center. Going to school in Wilmington, Burton was always drawn to the Charleston for it’s similar laid back feel and close proximity to the ocean.

An idea struck him in Interlaken, Switzerland during a day of whitewater rafting through the Alps. His favorite memories were always on the water, “whether it was wake boarding, surfing, kayaking, or skirfing. I spent most of my time with my friends outside on a boat.”

That was essentially how Swain’s idea for a mobile standup paddle board company, Chuck SUP, was born!
“My business partner and friend from college has a very similar company in Wilmington. His idea combined with my own passions inspired me to create a like minded business in Charleston.”

Photo provided by Juliette Cheatham
Photo provided by Juliette Cheatham

There are many SUP companies already in the area, but Burton’s offers a level of accommodation to tourists that has yet to be utilized. Instead of having the paddle board company be the destination, Chuck SUP brings the paddle boards to the customers. Travelers on vacation can call the company and have the boards delivered to their house, the ocean, or an area on the marshes they want to explore. Customers may keep the boards for a few hours or for the entire week if they are vacationing for an extended period of time. Burton offers lessons to those who are new to the SUP game as well as guided tours.
The company is driven by Burton, seven paddle boards, and a dream with ambitions to grow and thrive further in this community. Swain with his calm, cool, laid back, persona makes him the ideal paddle-boarding guide. Whether you’re up for some exciting dolphin watching or just want to take in the calming sights around the ocean, Burton’s got you covered.

Swain says that he’s happier now that he’s working closer to nature and more often on the water doing what he is passionate about. “Although it’s a seasonal job, I think this is a step in the right direction for me.”

We live in a society of pressures to follow a fiscally stable path and often lose sight of our true passions. Burton Swain has taken a tremendous risk to pursue a level of happiness that carries on to his customers and into the Charleston community.

If you want to learn more or talk to Burton about creating an adventure go to his website and his contact number is 843.352.3365.

Photo provided by Juliette Cheatham