Flower Power

flower

journal page – 4/4/08

Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964)

When I saw the topics for Inspire Me Thursday (the peace sign) and Illustration Friday (save), the first thing that came to mind was an illustration and post about how peace can save the world. And it’s true… until we can find peace – within ourselves, our societies, and among nations – we will live in a constant state of strife and destruction. But as I started thinking about what I would write, all that came forth was that peace must originate from the individual. There are innumerable things each person can do to promote peace, starting from within… for a person who has inner peace will not make war with another.

Hug o’ War

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

Shel Silverstein (1930 – 1999)

This journal page is inspired by peace signs and flower power… and my true desire to wish all of you peace, love, and happiness!

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P.S. –  Please accept my invitation to stop by Wings 4 You Coaching and participate in my Weekly Wings challenges.  There’s a new challenge posted each Sunday.  I’d love to have you along on the journey!

Wingsbuttonsm

Touches of Green and Gold

touches

journal page – 3/22/08

Spring officially arrived in New England on Friday, and already Nature has begun to wallpaper the land with touches of green and gold. With the sun shining and the birds visiting the feeder outside my kitchen window,   it’s hard to think of having any peeves.  All I feel is a wonderful whisper of promise in the air.  I have learned over time how much better my experience of the world is when I let go of the things that annoy me… and concentrate on the things that delight me.  Today, I am delighted to just be… here, in the moment.  Tomorrow I will go back to pondering the unknown fields before me.  Happy Spring, my friends!

First Georgic

When spring begins and the ice-locked streams begin
To flow down from the snowy hills above
And the clods begin to crumble in the breeze,
The time has come for my groaning ox to drag
My heavy plow across the fields, so that
The plow blade shines as the furrow rubs against it.

Not till the earth has been twice plowed, so twice
Exposed to sun and twice to coolness will
It yield what the farmer prays for; then will the barn
Be full to bursting with the gathered grain.

And yet if the field’s unknown and new to us,
Before our plow breaks open the soil at all,
It’s necessary to study the ways of the winds
And the changing ways of the skies, and also to know
The history of the planting in that ground,
What crops will prosper there and what will not.

In one place grain grows best, in another, vines;
Another’s good for the cultivation of trees;
In still another the grain turns green unbidden.

Virgil, translated by David Ferry

P.S. –  Please accept my invitation to stop by Wings 4 You Coaching and participate in my Weekly Wings challenges.  There’s a new challenge posted each Sunday.  I’d love to have you along on the journey!

Wingsbuttonsm

Space to Choose, Room to Grow

space-to-choose

journal page – 2/11/08

Every year about this time, I begin to sense a lightening of spirit as I anticipate Spring. The days are noticeably longer, and although it’s bitterly cold in New England, the slant of light mitigates the discomfort of wind chill factors and icy roads. It becomes easy to imagine the return of green, and I feel the urge to clean my inner house, sweeping out stale ideas and behaviors to renew and redefine my goals, as if the Vernal Equinox were my New Year’s Day.

Just as it takes energy and the right combination of elements to coax the buds back from their winter’s sleep, it takes energy and nurturing to foster personal growth. Yet often we find ourselves up against a variety of obstacles that keep us from steadily moving forward, much like rush hour traffic on a highway with a closed lane. We’ve all experienced that feeling of trying to get quickly from one place to another, but having to constantly put on the brakes and slow down to a crawl every few yards. We get edgy, we feel irritable; we may even lose our temper. And how does it feel by the time we finally reach our destination? Does it ever seem as if it weren’t worth the trouble of the trip? The same idea applies to the tolerations in our lives that function as speed bumps on our own personal highways.

Although we often associate the development of tolerance as a behavior with positive attributes such as patience, acceptance of others’ differences, and selflessness, it can also become an insidious drain on our time, energy, and spirit. Think of all the things we “put up with” in the course of a day, things that annoy or anger us, things that divert our attention away from what we want to do, things that cause us to react in ways that are contrary to how we would like to see ourselves. Each of these tolerations in some way prevents us from moving forward, ultimately leaving us feeling depleted.

According to Thomas J.Leonard, a pioneer in the life coaching profession, there are logical reasons why we accept tolerations in our lives. Perhaps we’ve been raised to practice the virtue of selfless patience so we can get along with others. While that is often a necessary skill for peaceful social interactions, what does it mean when we are doing no more than allowing others to take advantage of our “good nature”? What we’ve been taught to view as a commendable quality actually puts us in the position of feeling anger and resentment, two emotions that tremendously sap our energy. Perhaps we’re afraid of the consequences we imagine will result if we eliminate negative behaviors and relationships, or take a stand to self-advocate and say “no.” We feel safer with what we know – even if it’s dragging us down – and ultimately we become mired in stagnation.

This year, my “spring cleaning” will be to identify and eliminate those things I tolerate that are really no more than speed bumps on my journey. I’ll start small with things I can easily tackle, clearing the decks for the bigger things that require more work. I want to give myself more space to choose, more room to grow. Anyone care to join me? You can start by making a list of ten or more things that consistently bother you, or you might want to start by looking at Thomas Leonard’s list of The Top 10 Tolerations that People Put Up With as Normal/Acceptable to see if any of them sound familiar. And feel free to share what you come up with, if you’d like!

Time like a Blanket

blanket

journal page – 2/1/08

Today, at home, Time was like a blanket around me. Nothing seemed pressing except keeping the fire in the stove going. Freezing rain fell, almost invisible, but by afternoon it had coated every branch and dry flower with a sheath of ice. I had a list so long of things I should have done, but somehow, the fact that I frittered most of the day away was more satisfying than checking off items on a to-do list. I did sand and gesso a 24″ x 36″ wood panel that my DH Jol made for me, and in antcipation of the painting it will become, I played in my journal.

Around Us

We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane’s wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks–a zipper or a snap–
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.

Marvin Bell ( 1937 – )

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