"Gather ye rose buds while ye may,
Insights From a Child
"To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing."
` ~ Aristotle
At death they are hard and stiff.
When plants are alive they are soft and delicate.
When they die, they wither and dry up.
Therefore the hard and stiff are followers of death.
The gentle and soft are the followers of life.
Thus, if you are aggressive and stiff, you can't win.
When a tree is hard enough, it is cut. Therefore
The hard and big are lesser,
The gentle and soft are greater.
- Yi-Ping Ong, from the introduction, Tao Te Ching
"Light cannot be seen without shade.
Shade cannot be seen without light."
By moonlight, we see in black and white. We cannot see colors. There is something fascinating and valuable about seeing the world that way. We see only what is essential.
We see form emerging from a sea of blackness. . . . We can look at the world so familiar by daylight and see it anew in the black and white of moonlight.
You see yin and yang. . . The day warms, the night cools.
The sun moves over a hill, changing the face from brightness to shadow.
Stand in the middle of a forest and watch all the shadows and sunlight shift second by second. You see yin and yang.
- Deng Ming-Dao, The Lunar Tao (edited)
Not having a computer has caused me to abandon my plans to participate in NaNoWriMo (National November Writing Month) this year. I've completed the challenge twice and was planning to attempt a third. Maybe next year. I'll be cheering for those of you who are participating and will look forward to hearing of your progress!
I'm feeling blessed. I was spending too much time in front of a screen and I've returned to painting and more heart'-to-hand writing. There are always gifts in loss It has given me a chance to look at the world in a different way - the yin and yang.
I recently read a story about a man who dreamt he was a softly moving beam of light floating through a crowd.
The dream prompted him to consider the impact he had on others as he moved through his day. He made the decision to literally be a 'beam of light'. He made a commitment to bring warmth and light to his personal '10 foot zone".
There are people who light up the area around them naturally. We had a coordinator's meeting today and watching the crowd dynamics was fascinating. We have a couple of people whose positive energy radiates well beyond 10 feet! (Linda, Roy and Kathryn, to name a few!)
Wouldn't it be phenomenal if we would all become aware of the warmth we can extend to others, whether in an increasingly long line at the post office, a traffic jam or passing a neighbor? A smile and a kind word can make all the difference. If they don't smile back, we shouldn't take it personally. We never know what is going on in people's lives. But most of the time people will be receptive, and they'll probably pass the warmth along to others.
We can't control what is happening in the world, and the media makes us very aware of the ugliness and injustice. Yet we are much more powerful than we realize. Extend a warm smile, a sincere compliment, gentle reassurance - it doesn't cost anything to use our boundless source of love and energy to make the world a kinder, gentler place. We all have the power to impact our own 10 foot radius. If each one of us commits to that small area, and all of the circles connect, the impact would be immeasurable.
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing
would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
"To see a world in a grain of sand
and a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour."
When did eating get so complicated? We are obsessed with it. We have five senses, yet 'taste', or possible lack of it based on some of the things I see people eating in the name of diet and deprivation, is the over riding concern.
A study at the Center for Specialized Women’s Health at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio estimates that 70 to 80 percent of health risks come from poor lifestyle habits, according to Holly L. Thacker, MD, director of the study.
When did food become a vehicle for ill health instead of simply a way to maintain our bodies to function as the miraculous machines they are? When did we start misusing it? And why? We are doing this to ourselves. We are literally taking the beauty, the joy, the flavor out of the way we eat and then wondering why we are hungry. Feeding is not just about what we shove in our mouths. There is a satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from the preparation and from the actual process of eating. It may not be scientific or proven, but I'm convinced the more time I spend slicing, whisking and artfully arranging, the less I eat.
People weren't over weight when I was growing up. I truly can't remember anyone I thought of as heavy, let alone "fat". We all sat down to the table to eat delicious healthy meals, and often had dessert. Portions were small, healthy, and varied, simply prepared with not a lot of fuss. We didn't obsess about food, our weight or dieting. I can't remember hearing the word "diet" until I was in high school.
In our home meals were prepared from natural ingredients with no preservatives, processing or artificial ingredients that we couldn't pronounce. Chicken, pork or steak thinly sliced stir fried with broccoli, red pepper, garlic, ginger and served over rice was flavorful, could be prepared quickly and supplied a variety of nutrients. One serving of broiled fish, a sautéed chicken breast (pre-Dolly Parton versions), a crab cake with lemon, served with a salad tossed with olive oil and lemon, and a seasonal vegetable and dinner was served. A little planning before one trip to the store a week and meal preparation was stress free. We didn't eat out or order in. We knew what we were eating because we made it in our own kitchens.
We sat down together with no distractions. The television was not blaring in the back ground, nor was the radio. We weren't texting or checking our phones. We were paying attention to what was on our plates and having conversations with each other.
All this is running through my mind because a friend is frustrated after nine days of a ten day juice cleanse and is seeing no results. The concept of taking the much needed roughage out of our foods because we are concerned that there are fewer vitamins in the them doesn't make sense to me. If you feel the need for more vitamins, take more vitamins!
My friend is feeling deprived and is ready to go back to eating the pizza and hamburgers. I would be too. Depravation is something I don't associate with food. I'd be hungry all the time! The less it is distorted and manipulated from it's natural state, the happier I am. As I said initially, I love to eat. I feed myself with food. Real food. Food that has color, vitamins and nutrients, roughage and texture.
"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
~ Auntie Mame
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead