During the summer, there were many days when I was steeped in grief over the impending loss of my dear friend Lissa McKinley. I was asking God, "Why? Why? Why?" "Why did this have to happen?"
Too often, I have come to realize, that question does not get answered in the way that we wish. The answer, it seems, is that life beckons us to move forward into the light and joy of our life no matter how difficult doing that may seem.
But it was a tough day, and still I asked, "Why?"
At that low moment, I glanced toward my sliding glass doors and saw the biggest grasshopper I had ever seen. It was so large that it caught my attention, like a prayer. I felt there was a message in it for me.
As I asked God to uncover the meaning of this visitor, I remembered the Mary Oliver poem "Summer Day" that talked about a grasshopper. I found it, read it, and it helped me so much.
You see, I was wondering what my life was going to look like without my best bud and closest co-worker. Things looked bleak. But then this beautiful grasshopper made me think of this sacred poem, which reminded me that God made everything and that we could start again and enjoy our "one wild and precious life".
It seems so fitting to share that poem now in honor of our poetess Lissa McKinley, who passed away on November 9th. May it bring us hope.
The Summer Day
By Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Rest in peace dear one. We promise to live our "one wild and precious life" to the fullest and with purpose, you certainly did.
As I was waking up in the dream/wake state one morning, I had the thought “God needs seeds and nuts”. Although at first that sounded funny to me, the more I thought about it the more it began to make sense!
To me, the message was that God needs substrate for our lives in order to bless us. God can’t make something from nothing, we have to do our part. We need to plant seeds for growth and bury nuts for winter harvest – it’s the great exchange that must occur in order for our lives to move forward in abundance.
This week I am going to plant seeds by making creative connections with others. I am also thinking about offering a winter art class to yield a harvest of blessings and fun.
What seeds are you planting in your life? What nuts are you burying for winter to feed you in the months to come? Please let us know in the comments section just below this post!
By Jane Hart, Copyright 2013
I was sitting on the back porch of a friend's lovely Chautauqua home with a great group of women, when a question arose as to whether I knew the women who went before me and set the path for my freedoms. I was younger than many in the group, and they wondered if I could actually name these women.
With the exception of Gloria Steinem, my answer was...not so much.
But I got to thinking about this question and realized that there are many, many well-known women who HAVE shaped my beliefs in what women can and can't do during my lifetime, and so I made a list of some of these women.
The women listed are not necessarily political influences or simply women I admire, but rather these are women who have shown me that I, as a woman, could follow my heart's desire, get the job, sing the song, or garner respect.
So here is my list of 10 pretty amazing well-known women who have shaped my life:
1. Oprah -- I am a journalist, and Oprah is a journalist, and I certainly feel that Oprah has let me and millions of other women know that it is not only OK but necessary to talk about our feelings, problems, and desires. She has shared millions of resources with us for achieving this and helping us to be more of us. Oprah has spoken up and spoken out against injustices against women and many others.
2. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way -- Julia has helped me to know that I can achieve and be whatever I authentically want to be. One of the most amazing women of my time who says that age, gender, circumstance, and thoughts cannot/should not keep us from our authentic selves.
4. Barbara Walters -- The first woman to sit behind the big desk on the news, take over a man's job, and do it well with endurance.
5. Joni Mitchell -- Now this may surprise some because Joni has not wanted to be associated with being a feminist. But for me, Joni taught me that it is OK for a woman to stand up by herself, play the guitar, and sing and say what she is feeling and experiencing OUT LOUD. That was huge for me and I did the same....played my guitar, sang, wrote songs, performed and played in a band, and perhaps never without thinking about Joni. Feminist or not...thank you Joni. (A little synchronicity...Joni is singing right now in Starbucks....oh how I wish I had sung out loud more in life! There is still time...)
7. Mother Teresa -- She did what she believed in and just started doing it and worked hard at it and spoke out about injustice, love, and faith. She did not yield to people who told her she should not and could not do what she was doing. She called us to, "Do small things with great love".
8. Joyce Meyer -- Joyce is an amazing woman minister who was told time and time again that as a woman she should not be preaching. Not only does she preach to millions on TV and at conferences but she talks openly about women's issues and women's rights and justice in the context of God's love and redemption. Love Joyce Meyer!
9. Georgia O'Keefe -- Georgia just kept doing what she loved throughout her entire life as a painter. I want to be a painter for the rest of my life, and I know I could do it until I am 90+ because that is what Georgia did. Thank you Georgia.
10. So many others -- Number ten is going to have to serve as the so, so, so many other famous women who have influenced and shaped my life -- Madeleine L'Engle, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Joan Baez, and the list goes on.
