Connections

CONNECT

This topic seems to be all around me recently. If you Google the word “connections” all sorts of connections appear… books, TV shows, films, schools, computers, Linkedin, a MIT museum exhibit, and that’s just the first page. The connections I am interesting in chatting about here are personal connections. People to People, and the connections we all encounter daily.

I follow a blog by John Paul Caponigro, a contemporary photographer whose works I admire and enjoy.  He apparently is having some similar thoughts, for on the 13 of Jan, his posting was of 28 of his favorite quotes on being connected. Here are two of my favorite ones from his listing…(all of them are here) 

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world” – John Muir
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  — Herman Melville

So here is a connection, chance (?), coincidence? I was chatting with a friend about (coincidentally (!)) coincidences. Pondering the questions of this post – i.e connections, verses chance verses coincidence. He brought up Moby Dick and some thoughts from that. I thought, hmm, I never read that and I would like too. Now a quote I happen to pick is from Herman Melville – which I had to think about whom he even was…and the list goes on and one each week. It happens to us all, it’s just if you happen to notice.

Back to human connections. You smile to a stranger, you nod to a passerby, you kiss your spouse and children goodnight, you laugh with a friend(s)…you cry with a friend(s), you help a friend, you help a stranger;  those are all unquestionably connections. But, did you call your friend at just the right time they needed you? Maybe your smile made a big difference to a lonely strangers day? You get the point. Remember the saying – Every action has a reaction – all those actions connect the threads of our days, years, “beings” – therefore, all things we do have connections of one kind or another.  A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. Our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” – Herman Melville (again)

Granted, some connections are strong, some are positive, and some are not. It’s all about balance. You breathe in the good ones, and with some thought and luck, you can breathe out and spread/share the good. Try to let go of the lesser and negative ones. Maybe you can breathe them out as well, but without the intent of sharing. The power of intent is the difference here. I suppose the point here is – just what do you do with the gazillions of connections over a day, a week, a year, a lifetime?

Lets agree, at least for the time it takes you to read this post, that we ARE all connected.  Remember from above – “A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. Even if it is just by some minuscule air molecules, or maybe by some “energy,” or maybe from some spiritual “force” that you can call/name whatever makes you comfortable and happy, lets agree we all are indeed connected in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, since we are all connected here is my challenge to you. If you tried just a little harder to “make a connection” that was a little out of comfort zone, what would that be?  What ripple effect would like to create out there?

I am not talking about “World peace” – obviously we all would like that…but something much closer to home.  I have had a few really spectacular connections of late, the two that  first come to mind are – 1) meeting a stranger whom I was able to help in ways beyond words, and 2) a random meeting up with an neighbor (that I have not seen since Oct.) that has information that is potentially very helpful to me. My own “out of comfort zone” challenge is – to stop thinking about writing my book(s) and get writing- for the ripple(s) of the good messages the books can disseminate are exciting!  I can potentially connect to so many more people! Another is … well really now, don’t you think it’s your turn to tell me?

Ron, Reading
The hope of my writings!

 

Friends

Friends

“The people who are close to us bring untold meaning and value to our lives. When we are with the people who we care the most about, our social activities become something that is not only fun but also that contributes to our overall sense of interconnectedness and well being – for it is though our friends that we see just how rich and abundant our lives truly are. Inviting our friends to do things with us is one simple way to allow this feeling to infuse our lives with this sense of bounty. Being grateful for what your friends add to your life will let you recognize the gifts that the universe has given you today.” -Daily OM

“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.” – Buddha

“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief”. – Marcus Tullius Cicero

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ― Linda Grayson”

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” – William Shakespeare

Got it? Get it? Enough said…
Thanks to all my friends and…
Thanks to all the friends of The Botanical Beauties Community.

 

Winter rains….

Izzy and Soggy steps
Goop and ick sticking all over you?

…grayness…fog….haze…mist…and soggy steps. As I look out my window today there really no other word for the weather but GLUM and GLOOMY. It’s not cold, so it’s raining instead of snowing. As a matter of fact, it is 47 degrees at this very moment outside here! Very odd. Some folks are smiling, and others are frowning, about the warmth. I find it a mixed bag, it is pleasant not to have cold feet and cold sheets  but it is also very odd, wrong, and there is nothing bright, reflective, and pretty about rain. (I know there are indeed beautiful rain days at other times of the year, and there are gorgeous photographs with rain reflections, but I hope you get what I am talking about here.) The reflective properties of snow add a brightness and clarity on a cold sunny winter day that really can’t be beaten. Rain does not.

It is the notion of ‘soggy steps’ I am really fascinated with right now. Clearly there is the literal of soggy steps walking outdoors. What about the figurative, what thoughts come to mind with those same words?  To me, it brings forth that same old theme of “letting go” but now it’s letting go AND walk into/onto new paths. Soggy steps sound like your feet rise and with every step, muck, goop, and other ‘icky’ things we would rather not be carrying around come up with your foot. This goop can stick to our hands as well and even hover overhead! It makes for very heavy steps, hard slow movement and an overall malaise to the day!  I’m as guilty as the next person of heavy steps in the winter. It seems very tough this time of year. For starters it’s often dark, less sun, early sunsets, and everyone is inside much of the time. It is very isolating, with much less human contact than a vibrant spring day.  It seems to take more energy to find things to smile and laugh at, and that’s really horrid! Then, if the dark and isolation isn’t enough, there is often a bitting cold up here in the North! It’s a plain hard truth: it is harder to be happy when your face hurts because a bitter cold wind is blowing and you are out walking your very dear, loyal, and fabulous friends who happen to have 4 legs!

