WP Photo Challenge – Temporary

This was the first time my husband and I carved a pumpkin together.  Of course, we named him Jack.  We created him by searching for ideas on Pinterest.  My only criteria as we searched, was that our pumpkin have a happy face.

Gee wiz I’ve grown accustomed to him sitting next to our front door.   I know that Jack is only temporary.   But it won’t be easy to let him go.  We didn’t carve last year’s pumpkin, and we kept that one until the life oozed out of it.  But we won’t let that happen to Jack.  He’ll go with dignity and return next October to smile once again.

Even more temporary than Jack, is the pretty fall foliage.  I wanted to run over to the golf course near a walking trail I use, because the prettiest most vividly reddish trees are there.  Unfortunately, my silly daily errand list delayed my visit by too many days. Yesterday I could see that most of the leaves had fallen off.  Here’s a photo of this year’s (now vowing to get there earlier next year), as well as last year’s, (when I vowed to get there earlier this year).

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2017

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2016

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It’s a Good Time in Our World Now

It’s a good time to make a difference.

People, particularly women these days, are feeling empowered to speak up for themselves.  To be seen as equals.  To see ourselves as worthy, to settle for nothing less.  To feel empowered to speak up when we are mistreated and disrespected, by any degree.  However a movement begins, whatever grim set of circumstances started it, will never overshadow the powerful results.  Everyone involved, from those watching, to the harmed, to even the ones that did the harming, had a part in moving mankind forward.  But it will require focus and intention, not to fall back into the role of being marginalized, and looking the other way out of fear, or feelings of unworthiness.

There are others illustrating that everyone is entitled to the liberties they deserve, based not only on the law, but also out of sheer humanity.  They’re using a powerful symbol to demonstrate this point. By shining a light on an entire population that are entitled to the very liberties that, that very symbol stands for.  It’s the perfect illustration, with the perfect symbol.  Their perseverance with their gesture illustrates their courage, their humanity.  These individuals understand that complaining to each other, or grousing at the news, would not make a positive difference, it would only contribute to the problem.  Instead, they chose to act on their feelings.  Their peaceful action is impressive.  And they are moving mankind forward.

 

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Everyday seemingly inconsequential acts of kindness move mankind forward.  But often, it’s the more emotional, sensational, and divisive issues that pull people together, and shift mankind in larger numbers.  One day we won’t need scandals or atrocities to activate us toward becoming more humane.  However, until then, it will take us peacefully expressing ourselves to stand for a better world, and inspire others to do the same.  A world where we treat others the way that we expect to be treated.

We all have something we care about. What are you standing up for?  For me, I know there are some things I can speak up about, starting within just my personal life, as well as many things I’m concerned about as a citizen of our world.

All of us are here to do our part to assist mankind in moving forward.

WP Wkly Photo Challenge – Peek

For the WordPress weekly photo challenge, Peek.   We were sailing just yesterday.  A bit overcast but warm for a November day.   Not terribly windy, did maybe 6 knots or so.  I’m always peeking around our main and jib sail to see if we’re in any danger of plowing into either a crab pot or another sailboat.  You can see a Trimaran off in the distance.  Not too many boats out there on a November weekday.  But the Naval Academy midshipmen were enjoying themselves on their very pretty, but sluggish (tee hee) sailboats, with their over the top impressive boat names.  All of us seemed to be enjoying ourselves.

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Rounded – WP Weekly Photo

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The stairs for the Pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  Patterson Park is a really nice park that I’d never before been to and reminding me a little of Central Park.  That day I was meeting with a discussion group, and we sat on blankets and yoga mats chatting just outside the Pagoda.  Fortunately, the building happened to be open, and we were able to climb the rounded spiral stairs to appreciate the beautiful stained glass windows and phenomenal view of the city from the outside top balcony.  I LOVE looking up spiral staircases.  Down is good too!  Sorry, no photo of the outside, but here are the factoids from the Park’s website where you can find a photo of the Pagoda.

The Pagoda

Known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day. From the top of the tower one can view downtown, Baltimore’s many neighborhoods, the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry.

Over time and due to natural decay, vandalism, and lack of maintenance funds, the Pagoda was closed to the public in 1951 when the first of a series of partial renovations was attempted. At one point demolition was proposed as an option but thankfully the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park called for the complete restoration of the Pagoda. This project was guided by the Friends of Patterson Park, in partnership with Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and MANY neighborhood volunteers. Completed in the spring of 2002, the Pagoda now stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park. It is also the location of many programs and events, such as the Friends of Patterson Park Summer Concerts Series, Audubon’s family programs, Tour Dem Parks waterstop, one of the sites of AVAM’s Kinetic Sculpture Race obstacles, The Friends’ annual Moonlight Pagoda event and much, much more!

