What experiences do you consider spiritual?

My journaling today led me to thinking and writing about Experiences That I Consider to be Spiritual:

  • laughter
  • happiness
  • charity
  • generosity
  • physical health
  • mental health
  • spiritual health
  • generosity of spirit
  • acts of kindness
  • mindfulness
  • cultivation of mindfulness
  • appreciation
  • love
  • being in love
  • true sharing of the good things in life

I seek peace in my heart’s chambers.  I seek the cultivation of that miraculous moment — the pause — that allows me to seek my Higher Self and to focus on my heart’s horizons.  To believe that “every little thing’s gonna be all right.”

As I wrote, a visualization floated into my mind:

floating leaf 1At first, a little curled-edge leaf boat.  The leaf looked like a small alder leaf with serrated edges.

Then . . . a piece of pale blue beach glass in the shape of a heart: faceted on the edges and surf-scratched to a state of opaqueness . . . I placed the little heart on the curled-edge leaf boat and let it float on a dark puddle that grew and flowed into a current of water with higher energy.blue beach glass

I don’t know where the little leaf will light . . . but where it does, it will be received with kindness and appreciation for my willingness to trust and to allow healing on its journey of hope.

I finished writing in my journal and I thought, Wow! All of this mysterious and unrelated stuff simply from taking 20 minutes to just stop and to listen.  The power of writing and listening to the thoughts in my mind.

Life takes on such a busy and rapidly-moving pace.  It bustles and hustles and sometimes grinds to a halt from a frighteningly-high speed.  When it slams to a stop, we stress and we worry.  We wonder.  We forget to be positive.  And we lose our way.  We are in the forest and the trees no longer feel friendly.  We aren’t having fun anymore.

These moments are part of life.  I remember a conversation I had with two of my good friends.  We were talking about some particular life challenges.  Difficulties.  Stress.  This sort of thing.  One friend felt it best to set everything aside and choose lightness.  Move above and beyond the challenge.  Let it go.  Do not grant it any attention.  It will slip away.  Turn your focus away.   It will disappear ultimately.

My other friend believed that there was healing and growth in seeking a way through.  He saw the obstacle as an opportunity to grow.  And to become strengthened by powering through.  By feeling the discomfort, it would dissipate.  Ultimately.  It would no longer sting because he had invited it into his life.  He was welcoming it.  There was no fear involved.

Wow.  This was good stuff.  I found myself transfixed by the conversation and by their guided philosophies.  Essentially both felt that there was a measure of enlightenment, growth, and transcendence in each of their approaches.  We all could see how both were good strategies for addressing a challenge.

Then they looked at me.  What do you do?  What do you do when life feels challenging?  What is your approach?  Sitting in the midst of such great thinking and spiritualizing, I didn’t know how to answer.  I wanted to say, Well, first I panic a little bit.  Then I might panic a lot. I might start pacing, and I might drink some water to rehydrate my cells.  I might take the dog out for a walk.  Or call my best friend.  Or feel sick in my stomach.  Or go to the gym.  Or tune my fiddle and read challenging sheet music.  Or eat foods that aren’t in my nutritionally-best interest.  I don’t know.

And I didn’t know how to answer them with words or metaphors or images.  The two of them, being my good friends, know me.  They know how I analyze and bob and innovate my way through a problem.  By all accounts, it ultimately feels as if my methodology could best be entitled Distraction Theory to Ascendancy  . . . distracting myself to a place where I can govern the problem into manageable bits by administering tiny tweaks along the way.  Thinking and feeling and loving and hoping and laughing my way through.

Back to my list of Experiences I Consider to Be Spiritual.  It may be a Grab Bag of pick-and-choose, but I default to my sense of spiritual.

