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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

This is a re-blog of a previous post of mine from 2013. In light of so many things – the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the callousness and bias of our leader(s), the weather patterns that can only get worse as we ignore the needs of our beautiful Earth – I am reminded of the ever growing need to offset – to combat – hate, and to see the divine in one another. All of us. More than ever, we need to be kind and to forgive. This TV show was always a favorite of mine, and is the epitome of finding and acknowledging the light in one another, no matter how dim it may seem to shine.

In following an unexpected trail of webby bread crumbs recently, I came to a YouTube video of Joan of Arcadia.

256px-JoaI always loved this show and also the show’s theme song by Joan Osbourne, One of Us. I loved the premise of Joan Girardi, (Amber Tamblyn), finding God each week in everyday people – a fellow student, a mime, a homeless man, a club DJ, a girl on the color guard at school, a soccer mom, the lunch lady, the dog walker,  and the list goes on.  The message is ultimately about the Divine in each of us, and the essence of the greeting Namaste. The song’s refrain is this:

What if God was one of us,
just a slob like one of us,
just a stranger on the bus
trying to make his way home.

Namaste is a greeting used by many Hindu, Taoist and Buddhists which literally means “I bow to you.” It is said with the hands together in prayer position over the heart chakra and with a bow of the head. It is the divine spark in one person acknowledging the divine spark in another. To me it is one and the same as to what Joan of Arcadia was all about … acknowledging the divine in each other – finding the divine in each other – sometimes in the most unexpected places. As said in Wikipedia, (where you can also read more about the show’s premise), “No specific mention of any “true” religion is ever made, and God quotes Bob Dylan, Emily Dickinson and the Beatles, rather than any scripture or verse”  and is always very human in his/her appearances. I suppose it may be easy to look at this TV show in the light of one religion, but  in the end … the message is the same, and enlightening from any angle.

Listen to the song –

Take a look –

 

 

 

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Peace of Mind – One of the agreements I made with myself many years ago to help insure my peace of mind is to never watch the “news” on TV before I go to bed. First of all, as you no doubt know, the “news” for quite some time has rarely been more than a reporting of horrible misfortunes that have befallen local people and people around the world. It is a laundry list of murders, robberies, rapes, fires and the like. And that’s just the local “news.” It gets much worse as we look at national and global events.

I have been taught – and believe – that is it harmful to our very souls to bring this pain and negativity into our dream state. We have a choice in this matter. It is not to say we should not be abreast of what is happening in the world, but the degree of how much, what form of media, and the source of information also need to be carefully considered. Still, it is unwise, IMHO, to take any of it in before we go to sleep.  I am also of the opinion that any news I truly need to know will come to me.

That said, I was about to turn the TV off last night when I saw that 20/20 was doing an hourlong feature on what recently transpired in Charlottesville. I watched. I shouldn’t have. I awoke with nightmares, shaken, deeply saddened, and angry. That’s no way to wake up. It jarred the first few hours of my day. Lesson learned – again – no “news” anywhere near bedtime. Since the events at Charlottesville and what happened after, I have been, and still am, just horrified at the displays of hatred I witnessed in this country and the lack of its immediate condemnation. Like so many, I am simply at a loss in the face of all of it.

An Unexpected Upside – and then there’s this. There is very little to watch on TV over the summer, but one thing I’ve come to enjoy is a very addictive game show called The Wall. Here’s what I really like about it – it’s good news. It’s always a pair that plays – husband/wife, siblings, friends – to win money, and just about every pair of contestants is playing for money to better the world. A recent husband/wife couple had spent their own money to buy a mobile unit that offers showers to the homeless in their city. They were playing to win money to buy one or more units, at a cost of $40,000 each, to be placed around the city to give more homeless people the opportunity to shower regularly. They hoped to expand their idea across the country. In addition to dignity, they also offered clean clothing with the shower.

As you can imagine, most homeless people would not want to be on TV, but in the video package for this couple, one homeless man, clean and nicely dressed, openly thanked them on camera and said, “Now I can look for a job.” Take that, all you haters. There is love and hope in the world, and on one night a week it’s being brought to you by, of all things … a game show.

