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.
Where have I been; in a cave, under a rock or in an igloo? Temperatures in the single digits keep the door closed. Howling wind and creaking windows cause me to pull the blankets closer as I mindlessly challenge myself at solitaire, or watch Netflix. Am I a bear in hibernation?
This winter is no worse than others I have endured before, but it feels worse. I feel trapped, confined, limited, and on edge. I pace the floors, chase dust bunnies, mop up puddles under snow boots, the cleaning never ends. I read, I type, I go out, I stay busy but it really doesn’t matter what I do. I am MIA – missing in action, or missing the action might be more accurate.
For many years the weather was tolerable because of my growing family, my work, my community. I was healthy, I had so many ideas and dreams to fulfill, I was busy all the time. The winter was painful but it did not slow me down in the past. I did what had to be done to take care of my family, live happily and stay active in my community.
Now it’s different; my health, my age, our stage of life, our family. I don’t like hibernating like a bear. I want to fly south like a bird, or maybe southwest. It’s time for change, before it’s too late; before I freeze like an ice statue only to melt and disappear when the spring finally arrives.
I want to be free and actively involved in life, contributing something of value. The house and mortgage have become like a ball and chain; the endless repairs are like prison walls. It’s torture, because I love this house. I’ve invested my heart to make it a home. So many memories, so many hopes and dreams not yet fulfilled.
Stay active, keep moving, downsize property and possessions. How much do we really need to be happy? It’s not the material things that make us happy, but the loved ones that are served by those things; our family and friends. Can we pack our family and friends in a bag and take them with us? We can keep in touch but it’s not the same as being together.
Is being together worth being stuck in a painful and unproductive rut, wasting away? Some people feel it is, others do not. I am torn between two natures, two desires, to go and to stay. Some people can afford to do both, but I can not. One thing I know is that I am not a bear, I can not hibernate through the long winter. I don’t want to be MIA from life, I’m not done living yet.
A touching and somewhat related link: http://jamesdez.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/a-letter-from-mom-and-dad/
It can be difficult to get close to those who are timid, but if you look them in the eyes and respect their heart they might just become your best friend.
We often don’t realize just how cute someone is until we get close to them.
However, getting close has it’s perils as well … we are all a bit vulnerable at times.
Then there are other times when we take our closeness for granted.
We hope for closeness, bonds that last, shared hearts and happiness forever.
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
There are a lot of things that we can share with others as we go through life that might be of value to someone. My philosophy is that it’s good for the soul to share what you care about, what is valuable to you. One way or another I believe we are all here to benefit each other, to value each other, and to experience love.
Sharing is not always easy because sometimes we just want to keep things to ourselves, and sometimes we are afraid of rejection. Sometimes we think that no one cares about “what I think”, or no one wants “what I have”. That’s a case of not valuing ourselves enough, not realizing that we are here for the sake of others. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if every person realized deeply that we are here to care for each other, and share our goodness with each other, because that is the only way we can truly experience love and feel gratitude.
When we share what we value, not only do we meet like minded people who enrich our lives, but we will also meet many people who are different from us but also have valuable things to share. You can share just about everything: food, clothes, money, your home, your work, your thoughts & insights, your experiences. Isn’t that what life is about really; building relationships through sharing with one another?
I like to share, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love it when people share the things they value with me too. My sons like to joke, it’s one of the things they value, and they make me laugh. My daughter and my husband share by telling me all about their activities and friends, it’s interesting and helps me understand people more. My parents shared so much of themselves, their home, their money, their activities and it allowed our lives to be full and rich with flavor.
My home is always open to friends as if they were family, and I’m always open to making new friends. That is the way I was raised. One of the other ways I share is through writing, and photography, thus blogging. Not everyone will find value in what I share, but some will, and that is all that’s important. Give what you value, from the heart, and someone will receive it with their heart.