Source:  Friends of Patterson Park website:  https://pattersonpark.com/park-landmarks

We Contribute, One Thought at a Time

In spite of all the tragedies, natural disasters, polarization, political controversies, including corporate, political, and personal abuse, I still believe each of us everyday, seemingly ordinary human beings, are bringing about more peace, love, and light, in the world.

I don’t own a major company, and most people don’t even know I’m on the planet, but I feel I’m doing my part.  I certainly didn’t wow the educational system or set the corporate world on fire, but in my own way I know I’m contributing.  I have a small following, but I’m still making my impact.   Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to find the most eloquent words to write or to speak, but still I believe I’m able to make a difference.  Everyone makes a difference in the world.  Everyone.

I really believe we beneficially contribute to the world even more so through feeding our spirit by doing what brings us joy, and living from lighter and higher emotions.  As each of us create avenues for positive change in ourselves, all of humanity benefits as well.

Every time we laugh we make a contribution to the collective consciousness.  Every time we’re inspired by a work of art, a book, a film, a conversation, our resulting inspired thoughts and feelings ripple out to all.  When we choose to think a beautiful thought, among so many other kinds of thoughts we could choose to think, we’re contributing to mankind.  When I cook one of my vegan meals and my husband opts in and valiantly eats every bite out of love, he’s contributing because he’s melting my heart with every bite.  No moment is too silly or insignificant.

Most everyone knows that kindness towards someone else, directly contributes to whom the kindness is directed to.  But it’s easy to forget to be kind to ourselves, especially when things get tough.  Self-kindness is a gift to ourselves.  It’s also a gift to others because the beneficial feelings ripple out to all.  How we feel as we go about our day, touches many.  How we’re spending our time.  Joyful, fun, interesting, rewarding?  Or, do we feel constricted?  What are our feelings telling us?  What kinds of thoughts are we holding?  Are they positive or negative thoughts?  What kinds of words are we using?  Lighthearted, humorous, or inspiring, or negative, self-deprecating, or limiting?  Are we taking action on our dreams?   What kinds of habits do we have?

As we become aware of ourselves, open to our light and personal strength, we can’t help but consciously create a more loving, compassionate, joyful experience for ourselves, and the world.  Each of us becomes a light for each other.

For me, the higher I take my feelings by honoring myself with better thoughts and habits, the less I want to name-call any name-callers, or hate the haters.  It also seems especially counter-intuitive to me, to tear down those that tear down others.

I can’t think of a better time for more and more of us to realize our self-worth, our strength, our personal power.  We hold back and hope that someone more qualified, more awesome, more special, more divine, will improve things.  But we’re all already that.  The solution isn’t with an elected official, world leader, or famous what’s-her/his-name, it’s everyone, the collective us.   We’re positively impacting the world as we

  • Lead with our best effort in more moments
  • Create positive messages and take positive actions
  • Act on our own beneficial ideas and solutions
  • Collaborate
  • Support one another
  • Believe in better possibilities

How we are being, how we are taking care of ourselves, is how we evolve our communities, our world governments, corporations, financial systems, educational institutions, healthcare, our world, our hearts, our consciousness, our humanity.

While each of us is having our own individual life experience, we are one spirit and one humanity.

two kids humanityWhatever experiences we’re in the midst of, whether we’re lighthearted, sad, confused, or joyful, we still connect with each other.  We transform ourselves and the world, one beneficial thought at a time, and through even the smallest human gesture.

What do you think?  Do you see yourself individually and collectively, contributing?

When It’s Time To Stop Trying So Hard

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be amazing, we will need to learn to let go of trying to “do” it right and learn how to have more fun in any and all ways possible.  I see this a lot now in my fun work.  Some have said to me how are you doing this?  What is it that you’re doing to make this happen?  I don’t want to annoy them but the truth is I’m enjoying myself and that’s why and how it’s all coming together.

I see that people are pushing and pushing to be seen, to have the best social media practices to bring visibility to themselves by networking, and emailing lists, creating videos because they’ve heard that works, or learning the latest and greatest social media sites.  To me it’s all contributing to more noise and if everyone is doing the same thing…you getting where I’m going with this?  Then you’re just like everyone else and don’t stand out at all.

I do some best practices too and I’m trying to learn a couple of social media thing-a-ma-bobbers.  But mastering all “the correct and proven steps”, well maybe that works for others, but for me, it sucks the joy right out of my fun work and then things get stuck.  So I keep it simple and just. have. fun.

pexels-photo-258330You want to know my best practices?  It’s hiking, going for a walk in the woods, painting, editing my photos, writing, hanging out with my husband, sailing, watching a great movie, reading a good book, listening to music.

