Wonder Awaits

vero-2016

This day was tailor made for you.

Placing your feet on the floor as you rise from sleep, this day has so much to share with you.

Every moment a new thought, a new opportunity, a gift. How will you use it? Take a breath and smile. So many possibilities! So much wonder awaits!

Ahhh, but you feel the weight of your world upon you….

How can I think for a second that you can be joyful every moment when so much is going “wrong”? What do I know about what goes on in your head? Who am I to tell you to “cheer up”?

I am your reminder.

I am your reminder that this day WAS tailor made just for you. Whether you choose to look for the beauty in each moment or for the disappointment, you are the one that is choosing.

So, yes, I am your reminder that you do, indeed, have the choice to choose a gentler, kinder day.  Maybe you can just start with a gentler, kinder moment.

One moment at time. Hmmm…this seems like it might be a good one.

Take a breath and smile. Wonder awaits.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

 

 

Dad’s Wall

Dad's Wall 2

My Dad was an artist.

Throughout his career he worked in the newspaper field as Art Director for several New York papers, including the Daily News.  He was also a WWII Vet and had been a member of the O.S.S. (the forerunner of the CIA).  The combination of the creative mind and the experiences of war defined him greatly, I think.  He was a quiet gentle man, but he was troubled by the war as many Vets were. Growing up we knew not to argue with him. He was not violent or abusive. He was just never wrong. My older brothers got the brunt of that I think. My younger brother and I learned to be quiet and not engage with him when he was in that mood. It made for a more peaceful life for me anyway.

An avid gardener and a creative man, Dad loved color. In our childhood home we had 15 foot ceilings in our living room and one wall was free of windows and doors. He loved that wall. He wanted color on that wall. Bright color. Bold color. Vibrant color.

Unfortunately, Mom did not.

The wall always was a different color than the rest of the room (gold with cream side walls is the one I remember the most) but he wanted it to be the color of red wine. Mom just could not grasp his vision so she gave him a room of his own. Do with it what you want, just leave my living room alone!

So he did.  Dad had a den which he transformed into his own artistic version of a 60’s man-cave. He painted it a rich turquoise. On one end wall they built a wall to wall desk for his TV, radio and art supplies. The opposite wall had two bookcase/cabinet units on either side of the door for books and more art supplies.  The room had a large picture window which allowed him a wonderful view of the front gardens that were always filled with bees, butterflies and birds or, in the winter, snowmen and igloos. But the opposite wall was his personal masterpiece. He worked on it for years, adding to it whenever the inspiration hit.  About 4′ x 15′, his mural contained sketches of the famous and the infamous. Some he labeled with their names. Others, when asked who they were, he would wryly smile and say, “I don’t know.” or “Guess.” So it became a game, a great conversation starter when they entertained. He was happy, Mom was happy, and that’s what mattered.

Over the years, we all grew up and moved away but the wall remained.  Our kids became fascinated by it. Some of them have grown into the next generation of artists. My Dad would watch them create and be in awe of their talent. I hope he knew how in awe they were of him.

How in awe we all were.

Dad passed in 1990 when my son was just 5 months old. I’m glad my daughter got to know him and I am glad we took a photo of his wall before we sold the house. It was truly a grieving process for us all to let it go.

His life was troubled by what he experienced just as many Vets. It took me years to understand but I will say that it never diminished his ability to love.

Here is another piece that I treasure. He was definitely talented, yes?

Dad's JFK

A quiet, gentle man who loved color, loved to sketch, loved his gardens, his family and his arguments. Not so different than the rest of us.

Except for that wall. Now, that was different.

From my heart to yours, Diane

 

 

Gently, Please

Live your life gently.jpg

When you stop paying so much attention to something, it’s control over you begins to disappear. I have found this to be true in my finances (stop checking your balance – you already know what’s in there…or not in there), my relationships (stop trying to make them work “your” way), and my spiritual practice (so you meditated 5 minutes instead of 20. OMG!)

Stop. Stop forcing things. Learn to accept (this is my new word thanks a sweet spiritual guide I know) and not force, control or spend hours and hours trying to understand.

Gently live your life. Stay on your path. Let the goodness that lies in all situations gently rise to the surface and show you a simpler way to live.

