Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Finding Your Voice.



Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

I remember once, some many years ago when my son was first attending day care. He was having a most difficult time adjusting to this his newest transition. At just 2 years old, I believe he was doing quite well - in spite of those tears.

One day, he was beginning to melt down just a bit as I was readying to walk out the door. My instinct as a Mother was to scoop him up in my arms. But his caregiver at the time, the sweetest gentlest charming southern soul-grabbed my arm, and held it fast...and in order to tell me, "no".

"Find your voice baby," she said softly to my son.

And in just long enough for him to draw a deep breath he said, "I want to go home."

I was so very proud of him that day. Not because of that mini-meltdown in the classroom...but rather, because on that day...my son... found his voice.

So, I pray this day that each and all and every single one of you may have the strength to find that inner voice... particularly, on those days...when it is needed the very most.

Namaste.

A Day Full of "Certain Something" Moments.


“Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.” ― Martin Luther King Jr

My most beautiful friends, today is that day to fill your hearts fully.


In each moment, you'll find that there is just that 'certain something' - that carries you away to a most special place, of unconditional love and contentment.

May today be filled to the brim with those 'certain something' moments.

And, may you all find that 'inaudible language' within your heart.

Peace, love, and namaste.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Good Night, My Most Beautiful Friends, and Good Dreams.



Golden Slumbers (Lennon/McCartney)

"Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby"

Good night, my most beautiful friends...may good dreams find you safely wherever you are this night.

And in the end, the love you take...is equal to...the love...you make. 

"As Wind carries our prayers for Earth and All Life, may respect and love light our way.
May our hearts be filled with compassion for others and for ourselves.
May peace increase on Earth. May it begin with me."
— Tibetan prayer flag is 'Lung ta', meaning 'Wind Horse'

Images of Peace Against the Backdrop of Adversity: Commemorating the Kent State shootings.


U.S. Soldier in Vietnam, Photograph by Bettman/CORBIS

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

On a quiet afternoon, in a small Ohio college town, students gathered upon a grassy knoll to protest President Nixon's expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

The protest began peacefully at 12:00 noon, and marked by the sounding of the campus "Victory" bell. 

As that first speaker slowly approached the podium, that's when all hell began to break out. Ohio's National Guard was ordered to 'keep the peace' no matter what, and by whatever means possible.

March on Washington 17 April 1965
And, into this gathering wanting most to have peace—in just 13 short seconds, 67 rounds were shot out into the crowd.

Four people died on that day—holding open this space for peace and compassion.

I can think of no other way to honor their memory—then to do our vert best to continue what they once started.

Namaste, and peace, my most beautiful friends—may all that we do be infused with compassion's spirit.




Bonus Poem: AMAZING PEACE  by Maya Angelou

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft.   Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
We tremble at the sound.
We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war.   But true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, and comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace.  We look at each other, then into ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation:
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.



Helping Does Not Make You Feel Good.



The little boy from down the way, and who is just about 3 years-old, was recently told by his preschool teacher that, "Helping makes you feel good."

Imagine my delight when he offered to push my over-sized Rubbermade trash can from said curb to said location behind the house.

After 15 minutes or so, and with many grunts and oomphs in between - by God, he got that trash can where it needed to go.

And as he harumphed right past me, with muddy shmootz in his hair...he shouted,

"Helping does *not* make you feel good."

And with a snarliest of 'frowny brows' and disillusioned sideways glance... he reinforced his disgust, by stomping away.

So now, I need to figure out the perfect "thank you for helping even though you got shmootz in your hair' present for a 3 year old boy.

Because, he's right, you know—helping should always make you feel good.

The Most Beautiful People (That's You and That's Me).


“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

We have all known suffering in our lives; and we have all felt the sting of hurt.

We have all experienced a love so deep, that it completely filled our hearts and souls.

We have known heartache, and those pains that keep us up far too late into the night's darkest hours.

We have all, every single one of us, succeeded...and we have all, also dropped humbly to our knees.

These are the experiences that connect us, that create the bridge from my heart to yours.

Beautiful people don't just 'happen'—they are born from these, life's greatest challenges.

Because, the real beauty—comes from much deeper within.

Namaste, my most beautiful and dearly loved friends.

So smile, my loves...and light up this world, knowing the magnificence of your beauty inside.

Albert Einstein on Compassion.


“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein

A Letter to all of the Comments Received re: A Letter to the Guy Holding up the “You Deserve Rape” Sign at a Student Rally in Arizona.

