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Getting a discount on inner peace
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Now, maybe the TM folks would say I'm doing not doing it correctly. After the first couple of times, I stopped using a mantra altogether. But I can only say that it's important for me to set aside 20 minutes a day for no other purpose than to recharge my spiritual batteries. Afterward, I feel calm, renewed and ready to conquer the world -- or at least the next challenge that arises. That's a decent return for an initial investment of less than 10 bucks, don't you think?

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"Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge."

Catching a ride
My husband has a different addiction: surfing. He is fanatical. On weekends when the surf is up, he heads east. The ocean is his element, his home, his church.

Kevin first learned to surf at age 10, and when he was old enough to drive, he would travel up and down the coast of Florida in search of elusive waves. When he finished high school, he headed straight for El Salvador, where he stayed four months in modest accommodations, a Spartan shelter with concrete walls, a tin roof and a cot to sleep in. Over the ensuing years he pursued his passion from Baja, Mexico, and Encinitas, Calif., to the eastern seaboard, off the coasts of Delaware and Cape Hatteras. At age 24, he gave it up. He had moved back to Florida where the waves were small and boring by contrast, so he lost interest.

Then four years ago while we were staying at a cozy resort that's situated on a good surf break at Indialantic Beach in Florida, his brother Dermot coaxed him to go out with his board. Before I knew it, Kevin was hooked and putting a down payment on a long board at the local surf shop. "Don't worry, honey," he said. "This is not an expensive sport. All I need is a board and some waves. And waves are free."

Waves are a dime a dozen, but after the initial outlay of $740 for a Walden long board, he has since purchased two Tom Neilson boards, one by Al Merrick and another by a local surfer named Mitch. That doesn't count the rest of the gear: board bags, surf leashes, rash guards and wax.

And oh, yes, the Honda CRV. He needed a vehicle large enough to stash his board in so that no one would rip it off while he ducked in somewhere for breakfast. Well, maybe the Honda shouldn't be considered a surfing expenditure, since he also uses it to go back and forth to work.

 
 
Next: "What makes it worthwhile to sit among the sharks?"
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