Monday, August 31, 2020

August 31--The Ending Perspective

When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don't seem to matter very much, do they?  --Virginia Woolf

    For my 58th birthday, I gifted myself with a red infinity symbol tattooed on my left wrist. It took a while for me to decide what I wanted, and when I saw an infinity symbol on another person, I knew that was it. It had to be red, my favorite color. Why that particular symbol? I'm an infinite spiritual being having a human experience. I've always been a math nerd, and proud of it. One of my favorite movie characters is Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies: "To infinity and beyond!!!!!!!!" I've been blessed with a deeply moving experience of the infinity of the universe within me. I smile each time I see this tattoo. My sons never expected that Mom would be the first (and to date, only) one in the family to get a tattoo. 
    Here is one of my favorite posters:

Space is the Place –

One might say that fairly well sums up the Woolf quote in a picture. It may cause one to roam into thoughts of the complete insignificance of our lives and affairs. 
    I choose, however, to look at it this way: There is some organizing power that takes care of this infinite universe and all within it. It's bigger and been around for longer than my human brain can come close to comprehending. In our solar system of otherwise rocky, uninhabitable planets, there is the one magnificent jewel--our Earth--that is astoundingly different. Since that organizing power seems to have a pretty good handle on things, I elect to trust that power can handle my affairs. 
    Thus end's August's theme of "perspective." Tomorrow begins September with the theme of "balance."
    "To infinity and beyond!!!!!!!!"

Sunday, August 30, 2020

August 30--Baby Steps

A goal without a plan is just a wish.  --Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    The plan can be big or the plan can be small, but it's essential if we truly intend to accomplish something. I've achieved a lot of goals in my lifetime, and I'd say the one big takeaway from all of it is "baby steps." Small steps, taken consistently, are the key to completing a goal. I have a dear friend who dreamed of moving to Bali from Chicago. We spoke a lot about baby steps. He started figuring out those steps, completed them all over a couple of years, and now is happily living in Bali. That's no small goal, moving to the other side of the world. Baby steps, baby!
    Anyone who has ever had the goal of starting a business knows you don't just walk into a lending institution and get a loan without a detailed business plan. One works with an advisor to create a proper curriculum plan in order to get a college degree. One doesn't achieve the goal of recovery in the 12-Step programs unless they work the plan, i.e., the 12 steps. 
    Oh, yes, I've had wishes too. One has been to have a second home on a body of water. That's not happened, because I've never made any actual steps in that direction. Clearly it hasn't been all that important to me. Our priorities are clearly shown by our willingness to make plans and take baby steps. 
    One step at a time,

Saturday, August 29, 2020

August 29--Dreams

Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams. 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

    We can't fix a problem with the consciousness that created it, wisely stated by Einstein. We can become mired in difficulties, battered by problems, focusing on what we don't want, which just brings more of what we don't want. Being led by one's dreams, however, brings the focus on creating what we do want. I have found that when focusing on my dreams, what I choose to create, that problems tend to resolve themselves and fade away.  
    During 2020's pandemic time, I have been fairly successful at focusing on consciously thriving (dream) rather than succumbing to fear, anxiety, and loneliness (problems). I've used the time to do a lot of online learning, developed a painting process I love, expanded my meditation practice, taught MELT and yoga online twice a week (keeping me in shape as well as my students), and cleared a lot of clutter from my home. We have invented safe ways to have fun. I believe the majority of humanity is dreaming of a better world to birth from all this upheaval. 
    In joy, expansion, freedom,

Friday, August 28, 2020

August 28--Everything is Twice Created

Some things have to be believed to be seen.  --Madeleine L'Engle

    I disagree. Everything has to be believed to be seen. Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, stated that everything is twice created. First it is seen in thought (believed), then it appears in form. We create with our thoughts. Jesus, his own self, stated, "It is done unto you as you believe." Everything has to be believed to be seen. 
    Given this universal law, I'd suggest that it behooves us to pay diligent attention to our thoughts, keeping them focused on what we want to create, rather than what we want to avoid. Since we are once again experiencing the advertising horror of an election year, it's a good time to remind us all that we need to focus on those folks we want to be elected, not those we want to be defeated. This is a challenge for me. 
    Consciously directing our thoughts is an inside, solo job. No one else can do it for us. If we choose to accept this great responsibility, we immediately have an equally great sense of empowerment. I like that.
    Believing in good,

Thursday, August 27, 2020

August 27--Potentials

Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there. 
--Susanne K. Langer

    The potentials are infinite, always there. Think of the light bulb, the automobile, the airplane. The potential existed long before they were actually "invented," i.e., suddenly-seen. Creating something new requires seeing in new ways. This is especially relevant in these times of civil unrest, political corruption, and absurd violence against fellow human beings. Maybe we can "suddenly-see" that we are all one and discover a world that works for everyone. 
    Please vote. 

