Monday, September 21, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays # 23~ it's a short one

Always, always, I am inspired by texture and contrast- subtle or sharp- and pattern. I am inspired by the myriad combinations in Nature of purpose and beauty. I can't stop looking. I'll never stop looking. Above all, wings inspire me most.

For more Inspire Me Mondays, go HERE.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Invisible Stars

For 22 non-stop years I have been "walking a spiritual path". I have been seeking to improve the quality of my life and gain enough know-how to avoid repeating some pretty painful patterns. I have actively sought the advice and wisdom of world religions. I have immersed myself in the too-many-to-count tributaries of metaphysics and new age rivers of thought. Books, seminars, meditation groups. Astrology charts, channeled opinions, psychic opinions. Oracle cards, crystals, dowsing pendulums. Auras, prayers, yoga, drum circles. I've done it, consulted it, lived it to the best of my ability.

All the while, those 22 years, Nature has been my companion; teaching me the language of instinct and flow and living in the moment. There have been countless consultations with trees and birds, sorrow lifted by waterfalls and rainbows, the peace of stillness found in stars.

Suddenly, everything seems to have fallen away. The books, the horoscopes, the opinions of others. Mercury in retro-grade means nothing. My interest has fallen to rock bottom, leaving me standing perfectly still after 22 years. Nature continues to be my greatest companion, though. Creeks and cats and prayers for the well being of Canada geese during hunting season. My nightly barefoot viewing of stars from my doorstep.

Having conditioned myself to seek and ask for so many years, I asked why complete disinterest has come. In asking, my eyes settled on a pot I had painted 7 years ago; the one I unearthed from a tote and felt the need to put magazines in just last month. A lamb looks up to the stars; I wrote these words on the rim:"Dear God~ may the stars which fill the sky fill me".

And so the answer came. Instantly. I am full. Of stars and starlight and rainbows. Of love. The time has past, after 22 years, of seeking for answers outside myself. Confidence has slowly accumulated and a solid foundation of trust in myself has been laid. The mantra I have heard of over and over again, that all answers lie within; I am ready to live that mantra. I am ready to continue my spiritual path and look to myself first. For all of it. Surely, I will keep on reading Mr. Chopra and his very wise friends, but in truth, I already know what they are going to say. I already know what to do to live a life of quality. I will continue to stumble and fall. I will continue to live at low tide at times. I will continue to address my fears. But now I know, yes, now I know, in the stillness of disinterest, I have always been my own best compass. I have always been filled with invisible stars.

Pictures While Driving~ for the love of country

Monday, September 14, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays # 22~ it's a long one

Oh, the ways of the furry Bodhisattva.

Inspired by: my buff-colored, big boy Buddha.

In the 10 months I've lived with my rescue cat, Buddha, he's given me many opportunities to awaken. He is mercurial, that one. The mood, though always gentle, changes every day. At 3 years old, he has spent 2 of those years in shelters. That time served, plus whatever treatment he received that led to his long-term abandonment, has rendered him skittish and afraid. I find him hard to predict. I've worried about him almost every day. I want to ensure he has a sweet and comfortable life.

Buddha is afraid of me if I am upright and walking. He is afraid of me if I move my hand in a certain way and I can never quite catch that certain way I've moved before he runs off. He can wrap himself around my ankles, waiting for his wet breakfast one morning and refuse to come out from under the bed the very next. He can sulk in a pile of blankets in the back of the skinny closet for days and suddenly be found sleeping with me at night. He can show me up close the boo-boo on his lower lip- the second in the past five months- and then stalk away from me for a secret offense. I have never held him. Picking him up is not yet an option, making a potential visit to the vet a current impossibility. Hence, the daily worrying for his well being.

Don't think that this skittish boy is lacking in feline brain power, Buddha is by far the smartest cat that has owned me. He can read my mind and knows how to work a room, especially when I'm the only one in it. He is a master at the aloof-brand method of getting attention. He knows I'll do anything for him and he keeps me invested by letting me lather him with pets and face rubs each time I am in a sitting position. He isn't one to purr; instead, he drools his pleasure.