Today I’m also sharing a guest article at Our Mom Spot. If you have a chance please check it out. Especially if you’re a parent, or a grandparent, you might enjoy this topic – Talking To Grandparents About Parenting Choices.
This was not a hard one, except that there were too many photos to choose from. So I chose a lot of photos that express together to me. Instead of having you endlessly scroll or click on thumbnails I decided to put them in a slideshow (You have to click here or on the post title to see the slideshow). I hope you enjoy it.
Who knows what brought us together?
What divine providence forms friendships,
families, lovers and comrads?
It doesn’t really matter, does it?
What matters most is that in being together
We love, we live, we laugh, we cry, and
We become the expression of divine love.
Spring is hopeful, the weather is warming and everything is blooming. Most people feel a renewed sense of wonder or happiness, especially the people living in a place that has cold, gray winters. Finally we can start getting our daily dose of Vitamin D naturally and get rid of the SAD.
However, all the vitamin D in the world will not relieve grief, broken-heartedness, regret or major depression. A walk in the sunshine and smelling the flowers may help uplift the mood for awhile, but sometimes people need a lot of help to find hope. Sometimes we face such trials in life that it seems impossible to go on, or like the world is caving in on us.
When I experience a great difficulty, loss or disappointment and I wonder how I’m going survive, pictures start to flash through my mind. These pictures are the things that moved my heart most while I was growing up and made me wonder how I could help end human suffering. Images of mothers desperately handing their babies to soldiers who were boarding helicopters in an effort to save their babies from the war; a toddler crying next to the dead bodies of his parents in the midst of war; children & mothers starving to death due to oppression or lack of access to resources; people suffering & dying of illnesses that no longer exist in our country. These images never leave me, they fade into the background only to resurface during times of trouble, to remind me of how fortunate I am.
Even still, pain and problems do not go away simply by thinking of the less fortunate. To move forward one has to take a step. Action creates possibilities and possibilities create hope. Hope is the invisible power that motivates us beyond survival.
We desire so many things from life, not just physical things, but we have a great ambition to fulfill our potential, to find love and to be happy. Why then, are so many people let down? Why do we find it so difficult to fulfill our dreams? Why does living and just getting by become such a struggle? Could it be that people have learned to expect too much?
After taking action, it’s necessary to continue the effort, to stay creative and keep doing positive things. However, while making so much effort we can often get caught up in our expectations for the results, setting ourselves up for another let down. The down side of hope is our expectations. To make consistent effort to live virtuously while overcoming adversity and pain is hard enough, but the hardest part of all is letting go of expectations without losing hope.
Real hope comes from knowing that our efforts have value regardless of the result, that life is not all that we see, but it is the state of mind that we create and the love that we give. Hope is rooted in the invisible world of heart, the eternal world of absolute love.
“Our own worst enemy can not harm us as much as our unwise thoughts. No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.”
Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
This is the 6th week in my Create The Day series, and I totally forgot it was Tuesday today, all day. No I’m really not brainless, as a matter of fact I had my head stuck in bills, applications and filing all day, trying to inherit & reorganize the family bookkeeping system. This is not something I am really passionate about, but it must be done.
However, today I am meant to be writing about passion. What are you passionate about?
My husband is passionate about art & music, my daughter is passionate about theater and dance, and my younger son is passionate about becoming a great chef. I think it’s fortunate to have a single minded passion that you can direct all your energies toward and become the master of. I think perhaps I have too many passions, and therefor I spread myself too thin.
I am passionate about my family most of all I think, and then nature, and my spirituality. I also have a passion for photography and creativity. Travel and adventure are high on the list too, as well as my cats. Then there are all kinds of other things I enjoy or really like a lot, but I think of passions as the things I can not live without.
For me, a passion is something I want to actively invest in and I will never get tired of it. I long to interact with my passions and will miss them if I can’t. I think passion is the very thing that motivates us most to create the lifestyle we live. You could even say it is the most powerful force in the universe.