From the Moon to the Earth: Changing Perspectives

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

August 26--It's All Funny

Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It's all funny.  --Joan Rivers

    AMEN! Much laughter has come into our lives over the past nine months by way of our dog Barney. He's been an angel for us through this very strange year. For the first week or so, we were wondering if he could bark, because we didn't hear a peep out of him. That quiet state ended quickly, and he's become quite the "talker." My favorite thing is when we are walking and he encounters an operating yard sprinkler. He goes after the water with a vengeance, "fights" with it, and always manages to get a drink and get soaked in the process. No matter how many times I see this, it makes me laugh. The other great joy is being outside when Dennis and Barney are returning from a walk. Dennis unleashes Barney at the end of the court, and he runs to me with wild abandon. What a joy for him to run free! 

Barney, angel doggie

    I love the Rivers quote because circumstances these days are trying so desperately to make us worried, angry, fearful and hopeless. Sometimes I think that my sense of humor is the only thing saving me. Life is going by so fast, and I can usually remain calm. I could certainly expand my capacity for "it's all funny," and that's a worthy goal for me. Joyfully, Barney sets an excellent example. 
    Life is good!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

August 25--Let Go

Let go of the battle. Breathe quietly and let it be. Let your body relax and your heart soften.  --Jack Kornfield

    Over the past few months, I have intensified my efforts at self-healing. I just completed some Step 5 writing ("Admitted to God, to ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.") and sent it off to a trusted advisor. Having just done that, I turned to this blog writing, and noted with pleasing wonder the synchronicity of the day's quote. While it's not an easy thing to let go of some messy past stuff, the battle is over. I'm more relaxed, and yes, my heart is much softer. I know my advisor will look on this with compassion and help me finish any processing necessary to completely let it go and forgive myself. I feel lighter already. 
    Are there any battles you are willing to let go? Let your heart's inner wisdom, guidance and courage lead you. 
    Freedom is priceless, 

Monday, August 24, 2020

August 24--Joyful Gratitude

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.  --Kahlil Gibran

    This one's a bit of a "duh" for me, as I've developed an ongoing attitude of gratitude for my life. I practice thankfulness a lot simply because it feels good. There can be a temptation toward transactionalism--if I say "thank you," God will like that and bless me with what I want, i.e., I'll score points with God. While a vibration of gratitude tends to draw more to be grateful for, it's not because we've made God happy, it's just the vibrational nature of the Universe. It's energy law. 
    I believe we can bring to Spirit all that we are, all of our distress and all of our joy. Think of a friendship wherein you only shared one or the other. That wouldn't be a complete relationship. We can't hide anything from our higher Self anyway, so it's useless to try. Celebrating our joy and abundance feels so good, and it is a great practice to recognize even the tiniest things to appreciate. It is comforting to me to know that Spirit can handle anything that I bring to It. 
    Joyful, abundant, grateful,

Sunday, August 23, 2020

August 23--Am I Living?

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.  --Oscar Wilde

    Quotes like this annoy me. Am I living or existing? It makes me think about that, and that's not necessarily a comfortable thing to ponder. While I could drive myself nuts trying to discern what Wilde means by "to live," I realize that the definition of living is very personal and unique for each individual. We can't look from the outside into someone's else life and say whether they are living or merely existing. 
     This quote also causes the resurfacing in my head of that voice that says, "You should do more." Then the battle begins with the other voice in my head that says, "I'm happy. I don't want to do more." Going back to the Abraham-Hicks teaching that we are here for joy, expansion and freedom, I feel as though I'm doing a good job at those three things, therefore, I'm living. Enough said. 
    Gratefully living,

