Tag: abundance

Everyday Is Earth Day ~ Feel the Earth, Feel the Gratitude

Everyday Is Earth Day ~ Feel the Earth, Feel the Gratitude

Earth DayOur earth is a spectacular gift … a miracle … a source of constant amazement to me. When I stop to think about its riches and abundant beauty it boggles my mind. Particularly those of us who live on the western hemisphere have so much to be grateful for, far exceeding the wildest imaginations of those sequestered by circumstance to other parts of the world. I need only watch the news one evening to be reminded of the abundance that is ours for the taking. Not only have we been blessed to be at home in a country that affords us some distance from the destruction of war, but the freedom to enjoy what we have. With all freedom comes responsibility. The more freedom we have, the more responsibility we bear for tending to and protecting what is sacred … and the earth is sacred. The earth provides for our very existence.

I whisper a prayer of gratitude in my heart whenever I see, sense or touch a thing of beauty … a reminder to maintain some semblance of humility for the gifts I have been given. Gratitude is a reminder that our ego will never provide for us, or care for us in the way that we think it can. Our mental gymnastics and machinations will not do it for us either. Rather, it is humbling ourselves so that we can surrender to and rest in all that stands outside of reason, logic and ego, and outside of the cultural norm.  This alone keeps us grounded in the awareness that we are a part, not only of the earth itself, but of the universe. What is in one is in all. What is in all is in one.

 

EARTH DAY QUOTES:

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.”
– Ancient Indian Proverb

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“The earth has music for those who listen.”
George Santayana

[tweetthis]]”In the spring at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Attwood #quote[/tweetthis]

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want.”
Andy Warhol

The Greatest Gift You Can Give … or Receive

The Greatest Gift You Can Give … or Receive

The greatest gift you can give another, is to be fully present with them and to give them your undivided attention. The greatest gift you can give yourself, is exactly the same.

I came flying in for a crash landing at mid-life, after several decades of living hell-bent on creating a life I loved to live.  I’d the greatest giftmanaged to run fast and long and hard into a giant brick wall. In fact, I even managed to get up, brush myself off, get back on the track just long enough to smash into another one. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much effort, work, thought and determination I put into achieving my goals, they didn’t happen. I did not, in any way, shape or form, have a life I loved to live. Quite the opposite.

Part of the problem, was that I wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t fully present in my life. I was looking out beyond the stars, and missing the journey completely. Instead of giving myself the greatest gift, I was working overtime trying to give it to others. I didn’t think I was, but in retrospect I see now that I was so ensconced beneath the masks I wore that I had no idea who I really was or what I really wanted.

At an early age, I learned not to listen to myself or pay attention to my own needs and wants.  The last in a long line of children, little attention was paid to me.  I more or less raised myself, with a little help from my very bossy older sister. As time went on, I came not to expect attention or approval, and interestingly enough, I developed a deep commitment to paying attention to others. (It’s a question of balance.)

I developed powerful radar for those in need. I would give them what I knew somewhere deep inside was the greatest gift we can give another human being. I was able to intuit what they were feeling and thinking, often before they knew themselves, and, as a result, I was able to provide for them what they needed in any given moment. I was not listening to myself so I had lots of available antennae to pick up their signals.  My loss was their gain. Or was it?

[tweetthis]”Be present where you are otherwise you will miss your life.” Buddha[/tweetthis]

I learned a great deal from that part of my life. It has given me skills I might not have otherwise had. I learned that giving another person our undivided attention, being fully present to them and for them in any given moment, is valuable, and it requires setting aside all of our agendas. It means putting aside not only our cell phones, our to-do list, but also our expectations, and to some extent our own needs. Being fully present to another is a gift. It must be freely given. And, it is priceless.

However, as I have said many times, it is essential to give from our abundance. We must give, not to fill our own needs or to balance some imaginary scale of giving, but from the very core and essence of our heart and soul. This is a tall order, and one that is always a work in progress. However, there are two steps that we can take every day toward this end.

  • Be fully present to yourself. Being present to yourself means listening to your own needs and tending to them. Do not put off caring for yourself for some other imagined priority. Love and care for yourself first, as you would a child until you feel anchored and present from deep within. Then the next step is easier.
  • Be fully present to others when it is asked for or needed. This does not mean solving their problems. It does not mean indulging their every whim. It means listening. Hearing. Looking into their eyes and seeing them. It means turning off judgement, turning down the volume on your own agenda, and tuning into their signals and energy. You are looking for a heart and soul connection, so that you might hear their heart. Interestingly enough, one can often hear the most in silence.