Sound complicated?  A little bit like nailing my shoe to the floor and going around in circles?  It is.  My friends’ descriptions of their paths to transcendence were quite inspiring.  And a lot convicting.  I don’t know if I have a fallback philosophy of any consistency, but I do attempt to pursue a state of positivity through my distractions.  While I am walking the dog or sweating on the elliptical trainer, I repeat to myself: Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  I jump into the pool of many options and grab hold of what makes the most sense at the time.

always believeAnd the good news about always believing that something wonderful is about to happen?  It does.  Something wonderful always happens.  Eventually.  Maybe not in the very nano-second, but there have been times when it has happened that quickly.  In the midst of my Sea of Distracted State, I am launched into an orbit of transcendence that rids my heart and mind of worry or fear or gloom or overwhelm-ment.

Always believe.  Believe.  Keep hope alive by choosing the positive option.  I want to be that little piece of blue beach glass floating serenely on that curly-edge alder leaf.  Flowing into a current of water of Higher Energy.

My two very lovely friends have both moved to different parts of the world.  And I miss them so much.  I wish that I could tell them about my Lovely Leaf Boat Theory in person over a glass of wine at our favorite place to meet. I would now have a better-defined answer to their question of Your turn. What do you do?  

But they know me.  They know that I will Think Light and stay afloat in the current before I allow my vessel to sink.  I might not be floating above and away from things or powering my way through with amazing discipline and will . . . but I will stay afloat.

I am lucky to have met such friends.  It is funny how friends have no idea how important — how essential –they are in the life of another.  Isn’t this amazing when you think about it?  That they are the hands that are beneath the leaf.  Trimming it in the rough waves and spinning it out of the eddies that tangle me into a swirl of confusion.

Friends.  I forgot to add “Friends” to my list of Experiences That I Consider to Be Spiritual.  And I find it remarkable that everything Spiritual on this list is embodied within my Friends.  For this, I feel abundantly blessed.  To all of my friends, I thank you thank you thank you.  You are amazing beyond wonder. toaster oven

 

Look Up

This is an awesome video.  It reminds all of us to Look Up.  To see that which is all around us.  In plain sight.  I have watched this video several times, and I continue to marvel at the bare simplicity of the message.  Look up.  Look around.  Look at the people around me.  Be mindful.  Cultivate mindfulness.  Pay attention.  Look for the signs that guide and bless.

These amazing electronic devices are spectacularly connective.  They allow for instant communication that creates bonds that help me to hold near to those who are dear in my life.  They grow my relationships through the instant exchange of shared laughter and goofy voice mails and funny emails and inspiring posts.  They allow me to be available and to express myself in immediate ways that would not have been possible otherwise.  They allow me to be impulsive, and they allow me to edit and to draft and to pause before sending.  They are a blessing.

And these devices “of delusion” can be an isolating master that dominates without any awareness or permission on my part. “I have 422 friends.  Yes, I am lonely. . .”  As this video illustrates, they provide a culture of being alone together.  I look at my plugged-in life now and marvel that I did not have a telephone for almost 18 years.  I look back on that time and wonder how.

How?  In a world of high-speed communication, how did I function by sending letters and receiving replies only once a week.  I had to learn how to be very careful with how I worded questions in a letter so that the recipient would not have to fill in any blanks and guess at my meaning — thus possibly adding another two weeks to the communication — one week for my added clarification and another for the end reply.  I lived in a different world and moved to a different rhythm. There were moments at the beginning of this phone-less time in my life when it was incredibly frustrating, but I learned to adapt.  The planet kept spinning.  The moon rose each night.  The horses wanted to be fed.  I had to learn patience.  And how to mentally set aside anticipated outcomes.  It took a lot of discipline to wait.

As a result of this waiting, I sometimes had to mentally transfer my wonder or my worry or my curiosity to the wonders around me.  I had to learn how to see what was in the moment there before me and not what might be somewhere out in the ether.  I would like to say that I became a Master at Waiting — that I grew a strong sense of discipline — but there were times when this wasn’t true.