Saturday, August 22, 2020

August 22--No Stopping It

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. 
--Robert Frost

    And it goes on rather quickly, I might add. 
    I am so grateful for the resiliency of the human spirit. It seems we consistently maintain hope and find a way. We are now over five months into mostly stay-at-home due to the pandemic. Life has gone on. We've learned to live without eating out, with very little shopping and travel, missing family and friends. Life went on without major sports and haircuts for several months. 
    If you've ever grieved a loved one, you know life goes on. It's never the same, but it goes on. The same is true for the seemingly infinite dreadful events that can happen to us--war, disease, crime, accidents, natural disasters, on and on. The human spirit is designed to persevere. 
    Life will go on. We can go with it kicking and screaming, or cruising in the divine flow. (See August 20 post--Attitude.) We can merely survive or we can thrive. Since life moving on is relentless, it behooves us to make careful choices as to how we use our precious resource.
    Another day to enjoy,

Friday, August 21, 2020

August 21--None of My Business

The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.  --Rumi

    I was raised by the poster child for control freaks. My mother, bless her, was hell-bent on making everything and everyone in her life perfect. Sadly, she wore herself out at the early age of 61 in her unsuccessful efforts. "That is none of my business" was a concept I did not learn growing up. 
    What a monumental relief it was, when I became immersed in a 12-step program, to learn that everything was not my business. I could only change me, and I could ignore the rest, let it be, let others take care of themselves and their business. That freed up so much stress, releasing mental energy that I could use in much more creative and fun ways. 
    The serenity prayer is a mainstay in the 12-step programs, but one doesn't need to be an addict to use it. I've changed it slightly for my use, to be an affirmation rather than a supplication:
God grants me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. 
    In other words, I have the capacity to know what to ignore. But sometimes the tough part is actually ignoring it! Love of drama or self-righteous anger can lure me into circumstances I'd best stay out of. Thinking I know someone else's answer can lead me to meddling, too. It's a fine line, that "art of knowing what to ignore." 
    Always practicing,

Thursday, August 20, 2020

August 20--Attitude

Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.  --Kahlil Gibran

    I remind myself often that I always have a choice. Even a necessary chore allows the choice of doing it with a good attitude or a bad attitude. That selection makes all the difference. A good attitude regarding a necessary chore seems to make it less burdensome. A bad attitude seems to make it drag on forever. (Can you tell I'm hinting at my "love" of house-cleaning here?!?!)
    I did a weekend workshop a few years back using Brene Brown's "Rising Strong" material. It looks at how we perceive what happens to us to determine if we could learn to have a healthier response to life's events. It was there that I learned the concept of "shitty first draft." When something happens, we instantly make up a story about it, i.e. "the way the mind looks at what happens," and that story is often negative and often not even true. Here's an example. Last summer I had a nasty fall. My mind immediately went to "I fell because I'm old. Oh, dear, I'm going to fall more often now that I'm old. Can a nursing home be far behind?" Instant insanity, as you can see. The truth was, I didn't see the step down and wiped out, which anyone who missed that step would have done. No nursing home was remotely involved. I think you can see that recognizing the "shitty first draft" for what it is can be a game-changer. 
    Time for coffee, which always helps my attitude,

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

August 19--Dare to Die?

 What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.  --Lao-Tzu

    I used to work at a church. There were all sorts of lovely banners around with profound sayings and/or Bible verses. There should have been one that said, "We've always done it that way," for that was the general mantra. Change? Oh, hell, no. That six-year work adventure that I loved really made me aware of my own resistance to change. 
    Lovely synchronicity brought me this quote this morning by Tim McMahon: "Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be call sure-thing-taking." And this quote from Richard Rohr: "Jesus was calling for a radical disruption in his religion, a great spiritual migration, and a similar disruption and migration are needed no less today in the religion that names itself after him. . . ." I'd put Jesus in the top five of historical change agents. He was totally into upsetting the order of the day. 
    Today we have rampant political corruption sabotaging our democracy and the pandemic to push us from voracious caterpillars to butterflies. Have you ever watched a caterpillar at work? Its mission is to eat, eat, eat, oblivious to the damage caused to the plant that supports it. We humans have been materialistic consumers focused on lack, grabbing all we could for ourselves, and oblivious to the harm we've caused our blessed Mother Earth. It's time for the human caterpillar stage to end, to die to our old, unsustainable mode of living.
     What will the human butterfly stage look like? Each morning I pray for all the humans on the planet to be kinder to each other and to our glorious planet home. Butterflies are silent and peaceful, and they do no harm. They thrive on nature--flowers and their nectar. Each butterfly is beautiful in its own unique way.  They coexist easily with all the other creatures around them. They can soar! I do believe that we humans have this butterfly nature within us, and I'm so excited to be alive at this time in which the cocoon is opening. 
    In love,

