Something, something, something

Peter-Matthiessen

“How does that happen?” Matthiessen asked me rhetorically, posing the question of the novel. He referred back to the novel’s epigraph, a poem by Anna Akhmatova that wonders, when we are surrounded by so much death, “Why then do we not despair?” Matthiessen looked at me, eyes dancing, beating on his leg in time as he said, “Something, something, something,” unable to name the mysterious life force that allows us to rejoice…

~ Jeff Himmelman


Peter Matthiessen, 86, died last night.  R.I.P.

The quote above is an excerpt from Himmelman’s April 3, 2014 NY Times Magazine article titled Peter Matthiessen’s Homegoing.

From today’s front page story in the NY Times Peter Matthiessen, Lyrical Writer and Naturalist, Is Dead at 86:

“Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake,” he told the British newspaper The Guardian in 2002. “We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.”

Wiki Bio:

Matthiessen was an American novelist, naturalist, and wilderness writer. He was a three-time National Book Award-winner for The Snow Leopard and Shadow Country. He was also a prominent environmental activist.  According to critic Michael Dirda, “No one writes more lyrically [than Matthiessen] about animals or describes more movingly the spiritual experience of mountaintops, savannas, and the sea.”

Matthiessen’s new book, In Paradise, is scheduled for release on April 8, 2014.


My Zen. Is My Zen.

donuts,bread,sweet,dessert,

It’s Saturday, late afternoon.
Dinner out? Or eat in?
I take inventory of the fridge. Eyes pan from the top shelf to bottom. Not feeling it here.
I take inventory: Sweat pants. Shower-less. Shave-less. Matted hair.
Eat in.
I grab a pencil to scribble out my wish list.  I’m about to hand it off.

No chance. You’re coming.
Why?
I’m not listening to you complain that I didn’t get you what you wanted.
Oh, come on.

The K’s are in the car.
You could have put a hat on.
I could have stayed home.
(Silence)
[Read more...]

Passages?

love-sex-aging

OK, I need help interpreting the illustration:

  1. She’s single and sleeping alone. Courting suitors?
  2. She’s married. Shares her bed.
  3. She’s married. Shares her bed with another.  Their child.
  4. The family gets a dog. Dog sleeps in bed.  Less room on bed. (This is all sounding close to home.)
  5. She’s pushed out of bed by husband, child and dog? Further separation?
  6. Empty Nesters pull together?
  7. She’s alone. (Husband deceased? Divorced?) Finds peace in meditation and being alone?

Source: “Passages” – NY Times Sunday Book Review


2º F. Us too.

bird,fence,cold,winter,huddled

A bitter morning,
sparrows sitting together
without any necks.

~ James Hackett


James William Hackett (84, b. Seattle), is an American poet and philosopher most noted for his work with haiku in English.  (Noted he was born during the year the Great Depression started.)  The Zen poet and pioneer in creating haiku poetry in English began writing haiku in the 1950s following a near fatal accident. Spiritually reborn, he acquired a profound reverence for life, and now writes haiku with a focus upon Greater Nature and life’s Eternal Now. He is a reclusive poet dedicated to a spiritual way of haiku in English.  Hackett’s poetry is known, translated, and anthologized world wide. Hackett’s Haiku Poetry: v. 1 can be found at Amazon at this link.

Credits: Photograph by Maris Rozenfelds. Haiku from The Haiku Form by Joan Giroux via apoetreflects. Hackett Bio via haiku-hia.com

Not a single inch of grass

desert-air-george-steinmetz-photograph

“The Master, addressing the assembly, said, “Brothers, it is the beginning of autumn, and the end of summer. You may go east or west, but you should go only to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li.” After pausing for a while he asked, “How does one go to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li?”

Later this was related to Shih-shuang, who said, “Why didn’t someone say, ‘As soon as one goes out the door, there is grass’?”

The Master, hearing of this response, said, “Within the country of the Great T’ang such a man is rare.”

-The Record of Tung-Shan



I’ll bolt the door

J.D. Salinger - A Boy in France

“I’ll read my books
and I’ll drink coffee
and I’ll listen to music,
and I’ll bolt the door.”

— J.D. Salinger, A Boy in France


The Saturday Evening Post, the nation’s oldest magazine, re-released in its July/August 2010 issue a rare J.D. Salinger short story, “A Boy in France,” first published in the magazine 65 years ago…The Post continues the magazine’s long history of publishing great fiction by re-releasing the story in memory of Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. Most of his earlier work, including the story in the July/August issue, has never been re-released. “J.D. Salinger’s ‘A Boy in France’ was originally published in The Post in 1945,” said SerVaas. “This evocative tale of a young solider struggling to maintain his sanity during the madness of war.” (Source: PRNewswire)


Credits: Image – Jdsalinger.livejournal.com.  Quote: Journal of Nobody

I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state by working harder and faster

David-Allen

“Folks, can we hear it for sloth, indolence, and procrastination?!” That’s how I have started many of my seminars over the years. And it always gets thunderous applause and raucous cheers. I think it hits a nerve.

