Mind Bind

Rainbow Woman - Artist UnknownPeople want lots of things but I know many who would trade everything they own – including money – to have peace of mind.  Life is complex; demands incessant; responsibilities weighty; work loads ever- increasing; retirements & 401 K’s iffy;  health/ healthcare precarious;  relationships rocky … And love – especially the unconditional kind – seemingly in short supply. I would vote that love is THE most important state of being in this life; the most important thing we give and receive.  Life would be a black hole – an infinite void of ‘nesses’ (emptiness, worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, sadness, nothingness) – without the universal breath of enduring, all-inclusive love.  Unfortunately, there are millions of people suffering in a perpetual state of “nesses” – simply because they suffer from a mental illness.  Obama recently spoke to the need to abolish the stigma of mental illness … that the mentally ill need to come forward and get help – not hide out for fear of retribution from exposure. I ask, how safe and realistic an act is that in a country where the media blitzes us with horrific details of murders and shooting sprees committed by a relatively small number of active mentally ill individuals?  When is the last time you saw or read something positive in the media about great people who made miraculous contributions to society (Michaelangelo, Hemmingway, Churchill, Newton, Beethoven, Van Gogh …) who happened to have suffered from mental illness.  When is the last time you witnessed widespread, positive publicity about the millions being successfully treated for mental illness – living full, productive lives?  I can assure you – if the recent shooting in Santa Monica, CA (5 killed) was by a mentally ill individual – an exponentially high number of sick and suffering mentally ill across our country will invariably remain mute and hidden from society for fear of stigmatization or persecution.  I have worked in human behavior research with mentally distressed populations for the past 6 years.  The suffering is very real – every bit as painful as those suffering from physical illnesses. Yet the dilemma remains that we tend to rally around and support a cancer patient but distance ourselves and shun someone with depression, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia.  People tend to avoid or negate things they fear or don’t understand.  Kudos to the famous who are now publicly advocating for the mentally ill – people who may have a major positive impact in how we perceive mood disorders (Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Terry Bradshaw, Jane Pauley …)   More successfully treated mentally ill individuals live amongst us than the public can imagine.  There is no question that we need to live cautiously and pay vigilant attention to our surroundings in an unsafe world.  At the same time, we need to remain open and willing to extend help, kindness, compassion, and understanding towards those living in a mentally ill mind-bind who feel damned hiding out – and damned stepping forward for fear of being psychically/emotionally harmed or totally tossed aside like yesterday’s garbage.

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Grass & Angels …

Last week when I wondered where serenity went, I dropped my responsibilities, picked up my bike, trekked 10 miles south to the end of the East Bay Bike path in Bristol, RI,  and then laid down in thick grass facing up so I could stare at the lush green canopy of a grand old beech tree.  Ahhhhhhh!  And there it the midst of Mother Nature’s green scene I found it;  SERENITY – in nature – a to-be place minus chaos and demands! I function perfectly well as a human DOing … doing all the things I need to do as an employee, wife, mother, sister, friend, cousin, caretaker, mentor, artist, and all around multitasking woman. Unfortunately I do well thinking too much and getting so caught up in tasks and to-do lists that I forget to slow down and BREATHE – and remember to not only smell the roses – but acknowledge that I am a living thing related more to a rose than to a task list in a hurried life. 

A dear friend recently emailed me and wrote, “the Talmud teaches that over each and every blade of grass there is an angel whispering: “grow, grow, grow!”  That speaks  volumes to me!  My work week began the day after my bike trek and respite in the grass.  I felt unusually grounded and content all week with a quieted head.  I felt like I could think clearer and process more.  I had a more positive outlook.  And I was in flow – feeling a sense of spiritual synchronicity and guided progression to my days instead of forced speed  to shorten my list of responsibilities.  Perhaps the rooted grass I slept in last week did more than ground me.  Maybe some of those growth angels on the grass blades permeated my body, mind, and soul so that the grace of God guided my ways and days – instead of me driving my hamster-wheel head!  God does work in wondrous, mysterious ways!  

This weekend, laundry’s piled high again.  There’s enough white dust on the furniture that I could write essays on the surfaces with my finger.  My car which serves as a traveling office, could stand a good cleaning out!  But I AM more than what I do or what needs my attention.  These chores can wait until after dark on this glorious sunny Saturday.  Right NOW, the sky is stark blue – not a cloud in sight.  Seagulls are having a cry-a-thon across the street on the neighborhood beach.  Egrets and swans are feeding a short distance away in the cove.  Yards all around are chock-a-block full of blooms in every shape, color, texture and fragrance.  And bees and hummingbirds are feasting on them as they spread pollen to make more.   Yes, I am more than what I do or get done.  I am a living, breathing, BEing.  I am inexplicably connected to the natural wonders all around me which remind me to STOP!  … take in.   See.  Touch.  Listen.  Taste.  Smell.  Breathe in … and out, breathe in  … and out – rhythmically.  FEEL rest, peace and ease.  Welcome in serene being and alignment.  Take in another breath. Everything else can wait!

