The Voice of the Universe

The voice of the universe is everywhere.
In the trees. In stars. In the air.
In my heart. In my hair.
Within.”

—Jonna Jinton

 

I listen to the wind move through the trees tickling leaves along the way. I hear the loneliness in them, the smallness of them. The universe is made of these. Bits and parts of somethings that make a whole.

We are one together. A breathing being is the universe. I witness its breath in the clouds. I feel the beat of it’s heart in the river. I touch its profoundness in the soft moss under my feet.

I feel so alive in this one very moment; I take in the million joys that spill over like a wave. It fills my valleys and makes them green again.

The voice of the universe speaks to me. Not in words but pure emotion. It speaks to me in brilliant birdsong and in the roar of the sea.  It whispers in the Sunday breeze, knocking down fence posts to make me listen.

Once in a while the universe sends something so absolutely exquisite I can’t help but pause in splendid wonder. Once in a while can be everyday if I let it…

 

~nlm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serendipities in the Rough

 

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.
—Arthur Golden

 

Life random, it is constant and ever moving.  It leaves no chance to go back and try again. Our journey in this what we call existence is wrought with surprise. We can never know what is just around the bend. Our experiences are accidental. We can cross our fingers and hope for the best. We can rely on a steady hand to guide the way, we can watch out for rocks but common pitfalls will befall us and so will other things too…

Einstein once said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

 

Those words stared at me, written in my own hand. Stuck up on my computer at work. I stared at those words on that day a few weeks ago before I crumpled up the paper and dropped it silently into the trash. Our entire department was being downsized or outsized…whatever. I was out of a job. 

We were being paid for the day. It was ten o’c lock Monday morning and I was “free to go.”

A first for me; A layoff and fresh into my new independence in my new apartment. A fear rose up in me. A dread. A panic. I went home and cried.

I would like to say at this point I straightened up and used this setback as an opportunity to take on a newer and better adventure. I’d like to say I conquered hardship and myself but really I fell into another job without really trying. And now two weeks in I am finding the hidden “dangers” in taking the safe route. And I wonder if I have taken full advantage of my situation…

 

 

It is how we look at it all which makes the most impact on our lives. There can be hidden gems in rough serendipities. And something that may for the quick moment seem to be a setback could in reality be a spring forward.

 

 

Nature makes way for the new. An emptiness must be created in order to fill it. A tree sheds it’s leaves in the Autumn. They fall to the ground; becoming one with the earth, helping provide nourishment to the tree to grow its new leaves in the spring. Nature is constantly giving birth to itself. And we as part of nature are constantly being reborn. Every day we are alive this happens. With every experience we become a newer version of ourselves.

 

Every flower must grow through dirt. —Proverb

Life is like that. All our experiences; good and bad make us who and what we are. We can glean wisdom from this. Scars heal and can make us stronger. We can look back at our very survival as proof of that.

 

Kintsugi, The Japanese Art of Fixing Broken Pottery With Gold.

 

There are many who are “broken” in this world of ours. We are legion. Seldom, if ever, can anyone escape unscathed. Some say that a dose of hard times in one’s life makes one more sympathetic to the plight of others and more grateful too.  I think this is true to a great extent.

Tragedy is tragic and unfair as it is, we must salvage what we can from it. If only in order to save ourselves and others.

There are many forms of tragedy that exist. Much of it out of our control. I don’t have to tell anyone how troubled this world is. It’s easy for me to say that good can possibily ever come from bad.  I have lived a relatively fortunate life. I have not truly suffered like many have. But I do know something of hope and often it is born out of a human heart and spirit and nothing else.

There are going to be low days.  It’s inevitable. but it is those low days that prepare us for the high ones, these are inevitable too. I think this when I’m having a bad day; that I’m somehow paying my dues or paying it forward for later. I feel that in the law of averages my “bad luck” will turn to “good luck” Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But this has a magic all its own.

 

Nothing is perfect. My new job isn’t either but it does afford me more time to spend with a very important person to me who makes me feel wonderful and in that maybe it is all for the best…perhaps I will seek some rough and very soft serendipities there for a time…

~nlm

 

Related Articles

 

 

 

Whatever does not kill us: cumulative lifetime adversity, vulnerability, and resilience.

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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The Way

forest-path-trees-green-nature

The way is winding

it’s direction uncertain

I am on a path meant only for me

and the trick is to know

the way.

Every step is a moment that passes by

the moments that make up my life.

There are triumphant ones in the sun

There are humble and joyous moments

and others which lie in the dark, cold and unforgiving.