I’ve been working on both (self-forgiveness and sense of humor) for decades now, and still find it quite challenging at times. But you know, when I’m in a loving, whole, and healthy state of mind about myself and about life, everything’s cool. Where I am, doing what I’m doing, is exactly where I need to be and what I need to do. God’s on her throne, the mail is coming, my dog loves me, and tomorrow is just fine right where it is, not showing up until then.

And I don’t seem to get to that wonderful state of mind by working harder and faster. Sometimes it helps, but more often it just perpetuates the angst. [Read more...]

Note from a Follower. And a Friend.

walkaway_crop380w

Most of you reading this post are WordPress followers. I’m sure that you, like me, often wonder who the human being is behind the curtain for certain members of your comment “community.” Sonia is one of those followers for me. Except she’s not a WordPress follower, but an email subscriber. I continue to shake my head in wonder at the wonderful network that is established in blogging. I reached out to Sonia following a comment interchange and I asked her to share a bit with me about her.

In April, 2012, ~ six months after this blog was launched, Sonia signed up to receive email posts. Sonia, 25, is a Muslim. She is from Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan and the third largest city in the world. (Pop: 23 million.) Sonia is pursuing an MBA in Human Resources and is two courses and a thesis away from graduation. She also works as a Corporate Coordinator at a major multinational Health Insurance Company.

I asked Sonia how she found my blog.  She said that she “was searching the internet for articles and ended up in the world of Blogs. Now among the millions of bloggers, why did I subscribe to your Blog? A million dollar question! I used to have (write) conversations with life (in a childish diary that I have) and I was surprised to find you having a conversation with your Mind in one of your posts. I was awestruck because in last 5 years of my conversations, I never came across a person who did that. So I subscribed to follow your blog.

(Note to self: Someone halfway across the world types “Bloggers Talking To Themselves” into the Google Search box and on Page 1 of the Google Search landing page they find me.  Oh Boy.) [Read more...]

Which Horse You Ridin’?

horse in sunset

“Roshi once told us that there were three different kinds of horses: with one, just a tug at the reins made them start moving; the second, a kick in the flanks and they were off; and then there were those that had to be beaten to the bone with a whip before they started to move. “Unfortunately,” he said, “most human beings are the third kind.” He told us we act as though we were going to live forever. “Wake up,” he said.

~ Natalie Goldberg

 


Heading home

Heidi Rakels © Stephan Vanfleteren

Growing old
I love the quiet that used to disturb me.
I have distance on my life.
The boast and pity of self-regard
have fallen somewhat behind.
Heading home,
the home I carry with me,
I settle into the clouds.
On the mountain
I sit quietly in a sage meadow
visited by the same bees that make lovers
of flowering bushes.
I become part of the golden comb hidden
in the hive humming with delight.”

Stephen Levine


wabi-sabi

home,warmth,comfort

sunlight,sun, sun rays [Read more...]

August 13 (today), 1851: I am dissolved in the haze

Thoreau, Henry David Thoreau

In the journal entries recorded in subsequent weeks and months, we meet with no passages quite so ornate or imposing as this epiphany entered on August 13, today, in 1851…

Thoreau made the following entry under the heading “Drifting”:

“Drifting in a sultry day on the sluggish waters of the pond, I almost cease to live – and begin to be.  A boat-man stretched on the deck of his craft, and dallying with the noon, would be as apt an emblem of eternity for me, as the serpent with his tail in his mouth.  I am never so prone to lose my identity.  I am dissolved in the haze.”

~ Professor Alan D. Hodder, Thoreau’s Ecstatic Witness (p.63). From Henry David Thoreau’s journal entries on August 13, 1851.


Photograph Credit: Time.  Quote Credit: Thank you Makebelieveboutique

The sound of the rain needs no translation

black and white, Christian Calzone

“I had a discussion with a great master in Japan, and we were talking about the various people who are working to translate the Zen books into English, and he said, ‘That’s a waste of time. If you really understand Zen, you can use any book. You could use the Bible. You could use Alice in Wonderland. You could use the dictionary, because the sound of the rain needs no translation.’”

- Alan Watts


Alan Watts quotes Zen roshi Morimoto in his autobiography titled In My Own Way.  Watts (1915-1973) was a British-born philosopher, writer and speaker, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern Philosophy for Western audiences.  He moved to the United States in 1938 and began Zen training in New York. Pursuing a career, he attended Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, where he received a master’s degree in theology. Watts became an Episcopal priest then left the ministry in 1950 and moved to California, where he joined the faculty of the American Academy of Asian Studies.  Watts gained a large following in the San Francisco Bay Area while working as a volunteer programmer at KPFA, a Pacifica Radio station in Berkeley. Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on subjects important to Eastern and Western religion, introducing the then-burgeoning youth culture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism.  (Source: Wiki)


Credits: Photograph by Christian Calzone via Black and White.  Quote via Whiskey River.

