Plague Everyone with Joy

I wasn’t always so sunny and happy. People were always telling me to smile. I have noticed that my face will typically give me away and that when I’m lost in thought, which is often, it looks like I am angry.  I’ve made it a point to watch this. I have also made it a point to watch my thoughts.
For much of my life insecurities and doubt have plagued me. I have hurt myself with negative messages that became my mantra that ran constantly inside my head. This made me miserable. My negative energy attracted even more negative energy from others. I struggled with not being understood but it never occurred to me at the time that I also needed to try to understand others.
I decided to be kind to myself and forgive myself for being so very imperfect. I thought I could change my inner dialog to something positive and I looked for the good in me and told myself good things about myself, even if I didn’t believe them.  More importantly I took this same love and understanding that I was finding for myself and turned it outward. I made it my “job” to reach out and say something kind or supportive to people especially those who seldom hear that sort of thing. I made sure my compliments were honest and true. I learned that I could find something encouraging and positive to say to almost everyone.
 Not that this is easy all the time for everyone. I am a naturally shy introvert. It has taken many baby steps to get to where I am today. I have tried to plant tiny seeds of sunshine wherever I go.
And more and more I find these seeds have sprouted.
By spreading the love it comes back, absolutely. 
 I don’t mean to sound trite or come off with some well worn out syrupy platitudes.  I have heard people complain about the unauthenticness of the idea that thinking happy thoughts and that an attitude of gratitude is a cure-all. It is perfectly normal;  healthy, in fact to have a wide range of emotions including sadness. Emotions are colors on a palate and life is art. We as artists can make our lives masterpieces when we use a full range of hues.
That being said:
I find touches dark blues,  patches of deep purples and deep black hues to be in beautiful contrast to the soft pastels and sunny oranges and yellows, it is in that contrast that I find beauty in, but a little of those darker shades goes a long way. Life provides us enough of those. If I can, it is the sunshine I will spread.  Makes me happier anyway.
I can make the conscious choice of letting the darkness that hits me in life stop at me. This is how I cope with the crap that hurts me; with my refusal pass it on.
I am so blessed.
So if I seem a little pollyannish or silly remember I didn’t start out that way and that really, no one can be blissfully happy all the time.   Happiness requires the decision to be happy. Just the simple act of smiling is powerful magic in itself.  Science has shown that the simple act of smiling can boost your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.
 I think to stay happy we need to spread that joy around like it’s the damn plague especially on those days when we do feel like crap.
So get out there and plague everyone you meet with joy.
Watch its boomerang effect come alive.

 

 
♥ Nancy

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We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy.
― Swami Satchidananda
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 JOY to the World–Three Dog Night

 

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Garden of the Mind

 

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

~Claude Monet

 

We all engage in self talk. A running inner dialog that writes the script of our lives.

Seldom are we completely aware of just how influential we are on ourselves. We definitely live up to our own expectations. Positive or negative.  Problems arise when insecure feelings begin to dominate the conversation. And rarely do we share these dark thoughts with others. They are hidden behind a wall of bravado we put up between each other. This causes us to see only the exaggerations put together by our imaginations not the full scope of reality.

Insecurities are kept in a secret place locked inside ourselves in that dark closet of pessimism, where fear lives. It is fear that leads us to lie to ourselves in the first place. Much of the negative crap that our own insecurities whisper to us is not accurate or realistic at all, but these hidden feelings do have a profound effect on our behavior. Only when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect can we begin to rebuild and replace all that negative crap with good crap.

I liken a life to a garden. What grows in our garden is what has been planted.

 

 

The lives which we are living now are the result of our past actions and those past actions were the result of our past thoughts. The seeds we planted long ago are sprouting now.

We truly are what we have cultivated. We can thrive in a colorful vigorous and sunny garden or we can wallow in the dark. and it is that simple… of course surprises can spring up

Life is random and certainly not fair. We are subject to the whims of that randomness…

…and no matter what we do surprises can spring up…

Sometimes squirrels can dig up your tulip bulbs and plant them in your neighbors backyard…sometimes a spring hail shower can wreck havoc on your tender pansies. There have been times when a black cloud descended into my garden and left it cold and dark. There have been times when I thought that the sun would never shine again…

And then I found the sunshine within myself and lit up my garden with hope, faith and blind determination.

 

 

These are the times when we have to rely on that sort of sunshine to make our gardens grow.

