Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Reflecting On Our Words - September

Words can empower and uplift our spirits and transform our lives.
Words like Abundance, Balance, Discipline, Excellence, Faith, Joy......

With my beautiful blogging buddies Annemarie, Coach, Julie, and Roban we embarked on a journey back in January where we committed to simultaneously post at the end of each month a reflection on a WORD each of us had chosen for 2009.

What a blessing these women and their words have made to my life. I love the consistency and depth of our experience we share with each other. These posts helps us stay focused and highlights our journey these words are taking us on.

To reflect on our WORDS this month we decided to make a video or choose a youtube that relates to our word.

My word is BALANCE and I chose "The Moody Blues - Balance"

Annemarie's - word is DISCIPLINE and she made this poignant video.

Julie's- word is EXCELLENCE

"This is Kari Jobe, a really sweet girl who is dear friends with some of my dear friends. She has a gorgeous song out called I'm Singing and she had viewers add their experiences and included them in the video--and the result is just 'excellent'--really amazing people continuing to walk with joy, even in the midst of some tough times--"

Roban's- words are JOY and FAITH

"When I thought of a video to express some of my thoughts on faith and joy, I immediately thought of the artist Akiane Kramarik. Her art comes from her faith, and her paintings fill me with joy and awe".

Coach's - word is ABUNDANCE

Akeelah and the Bee - Deepest Fear

Special thanks to Caroline at The Zen in You for inspiring us to take this journey.

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.”
Maya Angelou American Poet, b.1928)


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Music, Poetry, Nature = Beauty

I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that ours is a dizzyingly visual society, or that many of our readily available criteria for beauty are less than skin deep.

Yet, for all that, the need to be in the presence of beauty and to soak it up emotionally is strong in most people. So is the need to be active in the creation of beauty, even if this is achieved in small ways.

To sit in an ugly or neglected room, to look out onto a parched, bleached landscape or to look at ourselves or other people through eyes that are so critical that all intrinsic beauty is lost is to risk feeling significantly emotionally bereft.

Conversely, to take the time needed to do something "beautifully", or to absorb and appreciate someone else's efforts, is invariably uplifting. In fact, when someone is clinically depressed, often one of the first things they lose is the pleasure and sense of participation that comes with appreciating or creating beauty.

But acknowledging how crucial beauty is to our souls and emotions doesn't in itself solve the question of what beauty is or the extent to which our "eyes" and, therefore, judgements are socially conditioned.

Music, poetry and nature in all its many moods are unfailing sources of beauty in my life. I love domestic gestures of beauty also: the trouble a friend takes to arrange spring vegetables on a platter; home-picked flowers; a favourite painting in a new spot. I feel we need such moments on a daily basis.

Beauty of "character" is also priceless.

"I pull you from your tower, take away your pain. Show you all the beauty you possess, if you only let yourself believe.”
Sarah McLachlan Canadian Singer and Songwriter

I visited the Muogamarra Nature Reserve last Sunday and filled my camera with these wonderful images.....nature in all its glory. This is one of the trees I hugged!!!

View from the Reserve overlooking the Hawkesbury River, Cowan, Sydney

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Perception and Reality

Most of us go through life with the belief system that our happiness or unhappiness is largely determined by the events in our environment and reactions of other people to us.

Frequently we feel that our happiness is dependent on good or bad luck for which we bear little responsibility.

We forget to instruct our minds to change our perceptions of the world and everything in it. We forget that peace of mind is an internal matter.

The temptation to react with anger, depression or excitement exists because of interpretations we make of the external stimuli in our environment. Such interpretations are necessarily based on incomplete perception.

When we dwell on past events or anticipate future happenings, we are living in the realm of fantasy. Whatever is real in our lives can only be experienced NOW.

We block the possibility of fresh and novel experience in our lives when we attempt to relive in the present our memories of episodes from the past, whether painful or pleasurable.

We are, therefore, in a continual state of conflict about the actual happenings of the present and are unable to directly experience the opportunities for happiness which are all about us.

From time to time I see a fragmented world where nothing seems to make much sense.

The bits and pieces of my daily life reflect the chaos I see within.

In my mind are thoughts that can hurt me or help me. I am constantly choosing the contents of my mind, since no one else can make this choice for me.

TODAY, I welcome a new perception of myself and the world.

When I am with Joseph each week, I have the privilege of viewing the world through his 3 year old eyes.....


Nina, a very wise and thought provoking blogger who spreads so much sunshine and happiness around the blogosphere wrote this very insightful comment I want to share.

"To look at life through the eyes of a 3 year old follows your post well. Everything is new and exciting. Colors, shapes, sounds, the world is a playground filled with the Joyful Happiness of new and exciting "things".

To choose to look at life through the proverbial rose colored glasses is not necessarily a bad thing. As a matter of fact, focusing on what's good and pleasing around us brings internal joy and happiness. We fully Love life with its rollercoaster ride if we view it as a wonderful ride of learning.

The sun rises. The reality is the earth chases around the sun playing hide and seek every day. The perception is a new beginning, a new start, a new opportunity each and every day... Kind of brings meaning to "sunshine and happiness"... (say isn't that in a song?) I hadn't read your post until today but kindred spirits we are my friend. Love and Light, Nina P".

Monday, 14 September 2009

What Is Real?