Steady my harried pace

slow-me-down


Wilferd Arlan Peterson (1900–95) was born in Whitehall, Michigan and lived most of his life in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was an American author who wrote for This Week magazine (a national Sunday supplement in newspapers distributed to 13,000,000 readers). For twenty-five years, he wrote a monthly column for Science of Mind magazine. He published nine books starting in 1949 with The Art of Getting Along: Inspiration for Triumphant Daily Living.” Peterson was regarded as “one of the best loved American writers of the 20th century, renowned for his inspirational wisdom and aphoristic wit” by the Independent Publishers Group. His influences include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Abraham Lincoln, among many others. His contemporaries include Norman Vincent Peale and Dale Carnegie, and current writers and philosophers such as Jack Canfield and Brian Tracy have referred to Peterson’s works. He was married to Ruth Irene Rector Peterson (1921-79). He credits his wife Ruth as being the inspiration for his work (saying that while he “wrote about the art of living, she lived it”), and they collaborated often on producing these inspirational books. (Source: Wiki)


Source: Thank you Perpetua at The Seeker

Who Binds You?

wind, flow


Who binds you?
A monk asked Seng ts’an, “Master, show me the way to liberation.”
Seng ts’an replied, “Who binds you?”
The monk responded, “No one binds me.”
Seng ts’an said, “Then why do you seek liberation?”


Credits: Image – Madam Scherzo. Quote:  whiskeyriver.blogspot.com.  This is an Ancient koan / teaching story.  Seng Ts’an is the third Zen ancestor in China.

l’esprit de l’escalier

l'espirt de l'escalier word definition

murr-ma word definition

tsundoku word definition

[Read more...]

Sit Still

stephan vanfleteren portrait

“We yearn for silence, yet the less sound there is, the more our thoughts deafen us. How can we still the noise within?…In Vipassana you concentrate on sensation in stillness, sitting down, not necessarily cross-legged, though most people do sit that way. And sitting without changing position, sitting still. As soon as you try to do this, you become aware of a connection between silence and stillness, noise and motion. No sooner are you sitting still than the body is eager to move, or at least to fidget. It grows uncomfortable. In the same way, no sooner is there silence than the mind is eager to talk. In fact we quickly appreciate that sound is movement: words move, music moves, through time. We use sound and movement to avoid the irksomeness of stasis. This is particularly true if you are in physical pain. You shift from foot to foot, you move from room to room. Sitting still, denying yourself physical movement, the mind’s instinctive reaction is to retreat into its normal buzzing monologue — hoping that focusing the mind elsewhere will relieve physical discomfort. This would normally be the case; normally, if ignored, the body would fidget and shift, to avoid accumulating tension. But on this occasion we are asking it to sit still while we think and, since it can’t fidget, it grows more and more tense and uncomfortable. Eventually, this discomfort forces the mind back from its chatter to the body. But finding only discomfort or even pain in the body, it again seeks to escape into language and thought. Back and forth from troubled mind to tormented body, things get worse and worse.  Silence, then, combined with stillness — the two are intimately related — invites us to observe the relationship between consciousness and the body, in movement and moving thought.”

~ Tim Parks, Inner Peace


This essay by Tim Parks is worth reading in its entirety.  You can find it at this link.  Parks references his book Cleaver in the essay.  The book was chosen as a Sunday Telegraph Book of the Year.  It is one of the funniest novels that I have read.  You can read my review of Cleaver at this link.


Credits: Portrait of Phara De Aguirre by Stephan Vanfleteren. Quote: Inner Peace, Aeon Magazine

Today’s Mantra

chart, focus,control,effectiveness,leadership,success,work


Source: Carl Richards

To the rushing water speak

dive

And if the earthly has forgotten
you, say to the still earth: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke


Credits: poem - lifeinpoetry.  Image: Hungarian Soul.  Rilke poem from “Sonnets to Orpheus

Look for those small openings

natalie goldberg

We have this life. We live it day by day. It passes quickly. Sometimes not quickly enough- we get despondent, sullen, downcast. Those are good words. In those slow moments something might appear- a chance to fall through our blistering fast-paced lives to the other side, where we can turn around and view ourselves, take a curious interest. Underneath everything we long to know ourselves. We wouldn’t know it though by the way we act- chugging down another whiskey, not listening to our daughter at breakfast, going sixty in a twenty zone. Reaching to get away; longing to come home. In writing, in sitting, in slow walking, a flash, a moment appears when we fall through and what we are fighting, running from, struggling with becomes open, luminous- or, even better, not a problem, just what it is. Look for those small openings.

~ Natalie Goldberg


Natalie Goldberg, 65, is an American popular New Age author, speaker, teacher and painter. She is best known for a series of books which explore and practice writing as Zen practice. Her 1986 book Writing Down the Bones sold over a million copies and is considered an influential work on the craft of writing. Her 2013 book, The True Secret of Writing, is a follow-up to that work.  Goldberg has studied Zen Buddhism for more than thirty years. She has been teaching seminars in writing as a practice for the last thirty years. People from around the world attend her life-changing workshops and she has earned a reputation as a great teacher. The Oprah Winfrey Show sent a film crew to spend the day with Natalie for a segment on Spirituality that covered her writing, teaching, painting, and walking meditation. (Sources: Wiki & NatalieGoldberg.com)


Credits: Quote – Thank you makebelieveboutique.com.  Photograph: kripalu.org

Less

Portrait of Woman Holding Dove

Your Miscellaneous Way

Occupying your own skin with joy,
I watch you
listen to yourself living,
discovering each day
how much less of everything
steadies you into being.

- Terrance Keenan


Credits: Image – Mme Scherzo.  Quote: Whiskey River.  More on Terrance Keenan @ this link.

Water

photography

Circa 1998.

Miami.

July.

Sundays.

Eric is four. Relentless. “Come on Dad. It’s time to go swimming.” Pulling on my hand. “Come on Dad. Dad, come on!”

The marble floor in the bathroom is cool and smooth on our bare feet. I watch him struggle tugging on his suit. His little white bottom contrasting against his milk chocolate tan lines. He lets out a whimper in frustration as he can’t pull on his swim shirt.

We step outside.

We had lived in Miami for four years. The sweltering summer heat was still a shock. Swallowing up oxygen. Mixing with the heavy pool chlorine…filling nostrils and lungs.

10am. 91F. And there is still August to go.

[Read more...]

Just for a little while

black and white, photography,freckles

Just for a little while, stop thinking about all the problems, crises, tasks. everything that’s pulling and pushing on us. Be in that quiet space.  After all these years, some of us still need permission to let go.

~ Melody Beattie


Image Credit: Nowandthan

Running. With Shodo.

art, painting, illustration, rain, drops, color

5:25 am.  Headline machines spewing darkness: “Curled up on a bloody boat.” (CNN) “A Grim Day for a Small Town. Bodies recovered after blast. (WSJ)  “Raped.  Delhi 5 year old in serious condition.” (BBC News)  This last one too much for me.  I shudder.  Evil.  Mimi describes her contrasting realities this morning.  And I’m in search for a contrast to my mental image reality.  I turn away from the gloom.

5:55 am. 47F.  Drizzling. I’m out the door.  Need a new route.  Need a change.  A new path. I’m determined to run long.  Man looking for accomplishment.  Looking for my body to ache.  The kind of ache deep in your bones.  A soreness that hurts – - the achy hurt – - your body telling you that you pushed it today.  That’s it.

19-year old boy shivering under tarp in the boat. Curled up. Lying is his own blood.  Chopper circling..spot lights illuminating the darkness.  Is his Mother watching? [Read more...]

The Life of a Day

trees, woods, forest, winter, photography, black and white

“Like people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don’t want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn’t one I’ve been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when, we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well-adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night’s meandering skunk.”

~ Tom Hennen


Tom Hennen, author of six books of poetry, was born and raised in rural Minnesota. After abandoning college, he married and began work as a letterpress and offset printer. He helped found the Minnesota Writer’s Publishing House, then worked for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife section, and later at the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Now retired, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Image Source: Andreas Wonisch

Hold the moment…

woman portrait black and white

“Every moment is a poem if you hold it right.”

~ Lauren Zuniga

 


Sources: Lauren Zuniga web site. Image from Adrian’s Little Universe.  Quote from apoetreflects

Related Posts:

Welcome Home

City Skyline, San Francisco
Here it comes again.
The heaviness in the chest.
And, in the shoulders.
It lifts.
It drips away.
Why does it show in flight? In the heavens.
Happiness?
No. Bigger.
He’s right. It’s Joy. [Read more...]

6:53 am. And inspired.

Canola Field Shaun Lowe

Here’s my picks for the inspiring posts of the week.

Thank you Canadian Art Junkie for sharing the photo above in her post Shaun Lowe: Canola, Sunshine & The Sea.  See her post for more wonderful photographs of eastern Canada.