They belong solely to myself

I cannot go back

We are made up of what we do

and this is what makes us who we are.

Some of us wear down paths consisting of varying degrees of unease

watching and waiting for that something that never happens…

This way is littered with occasions to lend my heart out

they fall to the forest floor like leaves in the autumn

and sound crunchy under my boots.

 I feel for something I think I’ve lost.

And I think I’ve left something unsaid.

I cannot seem quite to remember

Time flows ahead…I can’t go back

no matter, no matter

I tell myself

The way is winding

and we may find ourselves

at one end only to begin again.

Coming in and out like the tides.

A new river to step into.

A new stream to cross.

Urging me on to the next and the next and the next.

 

~NLM

 

 

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.

~Mother Teresa

***

Mt. Ranier. Washington State, USA.
Mt. Ranier. Washington State, USA.

 

The Extraordinary

 

“I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes”

~Walt Whitman

 

heart of compassion art

I have always felt an affinity for the extraordinary, the misunderstood lone marcher to a different beat. I want to be an advocate for the underdog. A champion for the unique, the quiet, the humble and the meek, for the underestimated and under-appreciated, for the kind, for the strange and beautiful, for those who feel out of sorts, out of time and out of place, for the anxious and the disturbed, for the sad but hopeful, for the awkward and the shy, for the anxious and the brave, for the deep thinkers and sensitive souls, for those who feel the system is rigged and life is unfair…

For we who feel voiceless in this loud world. Fate has not forsaken us.

We not alone… We contain multitudes…

random-people-art-psychedelic-group-color-trippy

It is through alliance and unity that we the unique can make a difference as a force to be reckoned with. It is up to those of us who have a voice to speak up!

 

If I accomplish anything with my writing  I want to tell all those who feel that society looks down upon them for their uniqueness that you are not alone. There are others who may be different from you, others from different times and places, others who who may be different in every way but share this same longing, the doubt and insecurity, the same fears. The same need for love and understanding and for peace, a need for a place to grow in the sun and become more.

There is that great untapped potential that many of us still have hidden deep inside. We all have our treasures. They should be encouraged to come out with exuberance like Spring and cultivated like exquisite orchids. Like fine art this wonderfulness should be shared with everyone.

orchid-plant-flower

 

Society gets hung up on the package and not the contents. We are a judgmental lot. So much gets lost in the roar of the crowd. 

It is up to all of us to be there  for us all…as they say we are after all just walking each other home. 

   We can help each other. It is through alliance that we the different, the unique and the misunderstood can make a difference. We are a force to be reckoned with. We can celebrate our uniqueness and that of others. Our strength lies in our diversity, our unity and our willingness to speak up for each other.

There are many more of us than them… 

 

 

~nlm

 

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
Walt Whitman

Out in the cold

snow-falling-gif

 

“You can present the material, but you can’t make me care.”
― Bill Watterson

Just another winter’s day, just another icy commute in the dark. You can hear the shuffling of footsteps on the frozen ground. No one speaks, no one smiles, we all just keep moving..

People waking to and fro, many in a hurry, most of them with the same look; that same glazed over gaze which extends beyond the person right next to them as if the other person, the fellow human is not there at all. It is a tunnel vision of sorts, it could be more of a selective vision. It is an acquired ability. We are not born with it; this talent for ignoring the obvious.

 

It comes out of necessity and takes practice.  In this rapidly changing world, many of us are getting a lot of practice. If you live in a large urban area you probably know what I mean…

homeless-cold-person-snow

I know you’ve seen them: Their swelling number are almost impossible to ignore. The tents and blue tarps under bridges, the huddled sleeping figures in crowded doorways.  It’s not just in my city or yours, it’s everywhere.

And it scares the hell out of me. And I shiver. From the cold or that icy fear or both I don’t know.

Last night in my city of Portland, Oregon a newborn baby died possibly from exposure, sitting in its homeless mothers arms. This would be the 5th person to die from the cold in the last 2 weeks here.

 

homeless-child-mother-snow

What kind of people are we? We forsake our most vulnerable citizens. It is a sickness I think this indifference. One of ills of our society and one that just seems to be growing.

We are told those less unfortunate deserve their fate. It is easy to want to believe that. That means if I work hard and toe the line and do what I am told. I too won’t be one of those less unfortunate ones, it is tempting to want to believe this; it feels safer.

At least I think it does…

I think of all the people in the US who have just lost their health insurance. Again I could be indifferent here, I have mine. To me, seeing a doctor is not a luxury…yet.

I have a warm home and enough food to eat.

Why should I worry about these strangers? Many of them are probably drug addled or mentally ill. They probably want to be out here. They like living on the fringes of society. No bills , no responsibilities. Not my problem… Right?

funny-sign-man-hookers

The man at the bus stop with the unkempt beard and the wild eyes. He is hard not to notice; wrapped in a tattered blanket he is shouting obscenities at the sky.  My pulse quickens;  I am scared and I tiptoe past him hoping he doesn’t notice me, I walk down to the next stop.

Nothing is all black or white. But we are all human from the innocent babe to the wild man at the bus stop. We are all part of the same human family. I admit it is easier to care about the pretty, the untarnished, the salvageable.

homeless-man-face

 

I imagine the man with the wild eyes was that too once; pretty, untarnished, salvageable. Now he is just part of the wreckage left behind to lurk in the shadows, in the cold doorways, watching everyone look away…

Something to ponder on…

 

 

~nlm

 

winter-snow-nature-animated-gif-22

“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent, but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”
Stanley Kubrick

 

 

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A Baby is Dead After Being Found With His Homeless Mother at a Portland Bus Stop

Winterbirds, Lost ducks and Moonlight

punchbowl-falls-oregon-frozen-winter-snow-water

 

Winter has come. It has descended from the sky like a great and terrible bird;  declaring itself with a wicked wind that howls and screeches. Gripping you in it’s talons and keeping you there–chilling you to your bones. Bringing along a blanket of snow and ice that has worn out its welcome days ago, much of it trampled on, trodden on and fouled with soot and dirt and yellowish stains.

It is dark and cold; about 15 ºF with the windchill. I have deemed this yet another “3 layer day”, I am bundled up head to toe, all in black except for a flourish of hot pink scarf. I stand out against the whitish snow and in the moonlight. The beautifully bright and full moon has been kind to us early risers sticking around for a viewing well past the time I catch the 4:59 a.m. train.

night-snow

These are the days that will make me appreciate summer all the more I think. It is hard to see out the windows out into the darkness but I can make out in that same kind moonlight Under some of the bridges and overpasses I can see the outlines of tents flapping in that horrid wind.

I don’t know how I would fare out there without a home in the cold. I bitch and complain bundled up in my new warm coat, on my way to a nice warm office building. I have nothing to complain about.

The train gets me downtown where I catch an express bus that takes me the rest of the way. It is quite a commute but affords me the time to think. This I haven’t had for a while.

The sun is rising as the bus careens down the highway, making up for lost time I suppose. The sky is pink and orange; strange and beautiful against the whiteness of everything. streets. Metal towers and giant apartments are starting to litter the skyline as never before. There is a building boom. It seems everyone wants to move to quirky Portland.

The bus takes me to a suburb called Tualitin. I have a new job. It is better than the last one.  I have a lot to be grateful for.

night-pond-lake-by-work-lights-water

I can’t help but laugh at the poor lost ducks on the frozen pond that is adjacent to the building, they stand there waiting for everything to return to normal.

Nothing ever returns to “normal”. Just the definition of what normal is, changes.

~nlm

 

 

 

frozen-crows-portland
“Crows in Snow”by Walter Berg. Portland, Oregon. January 2017

 

“All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

The only lasting truth
is Change.”

Octavia E. Butler

 

The Beauty in Chaos

We are born of Chaos. A  singularity known as the Big Bang  sent forth into being an ever expanding commencement of all things.

Clouds of dense gas and swirling universes come together and are pulled apart….Stars  are  born, they shine and explode and then die. Black holes devour all they touch. Galaxies collide spraying stars into eternity. Particles are continuously being created and destroyed; blinking in and out of existence akin to a ginormous Schlesinger’s Cat.

We are born of  hydrogen and oxygen, of nothingness and of everything. We are truly stardust come down to Earth.

 Our home this planet has had a violent past and without all that disarray and upheaval we would not be here today.

We come from chaos and someday we’ll return there too. This is how infinity perpetrates itself.

We are a part of that.

As we are a part of everything.

OUR LOVELY HOME
“It’s a cruel and random world, but the chaos is all so beautiful.” ― Hiromu Arakawa

Albert Einstein once said that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. He knew that a stirring of the waters can sometimes conger up the fish. We know from history that many a good thing can result from many a bad thing indeed and if necessity is the mother of invention then perhaps chaos can be the father of the creative thought that sparks that necessity.

Fate forces our hand and we must act, even inaction is a form of action or reaction. We can go with the flow or fight it. Life is a raging river, never standing still, always moving, never the same…change is the only constant.