Then . . . this past weekend . . . I lost my cell phone.  This was a first, and I wasn’t happy about it.  Ultimately, the ripple effect of this event is too convoluted, fantastic, and detailed to convey in word — as there were many events that linked one to the other in magical ways.  But the overall experience commanded me to Look Up.  To look back to that time when I did not have instant communication.  To pay attention to the signs guiding and leading me. To be willing to extend my self into new territories of belief and appreciation.  To have the opportunity to Just Believe and celebrate. toaster oven

But when my phone disappeared, it became quite the wide journey between the discovery of lost and and the magic of found.  And when it was found, I discovered many things about my self and about other and about my universe that I now value in significant ways that transcend ordinary awareness.  I am definitely looking up.  Whoa.  Am I ever.

All of this to say . . . I do very much like being connected.  I value the ease and the opportunity to be available. But I want to be present when being present counts.  To cultivate mindfulness and be ready for those unanticipated moments of being blessed.

Look up.  It is sometimes very difficult to be mindful of being mindful.  Meta-mindfulness.  Yowza.  It can be quite the trick.  When I am mindful, life has a different feel to it.  Being mindful allows for flow.  Not paying attention breaks up the flow; still, there are lessons to be learned when not in flow . . . lessons that re-direct me to a renewed state of mindfulness . . . of Look Up.

 

 

Forgive and Remember

dried flowers IIA few days ago I was cleaning the house and came across some dusty and faded dried flowers hanging from the antique bare-wooden door that is propped up in the corner of my living room.  The flowers had been preserved for reasons I can no longer recall.  I do remember that I had received them from someone in an attempt to beg forgiveness for something that wasn’t kind in the ways of relationships.  But why I thought to save them as a reminder?  Beats me.

When I came across them in my cleaning, I asked myself: Why do you have these things in your house, collecting dust and preserving negative memories?  Why are you keeping them? It didn’t take long in the deliberating.  I cut the yarn that was attaching them to the door.  I took the flowers and dumped them in the garbage can in the driveway — almost ceremoniously so.  It felt great.  I then found some other memorabilia that was conveying the same less-than-happy memories.  Another trip to the garbage can.  It felt good to rid my home of these things.  Thursday morning came along, and I wheeled the can to the curb and said, “Good!  Done!  Bad memories be gone!”

121I came home from work mid-afternoon that day and took the dog out for his afternoon romp.  There were two neighbor boys playing up the hill.  When they saw me with my dog, they came tearing down the hill to pet him.  After cautioning them that this 8-pound Chihuahua-boxer mix might tear their arms off at the elbow if they bent to pet him, they started to ask me all sorts of questions . . . reminding me of what it once felt like to be 8-years-old and curious and lacking distinct social filters.  Why does your dog bite?  Does he bite everyone?  Where do you live?  What’s your dog’s name?  Can we pet him how?  Are you married?  Is that your truck?  Why is that cat following you?  Is that your cat?  Can we pet your cat?  

I stood there and answered all questions.  They looked like brothers, the younger one not having quite grown into his grin or his ears.  Questions answered and curiosity satisfied, they turned to run back up the hill — the elder swinging and beating at the younger with some sort of weapon.  My first thought was, That looks like fun — remembering what it was like to play rough-and-tumble with my Irish-twin brother on the physically-competitive and sometimes-painful battlefield of my Little Sisterhood.

Then I looked at the boy’s flailing weapon of choice.  It was the bunch of dried flowers that I had thrown into the trash, looking somewhat less robust since the game of Chase, Beat, and Flail had ensued.  The flowers had somehow avoided the tip into the garbage truck.  Swish and whap.  This big brother had his little brother on the run.  The younger was yelling at the elder to stop — which was added fuel.  More swish and whap ensued.  The way I am describing the story sounds awful, but they were, in truth, having fun chasing each other around . . . and it made me laugh to see such a miserable reminder of past unfaithfulness being utilized in such a fun and hearty fashion.

I doubt that these two are going to remember the summer day when they stopped to talk to the neighbor woman about her dog, her cat, her truck, and her marital status.  I don’t know if this day will live long in my memory either, but it started me a’thinking about my wonderful big brother –who now is one of my most amazing friends.

