The Serendipity Effect

 serendipity


 


rainbow art

Some say it finds you! 

Fortunate happenstance perhaps…good things coming by chance..happy accidents…

What is serendipity and where can I get some of that potent elixir?

 Serendipity is the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

 

Life is a fast paced, whirlwind of a trip with plot twists and turns, unexpected snippets of senselessness tempered with semi-predictable outcomes. I say semi-predictable because I am of the philosophy that we make our own destiny and that destiny certainly make us. We can prepare for and harness both what we can and cannot control to our best advantage.

 

It was Norman Vincent Peale who inspired us all in his wildly popular “The Power of Positive Thinking”

I have read this classic at least a decade ago. And it inspired me. Many truths are contained within the pages of books. Peale explains in this book that our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.” I have taken this advice to heart…or mind, so to speak.  What we see and what we believe creates our reality.  Appreciation is key and what we think about what we already have taints whatever we encounter.  I never was always so positive as I am now. I’ve spent a great part of my life as a sarcastic cynic who believed that if I never believed in anything or anyone that I would never be let down.  I was ever wary, I had “seen it all”  I expected the negative and had no problem finding it.

I realized that if I wanted to change my life I would have to change myself and my outlook.  And I  decided to believe in all this, what I thought at the time was crazy mumbo jumbo because I really had nothing to lose.

 

We can recite platitudes, embracing their meaning but not truly believing in them. A lot of this stuff makes for excellent sound bites. We can sound cool and enlightened to our friends.  I known people like this who seemed to have something to prove by reciting every guru and free thinking wise person from Buddha to John Lennon.  Words can inspire but it’s what we do with that inspiration..

Serendipity is such a word.  It is inspiring, yes….

cat lady sunflowers friends pet
“Serendipity: Such a beautiful word describing the occurrence of events by chance. I like to think it’s the energy you put out into the world and the world returning your energy with love.” ― Steven Aitchison

 

I realize what I am saying may be construed as sounding too Pollyannaish  or too easy.  Real life is not like that. I know firsthand how damn ironically unfair it can be. I have found myself many times awestruck at life’s ironic unfairness. I could venture to say that a sense of humor helps but sometimes in life nothing seems to work and all the good thoughts and positive actions in the world cannot change that…

Ever have one of those days that start out horrid and end up atrocious?  No matter how well  intentioned and positive you are, you can’t win them all, no one can. That seems like a worthless platitude that doesn’t make anyone feel better. Truly it is only ourselves that can allow us to feel better.

 

Through our actions and reactions to events and nonevents we scatter seeds. Some get rooted deep in the ground long forgotten and some of those can seemingly out of nowhere erupt out of the ground and grow into something wonderful. It comes as such a surprise one can almost trip over it’s fantasticalness.
Serendipity isn’t what we find. It is not simply some pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We can engineer serendipity by making something out of what we find, knowing this and then expecting to find it in the first place.

I could venture to say that positive thinking borders on the magical but it is not magic.

 

 

sun flower field sun happy nature

I think we can and do encourage serendipity by the choices we make, by our attitudes and by the way we treat others.  Put good out there in the world and with patience it will come back on you. Never stop believing, never stop putting your best possible foot forward.

I have seen people with good intentions try positive thinking and abandon it far too early expecting instant results. It doesn’t work that way.

Life runs in cycles, it ebbs and flows, no matter positive you are bad shit is going to happen to you. Conversely, so is the good shit, the trick is to learn from the bad and don’t take the good for granted…or too seriously. Goods things often take more than the power of positive thinking, no matter how powerful. Hard work,  perseverance and time with a pinch of luck makes the cake and when that’s topped with creamy optimism, the combination tastes like sweet success.

 

~NLM

people happy enthusiatic color confetti women

 

 

 

Serendipitous Quotes

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“Cultivate the art of maximizing serendipitous opportunities.”
Gina Greenlee

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“Success is three parts hard work and one part serendipity; this serendipity is a direct result of the other three parts of hard work.”
Ken Poirot

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“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.”
― Norman Vincent PealeThe Power of Positive Thinking

*

Related articles

SERENDIPITY was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, inspired by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”
SERENDIPITY was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, inspired by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

 

Engineering Serendipity  (Nytimes.com)

10 Awesome Accidental Discoveries (popularmechanics.com)

George Harrison – What is Life 

 

Aliens inside us

 

There are aliens inside us…hidden deep inside us…restless ones who move about changing shape and creating quite a stir…subtly effecting us in ways we cannot imagine…slowly taking over our minds…driving us insane…

 

This is the dramatic version I like to entertain myself with. The one that suggests a nerdy sci-fi thriller mixed with a slick medical docudrama. This may not be too far off. ..

So just what am I jabbering on about you ask?

 

Mitochondria!

(Play dramatic music here)

that’s right. Mitochondria.