Photo Notes: These were taken after a thunderstorm in the early evening. What is most bizarre is that the first two photos were taken within seconds of each other, and seemed to be affected by the angle of my camera. I have no way to explain this. The light, as is sometimes the case after a storm, was particularly eerie, as you can see in the violet tint of a maple, two shrubs and the brown fence in a corner of the yard.

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I am repeating this post from my own blog from 2012. It is never too late to do a kindness and there is never a wrong time but today is the day that celebrates it. Should you wish more information, there is a Random Acts of Kindness website with wonderful stories, ideas, etc., but I suspect you know exactly how to be kind. Have a lovely day.

Recently a friend from the other side of the country – Washington State, to be exact – sent me an e-mail with the photos below. Needless to say, the images have been collected by someone from all over the web and put together in that e-mail. I have  pulled them together for this blog post because I believe we all could use a little inspiration here and there and it never hurts to be reminded of the difference a small kindness can make, how a simple gesture can touch a heart and soul, and how there really is a great deal of kindness in the world despite what many sources would have us believe. We can always add to that, and it needn’t be on an official Random Acts of Kindness Day – it can be any day or every day.

Enjoy the photos. The e-mail began with this : If you never learn the language of gratitude, you will never be on speaking terms with happiness.

A father and mother kissing their dying little girl goodbye. If you are wondering why all the medic people are bowing,….in less than an hour, two small children in the next room are able to live thanks to the little girl’s kidney and liver.

The e-mail continued on with the following, which I have altered slightly to be more inclusive of all beings on Earth:

Every day, every day, you hear …
I WANT!   I WANT!  I WANT!
Every day you hear people saying what they want. Well, here’s what I want:

  • I want people who are sick to be healed
  • I want children – and animals – with no families and no one to love them to be adopted
  • I want people to never have to worry about food and shelter and heat
  • I want to see a kinder world towards all animals on this planet
  • Most of all, I would like to see people start to care more for one another.

May your heart be touched by kindness today and every day.

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I have a love/hate relationship with the marketing world. I am so, so weary of having a zillion products and services pushed at me relentlessly in every media avenue I could possibly be in touch with. It’s annoying and sometimes exhausting, and, I suspect, touches your life as well.

But then … I come across a commercial which is absolutely brilliant, moving, and says something so important in a way that I could never imagine. At first, this short, wordless commercial shows us a touching relationship between man and his best friend, the steadfast devotion dogs have for us. But that’s just a part of the message. What’s ultimately being said is so unexpected and so beautifully said — take a look.

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FrenchieValentine2

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection”

~ Gautama Buddha

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Is there one small spot in your home that makes you happy? Perhaps more than one? This is one of the spots in my home.

OakWashstand-Tksgving2

 

It’s a collection of items that all make me feel happy, calm, and grateful. An oak washstand I bought in Brooklyn on Atlantic Avenue back when I lived in Park Slope; a rather poorly matted, (by me), and framed photo of my Mom and Dad when they were married; a rusted crow sitting atop a real piece of branch; a couple candles and some fall leaves in a heavy opalescent dark brown pitcher …

I change these items around regularly, but for now, this is what speaks to me of Fall. Warm, simple, woodsy. Home. I am grateful to have these small reminders of where I’ve been in life and with whom, what holds memories for me, and how blessed I’ve been in so many ways.

Happy Thanksgiving.

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity. Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. It’s encoded in your DNA. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” 

― Carlos Barrios, Mayan elder and Aiq’ij of the Eagle Clan  

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We interrupt this day of seemingly endless shoveling, digging out, car cleaning and bright red cheeks to bring you a message of love for Valentine’s Day …

RaibowHeart2

“To worship rightly is to love each other,
Each smile a hymn, each kindly deed a prayer.”

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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OutlinedHeart

 

Love is why I came here in the first place.

~John Denver

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Falling in love is always the easy part. Then it gets complicated. Why? Because “the other” has their own ways, their own ideas, their own habits, their own fears.

It doesn’t matter if “the other” is human or animal; no matter how hard we try, we cannot help but bring our own hopes, expectations, ideas, habits and fears to the table. Case in point – an animal one – elsewhere on this blog, I have mentioned that I feed a small feral cat with tuxedo markings whom I’ve named Little Fee. He’s been coming around since he was 9 months old or so, and that was the summer of 2009. He comes like clockwork for breakfast and dinner, and snacks in between from the bowl on my back porch when not chased away by one of the cats next door.