Steve Gutzler with his post titled 7 Keys to Building Irresistible Energy:I’ll be honest, one of my favorite compliments is when people take note of my energy and passion. But having such energy has been a life struggle of mine. When I was a young man in my early 20′s, I was diagnosed with a blood disorder. For over three years I woke up every day with a low grade temperature and lacking energy. I’d drag through my days. My attitude was good but my immune system was ravaged…Well, fast forward to today. I’m healthy with no hint of fatigue. I train 4-5 days a week and I eat like an athlete. I strive to get seven hours of sleep and I’m working most days by 5 AM. What I like most about where I am at is how grateful I am for what I have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, not perfect but I’m sure grateful for what I have!”…Read entire post for Steve’s 7 Keys to Building Energy at this link.

Maybe It’s Just Me who describes herself  and her blog as “The life of a middle aged hippie on Maui, eating raw and vegan and staying healthy. I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain in fall 2012 with my husband and son“…do we need more inspiration than this?!!  Her beautiful post shares her sensations as she returns home to the various places she’s lived.  The post is titled:  As We Relive Our Lives In What We Tell You and this excerpt is returning home to Maui: …there is no better feeling than coming home to a place that I love.  I went up onto the roof deck today to look at the clouds, the palm trees, and the volcano rising above, and again later on, to watch a glorious sunset over the ocean.  I was content to just sit and feel the warmth of the island air on my skin.  Skin that desperately cries out for sunshine and humidity, and that whispers “mahalo” every time I return home to Maui.”  Read her entire post at this link.

[Read more...]

Julia Harwood: Healing Art

This story started back in November, 2012 with a hump day post which listed my favorite posts of the week. This post was fronted with a spectacular picture of tourists riding a caravan of camels on a white sandy beach in Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia. Magical. I attributed the photo to the source and went on my merry way.

Last week, Julia Harwood, the owner and photographer from Western Australia, let me know the photo was hers and asked me to correct the attribution on my post. I had sent her an email apologizing. I never expected to hear back from her. I then proceeded to receive two wonderful emails from Julia along with her consent to post several of her photographs in the slide show below. I was inspired by her kindness and her living her motto of “Healing Art.

Some artists/photographers pursue their passion as a hobby. Others, like Julia, rely on it as their primary source of income. Who pays for the camera? The film? The paint? The canvas? The supplies? The petrol to get to location? The time to wait for the perfect shot? Certainly not me. And the least I can do is continue to appropriately attribute and link the art work to the artist.

Check out the slide show below.  This is Julia’s work.  The seagull reflection.  The peeling paint.  The water splashing from a fountain. The early morning ironman.  The moon balancing on the tip of a tree.  Enchanting.  Magical.

Then, do Julia a favor and check out her website @ Healing Art: Julia Harwood Photography.   Consider LIKING her Facebook page @ Photography by Julia Harwood.  And following her blog @ this link.  Thank you.  Enjoy…

Attribution:

The act of attributing, especially the act of establishing a particular person as the creator of a work of art.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Every Day Mind

illustration, sketch, painting, paint, art, blue sky, optimism

Every day mind is getting out of bed, eating breakfast, going to work, coming home, going to bed. It is laughing and crying, being anxious and joyful. Everyday mind is walking and talking, sitting down and standing up. It is the mind of suffering, conflict, anger and hatred, love and devotion. How can everyday mind be the way? Everyday mind, we say, is too mundane, too ordinary, and so we want the opposite, we want the magical. It is our very search, our lust for the miraculous and magical, that hides from us the truth that simply to be, simply to know I am, is already the miracle that we seek. Everything, as it is, is perfect, but you must stop seeing it as if in a mirror, as if in a dream.”

~  Albert Low


Albert Low, 84, is a western Zen Master, an internationally published author of 11 books, and a former human resources executive. He has lived in England, South Africa, Canada and the U.S. and has resided in Montreal since 1979.  He was born in London on December 16, 1928. He left England with his wife Jean in 1954, and emigrated to South Africa. There he was employed by the Central News Agency where he eventually, he became the senior personnel executive. In 1963, he left South Africa as he could not agree with the apartheid policy and moved to Canada. He settled in Ontario and was again employed as a personnel executive, this time with a large utility that was at that time called the Union Gas Company. Eventually, he wrote a book based upon his researches: Zen and Creative Management, which has since sold more than 75,000 copies. During his time at the gas company, he continued to give talks and seminars on the subject of management, organization and creativity — the latter a subject he has spent considerable time studying, and which is very closely connected with Zen practice.


Image: Mathiole – “The Optimist” from 1000 drawings. Quote: Whiskey River

5:28 am. And inspired.

David Tribby - Chicago Panoramic Skyline & Sunset

Thank you David Tribby for the inspiring panoramic shot of the City of Chicago. And, now, on to the inspiring posts of the week:

James Altucher, pro blogger, @ The Altucher Confidential with his post on his morning ritual titled The Six People You Must Find TodayOnce you do this, oxytocin will explode through your body, lighting up all of your pleasure centers. (1) Someone to love. Write the name and why you love this person. (2) Someone to thank. You must call them and thank them. If you can’t call them, just write their name down. (3) Someone to be grateful for…Read entire post at this link.