Butterfly Longevity Study | Pacific Science Center

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

August 18--Miracles

Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.  --C. S. Lewis

    I leave this with you, blessed readers, to decipher for yourself. It's a day for me to take a break from this writing. I'm off to discover more miracles...

Monday, August 17, 2020

August 17--Going In

 The longest journey is the journey inward.  --Dag Hammarskjold

    Even with the billions of people now on earth, there are still assorted infinities for us to explore. There's outer space--so far we've made it in person only to the moon, so we still have a lot of "ground" to cover. There are the oceans, vast, colorful, with a seemingly endless variety of creatures to study. Even just visiting other countries, it seems as though it would take a lifetime to see them all. 
    Speaking of infinite, each one of us billions of humans is unique. No two look, speak, act, think or perceive exactly alike, and that's quite a blessing. Exploring "what makes us tick" is truly an amazing journey, should we decide to undertake it. 

God comes to you disguised as your life. --Paula D’Arcy 

    I've been on the journey inward for decades, primarily inspired by joining a 12-step group in my early 30s. I completed a rigorous course of inward study to become a spiritual coach. I went deep on every level in the process of becoming a yoga teacher. I've learned quite a bit about myself. There's been some frustration, anger, pain, and ugly crying along the way, but I wouldn't change a minute of the journey inward. I'm comfortable in my own skin as a result, and that's a heavenly place to be. 
    The journey continues,

Sunday, August 16, 2020

August 16--The Heart Knows

We see with our eyes. We know with our hearts. --Jim Henson

    I was invited several years ago to one of those drinking wine and painting events with a group of friends. I went with my committed belief of "I can't paint," but I was willing to get silly and curious with my buds. Holy cow. I learned quickly that I had no idea how paintings were created, and I fell in love with painting. I subsequently took several classes and workshops at Wichita City Arts to learn more. 

    "I can't paint" is a very challenging belief to eliminate, I discovered. Results from the classes and workshops, seen through my eyes, left me certain that I can't paint anything that is supposed to look like real-life objects. My heart, however, continued to want to paint. I have a lot of internal chatter going on about painting. "I'm not trying to be Monet. If it's art to me, it doesn't matter if anyone else likes it. I'm just in this for fun. Why bother? I never paint anything I really like." On and on. 

    Then comes the pandemic, and the need to keep myself sane with activities at home. My heart brought me back around to the idea of barn quilts. I asked a friend for some direction regarding materials, got myself set up, and started painting them. These make my painting heart sing. I'm a person who loves straight lines, and with Green Frog Tape, those are easy. A match made in heaven (the heart)--Leta and Green Frog Tape!

    Here are my creations so far, and a shot of how my husband installed several on our backyard shed to add color to our "hanging space." 

    I've learned a lot about my materials and techniques as I've evolved through the different paintings you see here. I've enjoyed getting into more complex patterns. Side note: I'm a math nerd, and my favorite subject was geometry. These require perfect precision. While I would refer to them as 2-foot squares, they are actually 23 3/4" square, and trust me, that missing 1/4" has a huge impact when drawing the pattern on the board. All this makes my heart sing. 

    Then my heart said, "What about escaping the symmetry and doing something free-form?"  Of course, "I can't paint" reared its ugly head. The nice thing about painting is that if I don't like something, I can just paint over the whole thing and start over. So I went outside the box, and here's the result:

Colors: black, white, gray, dark green, orange

    I knew I wanted an odd number of colors, and for each color to show up an odd number of times. Five colors, 11 patches of each, the title of the piece is "11:11." I began with the black patch in the center and grew it outward from there. It developed with heart-delighting synchronicity. While I can say I love all the barn quilts I've painted, this one, how it developed and turned out--I REALLY love it--my heart led me the whole way. Actually, this is a gift for someone, and I can hardly wait to give it. 

