Monthly Archives: November 2015

Snatches of Joy!

hope

As we journey along the paths of our lives, there will be bumps in the road.  Sometimes, there are long stretches of bad, unpaved road ways as we travel towards some destination.  But, there are miles and miles of smooth pavement that we tend to forget.

Perhaps it is human nature to remember the discomfort.  No one likes it nor invites the rocky road, but as many wise ones have told us, we have to experience the night in order to appreciate the day.  As we complain about the dark nights or hard conditions, we often overlook the small glimmers of hope that were offered during the rough rides.

Have we honestly taken stock of all of the wonderful things that happened as we bounced up and down and chugged along?  If we take a candid moment, we will remember that there was always someone there to hold our hand or wipe a tear.

Someone was there to tell us that things would get better and someone gave us regular encouragement when we were stuck at our pity parties.  Someone was there to take us out for a meal or for a walk in the park or silently sit with us at the river, lake or sea.  Someone was there to remind us that trouble doesn’t last always as they shined a flashlight on our blighted paths.

So, when we share those tales of woe, we should remember to add those people or situations that were placed there to help us arrive at our destinations.  We should recall those quiet moments when our hope buoyed up and we caught those tiny snatches of joy!   That is what sustained us until we could breathe easier and clearly see our way.

Lynn M.                                                                November 30, 2015

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Are We Grateful?

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 speaks of comparing our lives to those of others.  He writes:

“When in disgrace with fortune and in men’s eyes.
I all alone beweep my outcast state.

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d.

Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least.”

Many of us have fallen into that unfortunate trap of thinking that other’s accomplishments outweigh our own. Certainly, during this season of family gatherings, we may find ourselves sizing others up and mistakenly thinking that they have achieved more than we have in our own lives.

Sometimes, our views may be cloudy and we may need to clean our foggy glasses and take another look. We often only see only what others want us to see. Sure we are happy for their gains and levels of comfort. But, are we seeing clearly?

Have we really sat down and counted up what we have accomplished in our own lives? Have we started by listing those really important items such as health, shelter, prosperity, love and employment? That last phrase alone is more than many people have in their possessions.

From there we can start writing a list of our personal gains and start with those things which we are most proud. Once we put that pen to paper, we write and write and write. We may pause and go on about some other business.

Then we remember some other huge blessing and we go back to add more. Before we know it, we have pages and pages of all of the wonderful things that our diligence and the Universe have brought our way!

Lynn M.
November 27, 2015

The Abundant All

water

Give thanks for the abundant all,
Gratitude helps you stand quite tall.

Honestly compare where you are,
Assess the mileage; see how far.

That you have come during the year,
On Thanksgiving Day, give a cheer.

Enjoy, the turkey, ham or duck,
Count it all joy. You are in luck!

Lynn M.
November 24, 2015

All in Time

Time

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer.” Leonardo da Vinci

How perfect!  This is a great reminder from one of the most masterful artists in the history of mankind- Leonardo Da Vinci.  When I found this quote or shall I say, when this quote found me, I was feeling somewhat guilty because I was living like a couch potato.  I was channel-surfing though I knew that I should have been working on a particular book project.

The thoughts bombarded me about getting started, but I simply pushed them away.  I had an “I don’t care” attitude.  Yes, I know that there’s a deadline.  Deadlines have that name for a reason.  They refuse to be ignored or overlooked.

I silently wondered, “Had I lost my muse? Wasn’t I concerned that dollars could be going down the proverbial drain?”  And then, the master artist’s words appeared.  The Buddha says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

I was looking up relaxation quotes to attempt to justify my lazy state.  Then, Signore Da Vinci acted as a tender shepherd, quietly beaconing me towards his words.  He let me know that I was merely taking a mini hiatus.  I obviously needed some time to restore, renew and refocus.  Then, I could return to the work at hand with a new energy and in his words, with a “surer judgment!”   How comforting!

Lynn M.
November 20, 2015

 

 

 

Sheet Protectors!

The other day, I was using some sheet protectors to preserve some hand-written work that I had done. I thought of protecting or preserving those jewels and I aligned it to insulating our souls.
Our soul houses our deeply felt emotions that we attempt to hide from the world. In Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, We Wear the Mask, he reminds us of that human condition. Here are a few lines that I have borrowed from that prolific poem:

“We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes…

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise…

We wear the mask.”

Though we may smile through it all, that late night’s sleep or lack thereof, truly reveals or exposes our bare emotions. Those closest to us are privy to our fears, pains and concerns. That is when our cries, whines and battles with the adverse forces are most apparent. These are the ties that bind because those in close proximity know what a brave face it takes to continue on at the breaking of dawn as we face the new day.

We find outlets and forms of self-expression to serve as balancers so we can remain buoyant as we navigate those choppy waters. We might take a dance class, attend a ballet or concert. We may write, sketch, paint or go to a sporting event. Or we may simply take a stroll, power walk or jog. There are so many ways to refocus on the beauty of daily life itself.

We could have a good, hearty conversation with a trusted friend or loved one. They can help us put things into perspective that appear askew.  Or we may take to social media and converse with close ones in that format.

And oh! Never forget to add some music. It will always increase the brilliance of light during those times when things look dim. It could be rock, R&B, spiritual, jazz, classical or whichever type of music matches the mood or brings levels of delight.

Samuel Butler, a British poet, reminded us that “Self-preservation is the first law of nature.” We can find a myriad of ways and methods to put that loving shield around ourselves for those feelings of security. It is like being wrapped in special blanket or quilt made by the precious hands of a loved one.

Then, we can pull back the curtains on a new day and easily claim, “I’m good to go!”