The death of one can come about the birth of another

Extinction of the dinosaurs. Computer artwork of a group of dinosaurs and flying reptiles fleeing a vast fire. This may have been caused by a volcanic eruption or meteorite impact. Such events have occurred before in Earth's history, and will do so again. Both events can trigger a lowering of global temperatures as clouds of dust and ash reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the surface. Plant and then animal life dies off. The mass loss of life that included the extinction of the dinosaurs took place some 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period. The flying reptiles here are Pteranodons, and the quadraped dinosaur are sauropods called Titanosaurs.
We are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we the children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos.” ― Colin Meloy

Chaos is raw violence. It rips apart what was to make room for what will be. In it’s upheaval change does not waiver. It is indifferent to fate. It just is. Change devours the status quo. In its varying degrees it can make quite an impact. Life ebbs and flows.  Stability returns with the growth that follows upheaval. Life is but a dance between the two extremes seeking to find an undulating balance between them.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/35-years-after-mt-st-helens-eruption-nature-returns/
35 years after Mount St. Helens eruption, nature returns

Music interrupts silence and color disturbs the black and white. The peanut butter in my ice cream has only increased it’s tastiness to me

Imagine a world that never changes, a river that never flows, a planet that has lost its spin. Imagine a world without the audacity of   daybreak. Imagine a blank piece of paper where words will never be. Imagine the leaves never falling off the trees, or crying babies never being born, imagine the butterfly never emerging from her chrysalis and becoming the butterfly she is meant to be…

two-tailed-pasha-butterfly-emerging-from-its-pupa

This is why we need chaos you see…

Despite the pain of  upheaval. Wonderful things can be found among the ruins. Sometimes it can be oneself.

nancy-smile-in-green-happy-4

I am myself at a time in my life where I have found the courage to make some drastic life changes. I write this as I sit in my new apartment, my name on the lease. It is mostly devoid of things for now but it holds the most precious thing of all: Love. The love that this place abounds in. I am truly blessed to have people around me that love me and encourage me to be the best me I can be. An unexpected butterfly landed on my shoulder one day last February and I haven’t been the same since. I found the strength to leave a situation that was not healthy for me or my children.  I have taken upon myself to change this situation that I had lived with for many years. I will continue to keep you posted. Suffice to say I am happy and excited!!

~NLM

 

 


 

 

 

spiral space galaxies 2 pair

Look deeper through the telescope
and do not be afraid when the stars
collide towards the darkness,
because sometimes the most beautiful
things begin in chaos.”
Robert M. Drake

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*

35 years after Mount St. Helens eruption, nature returns

 

 

 

Chasing Rabbits

 

 

And so here I was…

I think was Tuesday. I’m sitting at my computer at work and I note the time, it is  exactly 10:21 in the morning and all of a sudden it hits me like a rifle shot.  I begin to question every damn thing I have ever done, or not done in my entire life right there in a span of a minute. I ask myself the age old question: Is this all there is?  I look out the window at the blue sky with cottony puff ball clouds and I yearn to get up and leave and just run. Run past the parking lot and into the field on the other side of the fence, the one with the tall grass where near a stream past the railroad tracks, and run…

To leave and never come back…to sleep under the starts and never ever have another care in the world. I wanted to take all my baggage chuck it out the window and start again and I wanted to turn this damn train around and head for a newer and better destination, one of my choosing not one that fate has chosen for me.

lars leber star field night

This is when the sudden realization hit me that I was beginning what I think was a mid life crisis.  I noted the time because I knew down deep in my soul that things would never be the same. Pandora’s Box had been opened and all this stuff was rushing out, I could never put this all back nor would I want to.

 

Open the floodgates…

 

goat rushing water gif

 

 

It’s funny…

 

When I think of a mid life crisis I think of a guy in his forties who suddenly goes berserk and thinks he’s “The Wild One”, he dons a leather jacket, buys a motorcycle and prowls for young chicks on beaches and in swanky hotel bars. Of course that is a product of Hollywood and my mid life crisis would be of my making.

 

the wild one brando movie motorcycle

…plus I AM a young chick...

 

 

A thought crossed my mind;  would I do anything differently if I were 20 yrs younger?  I realized that I probably would do a great many things differently and then I decided that I would carry on like so. Who am I to put a timetable on things?

…and why call it a crisis anyway?

 

How about Opportunity?  Opportunity for growth and change. Opportunity for success and mastery. Opportunity to be master of my own fate. To face my fears and finally be free.