Prayer of Lovingkindness

May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings awaken to
the light of their true nature.
May all beings be free.
-- Metta Prayer

I wrote an article the other day, about a young man holding up a "You Deserve Rape" sign at a Sexual Assault Awareness Rally in Arizona.

I wrote this article, because...well, because sometimes there needs to be a little more said than just a few words on a sign.

But, mostly because I knew the actions of this person had the capacity to cause much more 'hurt' in this world.

And, because I believe that we need less of that, and much more of love

In reading through the comments this morning, I saw that there was much energy still yet unresolved. At first, I wasn't sure how best to handle - and struggled very much with finding just the right words to respond.

But, here is what I have to say:

I was thinking of something as I was driving in this morning. I was thinking about the human body, specifically, that our bodies - when it senses injury, hurt, or disease - will do everything within its capabilities, to dispatch the deepest sort of healing. This brilliant symphony of cells all working together towards one big, greater common goal - and, it will continue to do so until its last and final breath.

And yet, we, as humans - when we sense the same...we dispatch reaction instead of healing.

It's amazing how, after so many millions of years of evolution (if you believe in that sort of thing) - the collective whole of all of humanity is still being shown up by a single-cell brain.

Maybe, it's because our cells just know...and then...just *do*

Maybe, that's a good example humanity might follow?

Sometimes, the actions of others may create a flood of much bigger emotions - but as 'good humans' we must always try to be the calm within that storm.

Adding more anger to hate, only serves to empower it. It weakens compassion's light, and disintegrates the fabric of humanity's love.

I pray, instead, that we might all stay true to the essence of who and what we really are - as humans, I believe we are all intended to be a vessel for unconditional love.







Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Write (for Reals).





"If you want to write, you can.  

Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is.

Who am I?

What right have I to speak?

Who will listen to me if I do?

You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell, and you have every right.

If you speak with passion, many of us will listen.

We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story.

Yours enlarges the circle." ~Richard Rhodes



The Importance of Fairy Tales.



"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."— Albert Einstein

The greatest gift I believe in this life is to be able to look beyond and to see...

There's a whole big world just there waiting, outside that reach of what's right there just in front of our noses.

And inside that world is hidden a bit of magic most will never know.

Can you see that, right there, little footprints in a path leading up to that toadstool? I'll bet they're tucked away after a much busier day, and thanking this earth for the gift of its being.

Imagination and dreaming...can open places you never once imagined could exist.

It's the much needed link between reality and inspiration.

And, all you ever really need to do...is to believe.

Tears.


I had the most beautiful day today, blessed by the beauty of this earth and the dear friends who stopped by to share their love.

As I was pulling into my house, I sat there for just a moment - thinking over the many blessings in my day.

I wrote...rode...and spent time with those who care.

But, I am sad tonight — very, very sad.

I came across this photo, and something within it just spoke to this moment right here, right now.

Perhaps, in it I see a gentle reminder - that in spite of all things, we must still have hope and love.

So, tonight I may be sad...but my heart still has hope, and I will always share my love.

No matter what these things that happen in life. In the end, they simply do not matter.






"Believe without limitations, and then be in that limitlessness." (T. Lemieux - me!)


"Believe without limitations, and then be in that limitlessness." ~ T. Lemieux (that's me)

I had an interesting conversation just the other day, talking over life...and the details that life sometimes hides within.

And as we meandered around our 'this' and 'that's—and quite unexpectedly out of nowhere he asked me, "Tara, have you ever wondered what our lives would be" without all of that stuff within?

We tend to cling tightly to these notions of self—our own silly observations, grounded in nothing more than our simple insecurities or our fear of that which is not yet known.

Oh, and the work we put in, clinging tight to these visions—from everything we do, think, act, and say...it all becomes a mirror to all our stuff that hides within.

When I was a little girl, I loved to walk in our woods. I would spend hours hovered over the side of the creek, letting the sunlight help me to find the most perfect rock. In my 6 year old mind, I had resolved there to be gold in that water—and when it glimmered, I would snatch it up tightly in my clenched little fist...making sure, no one else on this earth would ever dare to know my most recent discovery.

It's a little like that, isn't it? When we hold something so tightly within out clenched fists...so much so, that we aren't really able to see what's really there inside...until it is, that we finally are able to loosen our grip.

When we hold onto something so tightly, we become more interested in the 'holding on' than looking at the amazing discovery within.

