Slow Down. Wait For Me!

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Wait for me you guys!

 

Why be in such a hurry?

Let’s enjoy today.

 

 

Remember when days seemed to go so slow?

When waiting for something seemed like an endless chore?  “I can hardly wait until…I turn sixteen so I can drive.. graduate from high school… turn 21 so I can legally drink… graduate from college… get married… have a baby… buy my first house.” And then something happens. All of a sudden, the “I can’t wait until” becomes  “I don’t want to turn 30…40…50…60!  Slow down! Hold on!  Everything is going too fast!”

And then, something inside your head says, “Just breathe.”

You stop for a moment and do just that and it’s like the first time that you actually heard birds singing or saw that tiny flower poking through the ground.  It’s the first time that you stood still and actually felt the warmth of the sun and saw the rays beaming through the branches of a tree. And hearing a baby cry sounds more like a miracle instead of a noise.

Slow down

It’s at this point that you realize that each day is a gift and you have a choice.  You can rush through the day and fall exhausted into bed each night feeling as though you will never ever get everything done and time is passing you by.  Or, you can find it in yourself to slow down and look at everything as a gift.  Today is a gift.  My home, the people who surround me, my health, the food in my cupboards, and that sunshine are all gifts.

Enjoy the moment

Once you allow yourself this moment, you realize that nothing is more important…not yesterday…not tomorrow.  This moment is a gift.  Enjoy it.

 

 

 

Did I Choose That Path or Did That Path Choose Me?

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Originally posted in 2015 – Time to revisit this message

My life has been the ultimate journey.  I’ve heard it said that your life is a series of choices.

But really:

Do you actually get to plan your trip?

Do you really get to lead your life your way or …

Do you simply follow paths that are laid out for you?

I Was Not A Planner

I remember realizing, during my junior year of high school, that my friends had plans to go to college.  What?  I hadn’t even given it a thought!  Good god!  I visited the guidance counselor for the first time, about then, saying something like “HELP!  Should I be going to college?”

Two years later, I was in college and started out in the Business School.  Why?  Because, I don’t know.  It sounded like a good idea, and I had to start somewhere.  It didn’t take long to realize that I actually hated business classes and there I was, sitting on the floor of my shared apartment, combing through a course catalog trying to find something that sounded interesting.  Did I plan on the field of education or was I guided there?  I don’t know.  Did I choose to leave the field of business or were my lack-luster grades telling me to GET OUT while I still have a grade point average of some kind?

Subtle little messages along life’s pathway are not planned.  They’re just there.  When I got married, did I plan to get a divorce?  Not at all.  Yet there it was.  And when I retired from thirty plus years in education, did I plan to walk away from a beautiful new house to move to a little apartment?  Ummm.  NO!

Planning Without A Plan

I’ve never gone on a vacation without some forethought.  I  choose the destination and pack accordingly.  I also take enough money to allow me options once I arrive.  However, I never enjoyed vacations where too many things were preplanned.  And, it’s been that way with my life as well.

Of course, there is fore thought that goes into choosing a career, getting married, or having children, but beyond that initial “plan” there are no guarantees.  And so, I have learned to plan without a plan.  I plan for things to change.  I plan for surprises.  I plan to sometimes be disappointed and sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Feeling Blessed To Be Alive

I come from a family burdened with heart disease and cancer.  My father died when I was in 7th grade, my mother when I was a brand new mom.  Since then, two brothers have passed away and one more brother had a severe heart attack and has had triple bypass surgery.  Add to all of that, my girl’s father gave up on life, choosing suicide, instead.

I need to simply be thankful for each day.  I know that I can not choose every path my life takes but I can choose what I do…today!  I choose to be happy.  I choose to accept life as it is.  I choose to reflect light.

I Choose To Breathe In Positive Thoughts

I produced this video during a time when I could have been depressed.  Instead, by some miracle, I found myself living on the edge of this beauty.  Some people, who live in this same apartment complex, have never stepped into this woods.  They say “It’s too hot!  There are so many mosquitos!”