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Gratitude List Christmas Eve ~ 2011

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Great Egg-spectations

It’s happened to all of us.  One minute you’re feeling pretty good and the next you get an unexpected phone call that sets off angry knee-jerk feelings that are harder to get rid of than a severe infestation of fleas.   My husband and I got one such call last night.  We are in the process of selling our home and have a committed buyer.  NICE in this down market!  BUT, home inspections have become anally scrupulous since my husband and I bought our house 20 years ago.   When we bought our house in 1991, the inspector handed us a 2 page report on things that needed repair before we purchased our home.  Our current buyer’s inspection report is 60 pages long and mentions things like, “one stone in the walk way protrudes and could cause someone to trip.”   This is what we get for living in a lawsuit crazy country!  We’ve had to make legitimate repairs on our house to seal the deal.  Last night we got upset though because we got unanticipated news that the buyer is demanding us to pay for an expensive repair that the inspector said was unnecessary – the final sale is contingent upon it.  This was not good news on a Friday night after a long, tiresome work week.  Finding that we could not blow off our negative steam – my husband and I went for a brisk walk in our scenic neighborhood by the sea.  When life gets crazy there’s nothing like getting regrounded in peaceful natural settings!   Every now and then my husband and I talked about ways to come up with more money to prep our house to assure the final  sale … then we’d take a deep breath and resettle back into the lovely ocean side scene around us.  My husband stopped at one point and commented that we just needed to do what we could, pray, trust God to remain in charge of results, and then LET GO of the issue.  I knew he was right.  One way or another, things have always worked out for us throughout our 36 year marriage.  About 5 minutes later I noticed a large pine tree  about 50 feet ahead of us in a wooded area that had 2 oval objects nestled by one of its big roots; one orange and one blue.  When we arrived at the tree we saw that they were plastic Easter eggs that were left undiscovered from last Sunday’s neighborhood Easter egg hunt.  I picked up the eggs and shook them.  Both eggs jingled.  There was something metallic inside.  I passed one egg to my husband to open as I opened mine.  Lo and behold … 94 cents in my egg and 40 cents in his.  $1.34 – a veritable windfall!  We LOL’ed as my husband took his cell out of his pocket to text our realtor.  He told her about our found treasure and that all was well.  “Great!” she texted back … “you can use it to make repairs on your house and have change left over!”  My husband and I felt “egg-static” after that as we completed our walk in spring splendor.  We had no idea that egg treasure would show up in our week and keep the message of Easter alive … that we can resurrect our positive outlook on life at any moment.  God does provide in mysterious ways and His timing is always PERFECT!  The egg money was a great gift … it got us laughing like kids and reminded us to lighten up and enjoy the serendipitous fruits of life.   Life is nowhere near as serious as we make it!  Hoping great egg-spectations come your way as well … God provides great faith lifts when we least expect them and need them most!

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60th B-Day Gratitude List

February 25, 2011

1)  HEALTH!!! … Still on the planet with all body parts working – including my mind!

2) For Marty and Jacques and my intact, healthy, loving family – and dear,  nonjudgmental friends and  mentors.  Unconditional love that remains, binds, and connects through all life circumstances!

2) B-Day off with vacation pay and I don’t have to go out in torrential rain today!

3) Favorites at the supper table tonight: Marty, Jacques, ‘Lobstah’ and pumpkin pie!

4) … knowing I matter for who I am – not what I look like – even with gray hair, spider veins, and a “full-figure!”

5) Though self-centeredness is my birthright, having aged to the point where I can put aside self interests to purely and deeply see, hear, feel, touch, empathize with, help, cheerlead, uphold, and love my fellows … while I turn nasty thoughts of harmful or unkind people over to God.

6) … getting more senior discounts!

7) I don’t have to explain myself for being authentically “different.” I can live and thrive in skin that didn’t fit well in immaturity when I tried to mold myself into what I perceived others wanted me to be.

8) …that I/we have a home, meaningful work, food and necessities, and resources at a time when many don’t or are losing them.

9) …that I am a part of an organized community support network http://www.WeShareHope.org – able to help those in great need.