So then, it’s very important what people become passionate about. Passion directed wrongly or uncontrolled can be very destructive, as we have seen through out human history. However, a passionate person working toward world peace, and solutions for social ills, can create miracles.
Passion is like the engine that powers the vehicle of life, but the mind and spirit is the driver. The driver needs to be skilled, capable of making good decisions and staying in control, and know how to take good care of the engine so it will run well for a long time.
What are your passions, and how do you interact with them? Please leave a comment with your thoughts on this topic. I’m not going to use a linkey list this week but if you’d like to link up a post you are welcome to do that in the comments. Thanks for reading!
“Love in the past is only a memory. Love in the future is a fantasy. Only here and now can we truly love.”
from: Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
by Jack Kornfield
Once again it’s time to Create The Day; this week the theme is compassion.
This reminds me of the photo challenge because the first week I jumped into it the word was regret. I wondered, “how can I photograph regret?” This is kind of similar, link up a post about compassion. I don’t even know what post I’m going to link up for this.
It can be something you’ve written, something you’ve made out of compassion for someone, a photograph of what compassion looks like to you, or even music that makes you feel compassion.
How is compassion creative you might ask? Compassion creates relationships. Your feelings of compassion for others might cause you to do something creative to ease someone else’s suffering, pain or loneliness. I would be so grateful if you would share your posts about compassion by adding your link Tuesday through Thursday this week.
My mom is one of the most compassionate people I know, not in a gushy or weepy way, but in a very practical way. Right after high school she went to nursing school and became an RN. She took care of people her whole life.
By the time I was 3 she decided she should stop working and take care of her family, which she did very well. However, she never stopped doing things for others. She was a girl scout leader and belonged to the Jaycee‘s, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels, and was always doing things for neighbors as well as strangers. Sometimes I wondered how my parents knew so many people, and how they met these people who needed help.
By the time I was 14 she had decided to go back to work. She renewed her licence and went to work at the emergency room. Later she became a private duty nurse for several years, and after that she became a Hospice nurse. In order to do that she had to take special classes about death and caring for those who are dying and their families. I was amazed that she could do that type of work, and she did it for almost 20 years.
After retiring, she took a seasonal job as a camp nurse. I think she did that for about 10 years. Mom was a hard worker and always busy. When she wasn’t working her hobbies were gardening and making cards for people. She was a crafty person, doing paper crafts and stamping, even making paper, but her cards were the best. When I was younger she also did a lot of sewing and knitting, making my clothes and making afghans for everyone.
How did she have the time and energy I often ask myself? Everyone loved my mom because she was always serving others or helping in some way. My dad was a Mason and Mom belonged to Eastern Star, and they were very active with these groups from their late 40′s well into their 70′s. When I think of the life my mom & dad created together I think of beauty, goodness, love and compassion.
Now my dad has passed away and Mom (almost 80) has Alzheimer’s disease and severe osteoporosis. She is bent over and twisted, walks with a limp and has a great deal of difficulty making cards these days. Yet, she called this morning to ask me to tell my boys that she didn’t forget their birthdays, and that she is a little slow but she is working on their cards. She forgets a lot of things, and the cards might not make it to the mail, but she is still trying so hard to care for others.
In 2009 my brother hired a yard service for my mom’s garden out of fear that she would try to do too much herself. She had been getting some help for a few years but she would always go out and work in the garden too, even though It had become dangerous for her. The yard service did a great job and she was so happy with the result that she asked me to come and take pictures, so I did. The following year I made a collage for her birthday, hoping it would keep her happy through the winter and give her hope for the coming spring.
You never know how your garden will bloom, especially in New Hampshire, so I was glad I could preserve this memory for her. It was the least I could do for my mom, one of the most compassionate people I know.
Of course, what else would you expect today?
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Go ahead and link up your lovely Valentine posts, or anything that expresses love to you.
Here’s Mine For You
Robert Burns- 1759-1796, Scottish Poet