To Mothers: The Original Peacemakers. Such a beautiful tribute to mothers by Everyday Gurus. It will move your heart, please visit and read.
Yesterday was the first day of spring for me, because I could walk outside barefoot, in a T-shirt and Capri’s, lay down in the grass and soak up the sunshine. The blue sky was brilliant, an almost unreal color with no clouds in sight. Birds chirping and calling as they flitted from branch to branch, tree to tree.
The first buds of leaves were sprouting up toward the sky, soaking in the rays as eagerly as I was. My Tulip’s heads were shyly peaking out from between their leaves. My cat was ecstatic over the movement of all living things, including me. She romped and performed for me, and she even gave me a tummy massage as I was laying in the grass absorbed in the sound, smell, and texture of new life.
Poetry floated through my head as the soft warm breeze circled my ankles. Too bad I did not bring pen and paper outside with me. I did not even bring my camera, at first. I just wanted to be in that moment and experience all of it’s glory in every cell of my body. As the western sun penetrated my skin sending comforting and loving signals to my brain, new thoughts began to bud like the leaves on the trees. I could not tear myself away from this experience.
The winter is long in New Hampshire and spring is often too short. I went inside for my camera so I could capture a memory, a moment in time when my heart was content with all that is in my world. Troubles will come and go, struggles and stress are unavoidable, but there is always hope. As long as life persists there is hope.
Why is the sky so blue, the grass so green, and flowers so brilliantly colorful? Why can we smell the delicious scents around us and feel the textures of life. The universe functions so beautifully by it’s own design, it is intelligent, it is the essence of love expressed. The mystery, the why and the how is part of the excitement of living. Beyond that, there is no doubt in my mind that the origin of this masterpiece we call life is an infinitely benevolent heart, and an intricately wise mind.
Nature is my refuge, my haven and my heaven.
For more photographs from yesterday visit my portfolio blog: http://cherylroth.wordpress.com/
Early Monday morning last week a vary special person I was privileged to know passed away. She lived 101 years but I only knew her during the last year of her life. During that time she had a profound impact on my life.
I only worked for her a little more than 5 months, as an aid. Often I felt that she didn’t really need me, not because she made me feel that way but because she never stopped trying to do everything herself. Of course at 100 you’re going to have some limitations, but she took a walk every day, she did exercises for a leg/hip injury, she sat in the sunshine reading mystery novels, stayed up late watching movies, and went out to lunch or dinner with friends and family several times a week. She lived in her own home, and went to NYC every winter.
Mrs. G as I called her, was a gift from God to me and she became my mentor. Her smile, her sense of humor, her love for people and life, and her straightforwardness were as genuine as gold. She was generous and trusting, and she always made a point to say “thank you” even for the smallest things. Those were the last words I heard her say to me on Saturday 3/2/13.
Those were also some of the last words I said to her last Sunday, because being included in her life and helping her in any way was a great blessing to me. I learned so much from the way she thought, the way she treated people and the way she lived her life. Her attitude and example gave me encouragement, hope and strength at a time when my life was falling apart.
The job itself came at a time when I desperately needed it, but I got so much more than I bargained for. I used to tell her that her house was like Heaven because it was beautiful inside and out, and filled with so much love. It was a calm and comforting refuge during a stressful time in my life, and being in the company of her family and friends was always refreshing.
Mrs. G always complemented me, on my clothes, my hair, my cooking, my driving, and other things, in a way that no one else ever has. It’s not that I don’t get compliments, it’s just that she had a unique way of making me feel special. We had similar interests in art, literature, movies, social issues, spirituality and activities, so I enjoyed every minute I spent with her. I grew to love her very quickly.
I realized at one point that she was the same age as my grandmother, who died about 17 years ago at age 83. She had some of the same furniture and personal items from that era. however, in spirit she didn’t seem old enough to be my grandmother.
Mrs. G. was a timeless woman, very modern and very hip, most of her friends were much younger than her. She was a successful business woman during a time when very few women were running a business. She was also a great mother and a social activist.
I feel honored that I could accompany her to the events that were held in recognition of her life and accomplishments. I am blessed to have been included in her circle of family & friends, even for such a short time. I will always remember with love and gratitude the impact her life has had on mine.