In childhood, the way we treated each other at times must have looked to be appalling.  We grew up tough and recognized the importance of knowing how to take care of oneself in the face of conflict.  But, as we grew older, our conflicts grew into a more collaborative and supportive state.  We joined the same team.   We had grown close through those years of pushing, shoving, and wrestling.   We had forgotten the fighting and had grown to appreciate the loyalty that living in the trenches of childhood had created.

It’s odd because I never thought to cry, to tattle, or to demand a cease fire.  None of this was an option.  Tattling was taboo.  It was how we learned to test each other’s mettle, and it was how we built the friendship that continues to grow in our adult years.  It was how I came to understand that forgetting is a huge part of forgiving others.  Because once you forget, you are done with the whole thing.  It’s easy to forgive when I have forgotten.  But when I am not forgetting?  When I am reliving the moments that weren’t so pleasant while attempting to complete the forgiveness cycle?  These are the moments that snag my flow and hold me back from becoming me and from choosing the life that I want for myself now.

So I am happy that I cannot recall the reason for the tossed-out-dried-up flowers.  And I must be in a good state of forgiveness if I can get a good laugh watching that little brother howling and sprinting up the hill.  I could tell that these two weren’t tattlers.  Their parent or guardian wasn’t going to hear about the Dried Flower Flailing Episode.

My mother was an extremely patient woman.  She knew how to hold her tongue when appropriate, and she knew when to let loose when the situation invited it.  She was smart, clever, and intelligent.  And she had a great sense of humor.  I sometimes wonder what she must have thought as we were tumbling each other down the stairs or slaughtering each other with ice-hard snowballs.

She was a good mother in so many ways.  She let us discover Truth in our own hard-headed ways of comprehending fairness and meting out justice and bequeathing mercy.  I intuitively knew that had I simply asked my brother to be nicer to me, he would have been.  Right then.  But there was something in the way that we played and interacted — it grew our hearts to be braver and stronger.  I think that my mum, having gone through tough times in her childhood, knew this.  There was not going to be any coddling in situations that demanded us to use our brains and hearts to figure out the solution on our own.

It is an odd feeling to recall Mother Love.  It is visceral and hits you in all the right places.  And in all the painful places.  As an adult now, I wanted so much more for my mother.  I wanted her to experience more calm, more zen-like moments in her days.  She was an intensely creative and musical soul who worked too hard raising a brood of fiercely independent children.  We didn’t demand much from our parents, but we had a large presence as a result of this.  It was as if Life had tapped a part of her creativity and circumvented it into an elusive place.  It made me sad then, and it still does a little bit now.
And those dried flowers from the garbage can?  They gave me a bonus by linking me to a memory of a time when my brother and I were four- and five-years old.  We put our heads and hearts together in order to give my mum a Mother’s Day gift.  We were without financial resource, so we got creative.  We agreed that my brother would sing my mum one of her favorite songs — “My Wild Irish Rose” — all while holding to his heart a plastic pink carnation from the “bouquet” she kept on her dresser.

can canAfter he sang, I was going to be a floating romantic magical bubble while singing “Tiny Bubbles” — my costume being my mum’s voluminous and starched white “can-can” half-slip.  During rehearsal, we critiqued and coached each other.  He sang.  I bubbled around.  We were ready.

Show time.  My mum laughed and clapped.  My brother looked so sweet and earnest.  His sincerity being hard to believe — what with me having just recently been assisted/pushed/rolled (It all happened so quickly) down the steps in my beautiful Bubble before the show started.  I was scolded for ruining my mum’s starch job on the can-can.  And my act was hopelessly ruined — my brilliant costume being my main mojo.  But the show must go on.  And it did.

I remember the look on my brother’s face as he sang, and I now wish that I would have taken even a moment to see the look on my mum’s face.  If I did, I can’t remember it.  And this makes me the teency-est bit sad.  I can only imagine how proud she must have been of his creative gift of song.  I makes me happy to think that the musician and artist within her must have felt “seen” that day — which is a very beautiful thing to experience in life.  It makes for a bittersweet surge inside my heart remembering this day.