Today, I let go of some of my own limited beliefs—and in doing so, had a most wonderful adventure today.

Because, what's the sense of holding on when it keeps us from discovering this magic of life.

So, ease up on that grip...and embrace your life's truest potential.

Never forget,

"The earth was once molten rock and now sings operas.” ― Brian Swimme
And you, my loves and most beautiful dears, are here to live that leading role.

namaste and so much love today...


Saturday, April 27, 2013

8 Reasons Why Elephants are Way Super Cool.



1. Girl Elephants Rule. Elephant herds can vary in size between 5-1000 elephants—and, they are always led by the eldest female, the Matriarch.

2. Super Long Trunk Makes for Easier Water Consumption. Elephants drink about 80 liters of water per day—making my 1 liter pale in comparison.

3. Excellent Communicators. Besides mean, 'trumpety' sounds Elephants make when angry (grr) and that throaty grah-grunty sound they make 'just because'...Elephants communicate through 'infrasound'—a low frequency sound that oscillates at less than 20Hz cycles per second.This means that their 'voices' can carry over vast distances without ever being lessened by vegetation or other sound obstacles. This also explains why Elephant herds located a long way away from one another often move in a coordinated fashion.

4. The Kids Listen. That's because Elephants know how to enforce the 'rules.' And, each member of the herd helps to keep all the littler trunks in line—and without fear of EPS (Elephant Protective Services).

5. The Poop. It's not only massive, it's a multi-purpose sort of massive. You can make a house with it...keep a fire lit for centuries with it...but, did you know you can even make a pricey coffee drink out of it?

Black Ivory Coffee is created from a process whereby coffee beans are 'naturally refined' by a Thai elephant and sells for approximately $500 per pound.

6. OMG the Trunk. This most magnificent, multi-purpose monstrosity is comprised of over 40,000 muscles and tendons—making it the "Swiss Army Knife" of the animal kingdom. Elephants can use their trunks to take showers...to pick grab things from way high up in the trees...to swat flies...to use as a make-shift snorkel.

Trunks. Rock. Period.

7.  They Have a Flair for the Artistic. But, don't carry the "Crazy Diva" trait seen in most of their artistic human counterparts.








And finally, 

8. This, Just This.

How Would Your Life be Different?



"How would your life be different if...you decided to give freely, love fully, and play feverously?

Let today be the day...you free yourself from the conditioned rules that limit your happiness and dilute the beautiful life experience.

Have fun.
Give.
Love.
Play!” ― Steve Maraboli

GMO Genetic Roulette - The Gamble of Our Lives.


Never-Before-Seen-Evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.

Eating genetically modified food is gambling with every bite.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Always be Batman - A Little Girl's Advice to a Soldier.

 

 

“Always be yourself…unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman.” ~ Caitlin

We all need a little lifting up in our lives, and more so when we’re so far from home. I remember many nights spent sniffling over my own homesickness–and during my very first few years in the Army.

And, sometimes as a soldier you can begin to lose faith–that others at home truly remember.

But then, you receive the kindest words from a stranger–and suddenly your little section of the world is much, much better.

Thank you, Caitlin, for taking the time to remind our soldiers that they are not forgotten (and, that they should always be Batman).

Only Once in Your Life.



"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Good night, good dreams...and all of my love. ♥



Goodnight my angel, time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
Then you should always know
Wherever you may go, no matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight my angel, now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep, inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me

Goodnight my angel, now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That's how you and I will be.

Good night, good dreams...and all of my love. ♥


The Dalai Lama on the Ultimate Source of Happiness.

“So inner peace is the ultimate source of happiness, joyfulness.”

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama (in an excerpt from the film "Dalai Lama Renaissance") provides a simple view of inner peace, happiness, God and money.

And, it's not what you think it is.

Why do I practice compassion?

It's not for the "him," or the "them," or the "they"—it's for me, and to bring inner peace to all of my days.


A Buddhist Blessing.



Just as the soft rains fill the streams,
pour into the rivers, and join together in the oceans,
so may the power of every moment of your goodness
flow forth to awaken and heal all beings--
those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may your heart's wishes be soon fulfilled
as completely shining as the bright full moon,
as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.

By the power of every moment of your goodness,
may all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect,
who follow the wisdom and compassion, of the Way,
may your life prosper in the four blessings
of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

~ Buddhist blessing

photo: Statue Stairs, Kyoto, Japan

I Fell in Love With a Writer.