 

 

mitochondrion 1
Mitochondria

As we all know from Science class , mitochondria are adorable microscopic rod-shaped organelles. They live inside our cells, they give us our get up and go, our va va va voom and our very breath.

 

Really far out and groovy scientists hypothesize that millions of years ago a microscopic  free-living single-celled organism met up with another larger microscopic free-living single-celled organism and the two dug each other so much they reached some sort of agreement to develop a symbiotic relationship. And so they did;  shacking up together like bohemian live-in lovers, one not being able to live without the other, each complimenting each other perfectly. Eventually, the larger organism developed into a cell, the eukaryotic cell to be exact and the smaller organism developed into the mitochondrion we know today.   But how much do we know about mitochondria anyway?

 

Cultures cell stained for mitochondria (red), microtubules (blue), and the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 (green)
Cultures cell stained for mitochondria (red), microtubules (blue), and the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 (green)

Although they live inside us, mitochondrion do not share our DNA, they have their own.  They are quite the powerhouses of energy. They can change shape rapidly and are quite restless moving about ours cells almost constantly.

Mitochondria may not be literally the air that we breathe but it is they who convert the oxygen we breathe into energy in a process called aerobic respiration. Without mitochondria higher animals such as you and I and even my cat Mario are not likely to exist…

Ever since I heard of mitochondria and this arrangement made millions of years ago I have been fascinated.

 

 

I myself have entered into what most would consider a symbiotic relationships with another human and I don’t have to tell anyone that sometimes these relationships just don’t turn out. Sometimes they end badly and by the time you realize this,  it’s already too late and you have been driven insane.  It happens all the time. But imagine if you had literally absorbed this partner into your body and now it’s DNA is in your nucleus!  How can you undo this?  Argument, logic or idle threats cannot separate you. You are stuck with this mistake forever and there’s no amount of clever legalese or high priced lawyers that can save you.  OMG! Yikes!!

 

Mammalian mitochondria
Mammalian mitochondria

Really?  Can your Mitochondria make you crazy and if I ever do go crazy can I use this as an excuse?

I have been catching up on my technical journals and ran into articles citing evidence that there is a correlation between mutated mitochondrion and mental illness. This is no surprise.

This aspect is what intrigues me about the whole subject.  I mean could these little buggers be influencing us on a more subtle level, and if I screw up or do something stupid can I blame them?

Would anyone buy this?

This is what I ponder as I look out the window into the great wide world outside. I watch two crows fly high in the sky which leads to more pondering.  Yes, there are times when symbiosis goes horribly wrong but what happens when it goes wonderfully right?  Apart from some craziness, are we not the product of a successful symbiosis?  I try to imagine a time before the merging of the two single-celled organisms that created life as we know it here on earth.  In our narrow human point of view not a lot had happened before this chance meeting.  It was a spark that set off a whole heaping helping of a lot, dammit…

…has all of this been good ? That I will ponder another day…

I feel restless…

..the sun is out and I think I will go for walk

 

~NLM

art fractal gif 6

 

 

References and Related Articles

Entangled Particles and the Certainty of Love
The Air that I Breathe - The Hollies 


High Intensity Exercise Makes Muscle Mitochondria Happy

Psychiatric symptoms of patients with primary mitochondrial DNA disorders


Mitochondria (What is Mitochondria?)


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

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.

 

 

Fresh Quotes: 7 Deadly Sins

 

 

 

In the interest of gritty and honest hard-hitting journalism I am out to sin and not just once but seven times!  You guessed that right my friends, I am out to commit the Seven Deadly Sins and no one can stop me!

 

Theda Bara as the star of Cleopatra
Theda Bara as the star of Cleopatra

Just to clarify; the seven deadly sins are something the Catholics came up with, along with other lists as well.  I’m not going to get into all that but suffice to say these particular sins seem tame as sins go. They are not so deadly; no killing or maiming or any bloodshed at all. They can’t be all that bad I’m reasoning to myself. Not enough to get struck down by lightning or anything drastic. Maybe some light finger-wagging by the guy upstairs??   And really what better time to go out and conquer sin?  I’ve spent the great part of the last 20 years lost in some sort of June Clever-ish world, immersed in a certain domestic passivity that has separated me from anything even vaguely resembling sin.  That being said, I think that it’s high time to embark on a wondrous journey of mild debauchery.

But then again…

 

The truth is that I am too lazy to go out and commit SIN
The truth is that I am too lazy to go out and commit SIN

It is wintertime and the downtown area of Portland where I was planning to sin gets mighty cold this time of year.  Perhaps I will wait for the summer when it is HOT.

I will just have to get by with some light preliminary sinning from the comfort of my home.  My favorite chocolate chocolate ice cream with chocolate and whipped cream sounds like a great start.  I think I’ve got the sloth and gluttony down!  RIGHT ON!!