Lynn M.
November 16, 2015

Producing Pearls!

pearls

We often hear of people who sink deeply into their work to keep themselves busy during painful times in their lives.  It is what sustains and comforts us when we are facing disappointment.

I am currently Anne Rivers Siddons book, The Girls of August.  Towards the beginning of the novel, one of the characters is unable to have a child.  She and her husband are heartbroken and they decide to delve deeper into their careers to “keep the pain at bay.”

Oftentimes careers or work, so to speak, can serve as that sure antidote to those personal upheavals and emotional storms.  Going to greater lengths to excel can give us a sense of success in other areas of our lives.

It is comparable to the agitation that an oyster or mollusk deals with when it is fighting to protect itself from foreign objects.  “When a grain of sand or other irritating substance gets stuck between the oysters mantle and shell, the oyster secrets nacre.  This shiny substance coats the grain of sand and over the years, it forms a lustrous pearl.” (enchantedlearning.com)

Similarly, when we are feeling agitated with the hand that has been dealt, we, too, may pour ourselves into some other forms of self-expression.  The mindfulness given to that work helps to avert those feelings of deep melancholy.

These outlets can keep us afloat and offer us an anchor or a new lease on life.  It meets a need and before we realize it, we have created something that is quite masterful.

Many songwriters, painters, poets and authors can attest to this fact.  They often create from a dark place of their own souls.  They were merely trying to move into a brighter space and found solace by using their unique skill or craft.

Their work happened to resonate with others and without even trying, they found a new audience. Gems are easily recognizable because emotions are universal. How majestic!

Lynn M.                           November 12, 2015

Aha Moments!

We cannot experience all of life, so we listen to the wise ones and heed their warnings.  And then, there are those guideposts that come through avid reading or viewing of media forms. If we encounter a new or unusual situation while on our journeys, our memory may be jogged.

We remember a character from a book who was meeting similar perils.  Then we have moments of recognition and there is that aha moment.  We say, “Oh yeah.  I read about this or I saw that in a movie.”

Most books change or alter us in some way.  They allow us to get peeks into lifestyles or subcultures that are new to us. By the time we reach the last page of a work, some new point–of-view has emerged and we look at things differently.  Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.”

Promptings from reading and observing media forms can serve as safety nets. We don’t have to travel too far down into a dark abyss.  We clearly see the red flags that make us yield, change directions or put our motions in reverse. Or we may stop and turn left or right onto another path or roadway in life.

In Jane Austen’s Emma, Emma and those close to her are surprised by the secret engagement of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill.  His stepmother said, “Much, beyond impropriety!  It has sunk him; I cannot say how much it has sunk him in my opinion.  So unlike what a man should be.”

But Emma doesn’t want to jump to conclusions.  She said, “Let us wait, therefore, for his letter.  It may bring many extenuations.  It may make many things intelligible and excusable which now are not to be understood.   Don’t let us be severe; don’t let us be in a hurry to condemn him. Let us have patience.”

The older people used to sing, “It will all make sense by and by.”  Emma’s willingness to wait and hear the whole story was an aha moment for me because clarity comes with full understanding. Sometimes, we too must wait for all of the mysteries to unfold.

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to work with a couple of autistic children.  Seeing the movie Rain Man came to mind because I could see these children’s brilliance in distintive areas.  I thought of the beloved Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) who had an uncanny ability for memorizing numbers, though he could not function independently.  I silently nodded as I recognized this slice of life and said, “Oh yeah” as I observed these children excel in their comfort zones.

We can in no form or fashion experience all that life holds. Yet, reading and taking note of the available media forms offer us those guides as we travel through uncharted waters.  Those aha moments remind us that we have previously seen or heard about something that we are now witnessing.  This awareness keep us on the straight and narrow path as we proceed with greater insight and caution!

Lynn M.                           November 9, 2015

Sprinklings!

When I think of those who are successful in teaching or in any endeavor for that matter, I think of a recipe for a cake.  To be truly effective, more is needed than sheer intellect. Yes, it is a vital for a person to be knowledgeable and cognitively astute.  That can be compared to the flour because it is the most essential ingredient before baking a cake.

That person should be trained in the field in order to be considered an expert.  Certain degrees or certificates are normally required to get hired for that position.  That’s like adding the eggs, milk and pinch of salt to the cake flour.

But where does the success come in?  Why are some so much more accomplished than others?  Why do others excel or stick out at a neck’s length ahead? Those people have probably incorporated a holistic approach. Whether it is in teaching, cooking, or whatever career choice, those who do extremely well have learned to add a sacred age-old method that never fails.

Great chefs, good teachers and historic leaders often understood that it takes much more than know-how and formal training. They have added the antidote to failure in their recipes of success. And what is that?

They have sprinkled in a generous, caring spirit of love.  This is the sugar or honey added into the fold of the batter for that tasty cake.  It puts the yum in yummy and it is sure to put a smile on the faces of those consumers, students or followers.

Their enthusiasm poured into the mix spills over the bowl to bring joy to many unsuspecting faces. Yes, the business acumen is there. Check.  Yes, the skill, training and education are there. Check.   But what fires others up and gets them really engaged? It is goodwill.

Sprinkling in a tad more love is like adding a little bit more sugar to get a truly delicious cake.  And, if  those gifts are shared with more zeal and heartfelt sincerity, happier outcomes are guaranteed!

Lynn M.

November 5, 2015

Dear November!

This is the month of Thanksgiving,
Time to assess. How’s that living?

Harvest time. Plenty piled quite high,
Fruits of labor, earned with a sigh.

Colored foliage; maybe snow,
Thanking the good; seeing it grow.

Shorter days; holidays are near,
Gatherings spent with those most dear!

Lynn M.
November 2, 2015