I, on the other hand, chose to follow the paths and listen to the messages that were  there to guide my way.  If I hadn’t done that, I would never have seen the beauty that lived right outside my back door.

For Me

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I walk the woods
in silence,
letting my thoughts
lead the way.

Today,
my eyes are drawn
to someone’s
abandoned bouquet.

They’re delicate
in shades of
purple
and white.

I think
they’re simply
beautiful
as they rest there
in the evening light.

Who were they
meant for?
And why were they
just left in this tree?

I let the answer be
simple.
They must have been
for me!

Finding Inspiration In A Rock

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I Am A Rock

For a few years, now, I’ve been on  a journey to “find myself”.  I know, people used to think that’s something for the young and foolish but when I was young, I didn’t have the time to find myself.  Now, I do.

So, currently, I am engrossed in a book entitled “The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity“, by Julia Cameron.  I am actively participating in multiple, suggested exercises, feeding my brain with positive affirmations, unblocking negative thoughts and fears – things that block creativity.

One of many, simple activities was to go on a rock hunt. Search for rocks that stand out  for some reason.  She said that they were, then, to serve as “small constant reminders of creative consciousness”. That’s all… Hmmm. Ok.

So, off I went to find rocks that spoke to me. I walked and walked, looking for the first rock that stood out. It took a while! I was, finally, drawn to one but it was snug in the ground. The earth was muddy and wet.  I wasn’t inclined to kneel down in that mud to dig out a rock,  so  I tried nudging it with the toe of my shoe. No luck. After several failed attempts, I noticed a rock quietly sitting right next to the stubborn one. I picked it up and looked at it. The first word that came to mind was “Ease”. While I was trying to force one out of the ground, this one had been sitting there all along, just watching and waiting. Maybe out of frustration…or gratitude, I put it in my pocket and moved on.

The next one I chose seemed to, actually, jump out at me.  It was far from pretty or unusual but it had this rugged exterior and, instantly, the word that jumped into my mind was “Toughness”.

Then, I knew that I wanted to find one by the waterfall.   That water, surging over piles of rocks, to me, stands for “Power”.

When I returned with my rocks, I simply put them on a piece of paper wrote the words “Ease”, “Toughness”, and “Power”. They sat there, trying to be my “creative consciousness”, but they needed further definition.  So out came this:

Ease: Life doesn’t need to be hard. We don’t need to force things. Sometimes the things we’re searching for are right there in front of our eyes; almost calling out, “Hey, over here. Choose me. Choose me.”

Toughness: Rugged exterior. Can hold up under pressure but not so tough that it can’t be influenced by weather. Still it survives.

Power: Water powers over rocks.  The rocks try with all of their massive weight, to hold it back, but they can’t.  And so, they concede.  They let the water rush over them, and accept change as part of their life.

As I reread the book, I understand that the author is constantly reminding us to think about personal affirmations –

“An affirmation is a positive statement, of (positive) belief,

and if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk

as we are at negative self-talk,

we will notice enormous change.” (p.34)

I looked, once again, at my rocks and my descriptions of them and I realized that these were indeed affirmations for me!

Ease: Life doesn’t need to be hard. Things shouldn’t be forced. Perhaps,  the things I’m searching for are right in front of my eyes. And I realize that I am that rock; that rock that’s just sitting there waiting for my turn, watching while other rocks are picked because they’re prettier, more interesting, more intriguing.  “Hey, what about me?  I’m right here.  Choose me.”

Toughness: I might have a rugged exterior. I know how to hold up under pressure. But, I am not so tough that I can’t be warn down by the weather. Still, I will survive.

Power: I am the rock, at a waterfall, using all of my power to hold back the water.  Yet, no matter how hard I try, I can’t.  While I feel so strong and mighty, I have no strength when that water rushes over me.  So I just let it cleanse me.  Over time, it wears down my hard exterior and then, once again, I become something new.