My bruises from my Tumble of Terror eventually healed.  And I forgave my brother for rolling me down the steps and destroying any future hopes of performing on Broadway.  It makes me laugh out loud now to think of how it must have looked.  My scuffed-up Buster  Browns — hand-me downs from him– poking out of all of that lace and crinoline — me howling all the way — terrified and wondering if this is how it felt to travel to heaven.

But I haven’t forgotten.  And I am so glad.  I love my brother for singing to her that day.  For looking so earnest.  For trying to have a good singing voice.  For remembering all of the lyrics.  For reminding me that not all that is forgiven needs be forgotten.  For him growing into such a good friend.

My mum always used to say, “Light hands make for light work.”  I love her for saying this.  I have been blessed with many light and healing hands in my current experiences that help to grow me into a new state of Remembering.  My brother helps me to remember the good things that have helped me to grow.  And grow some more.

Dried flowers.  Plastic carnations.  An Irish song for our mum.  Forgiveness.  Forgetting.  Remembering.  Rewriting the script.  Leaving things in a really good place.  Moving on.  Releasing my memories from the snags in the flow of things.  Valuing Experiences not for what they were but for what they are now in a new context.  Remembering and celebrating in a new time of life.  A different context of Light and Love and Loyalty.  Lightness in Laughter.  And Trust and Truth. toaster oven

 

“Just as long as you stand, stand by me . . .”

Here is an amazing collaboration on an awesome song . . . enjoy!  The lyrics, the music, the voices, the promise of standing by one another.  So beautiful.  When I listen to this song, I feel as if the love that is present simply abounds.  toaster oven

 

“Stand By Me”

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand, stand by me
Stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
All the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry
No, I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me
Stand by me

So darling, darling
Stand by me, oh stand by me
Oh stand now, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh stand by me, oh won’t you stand now, stand
Stand by me

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beneking/standbyme.html

 

The Laundry Bag Blues Muse

Today I told myself that I simply must get some laundry done.  These beautiful and blue summer days have been dictating a distinct lack of focus on getting tasks done around the house.  There are certain chores that provide feelings of satisfaction when accomplished.  There are other chores that simply must be done.  No questions asked.  No whining allowed.  You must get yourself in gear and motivate.  Get some laundry done.

wringerThen I started thinking of the time when I used to do laundry on an old wringer washing machine.  I lived where there was no option for electricity, so this particular beast was one of those diehard Maytags that operated on gasoline and oil — all while belching exhaust and roaring at a deafening idle.  Tubs were filled by hauling buckets from the lake.  The empty-bucket trip was all downhill, the full-bucket trip was all uphill.  Sometimes the wringer didn’t work, and I had to switch over to hand wringing. What with all the hauling and needing to literally kick the old Briggs & Stratton motor into action, life felt challenging on Laundry Day.

The blahs can affect the psyche in powerful ways.  Laundry was a necessary chore that tended to rock my generally high level of positivity and my appreciation of living in such pristine beauty and solitude.  Still.  The sea’s doldrums hold as much gravity as can the wind.  Hunger as can fullness.  Indifference as can passion.  There is certainly a balance within the blahs.

I look back and give myself serious kudos for taking on such an enormous chore on a weekly basis. Even then, in retrospect, when all was hauled, washed, rinsed, and hung, I rarely felt any glowing level of achievement.  I experienced no grand sense of accomplishment when draining the last of the rinse tubs and hanging it up on the cellar’s wall.  Laundry was one of those chores that lived and grew without notice.  Like unbridled growth in a Petri dish, laundry took on a life of its own.  It reflected my chosen priorities of the week with a clarity that no Mirror-Mirror-on-the-Wall could.  Had I chosen to lounge on the dock in my bikini on that 93 degree day or had I chosen to fall the dead maple that was overhanging the Cellar?