Ever since that day a week ago I have been swimming in enthusiasm. A certain spark has ignited something in me that is akin to magic and I can only be better for it. I am bolder and more outspoken. I am more at ease with myself. I feel stronger and wiser and kinder.

And it was with this mindset…

Hello there!
Hello there!

 

I was watering the flowers and a cute little green grasshopper hopped up out at me, grinned and stayed a spell on the side of the house before disappearing among the tall Black-Eyed Susans and pink and purple Phlox.

I decided to take this as a sign of good things to come and when the tiny brown rabbit approached me in the parking lot at work the next day I really decided to see that as a sign.  For fun I googled the meaning of both animals and what if anything they were trying to tell me.

According to folksy internet lore about spirit animals grasshoppers symbolize taking a leap of faith and funny enough rabbits do too. Both creatures symbolize good luck in doing so. That cute hoppy bunny early that morning that looked at me in trepidation as I snapped it’s pic was trying to tell me that I need to take that leap of faith and that it is in standing still wherein the danger lies.

I mean thinking of this in all whimsicalness and in a bit seriousness too, if the universe or God, or whatever was trying to communicate with me what better messenger? A tiny life out there in the big bad world doing it, living… afraid but alive… making that leap of faith, the very leap I must make.

 

~NLM

 

bunny rabbit in parking lot

“You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun–and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven’t perceived that moment, that it doesn’t exist–that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists–a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.”
~Paulo Coelho

References and Related articles

Alice in Wonderland: I’m Late & Down the Rabbit Hole

Spirit Animal: Grasshopper

Rabbit Symbolism

 

 

Addendum:  Apparently the above mentioned grasshopper may actually be a Katydid (Thanks Robert) but I was so wrapped up in taking a leap of faith I failed to notice this. I am also choosing to remain in blessed ignorance regarding this one tiny detail because well, why not?  🙂

 

The Dreams of Bees

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett

 

 

The sky is bright. The day is new and I am out in the neglected garden, busy as a bee, foolhardily attempting to resurrect order into chaos.  I feel wonderful out here in the fresh air and sunshine. It is a spectacular Saturday.  I have the whole day ahead to do whatever I want and this is what I want.

Finally…

backyard studio

I miss it out here and from the looks of it it misses me. It is a cornucopia of green things vying for space and light. I liken this tangled mess to my mind and life in general; bursting with wild, colorful and impatient things…lush, exuberant and messy. Tending the soil has given me metaphor upon metaphor upon on which to reflect and the act of gardening itself allows my mind to meander down strange and unusual and often very creative paths.

I am more of a scientist really than an oranmentalist. I like crazy wild. I shy away from the straight line. I will allow a mysterious plant to grow, just to see what it turns out to be. Most of the time it turns out to be just a common weed but once in a while serendipity will shine on me with something new and wonderful.  Life is like that I think too.

It is labor intensive here. I set all this up when I had oodles of time on my hands. I didn’t have to do much at work and life came pretty easy. My garden, my sanctuary as I called it, was my respite from the world, a world I was very much afraid of. It was here I started this blog and the blogger Strawberryindigo was born. In a little converted garage we call the studio I typed and typed and purged my heart out.

I think about that now; how far I’ve come.  They say where our heart lies there lies our treasure. Once my yard was my treasure. It was pristine, nary a weed or grass-blade out of place. I worked hours at a stretch, this is where I gained my satisfaction in life but it was lonely being so afraid of the world…

 

flower shadow july summer

Through design and through fate via a series of sales related jobs has forced me out of my comfort zone again and again, so much it is a common occurrence.  Once I gain mastery I go onto the next challenge. I am cultivating my garden. I am accepting myself as I am but weeding out what does not serve me to make room for the more beautiful things that do.  Beautiful things we all can enjoy.  I am cultivating friendships where I did not before and now my garden is not so lonely anymore.

My goal is to spread goodness and light in my own small way; planting seeds along my path. Some may not take root but others will, growing into something wonderful. I figure the more seeds I plant the more flowers that will grow…

 

…and so here I am pulling weeds thinking about this and there I spy a butterfly; a swallowtail. It is headed for the butterfly bush.  I run and get my camera. It is kind enough to stick around for a few photos

 

june butterfly swallowtail in butterfly bush today

 

 

 

today butterfly swallowtail 2

 

I get excited at this sort of event , and yes seeing a butterfly is an event to me!  I lay back in the grass.  The breeze cools my sweaty brow. I am totally living in that moment and then as if on cue nature rewards me with a smallish flock of sweet little birds who make tiny hops around the branches of the tree next me, they make cute little chirpings the sort you’d expect from birds such as this.