    When I listen to my heart, it makes me happy.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

August 15--Garden Earth

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden. 
--Frances Hodgson Burnett

    Yes, it is. I love watching shows on Netflix about planet Earth and the diversity of life on it. Whether it be a setting of flowers, rocks, forest, sand, prairie grasses, waterfalls, animals, aquatic life or human life, we can look at it as a garden. I am in continual awe that in our solar system of rocky, uninhabitable, even stormy planets, Earth stands out as an amazing jewel that so powerfully supports a nearly infinite variety of life. 

    Gardens are a manifestation of great creativity, from the small pot of flowers or herbs to giant ecosystems. I love to visit botanical gardens and see the ingenious ways that plant material is used to create art. At Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, colorful glass art is displayed in the gardens along with the flowers--it is an astoundingly beautiful combination. One of my favorite events of the year is when our Wichita botanical garden, Botanica, does the Christmas time "Festival of Lights." Volunteers create a display of millions of lights all over the garden, including lights moving to music. Botanica becomes a garden of colorful lights. 

    Over the past few years, I've trimmed my own garden down to a smaller size, but I still enjoy growing things and caring for this spot on Earth. I especially enjoy sitting on my swing and admiring the handiwork. Gardening is physical, yes, but it's also a spiritual activity for me--grounding, nurturing, appreciating the wonder and bounty of nature. 

     Grateful for the beauty surrounding me,

Friday, August 14, 2020

August 14--FUN!

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to play and to look at the stars.  --Henry Van Dyke

    Can you read that quote without smiling? Check out my August 12 post regarding looking at the stars. 

    I've had a lifetime of love. Despite the dysfunctional chaos of my first couple of decades, I do believe my parents loved me very much. Having much older brothers, I have had nieces and nephews from the time I was eight years old, and we have close, loving relationships to this day. Having survived the rocky teenage and college years with our two sons, we now are very close. I still adore my husband of 34 years. My husband's and my extended families are great. I have been blessed with many friends as I have made my way through life. I have had an extraordinary chance to love, and to be a presence of love on planet Earth.

    I've had a lifetime of play. One of my favorite memories of childhood was going on adventures with my dad. If I wasn't in school, I was in the lumber truck with him making deliveries around central Pennsylvania. The big treat of all those adventures was that we always "happened" to end the day at an ice cream stand. Getting to help care for the aforementioned nephews and nieces gave me the opportunity to play a lot. College and grad school were crazy fun, and yes, I did get my degrees. Two of my favorite "play" activities that I passed on to my sons are the love of reading and golf. I read aloud to the boys nearly every night until, in their deep, changed voices, they said, "Mom, please stop reading to us." (I'm only partially joking there.) I also got them going on golf, and for all of us, it is one of life's favorites for us to play together. We laugh a lot! Once we became empty-nesters, I had to learn new forms of play. Learning, becoming an instructor of Melt Method and yoga, assorted crafts, lots more golf, and travel have fit the bill. 

    I am VERY glad of life!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

August 13--No Such Thing

There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day.
--Alexander Woollcott

    I need this reminder daily. Today there is very little on my calendar. I tend to look on a day like this as one I'll muddle through, maybe even trying to get myself to do the dreaded--house-cleaning. I don't have to be "on" (teaching, coaching, etc.) today, so I will enjoy my down-time, but the little voice in my head will be urging me to be productive in some way. While I have painting, crocheting and reading to occupy me, I'm still likely to have spots of boredom. I'll play with Barney. I'll enjoy meals with my husband. I'll swim. What leads me to think this day may be unimportant? I'm alive and healthy, and I get one more day to enjoy being here and being me. So what if life in 2020 is unlike any other time in history? It does not make routine days unimportant. 
     Another day in paradise,

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

August 12--Quiet

 The quieter you become, the more you can hear. --Ram Dass

    My husband, dog and I live toward the northwest corner of Wichita. Getting slightly (or extremely) stir-crazy these pandemic days, we decided to adventure out last night to see the Perseid meteor shower. We drove west to Cheney Lake to get away from city lights and into glorious darkness. There were very few clouds. We set up our chairs and settled in to observe the sky. We talked a bit, but I think we both realized that it was a much cooler experience in silence. Just the sounds of nature and occasional vehicles surrounded us. Looking at the sky, we were in awe at the immensity, knowing that some of the star light we saw was coming from stars that no longer exist, that some of those things that appear to be stars are actually whole galaxies. It's mind boggling. We did see a few shooting stars. The peace and quiet of nature and the vastness of the sky made both of us sleepy, and made for a good night's sleep. 

