Zoie, surprising no one that knows her, wins the Olympic Gold in the enchanted land of Botaniumaus for Kindness to the Earth! Her specialties are Toe Picks of Woodlands (above), Swizzles of river streams, and Double Axel Jumps of land and air! Her favorite short program is the Free Dance. To see a complete Bio of Zoie click here…(bottom of page.)
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?
“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.
…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!
Moths to butterflies, flower buds to Botanical Beauties (of both kinds), nuts and bolts, wine and cheese, arts and culture, smiles and laughter, computers and the internet, smart devices and apps, house and home, heartbeats and life, acceptance and love….so many kinds of connections!
The connections I want to chat about today are friends and places. Some friends you picked, some picked you, some are family and, for me, not only are some humans but some are animals-usually dogs! (smiles) However, they are all connections I feel strongly about. I traveled this past week or so, made a big loop of old, and dear, friends in two states and three places in my mind. When I was driving home I was thinking about where do I feel “connected” and where is home these days? I was driving back to my physical home, walls I love being within. These walls hold my dogs, my memories, my things, and many good aspects for me. The area (place) holds wonderful friends. It is my present life, where I work, where I am! The present, and being in the present, is good- it helps one feel connected! This is positively one home of mine. But, that is my point, it’s only one home, one place of a few I connect with…Home Two: I am very attached to those friends and family I just visited up North. I feel very ‘connected’ when I see them, connected when I walk/drive many of those streets, and even though I have nothing to do with the community anymore I still feel connected to it. There is the familiar and much history for me in home #2. It’s a strong connection, a pull, a draw. A place I am comfortable in, feel safe in, as well fun and welcoming. Home Three: My connections to the place I grew up are also very strong, those friends, and naturally family connections, and love, envelopes me wherever I go. As expected, many memories and good things here too… I am lucky; I have three “safe havens” to dock in. All offer different pluses as well as a few minus, but that’s all part of what makes up a place -the location, the people, the attractions/activities, the CONNECTIONS that attach you!
It reminds me of a paper clip chain, all looped together and all connected. Mine winds up and down from N. Carolina, to Northern New York, to Vermont and Maine! The other image that comes to mind is that of a butterfly. All the colors of the wings, flying, or fluttering if you prefer, changing from moth to butterfly. That transformation, somehow is a connection and has always astonished me. Then, those little antennas that do such much! I admit I looked up the word antenna just to make sure I was spelling it correctly but the definitions are wonderful, think figuratively! “thin sensory appendages…the faculty of instinctively detecting and interpreting subtle signs…a transmitter!” Talk about connecting! If we could all do that all the time- WOW! That begs the question of Connections and how does it interact with Communications? Maybe a post soon…
Zoology (pl. antennae |-ˈtenē|) either of a pair of long, thin sensory appendages on the heads of insects, crustaceans, and some other arthropods. • (antennae) the faculty of instinctively detecting and interpreting subtle signs: he has the political antennae of a party whip.
2 (pl. antennas) a rod, wire, or other device used to transmit or receive radio or television signals.
Letting go…..This seems to be thread that I am continuing. I have been writing about doing your personal in-body housework. Suggesting we all should be doing our ‘work’ all the time, not to wait until Jan 1 to set up a bunch of resolutions, to think about things we want to/need to change about ourselves, our ways, our behaviors, our patterns, or even our lives. Could it be I can’t let go of the subject? Ha ha… The truth of the matter is that I think this is a never ending process as humans who are paying attention and continuing to grow as adults and “good” people. I am sure of two things. One is this is not the last time for the subject, and the second is that once you let go of one thing, the next one pops up almost instantly!
I read a quote recently that said, “You will find that it is necessary to let things go, simply for the for reason they are heavy.” Author unknown, it was a Facebook post, and I apologize for not being able to give credit where credit is due. I was talking the other day with a dear friend about the very topic of letting go. She said/asked, “How do you do it? How do you let something go?” I translate that to: Part one – How does one come to terms that the “it” is just too heavy… and not serving any positive purpose to your day/life? Part two – How do you process the “it” and what do you do release it? I wish I knew! I think it’s a cluster of thinking, asking yourself questions, acceptance, self love/ respect, and a large learning curve of self discovery. In another words, a lot of hard personal work! We each have to figure out what we will do with these new thoughts and realizations? How are we going to store them in new positive compartments? Or are we done with them and can truly throw them away? Baffling, for we all hang on to things, physical and mental, imaginary and real, that we no longer need but are afraid (?) to let go for some reason.