"I accidentally
fell in love with a writer.
I was wrapped around her words,
like a creature in the middle of a cyclone.
And she spilled letters from her tongue
like a clumsy schoolgirl lost in the hallway,
which made me realize that she never knew
the merit she withheld from a stranger like me.
I am more certain that I have
fallen in love with a writer.
And she didn't even
have to know
my name."

~ Author, Unknown

I absolutely love this poem. 
And someday, I hope to have this kind of writer's love. 




Being Brave Enough to Soften.


"To the degree that each of us is dedicated to wanting there to be peace in the world, then we have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close.

We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and play with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility.

That's the true practice of peace."

Embracing the "That Which Is Not Yet Known"s.




“Faith is why I'm here today and faith is why I made it through.” ― Jonathan Anthony Burkett
I was struggling just a bit today, as I waited outside the yoga studio. My stomach was in knots, and dreading this class—the same one I had previously, so very much loved.

I had worried myself silly over the most insignificant of things—the "How will I manage today"s and the "I can't wait till it's done."s.

In fact, I had lost myself inside this thought of having been away for so long, that I hadn't stopped to realize just how very far I had come.

And, in the awkward stillness of dread, there is always a most comforting reminder...that my journey here, has only just begun.

As such, I shall greet each new day with great heart and compassion, and fully embrace the 'that which is not yet known's.
Look to this day:
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of achievement
Are but experiences of time.

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
Yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!"

~ Kalidisa

Best Marilyn Monroe Quote Ever.

 

Born as Norma Jeane Mortenson inside a charity ward of a dilapidated Los Angeles County Hospital, this beautiful child would spend the first portion of her life facing great hardship.


Her mother, mentally unstable and financially destitute, and her father, ‘unknown’—she would spend these first few years of her childhood moving in and out of foster homes, and praying each night to love and to be loved in return.

When she was just 16 years old, and in order to avoid yet another orphanage stay, she married a merchant marine. And when her new ‘husband’ was deployed to the Pacific, she began her first career working on the assembly line of an aeronautical plant.

It was a grueling, filthy job—but preferable still to the life she had once known.

And then, in 1945, when a photographer captured a still snapshot of this most magnificent beauty, she became…"Marilyn Monroe."

When asked to describe herself in just a few short words, she replied,

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

We all have our ‘edges’ and pieces of this inner sense of ‘brokeness,’ but at the end of day…don’t we all deserve to love and be loved in return?

And, we all “get to choose who we’re going to let into out weird little worlds.”

Namaste and much love to you all.

Bonus Video: On Loving, No Matter What

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Meaning of "Just That One" (as told to me by my most beautiful daughter).



“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis

I was so very proud of my daughter yesterday evening as we sat curled up and on our couch. We were settling into a night of 'silly program watching' - something we do together when we feel our energy needs a little 'lightening.'

And, then it began - the buzz, buzz, buzzing or my daughter's mobile email alerts.

Joking, and in order to offer just a bit of a 'nudge,' I said, "You have so many friends. Do you know how many I have? One."

To which she replied without missing a beat, "Do you know how many friends you really need, Mom? Just that one."

Yes, indeed - friendship is not measured in quantity, rather in the brilliance of just 'that one.'

It's that gentle knowing and acceptance, and that most unconditional kind of love.

It's in the limitless offerings of trust and of hope, when all other paths seem to fail.

But mostly, friendship is...

That feeling of knowing there's none other in your life that will care for you in much the same way.

She's right, you know, my daughter..that is..in saying that what we really need is just 'that one'. 


“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
  Namaste, and much love to you, my dears...my most beautiful and brilliant of friends.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How the Morning Dew Reminds Me.


"A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books." ~Walt Whitman
"Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!

― Steve Maraboli"

I thought of just these words as I sat outside watching the sun drag its sleepy self way up over the early morning sky.

And letting the briskness of dew collect against my skin...I thought, at first, it must have mistaken me for one of its more elegant pieces of nature.

But, then I realized something most wonderful, that gave me this most amazing sense of being cared for...

The dew doesn't care of my past or my failures, nor does it consider all those 'ribbons' on my wall. 

Nature only recognizes our need in this the here and now—and it's there, always, to offer to us...its limitless love and caring.

How sad that we've walled ourselves up in these little brick houses, and placing a wall between our hearts and the most beautiful love of all.

So, this morning, as I sit here with cold wet feet and sipping my first cup of decaf...I'm reminded of what unconditional really means.