    It is an odd paradox that looking at the sky is such a grounding experience. I come away from sky-gazing experiences with a sense of divine order. If the One Life can handle the universe, it can certainly take care of me and everyone and everything else on our tiny/huge planet. We can rest easy.

     Looking up, at peace,

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

August 11--Beliefs Rule

What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.  --Oprah Winfrey

    Dreams, wishes and hopes are all well and good, but if you don't actually believe that you can attain them, you don't stand a chance.  The former is "talking the talk," the latter, enacting beliefs, is "walking the walk."

    I was raised to go to college. It was a belief instilled in me from early on, and I not only achieved a B.S. degree, but also an M.B.A. degree. I figure I was raised with the belief that I'd live a fairly typical life--college, work, courtship, marriage, children (still awaiting grandchildren)--and that has been the case. I've never not had enough in terms of money. I believe there is something bigger than us caring for us, and that has been the case. I guess I've dreamed of being a millionaire, but extreme wealth just isn't in my belief system. A comfortable life, yes, but extreme wealth, no. I guess if I believed in extreme wealth for me, I would buy lottery tickets. 

    I've had great success in the many jobs I've had in this lifetime. I believed I could do them; otherwise it wouldn't have worked out for me to get the job in the first place. Our family has always held a strong belief in our good health. As a result, none of us becomes ill very often. When the kids were younger, they did not bring home every illness that was rampant in school. Our reinforced belief in good health kept those illnesses away. 

    What do you believe about yourself? How is that playing out in your life? 

    Believing in good,

Monday, August 10, 2020

August 10--Choice

 We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what's wrong in our life, or we can focus on what's right.  --Marianne Williamson

    Pretty much everything in my life is right, except...
    There's the pandemic, political corruption is rampant, our magnificent Earth is being abused, the U.S. President is a global embarrassment (and proud of it). I can't travel as I had planned, events are cancelled, and I miss my kids more than I can say. I miss my friends. I'm bored and sick of life that's so routine, I have to look at my phone to figure out what day it is. Last night I had another of my infrequent "I'm tired of all this" soul-rinsing meltdowns. 
    Enough! The previous paragraph describes mental quicksand that could suffocate me. There's no "win" in any of it. Back to what's right in my life...
    We are healthy and well. We are not stressed by job loss or home-schooling. Our kids are working and self-sufficient. We have air conditioning and a comfortable home. I'm able to go out and buy the things I need for activities to keep me engaged (painting, crocheting). I can play golf and swim. I have a wonderful husband and angel doggie, Barney, both of whom remind me regularly how blessed I am. I have useful work that I enjoy. I have a Zoom subscription that keeps me in contact with lots of folks. I've learned so much during stay-at-home in the time I would have spent watching baseball and basketball. And we have Netflix. 
    Thanks, I needed that. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

August 9--The Lows Enable the Highs

Only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.  --Richard M. Nixon 

    Intense sorrow makes for intense joy. It's part of the play of opposites in earthly life. While I don't for a second believe we are here to suffer, it happens. Pain makes us really celebrate the absence of it. Losing a loved one makes us more appreciative of those remaining.
    I've lost both of my parents, my mother to cancer when I was 23, my father to a long decline into dementia when I was 44. It's a game-changer, losing a parent. I remember walking around in a fog afterwards, realizing that no one I encountered as I went about daily life had any idea of how much I was hurting. It gave me great empathy for others. How many other folks were in mourning? Recently experienced some trauma? It's a cause for living with great kindness, for we don't know what's going on in other folks' lives.
    I completed Forrest Yoga teacher training in 2011. For assorted reasons, there were some deep valleys involved in that experience. Being horribly homesick (I was away for a month), I called my husband every day at our 11 am break. As he will confirm, I was either gloriously happy or I sobbed the whole time. Bless him for surviving that! Completion of that 28-day intensive training definitely put me on the "highest mountain." I was tempted to stop folks on the street to give them my autograph, 'cause I felt like a rock star.
    I suggest that we don't deny ourselves the valleys of life, for they make the mountaintop joys all the better.
    Both valleys and mountaintops are beautiful,

Saturday, August 8, 2020

August 8--No Problem!