levisThe Laundry Bag did not lie.  It was a snapshot of my week.  Wood chips littered the floor as I upended the Bag.  I saw a blue sweatshirt with a rip in the upper arm, and a chainsaw-oil-stained pair of Levi’s.  Eau de petrol perfumed the air.  My bikini?  Still in my dresser along with my other Travel Dream Clothes: my sarong, collapsible sun hat, and cute strappy sandals.  Daydreams of rowing around the lake and lounging on the dock were given over to the burrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrip of a Stihl chain saw and the sparing of the cellar roof.

snow_boots_s1In the wintertime, while sloshing around outside in sub-freezing temperatures in knee-high snow, I used to daydream of the 1960s when the idea of the Paper Dress was being tossed around as being a viable fabric for clothing.  It was brilliant.  Functional by day and ready-made firestarter for when I lay the fire in the cookstove for the next morning.  As I prepared for bedtime each night, I could don my chic and sexy tissue-paper negligee while crumpling up my work clothes from my day’s work.  Dual purpose.  And no laundry to be done!

And then one winter day something happened to me as I stood outdoors at the wringer in sub-freezing temperatures and snow – my hands in insulated rubber gloves and my feet in felt-lined boots, aching from the cold of snow and the slosh of icy water.

I don’t know how, but it all funneled into my first ephiphany: it was not the physical rigors that made Laundry Day a pain.  It was purely my attitude.  My thinking.  I stopped.  And took inventory.  I had the unique privilege of resource, health, and time to complete the task.  Time.  I look back and remember how it felt to have so much Time.  It was so wonderful and decadent, and I took it for granted every single day.  And my body really didn’t mind the labor . . . I was outside.  Getting some good exercise.  Breathing wonderfully clean, pure, cold air.  Looking at the tree branches dressed in snow.  Listening to the silence ring and ricochet around the lake.  How could a body complain about any of this?

wringer-1My second epiphany: the Laundry Bag took on magical properties that paralleled the complexities and simplicity of man’s relationship to eternity.  The Laundry Bag is bottomless, and it is never empty.  There is always something growing in it as a result of some other action.  My attitude grew to appreciate this.  I was part of something that was much bigger than I was.  The Universe.  It all sounds so strange as I write this, but this is how it all felt at the time: life is very large.  And I am a laundry-making contributor to the Wheel of the Universe.

I truly did switch things up after that.  I started to sing loudly while I plunged in the wash tub and rinsed and cranked on the wringer — this was my happier version of being on the chain gang.  I recognized the blessing in having Time for such a ridiculously time-consuming chore . . . one that now requires me to simply throw laundry into a magic tub and push a button and walk away while electricity and complex machinery do all of the work for me.

But. I now work away from home to compensate for the running water and the electricity that makes Laundry Magic.  And, in order to pay for such luxury, my life work has taken an academic turn away from the physical.  Life now moves to an urgency that is so different from taking my Time and hauling water and looking at the birds flying overhead and singing off-key bluegrass tunes about river banks and the glitter of gold and lost love and big rock candy mountains.

time-travel-clockIt feels like I have less time now . . . that there has been some sort of cosmic exchange that has played a joke on me.  That somehow my modern electric front-loading Maytag burns up more time, resource, and energy than my gasoline-powered wringer Maytag ever did. The best way I can explain it is there is a dearth of presence.  All of that hauling and heating tubs of water on the cookstove and wringing sudsy water out of my clothes made an impression that I would never trade for the joys of convenience.

Perspective.  What a gift it is.  I love the way time reflects around on itself and, in the doing, presents me with gifts that make my heart sing.  Life is a flow of Universal Presence that all manifests in unexpected and miraculous ways.  toaster oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Second Self

anais nin each friend represent a world in us” . . . a new world is born.”  Such a beautiful quote about true friendship.  A new world.  A world replete with the promise of good things to be discovered and experienced.  A world of laughter and understanding and compassion and acceptance.  And good plain fun that inspires uncontrollable laughter.  And joy.  And lingering feelings of happiness that span the length of absence.

