Monday, June 29, 2009

Follow the Hummingbirds

Are you tired all day? Stressed out by your cash not matching your bills? Got too many “irons in the fire” so that you always feel you’re playing catch-up with your tasks at hand? Boss on your back? Spouse grouchy, kids need a time-out?

If you feel like this describes you, and you wake up “facing” the day instead
of “seizing” the day, let me share an anecdote from my early morning hours
with you.

When I opened the curtains this morning two tiny jeweled hummingbirds greeted me (or rather the sight of them did). I watched entranced as these two little birds squared off in what was obviously a territorial dual. It started like a dance, first taking the measure of each other, and then the most awesome aerial acrobatics!

For a good ten minutes they soared and swooped, stopping every now and again for a quick energy sip from a flower or one of the many sugar feeders hung out for them. As I watched them in what could have been a duel to the death, I realized they had made it a game of tag instead of a battle. What once was a duel became sport.

In pondering these little birds I thought about their lives in Texas (at 100+ degrees in the summer) and the challenging stresses they must have with our unpredictable weather patterns and continuous need for energy rich food sources, mating and the territorial drive built into their DNA. How did they change a battle into a game?

Maybe taking ego out of the equation, and being surrounded by beauty (after all, their search for food is among the blossoms in our prettiest gardens) they instinctively know that play is more fun than a duel, and that tomorrow will bring it’s own challenges - - but soaring in the sunshine and playing among the flowers today - - is O.K. for today.

Take a page from the hummingbird’s playbook. If today is all we have for sure, this very moment, isn’t it a shame to waste it stressing out? Look for your inner hummingbird, look for the beauty that is around you, be glad you’re alive and celebrate today - - share of yourself with others - - for today!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Communication or "a lick on the nose solves everything"!


How many of us keep connected with friends and those we love through our wonderful new array of gadgetry that gives us all the benefits of Facebook updating, link-sharing, “tweeting”, etcetera. Does all this new “keeping in touch” really create a bond with our fellow texters? Or after hours of chatting online, do you quit - - and then feel an emptiness, or on some level a feeling of disconnect?

There is no real replacement for true human connection and communication.

Breaking down the word “communicate”, you find the root is “communion”, which translates to: “the act of sharing,a having in common,
participation, fellowship,
a close personal, even spiritual, relationship”.

When we become only “communicators” i.e. just passing along and transmitting information, we leave out the “communion” or exchange of thoughts and ideas that enrich our spirits. Imparting random facts and information doesn’t necessarily bring understanding. Reading random posts on a page isn’t the same as listening to someone talk about what’s going on in their lives.

Keeping in touch with a one-liner, or 140 characters, or even an e-card, isn’t the same as direct contact with those we really care about. The thought is nice (although is it really thoughtful if you hit a button and “send to friends” and maybe 30 or more people are receiving your same communiqué, or is it a touch lazy and even narcissistic?)

As a new week begins, let’s think about those we really care about and make an attempt to have a real exchange of thoughts and ideas. (This can be an unhurried phone call, writing an in depth one on one letter, or planning some fun “face time”) I’ll bet if we do, the feeling of “disconnect” will be replaced by a shared warmth created by the bond of truly communicating!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To Zen or Not to Zen - -

Creativity or Meditation?

Sometimes it’s in the eye of the beholder! I have spent (sporadically) many years of my life in creative pursuits. As life has brought many opportunities my way, my creative life has ebbed and flowed like an ocean with the tide.

First came raising children, which allows for a lot of creativity but very little meditation time. That was followed by years creating a new life and earning a living, which was interspersed with writing - - mainly poetry which I enjoy immensely, but I decided I needed a steady income more than following my muse.

Antiques and collectibles of all kinds has always been a passion of mine, and that led me to opening my own little store in California. This was fulfilling because finding a piece of furniture that has seen better days, and restoring it to beauty and value just felt good. Finding little treasures, and then finding them a new “home” was fun, and though I was extremely busy all the time, I was happy with the creative energy I was experiencing.