Buddha, my 14 pound Bodhisattva, has awakened me to my useless trait of ceaseless worry. It culminated with his latest how-did-this-happen-again puffy lower lip. Instead of getting all worked up as I usually do, with hand-wringing and much fretting, I suddenly stopped. It dawned on me (actually, it felt more like a lightning bolt of realization), there was nothing I could do for him, given his refusal to be held. I can't get him into a carrier, I can't administer any medication. So let him be. Let him be. I rubbed his face and told him his boo-boo would go away, just like it did the last time.

I decided to accept Buddha as he is- fearful, mercurial, drooling and spontaneously needy-and give up the worry. If he comes for breakfast, fine. If he doesn't, fine. If he hides for days or if he romps down the hall with a catnip sock in his mouth, fine. I will accept his ways and waste no more energy in worry. I will love him and care for him no matter what. His life is good and will be what it will be, with or without my worry.

And guess what? Since my reckoning, my vow of acceptance, Buddha has hidden less and has asked for more spontaneous pets. He is no longer bearing the weight of my fret. Naturally, I am awakening further to the idea of worrying less in other areas of my life, of putting more imaginary burdens down. Buddha being Buddha is helping me to lighten my entire load. Less angst in my life? How inspiring.

For more Inspire Me Mondays, click HERE.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Thank You, Rock Week

It's a funny thing how slowing down can speed things up. How focusing on simple beauties can allow the weighted mind to to sail lightly over turbulent seas. How rocks and birds and snakes and flowers and all the glories of the world outside our homes can ground us and lift us all at the same time.

Thank you, Rock Week.

Thank you, co-conspirator Don, and the "I'm-so-in-girls" Kasia and Elise, and the earth-goddess Debbie, and the original peace lady, Lisa, and the unexpected-wild-card-so-glad-you-joined-in, Sarah. Thank you all for expanding my view on the wonders of rocks and being such enthusiastic playmates. And thank you Miss Bella, who at just barely two, has begun her love affair with rocks. While the 6 of us were posting, Miss Bella was driving her own rock collection, with utmost care, through her yard every day.

I hope to meet you all back in the sand box for Pumpkin Week in October.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rock Week~ and the passion for creeks

With piles and piles of rocks still waiting to be revealed, how to choose the last rock post for the week? It came down to my love of creek beds. And so, I give you Ellicott Creek, the creek of my formative years and the one that draws me back over and over again. Like Murder Creek, Ellicott Creek meets the rock escarpment of an ancient lake and waterfalls its way to lower levels. When rocks and water form waterfalls, there lies the deepest peace for my soul.

Friday, September 11, 2009

P.e.a.c.e. Rocks

I am a proponent of peace within the individual as a means to world peace.

We create peace within by honoring ourselves~ body, mind and soul. How do we honor ourselves? We stop blaming and dare, dare to take responsibility for our own lives. We stop living at 100 miles per hour and take needed, over due rest. We bother to feed our bodies balanced, nutritious foods. We stop taking way too many things way too seriously and we make time for play. We stop allowing ourselves to be told what to do and we follow the wisdom of our own instincts. We fall down and we make the choice to get up. We laugh. We sing. We forgive ourselves.

We make love our first priority.

Peace will always follow.

Peace rock on marble~ hearts of rose quartz, jade, aventurine, sodalite, amethyst, goldstone, picture jasper, yellow calcite and clear quartz. Goddess pendants of turquoise, a stone renowned for bestowing peace of mind. A small peek at my vast collection of semi-precious tumbled stones.