 

From my heart to yours, Diane

Please Don’t Bite Me

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When I was young, my family would spend hours (many unwilling hours) working our family’s flower and tree gardens. We had many little pockets of tended space on our two acres so there was always some weeding to be done. When the work was finished my brothers and I would run off to play, spending countless hours outside with our friends until the dinner bells would ring or the street lights came on. Outside is where we lived regardless of the season.

To this day, I would prefer to be outside working in my gardens, hiking, finding a lake or reservoir somewhere and exploring. However, in the past few years I have become a landing pad for mosquitoes. Lately, because of the higher than usual amount of rain, the little buggers are taking over Atlanta. Since my husband and I are naturalists when it comes to our gardens, this is a challenge. Our gardens are natural habitats and bugs are an important part that process. I love our little sanctuary. But I hate mosquitoes. They may love me, but they have seriously curbed my ability to do what I love.

We have planted the mosquito blocking plants, I have covered myself in mosquito repellent essential oils, I have covered my arms and legs in clothing in 90+ degree temps to work in my garden. We use natural citronella candles and have even put a fan outside.

They still find me. If I miss one spot with oil or if my shirt inches up my back as I’m working, they find me. Earlier this week they found my face. I had dressed appropriately and decided (against my better inner judgement) to use a “natural” commercial bug repellent on my face. Everything was going great until I began to sweat (no perspiring gracefully when you’re dressed for combat) and the little buggers took advantage of the sweet scent of perspiration and found every spot where the repellent had melted off.

I’d show you a picture of my face from that night, but I would really like you to continue reading. It was scary, trust me. Scary enough that I took a trip to Urgent Care and the doc stopped short when he walked in the room and said (ha-ha) “What does the other guy look like?”

This depresses me. That’s a big statement for me to make because depression is not something I am prone to and I am very grateful for that. But not being able to go outside without fear of being attacked by creatures no bigger than my fingernail is reason for me to be depressed. I love the outdoors. For me it used to be a peaceful place, a place of quiet meditation. A place where I could breathe and explore and always find something new and interesting.

I am a spiritual being and I need to understand the things that cause me fear. I learned from my journey with A-fib that finding the meaning for things that disrupt my joy can take time. As much as I learn, I also need to learn how to use what I learn to change it’s course.

So a journey begins.

I have a wonderful friend, Sonia Osio, who is probably one of the wisest women I have known. She’s also very honest. When I had just had my first cardiac ablation and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and attention, Sonia said this: “These people need to be able to give you this gift of love. It’s important to them. How can you be so selfish and say no?” Whew. I will be honest in saying it took me two more years of “suffering” with A-fib before I got that and other messages of my heart.

Yesterday, Sonia did it again.  She recently went through some medical stuff herself. She said that it wasn’t until she started accepting it, instead of fighting it, that she began to get better.

Accept the mosquitoes. Yeah, that’s gonna be a tough one.

Elder, Mosquito, Male Mosquito

So begins another journey. This morning began the research and this is what I will share:

Go inward and focus on personal joys. It’s the easiest way to shield yourself from attacks on your personal self esteem and worth. Irritations and unresolved issues will quickly dissipate in this way.
-Mosquito

https://www.spirit-animals.com/mosquito

Go inward. I talk about it all the time. Yet for the past few years I have been fighting the mosquitoes.  Even though their bites are temporary and annoying I spend hours angry at what I perceive they have taken from me.

But what if they are trying to alert me to something? Time to take this experience to the place I know will show me answers.

Time to get out of the way.

Accept that you may not know the answer to the things in life that you fear. There is a greater source of knowledge just waiting to show you that answer.

Once again, Sonia’s wisdom has gently placed me down onto my meditation cushion.
I’ll keep you posted on what I learn…
From my heart to yours, Diane
photos courtesy of Pixabay

 

You are Not Alone

You are not alone

It’s been that kind of week. Friends and family members and even strangers struggling with relationships, with money, with jobs, with no place to live, with a new diagnosis and, with death and dying. All in one week.

It would be easy for me to say I’m exhausted and that being a listener takes it’s toll on my energy. It would be true. Empaths will know what I mean. It would be easy to try and run away and hide when it gets to be too hard. Then I remember how grateful each of the people were to have someone to talk to. Someone who is not a professional counselor or someone who wanted to fix them. I am just someone who cares.