It’s very old-school but if you so desire, there are best practices for everything, from social media, promoting ourselves, growing our business, even how to approach one’s spiritual practice.  I’ve heard more rules from people than I can shake a stick at.  There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully.

If we’re in alignment with our purpose it’s all working out fine, trust me.

My belief is from personal experience, that everything, from any particular area of our spiritual growth, meaning our work, relationships, art, everyday experiences, will all flourish and bloom in releasing our need to control or force things into place just so and instead enjoy life.

When we’re truly following our heart, we’ll be successful, however success shows up for us on our path.

This week my challenge is my beautiful website photos are cut off, in half, on a PC.  The banner photos weren’t even close to looking like the photos I took.  I went into full-out stress mode trying different aspect ratios, moving the focal point around, trying other photos, emailing my website’s customer service, and spending time on user experience on a PC laptop and a MAC laptop.

Watching myself slouch into this is not enjoyable mode I encouraged my husband to take a break with me from his projects. So we went to our favorite lunch spot, we ate outside, talked with some locals, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market. e1d81-1502570672679

And when I switch to something lighter I allow for the best ideas and my creativity to blossom, and answers and solutions show up.

My intuition is assisting me all the time in learning to pay attention to how I feel in more and more moments and to strike a nice balance.  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of feeling because that’s impossible to maintain all the time, but sometimes it’s just a feeling of I’m in the zone, this feels nice.  And if something doesn’t feel right, I know not to push through it and keep hammering away but instead take a break and do something else.  As an ex-uber-do-er, it’s so worth it for me to practice this balance because I feel better and everything works better.  I guess you could say I’m more successful when I stop trying so hard.

My experience is if we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be even better than what we can imagine, we will need to learn to let go of trying to do it right and learn how to enjoy life in any and all ways possible.

 

How a Horoscope Cheered Me Up

I’ve often thought that family and one very good friend believe that I became a better version of myself when I met a nice guy.  Granted, this nice guy, now my husband, is an incredibly loving and kind person.  He’s funny, creative, smart, clever, and I love him so much.  But my life did not just snap into a beautiful place when he showed up.

My suspicion was realized when a family member commented, “And then you met Dave” in the context of once I met my husband my life was all unicorns and rainbows.  Um, no.  No one can make us happy, give us peace, or a sense of purpose.  I had to change the way I thought of myself and look at where all those limiting thoughts started from.  The member of my family annoyed me (this is an understatement) because it showed he didn’t know me at all.  To think he thought it was all about finding a nice man was doubly annoying.  Wow.  But the poor guy was only going on an assumption because he didn’t know any better.  He didn’t know because the timing of me beginning to uncover my spirituality was not long after I met my husband.  And, I didn’t tell anyone about what I was doing around how I was learning to look at where my limiting beliefs started, how I was learning to look at myself and how I put myself out in the world.  This is not the kind of work everyone wants to hear about, regardless of the positive outcome.

Years ago, what I was opening to was private and also unusual so I assumed people would laugh at me or make fun of me in disbelief.  I was just beginning to nurture a small seedling of my spirituality and I didn’t want anyone stomping on it.  So I kept my experiences to myself.  I didn’t share it with even my oldest friend because we always appear to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum regarding introspection.  Instead I concentrated on my new habits, new ideas and perspectives that would change my life and I pulled back from anyone who tends towards being sarcastic, dismissive or negative about life.  It even took me a while to share some of it with the very man who is credited with changing my life.  Of course he touches my life in many beautiful ways, he’s just not responsible for me working my bum off to release my limiting beliefs and opening to something more beautiful.

So after the comment from “harmless family person”, about a week later, I’m reading the local entertainment paper and see the horoscopes.  I rarely look at horoscopes but decide to read my husband’s for fun.  We laugh because it’s so not him.

Then I start to read mine out loud and bammo it’s just how I feel!  Very specific.  As I kept reading we both laughed at how surprisingly on target it was.  I giggled so much that tears were streaming down my face.  Thank you Universe, it’s just what I needed.

The world will never fully know or appreciate the nature of your heroic journey.  Even the people who love you the most will only ever understand a portion of your epic quest to become your best self.  That’s why it’s important for you to be generous in giving yourself credit for all you have accomplished up until now and will accomplish in the future.  Take time to marvel at the majesty and miracle of the life you have created for yourself.  Celebrate the struggles you’ve weathered and the liberations you’ve initiated…