Most of us are confused about what is real. Even though we sense there is something more, we attempt to settle for a reality based exclusively on feedback from our physical senses.

To reinforce this "reality", we look to what our culture defines as normal, healthy and therefore REAL.

Yet where does Love fit into this scheme of thing? Wouldn't our lives be more meaningful if we looked to what has no beginning and no ending as our reality?

Only Love fits this definition of the eternal. Everything else is transitory and therefore meaningless.

Fear always distorts our perception and confuses us as to what is going on. Love is the total absence of fear. Love asks no questions. Its natural state is one of extension and expansion, not comparison and measurement.

Love, then, is really everything that is of value, and fear can offer us nothing because it is NOTHING.

Although Love is always what we really want, we are often afraid of Love without consciously knowing it, and so we may act both blind and deaf to Love's presence.

Yet, as we help ourselves and each other let go of fear, we begin to experience a personal transformation.

We start to see beyond our old reality as defined by the physical senses, and we enter a state of clarity in which we discover that all minds are joined, that we share a common Self, and that inner peace and Love are in fact all that are REAL.

With Love as our only reality, health and wholeness can be viewed as inner peace, and healing can be seen as letting go of fear.

Love, then, is letting go of fear.

Beautiful sculpture at "Sculpture by the Sea" in Bondi, Sydney, November 2007

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Guilt Industry

Christians say we're born with original sin but in my experience sin is quite difficult to achieve. Sin take some organising. Sin requires a separate credit card and a post office box. Sin requires the ability to lie under pressure.

It's more likely we're born with original guilt. Guilt is easy.

Your average person spends most of the day bathed in non-specific guilt. That's why we all flinch when we see a police officer. We can't precisely recall being part of a major bank robbery, sometime in the previous 20 minutes, but in the back of our minds there's a suspicion we probably were.

The world conspires to make us feel guilty. For every person who is peddling sin, there are 10 who are peddling guilt.

Just the other day, researchers in London accused fat people of causing global warming. Those of us with a few extra kilos are now to blame for the death of the planet. Up to now, we'd merely been blamed for adding an unattractive element to the streetscape. Suddenly we're to blame for the disappearance of the street itself!
It was like being called up before a magistrate and finding your crime had been suddenly upgraded.

"But I thought I was charged with littering..."

"No, sorry lady, it's now the destruction of all humanity. Now, how would you like to plead?"

The Guilt Industry also offers bucket-loads of official advice, all of it designed to make us all feel like failures. One example is the new recommendation on wine: drink more than one glass of wine in a 24 hour period and you'll die young. It's an unlikely piece of advice which, if followed, would bankrupt the Federal Government, so I'm guessing they don't expect people will actually do as they are told.

It's not only the wine. The Guilt Industry believes you need to spend at least an hour each day exercising, 8 1/2 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, 1 hour meditating, 10 minutes teeth cleaning, 3 minutes teeth flossing, 1 hour reading to your children, 1 hour eating dinner together in the European mode, 3 hours enduring public transport, all finished off with 20 minutes of vigorous daily sex.

By my calculation, you need 48 hours in every day just to lead what the various experts consider an acceptable life.

Just one question: if I manage to get through all 48 hours of tasks, could I at least have a second drink?

Jesus, they say, died for our sins. Shame he couldn't have also snuffed out some of the unproductive guilt!

We were not feeling at all guilty when we were barging in France in July 2008!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Doubt verses Enlightenment

Great doubt - great enlightenment
Small doubt - small enlightenment
No doubt - no enlightenment

Zen belief

It's the simplest thoughts that carry the biggest punch.

The quote came to me in a newsletter article with the heading "And when we seem to fail?". It brought home that sometimes it is all right to feel no progress in any and every aspect of our lives. It isn't failure. It's looking deeper.

Here is real power in enjoying the fullness of nothing!

Feeling pleased with yourself about a breakthrough? Think about this quote.

Feeling at the end of your tether about a relationship? Look once more at this quote.

There are days when I am too smug and too comfortable about the search for meaning. "This trusting and having faith and being confident and positive is easy", a smart voice inside says. Then a whirlwind of new experience and testing shatters the comfort zone and I find myself blown from my safe mooring into a sea of doubt.

That's when I particularly appreciate the first line" "Great doubt - great enlightenment". Whatsmore, it is true! On those days when I feel annoyed with myself I feel I have moved one step forward and two steps back. Keeping this line in mind allows me to look deeper. It actually provides a light at the end of a tunnel. I ask myself "So what are the lessons from this?"

This explanation by the Zen masters is a comfort and at the same time, it is provocative. It is an attack on ego.

Only by being tested do we examine our focus on life, its meaning, our purpose and our happiness. Only by reassessing, do we grow.

When we fall into ego driven patterns, we need to bring reality into our lives by again contemplating this Zen wisdom.

I was over at Joseph's place on Wednesday and this Cockatoo came for a chat and posed for many photos. I managed to get a few photos of Joseph as well, although he is getting more reluctant these days to have his photo taken.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Two Wolves

An old Cherokee chief is teaching his grandson about life:

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,

"Which wolf will win?"

The old chief simply replied,

I know many of you have read this before but it has a powerful message. It was read out in our philosophy class on Thursday as an example of how different choices effect our life.

So the question we face is not whether or not we will be making choices in our life, today, tomorrow, next month or next year - but which choices are we going to make.