We will never be clear of all these “it’s” but if we can shorten the list, lighten the burden, and figure out what the core is, if we work really hard, and a little luck never hurts, even it’s just for the purpose of distraction, then we just maybe can let go of “it,” as well as the “shoulds” and ought to! Again, I remind you, as well as to myself, to what I refer to as open palm living. Embrace the new, the unknown, the adventures of the day, of our paths, of our personal journeys. Let go of the things that serve no positive intent and purpose. The earth does it with its equinox, the seasons and nature do it continually, and our calendar says here’s a new chance, a New Year. Welcome to 2014. Good luck to us all!
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.
Well Thanksgiving Day is behind us…Hunukka (or Chanukah if you prefer ends 12/5) is still with us…Christmas and New Years are around the corner… Then there is also Boxing Day (12/26) for the English in you… Kwanza (12/26-1/1) for those that honor African heritage, and the Winter Solstice (12/21 at 17:11) for ALL OF US. In fact if you look up Winter Holidays on Wikipedia there are 28 listed for December! Many of these holidays revolve originally around lights. Winter is dark! Winter is for a storing of energy! Look at the hibernating bears, dormant plants and trees in nature, they are all using stored fuel. When the sun is out in the winter, and it’s a crisp clear cold day, it is exhilarating. It’s as if you can feel the energy stored in the earth and sky too! Store up those feelings, wrap up that energy, and take hold of the good. Reflect, restore, renew…its sort of like recycling.
A few days ago I was at my ‘other job’ and I want to share what I think is a fabulous reminder of holidays and meaning. The morning started out as usual with a good morning and ‘how are you’ conversation with my first lesson of the day. The man said something to the likes of “I’m good we are getting ready to celebrate one of my 2 favorite holidays.” I have met this gentleman at work a few times, and I knew he was a ‘good guy’ but his answer was so great that it has prompted this blog post. I said “I too like Thanksgiving, it is actually one of my favorite holidays, no big pressures, the hype is low (all that stuff seems to go to that other very big winter holiday that the world seems to love so much and the retailers can’t get enough of.) This one is about family/friends, some good food, and hopefully a nice day.” Well my answer pales to his. He said, simply and elegantly …”Yes that’s all true, but my two favorite holidays in N. America are July 4th and Thanksgiving… because on July 4th we celebrate freedom here in the USA and on Thanksgiving, everyone hopefully has something to be thankful for.” I couldn’t agree more and thought it was a wonderful answer and reminder of the true reasons for many holidays. I add a tiny bit more , and they get to stop and think about it for a moment. So the obvious question of the day…. just what are you thankful for? No need to tell me or the world…just always a good question to think about. Happy Thanksgiving… and for those that celebrate it- Happy Hanukkah as well!
Thanks for so much to so many of you.
There are Jello molds, mold spores, molds for objects, and molds for just about everything. This post is about how we have molded, and continue to mold ourselves. The ‘self’ mold has to posses both rigid strength as well as ultimate flexibility and flow. Pretty tough to do at times. I state the obvious-we are entering the winter months. A time we often ‘hunker down’ and take stock of ourselves inside and out. According to Taoism, the winter is the season of the Water Element. (This is why todays illustration of Breaking out of your mold is featuring Moe, Minister of Clean Water.) At first the concept of winter as the water season was puzzling to me, but as I have pondered it for about a year now it is making more sense. The quote below is from The 5 Elements in Taoism.
” Water is the energy phase associated with winter, when the Yin force is prevalent. The winter is a time of rest and quiet, when energy is saved, gathered, condensed, conserved and stored. Water is a very concentrated element containing great potential, a great power waiting to be liberated. In the human body water is associated with essential fluids like hormones, lymphatic liquids, marrow, enzymes, all with great energetic potential. Its color is black or midnight blue. It is the color that contains all the other colors in concentrated form. In nature, water evaporates under excess heat; in human beings water’s energy disperses because of excess stress and strong emotions. The way to conserve water’s energy is with quiet and rest, by staying “cold”. http://www.healing-tao.com.br/en/alchemy/elements.htm
As we approach the winter, the cold, the still, the frozen water, our personal work should be well in progress. Our personal mold may indeed need some shaping, that’s where the flexibility and flow comes in. We may need to change a piece of the mold, we may need to remix and/or reshape a chunk of the mold, or maybe the mold is broken and needs some repair. Only you know. It’s all ok, it’s all part of our every changing lives, your story. One of the great things I learned in yoga this week, where this mold idea was planted for me, is that no matter what has chipped, eroded or weakened in/on your personal mold, at the core of your mold is your spirit and no one can hopefully ever take that away. So get out those chisels, those picks and reshapers and have a go at it! Nothing is static and really, neither are you.
In Chinese philosophy (Taoism, Daoism) “Nothing in the Universe is fixed, static or non moving; per se everything is transforming all the time…” http://www.nationsonline.org
PS: Remember, the next season is Spring- it is explosive with energy and potential! Enjoy the rest of winter, you are realize you are just getting ready for the Spring! It is called The Wood phase and is all about expansion, happiness and is explosive!