Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Today I'm taking part in the My Most Beautiful Thing Blogsplash to celebrate beautiful things - inspired by Fiona Robyn's new novel, The Most Beautiful Thing. Bloggers from all over the world are taking part and writing or posting pictures of their most beautiful things today. Find out more here and see everyone else's blog posts here. I have found it difficult if not impossible to come up with one thing. That is the problem with superlatives. I could have listed my daughter or my son or my granddaughter or my pets or the lovely place I live, Vashon, WA, a wonderful supportive rural community, or my home or my yard or and the list goes on and on. But I think what I find to be the most beautiful thing is the fact that I am healing and I've started learning the power of staying present, living in the moment, observing what is going on around me. I am far from experienced in this, but I am improving so that I was thrilled to find a bumblebee drinking from a petunia yesterday on my way to my shower. It is wonderful to stop and just listen to the frogs croaking or watch a hummingbird buzz by. I have learned more about how to stop and focus, not to be worrying about the future or regretting the past, but just being present in a very real sense with each moment (or as many as I can manage) of the day. It is a very new experience for me, but one that allows me to find lots of beauty at all sorts of levels in the wonderful world. I can rejoice with my students or be glad for a stranger's help navigating the Metro bus system. I can go out after dark and marvel at the slugs enjoying my purple walkway. I can walk my dog Oliver, who is recovering from knee surgery, around the backyard and spot all sorts of new growth, patiently going wherever he wants at his slow speed and not rushing about. My haiku spring from these moments where I really pay attention to what is going on and then try to capture it in poetry. I find that writing the haiku helps me really see the moment, feel the moment, and capture the moment. So I guess My Most Beautiful Thing is this moment in time:
three dogs sleeping
on the blue cedar
I just want to close by saying that I highly recommend "The Most Beautiful Thing" by Fiona Robyn. The book is incredibly well written and beautiful with vibrant characters who ring true. It is one of the best books I have read in a very long time, and I hope you can enjoy it also.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
I just found a blog that has a "Share Your World Sunday" where each week Cee challenges us with four questions so we can get to know each other better. This is my first time to participate, but here goes.
1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
That is a very tough question to answer. My body does seem to be feeling all of its 66 yrs., but my mind and outlook seem a lot younger. That being said, I have learned a lot, especially in the last few years, and I wouldn't want to have to do that again so I think I'll just stay right where I am. I know a lot of ages I wouldn't ever want to be again, and I think I'm fine right where I am, and yes, even if no one told me, I would know I am a senior citizen!
2. What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?
Again, this is tough, as I have experienced many kind acts along the way, but the greatest one I can think of currently is my friend Kay's willingness to come twice a day to help me give medicines and fluids to my sweet cat Sasha, which Kay has been doing since September, 2011! If it weren't for Kay, I doubt that Sasha would still be with me, and she is now making enormous health gains and I treasure our time together, all thanks to Kay!
3. What was your favorite childhood television program?
Gads, these aren't getting any easier are they. I remember the Howdy Doody Show as one of my earliest favorites and then there was Leave it to Beaver and Donna Reed, and The Lone Ranger, and Gilligan's Island. I guess that is enough.
4. Which cooking utensil (other than the usual pots and pans etc) would you miss the most?
Ok, finally an easy one. I don't cook so I probably wouldn't miss much. It isn't a utensil, but I would miss my freezer as I keep a lot of Amy's frozen dinners on hand and I would miss my InstaHot as I make endless cups of tea and ramen that way. I used to feel like a failure for not being a good cook, but now I just figure that with my limited energies, I'd rather do something else like writing or quilting so I don't worry about it.
You too can have fun with this if you visit Share Your World Sunday! Have a lovely day and Happy Earth Day! May we all be more careful of our delicate planet.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
I have just finished one book (Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins) and I am nearly done with another (Small Gods by Terry Pratchett), both of which have dealt with beliefs, specifically beliefs in a god or gods. Both authors propose that gods exist because people believe in them and when people don't believe in them anymore, the gods disappear. Tom Robbins uses the god Pan as an example and Terry Pratchett has a god named Om who has become a tortoise.
This got me thinking about the power of beliefs, and I have no intention of getting into religion, so no worries there dear readers, but these books have brought home yet again something that I have only discovered relatively recently as I work on my healing with a fantastic therapist, and that is that our beliefs are extremely powerful and in fact the beliefs construct our realities. I know I have dealt with this topic before, but it is such a very important one and I don't feel as if I have personally fully comprehended it.
I do know that a lot of my own personal healing has been centered around restructuring my beliefs so that my reality is more reflective of who I really am. I still fall into old patterns when triggered of believing that I lack any artistic talent or that I am the stupid one or that I am not worthy of anything and need to put everyone and everything else first, but for the most part, I have managed to restructure my beliefs so that I know which of these things are quite absurd and actually a part of my father's reality and which might work for me.
There is only one constant in this life and that is change. I think it is important then from time to time to reassess what we believe so that we can see if it is still working for us, and if not, how we can change our beliefs to reflect the world and the reality we really want. This is scary work as changing beliefs does destabilize our reality until a new paradigm can shift into place and become a part of us. And I am no different from most in this, that it took getting to a very dark place to give me the incentive to go through the destabilization process. We all need beliefs to shape our reality as I don't think that there is an absolute world or an absolute reality. But we all need a belief system that helps us realize our full potential, which helps us navigate our world in a positive and healthy way.
Over and over again we see evidence of how our beliefs, for good or ill, can determine our lives. Doctors have proven conclusively that patients with positive attitudes, those who believe they can be well again, have a much higher healing rate. Beliefs hold the power of making self-fulfilling prophesies. If I believe I will fail, then fail I will. At that point I can then say, see I was right. It becomes a vicious circle.
And whatever our beliefs are about anything, we can find evidence to prove we are right. If, for instance, we say the world is a scary and nasty place, then we will focus on all the things that happen that support that belief, and ignore or forget the things that don't. I know several folks who believe that life is shit (pardon my language) and then you die, and guess what, they can find tons of support for that belief. I know others who believe that life is good and wonderful, and they also can find lots of support for their belief. And these two opposite points of view can exist in basically the same environment, because the reality is that we attract what we believe in.
So it is time again for me to do a check-in on my beliefs. I am still working at overcoming a lot of fears and on this glorious sunny weekend, I look outside and think, well, I could go for a walk. But then the old fears surface. It is safer to stay inside. I might meet a mean dog or a nasty person or I might fall if I go out. These things have happened to me so the fears are not totally unfounded. But the fact is that they haven't happened in a long time and not in this neighborhood. So just maybe it is time to challenge my beliefs that people are scary. Sure, some are, but most are not and even if someone does say something hurtful, it is probably more reflective of them than me and maybe they are just having a bad day or maybe their belief system is such that they feel they have to go through life defensively, getting in the first hit no matter what. I don't know. But I do know that I need to focus on changing my beliefs so that I don't attract the very thing I fear.
Now, as I look out my window on this gorgeous sunny day and watch myriad butterflies darting in and around my garden I realize that overall life is very good and very beautiful. And whether I enjoy the beauty from inside or out, I can still be uplifted by the lovely space I am in and I am free to decide whether to quilt or to read or just maybe go for a walk. The choice is mine; I need only believe that. Have a super day wherever you are!