I started designing one of a kind jewelry to add to my store, and added a line of quartz crystal and precious stones. Designing jewelry and working with jewelry and natural stones gave me a time to contemplate colors and the “message” they hold to those that wear them, because each color has it’s own range of vibration and meaning. So too, working with crystals and other stones was an enlightening experience. Creation and meditation blend when working with colors and crystal energy, even when you are immersed in the design process!

Time passes and another move, another time, and now I am semi-retired. I have found a lovely new (to me) outlet for my creative side though, at

My daughter introduced me to Etsy, and suggested opening an online shop together for handmade and vintage items (which we did in Feb. ‘09 ). It has been a lot of fun working together and watching this business build.

Because my partner and I have many interests outside those that my daughter and I share, we have opened another shop which is an outlet for our interests in Crystals, ethnic collectibles, carvings, and other handmade designs. (Opened in May,’09 ).

“Learning the ropes” and “stocking the shops” has been pretty time consuming, but along with that it has stimulated my creative side again, and while I am producing “product“, I’m having fun creating and re-learning many of the elements I have touched on before in my life, - - and as I create, I meditate. It brings me pleasure and inner peace - - who would have thought ? ?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

For the Love of Animals

I have been around animals most of my adult life. When my kids were little there was the usual assortment of ducks and bunnies and hamsters - - which I quickly realized were not “living toys”, but living, feeling entities that became my responsibility to feed and care for and teach my children to respect and care for.

We had a wonderful nature center in the town where I raised my kids, and we used to spend hours there helping take care of the animals that were kept there (many of which had been injured and brought to them to “fix“.) As my kids grew, they learned a great respect for all living things, and they became true nature lovers; learning that the Hippocratic words“first of all, do no harm” could be applied to the footprints we all make as we journey through life.

I have had many dogs as an adult, one, two or three at a time, and horses were my passion for years. With each addition of a puppy or needy dog, or a horse we saved from the “killer traders” (horse meat was a prized commodity at the time in Europe, and horses going through auctions most of the time wound up as meat instead of a working or pleasure horse), I learned each animal brought with it it’s own needs and a lot of added work. Funny how light that work seemed, because there was a peace and balance to it that made even the feeding and grooming, exercising and cleaning, that having a 20 stall boarding stable entails easy.

Life changes, career paths change, venues change, loved ones scatter, and in the blink of an eye years are but memories. But in the best of those years and this year too, there is the love of animals in my life that brings a quiet corner of unconditional love and joy that reminds me of the words of Lao Tzu :

“I have just three things to teach
Simplicity, Patience, Compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.”

I was reminded of all this by watching my son. He was badly injured in an accident 2 years ago, and his rehabilitation has been slow and sporadic. Recently he bought a sheep (he’s always chosen the beat of his own drummer). After naming his sheep “Jack”, he started spending many hours out of doors daily talking to his new friend and building trust between them. He’s taught Jack to walk on a lead and they go to the park every day. Jack stands at the back fence “talking” and waiting for my son to come out at their appointed time.
Watching the bond build between them, and the honest pleasure they take in each other’s company is great. Greatest yet, is to see how much improvement has come about in my son’s attitude and rehab.. Animals, unconditional love and joy,
brought about simply, with patience and compassion.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mother Earth, Father Sky

Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey!

Mother Earth, Father Sky,
The star nations of the universe belong to you,
And yours are the grasses of the earth.
Day in and day out you give life to all things.
You are older than all need,
Older than all pain and prayer.
All over the world the faces of the two-leggeds are alike.
Look upon your children and the children in their arms,
That we may face the winds,
And walk the good road to the day of quiet.
Teach us to walk the soft earth,
A relative to all that live.
Sweeten our hearts and fill us with light,
Help give us strength to understand and the eyes to see.

Hetchetu aloh!

This Ogala Souix prayer is poignant and heartfelt. Would that we could realize our oneness with everything that surrounds us and in everyone we meet.

Let’s start the week with our eyes open to the beauty of the earth that surrounds us and think about what each of us can do to help sustain her, and then approach those we meet with compassion - - an understanding heart helps heal all. A ho !