Have you heard of Reiki Gong? It’s a combination of Reiki and Qigong. A friend of mine invited me to a retreat that will be in April in Nashville, TN, but I can’t afford to go (wish I could). However, I was intrigued by the content and decided to look into it further.
So I checked out their FB page: Reiki Gong Dynamic Health. As I scrolled through the posts I came across a post about a project they are working on for mental and emotional health. They are trying to create a practice on DVD for those who suffer with mental & emotional health issues and don’t have access to alternative therapies. Reiki Gong Mental & Emotional Stability Practice DVD · Medstartr. I was moved by this and wanted to share it with my readers.
Personally I have not had a lot of success with so called “modern medicine” concerning my own health issues. I am very sensitive to drugs and find that I do better with natural and alternative practices. Through my work I’ve known many people over the years with moderate forms of mental and emotional illnesses and I never experienced that any of them were cured with drugs. Some of them did better for awhile, but then there was always a need to eventually find a better or different drug. In this type of situation I think it’s worth looking into alternatives.
During this past winter I was helping to care for an elderly woman with serious anxiety and depression issues. She was on 3 different types of anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication and she felt terrible all the time. Most of these drugs have side effects that make you feel ill and weak. She was too old to make significant changes in her life and that made me really sad.
Through talking with her, especially when she had “episodes” or “panic attacks”, I realized that she had built a pattern of thoughts and behaviors over a lifetime that had created her present circumstances. She was helpless, needy and totally dependent but this was not because of her age or illnesses. I know people much older than her who have worse ailments but are less needy and dependent, and not depressed at all. I realized through talking with her that most of her mental and physical health issues would not have developed if someone had taught her to think differently when she was young, and to take care of herself.
That experience gave me a lot of motivation to look at my own thought patterns and to put more effort into caring for myself both physically and emotionally. I have always been inspired by people who are pioneering the way of alternative practices in the west. So, if you have a chance, please check out these pages about Reiki Gong and if you like what you see, give them some support.
Winter is a difficult time for me physically, mentally and emotionally, so I try to find ways to challenge myself. In the past I could challenge the physical elements of snow and ice by just getting out there, shoveling, sledding, driving, photographing, whatever. Now I still try to do those things, but less than before because I have more physical challenges than in the past.
Challenges that limit us can weaken us mentally and emotionally. To strengthen myself I’ve given myself other positive challenges, like yoga. Since I started attending classes last October, I’ve been able to gradually, very gradually, build strength and health physically, mentally and emotionally. It has not been easy and my class attendance was not always consistent for the first couple months, but I have persisted. Now I’m attending classes twice a week and beginning to practice at home as well.
One thing that helped me with my yoga practice was following a beginners yoga challenge on yogajournal.com. I received daily written inspiration on will power, and a weekly video of yoga practice. It was quick, easy, motivational and free.
In March I will be starting a new challenge, and I invite you to join me if you wish. It is a free 21 day meditation course sponsored by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. I know that sounds kind of commercial, but it looks like it could be valuable. Of course, if you’re already a meditation master maybe you don’t need it. But if you are looking for some guidance to start meditating, some ideas on improving your mental or physical health, or just a little inspiration, then why not try it? It can’t hurt, it’s free, and it’s completely accessible at your own time, location, pace and comfort level.
Starts on March 11, 2013. Here’s the link if you care to join in. http://www.chopracentermeditation.com
- Meditation Is the New Yoga: Bringing Mindfulness Into the Workplace (bigthink.com)
- 21 days of Meditation – with Deepak Chopra and Ms Oprah herself (pambustin.com)
- Deepak Chopra (celebrationofnow.com)
- Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra (sebastianhalliwell.wordpress.com)
This woman is now 109 years old and still as optimistic as ever. Please watch this video, it is well worth the full 12 minutes of your time.
Published on Dec 11, 2012
At age 108, Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommer still practices piano for 3 hours every day. At age 104, she had a book written about her life: “A Garden Of Eden In Hell.” At age 83, she had cancer. Alice survived the concentration camps through her music, her optimism and her gratitude for the small things that came her way – a smile, a kind word, the sun. When asked about the secret of her longevity, Alice says: “I look where it is good.”