…that’s why you need a good dose of it stored up in your pocket for a rainy day.

 

 

Determination: Yes. Work: Most certainly. Anything worth anything takes work and belief. That is your sunshine and nothing will shine without it.

Gratitude is like water. It nourishes life in our garden. It makes what grows grow. Without gratitude we will never find the happiness and contentment we seek.

Attitude. How we frame the picture we see.

What some may interpret as a raging storm can seem like a gentle shower watering a summer flower.

 

Seeds are the ideas we present to ourselves. We can plant what we want.

 

Being afraid; having social anxiety…the alien-ness I felt being on the autism spectrum…my alcoholism.. these were symptoms of a greater problem these were/are my challenges. I on instinct planted seeds to counteract the ones planted many years before which led me to feel so sad.

How do I do this? I change my inner dialogue. I forgave myself. I saw myself as a poor damaged thing that needed sympathy, love and understanding.  I began to treat myself more kindly; I began to lie to myself but in a good, encouraging way.

I told myself wonderful things about me; things I didn’t believe. But I kept planting and counting.

I counted reasons to be grateful. I thanked God or the spirits that be. I thanked the universe for my good fortune. I embraced mindfulness and tried to enjoy every passing moment for what what it is without expectation. I found worthiness in contentment and strength in humbleness.

 

I wrote words like”optimistic” ,”happy”and “Yes” in bright colors and tapped them around the house.

I found solace in the colors of music and the sound of the rain.

I refused to be daunted by a reluctant sun so I made my own.

 

What began as a tiny spark has grown larger and my garden is growing with colorful, green, growing wild things.

I continue to plant seeds whenever I can. My garden is a work in progress. Always planting something, digging, weeding, taking it all in.

Despite changes and setbacks I am here to encourage other gardeners who may be discouraged. Maybe to make myself feel a bit better too.

 

As Ram Dass once said: We’re all just walking each other home.”

And I say that it’s damn good to have a friend to walk through the rain with. 

 

~nlm

 

 

 

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Like a Rock

tranquil mountain strong

When I think of strength I think of my Dad. He wasn’t the bodybuilder or lumberjack type. He was a man with little education who came from another country and started a small business. He always provided for his family, he was there and he never wavered, even after he and my mom broke up when I was 11, even after my brother, sister and I had grown and moved out. He was the steady rock of our family. He never complained, he carried a mirthful attitude with him wherever he went. He had a smile and a kind word for everyone despite living with decades of chronic pain. I am ashamed to admit I never really noticed this until after he was gone…funny how that works…funny how my image of what it is to be strong changes as time goes by…

Big muscles don’t always equate with strength, there is also another kind of strong. The inner strong. A person’s will, resolve, resilience; that which endures and continues.  It is a quiet and powerful. It’s sublimely subtle, not flashy at all. It declares itself not. It just is.   It’s what enables us to hang on one second more, hold out hope one more time and this very thing can save us when all else fails. It is born of necessity and it grows in jagged stages marred by pain and shaped by experience.

 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” ~Ernest Hemingway
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”
~Ernest Hemingway

We grow stronger by allowing ourselves to be weak, to fail, to fall. We gain strength by getting up again and again…and again. Our eventual redemption is not only made of this, it depends on it. It is at the bottom of that dark abyss of hopelessness that we can find that very hope that can sustain us. Those who have been thrust into this abyss know full well there is a light in the dark; it is wondrous and strong, it is beautiful, it is divine and it is in each and every one of us.

We are stronger than we believe. We need to believe this. We need to be honest with ourselves and listen to our hearts–therein lies strength; it is in the almighty power of love.

Strength does not lie in oppressing others, or by putting them down. The illusion of superiority does not make anyone stronger or better or more deserving than anyone else. Good fortune and adversity alike mold us into what we are today. The “protection” of privilege cannot purchase anything of any true value. This must be earned by our experiences and our reactions to circumstance.  

To show compassion and kindness is strength. It is the strong that are big enough to see beyond themselves to the greater picture that includes us all.   It is by giving away that we gain. It is by being the steady rock for others to hold on to we can find the strength to hold on ourselves.   I am learning this slowly, like a rock.

 

~NLM

 

we can do it strong

 

“Be strong. Live honorably and with dignity. When you don’t think you can, hold on.” ~James Frey

 


 


Gallery of The Strong

 

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

 

Salt March led by Gandhi, India, 1930
Salt March led by Gandhi, India, 1930

 

"Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children.
“Migrant Mother” is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children.