 

Living with Scarcity in a World of Abundance

Living with Scarcity in a World of Abundance

Fall gardensThis morning as I look out my window, I am drawn to the awakening blue sky and the rays of the sun that wash over the lush green foliage along my driveway. It’s hard to imagine that in just a few short weeks the landscape will look quite different. In late August and early September we find, fast growing greenery such as wild morning glories and other late summer vines (and weeds) growing with such speed one can almost see them growing. It’s as if they see the end in sight and know it’s time to hurry.

I feel much like the morning glories some days. It’s time to hurry up and do what it is I’m supposed to do in this life. I’ve grown weary of earthly endeavors, the abundance of things that no longer have much use to me, much as I grow tired of the impatience in my garden that seem to go on endlessly this time of year.  By mid-September I want nothing more than to pull them out by the roots and be done with them, their splashy pink tones an assault to the senses.  It is now the season of yellows and golds and browns.

It reminds me of the ebb and flow of our lives, the abundance of youth, the eagerness to expand at midlife and the desire for simplicity and a less lush environment as we we reach our wisdom years. Like the leaves that will fall, age calls us inward. We are called to settle the score of our soul and leave the worldly things to those still finding their way.  It is a time of simplicity, not scarcity; an abundance of the soul, not a worldly abundance.

Though the seasons are changing, there is still much to be done.

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What Does Abundance Mean to You?

What Does Abundance Mean to You?

Lavender Treasure by Artist L. Diane Johnson, a painter, instructor, author and juror, serving art collectors and artists since 1981. She was the Founding Editor and designer of the of the award-winning monthly, Plein Air Magazine, and travels the U.S. and Europe to paint live on locaton. She has authored many art articles, artist training demonstrations, and books. Visit her website by clicking on the hphoto.

What signifies abundance is unique for each individual. It depends on circumstances, frame of mind, our history, our openness to receiving and so much more.  This was brought home to me last week when I participated in a guided imagery session. It was a very interesting meditation!

As we relaxed and breathed deeply, we were invited to close our eyes and imagine ourselves walking along a path beside an ocean. It was a beautiful, relaxing, and peaceful place. As we walked along the path breathing in the salt air and listening to the sea gulls overhead we came upon a cave, hidden away in the brush. It was inviting and our curiosity drew us in. As we explored the cave we turned a corner and there, hidden out of the way was a room filled with treasure. Suddenly, surrounded by incredible abundance, our guide invited us to really take in what was there; to pick things up, look at them, feel them, etc.

Initially I saw big, beautiful treasures, gold, jewels, sports cars, and quickly I moved on to adorable little puppies, fuzzy kittens, beautiful flowers and so much more. After a time of looking and exploring and enjoying what we had discovered, we were told that all of the treasure was ours. We could take whatever we wanted with us when we left. I searched to see what treasures I could carry with me and what I chose surprised me.

First, I chose a Cocker Spaniel puppy, a happy, joyful, energetic little creature that smiled at me. Next, I chose a cute pair of shoes. Then, a beautiful shawl, a big pot of blooming hydrangeas and a needlepoint kit. I was worried that I could’t carry everything until I realized I could put on the shoes and the shawl and the puppy would follow me, running along happily beside me. When the session was over and I reflected on these items I began to understand that what I had chosen made sense. At this particular point in my life these are the things that represent abundance to me.

Reflecting on how each item made me feel pointed the way. The Cocker Spaniel puppy loved me exuberantly and freely and accepted my love with out hesitation. He represented unconditional love, something we all need. The shawl  wrapped me in its arms and filled me with feelings of warmth, comfort and security. The cute shoes made me giggle and feel happy. They represent fun and enjoyment. The beautiful, huge hydrangea blossoms inspired me. They embody inspiration. The needlepoint is structured creativity. All of these things together are what abundance means to me.

When I allow these things in my life: love, warmth, comfort, security, fun, inspiration, beauty, and creativity, I need nothing more. I am full to the brim with everything I need and more. I have more than enough. I have abundance.

I expect that at some future time, the things I choose might be quite different and I plan to visit my treasure chest now and again to see what’s there waiting for me. I invite you to do this little mediation and see you what you find in your cave of wonder. It’s a magical place. I hope you’ll pay it a visit. You don’t necessarily need a guide, just close your eyes, breathe deeply and follow your imagination where it leads.