Judy @ petit4chocolatier with her post: Chocolate Cupcakes with Soft Blue Butter-Cream Icing with Little Chocolate Sprinkles.  She had me at her post title.  And then she stole my stomach with wave upon wave of delectable cupcake photos.  I wanted to come through the screen to get at these.  Pan through Judy’s other posts.  Amazing.

[Read more...]

There is nothing that I dislike

mirror, woman, portrait, black and white
“There is nothing I dislike.”

“These are the extraordinary words of the great teacher Linji; they are a lifetime koan for anyone who dares to take it on. Lifetime koans like this one never give up on you, luckily. ‘There is nothing I dislike’ is daring and fragrant and alive, and it is like this because it’s like this. ‘There is nothing I dislike’ rearranges us profoundly, when we offer ourselves to its energy, its scrutiny, its disturbance in us. [Read more...]

Looking, we do not see. Listening, we do not hear. Loving, we do not feel.

John Daido Loori - 1

“The thing that blinds us and deafens us is the ceaselessly moving mind, the preoccupation we have with our thoughts. It is the incessant internal dialogue that shuts out everything else. That is the problem with trying to take a preconceived photograph. Before you even walk out of the building, you blind yourself. All day long we talk to ourselves. We preoccupy ourselves with the past, or we preoccupy ourselves with the future, and while we preoccupy ourselves, we miss the moment and miss our lives. Looking, we do not see. It is as if we were blind. Listening, we do not hear. It is as if we were deaf. Loving, we do not feel. It is as if we were dead. Preoccupied, we do not notice the reality around us. How can we be present? How can we taste and touch our lives? The answer to these questions is not outside yourself. To see this truth requires the backward step, going very deep into yourself to find the foundation of reality and of your life. To see it is not the same as understanding it or believing it. To see it means to realize it with the whole body and mind. To realize it transforms one’s life, one’s way of perceiving the universe and the self, and of expressing what has been realized…When you practice the Zen arts, practice your life – trust yourself completely. Trust the process of sitting. Know that deep within each and every one of us, under layers of conditioning, there is an enlightened being, alive and well. In order to function, it needs to be discovered. To discover this buddha is wisdom. To make it function in the world is compassion. That wisdom and compassion is the life of each one of us. It is up to you what you do with it.”

~ John Daido Loori [Read more...]

4:02 am. And inspired.

Red Sea, Sea, beach, sunrise, Egypt

Thank you Sandy @ Another Lovely Day for the amazing photo share of the Egyptian sunrise over the Red Sea.

And, now, on to the inspiring posts of the week:

Julie @ jmgoyder – Wings & Things from a retired dairy farm in Western Australia…with her series of posts on Gutsy9, an abandoned baby peacock that was adopted by Julie.  Start at this post: Tips on Raising a Baby Peacock and then pan forward to the photos and updates.  I look forward with anticipation to Julie’s updates on Gutsy9.  Here’s an excerpt: So I have been raising Gutsy9 myself and he and I are totally imprinted on each other now. He is a pied, so half white and half blue so it will be interesting to watch him grow up. At night he sleeps in a box in the veranda and during the day he sits on my shoulder. Read on for the 6 tips at this link.  And, don’t miss Julie’s Bio/About page.  You won’t be disappointed.

Linda Petersen @ Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities And Remaining Sane Blog rings the bell again with a wonderful post titled Life Is Like A Tiny Bag of Jelly Bellies.  Linda shares a number of little events that give “her a boost and make her happy.”  Here’s a few of her Jelly Bellies…”(1) seeing a grandfather walking along, holding the hand of his joyous granddaughter, all dressed up with coat and fancy hat, skipping happily along, ribbons trailing, (2) hanging a picture on the wall and having it come out straight the first time, (3) finding a $10 bill in the pocket of a coat I haven’t worn in a long time, (4) a hug from a child, especially if it is accompanied by and “I love you.”  Hit this link to read more.

[Read more...]

Now

black and white, portrait, fashion model, model

Most days I cling to a single word.

It is a mild-mannered creature made of thought.

Future, or Past. 

Never the other, obvious word.

Whenever I reach out to touch that one, it scurries away.

—Laura Kasischke, opening lines to “Riddle” from Space, in Chains


Laura Kasischke was awarded the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for Space, In Chains.  She is currently a Professor of English Language at the University of Michigan.  She attended the University of Michigan (MFA 1987) and Columbia University.


Image Source: Wedebrand via Here And Now.  Quote Source: Apoetreflects

Trees. Home is within you.

Trees Forest in winter

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. [Read more...]

5:03 am. And, Inspired…

canoe, canoeing, river, mist, fog, Golden Ears Mountain

Good Wednesday morning. The peaceful, easy feeling photo above of the Alouette River, Pitt Meadows, British Columbia was taken by Kevin van der Leek.