 

Londoners shelter in a tube station during the Blitz.
Londoners shelter in a tube station during the Blitz.

 

Mother Teresa in her hospital. 1971. Credit Getty Images
Mother Teresa in her hospital. 1971. Credit Getty Images

 

 

My Dad, brother and sister and me on my 2nd birthday. :)
My Dad, brother and sister and me on my 2nd birthday.

Related Articles

 

9 acts of individual defiance that changed the world (One.org)

When Being Strong Is Weak (Goodmenproject.com)

Malala Yousafzai – Facts (Nobelprize.org)

Civilians on the frontline (Theguardian.com)

Brave – Sara Bareilles (Youtube)

Paul Simon – Loves Me Like a Rock 

 

Seeds of Love

Every action or non-action we take have repercussions that run like ripples in a still pool, constantly moving and changing. Out of randomness comes a chaotic sort of order we call life.

Life is a journey with twists and turns, offshoots, detours and about-faces.  We skip merrily, or unmerrily, planting seeds along the way.

Some seeds get blown away and never come to fruition, others find the right landing spot and with a little luck, care and attention erupt out of the ground bursting into life, red, ripe and beautiful like a shiny apple.

Most of the time we don’t know where they go. A small kindness is a seed that can travel far, farther than we realize. I’ve learned to appreciate the small and the seemingly insignificant.

Seeds are like that; small and seemingly insignificant. We all know that looks are deceiving and that a seed however tiny can pack a wallop. The potential of one tiny seed is incalculable.

apple-with-leaf

 

 “We can count how many seeds are in the  apple, but not how many apples are in the  seed.”

   ~Ken Kesey

 

We are always planting seeds whilst we know it or not. I like to think that every action I take however small and seemingly insignificant most likely has repercussions: good, bad or somewhere in between. The results of some of our actions are immediate, other results take longer, others longer still. Seldom does life work on our timetable, nature works on it’s own and we are a part of that greater whole.

flower nature determination dandelion crack

We are a part of the web of life. We take part in the dance of the seasons; springing forth with a rush of light and energy. We burst up through into the living world, bright, trusting and full of potential thrust into the wilderness of existence, a life with gardens and tigers and people and trees and owls…so much beauty and wonder…

…and indifference, greed, Monsanto and war…

box dark war explosion trinity-shot-nuclear-test-explosion-july-16-1945-us-government-photo-in-the-public-domain_thumb

The world is our garden, the garden of our making. We grow here and there is no other place for us. We must take care to plant the right kind of seeds.

maxresdefault girl children kid love

If we plant seeds of love and compassion and altruism and trust, if we plant a respect for all life and the environment, if we plant peace and understanding and tolerance with care and watering, luck and a lot of hard work, we could grow a beautiful garden with enough wonderfulness to sustain us all.

Of course this is all so easy to say….so lovey-dovey and some may say unrealistic. Yes, I know the world is an ugly place but it is also a place of beauty. It’s up to us to cull out the badness and plant the goodness. If not us, who? And if not now when?

Any farmer will tell you the best time to plant is yesterday. Get those seeds in the ground and pray for sunny days…the more seeds we plant the better.

~NLM

Flower petals spelling LOVE

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”
~Steve Maraboli

 

 

 

Related Articles

Eric Clapton - Let It Grow (2011 Remaster)
Johnny Appleseed Song (Youtube)

SEEDBOMBS (How to)  (Guerrillagardening.org)
List of edible seeds (Wikipedia)
Star seed (Wikipedia)
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault,The doomsday vault: the seeds that could save a post-apocalyptic world (theguardian.com)
The Complete History of Monsanto, “The World’s Most Evil Corporation”

We are Art

life beautifully quote

We are art.

Uniquely us and uniquely beautiful.

Living, growing, changing.

Becoming and unbecoming..

The way we do this says more about ourselves than anything.

It’s the way we live our lives and how we impact others–this is our testimony. 

What we share with the world becomes our art.

We can inspire and enlighten. We can encourage, empathize and understand.

We can shine a light for others and become all the more beautiful.

It is the soul. The heart. The essence.

This is the best art. The loveliest. the most divine. The closest to heaven.

