Life and Love

“Everything we do is art,” said  Seyyed Hossein Nasr to Parabola Magazine for their Spring 1988 issue. This issue was named The Creative Response, trying as it may, to describe the birth and life of creativity.

Does that seem a long time ago? I remember it well because a year later our son was born, a major creative event for any family.

“All are called to respond creatively to their lives. We are put under an obligation when we recognize, however dimly, that this is so. But we seldom understand how to meet this obligation, seldom see the demand in the moment it appears.” 

“. . . there is a difference between a reaction and a response.”

The reaction is easy and automatic, needing little effort. A response demands more; it demands a departure from the superficial and recognizable for the sake of what is central and may yet be unknown.

Entering the province of a “true-to-youself” response calls for true inner strength. In the face of people who can see through you, you’ll sense freedom from having to pretend to be strong.  Allowing yourself to feel humiliation, awkwardness, ignorance, embarrassment. By doing this, you go beyond being good,  . . . instead you grow. Zen sages call it the “beginner’s mind.”

This mind is in the life and legacy of everybody whose presence refreshes those around them.  Many are everyday people, in addition to those better known.

They remind us of our own need for discovery and offer a promise of what may be found through creativity.  Here’s a gem from John Denver.

Perhaps love is like a resting place

A shelter from the storm

It exists to give you comfort

It is there to keep you warm

And in the times of trouble

When you are most alone

The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window, perhaps an open door

It invites you to come closer

It wants to show you more

And even if you lose yourself

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And don’t know what to do

The memory of love will see you through

Perhaps love is like the ocean, full of conflict, full of change

Like a fire when it’s cold outside, thunder when it rains

If I should live forever and all my dreams come true

My memories of love will be of you

John Denver believed this song, “Perhaps Love,” to be the best song he ever wrote.

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Growing Up

I grew up with a Cosmic Mother. I began to think of her as a Cosmic Mother after I learned about Astrology and analyzed her chart according to the precepts of the Zodiac.

Mom had a connection to the Ultimate Power of the Universe, the same Universe that serves all of us. As children, she would continuously correct us when we innocently said, “I can’t do that.” She would repeatedly say, “You mean you won’t.”

Like any child we would reply, “No Mom, I can’t” To which she would say in the most calm, loving and sweet way, “You mean you won’t. You can do anything. All you need to do is research your idea. After you have learned all you can about it. Decide if you will do it or you won’t.” Then she would leave as if some ultimate truth about life had just been whispered like wind moves through trees.

 

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I began to believe this is the way of the world. No stress just my involvement or my non-involvement. Other people complained, got out-of-control. reached for a pacifier like dumping on their friends, radical behavior, drinking, drugs, isolation, anger, blame, or resentment. You can add to this list on your own.

I felt separate from others because I was happy. I didn’t need to explain myself, even though others would continuously share their problems with me and ask what they should do. All I could do is repeat back to them something they said that was a possible solution to their problem. I am the same as everyone else in that  I only know what I know from what I was taught as a child. Just like everyone else, good or bad. We believe what we have lived.

I am in the middle of reading Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is.

The information in this book seems like common sense to me. Only because I have spent my life free-thinking my own ideas, researching them and deciding for myself if I want to do them or to pass them by.  My thinking seemed to be the pivotal point. By the time I complete the research process and decided to go ahead with my idea,  I was loving the idea, totally owning it.

Nothing has ever happened to me. Stuff, rough stuff has happened, just like it happens to everyone. I just decided what to do. As simple as that.

Thank you Katie for the validation.

And thank you Mom. I love you more than you can imagine.

It’s a wonderful world. Just like at any time in history and in any culture,

we live in great times.

 

 

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Gossip and the Mind/Heart Connection

You have love in your heart. Somewhere inside, when you are still without distractions of any kind. That calm enables a connection from your mind to your heart. Then a realization takes over, a feeling of overwhelming love like a slow motion wave welled up and curling over you head to toe.

This love is a reality that can keep you on-track with your life. Don’t be afraid of it feeling good. Let it be and it will grow. Meanwhile you will see folks react differently toward you. If they are positive . . .  soak it in. If they are negative realize they still need to connect to their heart. So be kind in the face of what is not kind. And remove yourself as soon as possible.

They will talk.  It’s a necessary human endeavour of society. According to the experts (ask me who if you’re interested) we as human beings need to communicate the state of other human beings in order to know what’s going on around us. This is valuable for our safety.  What is not valuable is negative gossip.

You all know people who do it, when you yourself have done it, and how it feels when you are the topic of it. It hurts. Let’s move away from this.

Another value of a mind-heart connection is the inability to hurt anyone. So make the connection. It is the single best thing you can do for yourself.

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The Freedom of a Child

I have looked but never found anything better than the wonder I felt as a child. Now, six decades later, I still see the world,  . . . my time and my stance are as open and full of wonder as when I was at 4 years old. Still, at any time I do feel stress and pain like everyone else.

Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, says on page 8, words resonating so high with me, I just had to write this to share with you. She says in her own words:

“Its easy to be swept away by some overwhelming feeling, so it is helpful to remember that any stressful feeling is like a compassionate alarm clock that says, ‘You’re caught in the dream.” Depression, pain and fear are gifts that say, ‘Sweetheart, take a look at what your thinking right now. You’re living in a story that is not true for you.”