…and while I think of other ways I can mildly sin from home let’s explore the world of THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS through the following quotes and images:

 

~NLM

vintage rebel women black-and-white-dance-nature-pegan-vintage-witches-favim-com-46861

 

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

~Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

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~ ♦ ♦   The 7   ♦ ♦ ~


.

Pride

 

tarot card the fool

 

Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

~Alexander Pope

 

 

vintage women fun laugh

“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”

~Charlotte Brontë

ENVY

GeorgeClooney coffee

coffe cup kiss

 

“I envy
the cup of coffee
that gets
to kiss
your sleepy lips
awake
every cold and
bitter morning.”

~Sade Andria Zabala

Rare-photos-of-Marilyn- marilyn monroe sad

Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.”

~Marilyn Monroe

GLUTTONY

pooh anticipation gif eating honey w

“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”

~A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

heart -hearts chocolate love

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”

~George Bernard Shaw

 


SLOTH

sloth-baby gif

“You know, sloth is a sin,” he says softly.
“I prefer to think of it as an adorable animal.”

~Ella James

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sin lazy dog walking funny

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”

~Robert A. Heinlein

WRATH

slow-to wrath quote

mindful meditate shadow beach water person sit

“The peace of God is with them whose mind and soul are in harmony, who are free from desire and wrath, who know their own soul.”

~Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita

GREED

 Cree Indian Prophecy
Cree Indian Prophecy

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“Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.”

~Albert Einstein

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'The Last Supper' by Art Young (January 1,1920)
‘The Last Supper’ by Art Young (January 1,1920)

 

Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”

~Aristophanes

LUST

osho-wake-up-dangerous-love fire flame

 

Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves”

~Laura Esquivel

 

love lust

“Desire is the kind of thing that
eats you
and
leaves you starving.”
~Nayyirah Waheed

 

lovers kiss neck vintage

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“Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense.”

~Robert A. Heinlein

****

In Roman Catholicism, the Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, are a list of the worst vices that cut a person off from God’s grace. In Latin and English, the Seven Deadly Sins are: superbia (pride), avaritia (greed), luxuria (extravagance, later lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath), and acedia (sloth). Each of the Seven Deadly Sins corresponds to one of the Seven Holy Virtues (see below), and together these lists were the moral standards and tests of the early Catholic Church.

 

The Roman Catholic Church recognizes the seven virtues as opposites to the seven sins:

Sin Virtue
Lust (undesired love) Chastity (purity)
Gluttony (overindulgence) Moderation/Temperance (self-restraint)
Greed (avarice) Generosity (vigilance)
Sloth (laziness) Zeal (integrity)
Wrath (anger) Meekness (composure)
Envy (jealousy) Charity (giving)
Pride (vanity) Humility (humbleness)

 

The Ascent and Descent of Man

 

 From our earliest beginnings we as a species have striven to become more than what we are. It is  inborn within us and it is more than the simple will to live but to thrive and dominate. This is us; what we come from.  It is by no mistake that we Homo Sapiens rule the world and all life upon it. And it is by no peaceful means either. We fought hard, tooth and claw, to get on top of the food chain. Our mutual family history is littered with war upon war, conquest upon conquest. We have erected (what we deem) civilization  built on a culture of want, propelled by the rampant machine of consumerism and paid for by we the people and our children.
  It’s easy to be judgmental. Pessimistic even about the human race and it’s future. I have heard a rumbling dislike for our own species from some. I do not echo that feeling. I cannot hate my own kind which would include myself, my children, my family and friends and basically everyone. This is defeatist and makes no sense to me.  We are all in this together.
If we are to be judged, are we to be judged not only by our faults but by our graces as well? We are an amalgam of the worst and the best of us.
Earth_Day_Another_Earth sunrise
And so we begin at the dawn of man.  We Homo Sapiens were not the first humanoid.  That honor belongs to  Australopithecus Afarensis and there have been many. The exact number has not been agreed upon.  Here is a link to a list.
We alone survived. Our last competitors, the ultra-hardy Neanderthals died out about 40,000 years ago. We scaled that evolutionary ladder higher and embraced “civilization” instead of living a marginal existence by the whim of cruel nature. We overcame it and become masters of our fate.
We strove to succeed in this way and progress; onward and upward. Nothing stood in our way. We were out to conquer nature and each other and we have done so and most infamously.
20080321033750!Explosion
It is one thing to be clever and another to be wise~George R.R. Martin
Whether what we have put together constitutes a civilization I am not convinced.  I look at the world at large and the small goings-on in the microcosm that surrounds me  and I have my doubts. It seems that we are losing ground as well on a whole and as time goes by and resources grow scarcer if we are not careful we will stray even further from the path of true civilization.
Civilization is the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced.

When I read Webster’s

Simple Definition of civilization

  1. The condition that exists when people have developed effective ways of organizing a society and care about art, science, etc.
  2. A particular well-organized and developed society.