Standard YouTube License
Under the snow in the cold damp earth there are seeds of new life. Winter hides the secret of renewal. One day those seeds will surely burst with energy driving shoots up to break through the top soil. My heart explodes with thoughts of spring, new growth, and the blossoms that fill the air with fragrance. With this thought I can endure winter, seeing also it’s beauty.
I learned a long time ago not to make a big long list of expectations for the new year, in other words, not to set myself up for big disappointments. That doesn’t mean I’m not motivated or that I don’t intend to accomplish things. I intend to accomplish whatever needs to be, and I’m motivated to become my best self; but I’ve realized that I don’t have a lot of control over circumstances that may present themselves. That’s usually what happens to well intentioned New Year’s Resolutions – life gets in the way.
This morning while reading through my emails I found this post by Drew Myron at Off The Page suggesting an “I did it” list as opposed to a resolution list. I think it’s a great idea to focus on what we have accomplished, the value of who we are and what we have right in this moment. It ties in very well with the one new year’s resolution that I did make, which is to find something to be grateful for in every day. By the way, Drew’s inspiration came from another writer, Lisa Romeo, who’s post you can read here.
Last night my family & I were sharing reflections about 2012. It was a hard year for us full of stress, disappointments, loss, incredible demands and huge change that has not ended yet. Through it all we grew closer to each other. We each realized that adversity allows us to find our inner strengths, to focus on what we can do in each moment, and to prioritize our values. A bad year became a good year as we realized how we had grown through our troubles and successfully dealt with our problems.
Toward the end of our sharing some friends stopped by to wish us a happy New Year. Our 2 families have been friends for about 14 or 15 years, so the kids are all teens or young adults and beginning to move in different directions. It was comforting to share this transition from 2012 to 2013 as both our families are also moving forward to new stages of life & lifestyle. Old friends and childhood friends are people you have gone through many experiences with and found value and strength in their company. They are forever friends.
So here is my “I Did It” list for 2012:
- I survived financial collapse, bankruptcy and almost losing our home.
- I survived my husbands triple by-pass heart surgery (and he is doing well).
- I am moving forward while still dealing with the loss of my mother and another very cherished person in my life, as well as financial & health issues.
- I’ve started a yoga practice.
- I’m eating in a more healthy way.
- I’ve made new friends.
- I’ve been a supportive wife & mother through the most stressful year of my life.
- I’ve maintained 4 blogs, although not very well at times, but I’m still posting.
My New Year’s resolution:
To love my life & live joyfully by finding gratitude in each day.
A timely post as I have been renewing my commitment to health and well being by going to yoga classes, meditating with a lovely smelling candle, and eating healthier.
My Christmas cactus is also experiencing renewal, especially since it didn’t bloom at all last year.
This is my daily morning renewal, my special blend, and it’s a nice afternoon renewal as well. God Bless the coffee bean, may they prosper and grow forever!
Wow, I just spent the morning looking through about 100 portfolio’s of all sorts of talent and creativity. Some of it was very good, inspiring or interesting at least. Some of it I passed over quickly because it didn’t appeal to my eye or my mind in any way. That doesn’t mean it was bad art, just not my taste. (Sometimes it was bad.) The process of doing this helped me realize some important life lessons about creativity & talent.
- Creativity and talent are abundant because they are basic to human nature. Some may have a talent for math and science and others have talent in some form of art.
- Creativity relates to how inventive, productive and flexible we are with that talent.
- Talent does not equal success, nor does creativity. To be successful your creativity and talent have to be focused in a direction that will provide something that people need or want enough to pay for it. Thus the “starving artist” syndrome.
- Success is simply being able to offer something of value in return for being able to support your life (and your children if you choose to have them). In other words, not living an unproductive and irresponsible life that has to be supported by others (if you are a person who is mentally & physically capable of supporting yourself). Success does not necessarily mean becoming a millionaire, it simply means to achieve your goals in life while being self-sufficient.
- In order not to become a “starving artist” you have to be realistic about your creative abilities & your talent, and find the market for them. If the market for what you do does not bring adequate income, you will have to find an additional source of income or change what you do.