10) …that the world is my oyster via art; writing, beading, photography, designing …

11) …that I have a thoughtful, caring sister I love and she loves me. That I have a funny, handy brother I love even though we rarely connect

12) …that One greater than me remains close, fills me with grace and shows me the way in the world when I feel lost or threatened and lose my serenity, balance and sanity. … that the One greater than me truly does for me what I cannot do for myself.

13) …that I am still growing, learning, venturing, accepting, embracing, discovering and becoming more enlightened and uplifted on the doorstep of senior life.

14) BIG ONE! … I can more readily laugh at myself and accept my human frailty and mistakes.

15) That I’m able to get “messy” in life and spend less time being too neat or perfectionistic. Today I know that time with a loved one or catching a brass ring – or embracing a bucket list event – is more important than clearing dust off furniture or getting spots out of dirty laundry. My husband can live with grease on his T-shirts!

16) Being is all I need to do. I don’t have to please others or do a particular thing to matter. I matter as God made me – a perfect and flawed human being. As my hero Popeye says, “I y’am what I y’am!!”

17) I laugh more and take things less seriously than I used to.

18) I adore Mother Earth under my finger nails (gardening) and all Her natural splendor in woods, by sea and on mountains – and know those experiences are worth more than anything I buy.

19) I enjoy dark chocolate and mostly offset indulgences with walks and balanced eating.

20) I can stay in bed as long as I like today – doing nothing or something … or a nap, or play or create … choice is divine!

21) BIG GRATITUDE for my 84 year-old mother-in-law just calling from MI and signing me Happy B-Day!

22) Though my parents are gone – still feeling them and knowing they are with me every day – rooting for me all the way. … feeling the soul essence of loved ones I will never see again in this life.

23) … Birds; fireflies; dragonflies; being a Pisces who adores all things ocean and  shore; puppies and kitties and all things small, warm, and/or fuzzy – just born; Spring coming; tuning up my bicycle;  weight loss via a one year research project (best known for lifestyle changes); oatmeal; consignment shop bargains; REST and EASE …

24) A beautiful B-Day card from my sister stuffed with Euros for my 1st trip out of the country – to Rome – in 13 days!

25) 36 year marriage to my best friend even though we drive each other nuts at times!  Miraculously still together – staying power by the grace of God. … loving; forgiving; learning; discovering; sharing blisters and bliss – tears and laughter on the roller-coaster-of life and still getting off at the same stop together – one day at a time.

26)  … thankful I can apologize when I lash out in anger, fear, or bitter disappointment and hurt others (intentionally and unintentionally).  Practicing self-forgiveness and forgiving others so that I may love fully and maturely – including myself – as the Divine created me to do. 

27)  BREATHING – the Breath is everything. 

… Good place for me to stop – knowing I could go on and on and on … My life is full to overflowing. I appreciate it all the more because I have outlived and outlasted many adversities and been able to look back and see the silver linings and lessons in pain, loss, depression, illness, and suffering of all kinds.

One year older … celebrating aging that frees!

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Winter to Spring

Sabin Park, Riverside, RI

 Snow falls
Earth sleeps
Cold reigns
Ice keeps
 
Temp dives
Freeze grips
Rime coats
Wind whips
 
Bench sits
Day drifts
Park lies
Sun shifts 
  
Time moves
Melt wields
Life seeks
Gray yields
 
March thaws
Light gains
Hue wakes
Joy reigns
 
Birth plays 
Sol beams   
Thrush sings
All streams
 
God brings
Warmth seeps
Bloom thrives
Spring peeps!
 
 
 
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January Journal Bits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icy

Cold 

Sharp-lined crisp

28 degrees F

Frosted breath

Eye-grabbing sky

The world blanketed in snow

Stone-cold bare trees frozen in time

Crystal clear icicles; dripless in the sun

Winter-white and crayola sights color solstice sublime

 

(Photographer unknown)

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Breathe Entheos in 2011 ~ B.E.

Creation & Spirituality by Hanna Varghese

‘En theos’ is the English language equivalent of the Greek words which mean ‘in God.’ … the word Enthusiasm, arrives from the greek word enthusia, which by turn arrives from the word En theos.  So when we say that we feel enthusiasm, it means that at that moment we feel like we have God inside us. (per Answer.com)

 The greatest gift of aging for me so far is that my New Years Resolutions have become more about being spiritually grounded and open to divine guidance than rooted in insistent “I wants” and worldly things.  I still like nice things,  beautiful places (especially vacation sites/sights), and extras that enrich my sensory experience of the world but these things wouldn’t mean much if I wasn’t connected to the divine path my Creator would have me follow to live an actualized, substantive life – one in which I make unique contributions to expand universal vitality and well-being for myself and my fellows. 