“Caught in the dream, we try to manipulate the feeling by reaching outside ourselves. (change someone else, or reach for sex, food, alcohol, drugs or money in order to find temporary comfort or the illusion of control.”)  

“We are usually aware of the feeling before the thought. Thats’s why I say the feeling is an alarm clock that lets you know there is a thought you may want to do The Work on. Investigating an untrue thought will always bring you back to who you are.

“it hurts to believe you’re other than who you are, to live a story other than happiness.”

“If you put your hand in a fire, does anyone have to tell you to move it?”

I’m sure there are more gems further inside this book.

Personally, holding onto my sense of wonder and, my happiness has a way of making reality irrelevant to my happiness.  I focus on reality which turns into a delightful display of happenings, wonderful visual elements and delightful sequences. I am sad for the bad news that constantly presents itself at every turn. But it cannot possibly compare to how I feel about life.IMG_4480

It’s nice to find some camaraderie with Byron Katie and the brilliance from the window she calls, The Work. I suggest you look into it.

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Hold Your Horses

I attended my friend’s church last Saturday. The sermon was important for a number of reasons. He started out talking about the massive amount of love there is out there for each one of us. Then he proceeded to discuss the ways we conduct ourselves in a crisis. The title of his sermon.

I was all ears, listening to him say what I already believed about human conduct in a crisis. That at the point of crisis, back-against-the-wall moments, minutes and maybe even hours or days of crisis, our true character is revealed. Not what we believe about ourselves, but what we are made of,  up to that moment.

The Pastor also recognized that it is time centric to the time frame of the crisis, which was the third time I found myself agreeing with him. Massive amounts of love and true character revealed being the first and second times.

But then he said something that I cannot wrap my head around. That’s putting it mildly.

 I am strongly opposed, even to the point of banner-waving protest.

He refered to “some” people as being EVIL, as being possessed by the DEVIL.

Wowh, hold your horses, Sir. Pastor, sir.

I thought only God had the right to Judge. Won’t those people get judged like the rest of us either in the present or in the after-life?

It made me sad that this Pastor with the credentials and the trust of his congregation should feel confident about judging any one of the people who are learning, growing and doing the best they know how. What about compassion, understanding and empathy?

Just a few sentences from this Pastor could have put it into perspective.

Every one, animals included, have the ability to become so out of balance and so threatened that they hurt and destroy their perceived nemesis. We all have this ability. I thought churches were the place to learn how to deal with bad behavior. Churches and a therapist session.

In my book, every living thing deserves allowance to grow to full potential. Including humans, animals and plants, macro and micro organisms. That means growing through our own personal crises. I believe this is what God/The Universe had in mind when we were created.

Within the realm of human interaction, judgement is not just the opposite of Love. Judgement cancels out love. Eradicates it. And most of the judging going on is pre-judgment. Also known as prejudice. Our ability to judge is merely to keep us safe and to secure our physical survival. Not for how to treat one another.

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My God not only loves me massively, he loves every living thing massively, without limit.

Remember, “Let one among you who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I remember this.

In the end all there will be is Love. Right now all is Love, yet we so often don’t see it or acknowledge it. Nevertheless, we are meant to Love. Its part of our natural world.

I discussed this with my friend. At least i told him my thoughts, he chose not to make a conversation about it. That was disappointing. I did mention that love has an adjective.

Its unconditional  . . . L O V E. 

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Possibilities in Mirrors

Imagine a kaleidoscope. Using it limits all distractions because of looking into a tube to see whats there., focusing our attention.  We twist the outside tube to control the viewing of a regular symmetrical pattern which is ever-changing due to one or more objects reflected by mirrors as we move it for a different view.

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Think about this? In control and focused on an ever-changing view all done by mirrors. Could this be helpful as a tool for de-stressing, for expanding our possibilities? Sure it can, why not?

Even for a short time, it feels good to be IN CONTROL.

Even for a short time, seeing reality reflected in patterns that change, and change and change. We can aim the kaleidoscope at a recognizable object or just one or more colors.

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Imagine having a problem to solve. Imagine having a kaleidoscope tool to multiply things you recognize, or to expand into color and pattern. Colors of people, patterns of thought.

Oh, the possibilities, the multiplicity of it all.  Now, how do you feel?

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Feel Like Leaving?

When life is not good, too confining, stress high, spaces are small,

. . . not enough room.

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Think about this:

Common time, the 24/7 clock and calendar is not realtime. Its what we all have been told and we all agree it is the way time works. In actuality, time is infinite. We allow ourselves to be different, to be more by thinking WE CAN. Thinking this long enough, over a period of time, and it becomes our reality. There are examples of this all around us. 

So, if only for a few minutes . . . allow yourself to think of time as infinite. You will feel a shift, like what we’ve seen in movies as a time warp and a massive open space.

Most recently this has been illustrated in the Disney movie, A Wrinkle in Time.

Inside this space it is possible to achieve so much more. It is as wide as the sky with options numbering the mega million, similar to how many stars, seen and unseen.

Scientists, Physicists, Astronomers and some Medical doctors have come to realize this phenomenon. Their discoveries all blend into the notion that we belong to this wide space. Belonging in a way that is personal. They entertain the notion that we are actually a part of it.

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So look at the sky (not the sun, bad) and leave the earth. Let yourself go out to the farthest distances of the universe. It will allow the stress to dissipate out and away from your body. As you return, many options and possible solutions will follow you back home.

Warning: Do not operate a moving vehicle or any type of machinery while practicing this exercise.

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