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Archive for the ‘Finding Your Center’ Category

New Year 2017

It is wet and cold in my part of the world.  As Grandfather Time ushers in 2017, I ponder what the coming year will bring.

Energy is positive or negative, constructive or destructive in its application.  One of my new year resolutions will be to generate positive thinking and action; choosing not to dwell on what I don’t have, but, what I do have.  Not focusing on ‘what might be’, but being with ‘what is’.

Staying grounded and centered in the midst of rapidly swirling change is a spiritual practice.  The New Year is an auspicious time to strengthen our spiritual resolve, our spiritual connection…our spiritual practice.

Many wishes for an awesome New Year!

 

Solstice/Christmas 2016

Seems like the Fall Equinox was here just a short time ago.  Yet, the Winter Solstice is on Wednesday, Christmas follows quickly behind; as do the Festivals of Light.

There is something primitively compelling for me in displays of light.  I feel a childlike wonder viewing the twinkling splendor.  Beacons of light bringing comfort to the long, dark days of winter.

As you and yours celebrate the winter Holy Days, I invite you into the light.

Blessings!

 

Cold 2016

Cold weather is here.  As many of you know, I am NOT a fan.  I  enjoy the season, just not the cold that comes along.

Most of us are busy with preparations for Solstice and Christmas.  Most of us are blessed with warm clothing, warm cars, warm homes and warm, caring relationships.  There are many among us who are not as fortunate.

I invite you to give a gift of warmth.  Coats, blankets and sleeping bags to organizations and shelters.  Donations to food banks and food kitchens; helping out an elder; giving a gift of warmth to a friend; all such acts help us to manage winter cold.

“A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.” ~Pope Francis

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Tradition

Tradition is a belief, behavior or both, which is celebrated and passed down within communities;  families, tribes, cultures, religions, societies, government and art.

Tradition is from the Latin tradere or traderer, meaning to give over for safekeeping.

We have just celebrated Thanksgiving, an American tradition.  As we move toward the Winter Solstice, Christmas and New Year we will be celebrating traditions within our families, our culture, our society and our personal and collective belief system.

I invite you this week to review, renew and initiate traditions of honoring and celebrating!

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response.”  ~Arthur M Schlesinger

tradition

Thanksgiving 2016

This year is passing quickly.  The pace of global and national change is breath taking.

This week we have the opportunity to step back, take a time out, relax, refresh and connect with what is good and sacred in our lives.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”            ~William Arthur Ward

“Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul”            ~Henry Ward Beecher

This week I invite you to savor gratitude; to allow gratitude to embrace you, to comfort you, to enrich you.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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Opinion

“…a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty,” a “personal view, attitude, or appraisal.”

We all have opinions, crossing the gamut of human behavior.  The current political climate has brought forth a divisiveness of opinion that is ripping at the fabric of national unity and personal friendship.  And, it appears to have all the earmarks of continuing well beyond election day.

It is a sad state of affairs when the greatest democracy in the world becomes so dysfunctional that the work of governing is deferred to immature squabbling; lacking civility and the willingness to compromise…to find the middle way.

Founding father Thomas Jefferson said, “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as a cause for withdrawing from a friend.”

I invite you this week to consider the wisdom of Jefferson’s words.

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Halloween 2016

The US will celebrate it’s second most commercially successful holiday on October 31.  Halloween candy sales exceed 2 billion dollars annually, with chocolate bars topping the list.

Jack ‘O Lanterns originated in Ireland.  Turnips were hollowed out to keep away the spirits and ghosts of Samhain (pronounced sow-en).

Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe.  They celebrated the harvest with bonfires, the sharing of ghost stories, singing, dancing, and fortune-telling.

The ancient Celts believed that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night, so they wore masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as humans.

Samhain is the celebration of a Pagan Shabbat honoring the ancestors who have passed before us, and marking the dark time.  Sunset on Samhain marks the beginning of the Celtic calendar.  The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainophobia.

Just a few interesting facts about America’s infatuation with Halloween.  Enjoy the festivities!

Halloween Jack 'O Lanterns

 

Stillness

You know the experience, (which is becoming rarer), of being in a place where there is utter stillness.  Like late at night when the crickets suddenly stop chirping and the sound of silence is deafening, if not alarming.

Pico Iver writing about The Art of Stillness (Experience Life, October 2016),  tells of his journey to find inner stillness.  He shares the insight of his boyhood hero, Leonard Cohen: “Going nowhere…isn’t about turning your back on the world;  it’s about stepping away now and then so you can see it more clearly and love it more deeply.”

Iver lists four practices that can can help one to reach a place of stillness:  “Be for Real”, “Take the Road to Nowhere”, “Unplug and Recharge”, and “Keep the Sabbath”, (Sabbath means ‘rest’).

There are many ways to find that personal place of stillness.  A few of my faves: leisurely cup of coffee in the early morning quiet,  working in my garden before the neighborhood awakens,  food preparation meditation, listening to music that relaxes me, and sitting quietly on the patio doing and thinking nothing.

I invite you this week to notice the behaviors you incorporate into your life to slow its often hectic pace.

stillness

Listening

In a busy restaurant, waiting for a friend, I people-watched; observing several  tables where the diners were actively using cell phones.  Not being together,  just sitting together.  As meals were delivered by the wait staff, most laid their phones down on the table next to their plates, and commenced dining.

Some conversation was exchanged (not many talked with a mouth full of food), but when a phone buzzed or flashed, many owners of said phones  immediately focused his or her full attention to the incoming message.  I was mesmerized by this ritual of ignoring; by the blatant disinterest with their present company.

Active, compassionate listening is challenge enough for 21st century consciousness; which is bombarded every few seconds with information.

We all have had the experience of being in a moment of sharing our day, our joy, our woe, our selves, our soul with a fellow earth-traveler, only to have them respond absently, distractedly, interjecting their opinion and advice, or, literally answering their ‘call-waiting’.  Sadly, we too, have likely been guilty of a similar response.

To actively listen, to listen with compassion requires us to be fully present.  Ben Connelly writes in “Compassionate Listening” (Experience Life, October 2016) about the Five Ways to Be a Better Listener: “Listen with your whole body.  Hear with your whole mind.  Know your own heart. Open your whole heart. And Let it be.”

There truly is an art of conversation, and the biggest part of being successful at this art…is listening.

“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen.  Just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.”  ~Rachel Naomi Remen

I invite you this week to listen.

listening

 

Mail Change

As many of you may be aware, we have been having difficulty with our e-mail delivery system.  My wonderful, tenacious Webmaster has worked tirelessly these past few weeks to find a workable solution.

As we make the necessary adjustment, you may find yourself being ‘unsubscribed’ from my weekly blog.  It is a product of making the repair.

I invite you to re-subscribe.  When I write my weekly blogs, you are in my mind.  You inspire me to create the best blog achievable in that moment.  Without your support, feedback and appreciation, the process would mean very little to me. It would be hollow, and my effort and energy would soon fade away.

YOU are the co-creative, active reading part of this experience.  I thank you all with my heart and with all my joy.

Thank you for your loving patience.

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