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So go find your rocks.  Let them inspire you, too.

Life is Fragile. Handle With Care

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It’s spring time. New life is popping up all around us. It’s delicate.  We need to handle it with care.

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“Be gentle”, we tell children.  “Soft touch.”

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Sometimes, though, when something new is happening, even we, as adults, forget to be careful, and accidentally step on this delicate new life.

But, it’s not just new life that should be protected.

All life is fragile.

Any life can be, quickly, broken with a single step.

Snowdrops

So before you step on someone’s life, remember:

Watch where you’re stepping.

Tread lightly.  

Be gentle.  

Soft touch.

Life is fragile.

Handle it with care.

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Today, I Am A Carpenter

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You build your life, one day at a time. I wish I’d known that.

Life is a funny thing, isn’t it? You don’t realize that you are building something until you look back on it. “Wow, if someone had told me that I was building my future, I would have taken school more seriously.” Oh, people tell you along the way, but it’s hard to hear some things when you’re busy pounding away.
When I was little, I was probably told that I was too little to cross the street by myself. I didn’t hear that. What I heard, instead, was my friends asking if I wanted to go to the candy store because they had a little money and wanted to treat us. I got the candy…and a spanking!
When I was in high school, I’m sure someone told me that studying was necessary to actually get A’s. What I heard was, “C’s are good average grades.” I was the perfect example of how telling someone that “you will need this someday” didn’t motivate me to take my job more seriously.
And so it went throughout my early life. There were, probably, messages all around me, I’m sure, but did I hear them?
I was busy trying to figure out how to not sweat while working on a project. I didn’t like to sweat. At the time, I was a carpenter building shanties, leaving behind little piles of rubble everywhere I went. I can see, now, that I was trying to figure out what kind of life I wanted to build. Practice is necessary for that. The shanties were my practice.
Now, I’ve reached a point in my life where I see the little piles. The shanties are long gone, having disappeared into the earth along with the shanties quickly erected, for practice, by others. Then I see, other structures that I erected; a little more sturdy but each remodeled often. I’m still a carpenter apprentice. I built my first life thinking it would fit my needs, only I outgrew it.
I didn’t realize that what I was building was a very important life. It wasn’t just my life that I was building. My younger brother and sister were watching everything that I built. While they wanted to build their own structures, I was modeling one way for them. I didn’t realize that. I maybe would have tried harder to do a good job!
When I started my career as a special education teacher, I was laying out the building plans for every child I taught in their early elementary years. I was pouring the foundation for each and everyone that I touched. In the eyes of the parents, I was probably seen as the general contractor. They looked to me to know what products (tools and skills) would stand the test of time. The students had no idea that I’d never poured a foundation before. Some of the parents knew, but still they trusted that I could do it. Now I look back on those days and thank God because it had to be God who guided me through those first years; God and the Physical Education teacher. It was that person who showed me where the school supply closet was and how the past special education teacher used books from there for her students. I’ll never forget the principal coming into my first classroom as I was attempting to draw a tree, freehand, for a bulletin board. I think his exact words were “Not much of an artist are you?” Again, luckily, over time my skills improved (and I found an overhead projector).
Then I became a mom. Now, my understanding of parenting came directly from Dr. Spock in those days. My own mother shared lessons that I didn’t want to use, while Dr. Spock seemed to be on every other young parent’s coffee table. Well, I read this book like it was my blueprint. I read, now, that this man was later seen as the reason for moral decline in youth and the rise of criminal behavior. However, I saw him as being totally bent on schedules and structure and I blame Dr. Spock for telling me to let my baby just cry if it appeared nothing was wrong. He said that it was good exercise. I followed every design detail. Today, I have apologized to my oldest daughter for letting her cry for hours on end. Luckily, she doesn’t remember. I must have replaced that rough material with something a little more polished by the time she was old enough to remember. Either that or the experience was a good one for her because, today, she is strong and powerful. Maybe it was good exercise.
As time went on, I was trusted with the task of being a general contractor (principal) for a whole construction crew (teachers). And what did I do? I had learned that it was important to have blueprints. It was important to have the right tools. It was important to go slow and follow a step by step process. It would be easier that way.
I told them that they were “Building A New Tomorrow”. I said “Today, you are a carpenter.”