Now I want to hear from you! Please, just below this post in the Add Comment section, list some of the well-known women who have helped you be a free, creative, and successful woman in this world.
Our minds are constantly moving like choppy waves on the ocean, going to and fro over a multitude of topics, worries, hopes, and wishes. Sometimes the wavesin our minds are pleasant and other times not so pleasant. What I have learned is that we can never stop the waves, but we can learn to surf!
We can learn to navigate the difficulties, ride the waves, and try to have fun in the process.
When I get stuck in a certain pattern in my mind that I am not enjoying, I have a few surfing techniques that I apply to reach a more enjoyable pattern. Here are a few:
- change the energy -- get out of the house, go to Starbucks, exercise, call a friend;
- slow down -- so often when we can't get out of our worry waves we are rushing and we actually speed things up in our lives. So if you find the waves to be overwhelming...do the opposite of what you feel -- slow down, breathe, and stop and smell the roses;
- have fun -- dancing, listening to music, going out to dinner with friends, and running with the dog are all ways to improve your brain's wavelengths and make surfing easier.
I have actually surfed only a few times in Hawaii, but it turns out that a lot of the technique depended on the focus that happened before I rode the wave. Before you ride that wave, you have to paddle out, wait for the wave, know when to push off, know when to plant, and then finally stand up -- these steps are the bulk of the experience. In fact, when I surfed, it was only for a few brief moments that I was actually riding the waves (with a big smile on my face). Surfing requires patience, focus, and a willingness to have fun. Isn't that like life?
What we focus on in life has a lot to do with the waves we ride. I am trying to focus on: the light in my artwork, on letting more of God's light in, on being peaceful, on having fun, and on being present. What are you focusing on? Have you ever actually surfed? Love to hear your comments about surfing experiences and what helps you ride the waves in this life!
When we experience flow in our lives, we feel great! But what happens when everything goes "wrong" for quite a stint, and nothing seems to flow? We may feel abandoned, forgotten, or at the very least, out-of-sync.
But what if?
What if the flow is still there even in the rough -- and seemingly unbearable times -- in our lives? What if God's guidance for our lives is always available?
I believe that divine flow for our lives is always there, but we may not always know how to access it or be open to it. Instead, feeling punished or closed in by life circumstances, we become hypnotized by what is not going well and miss the daily divine guidance and flow that is occurring.
The thought that divine guidance is always there is very comforting to me, and I believe it is true. God and our angels are always near.
So how do we re-enter the flow when we have been tossed by many storms? For me, when I have had it, and reached the last straw, I often throw up my arms, look to the heavens, and say to God in exasperation, "What am I supposed to do now?" Sometimes that garners an immediate response, but many other times...not!
Usually, I am able to re-enter divine flow when I: stop and remind myself that divine guidance is occurring every day, listen to God, pray, get out of my own mind and listen to the words of positive and affirming thinkers and authors, reconnect with good friends, tell people out loud how I am feeling, ask for help, write out what is going right and how I am truly Blessed, hug a dog, dance, get into nature, change the energy, take a trip...trust.
How have you reconnected with the "flow" during the tough times? What helped you to feel the comfort of that flow that perhaps was always there? Let us know in the comments section just below this post.
When tragedies occur I often turn to the great peacekeepers of this world to read their commentary on such happenings. After the most recent events in Boston I did the same, but I could not find anything posted right away.
So instead, I turned within and thought about what the peacemakers might say based on readings I have seen in the past. Thich Nhat Hanh, for instance, might say something like:
Peace starts within.
We must cultivate peace.
We must be peace.
We must share peace.
We must stand up for others who are treated unjustly.
Peace starts within.
Peace starts within…it seems so simple. And yet, there are a million ways in which we may not actively “be peace” throughout our day and in our interactions with others.
Today, let’s be peace. Let’s cultivate it and share it. Maybe that means slowing down long enough to listen to a friend or coworker who needs a moment of kindness. Maybe it means teaching your children or grandchildren what the word peace means. Maybe it means creating some artwork on the theme of peace. Maybe it means starting a 501c3 that cultivates peace in the world. Maybe it means sitting peacefully for 5 minutes.
Whatever we choose to do, each measure of peace is essential to our world.
Today, I will walk more slowly and more meditatively…not rushing.
What will you do?
When was the last time you played? I mean really played like you did when you were a kid? Yesterday was an amazing sunny and warm day here in the otherwise grey, bleak, damp, awful (need I go on?) Midwest. The whole city was out celebrating and having fun, and there were as many dogs as there were people at the park! As I strolled by a baseball diamond, I watched what would be a YouTube video gone viral if I had captured it! But it has to do with dogs and unabashed PLAY. Read on.