I would not, will not, cannot change who I am to make myself feel better. I am forever grateful for the ability and willingness to be there when needed. What strikes me, however, is how much turmoil exists in the world at the moment. We all know it. It’s everywhere. Today more than ever it is too easy to be pulled into the distress of the world. There is so much at stake.

My Minister (who is also my friend and business partner), Rev. Richard Burdick, has a something important he would like to know when people come to him for advice:

“Tell me about your prayer practice.”

Hmmm….

Without a daily practice of prayer (or meditation) the world can easily spin out of control. We pray to God (or someone) all the time asking for help and guidance. We want things the way we want them and God needs to do that for us. Why else would God exist?

How’s that working?

The more you demand, the more you will think this prayer stuff sucks. God is not at your beck and call. Sorry. It doesn’t work that way.

What God will do is listen to hear what you need. Not what you want. Once you realize this, everything changes. Slowly, you become more clear. You begin to remove the obstacles and allow God to do God’s work.

There is a wonderful essay on prayer called the Golden Key by Emmet Fox. You can download it for free here. This short little essay changed my life. Every single time I have put it into practice it has worked.  Every time.

I will continue this thought in a future post, but, hopefully, this is something to get you started if life is sucking right now.  And please know that I am right here and I am listening. Always.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

 

 

 

The Music of Your Morning

Danny in a tree

Today your life may look anything but harmonic, but, internally, where it matters most, there is pure, sweet music. There is perfection coming from the sound within.

Where it matters most.

As you opened your eyes this morning, where did your thoughts turn? To the day ahead and the many things left unresolved from yesterday? Did you feel sadness because it’s “the same old song”?

There is a prayer within you for something better, a different awakening, a different way to wake up.

Wake up with the perfect sound of gratitude. Don’t think of what you have to do. Whisper, instead, a prayer of gratitude for the heart that beats and the breath that brings you life and allow yourself to be fed from where it matters most.

‘God, please think through me, speak through me, act through me in every moment.’

Let this be the chorus of your life.

From my heart to yours, Diane

And here is a bit of music that is very special to me…

video courtesy of Unity North Atlanta

photo courtesy of Danny Glynn

Why, oh Why?!?

Ostrich, Animal, Nature, Wildlife, Beak

You are beginning to find peace in your life. You have learned the power of the breath, the power of prayer, the power of letting go.

And then it happens. One word, one gesture, one thing out of place and your peaceful existence is shot to hell.

Well, then. That sucks.

Choice time: Rant or Breathe?

Ranting is just a cover story that hides the truth. Breathe and ask yourself why. Why did this bother you so much? Breathe and keep asking until you discover the root cause. It may take a minute or may take years but you will know when you get there. Your breath will stop as you feel the shock of that discovery. Breathe!

Asking why until you have an answer means that you may have to ask why a hundred times before you understand the things that trigger unkind reactions. To live a peaceful life this is a necessary step and it’s one that you will always do. A peaceful life is not a life without trial. It is, however, a life where the trials are short-lived because you have reached an understanding of their cause and effect.

Years ago, in my training in Lean and Six Sigma, the “5-whys” were an all important step to resolving issues. The same holds true when trying to develop a peaceful life. The things that irk us the most are the things we must question and keep questioning until we have answers. Do it gently and be open to hearing the answers. You will get there, I promise. If you are not familiar with the process, here is an example from the world of business that can also be applied to your life.

In order to live peacefully in a chaotic world, you must be willing to look at – and understand – the things that appear as obstacles to the peace you seek.

Here’s another example, just for fun. Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes

 

The flat tire why may still be unresolved, but it still made me laugh!Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes

Keep asking why. The answer may surprise you.

From my heart to yours, Diane ❤️

photo courtesy of Pixabay

Meghan, My Meghan

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Happy Birthday to my favorite woman on the planet.

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When she was in 5th grade, Meghan participated in “Puttin’ on the Hits”, a lip-sync contest. Her performance was “Part of Your World” from Little Mermaid – with a trunk of treasures and a mermaid costume. Since it was being run by the kids, the stage hands were a bit behind and hurriedly set her stage – to her frustration. The audience could see her wildly gesturing to them from offstage (in her sparkly mermaid costume) as she sent the kids back on stage to move the trunk. Meghan then calmly came out, settled herself into a relaxed, floating, mermaid position next to the trunk and did a beautiful enactment of Ariel wishing to be part of our world.