And, I am most certainly and unhesitatingly, grateful for this day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Whatever Happened to Arbor Day?


“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” ― Kahlil Gibran,
What ever happened to Arbor Day?

I was sitting here watching a bird in the tree out front, and beside my window—it reminded me of a time, some so many years ago…when I was asked to be the caregiver for a tree.

It was Arbor Day, you see—I think the year was maybe, 1977…and, it was quite a sleepless night before, if I can recall. My heart was filled with so much anticipation and excitement—I kept thinking, “How big will it grow?” and “Will it have flat broad leaves or bushy prickly pine cones?” and, “Will the birds maybe make it there home?”

I had thought of each and every possible scenario—it was the first time I remember dreaming of a new life’s potential.

And when we all arrived to school that next day, not even a carton of ice cold chocolate milk could keep hold of our attention. For, we all knew very soon, we would be carrying home and caring for a brand new baby tree.

Oh, that bus ride home was the very longest. I held that new sapling carefully in my lap, checking it every so often again—and just to make so absolutely sure, that the paper towel was still adequately wet.

And racing up the driveway, in those days it was still a quite wobbly gravel. I burst into the house with this new life in hands, and pleaded with my Mom to please get the shovel.

I remember planting that tree. My parents indulged my little girl silliness, by spending at least a full extra hour’s time making sure that this little guy would be placed in ‘just the right spot’…not too close to the house, you see…but close enough to enjoy it, still.

We finally planted that tree, and each day I raced home to see if it had grown. And though, in those days growing seemed to take forever—these days, I see my trees stands easily over 40 feet tall.

And each time I come back to say ‘hello’ to my tree—I think back to the magic of that day.

Maybe, every day should be Arbor Day? And perhaps not one of those days just ‘set aside.’ And, instead of letting our little ones come home to their video games—maybe just once, have a tree waiting for them instead?

Just a thought, you know… my mindless ramblings of the day.

Maybe, that’s why I love my trees so very much and always will.

Bonus Video: It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown

All You Need is Love.


 

"May I offer my love whether it's met with acceptance...rejection...or even, indifference."
There is a most beautiful 'resting spot' inside this feeling of love. Close your eyes, let it fill your heart...your spirit...your whole entire being. Let it flow from your heart, through you...and all that you know.
 

At some point in this day, you will be reminded of these words...my hope, is that you offer love in spite of any and all expectations...just simply love. ♥

Because, love is really always and all that you will ever really need. 

“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.”
John Lennon

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding Discovery.



"One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries." — A.A. Milne

A heart buried deep in the pebbles...♥
So small, and just barely able to be 'seen'...
Luckily today, was my day for exploring...
And, what I found was a little heart out there waiting for me.

Love finds us no matter where we may go...and there is no hiding from its gaze.

So, embrace love—because, someday it will help you to find your way.

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” ― A.A. Milne

The Dalai Lama on Unbiased Compassion.

"Without a sense of equanimity, unbiased love and compassion cannot even get started." - Dalai Lama

When our hearts are in turmoil, is it really possible to give love and compassion unconditionally? In order to give freely of our selves and our spirits, we must find a way to quiet this 'innermost storm.'

“In order to lead a meaningful life, you need to cherish others, pay attention to human values and try to cultivate inner peace.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks about unbiased compassion in this clip from the question and answer session with Thai Buddhists held at his residence in Dharamsala, India, on March 15th, 2011.

The entire session can be viewed at http://youtu.be/xl9ycLV7IKA

source: www.dalailama.com

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Never Ever Ever Forget to Play.




I splashed my way through the most massive of rain puddles, and just because I could. I splashed so hard with both of my feet, the water almost came up to my nose...

And, as the neighbor was casting a most disapproving glance ~ upstairs, his little one was watching gleefully from the window.

I wish I could grab all of these littlest of hearts and tell them this just one thing...

That no matter what bigger things may happen in this life...the thing to remember is always...always...play.

namaste my most beautiful friends ~ I love you in the most special of ways...♥

Zen and the Art of Little Green Army Men.

"Deep meaning lies often in childish play." ~ Johann Friedrich von Schiller

So, there's this little boy in our neighborhood…who is most certainly the runt of the litter. The older boys tend to tease him so—and are, at times even...just a little too rough with him.

I saw today as I looked out my window, the older boys were out playing "war." After much pleading and carrying on, these boys finally let the little one join their play.