A reflection of my better self.  My fidus Achates.  Best friend.  The Other I.  My Second Self.  The other part of me that is attached by an invisible thread that stretches and springs and spans the vastness of time and space.  Its tensile strength being immeasurable. toaster oven

Life offers its many gifts but meeting The Other I is at the top of the list of serendipitous and cosmic sparks.  Connection and relationship and creating new worlds . . . it doesn’t get much better than this.  Life has a way of surprising us and, as Tony Robbins would say, we like the surprises that we want and call the surprises that we don’t want “problems.”  Albert Einstein said, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

I love this quote.   Do I believe that I live in a friendly universe?  Yes.  And yes.  Meeting my Second Self confirms that new worlds can be born.  That miracles present.  That there are opportunities for change and growth.  That counting and counting have two very different meanings in the ways of life and love and friendship.  That very few things that truly matter can be quantified.  That laugh lines hold more value than zeros in my bank account.  That the sound of my laughter is a far better legacy than any fortune I can leave behind.  That “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”  — Albert Einstein

albert-einstein-quotes-love-48783

Balance in Creativity: “a harmonious adjustment”

036Today required some awareness for the need to balance.  Balance requires the art of focus — from my brain, my heart, my body, my soul — and I do recognize that I sometimes choose to focus on that which temporarily tips the scales toward chaotic creativity.  Ideas are large — sometimes enormous — and time and resources are sometimes limited.

This is certainly not to complain.  I have learned that ideas can stay alive and healthy while balancing them to a place that still feels right, do-able, and rewarding.  When I pay attention, I am better able to balance.  Anne Frank wrote in her diary: “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out.  Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart” (Frank, 2001-2010).  Her words.  Wow.  Full Stop.  Re-read.  Amazing, aren’t they?

Although my ideals and subsequent ideas may sometimes appear to be “absurd” or even “impossible” to incorporate into my daily living, the idyllic life-learning environment for me is an amiable, generous, and benevolent experience.  In my own personal learning journey, much of it can be defined as being those sparks in time that have engaged my brain’s limbic system – that most primitive part of the brain associated with basic needs and emotions.  When I link emotional brain to rational brain, all sorts of amazing creativity rises to the surface.

It is then when all creative Hades busts loose.  I am all over the map.  Folders are created.  Documents are saved with obscure titles and then stored willy nilly in the new folders.  Ideas are scrawled on Post-It notes.  My Idea Notebook is flipped open.  I grab a Sharpie and start scribbling on a vision board.  Scraps and notes are slipped into a drawer of the antique fruit dryer.  I text myself obscure reminders.  I eat pasta.  I write on my bathroom mirror in lipstick.  I decide to apply for another degree program.  I go dancing to tame ideas into a basic rhythm.   It is on me alone to skim that which appeals best to my creative hand.  All the while, swimming in ideas that all feel so great at the time . . . but what to do with all of them?  Where to store them for my eventual return?

Vision Board 075James Allen wrote: “A man is not rightly conditioned until he is a happy, healthy, and prosperous being; and happiness, health, and prosperity are the result of a harmonious adjustment of the inner with the outer of the man with his surroundings.”  This quote is in accord with the importance of becoming self-actualized in order to reach individual and unique maximum potential.  Allen’s idea that there is “a harmonious adjustment” between our internal and external worlds is in absolute alignment with my life philosophy.

Alignment.  This requires focus.  This is to say that I must explore both worlds in order to achieve authenticity and balance in my living and in my learning and my believing. We are most convincing when we truly believe what we express to others. When we are passionate about our beliefs, toaster ovenothers respond to the energy we exude.  We live more fully.  We laugh more readily.  We love more easily.

By acting upon our beliefs, we show others that we mean what we say, and our energy ripples outward into the world. We are each given unique abilities and a purpose that we bring to the world. Like a puzzle piece, we each have our own place and are equally important to the complete picture. By sharing our passion with the world, we may help to awaken others to their purpose, guiding them to find their place in the puzzle. (Daily OM, 2010).

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