Monday, 30 November 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - November

2009 is rapidly coming to a close....And what a year it has been! This year has been an extra special year for me, one I won't forget for a long, long time.

As many of you know four delightful ladies and myself decided to focus on a word for the year instead of making a New Year resolution. Our words have been our touchstones. They have reminded and encouraged us to live our lives more fully. It has been a purposeful journey written out loud!

For November we decided to reflect how animals/creatures give meaning to our words.

Coach's - word is ABUNDANCE and she chose an ELEPHANT

I have chosen the ELEPHANT as an animal depicting ABUNDANCE. Of course, it does have abundant size but it also lives abundantly. Here is what I found out:

Elephants cry. They express grief at the loss of another elephant. They exhibit behaviors that depict sadness, bowing their heads, lowering their ears, and pausing at the place where another elephant has died.

Elephants play. They express joy at seeing other elephants. They dance around, spin and twirl, and trumpet joyful sounds.

Elephants are helpful. They take care of each other and especially the babies in the group.

Elephants give back. Without intention of doing so, their feet make large depressions in the ground where water can collect and be a provision for other animals.

Elephants are social. They live in large family groups and communicate over long distances with each other.

In my quest for an Abundant life, I think these characteristics are certainly a start. Have empathy for others, find joy in play, care for others, give back to the greater community, and create a positive family environment.

Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH and she chose a DOG

I'm sure my choice of dogs to express the meaning of joy doesn't surprise those who know me. Both Scout and Maggie have a way of warming my soul, making me laugh, and filling me with heartfelt joy.

They are ALWAYS happy to see me. They do the silliest things that make me laugh out loud, yet they are attuned to the personalities and emotions that flavor our home....

Studies have shown that owning a pet can add years to your life. In fact, just petting a dog has been shown to lower blood pressure. And residents of nursing homes have shown a boost in mood and social interaction when a dog has been brought in for a visit.

My two dogs definitely bring joy to my home, to my life, to my family.

Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE and she chose a SWAN

My word for '09 has been excellence and after a bit of zoological searching, I finally settled on the swan as the emblem for my word. Swans typically mate for life and have strong family bonds. The male and female swans nurture and raise their cygnets together, developing their own 'tribe', if you will. The image of a swan has graced many a coat of arms, conjuring connotations of nobility and are seen as symbols of love and fidelity because of their tendency to form life-long bonds. Many fairy tales and myths surround the species, the moral of the tales often being the adherence to beauty and grace, even in the midst of difficulty and ridicule.

Plus, swans are just pretty to look at. They just are.

Which is perhaps not the most excellent reason to choose a swan as my symbol of excellence. But I also got to take a great picture of one down of the lake during the summer.

And that sealed the deal for me...

Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE and she chose an ANT

The ant has received a bad rap throughout history as a pest, a nuisance, an annoyance. While in Puerto Rico, I would often be surprised to find ants in my sugar, but no one else would be surprised. In Texas we are known for a more ferocious type, the fire ant - certainly not a little creature to be reckoned with.

While thinking about this critter, I began to realize the one thing no one has ever called an ant is lazy. When you see ants, what are they doing? Moving, carrying, building, preparing for whatever may come. If you destroy their home, the very next day they have set up shop just on the other side of the sidewalk. Which brings me to my story...

In a field one summer's day, Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing gleefully. Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

Grasshopper tried to dissuade Ant from his work by inviting him along in his day of reverie, but Ant could not be swayed. He was preparing for the long winter. Ant tried to convince Grasshopper of the foolishness of his ways telling him he too should lay up stores.

Grasshopper was not worried about winter as he had plenty of food for now and continued to while away the hours and days leading up to the first snow at which time he found himself dying of hunger. Meanwhile, Ant and his family could be seen surviving from what was stored away during the good weather.


There are times when I would rather play than have the DISCIPLINE to stay at home and clean house or go to the grocery store and shop for the family. Sometimes I give in and later have to pay the consequences. Other times I pull myself together to get done what needs to be.

Over the course of this year, my focus on DISCIPLINE has led me to see the error of many of my ways - most of which I have tried hard to change. Of course being human and having the luxury of being able to go out if need be, I have not perfected this way of life. It is still something I strive to improve.

My word is BALANCE and I chose a DOLPHIN

One day a long time ago, I was watching a documentary about dolphins and something inside me clicked. I was well into my late 20’s and was watching the television as if I was glued to it. It felt as if I was in a mind-meld with the dolphins and it was too a point that I started to cry because on some spiritual level, I understood what these dolphins were saying. I just knew that the dolphin was my Spiritual Animal Totem, I just knew it!

The beautiful, graceful, sleek dolphin carries many messages for the two legged! A key to understanding because the dolphin meaning is connected with themes of duality. It has to do with the dolphin being both fish and mammal. It is both of the water, and an air breather. Ergo, dolphin symbolism talks to us about "being in two worlds at once." Indeed, the dolphin is a great conveyor of the concept of yin and yang.