After the performance, my mother leaned over and whispered to me, “That child will always find center stage.”

You’re right, Mom, she always has.  I am grateful that she lives locally and we can still be a part of each other’s world – and I am grateful and honored to be her Mom.

 

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Happy Birthday, Meg!

From my heart to yours, Diane

So what about THIS moment?

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This week I have “gone quiet”.  What I say it means is that, for a few days, I stop writing my “Thought for the Day”, stop posting cat photos, sharing cool videos and, most importantly, stay quiet. Focus on the inner me and take a break from the world outside. Sometimes it works. This time, not so much.

This time I’ve been on vacation with my husband, so there is that. Certainly not a bad thing, but not optimum to being quiet. I have been successful in avoiding Facebook, but then I thought, “Let’s try Twitter and Instagram and see what kind of attention they get.” Yeah, not much attention except from me. Simply time wasted and the “quiet”was very noisy. Who am I kidding…

I have spent some time this week doing things that quiet my soul: reading, painting (the bathroom, not a canvas), meditating, antiquing and blog writing.  In doing so I realized just how much I love doing these things but I feel like I am always trying fit them into my oh-so-busy-and-oh-so-important lifestyle. If I get up at 5:30 and spend 15 minutes doing yoga followed by 45 minutes meditating, another 30 minutes on the treadmill reading, and then an hour writing, well, that put’s me at about 8:00. Plenty of time to shower, eat and get to work by 9:00.  With my crazy work schedule, all bets are off from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. most days so the painting of the bathroom and the antiquing will have to wait. But…how much time (let’s be real here) have I also spent scrolling. That one I’m too embarrassed to answer but, suffice it to say, my yoga/meditation/reading/writing time is probably cut in half.

By the end of the day, I have run through moments never even noticing them.

So I stop and meditate. Right now.  Enjoy this while I’m gone (it’s what I will be absorbing for the next hour)

In the stillness of this moment I am at peace.

Knowing that in this moment I am renewed, I find that my breath is gentler, my fingers slower on the keyboard and my thoughts open-ended.  Reading back this post I am amazed (why do I continue to be so amazed?) what this hour has created. There is a sense of tranquility that I forget (or choose to ignore?) as I go about my day. Recognizing this gift, I am grateful. I know now that this time of meditation, of quiet, of peace, tranquility, is all I need. Everything else will follow as it needs to (not because I believe it should). This hour is endless and it is in this moment of pure bliss (I really can think of no other word for it) that I begin again. The illusion of quiet becomes the reality that resides in my soul.

From my heart to yours, Diane

 

 

A Single Cell

Oil In Water, Oil Eye, Liquid, Abstract

I have had several discussions of late about the word ‘God’.  Interestingly enough, but not really surprising, is how it strikes the chord it strikes in some people.  Many people struggle with the reality of God.  If it’s not tangible, it’s not real. Those that doubt feel justified in their belief that God is not real. Certainly, hearing voices simply means I’m crazy and has nothing to do with “God speaking to me”.  God is just a story made up to control people.  It’s just a myth, an aery-fairie way of looking at life.  If God exists, where is he when I need him most!? Where is He when disaster strikes?

We often scoff at what we cannot physically see or feel.  Remember reading that the earth was once thought of as flat?  I’m sure it made sense.  All you need to do is look toward the horizon – it doesn’t ‘look’ very round.  More often than not, there is more than the eye can see or the mind can understand.  More often than not, we can only comprehend that which our five senses can tell us.

Let’s look at it differently. Think about that feeling of deju vu.  The shadow that passes at the edge of your peripheral vision. The coincidences.  The changes in your body and your demeanor when you “take a deep breath”.  The pet that can sense what you cannot.  The list is endless.  Rarely do we connect any of this to God. Doing so means that we are not in control.

Guess what? We’re not.

God is not a someone or a something. God is the energy of everything: The millions of years that is takes to form a pebble. The changing colors of the sky. The human act of creation that leads to the first heartbeat of a child. The fluttering of an eyelash. The ant that carries ten times his weight for miles and miles. The thought that believed that information could travel the planet through space – in an instant. The complex, magnificent human body! All scientifically explainable, but where did the science originate?

You are but a single cell in the body of the Universe. It is committed to continue creating whether you call it God or not.

Something to think about as your heart continues to beat.

From my heart to yours,  Diane

photo courtesy of Pixabay