 

I am happy…

nancy in jean jacket back yard

I watch honeybees visit the white clover flowers in the grass. They carefully buzz from one to the next fast and efficiently. Their devotion to their task inspired me to leave this wild area in the grass, unmown and full of clover, the patch has grown since last year.

 

clover grass bee

I am an avid bee watcher although I don’t have the time like I used to…

My mind drifts to the story I was reading earlier that queried if bees dream and then what do they dream about?  The whole prospect of bees dreaming intrigues the hell out of me and the writer of the article states that bees when kept from sleeping (yes, bees sleep) tend to forget where all the good flowers are.

This makes a whole lot of sense.  I think that we humans could learn a few things from our friends the bees:

A busy bee still finds time to dream. It is those wonderful dreams made into fruition by hard work that create beautiful gardens. 

 

~NLM

peach flower and bee

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“Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.”
―David Foster Wallace

 

Honey bee workers {Apis mellifera} flying towards flower, Digital composite, UK.
Honey bee workers {Apis mellifera} flying towards flower, Digital composite, UK.

References and Related articles 

  Do Bees Dream?  (BBC.Com) 

 

The Magic of Kindness

magic of kindness

 

 

Kindness is magic.. It is a warm glow that uplifts the heart and nurtures the soul. We are social creatures and we rely on the milk of human kindness.   It is simple yes, but too eluding in this world. It is all too rare and oh so beautiful like a lone purple wildflower among a sea of indifferent green.

As I’ve grown older I appreciate simple acts of kindness more and more.

There are two sides to kindness; the giving and the receiving. Both teach us valuable and distinct lessons and at some point in our lives we will have experienced each side to varying degrees.

kindness kind cat lady old wheelchair

I have found those who have suffered the most, endured the most, to be some of the most understanding, generous and kindest people I’ve ever met, but that road is not easy, these are the exceptional ones, the stronger ones, there are others, ones that have fallen by the wayside. The ones that society is all to eager to overlook.   There are those with hard outer shells forged out of fear, the ones that seem too tough to crack. They may be gruff, indifferent or just plain mean. All of them are human beings and nine times out of ten all they need is some simple human kindness. One could say that there are those who don’t deserve such a precious commodity as kindness. I say they are the ones that need it the most.   It’s not easy to be kind to some.  Be the stronger one.

Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.

-Kahlil Gibran

To openly express empathy for someone else, especially a stranger is sometimes  looked upon as weak or at least eccentric in our society.  How off the mark is that? It requires strength to practice compassion. Being kind is not always so easy.  It often requires putting aside our natural selfishness to put someone else first. It may involve some sort of sacrifice however small or large, and no one said it would be easy.   We have all heard stories of great kindnesses done upon others.  It makes my heart sing to hear of these good deeds but it is those simple kindnesses; the one’s we do everyday unto each other, the one’s that seldom get noticed. To me,  they are the most important, the most crucial in adding some peace, love and understanding to this eclectic mix of lifeforms on this lovely planet of ours.

kindess -everything--kind-people-are-magnets-for-all-the-good-things-in-life-

 

If we as a  society can collectively decide to put a greater focus on kindness and it’s cultivation, our world would be a kinder place. Kindness is an asset to our civilization and it should be treated as a precious commodity.

Empathy and kindness should not only be encouraged in schools but taught. We are not born being kind. It isn’t until at least the age of two before we show our natural capacity for empathy and it isn’t until four or five before we exhibit a theory of mind, meaning that we are able to understand that other people may have feelings and beliefs that are different from our own.

kindness girls sunflowers friends
The capacity to care is what gives life its most deepest significance. ~Pablo Casals

 

We learn kindness from others; by how we are treated and our experiences. We are shaped by this. Those of us who have experienced kindness, gentleness and love in our lives, especially in our younger years are more apt and more able to express those very same emotions and sensitivities to others.  It is  our young people who will form the world of the future. It is these same people that are being exposed to constant messages of civil unrest, violence, bigotry and hatred. Our society tells us one thing and does another. The civilness of what we deem a civilization is eroding at the edges.  I fear we are being desensitized to the suffering of others–there’s so much of it.  The media puts this suffering on center stage dressed up as infotainment and presented to us through the safety of our screens. It’s easier to be indifferent, it’s easier not to care.

All the more reason to care…

 

kindness hands I will be there for you

 

I am compelled to make up for every little pain I have endured in my life, every unkindness done to me, through indifference or pure malice. I try not to take the acts and attitudes of others personally. I’ve found most of those who strike out in anger do so not out of hate for the victim but out of a  hatred for themselves. Hurt travels. It is infectious; a vicious cycle of contagion.  This is something I try not to succumb to.