Oh, and to see the excitement in that little guys face as he raced to retrieve his very best toys—a small plastic bag of those little green army men, and a gift from his Father...the soldier. His Dad, you see, had been deployed overseas, sadly missing his only son's birthday. The box arrived just the other day, and was filled with, among other things, these most special soldiers.

"I'm going to go play Army," he shouted to me...as he raced off through the yard and to the trees.

I don't know quite what kept me, standing outside and watching over...call it instinct or a Mother's second sense, but I knew these boys were up to no good.

It took just a few minutes before I heard a great "whack"—the result of a tree branch to his leg. I knew instantly how badly that hurt, as my siblings once did the very same to me.

As he limped with his little Army guys in hand, the other boys stood laughing and pointing their fingers at him. Oh, they can be so brutish at times, when it is that they forget someone is watching them.

As the little one limped his way to the porch, I could see the tears forming in his eyes—he was tightening his face, and trying his best to look down...desperate to keep those tears inside.  And as he slumped down and hid his face in his arms, I knew in that moment how much he was missing his Father.

 "I thought you were playing Army?" I asked.

"No," he pouted, "I don't like that game anymore."

As a Mommy who's hip to the little boy 'lingo', I knew what he really meant was, "I'm tired and my body is sore."

"Well, you know son—you've got to be just a little more prepared, and in order to be a good Army soldier" I explained.

And with that, I retreated back into my house—digging through some dusty old piles, to pull out that well worn Army duffel. Outside, I emptied the contents of that bag—knowing 'real soldier stuff' will make any little boy smile.

I suited him up in my old combat jacket, with an official Army belt pulling it close. And over that, and nearly pulling him down to the ground...my flack jacket and cammo Kevlar. But, finally at last the 'piece de resitance'—my son's old 50 cal semi-automatic Nerf gun.

And then, I walked him back to those boys, and explained this, the "brotherhood" of Army men. We went over honor, courage and integrity—and how we must never leave one of our 'boys' behind again.

Surprisingly, they listened—asking questions at the end, 'what was it like? and 'would you ever do it again?'

I smiled as I watched them looking over with awe, this, their littlest comrade. As I walked off, they were begging him to play—amazing what a little change can do for you.

I listened of course to make sure they were alright, but mostly to make sure the big boys were behaving. And as the moments passed, and the happy squeals grew—I knew this little soldier would be ok.

Several hours later, there was a knock to my door—outside was a very dirty...and slightly battle fatigued, little boy. He reached out his hand, with the biggest of smiles to his face, saying simply, "I want you to have it."

Inside his dirt caked and scrunched up hand, was a brand new, little green army soldier.

He wanted me to have it, his BEST Army guy....'just for a little while, but maybe not forever.'

It was the best present I believe I have ever received—as it reminds me that even a bullies heart can change.

p.s. - I let him keep his new Army gear...'just for a little while, but maybe not forever.'

Friday, April 19, 2013

Finding Your Very Own Calcutta.

Village Girl, Jaipur, India, 1982

“There is no they, only us. We’re part of the same fellowship called ‘the human race.’ We all hurt the same. We all love the same. We all bleed the same. We all need understanding and care.” – James Jennings


In the hours, days and perhaps even weeks following this most horrific tragedy—you may find yourself, like many others, inspired to help make a much greater change.
But, as you flip through the channels and see this great mess—you may be wondering ‘just, where is it that I might begin?’
Great tragedy has the ability to tumble us over, much like a great wave pummeling us towards the ocean’s floor. But, always…there will be a ‘break’ to that wave, and an opportunity for us to rise up, once more.

And, we will rise up once again—because, that’s what we humans always do.

We are resilient of spirit, and strongest of will—and no matter what, our hearts will carry us always through.
And though, we may feel a bit disoriented at first…rest assured, in time, we’ll know just exactly what to do.

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely right there where you are—in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society—completely forgotten, completely left alone.” Mother Teresa

We have all have been blessed with this immeasurable power, that of compassion and of choice.
Calcutta is everywhere and all around, when you finally open your eyes to see—and finding it…is all up to you.

Bonus Video: Where to Find Calcutta.


A Monkey at the Market.



I stopped off to get some juice at the store today. 

While there, the * cutest* and *sweetest* of little boys, maybe only just about 5-6 years old...and who wasn't at all paying the very best of his little boy attention, when he inadvertently slipped his hand into mine.

It was the classic, "Mommy mix up"...no big deal. 