So again the question is- how to get rid of that sticky goop attached to our appendages and possibly even over our heads? Maybe it’s a simple as the Dao of winter states?

 Winter – The Dao of Storage     藏之道

The three months of winter are called closing and storing.
Water freezes earth cracks. Do not disturb the yang at all.
Early to bed, late to rise. (One) must await the daylight.
Make that which is of the heart/mind as though hidden,
as though concealed,  as though (one) has a secret intention,
already obtained. Leave the cold, seek warmth.
Do not leak the skin (sweat).  Urgently hold onto the chi.
This is the winter compliance of chi
and the cultivation of the Dao of storage.
To oppose these principles injures the kidneys.
(Consequently) spring will bring paralysis and fainting
(and) there will be little to offer one’s sprouting.
(Nei Jing Chapter 2) http://www.energyarts.com/taoist-seasons-winter-water-element

Clearly some this is not really possible or do  even agree with … such as “Early to bed, late to rise. (One) must await the daylight.” Most of us don’t really have that luxury most days. (And)” Do not leak the skin (sweat)”  I think movement is very important, it’s all too easy to want to curl up and just sit, or lay, around, in the winter! Movement is good for the mind and body, we all know that!

Whatever it takes- Shake that booty, especially your feet and hands, and shake that goop off! Lighten your steps, hop though the soggy and maybe dance onto that new path! (…or at least try to!)  Stomp out the goop and lets hope for a sunny tomorrow!

 

Stomp down that goop

Community: a place where, hopefully, human differences are viewed as gifts.

There are so many types of communities we are all part of. The possibilities are somewhat endless: Work is one type, a gym, a book club, an exercise class, a religious affiliation, even an appointment you may have where you see the same people time and time again, a social affiliation, a political group, a farmer co-op. etc….  These days “Community” seems to apply for pretty much any collection of individuals regularly gathered. Is that ‘honest’ to the true meaning of the word? In the broadest sense, I say YES. As our worlds become ever expanding, and yet also smaller simultaneously, (a whole other subject!) these smaller more personal communities are important. We need collections, we need to belong, we need comradeship, and sometimes we just need a group verses ourselves as mountain top individuals. According to Wikipedia – “The word “community” is derived from the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin communitas (com, “with/together” + munus, “gift”), a broad term for fellowship or organized society.”

Community evokes inclusive to all. The opposite, and so a traitor to community is exclusivity. What justifies keeping some one out? A bit problematic for the word, the collected group, the so called community. For instance, a yoga class is most likely not to want high noise, frenetic ‘energy’ folks romping and dancing all over the studio and class- so is that exclusion? No. Most likely no one objects to dancing, and most probably even loves it, but not in this setting. So where does exclusion fall? Part of what community is in todays world is a group of willing, at freewill, like minded people gathered for a common purpose, and for the well being of the group – the community. Easy in a yoga class, not so easy, or necessarily as peacefully, in a group such as a homeowner’s association!

The reason I am writing this post today is I am interested in what we call “a community” in today’s world. I use the world freely and often, and it feels good to be part of a like minded group. People need to feel a sense of belonging to something – a community. A family is a very small possible community. We are not islands, by nature most of us want to be part of something, perhaps even bigger than ourselves, or perhaps just a safe place to land and enjoy some like-minded people. There seem to be two elements to creating such a collection, a community, of people. One option is place– a shared location that focuses on a common element. For instance, every other Wednesday, 2 friends and I gather at a location, and spend a very pleasant couple hours – new people (to us) are there as well, and I now consider that a small and very nice “little community” of in this case, woman. I look forward to it, to seeing the same people to say hello to and chat a bit with. It is the location and activity that bring this group together.  The second option is common interest–  where the people here are gathered by a belief, an occupation, an orientation, an activity, an even an ethic origin.  In thinking about all this I found an interesting article.  It is called *THE DIFFERENT DRUM – Community Making Peace by M.Scott Peck, M.D.* http://www.enkindlecommunity.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/True-Meaning-of-community.pdf   This article states-

” …A friend correctly defined community as a “group that has learned to transcend its individual differences.” But, this learning takes time, the time that can be bought only through commitment. ” Transcend ” does not mean “obliterate” or “demolish.” Lt literally means “to climb over. The achievement of community can be compared to the reaching of a mountaintop.

Perhaps the most necessary key to this transcendence is the appreciation of differences. In community, instead of being ignored, denied, hidden, or changed, human differences are celebrated as gifts.”

So, as this year of 2013 draws to a close- maybe we can celebrate the gifts… join in all the communities you want, partake to the fullest if you so desire… and enjoy all our difference. That sounds like a good way to end one year, and a fabulous way to begin a new year.  Together with gifts– (back to French origin) – The gifts of the differences of us all- the wonders of belonging and sharing in a community.  Here’s to New Year of acceptance and joy of our communities and gifts they bring us.

SaSakura and Community Banner
Sakura and Community Banner