Life Is A Metaphor

Life is a metaphor

A day to day interaction between things, events, and people; all presented to you as a living lesson. Pay attention and you will see that you are surrounded by messages right there just waiting for you to listen to them.

Years ago, I was drawn to metaphors to help me guide a school staff through changing times. The symbolism worked as a way to visualize the journey and organize the path. Over the past years, I have been reflecting on my life and found writing as a way to pour thoughts out and then edit. Was this what I really wanted to say? At one point, I looked  at the themes that I had used with my staff and felt that perhaps there was something there that could help me make sense, once again, of my changing times.   And so, I begin again to organize my own path through the use of metaphors.  Perhaps my journey will help others.  It has definitely helped me.

Please Enjoy

Today I Am A Carpenter

Go Ahead, Sail Off Into The Future

Is Your Life A Dream Catcher Or A Spider Web?

Life Is A Game

Today, I Am An Athlete

If I Could Talk To The Animals, Learn Their Messages…

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Someone needs your compassionate and loving attention right now and has flagged you down to get it.

Someone told me that I might enjoy reading animal messages when I shared a story about a particular bird seemingly following me around.  So, of course, I purchased not just one book but two:  Animal Spirit Guides by Steven D. Farmer and Animal Speak  by Ted Andrews.  I was intrigued by the thought that animals might be following us around to give us messages from the spirit world. Upon moving to my current residence, I started capturing photos of the animals most present.  One of those was the cardinal.  So, I have read and reread the messages associated with this beautiful bird.

This is my photo collection along with the messages of “The Cardinal” according to Steven Farmer.

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Stop right where you are, observe your surroundings, then notice the sensations in your body.
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This is a very creative time, one where it’s best to heed your intuitive guidance as to how to express this creativity.
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Add color to your life in your home environment, your yard, and in your choices of clothing.
This is a good time to make a fresh exploration of the religion you grew up in, with your eyes and your heart open.

Over the past few years, the messages of the cardinal have been so important as I have navigated my way through this time in my life and I have tried to heed each message.

Surrounded By Love

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Everything, in my life, is unfolding as it should, I suppose.

No, I believe!  I am sitting here, on a bitterly cold Friday, feeling the warmth of a blanket but also of my surroundings. And I think, “how did I get here?”

Life’s journey

Hard, emotional bumps; heck, some of those bumps were not bumps at all, they were real honest to God mountains!  My wall carries photos of those mountains as a reminder with the quote that says

“Promise me you will always remember…you are braver than  you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

It’s a quote from Christopher Robin to Pooh.

I sit today, looking out a patio door at a woods filled with deer and the message of the deer is to

“Be gentle with yourself”

I try.  I try. Yet, I carry, with me, baggage.  A friend of mine, from long ago said “Everyone has their own bag of shit.”  It was the bluntness of that comment, I guess, that sticks with me to this day and I’ve even heard my daughter pass that bit of wisdom on to others as well.  And so, it is.  I am not special.  My baggage is not heavier than your’s but I am trying to find a way to carry it so that the weight is distributed evenly, I think.

Yet, at this moment, on this day…

I look around me and I feel so “guided”.  I think that’s the best word.  You know all those times in life when you feel like you are truly being tested?  And, you know that you will choose a path.  You have to!  So many times, I felt as though I had chosen the wrong path but, there I was, so I had to deal with it.  Now, as I reflect back, I see that it was a test. But, I also, feel, now in retrospect, that I heard of voice.