If not waiting for me on the back porch, he comes to his name when called. Yet he is extremely fearful and will not be touched or approached. He has never been missing for more than 2 days, and that was only after severe snowstorms. But now he is missing 2-1/2 days. What has happened to him?

The scenarios for a feral cat are … 1) Hit by a car  2) attacked by another animal  3) injured and laying low somewhere while healing  4) accidentally trapped in a shed, garage, etc.  5) poisoned  6) trapped by a human and removed with any number of intentions – to be neutered and returned, taken to the local shelter and/or to be killed. None but one of them are good. And there is nothing I can really do about any of them.

One of the things about loving another – be it human or animal – is that it is always fraught with risk.  Perhaps the greatest risk is giving up control, for it is the one thing we cannot have when another being is involved, or at least not without potential harm to ourselves or them. And one of the things about loving and caring for a feral cat, I see, is that I have no control at all.

And still we, in all our yearning humanity, risk loving again and again, knowing that we cannot control much … only our own thoughts, really. We can offer the best of ourselves to another being, offer our love, and then it’s out of our hands.

As for me, I keep intermittent vigil at my back door … watching and hoping … hoping my voice, my love, can bring this small being back and help heal him, if needed; hoping he’s not gone forever.

UPDATE, MARCH 1 –

The Fee has returned! In one of my porch checks late last night there he was, looking none the worse for wear, a bit hungry, and happy to be fed. Breathing easier at last.

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Happy Valentine’s!

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“This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

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Fear is the antithesis of love. We are in fear when we bemoan our fate that we are not yet published. We are in fear when we relentlessly edit and re-edit and edit yet again something that, in all likelihood, is just fine. We are in fear when we overwork an aspect of our illustration, striving for some elusive perfection. It’s not that uncommon to think and behave this way. Most of us were raised to be good, to be perfect, to be loved conditionally. As were those who raised us.

And what we most need in our lives, our work, is not fear, but love. When we write and illustrate books for children, we always bring forth our best work when it is coming out of love … not anxiety about its success or perfection, or how well we are faring compared to others, or how much recognition we’ll gain. But love. It would seem so easy, but for so many of us it is not.

Below is the quote that I had mentioned in my last post. It is by Marianne Williamson, metaphysical teacher, and from the book A Return to Love, her reflections on  the principles of A Course in Miracles, published in 1975. All of Williamson’s work is focused on growing into our richest selves, letting go of fear and living truly in love. And I believe it has a profound meaning for us as we  venture forth as writers and artists, aspiring to light the way for children.

Everyday Grace

My deepest fear is not that I am inadequate.
My deepest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure.
It is my light, not my darkness, that most frightens me.
I ask myself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who am I not to be? I am a child of God. My playing small
does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around me. I am meant to
shine, as children do. I was born to manifest the glory of God that is within me.
It’s not just in me; it’s in everyone.
And as I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As I am liberated from my own fear,
my presence automatically liberates others.

These words struck me so deeply in their undeniable truth. As a writer and illustrator of children’s books, aspiring to bring my gifts to young people, I can soar to heights in joy as I work or tumble to crushing frustration. Fear. All fear. And though living lives through fear in varying degrees is common to so many people on the planet, it seems to almost be the inheritance of all sensitive, creative people. I know there is a better way; I’ve known for a long time, and so, I suspect, have you.

From time to time, books, individuals, ideas, etc.  cross our paths, and usually, at times when we are ready to take the next step out of fear and into grace … into love. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for about 9 months, and through a mention of the quote above from a friend, I took this book from the shelf. It was time – there are no coincidences.

Living in love, free of fear, is a great challenge. We were not raised that way. Shaman and author Don Miguel Ruiz calls it “domestication.” It is all the same. And what’s so wonderful is that there is never a bad time  to take another step, to let go of fear and our belief that we should be small, to believe instead  in the love and brilliance we are.

I find A Return to Love an amazing book, as is A Woman’s Worth, both by Williamson. Perhaps an inspiration for you, too. Please also know, if it makes a difference to you, that Williamson’s writings do not espouse any specific religious orientation – her writing is of a spiritual nature, and so speaks to us all.

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