 ~NLM

emerging_monarch butterfly

 

“Your brokenness is the universe’s way of realizing that perfection is not complete.
Your wounds and flaws, however inconsolable and unforgivable, are a conspiracy of a finer consideration, the triumph of an inexpressible art form, the urge of the cosmos to love herself more intimately. More profoundly.”

~Adebayo C. Akomolafe

butterfly on finger

Related Articles and interesting tidbits

LIFE is ART   (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Stéphane Grappelli – Stardust (youtube)

Artie Shaw- Stardust (youtube) 

Vincent Van Gogh Gallery (www.vangoghgallery)

I Believe

shinebright sunset in hand shadow

I believe in magic.

The magic that lives inside each and everyone of us. I believe that our belief in ourselves in the single most important factor in determining our present and our future.

I believe in the almighty power of LOVE and that the meek shall inherit the earth…if we believe.    

I believe in unity and understanding, in tolerance and compassion. I believe in the power of a smile and that a little kindness can go a long way. 

I believe that diversity is beautiful and inclusion makes us strong.  I believe we can stand together for what is truly important and I believe we have the wisdom to know just what that is.

We are all in this together. We are an intrinsic part of the greater world around us.

unity big-wave

Drop by drop, like rain falling into sea–there is an incredible force in that which is

WE.

I believe in UNITY

and that it’s our right and responsibility, our duty to ourselves and future generations to make this world a better place.

WE have more power than we know

unity peace people

 It is we who create our own reality

We need to love more and judge less. We need to listen and hug like there is no tomorrow. We need bravery and character and backbone. 

We need action and work and planning and focus.

We need HOPE

and dreams…we need one another.

We need to believe. That is what I believe more than anything; we need to believe. 

~NLM

 Wizard's Hat in Bandon on the Oregon Coast
Wizard’s Hat in Bandon on the Oregon Coast

That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality–your soul, if you will–is as bright and shining as any that has ever been….Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.”

― George Saunders

Wisdom from Unlikely Places

I have found wisdom in unlikely places. In places some would say there is none to be found. In long dark hotel hallways at 3 am and brightly lit hospital corridors at seven fifteen. I have heard it come from the mouths of sweet innocent children and raving lunatic drunks…whispered by the howling wind, written in misspelled curse words scrawled on subway walls.

Wisdom can be hard-fought and long won over the ages. It can be found by standing on the shoulders of giants. It can be located in the deep dusty corners of one’s mind patiently awaiting attention. Wisdom can take flight into insight and explode into enlightenment. It can descend into fire and chaos and emerge like the Phoenix. Wisdom is golden. It is the light.

gold sunset ocean sea light glitter

 

Wisdom is like stained glass. Cracked and beautiful, letting the light shine through. Breaking into a million pieces…

 I carefully pick up the broken shards. Each one unique and beautiful in it’s own way. The truth is not always beautiful but the seeking of it is. I accept each begotten piece, judging them not but embracing them for what they are; glimpses of knowing and experiencing. Windows into the heart and the soul and oh yes. an open door to glorious understanding.

Credit: Copyright © Janet Hince and Heart To Harp, 2010 – 2014.

The truth does not question me, why do I question the truth? It remains in the eye of the beholder but I seek a more unblinking eye of logic and find none exists.  Whatever we are and whatever we do we cannot separate ourselves from our very human feelings and these feelings can cloud our vision and effect our reality, at times to our detriment. It’s easy to doubt the validity of a message due to the doubtfulness and dubiousness of it’s messenger but in all rationality can the truth cease to be the truth if comes from something or someone we dislike? Something bad or wrong or evil?

 

eye evil dark scare fear

 

Can we learn from wickedness? Can a exquisite flower spring up from frozen lifelessness? Can a seed of understanding be gleaned from a stark and abandoned field? Can adversity, fear and pain teach us anything? What about dark and horrible things? What can beauty learn from ugliness?

flower snow crocus purple

Some of the most beautiful people have suffered and they understand; knowing firsthand the power of love and compassion. Being in the position of having to rely on the kindness of strangers is apt to make one a kinder stranger…a kinder person…

Rose Meaning quote thorns

As so it goes. All we can do is gather our pieces of wisdom, saving some for a rainy day or to chew on later on some idle Tuesday. We can store them in forgotten boxes under the bed or we can bring them out and use them for the good and betterment of us all.

Stuff to ponder I suppose…

~Nancy

 

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Stephane Grappelli & Michel Petrucciani – Misty