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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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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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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 wring it’s that the ones who feel that society looks down upon them for their uniqueness. I want to tell them 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

To be hopeful in bad times

 

 

These are the times that try us. We can be broken. We can fall down. We can walk down a path of darkness but that does not mean we will never see the light. That doesn’t mean we will never walk in the sun again.

To be hopeful in bad times is not stupid or futile or simply in vain. To be hopeful in bad times is essential. This is our foundation. This is the beginning.

 

We have been taken on quite a ride lately. Our “normally” crazy world is insane. Our society is sick and we are running a fever.

I am a mix of emotions in regard to our current situation in the United States and the world. I am passionate in my belief in equality and kindness, in peace and understanding and inclusiveness.

I like many others believe our country is going to hell in a hand-basket. The words “fascist” and “dictator” are floating around paired with “dangerous”. People are angry and sad…and scared. I have wondered what it would have been like to be a German citizen during the rise and rule of Hitler. Watching the changes, living with the results…

I also am very conscious of the fact that the status quo has much to be desired. The deck has been stacked against we the people for quite some time.

I will not mention his name, never, in any of my writings; in my blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. He is not my president, that damn and damned orange menace.

Never before have I seen such division and hostility. Our dear leader is showing us how to conduct ourselves and it is downright nasty. It is not who we are. I refuse and I resist.

We are the descendants of immigrants and revolutionaries.  Right or wrong, our country was built on revolution, sacrifice and blood, sweat and bitter tears. It was also built with certain ideals, ideals we have lost to greed, vanity and indifference.

These ideals are etched in our hearts and minds. It is our diversity paired with a belief in equality and fairness that makes us strong. We are united in our common love for life, our families and humanity. We are the strongest when we are united and united behind a common cause.

I believe we have our cause…

It has been said one needs to hit rock bottom before one sees the light. I believe we are waking up. It has taken a shaking but I believe, hope anyway,  that we are sufficiently shaken for the magic to take effect.

The common enemy; I don’t mean that orange menace exactly. Our true enemy is our collective selves. We have allowed this to occur; this what some would call a coup, a misstep or a stupid and dangerous mistake. Somehow we have someone in office who most of us didn’t want doing things that most of us do not like, do not like at all.

Lots of people have marched and ranted. Some have destroyed. Some people I suppose must be glad if they paid attention and believe and wanted what he promised, he is dong those things; as fast as he can. An agenda that obviously been planned. He is checking them off one by one.

Every day a new outrage.

And everyday more and more stories of unity. Maybe if we can unite behind a common enemy we can unite behind other issues.

Perhaps we had to hot rock bottom to finally ‘get it”. I know from experience that in order to have a different world a shaking up in the status quo must occur and seldom is this easy or peaceful.

Yes, to be hopeful in bad times is essential and this time is no different. I have hope because people on a whole do care and I do believe they are good at heart.

This is a time to dig deep and not turn a blind eye and just go along. What this means; listen to your heart, to your soul, it knows the way…it knows the truth, we all do.

For now I am holding on to hope, trying to be calm and kind and more understanding and to keep a smile….

…time to write something funny for the next one…

 

~nlm 

 

peace friendship-63743_640

 

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

(From the Declaration of Independence ) 

 

 

 

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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