A group of 20 somethings were playing a game of softball.
A player hit the ball that went midfield. Enter stage left at about third base, a 40 lb mutt fielded the ball and took off in the foul area. The players looked confused, "What just happened and whose dog is this?" The dog was laughing and willfully taunting all of the players, running by each of them at high speed with the ball in his mouth! The pitcher repeatedly yelled to the dog, "Hey, bring me the ball!" The dog would have none of it. He lay down on the grass and started chewing on their softball.
Finally, another dog caught the ball-stealing dog's attention, and he dropped the ball. At that point the dog's owner grabbed the ball, and threw it to the pitcher. But wait...
The next hitter came to bat, was ready to swing, and now TWO random dogs appeared in the outfield, facing the batter and barking at the top of their lungs. The dogs were shouting, "COME ON!! HIT IT!! Isn't this FANTASTIC!!!!"
The one "bad" dog had recruited additional dog players!
Now everyone was cracking up...the players, the onlookers, and the dogs! The dogs positioned themselves as absolute players in the game...the best players.
This is the reason I love dogs. They LOVE to PLAY. They
remind us and CALL US to PLAY. Dogs are the AVATARS of PLAY.
I ask you....when was the last time you let go and just had FUN? Try to be an AVATAR of PLAY this week and see how your week changes.
(I am left with only one question...how did the dogs innately know how to play softball???? Even positioning themselves in the outfield? Too funny...)
It's as if we need a gauge to help us find our way through life in work and love. We need to ask when encountering people: are they kind, gentle, honest, integrity-filled, credible? If the answer is yes to this then we might feel OK about proceeding. If the answer is no, we have to learn to press stop.
We are allowed to invite kindness into our lives and to say no to people, places, and things who aren't kind, gentle, and nurturing to our souls. Sadly, many of us did not learn this growing up. We learn it as adults.
It is not only OK but important to invite kindness into our lives. Surround yourself with kind, honest, gentle people and offer kindness to others. Attention to kindness will change your experience here on this earth.
Did you ever experience a series of coincidences that made you have to stop and pay attention? I am amazed how when I pay attention, so many serendipitous things seem to happen in my life. In fact, I have started a section in my journal devoted to recording such occurrences.
The Merriam-Webster definition of serendipity is “the phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for”. For example, you hear about something or someone from one person and then you hear about it again from another person, and then by the third time of hearing about this in the same week, you scratch your head and say, “Why does this keep coming to me? Maybe I should pay attention to this.”
Here is an example of recent serendipitous flow in my life. I kept tuning into people and places and things that were stating that God is “I AM”. I heard one person say that "God is a God of the present moment". Then I heard Wayne Dyer on a PBS program saying God is “I AM” not “I WAS” or “I AM GOING TO BE” but “I AM”. Then I heard that God is “I AM” on a ministry show. Then I went over to a friend’s house who knew nothing of what I was hearing about. While I was at her home she received a package. She opened the package, and someone had sent her a movie titled – you guessed it – “I AM”!! I told her I had to sit down! That was serendipitous flow!
How nice to write about this again, now, and remind myself that God is the “I AM” presence for all of us – available to us right now! The truth is, I had been spending a lot of time thinking about the past and worrying about the future and not staying available to the present. Fortunately, sometimes there are gentle nudges to get us back onto the right path like this flow that happened last week.
Have you had any flowing/serendipitous coincidences lately? Pay attention and write them down! Perhaps life is guiding you to your highest good! Would love to hear your comments! Peace dear ones.
Dear Ones – So many of you have encouraged me to start this blog/website, saying you want to hear more of my encouragement, art process, goddess boosts, or discount diva ideas! I am so grateful and blessed to know all of you and to be surrounded by encouragers! Thank you.
This is a site for sharing! Hence I have turned almost every page of the website into a blog format for us to share our ideas!
You will see several categories: the Home:Blog page will be about observations/thoughts on life, dreams, synchronicities and flow; the Art page will focus on art process, techniques, and fun, creative ideas; and the Blessings page on things that I have found to be a blessing and want to share with you. I hope to add a Fashion section soon as some of you have requested...telling you about best deals and items found!
This is a place to turn to for POSITIVE ideas and FORWARD thinking -- things our world often lacks. Read any or all of it to see if something resonates, blesses, or encourages you! Also, please read the About page so that you will know how I came to be "Blessed".
Thanks for visiting, and I look forward to our journey!