- Life is complicated and challenging and requires a lot more qualities than creativity and talent. Perseverance, determination, confidence, sacrifice, hard work, planning, networking, relationship skills, and the ability to keep learning are all equally important to ones success in life.
- A practical skill that uses your talent & creativity is more marketable than your artwork. Only successful people buy art and they usually buy it from successful artists, or dead artists.
- No one has to give up on creating beauty or exercising their talent, it can always be something one does for pleasure rather than money.
Everyone needs a little help now and then. If someone were to say, “I don’t need any help, ever, from anyone”, well they would just be lying – to their self as well as to whomever they were saying this too. It’s just a fact of life that human existence is dependent on helping one another.
Don’t believe me? Think about it, were you able to give birth to yourself and fully care for yourself as soon as you were born? Of course not, and I’m sure your mom appreciated the help she got while giving birth to you. Oh, I know, there are some women who have given birth without assistance, but I’m sure they would have gladly received help if it was available. Although there is a lot of instinct, and natural bodily processes, that move the birthing process along, the mother has to help the baby enter the world through pushing a little. Then the mother helps the baby find her breast, and she keeps helping that baby through all the processes of growth and development until it becomes an adult. That’s at least 18 years worth of all different kinds of help.
Helping one another is a form of love. We are created in love and are meant to exist in loving relationships – at least that’s the ideal even though it may not always be the reality. Human beings are meant to exist in inter-dependent relationships, not co-dependent, that’s something else altogether. We are also not meant to be as independent as we think we want to be. As a matter of fact, if we could achieve absolute independence we would be alone and miserable. Living is about loving and loving takes two.
There are as many ways to help someone as there are to care about another persons well being. We have no shortage of ability to help because even a kind word or a smile might help to make someone’s day brighter. We can help in big ways or small ways, it’s not really something that needs to be measured because it is simply the way life is designed; to give according to your ability and to receive according to your need. No I’m not a raging Communist, but I’ll prove this point.
The entire Universe exists on the basis of inter-dependent relationships, giving and receiving in cycles that support all life. A simple example can be seen in the trees that give us oxygen and we breathe back carbon dioxide. Trees help us in a multitude of other useful ways as well, so wise people fight to preserve the existence and reproduction of trees (and other plants as well). That is not only helpful to the trees but helpful to the preservation of the planet and all life. Oh there are endless examples I could give of how all living things are dependent upon one another to thrive and prosper, but I think you get the point. All life is inter-dependent.
I often wonder why it is that humans are so insistent upon being independent, and often not helping each other. We find it easy to help when it is convenient, or to our advantage, but we don’t often stretch ourselves to help as much as we are capable of helping. We create reasons for not helping and wrap ourselves up in doing what we think we need to do to take care of ourselves and those closest to us. By doing this we limit our capacity to love, which is also limiting our capacity to experience the full value of life.
Striving for independence is something we do as we are growing up and the purpose of this is to become fully functional and capable according to our individual potential. Once we become a fully functional and capable adult, if we are really mature, we realize we received a lot of help along the way and we begin to look for ways that we can give back. We also realize that although we may be very capable and independent, we are not really complete or happy alone, we want someone to love and be loved by.
If we could just take this simple process a step further and project it onto a global scale, I think we might find solutions to the worlds problems. There are enough fully functional and capable adults in the world to help those in need, but we have been focused on our own perceived needs and limitations for so long that we have forgotten our purpose. We have confused wants with needs and created a really ugly system of taking as much as we can get and still wanting more. The world is in a mess because we are looking for fulfillment through “getting what I want, because I want” instead of “giving what I can, because I can”.
Sometimes we need to receive or ask for help, it is natural and there is no shame in it as long as we are doing our best to also give what we can according to our capacity. There will always be times and places and possibilities for giving and receiving because it is the natural design of life, inter-dependence. Unfortunately, the world is very out of balance with it’s own natural design because of human greed, lust, resentment and generally self-indulgent thinking – the world needs a lot of help. You and I can help, by creatively using our time, abilities, knowledge or resources to help those who have serious needs, in your community or someplace else in the world. Join me in striving to live in balance with our natural design, by creating each day with a helping hand toward others.
- Pablo Casals
“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather that luxury; and refinement rather than fashion…to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”
William Ellery Channing, 1780-1842