Saturday, 31 October 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - October

Here we go again reflecting on our words for the year that we chose in January. Ten months later Julie, Roban, Coach, Annemarie and I are still enjoying walking along this path together. Each month we "Stop and Smell the Roses"......what a lovely expression!

This month we are associating a flower with our word.

Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE and her flower is an Orchid

The orchid is considered to be one of four noble plants. Because it grew deep in the mountains, it was compared to scholars who had transcended the greed and fame-seeking of the secular world.

Orchid growth is affected by everything from elevation and light to humidity, air movement and nutrition. When I looked up how to care for this "delicate" flower, I realized that this is a flower I would probably kill in just a few days.

In my search for a more disciplined life, I came to an understanding about myself. I like my laid back life. I love that I am not always worried about menus and shopping lists. My children are healthy and happy. Yes, my house is less than tidy, and my flower pots outside are less than tended, but I am happy.

So as this year of searching for discipline is nearing an end, I will begin thinking about what it is that I would like to work on next year....I have two more months to think about it.

Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE and she chose Chrysanthemums

I at first thought of flowers that have great beauty or hardy qualities or are rare. But what kept coming back to me is the flower that we see a lot of during this season, the blossom that someone decided is the 'birth flower' for November. And that would be the chrysanthemum. (The chrysanthemum illustration above is from the New International Encyclopedia from 1902, with the image url being hosted at Wikipedia.)

The chrysanthemum is actually native to Asia and wasn't introduced into Europe until the 17th century. It is often seen as a symbol in Chinese and Japanese artwork. In the U.S., it is a floral symbol of the season, a happy spot of color for the autumn.

Chrysanthemums are also used in a number of beneficial ways. The petals can be used to make a sweet tea. The blossoms make a natural insecticide that is not harmful or toxic to animals and humans. The plant is also used as an antibiotic and an antiviral agent. A potted indoor chrysanthemum has also been shown to be effective in reducing indoor pollutants in the air.

And now for the tie-in to my 2009 word, excellence.

True excellence brings with it the benefits similar to the chrysanthemum. When I operate in excellence, I can make life sweeter, more palatable for those around me. When I operate in excellence, I can help reduce the pests of procrastination and apathy. When I operate in excellence, I can help fight off the infecting agents of mediocrity. And when excellence is present in the room, the environment is all the cleaner for it.

Coach's - word is ABUNDANCE and she chose Poppies

I have spent the past ten months with an action plan to have the most abundant life possible. I have cultivated new friendships and renewed old ones. I have committed time to family and used social media to create more connections with people. I made efforts to use my leadership skills in my work and have encouraged countless families in their journey toward spoken language. I have meditated and prayed. I have listened to music that stirs my soul. I have set new goals for fitness and nutrition. Abundance has been all around me each step of the way. My chosen flower can only be the flower that is a personal favorite. I have chosen the poppy. I smile when I see an abundance of poppies scattered across a field as in a Van Gogh painting. The dichotomy is that poppies have a bad rap. They are associated with a shady industry that is the demise of many people, unhealthy, commemorate the death of soldiers in some countries and symbolize remembrance.

They were used in the Wizard of Oz to hinder Dorothy's journey down the yellow brick road. Even so, looking over a field of these beautiful flowers gives me a feeling of abundance and of gratitude. Abundance spread in the open for all to see and enjoy.

Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH and she chose an Icelandic Iris

This year as I've journeyed through life contemplating faith and joy, I've been more aware of the beauty around me each day. Yet even though my focus has been on these two words, I've still had days when I saw the world through a darker lens. A busy schedule and seemingly constant demands have clouded my world at times. When my friends and I decided to choose a flower that reflected our words, my first thought was on finding a photo that captured the essence of joy. I thought of sunny buttercups and my mother's favorite flower, tulips. I also thought of flowers that connected to my word, faith.

When it comes to photography, there's no one better than Caroline Manrique of Nowords Photography to capture the beauty of everyday life, so I asked if she would be willing to share one of her photographs with me. And she sent this....

The beauty of the flower against the muted tones of the background seemed to perfectly capture my feelings this month. Even when peering through the world in an imperfect fashion, there we find it. Beauty. It stands out against the backdrop of life leaving us with a more peaceful and joyful feeling.