Paulette Mahurin @ The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap with her post The Touch That Changed My Life: “While in grad school at UCLA, I had a clinical rotation at a VA outpatient hospital, when a homeless man was brought in to the emergency room. He was filthy with a foul odor, as if he hadn’t changed his clothes in days nor took them off to go to the bathroom. I saw him come with the paramedics and the commotion that ensued with a lull before anyone started treatment, to gown and glove up, goggles over eyes, all body parts covered…Read More at this link.  Inspiring.  Period.

Linda Petersen @ Raising Five Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog with her post I Have Raised My Children Right in the Most Important Area: “I am sure that every parent questions how they have raised their children. I know I have.  I have not been strict enough in making them eat all of their vegetables and clean their rooms, (mainly because I don’t eat all of my vegetables and clean my room.) I know to some people  this is a major parenting faux pas.  However, I have raised my children right in the most important area…caring for others…”  Read the rest of this inspiring story at this link.  And don’t miss Linda’s ABOUT page.

[Read more...]

Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration: Virgin Islands

Now this has considerable appeal this morning as temperatures dip well below freezing.  I’m inspired.

Action Sports St. John from Steve Simonsen on Vimeo.


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7:40 am. And, Inspired…

Nitzus Wheatfields and Vineyards near Waikerie Riverland Region South Australia

Good Wednesday morning. Nitzus kicks us off with a photo he titles “Land of Gold” - wheat fields and vineyards near  Waikerie in the Riverland region in South Australia.  Be sure to check out his blog and other great photos.  And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Don Carnagey~Lanier with his post Giving Gratefulness and Being Lonely: “All of our lives are a cycle and a river that we must each travel one our own. The destination is set, but the method of our journeying is up to us. We can cruise down the middle of the river at top speed, or we can hug the shore and spin around in eddies. We can crash over rapids or chart a safer path between obstacles. We can slum along the bottom in the mire and slime of sediment, or we can glide along the sparkling surface where the air is clean. The river is ours from birth to death. How we’ll navigate it is determined by the hundreds of small choices we make each day.”  Read entire post at this link.

Make Believe Boutique with another of her steady stream of thought provoking posts titled The Fresh Blush of Color in the Transpersonal Soul:  “What capacities lie unrecognized within us? What currently unfathomable abilities lie dormant, and what can we do to speed their appearance? These are humbling questions that remind us that for all we know our potentials may exceed our wildest dreams. Plotinus claimed that humankind stands poised midway between the beasts and the gods. Perhaps this is another way of saying that we stand midway on our developmental and evolutionary trajectory to full human potential…”  Read entire post at this link. [Read more...]

Sunday Morning: Home

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My Brother Lorne sent me a link to Douglas Noblet’s Wild Air Photography site.  We grew up in the Kootenays in Southeastern, British Columbia, Canada.  Douglas’ pictures left me in wonder.  As a child growing up, you don’t fully appreciate what is out your back door.  Doug’s awesome photographs make my heart swell with pride and leave me inspired.  About earth.  About nature.  About home.  Good Sunday morning. [Read more...]

6:12 a.m. Now. Winter Solstice Commences.

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Click For Audio (“Snowstorm 1814” by Shady Bard From the Album “First The Winter)



Sources: Date/time start of winter. The Farmers Almanac.  Sources & Credits for these photo shares (and many other winter photos) can be accessed with a Tumblr account @ dkwinter.  Yes, that is our Zeke – in the third photo – his first winter – with snow on his nose.

5:20 am. And, Inspired…

Linda's Son Standing in Mono Lake

Good Wednesday morning. Linda @ A Nature Mom took this photo of her son at Mono Lake, Eastern Sierra California.  So much seems to have happened since my last hump day post.  Children are on my mind and this wonderful, peaceful (and safe) photo resonated with me.  Be sure to check out Linda’s blog and her photos – wonderful, heartwarming images.

And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Tony Caselli with his moving post  A Night of Long HugsThe house is quiet…On a day like today, with the tragic shooting in Connecticut, I felt fortunate to be rehearsing a play about love, and the power of family and kindness. I got home from rehearsal just before bedtime, and hugged my wife. My daughter came out in her pajamas and gave me a big, long hug, saying “I love you Dad”…10 minutes later, sitting with my 12-year old as he was about to read himself to sleep, we quietly discussed how sad those families in Connecticut must be right now. After we sat for a minute in silence he looked at me. “When I grow up and become a psychologist”, he said, “I hope I can help someone to not do stuff like that.” I hugged him close. “I think that’d be a pretty great thing, buddy.” And now I lay in bed, and I listen to the quiet of the house.” Read entire post at this link.   [Read more...]