 Most problems, if you give them enough time and space, will eventually wear themselves out. --Buddha

    This is comforting. Focusing on a problem adds vibrational energy to it, keeps it hanging around, and even makes it grow. Withdrawing attention from it allows it to dissipate--wear itself out. This is not to say that we should simply ignore problems, but rather to focus on the solution instead. As Einstein stated, "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."
    Happy Saturday!

Friday, August 7, 2020

August 7--Understand?

 We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see. 
--Henry David Thoreau

     There's so much I love that I don't understand. Electricity, for example, baffles me, but I doubt I could live without it. Same for vehicles and their engines. If I had to understand everything I use, I'd never go anywhere or get anything done.
     Thoreau's quote encourages me to explore life in a state of awe and wonder. There is so much magnificence to see that I can't explain, and don't need to. From a tiny seed, how do we get a sunflower or a tomato or a giant watermelon? Having to understand the psyche of every artist would make it difficult indeed to simply see and enjoy art in its myriad forms. How did Niagara Falls happen? The Falls are spectacular, and I don't need to know the geology and geography behind it all.
     Let's turn this quote toward ourselves as humans. I can testify as a yoga teacher for nearly a decade that most humans don't have much of a clue about the inner workings of their own body, but that doesn't stop us from living, thank goodness. Emotions can confuse us, too, but a fully alive human experiences them all, understanding or not. Then there's the's the very essence of who I am, I can't begin to understand it, but it surely is fun to explore.
     I'm really grateful that there is someone out there who does understand many of the wonders that we see and use. It gives me the freedom to explore.
     Seeing and learning,

Thursday, August 6, 2020

August 6--Universe

The universe is true for all of us and different for each of us.  --Marcel Proust

     There are lots of possibilities with this one! Let's look at "universe" being the one whole all-encompassing life energy, what some refer to as God. It exists (is true) for all of us, but each of us has a different relationship with it. It would be challenging indeed for me to attempt to explain my relationship with the Universe. It is personal and part of the very essence of me, that which makes me unique. The same is true for you. 
     Next, there's the actual universe that surrounds planet Earth. It's there, but each of us sees it differently. The perspective for an astronomer is the world of science and figuring things out. For me, it's a place of mind-boggling awe, wonder and beauty. The astronaut sees it as a place to travel. 
     Finally, there's our own personal life--our day-to-day universe. It's populated with typical chores, routines, and generally, a small number of people. This personal universe, unlike the infinite one, does revolve around us. It's the life we've created where our infinite spirit ("true for all of us") expresses its uniqueness. No one else has the exact same personal universe as you have. 
     Wait, there's one more perspective. Let's consider "universe" to be free will. It is the very foundation of our existence on planet Earth. Free will is true for all of us, no matter what appearances may be. The choices we make with that free will, however, are different for each of us. And you may have noticed that folks don't care for other folks messing with their free will. 
     It is truly a blessing that the universe is different for each of us. I close with an affirmation from Dr. Chris Michaels: I am not living in the universe; the Universe is living in me. 
     Made of star-stuff,

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

August 5--Thanks

If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice. 
--Meister Eckhart

     Gratitude is a force. It sets up a vibration within us that attracts more to be grateful for. 
     As strange as things are now in the U.S. and the world, it may be a challenge to feel grateful. It's easy to be grumpy and disappointed that favorite events have been cancelled, routines have been turned upside-down, and health and safety are constantly in mind. Since we want to keep good flowing in our lives, we need to stay focused on the positive. A simple exercise to turn around negative thinking is to stop, take a few deep breaths, and think of two or three things you are thankful for. 
     I often promote gratitude in my yoga classes. I tell the participants to come up with three things they are grateful for, and not "family and friends." Everyone is grateful for those. Dig deeper. My slightly-surprising example is the sewer system. We'd be in a world of hurt without that. Another one is traffic signals and signs. It's fun to contemplate those things that we so take for granted. What comes to mind for you?
     Thank you for reading this!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

August 4--Joy or Roadblock?

