Where Would you Choose to Sit?

Over the past several weeks I have been walking in Chanticleer Gardens, near me in Wayne PA. Every time I venture out I have my iPhone 8 at the ready … and it seems to capture the colors, contours, shadows and perspectives pretty well.

I don’t see myself as a photographer, but I have been taught to have an artistic eye. Recently, I have not only wanted to represent what is before me, but also to appreciate different perspectives, shades, patterns and dynamics that are taking place.

So, these last few visits I have asked myself – where would I like to sit? As I brought new awareness to seats, I noticed so many more in tucked away corners as well as overlooking lovely vistas.

Where would you choose to sit?

 

Tao Wisdom – Don’t take Sides

light landscape sky sunset

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The Tao doesn’t take sides

It gives birth to both good and evil.

The Master doesn’t take sides;

she welcomes both saints and sinners.

The Tao is like a bellows:

it is empty yet infinitely capable.

The more you use it, the more it produces;

the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

Hold on to the center.*

 

Let go of fear, anger and judgments that keep us separate and in conflict.

Connect to the center and infinite wisdom beyond words.

More than ever, Find Your Middle Ground

 

*Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) . Harper Perennial. Kindle Edition.

Inspiration for Hectic Hearts

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When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

~ John O’Donohue, from “Blessings”

There are some beautiful images and poignant phrases here to guide us to our Middle Ground.

May today be a day for slowing down and noticing the small miracles we rushed through.

Let nature and our senses restore mind, body and spirit.

Namaste

Let Go of Something

woman walking on fence

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Let go of something,
somewhere. Use yoga
to become aware, to
touch what lies beneath
the surface of the skin.
Is there tension longing
for release; a knot of
fear so deep and familiar
that you believe its
part of who you are?

Ease into dark corners,
locked rooms, unexplored
hallways. Gain entry
not by force or will
but only by softness.
Enter on the wings of
breath, and turn the
key of self-acceptance
to let go of something
somewhere.

~ Danna Faulds

 

Enter on the winds of breath and turn the key of self acceptance … oh yes.

Namaste

Late September Reflection with Teddy

cobweb time

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Late September morning light dances off dewy grass.

The sun creates dappled patterns through the trees.

Green and gold variations on an autumnal theme.

The hummingbirds have left on their southern journey.

It’s time to bring in their feeders and put out corn for squirrels … deer and crows.

Spider webs glisten and catch me unexpectedly as I walk into the new day with Teddy.

We stand together and breathe in the changing air.

He’s not as active now that his sisters are gone.

He’s okay with this. 

And shows me by licking my calf and wagging his tail.

Chipmunks and squirrels are now safe in our yard.

Teddy loves to simply hang out.

Life right now is like a long letting go breath.

Finding a new rhythm, balance and some peace.

We are going to need it in the days ahead.

Getting Clear about Transformation

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Most of us spend our time and energy trying to transform our experience of life. When things are difficult, we blame circumstances, someone else, or ourselves. We take on new things and make new goals. We may change jobs, move house, or get divorced, to move away from our circumstances.

We move away from the discomfort.

And we somehow find ourselves feeling the same way in the next job, the next house, the next marriage …

In this society we are constantly being pressured to focus on the external and to acquire things in order to be “successful” and to feel good about ourselves. The message is “you deserve better” or “this will make you happy”.

Instead of moving from job to job, wanting things to be different and wishing for events to change, pause and notice how you are resisting what you are experiencing right now. Are you telling yourself “I deserve better”? rather than trying to understand your experience.

It is the relationship with what is happening that is causing the pain rather than the situation itself. The relationship between you and the situation is one of resistance and frustration with what is.

But you are only changing the external situation, and the chances are you will start to feel the same again, unless you take time to look at what is going within you that is getting in the way of transformation.

What if our purpose in life is to understand our external experience and how we relate to it? or Seeing all of our experience as lessons in life?

When we start to look into our experience with curiosity and an accepting mind, we can bring about real change.

Its an inside out job.