That said, here are my 8 spiritual petitions for 2011 as I Breathe Entheos:  
(1)  Focus on goodness – for my life will reflect what I focus on. 
(2)  Practice positive self talk as I let go of dark thoughts.  God wants me to love myself as I love others.
(3)  Pay it forward in kind acts.  God makes good use of spontaneous, heartfelt, caring acts that have  no strings or “in it for me” agenda attached.
(4)  Know that God always does for me what I cannot do for myself.  Worry is a needless waste of energy that could be put to better pro-life use!
(5)  When stressed, afraid, angry, burdened, overwhelmed or frightened, breathe deep and ask my Creator for help – then let go, let go, let go, let go and let go again … until life returns to spiritually guided flow.  Life may not always be all right but I will aways be all right when I trust and believe in divine protection and care. 
(6)  Have FUN, LAUGH and remain open to the HUMOR that is present in each day – even when it seems lightness of being is nowhere to be found!
(7)  LOVE!  Love fully with every part of my being.  When faced with the choice to love or hate – ALWAYS choose LOVE.  Love frees the Lover and the Loved.  Hate only binds, burdens, lessens  and kills the life force of the Hater and the Hated.  If it becomes difficult to love when faced with all-consuming  resentment., vengeful thoughts, or justifiable anger – remember Entheos and that God is always with and in me.  
(8)  Create, create, create to my hearts content – allowing the Creator to direct my passionate energies from head to heart to hand to birthing.  I was put here to make a life-infusive difference as I contribute my soul essence and perspective into the universe for the benefit of all. 
In all my comings and goings, remember to Breathe Entheos – it’s THE breath that matters above all else.  The breath of God sustains, revitalizes and enlivens me in a conflicted world that otherwise could snuff me out.  Beathe Entheos (B.E.) … my 2011 mantra so I can always breathe free from any kind of bondage – world or self-inflicted – as God intended.
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Simple Joys

We are rediscovering Christmas in our home this year with fewer wrappings, trimmings and shop-til-we-drop things … we even abandoned the purchase of a REAL balsam fir Christmas tree and borrowed our son’s tacky white artificial one instead.  It’s growing on us.  This is a HUGE departure from our usual traditional decked halls!  The reality is that we have chosen to slow down this season because we are POOPED!  We’ve also chosen to conserve dollars rather then expend them like blizzard-blowing green snow.   This is our year for simple pleasures, extra hugs and kisses, kind acts, and simply being present for ourselves and loved ones.  What a revelation – foregoing getting mauled at the malls among throngs of holiday shoppers!  I’m not a Scrooge and am all for giving and receiving thoughtful gifts wrapped up in TLC sparkles and bows.  But in this girdle tight economy, we are rejoicing in pay it forward kind acts and spreading food and hope to the unemployed and homeless.  These experiences have been – as the saying goes – PRICELESS!

My husband and I are way too short on time, energy, and resources this year to chase  the latest electronic device sales before Santa arrives.  I love to shop, especially at artsy boutiques and antique/consignment shops but at some unconscious point I bought in way too much to the “But wait – there’s more!” infomercial way of consumerism.

So far we  have invested a total of 2 hours for Christmas shopping, 10 minutes for setting up the white Christmas tree, 2 minutes for hanging our red and green “mistle toad,” and 15 minutes for wrapping gifts.  Conversely, we have invested a few days in community events to support others with few if any resources or jobs.  My Christmas spirit finally arrived this week in neon-light glee.   This is my year for getting that it is truly better to give than receive!  Nothing fills the soul like making dreams come true for people who have given up on dreams.  That said, we’ll be giving and receiving some Santa goodies Dec. 25th as we savor the celebration of God’s light and grace in our lives.  Heres to spreading Peace, Hugs, Hope, Health,  & Joy to ALL this share and care season!

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Spectrum Vision

Photographer Unknown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color my world with: 

Bright white faith 

Mauve merriment 

Scarlet whoopie 

Yellow ambiance 

Forrest-green abundance 

Steel-gray strength 

Hot pink passion 

Electric blue delight 

Teal repose 

Amber serenity 

Crimson  love 

Orange delight 

Ochre grounding 

Calico laughter   

Tawny peace 

Silver flow 

Violet ease 

Platinum hope 

Gold promise 

Juniper joy 

Neon possibility 

Mother-of-pearl compassion 

Obsidian resolve 

Purple grace… 

How would you color your world?   

~ Collectic
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