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Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

In Stillness

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I have been looking for the words that come
before words: the ones older than silence,
the ones not mine, that can’t be found by thought—
the ones that hold the beginning of the world
and are never used up, which arrive loaned,
and make me weep.

~Nancy Shaffer~
Instructions in Joy

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“Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight.”
~Mary Oliver~

What do you love?  This was a question from the powerful weekly question.  G. K. Chesterton wrote: praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.  And I say — yes, yes, it totally could be!

Many years ago, I watched a soap opera, The Days of Our Lives.  It had a tag line: like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.  Today I would like to “bogart” that phrase and say — like sands through the hour glass, so are the Days of Our Love.

It’s a brand new shiny day stretched before you.  What shall you fill it with?  How about noticing what you love?  What lights you up from the inside out?  What delights you?  What makes you smile?  Notice and nurture it.  This is the essence of animating this life we are living.  And to feed and water what we love in life is to flow energy in the direction of that which feeds our heart and soul.

There was a book entitled Happy For No Reason.  It speaks of giving out awards, not necessarily literally but noticing and praising, either out loud or silently.  The best smile of the day.  The most beautiful flower of the day.  The most vocal bird of the day.  The most engaging store clerk of the day.  You get the idea, noticing the little, simple things.

While up in the Cascades I noticed there was a variety of pine that we don’t often see in the lower elevations.  Their needles were inches upon inches long.  One evening I watched as the sun went down, how the light hit the pines just so.  How it glistened on the tips of the needles as a gentle breeze brought forth clusters of sparkles.  I loved that moment of noticing just that and I’m still milking that one tiny moment.

It’s the simple things in life calling us to it.  Some days we want to run and leap into its arms.  Other days it calls us gently, softly with a whisper barely audible but always there, beckoning us forward.

Breathe deep and gather in the fragrance of all that lies before you today.  For none of it means anything until, with our own unique brand of attention to it, we give it dimension and depth.  Perhaps the richest discoveries of all lie in the simple, the trivial, the once easily overlooked.


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Recently I expressed to my teacher and mentor, Philip Golabuk, that as a facilitator, I could now declare that I was *that* Alice.  I was referring to the movie we have both seen and loved, Alice in Wonderland.  Alice isn’t sure she is The Alice, until far into the movie.  The Mad Hatter knows but she’s got doubts.  There’s a pivotal moment when she no longer doubts, she knows, she is *that* Alice.

And so it goes with being a facilitator, you get certified and then you go on into real life and do the practicum and practice what really is art in motion and its a different work of art every time.  Basically I was declaring I was a practiced artist by saying I am now *that* Alice.  Once I’d declared that, a piece of me felt like high five-ing myself for the courage to be that and to speak it out loud.

A much smaller part of me said: really, we’ll just have to see about that.  Doubt.  Here I had picked up the thread of doubt and like a loose thread on the hem of my shirt, I kept on pulling and unraveling until I was in a heap of doubt.

But, wait, there’s good news here!  If I can grab the thread of doubt, an unwanted feeling, and run with it, then it’s opposite is true!  I can finger the thread and unravel the flip side of doubt.  Hell, I don’t have to pick up a thread of it’s opposite, I can put the whole damn coat on!

Enter the Coat of Many Feelings.  My friend Ahmee inspired me when she spoke of how she puts on the coat of Freedom.  What a concept!

So I took *that* Alice’s coat and I slipped my arms into it one at a time, pulling each end up until it sat upon my shoulders.  I looked down, I was wearing a tawny colored coat, medium weight, high collar, button down (many buttons), fitted at the waist and then it flared out from there.  Finished off at the hem and sleeve ends was fluffy faux fur.  No animals sacrificed here!  It appeared to be Edwardian style.  It was Alice’s coat!  Next I caught the wave of the feelings that went with *that* Alice’s coat.  The feelings I’d already known and felt.  The courage, the complete confidence, the strength, the knowing.  I settled into it until I knew I had caught the feeling again.  Then I took it off; it’s work was done.  And frankly, a girl’s got to move freely when she’s slaying jabberwockies.  :)

Then I thought of all that this could be used for.  How about the coat of creativity and inspiration?  The coat of – I believe in myself.  Or my favorite, the coat of — I am in love with life.  Oh when I put that coat on the whole world shimmers like every day is a sunny, spring day, the world is alive and vibrating, I am alive.  I know the full out joy and the rapture of being alive!

Anytime, anywhere I can put on any coat I want to, so take that doubt sitting over there fingering the loose threads of a hem, I’ve got the whole damn coat!  And more than that I know how to catch the wave of what turns me on, what lights me up, what makes my heart sing, what makes me swoon with delight.  I’ve got the power and don’t mess with me, because now I’ve got the coat, too!!