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  --William Blake

     I go to a lot of estate sales, and often observe that one person's junk is another person's treasure. As with the tree mentioned above, it's all in how you look at it. 
     It's a bit amusing to me that a tree is the focus for this perspective quote. When I was growing up, the family business was a sawmill in the boondocks of Pennsylvania. There are zillions of trees in that state, and I miss them very much. But to my dad, each tree was money--walnut worth more than oak, oak worth more than pine. Trees supported our family, and my dad loved having his own business.
     How many times have we witnessed one or more lovely, well-established trees being wiped out for "progress"? There's an old song lyric that goes "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." 
     Our beliefs determine the perspective with which we view things, so it's a worthwhile exercise to examine those beliefs. Some may be keeping us focused on obstacles rather than joy. 
     I still love the smell of sawdust,

Monday, August 3, 2020

August 3--Lovin' Life

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. 
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

     "Best day yet!" This is a consistent reply from a 90-something gentleman when asked how he was doing. I read this a few years back, and practice applying this to my life each day. A friend chastised me recently for using a Christmas mug in July, to which I replied, "Every day is Christmas." Each extra day alive is a gift. 
     There is a "best day" gift in the routine of life. Familiarity with family and friends, doing the usual self-care tasks, household chores, work, exercise--all these contribute to a comfortable existence. There is some welcome security in the familiar. 
     There is a "best day" gift in the unusual in life, too. Travel, special occasions such as holidays, birthdays or anniversaries, guests visiting, or exploring a new place or skill--all these add to life's richness and break up the potential "rut" of the everyday routine.
     I like to remind myself often that when I get into "have to" mode, I must revise that to "get to." Truly, I don't have to do anything. Every action is my choice, so I get to do it. "Get to" makes even onerous tasks like house-cleaning more tolerable. I remind myself that there were times when I was not able to clean my house due to physical pain. I also get to enjoy the rewards of my efforts. 
     I've seen lots of comical social media posts about how much 2020 has been a huge disappointment. It makes all the changes, upheaval and election mess we are experiencing much easier to bear if we can think of each day as the best in the year so far. I don't care to write off a whole year of my precious life as having completely sucked. 
     Is today your best day yet?

Sunday, August 2, 2020

August 2--Selective Sight and Hearing

What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.  --C. S. Lewis  

     I think it is appropriate, with the above quote, to add the following quote by Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.
     The pandemic has spot-lighted the need to birth a kinder, gentler way of living in our country. We are mired in a chain of hate created by President Trump, his administration, and his supporters. It can be so challenging amidst this chain of hate to see and hear with the eyes and ears of love, but we must have sense enough and morality enough to do so, if we want to save ourselves, our democracy and our planet. 
     Non-violence, as lived by King, Gandhi, and others, is the heart of every major religion. It is Jesus' way. The sort of person who promotes violence toward others has no business labeling herself or himself as "Christian." Violence has never been a solution, and it never will be. 
     Does the "sort of person you are" enable you to see any individual with love, or are you afraid he/she might get some of what is or should be yours? Do you fear those who are different from you? Do you want others to fear you? Are you bringing experiences into your life (i.e., seeing and hearing) based on peace and love or on the chain of hate? 
     It is the responsibility of every single one of us to "have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate." That's our superpower, we can do it, we are resilient, non-violence is the way. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

August 1--A Whole 'Nother World

Shut your eyes and see.  --James Joyce

     The theme for "Daily Peace" in August is "perspective."
     I can go a few ways with the Joyce quote. The first is to close the eyes and see one's inner world. It's a lifelong process of learning who you are, both in the eternal cosmic sense and human personality. It's learning how you see things in the outer world, and how you let them affect your inner world. And it's vice versa too--learning how your inner world colors how you see your outer world. 
     Another place this quote takes me is into imagination. Close the eyes and you can go anywhere, see anything, envision anything. Albert Einstein put it well: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution." Everything that exists is a result of imagination. That's a mighty power.
     Lastly, we are blessed, for the most part, with the ability to remember. Closing one's eyes can take us again through joyful experiences and loving memories which inspire gratitude, and that feeling of appreciation enables one to continue making more good memories. We can also use our memories to see where forgiveness, compassion or changes are in order. 
     Joyfully exploring my inner world,