People call it an “inner voice”

It was that voice that gave me strength, power, decisiveness, resilience, and belief in myself. It was that voice that guided me down those paths that felt so wrong.  It was that voice that guided me here.

And so now, I sit here, listening to music by Jonathan Louis called “Follow The Path”; beautiful meditative music that leaves me feeling so blessed at this moment.  I look around me, at this little apartment and

I study the view from my chair

  • On one wall, I have a collage of photos that I captured from my walks in woods.  Those walks helped me learn how to take deep breaths and stay focused on the moment.  Messages surrounded me as I learned how to just listen to that inner voice.
  • The patio door faces that woods and delights me every day with views of life, even on the coldest, snowiest days. The deer pass by daily and cardinals are ever present at the feeders.
  • My “mountain” photos will always be on a wall and serve as a reminder that nothing, in life, comes without struggle,
  • But underneath those photos stand other messages, as well, to remember to be gentle with myself (from the deer) and life is as colorful and creative as you make it (from the cardinal).
  • And then, there are the photos of the people I love most in the world with a little sign that says “You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey”. They are my life, right now, and I am so thankful for them.
  • The last place that my eyes rest on, every day, is a table (an old high school typing table) with the exact typewriter used by my mother, not only during her high school class but throughout her life as she creatively captured the moments of her life.  Next to her typewriter stands an owl.  She always gave me owls.  She decided that I was her “wise old owl”.  I think it was because my mother and I never got along that I rejected this as an actual compliment.  I never kept her gifts of owls and, yet now, when I have the ability to place only the things of most importance to me in this room, there sits an owl next to her typewriter.  It is my way of saying “Thank you” to her for being so important in making me the person I am today.

And I think, right now, as I sit here alone,

I am so surrounded by love

So, Where Was I?

Hanging Upside Down

I know. I know.  It’s winter time and I should post a photo of pine trees and snow.  What am I thinking?

Well, what I’m thinking is that this is the 3rd winter in my new life and what I want to write about is how important it is to sometimes turn your life upside down to start over.  Three years ago, I did just that.  Hanging there, upside down, makes everything look different, that’s for sure.  Turns out, though, it’s not a bad difference at all.

So, long…long…long story short – Retire, Divorce, Move, Lose Weight, Become a Grandma.  There’s more but that’s the gist of it.  All in three years.  And, I am here to smile about it because three years ago, I was carrying around weight;  physically, mentally, emotionally, and materialistically. Now, I carry only the things I choose to carry and believe me, it all weighs so much less.

I let go of marriage.  I do not need to be with someone to be complete.  Well, I do have a cat!  I  let go of home ownership.  Do you know that you can just call the office if your toilet overflows and they send someone to clear the clog AND clean up the floor?  I let go of alcohol.  I was kidding myself about how much I was drinking.  I was telling myself that I had no problem with it.  I lied!

Then I started  taking photos of the animals out my back door.  Cardinals, squirrels, chipmunks and DEER!  Amazing photos through that protective glass door.  And then I started reading, and writing.  Animal Speaks by Ted Andrews and Animal Spirit Guides by Steven Farmer.  I didn’t know that there was a way to connect in this way.  The  messages that I read; first of the cardinal, then the squirrels, then chipmunk, then finally that deer helped me gain the courage to actually walk out that glass door and into the woods.

In the woods, I learned to breathe again.  It’s in the woods that I see other symbols of messages, whether they are sent to me or I am just thinking them up as I go, they work to calm my spirit.  Paths are logically symbolic of all the different choices a person has in life; that one was easy.  Then, I found myself looking at trees and seeing the knots and scars of hard lives.  Yet they still reach up towards the light.  I see a pond full of cluttered green mossy bloom and still see that lily push right on through all of it.  I see turtles just going with the flow, and birds singing out happy tunes and flowers blooming any way they want to.

And I am at peace.  Life is good.