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Optimism is reflected in many areas of life.

Many birds in their fantastic migrations demonstrate an amazing optimism, traveling thousands of miles to distant shores, almost literally flying by faith, as it were, ignoring all dangers, unbesieged by doubts.

There is no hesitancy, but the sure flight. Birds do not question whether or not the weather will be favorable, the winds fair or foul. They simply fly towards their destination. Even if some birds do fall or die, this in no way impedes or undermines the faith of the others.

Monarch butterflies, in their remarkable migrations, often fly toward land that they have never seen themselves — and yet they reach their destination.

In all such cases there is an inbred biological faith, that courage and vitality, that biological optimism. It acts the same in people, triggering the necessary bodily responses. Only when the optimism is severely tampered with do the physical mechanisms falter. Even then, however, all creatures are sustained
by that innate gift, that inner sense of security that not only propels creatures toward life, but safely conducts them past physical life and past death’s doorway.

The way toward health is simplicity itself.

It is the natural, easiest way to behave, yet this natural mental behavior is often quite difficult for the intellect to understand, since the intellect is apt to enjoy playing with complications and solving problems. Therefore, to the intellect it often seems ludicrous to imagine that the answer to a question lies within the question itself.

All of nature demonstrates this almost miraculous seeming simplicity. Plants and animals and all of life’s aspects take it quite for granted that the sun will shine and the rains will fall in the way best conducive to all creatures.  Animals certainly do not worry about tomorrow’s weather conditions. It may be true that animals do not need to know tomorrow’s weather, since they do not plant seeds or collect the harvest. It is perfectly fine to make plans for the future, yet each individual should live day by day, without worrying about the outcome of those plans.

The physical body can only react in the present moment. Worrying about future events, or dwelling upon past unfavorable situations, only confuses the body’s mechanisms, and undermines their precise activity in the present moment.

I am not saying that anyone should pretend that unfavorable circumstances do not sometimes exist, or that they may not be encountered in the past, present, or future. It is also true, however, that advantageous events occur with a far greater frequency than do negative ones — otherwise the world that you know simply would not exist. It would have disappeared in the throes of destruction
or calamity.

In a basic way, it is against nature’s purposes to contemplate a dire future, for all of nature operates on the premise that the future is assured. Nature is everywhere filled with promise — not only the promise of mere survival, but the promise of beauty and fulfillment. Once again, the keen sense of promise is
innate within each portion of the body. It triggers the genes and chromosomes into their proper activity, and it promotes feelings of optimism, exuberance, and strength.

… Live each day as fully and joyfully as possible. Imagine the best possible results of any plans or projects. Above all, do not concentrate upon past unfavorable events, or imagined future ones.

~Seth – Jane Roberts – The Way Toward Health~

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plainandsimple

If there is such a thing as poetic license, I am certainly taking it now.  I have created what is known as a ‘found’ poem.  Up until now, this poem has not existed.  I have selected a couple of lines each from eight different poems and two different authors.  I chose Mary Oliver and Wendell Berry for this creation.  At the end of this found poem, I have cited the poems I used.

If you like to play with poetry, you can do this, too.  I found it a wonderful exercise as something to just drop the day’s events and lose myself inside the soft belly of poetry.  Enjoy…

* * *

I would like to write a poem about the world
that has in it, nothing fancy

Like our travels, our workdays
burned upon the world.

And forgetting everything I will leap to name it
as though for the first time

Turning always in my mind toward you,
your slopes, folds, gentle openings.

As a poem or a prayer, can also make
luminous any dark place on earth.

Maybe we’re necessary to each other,
and this vacant place has need of us both.

Calling us back to why, how and whence
such beauty and what the meaning.

To its joy we come together–the seer
and the seen, the eater and the eaten,
the lover and the loved.

* * *

Each verse was extracted from individual poems.  The pattern begins with Mary Oliver, then Wendell Berry and continues to alternate authors and poems throughout, ending with Wendell Berry.  The following references the poems used in the order that they appear:
Mary Oliver, This World
Wendell Berry, Horses
Mary Oliver, Tasting the Wild Grapes
Wendell Berry, Letter
Mary Oliver, May
Wendell Berry, A Music
Mary Oliver, First Snow
Wendell Berry, The Hidden Singer

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Heart Songs

musicheart

There are many things in life
that will catch your eye,
but only a few will catch your heart …
Pursue those.

~Anonymous~

What catches your heart today?

What if you did something every day
which catches your heart and makes
your heart sing?

What if you set aside time for just that
every day?

Does it sound like a recipe for inner joy?

It does just that for me. And I’m worth
feeling this inner joy and so are you.

Your heart, it has this enduring
voice that quietly beckons you to it.

Are you listening?

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May the light at the core of your being illuminate the world…

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