We walked around for just a moment or two before he finally realized his "faux pas"—looking up to me with the most kiddy-quizzical eyes, and exclaiming, 

"Hey...you're not my Mom!" 

Wanting to have a little fun with the moment (and hopefully to help offset his embarrassment) I replied, 

"Whoa...and you're not my smartly dressed helper monkey!" 

I don't think he knew what to say to this, as it was such a most very odd statement. I mean, to think a smartly dressed monkey who shops...it's the stuff to make a little boys head ache.

So...I helped him over to one of the store attendants, thinking they could make a lost mommy announcement over the loudspeaker. 

And, when this sweet little one was asked to describe his Mommy he said, 

"She gets lost kinda easy - but I think she's probably with a monkey." 

Life moments are so beautiful and brilliant, and most particularly when you're willing to play along. 

Have a little fun in this life...and especially with the littlest ones. They need a dose of wild imagination at times, to take away from the news of the day. 

p.s. - I love little ones ~ they make my heart smile big,

namaste, my most beautiful friends...your kindness, as well, makes my heart smile, too. 

Responding to Tragedy (reprint: adapted from a talk by Gil Fronsdal, October 1st, 2001)


““No price is too great to pay for inner peace. Peace is the harmonious control of life. It is vibrant with life-energy. It is a power that easily transcends all our worldly knowledge. Yet it is not separate from our earthly existence. If we open the right avenues within, this peace can be felt here and now.” ― Sri Chinmoy

This was a most beautiful, and thought-filled article following the tragedy of 9/11. It talks about facing life with our most authentic self.

Only through that process, can we find release and healing.

I hope you will take time to read. So much is going on in this world, it's important for us to find our own inner-way through it. This is a reprint of an article on 'Responding to Tragedy' - the link is included below.

"May we all remain confident that we can make a difference."

namaste.

Responding to Tragedy. (reprint)


At the heart of Buddhism lies both realism and optimism. The realism entails an honest and unswerving recognition of the suffering and violence in our world. These existed at the time of the Buddha and they continue in our modern world. The optimism comes from recognizing the potential for alleviating suffering and violence. We can in fact remove from our hearts the toxic forces of greed, hate, and delusion. We can replace them with peace, loving-kindness, and compassion. For Buddhist practice, it is important to be both realistic and optimistic. Realism alone leads to despair. Optimism alone obscures the ground of spiritual practice.

In the face of unimaginable tragedy, violence and hate, we are called upon to honestly recognize our own fear, confusion and anger. Fear ignored produces more fear; confusion unacknowledged churns up more confusion; anger not confronted spawns further anger. To develop our mindfulness of all three is to learn how to be free of their forces.

This is a slow and gradual process. But the more free we become, the more we are able to organize our lives around our best intentions. The intentions to be kind, compassionate, helpful, happy, and liberated are among the most beautiful qualities we have as humans.

These qualities are not luxuries. They are not optional. We need to be able to call upon them when we respond to the cries of the world around us. The optimism of Buddhism is that we can make a difference to the world around us. Our thoughts, words, and deeds of empathy, love and caring are the needed counter-forces to hatred, violence, and despair. Our own efforts to find inner peace, our example, can be an important force of wholesome change for people who don’t know of that possibility.

The history of Buddhism offers many examples of how influential the peaceful presence of one person can be. When prince Siddhartha was dismayed by sickness, old age, and death, the sight of a peaceful renunciate inspired him with the possibilities of the spiritual quest which culminated in his awakening as the Buddha.

One of the more dramatic stories concerns the conversion of the violent king Ashoka in the third century BCE who was bent on conquering as much of India as possible. In his own words, which have survived on stones he ordered carved, he tells of being horrified at the carnage of the 100,000 deaths by which he won a battle. As he stood in grief on the battlefield, a single Buddhist monk walked by with a peace and radiance that moved the king to ask for teachings. Propelled by his own despair, the monk’s serenity, and these teachings, the king renounced conquest, violence, and capital punishment. While he retained his army for defense, his efforts were redirected from war to the social and spiritual improvement of his subjects.

We can’t be sure what teachings Ashoka received from the monk. The Buddha had much to say about violence and hatred; perhaps the monk repeated these verses from the Buddha:
Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hatred alone does it end.
This is eternal truth.
Victory gives birth to hate;
The defeated sleep tormented.
Giving up both victory and defeat,
The peaceful sleep delighted.
All tremble at violence:
All fear death.
Having likened others to yourself,
Don’t kill or cause others to kill.
If you surveyed the entire world
You’d find no one more dear than yourself.
Since each person is most dear to themselves,
May those who love themselves not bring harm to anyone.
The person who day and night
Delights in harmlessness,
And has loving-kindness toward all beings,
Is the one who has no hate for anyone.
In Buddhist teaching, we have available two healthy responses to the suffering of the world.