It is kindness that I like to spread as my defiant act against a cold and heartless world.  For every unkindness done to me, I try to do a kindness to make up for it.   That warm glow is priceless my friends and it feel so good. Simply put: Doing good makes us feel good.

 

 

This is the stuff that can change the world.  We can change the world!  One smile at at a time, one act of kindness multiplied by seven billion..and then some and then some more..until those acts of kindness cover us all and heals the hurt that ails us.

~NLM

kindness quote dalai lama art

 

 

 

Related articles

What if Schools Taught Kindness? (Huffingtonpost.com)

Natalie Merchant – Kind and Generous

  Random Acts of Kindness website

Sunrise to Sunrise

 

 

 

 

And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

 

Each day is a new beginning, a chance to begin again. We shed the confining skin of yesterdays troubles, concerns and “mistakes” and emerge anew full of life and with the vitality of hope and exuberance, at least I hope so. At least that is what I tell myself at 7:15 a.m. while on my way to my newest adventure.

My year and a half long foray into retail at a well known-they-have-a-parade big chain department store has ended and I am stepping right inside another and very different job with just one day in between.  It was an easy decision to make.  I am getting more hours at more pay with less work.   It was sad to leave nonetheless.  I have met so many wonderful and amazing people there and that is what makes a place; the people I work with. I also liked the quick pace and flurry of activity, and although I excelled at that job and felt comfortable there, my dissatisfaction with a lack of opportunity has made me seek it elsewhere.

 

It’s scary to go out of one’s comfort zone as I am doing it once again. I was just settling in which I found myself jumping.  Truth be told I do feel like I need to make up for lost time, which at 46 I really do.  I have been feeling more outgoing and confident in the last year and this has prompted an ambition in me which I didn’t know I possessed and this has surprised me.

 It seems everything is beginning to come together and it feels great.

Sunrise Portland Oregon

 

These thoughts race through my mind as we turn the corner and the mountain comes into view.  MM is so correct when he told me about the sunrises here.  The morning sky is a vibrant purple erupting with  brilliant tangerine. Wow! It is an almost surreal scene and it lends an air of excitement to the morning I didn’t expect…like I needed more excitement on my first day. I choose to see it as a good sign and MM sees at as a sign that he should pull over because I will want to snap some shots and he is so right again.

 

I am not the only person compelled to stop and take a pic. (haha)
I am not the only person compelled to stop and take a pic. (haha)

I marvel at the way life can abruptly change; just like that.  One day  you wake up to one reality and then the next day you can be living an entirely new one.  Each day has it’s own distinct sunrise, it’s own set of challenges and moments of serendipity. Some days are so bloody fantastic that you have to pinch yourself just to make sure you aren’t dreaming. While others are more akin to nightmares. Most days fall someplace in between.  Every day memories are being created and etched into our minds, memories that make us who we are and what we will be.  There are days that can break us but these are the days that can make us stronger. Every day is a risk. To leave your house is a risk, to never leave is one also. The uncertain is fraught with perceived risk. Whether this is entirely justified is unclear to me.

Taking on a new job is a risk. To go out of one’s comfort zone and try anything new takes a fair amount of courage.  I will confess I am a bit nervous on my first day but the sky invigorates me.   I  take it all in. My heart pounds, my pulse races. I feel so alive! A warm surge of excitement fills and tickles my every molecule. I’m living in the moment from sunrise to sunrise, one step leads to the next and I take it all in like I do the sky; my  life, the new people that I meet. This is scary but it is good…

And now two weeks have passed…

I have good days. I have had not so good ones. All in all it’s been a positive experience. I now work in an office out by the airport that has big windows so I can always see the sky. I keep regular hours and have weekends to spend with my family. During lunch I go for “nature” walks. So far I have seen a fox and a bumblebee and numerous birds.  Spring will soon be here. I can feel it. I can see it in the tiny crocus erupting from the ground in my backyard, I can hear it in the song of the birds in the morning and I can see it in the glorious sunrise I see in the morning.  I am happy and content.  Life is good and it’s getting better all the time.