4:03 am. And, Inspired…

Visiting The Wheat Fields Next To Van Gogh's Grave, Auvers Sur Oise, France

Good Wednesday morning.  The photo above is a couple visiting the wheat fields next to Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers Sur Oise, France.  Hit this link to get full impact of this shot.  The full size photograph evokes many powerful emotions…

And now on to my selection of the inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Lvsrao @ Lvsrao’s Blog with his post The Seven Principles: Life is a struggle. Remembering 7 principles gives strength.  (1) In generosity and helping others be like a river. (2) In compassion and grace be like the sun…(Read the rest of his five principles at this link.  Loved it.)

Kim @ Tranquil Dreams with her post When is it OK…:  “Six years ago today, my dad (passed away)…My dad was the typical Chinese man from previous generation who didn’t show his emotions much and didn’t compliment much (or at all). …After he passed, it was when I realize that a good part of my life was spent on trying to do things to make my father proud, however it seemed that I never did actually get to that point.  I was just never that perfect daughter…(Read more for the full story and conclusion.  And listen to the music clip.  Moving.)

[Read more...]

Be…

little girl, dancing, happy, joy

We have time

portrait-black-and-white-woman

We have time for everything
Sleep, run back and forth,
regret we made an error and err again
judge others and absolve ourselves,
we have time to read and write,
edit what we wrote, regret what we wrote,
we have time to make projects and never follow through
we have time to dwell in illusions and stir through
their ashes much later.

We have time for ambitions and diseases,
to blame destiny and details,
we have time to look at the clouds, at the ads, or some random accident, we have time
to chase away our questions, postpone our answers, we have time
to crush a dream and reinvent it, we have time to make friends,
to lose them, we have time to take lessons and forget them
soon after, we have time to receive gifts and not understand them. We have time for everything.

No time, though, for a little tenderness.
When we’re about to do that, too, we die.

~ Octavian Paler (1926-2007. Romanian writer, politician, journalist and activist.)


Source: For Quote, Thank you Yama-Bato.  For photo: Cristina Otero

3:50 am. And, Inspired…

home and lighthouse; sunset, ocean, island

Good Wednesday morning.  Here’s a selection of inspiring posts of the week from my favorite bloggers:

Vicki Flaherty @ Mostly My Heart Sings with her post The Survivor In Me:  “I guess you never think someone will say the words “You have cancer.”  I certainly had never imagined it. It was surreal. I was home alone and scared. I remember crying like I have never cried before. I’m amazed that just days after the diagnosis, I was already moving to a place of strength and resiliency. The survivor in me, I guess.  Here’s what I wrote in my journal that day, just a series of words: Strong. Resilient. Informed. Great care. Options. Choices. Fortunate. Reaching for family, friends. Being held, supported.  Feeling love. Light. Healing. Growing. Path, Obstacle, Overcome, Stumbling forward with Grace. The seeds for this poem were planted on a beautiful day like today, when I was outside running with Jim, and watching the birds fly over the Iowa River.  I remember thinking how awesome it would be to fly, to embrace the vast openness of the sky and float effortlessly on thermals – and wondering if I could create something like that for myself down here on the ground as a human being.  The answer?  Yes, for moments at a time.  Read the entire post and Vicki’s poem titled Strong at this link.  Inspiring.

Dr. Bill  Wooten, who produces “aha” quote shares day-after-day-after-day, with a quote from Henri Nouwen titled: The Greatest Trap: “Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions...Read the rest of the quote at this link. [Read more...]

Choose: Up. Or Down.

happy, sad, happy sad face, gif, mental health, psychology, thoughts, be happy

The trick is in what one emphasizes.

We either make ourselves miserable,

Or we make ourselves happy.

The amount of work is the same.

~ Carlos Castaneda


Sources: Image: novoheroi. Castanda quote: iheartloons

Still Standing.

The Cove, Stamford, CT

The stone walkway may be 2.5 feet at its narrowest point.  The shore line is 7-8 feet down from the walkway.  It’s narrow, it is a ways down and I’m always wary.  I must have been daydreaming.  Or better stated, distracted by day-work-worrying.

I’m on my morning run.

My right forearm slams into the end of the steel I-beam guard rail.  Here it comes. A car crash in slow motion.  A Bruce Lee flick.  With much less grace.  The I-beam doesn’t move.  But it moves me.  It spins me around.  Full Stop. Drop.  Roll.  Air explodes out of my chest.  I’m gasping for air.  More stunned than hurt.  I’m down flat on my back for a few seconds, grateful that I didn’t plunge into the mud and frigid waters in the bay.  I look around to see if anyone caught the show.  No one is yelling “Man Down.  Man Down.”  We’re clear.  Pride intact. [Read more...]

Day off Today. Feeling like…

black and white


Source: Thank you madamescherzo

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Feel like…

gif, sand, ocean, relax, chill, zen, peace, slow down


Source: weheartit.com