One is compassion. A tremendous motivation to change the world for the better can arise out of compassion. I believe that compassion is a more effective motivation than aversion.

The other response is called samvega, which is the passion for practice. In our contact with suffering, we find the motivation to come to terms with our suffering, to find freedom for ourselves and others. Both responses contribute to peace.

May we all remain confident that we can make a difference.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random Acts of Love.



Because, we all need to smile big at the end of a very long day...

I know, I'm cheating...with just posting these shots...but, really there's no extra words that need to be said.

Love and compassion transcend everything.

much love and namaste to you, my most beautiful friends...enjoy, and let your heart smile BIG.

xo












This Gift From My Friend.


"Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love." Leo Buscaglia


Today, was one of the longer of my days—prompting me to take a much needed rest.

And, so...I retreated to my bedroom with my very best book and a pair of sweats I have had since college.

And, as I sit here watching the wind 'play' with the drapes against my bedroom window...I am reminded of a dear friend of mine...who passed away suddenly and quite so very many years ago.

His Grandmother had so carefully hand stitched these curtains, putting her love into each and all of the details...I remember him always being so proud of this fact, his eyes gleaming with love each time he told that story.

And then one day, and knowing my love for such things, my dear friend gave these drapes to me.

"I know you will love them just as much as I did, please take them and always remember me."

I have always loved these window drapes, but today I believe I understand why they are so very much cherished...

Because, on a day like today...when the wind is just right...I'm reminded of the gift of my friend's spirit.

He was right, you know, about loving these drapes—but more so, about me remembering him.

Namaste my most beautiful friend ~ and thank you for bringing this breeze.

"I am, because you are."


“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.” ― Desmond Tutu

"I am because you are," is the deep meaning of "Ubuntu," a traditional African philosophy recognizing the shared essence within humanity and life.
Ubuntu...is nothing more or less than compassion brought into colorful practice."~ Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa
In this film, we visit Dorah Lebelo and the GreenHouse Project, Credo Mutwa, the great Zulu traditional healer and teacher, and the forem Deputy Minister of Health, Nozizwa Madlala-Routledge, to learn more about this fundamental understanding of life and its ramifications on how we treat each other, ourselves, and the earth.


Drink Your Tea Slowly.



 "Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves...slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future." - Thich Nhat Hanh 

Some things in this life, really don't need much further explanation. 

And yet, sometimes it takes life stopping us dead in our tracks for us to shut off our minds and finally listen.

Never let anyone or anything hinder you from seeing the fullest beauty of this one single moment

And, don't wait on something stopping you dead in your tracks for you to find the time to appreciate the brilliance of these quickly passing moments.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The True Meaning of Compassion (Dalai Lama).

 
 “As man draws nearer to the stars, why should he not also draw nearer to his neighbor?” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson
 It's precisely the thought we should all be holding near to our hearts this evening—pushing aside judgement, and offering instead the best parts of our most human spirit. 
 I suspect there will be much information flooding our networks over these next hours and days; and it will be quite easy to fall backwards and into our emotions...causing us to lose our touch with the humanity of this place.
And though, it's perfectly human to feel such huge emotions—we must remember to use those emotions to help carry forward a much more positive...and much needed change.  
We are all just visitors here—all members of the family, 'human.' 
And though, our spirits are all so brilliantly unique—in matters of the heart, you'll find, we're not so very much different.


 


The True 'Cost" of One Single Moment.


What would you do if every day you were given $86, 400 to spend in any way that you might choose?


Would you invest in yourself? Or give it all away...? Or would you waste it on something you didn't need?

And what would you do if at the end of the day, you had to give back that which you didn't use?

I'll bet you would spend every single solitary cent—making sure that you put it to good use?

Every day we're given this most precious gift of 86,400 seconds—tiny fractions of a much larger moment...fragments, really, in a life that belongs just to you.

And yet, so many of us let these moments go to waste—as they slip silently away between the careless grips of our own fingertips.

But attach a price tag to the moments in your day—and not one would get away from us, 'unspent.'

I *love* this video—"Harlem Elvis"...just listen to the one minute wisdom he has to share. Simply subtle and most spectacularly brilliant.