My word is BALANCE and I chose a Hippeastrum Cinderella

The amazing flower I chose to represent my word is called "Hippeastrum Cinderella".
I took this photo in my hairdresser's garden last week. The complete beauty and balance of this flower called to me as I was leaving his house.

Flowers have always been a source of pleasure and happiness symbolizing love and friendship and since the dawn of time we have instinctively known that flowers can lift our spirits and make us feel well again. They play an important role in restoring or evoking a sense of harmony in mind, body and spirit of healing in its quintessential form.

"Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair..." ~Susan Polis Shutz

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom".
Anais Nin

As always I wish to thank Caroline over at Whimsical Whispers for her part in inspiring us to take this journey. Also do yourself a favour and visit her blog, you will be blown away by her photography!


PS - I plan on visiting San Francisco in July/August 2010 and wear some flowers in my hair....anyone care to join me??

Monday, 19 October 2009

Card Drops

I have been inspired by reading a blog called Kind Over Matter to make some cards in Scrapblog using my photos and adding interesting phrases and quotes.

My plan is to print several copies of each card (and future cards) and scatter them about in places I feel appropriate while I am out walking.

Along with the cards I will leave a book. Being on the Lifeline Bookfair committee we had many, many books left over from the Bookfair we held in July.

I feel these cards could create a ripple effect as this quote states:
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” ~ Scott Adams

My first "port of call" will be the park opposite my house. I hope to be able to snap some photos of people picking them up, reading them and taking them home.

Random dog in car - Central Coast, NSW, Australia - August 2009

I took this photo in June 2007 in Broome, Western Australia

Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi, Sydney, November 2007

This photo was taken in Rwanda in November 2006

Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi, Sydney, November 2007

Please join me in this fun project......if you have the time and inclination.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Risks and Adventure

Several years ago someone said to me on New Year's Eve, "What out-of-the-ordinary things have you done during the year"? I really needed to scratch around to find something unusual for me, something I had never done before or had felt the stretch to achieve.

Since that year, I have made it my goal to do many extraordinary (for me) things in my life so that, by year's end, I can answer that question easily.

The question has begun to fashion my life. Now, when I hesitate before a problem, I urge myself to take the risk, do the difficult, put in the extra time and to attempt the unusual, because that's what gives me satisfaction and a sense of having at least attempted something different.

I do not want a mediocre life!! NEVER!! I choose dreams and goals which are not middle of the road. Big dreams are the stuff of the extraordinary. Risking and daring are the way of the adventurer. Only risk takers are really free!

Personally, I don't take exceptional physical, emotional or business risks. That is not my style. The quote focuses on "out of the ordinary" for me tasks. It means, perhaps, learning a new computer system, staying with my decision to walk for an hour most days, taking up a new hobby, giving creative thought to my blog posts, meditating and learning to trust my intuition.

So on the morning of New Year's Eve, after cleaning the house really well to complete the year on a pure note and welcome in my new twelve months positively, I can sit quietly and contemplate the extraordinary things I have done in the past twelve months.

This can take quite some time, because twelve busy months take a lot of remembering.

I will congratulate myself on the leaps of faith I have made, the extra examples of love in my life, and even on the times I seemed merely to survive, rather than conquer a situation.

The positive extraordinaries come through loud and clear and give me a different perspective on my life and certainly keep the magic alive.

"Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is."
Jimmy Carter (American 39th US President (1977-81).

Jessen & Aimee, Nov 2006, Rwanda - At the exhibition where the children proudly displayed their photography.

Eugene and I, Nov 2006, Rwanda - saying our goodbyes!


My New Zealand/English buddy Stoneweaver associated the song below with this on mate!

Alanis Morissette
"You Learn"

I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone
I recommend walking around naked in your living room
Swallow it down (what a jagged little pill)
It feels so good (swimming in your stomach)
Wait until the dust settles

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

Wear it out (the way a three-year-old would do)
Melt it down (you're gonna have to eventually anyway)
The fire trucks are coming up around the bend

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

You grieve you learn
You choke you learn
You laugh you learn
You choose you learn
You pray you learn
You ask you learn
You live you learn