It is playful, and is a reminder that time to play is a crucial element in walking in BALANCE. It moves through the water quickly and with great grace, ever moving with the flow. Dolphins tell us to move with the ebb and flow of life, and not to search for brick walls to smash into. To spend our energy fighting the current gets us nowhere. Being constantly at war with others, with our surroundings and with circumstances we cannot change, destroys the spirit, eats away at hope, and consumes the joy of life.

The power of the Dolphin is community in BALANCE.

"The animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth".
~ Henry Beston, The Outermost House, 1928

I'd love to hear what animal/creature YOU my friends in cyberspace would associate with your word.


McMGrad89 said...

Eleven down and one more to go. I have enjoyed this thoroughly!

Hybrid J said...

Another fantastic post! Love your choice of Dolphins. I had a similar experience like yours. I was "addicted" to dolphins for years after watching a French movie "Le Grand Bleu" (English title "The Big Blue"). I love their playfulness and naturally smiling face. But most of all, from their interactions with human beings, it reminds us how intelligent and precious ocean animals are. We are to respect and protect them! :) Thank you again for the wonderful post.

AVT Coach said...

I too have had a life change as we have posted together. I am going to choose another word for 2010. It is my favorite time of the month...are you in? I think we have all found some of all of our words in our lives: who among us has not experienced balance, discipline, excellence, faith and joy and abundance! All are parts of a whole life and mine as been richer because of it!

Roban said...

I feel as though each of your words were mine as well this year. I didn't focus on them like I did faith and joy, but the simple act of posting together made me more aware of how abundance, balance, discipline, and excellence play a role in my life, too.

I've been enriched this year and have enjoyed the journey with all of you. A new word for 2010 is definitely in the works.


Roban said...

P.S. Oh my, what a talent you have for finding just the right music for a post! Love it!

Marja said...

What a fantastic idea. You become what's in your mind and to focus so deeply on such wonderful words much cause transformation. It is at least enjoyable and I learned some new things. Balance is for me important too and joy. I think dolphins are the most amazing creatures and I have been lucky to see many of them here in NZ They do move with great grace. My mum collects elephants I tell her about these wonderful characteristics

Anonymous said...

What an interesting post. I loved reading about the animals - I never knew that elephants cried, though I knew that they look after their elders in the herd, stopping and waiting for them if they fall behind. Trust you to choose a dolphin Peggy - my favourite animal on the planet. Like you, I feel a strong affinity for them. One of these days I'd like to swim with them - that is a dream of mine. And I never knew about the symbolism of duality - but yes I see it now.

For my animal, which represents Adventure, I have to choose the Kea. These inquisitive and intelligent birds are always on the look out for an adventure! They live up in the mountains and enjoy nothing better than taking your car apart or stripping down a campsite. The driving force behind adventure is a curiosity - to see what's out there. And Keas sum this up nicely.

Joanna Jenkins said...

What a great idea for a post and so beautifully written!

It never dawned on my that an elephant would cry. That stopped me in my tracks and gave me cause to think. Thank you.

Happy December! Hope you have a great month.

Life Potentials Network said...

Fantastic post! I've been reading a book on animal communication and it is truly amazing how tuned in animals are...would that we could be as amazing! I was born in the year of the Dog according to Chinese astrology and that makes loyalty one of my qualities. So that is what I would probably write about! xo

FishHawk said...

"Middle Age Ramblings" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope you like the image I featured, and I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

A.Marie said...

Hi there! I came over here from As The Crackerhead Crumbles. You have a wonderful blog and you have an awesome writing ability! I'll be back again! :)

Lisa Gioia-Acres said...

I finally took the time to catch up with your blogs and love, love, love your words! The picture of the dolphins with the sunset backdrop brought tears to my eyes, as did you and your friends' animal/word connections.

You have a beautiful way with words that have reached me all these many miles away from you!

Nina P. said...

You each have chosen your animal (totem) so well. Each reflects the essence of the word. Your choice amazes me as I didn't realize all the traits of the elephant. I knew they were dedicated to their family, strong and courageous, but you have shown they truly live in Full and in Abundance. May you be like the elephant and find Abundance in all your life. You are truly Blessed with wonderful Family and friends to share your journey with. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

Cozyflier said...

I'm catching up with posts. Very well written. I too associate with the dolphin. I watched Flipper on TV back in the '60s and was connected to them at an early age!

I have swam with dolphins on 2 occasions and feel one with them.

Wonderful photos as always!

Happy days to you.


Ces said...

What a terrific terrific excellent post!!! You got me thinking now. I LOVE elephants. If you scroll through my blog you will see elephant illustrations everywhere! My sisterfriends (that's what I call my blogfriends with whom I have developed a loving and caring friendship) love elephants. Why?

They truly are altruistic animals. An orphaned elephant will never be abandoned. Now that gives me goosebumps. I shall draw an elephant and will write about elephants. Thank you!!!

Oh you are wonderful!

Here's a kiss for you - Tsup!

Sorry I am not trying to be familiar, I am just so excited and delighted to be here.