For more Peace Rocks on this September 11th anniversary, visit Don, Kasia, Lisa, Elise, Debbie, and Sarah.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rock Week~ and a few of my favorite scenes

Murder Creek exposed
Do you see the retriever head?
Still life with duck
Favorite still life with duck

"The only difference between an extraordinary
life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary
pleasures you find in ordinary things."
Veronique Vienne

Rock week tumbles on over at the blogs of Don, Kasia, Lisa, Elise, Debbie and Sarah. Tomorrow is peace rock day. Let's give it a chance. Let me know if you wish to be included.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Rock Week~ and the shedding of the old

I'm telling you, go look for rocks. You don't have to formally participate in this made-up rock week festival, but if you want to see new sights and stumble across purposeful signs from the Universe, go hunt for rocks. I will be hard-pressed to squeeze in all my rock stories and fascinations this week because the creek bed alone gave me scads of incredible things to ponder.

When I came across this snake skin in the dried up portion of Murder Creek, I squealed. Not from fear, but from sheer delight. Only one other time have I chanced upon an entire skin intact. I knew immediately, upon finding this treasure, that rock week was meant to transform me.

Snakes are symbols of rebirth, resurrection, and wisdom expressed through healing. It is the shedding of its skin that bestows the snake with the "medicine" of death and rebirth. The shedding/death of the old~ fears, out-moded behaviors, apathy towards one's talents, self-deprecation~ brings clarity and new life. The snake remnant told me to leave it all behind, to move beyond all that I have allowed to hold myself back. It was the promise of sure life beyond the anxiety of letting go. It was the sign to tell me I am letting go. Full scale.

After looking closely without touching, I left the skin right where I found it. No need to carry the old and discarded with me, however fascinating it may be. When the rains come again, it will be washed away. And the messenger rocks will stay.

For other unique interpretations of Rock Week, please visit Don, Kasia, Lisa, Elise, Sarah,and Debbie .

Have a crush on rocks? Never thought you'd get the chance to admit it? Come play with us. Show us your best rocks or something related to rocks Thursday or Saturday. Friday the 11th is peace rock day. Make a peace sign out of rocks and show the world! Leave a comment if you'd like to be included in the colored links. :)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Rock Week~ and the art of water

Everywhere I go in this world, I see art. Colors, compositions, juxtapositions, natural lighting, all converge to make art according to the way I look at things. To be immersed in Nature is to be immersed in a living, changing tableau. To sit by a woods-lined creek in daylight is, to me, to sit inside a a painting. Monet captured the ever-shifting light in his paints, I seek to capture that light through the lens.

In seeking rocks, I sought new ways of seeing. And I saw that which I had never seen before. Shapes, colors, and textures of rocks suddenly seemed to glow for me. Add the element of creek water, frame a rock in the camera lens and I saw magic happen. The sky appeared. Reflections that were not evident to my naked eye floated on the surface through the lens, pulling down clouds and trees and my own shadow to add to the depth of an already interesting composition. Foam rings and the contrast of wet and dry patches of rock had me swooning in ways that would have made my high school art teacher proud. It was all so incredibly interesting. Dare I say it was passionate. Yes. I know. I am talking about rocks.

But really, I am talking about art. And the stopping long enough to see it. If you agree to see with new, unfettered eyes, the world is the Louvre, the Prado, the MOMA, the Smithsonian. Nature is the first gallery. The rocks, its walls and foundation.

Visit my friends, Don, Kasia, Lisa, Elise and Sarah for more passionate discourses on rocks. Want to share some rock love? Leave a comment, I'll link you too. Friday is peace rock day.

Update: My dear Soul-Sister, Debbie, has joined the rock concert, adding her not-to-be-missed natural wisdom to the line up. Go have a look HERE.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Inspire Me Mondays # 21

Seek and ye shall find.

Inspired by: Rock Week, a goofy way to stay in the now and lubricate the right brain.

Let me tell you, this made-up rock week thing has me jumping for joy. I swear I could do blog posts on rocks for 3 weeks straight, because once I started looking for rocks, an avalanche started. Living just below the escarpment of an ancient, no-longer-in-existence lake, I practically live in rock city. They are everywhere, in every size, much to my delight.