Here are some powerful questions to ask yourself to bring about inner transformation:

  • How do I want to feel ….? at work/in my marriage/in my relations with my children etc. Imagine your future self and what it feels like.
  • How am I contributing to this situation? What attitude adjustment do I need to make?
  • What actions would support this? What do I need to do differently?
  • What support do I need to bring it about? What resources do I already have?

 

Haiku – beyond thoughts

calm young woman with shadows on face

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~
You are not your thoughts
Discover what’s beyond them
Find Your Middle Ground

~

One of the biggest steps towards awakening is to realize that we are not our thoughts. When we sit quietly we begin to notice that our thoughts come and go. We are not the thoughts themselves, so we can come to witness them, our beliefs and the stories we create about the world, our ourselves.

As long as we believe that what we think and believe is the truth, we will stay in an unawakened state. In yoga this is called Avidya, or ignorance.

This is especially hard right now, with all the conflicting stories, beliefs and versions of the truth that we are being exposed to.

Taking time to pause before reacting to whatever you are reading or watching is key. This is when you can step back and see if this is true or not. It may be contrary to what you believe, and therefore you think it is wrong. Or it may be exactly what you think, and it becomes the truth.

Be discerning rather than judging right or wrong.

This is a time to become a witness to our thoughts and stories, and our own susceptibility and gullibility as human beings.

Namaste

So Fortunate – Chanticleer

Being in nature is such an inspiration and brings me wholeness and peace … Yet, what truly lifts me up is seeing it through an artistic lens. 

I am so fortunate to live close to Chanticleer, a pleasure garden in Wayne PA. During the pandemic, there is limited attendance, but I visit when I can. It has sparked my desire to be there and pay attention to the evolving seasons and the curious beautiful experiences that are just around the corner… or right in front of me.

There is so much to be aware of, explore and capture. My iPhone is always at the ready!

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I’m curious … How is your artistic soul calling you in these strange days?

God would have said: go out into the world and enjoy your life

God as understood by Spinoza. Inspiration from Stephen Paul and the 17th century 💝

Stephen Paul's Blog

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Did you know that when Einstein gave lectures at the numerous US universities he was invited to, the recurring question that students asked him was:

Do you believe in God?
And he always answered:
I believe in the God of Spinoza.

The ones who hadn’t read Spinoza didn’t understand…

I hope this gem of history, serves you as much as it does me:

Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the three great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, along with René Descartes in France, and Gottfried Leibniz in Germany.

Here’s some of his wisdom:

God would have said:

Stop praying and punching yourself in the chest!
What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to enjoy, sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.

Stop going to those dark, cold temples that you built…

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Live this Day

dawn sunset beach woman

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This is what I have to say to you. Enjoy today to its fullest.
Rather than making arrangements for tomorrow,
do the wonderful things you have longed for.
Open your heart to the joy that lies in the gift of this day.

How easily we take our days for granted,
until we realize they cannot last forever.

Being in the now is the most exciting time you have ever known.
Live today on the edge of your seat, craning towards the horizon,
ready to meet whatever comes your way.

Changes will surely come one by one.
You are ready when you lift up your heart to meet them.

Namaste

Haiku – the answer

man wearing black cap with eyes closed under cloudy sky

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~
The world draws us out
Yet the answer lies within
Find Your Middle Ground
~

When we connect to our center of being, our Middle Ground, we begin to attune to our authentic self and feel empowered. The external demanding world loses its pull and power. We feel more able to be true to ourselves.

If we really want this, then what actions can we take to make it happen?

Most of already know this … Turning off the cellphone, not watching local news or feeds of coronavirus updates, or Trump twitters that churn up our minds, fears and egos, and unsettle our hearts.

Becoming centered is more about us connecting to our heart, rather than our head. The analytical ego-mind, gets all too easily pulled into the drama and fear. When we touch into our heart and the felt sense of the body, we connect to something greater than ourselves. That which is beyond.

Take time today and every day to Find Your Middle Ground.