 

~NLM

A sampling of the beauty I am fortunate to witness . My cheap little camera does not do it justice…

P1080605


Norah Jones-Sunrise

 

TIME LAPSE :: Beautiful Ocean Sunrises & Sunsets

P1080617

way to work sunrise today


	

The Song of the Universe

tumart art psych

Music effects me like nothing else; pure sound melts into my body and fills my every pore. It travels down deep through my veins and capillaries straight to the heart then to the soul where it lingers a while, resonating like a fine wine. I am intoxicated.    Even amid what may seem like chaos one can feel those fine melodic tones pushing through to the surface. They cover me like a soft blanket of warm sand. They scintillate and tickle me, tantalizing my arm’s and legs.  I feel a rush of joy like a child in the sun. I am warmed and revived. Music does that to me. Good music, harmonious music.

I carry this with me, in snippets of memory; in songs that get stuck in my mind and play as a soundtrack to accompany parts of my day. This inner soundtrack lifts my mood and encourages me. It  strengthens my spirit and resolve. It calms me, makes me happy but also allows me to feel a million moods from sunny yellow to deep stone black. Through music I hear the song of the singer. I feel their thoughts and hear their dreams, even experience their heartbreak in a small way.  I hear their soul singing out and I hear a hundred million others.

Music is that powerful.

 

 

guitar moon col

 

According to string theory, absolutely everything in the universe, all of the particles that make up matter and forces, including you and I and my cat Mario are comprised of tiny vibrating  strings. Because of this some have likened the universe to a symphony. 

Michio Kaku the famous Physicist once said ” We are nothing but melodies. We are nothing but cosmic music played out on vibrating strings and membranes. Obeying the laws of physics, which is nothing but the laws of harmony of vibrating strings.” 

Playing the song of the cosmos I suppose…

 

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows Sh 2-106, or S106 for short. This is a compact star forming region in the constellation Cygnus (The Swan). A newly-formed star called S106 IR is shrouded in dust at the centre of the image, and is responsible for the the surrounding gas cloudÕs hourglass-like shape and the turbulence visible within. Light from glowing hydrogen is coloured blue in this image.

 

I think that is how we are connected and why music holds a universal appeal with us. It’s something we can all share. It is a ancient connection that’s been wired into us since the beginning. It is the ultimate in communication.

I’ve had musicians tell me that playing with others in concert operates on a very intimate level and that doesn’t surprise me.  I have felt similar feelings when engaged in a slow dance with a partner. I think most of us possess the ability to connect with others through music and with music itself.

This makes me think how life on earth is like a orchestra and we are all members of that orchestra.  We hum along, creating our own music in everything we do, think and feel.    I can see how imbalances could cause the music to distort and become unpleasant. Only when harmony is restored are we whole and playing beautifully once again.

I believe we on the planet are in a state of extreme disharmony. There are too many voices that sing songs of hate and exclusion,  inequality, indifference and greed. Songs that disrespect and pillage our planet, songs that kill the soul and lull desire.  We need to sing together for the common good; for peace and love, for kindness and understanding in concert with the earth and with the universe itself. 

African Children's Choir spreads peace.
African Children’s Choir spreads peace.

 

Most of us go about our lives encased in a hard shell that we have developed from our own personal experiences of being alive and living in the world we do.  Many of us hide our true thoughts and feelings from each other and to an extent I think we rarely realize, we are all connected by circumstance, by fate and by our very atoms themselves, down to those tiny vibrating strings but we act like strangers to each other. I think society teaches us this; that we should be wary of the different, have disdain for the unusual and mistrust the independent minded. Our mutual fear of each other causes misunderstanding and disharmony.   Children have a natural affinity for other beings. They don’t see what adults have been trained by society to see. We share so much and yes we are capable of singing a beautiful song in harmony  made up of beautiful voices, of varied colors and hues of thoughts and ideas.

 

Together we are the song of the universe.

 

And as I go about my week I am going to keep this in mind and try to remember that we are all connected, even those that may disagree with me. We all share the same needs, wants and fears.  We can attune ourselves to the same frequency if we listen and find some common chords.

 

~NLM

 

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
― Alan W. Watts

 

 

Related sounds of the universe

 

Lady Gaga sings America’s National Anthem/The Star-Spangled Banner at Super Bowl 50

Fiona Apple – “Across The Universe

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Our beautiful planet Earth naturally resonates at a frequency of 7.83 Hz. Many believe we can tap into this “heartbeat of the Earth”

Schumann Meditation 7.83 Hz 

unnamed-6 meditate art fantasy color
The above link connects to music that contains isochronic tones of Schumann Resonance or 7.83 Hz. Often it is referred as “Earth’s pulse”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schumann…. Research that have been done with experienced meditators (Zen meditators) show that it is a significant frequency. Its benefits are: Stress minimization, Healing acceleration, Muscle rejuvenation, Learning skills enhancement and mental well-being.