My first wish for my first post was to find a heart shaped rock. I thought it would set the tone nicely for a week of earth bound captivation. I headed for the cheerfully named "Murder Creek" that runs through Mayberry. I randomly selected a spot to tumble down the banks of the creek to begin my search. I did not have to tumble far. The very first rock that greeted me as I hit the creek bed was the one pictured above. The largest heart-shaped rock I had ever found. I knew right away, it was going to be a darn good week.

And guess what? A few welcome and up-for-anything souls have actually signed up for rock week! Stop by and see what rocks Don and Kasia and Lisa and Elise and Sarah have skipped across the blogosphere. Care to join us? Let me know in the comments. September 11th is peace rock day...make a peace sign out of the rocks of your choice. Now that's inspiring.

Oh, and more Inspire Me Mondays can be found HERE!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Release

I'm not feeling well. That always unnerves me, reminds me of times past I'd rather forget. But here it is, that small panic rising in the background as I drag a listless fork through the bowl of jasmine rice. It's okay, I tell myself. It's going to be okay. Just be patient. It won't last.

Isn't it funny how the burbling and roiling of an unwell body causes my mind to pry open the dusty book on the bottom shelf called, "dreams I was too scared to fulfill". The book feels heavy, thick with pages built by apathy and too many moments of not feeling safe.

How easy it is today to feel sorry for myself. To feel unloved. To feel alone. I find the taste of bananas almost unpleasant. I read and I wait. I stare off the edge of the couch at my cat who blinks and yawns and turns away.

I move to the chair, dragging the dusty book with me. More burbling, more roiling. Tears of self pity squeeze themselves past my lower lids. Something is moving outside the house and I turn my head to the window. A bicycle. The pedals turn fast and the wheels turn slow. An older man in a helmet and tan shorts braces against the effort of my curving, inclined street.

What(?), I say to myself, and lean into the window. I blink past the tears, focus on the revolving pedals. They are being pumped by shocking white sneakers and caramel-colored plastic, the plastic of not one, but two prosthetic legs. The man in the tan shorts seems steady, determined as he rounds the curve beyond my sight.

I lift open the window. I tear out the pages of the thick, dusty book, the pages of dreams unfulfilled. I release them all to the wind and watch them tumble up the street in the bicycle's wake. I decide to like the taste of bananas.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Rock Hounds

Yesterday, at lunch, a conversation was born from this Inspire Me Monday photo. My friend, Don, and myself have been fascinated lately with rocks. This up-ended slab was directly across from Monday's perch on the sitting tree and we discussed the possible symbolic meanings of its position and shape and the shifting theatrical light. We decided it was a message about turning the ordinary on its ear and discovering the amazing tilt in perception that comes from it. As well, we saw the Madonna with outstretched arms, an arrowhead pointing skyward, a symbol of needful balance between earth and sky.

One comment led to another and before we knew it, our rock fascination led to a brilliant, if somewhat useless, idea. Next week, from September 7th through the 12th, Don and me are going to feature "Rock Week" on our blogs. A post each day about rocks. Yeh, I know, super exciting, isn't it?? Well, it can be. It will be. For him and me, anyway. We're going to build sculptures and maybe write words in pebbles and whatever wild, unleashed creative genius comes to mind in the moment. It will be an exercise in creative abandon and honoring of the earth all at once. Photos for sure, commentary perhaps. It matters not. We're just gonna do it. The only for-sure is Friday, September 11th will be "peace rock day" featuring our individual peace signs made of rocks. I can't wait. My mind is spinning happily already with possibilities.

If you'd care to join us in honoring the creative spark and Mother Earth for Rock Week, leave a comment letting me know. Even if you just want to make a peace rock symbol and post it on the 11th, let me know. I'll make a list of links for anyone silly enough to come along for the fun.