Monday, August 31, 2020
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Saturday, August 29, 2020
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friday, August 28, 2020
Thursday, August 27, 2020
--Susanne K. Langer
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
|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.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
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
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Friday, August 21, 2020
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.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
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
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.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
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
The longest journey is the journey inward. --Dag HammarskjoldEven 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.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
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 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.
Saturday, August 15, 2020
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
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
There is no such thing in anyone's life as an unimportant day.
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
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
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
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
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. NixonIntense 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
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."
Friday, August 7, 2020
We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see.
--Henry David Thoreau
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 soul...it's the very essence of who I am, I can't begin to understand it, but it surely is fun to explore.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Monday, August 3, 2020
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sunday, August 2, 2020
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.