I realize just how not civilized we are. This brings to mind Gandhi’s famous reply to being asked the question of what he thought of  Western civilization.

I think it would be a very good idea. Said Gandhi and so do I.

I've got the whole world in my hands

We are like a clever child. We have harnessed great power, we have made great strides, and cured many diseases. We have extinguished much suffering in the world, but we have also caused much of it too.  We do not yet possess the wisdom required to wield great power. We have squandered a lot of resources. We have raped and pillaged the planet and now we stand on a precipice staring into an abyss and instead of jumping over the cliff , we need to walk away from the edge and get to the business of saving ourselves; that is what our business should be. Like any child who has a messy room, we need to clean it up but there is no adult around to make sure we do it.  It’s time for us to grow up and become that adult. We have remained a child far too long.
 It’s time for us to stop finding reasons to divide each other and look for ones that unite us.
We need to work together and stop the destructiveness, the pettiness, the greed.
That is being civilized.
We who can harness the atom are in the process of shaping our world; the world we’ll leave to the future.
 What will we leave?
china air pollution
“Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces. Stand back from the centrifuge.― Ray Bradbury
One of our many brilliant strengths as a species is our ability to adapt. Events play out in a fluid motion; constantly swirling and changing. Nothing is forever, and we have not only kept up with the changes, we have thrived on and benefited from them. Our rise would not have been possible without the downfall of the previous rulers of this planet. The Dinosaurs dominated for more than 180 million years.
 No matter how terrible that “Terrible Lizard” was, it had it’s day and we are having ours.
 
dinosaurs Scientist Says Dark Matter May Have Caused Dinosaur Die Off
Nothing is permanent, but change. – Heraclitus
 
The dinosaurs couldn’t adapt, but we can. We have it within ourselves if we can take our collective human cleverness and temper it with some good common sense and painfully acquired wisdom that we can glean from our current challenges. Circumstance forces us to act not in our time but it’s own.
That time is coming I’m afraid, we all know it.
We can be our own worst enemy but we are also our own greatest hope.
Of course change is not new and every generation faces it’s own challenges, some more than others. Climate change is our challenge but that is only part of the picture. We must change ourselves and put aside our childish ways because the way we’ve been doing things just isn’t cutting it.
We can’t stop the planet from changing. We have no choice but to adapt but we will grow stronger and wiser because of it and perhaps one day we will be truly civilized.  I am but one faint voice, there have been many before me and there will be many after me, this I believe. This is the one constant.
~NLM
.
Graffiti Artist Banksy
Graffiti Artist Banksy
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
Howard Zinn

Why You Should Give a Damn

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

Some say the world will end with not with a bang but a whimper. I say ours may end with the dull and empty thud of indifference.

A blatant apathy lies thick like a hazy cloud over our populist culture. It’s cool not to care. Johnny doesn’t give a damn and the indifferent world doesn’t bat an eyelash.

 

observer tv baby

From the time we are children, society teaches us not to care too much or at least pretend we don’t. To act in such a manner is a  sign of childish insecurity, it’s not only foolhardy but too trusting and stupid. We are encouraged to develop a sense of skepticism and mistrust especially when it comes to people we don’t know.

The world is a scary place. I could write a thesis on how frightening it is. I think we shut off a little of ourselves bit by bit as the inevitable blows of life hit us. By the time we are grown adults we have lost so much of that beautiful trust, that loving nature and natural compassion children feel and openly express.  We are taught to see differences in each other and these differences are not good. This polarizes us.

no one is born racist people together

 

I think people tend to wrap themselves in a protective cloak of apathy. It’s not only easier not to care, it also hurts a lot less. When we care we are vulnerable. It makes perfect sense to want to close off a wee bit and tone down those emotions.

Distractions come easy and going along with the stampeding crowd is understandable given the alternatives.  It’s better to conform.  In many ways it’s essential if we want to live in a civilized society.

It is easier just to go along. Right?

Traumatized and shellshocked children in the village of Aitaroun. Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.
Photo by Michael Robinson Chavez.

This world is sick and we all know it. My eyes glaze over when I watch the nightly news which I admittingly cannot watch much anymore. I see pics of starving children and burning forests and war. Our brains can only take in so much information. Our hearts can only take so much pain. We become desensitized, it’s a survival mechanism. I think that’s why on a collective whole we seemingly don’t care, or we care more about stupid meaningless distractions. I think we’ve reached a saturation point. It’s all too much and if I don’t notice maybe it doesn’t exist and I won’t have to do anything about it.

 

apathy i dont care
“The world doesn’t end in revolt and revolution…it ends in apathy.” ― Nick Shamhart

 

Why should I care? Why should you? Why should anyone?  We know life is not fair. It’s a hard lesson that still stings. We are savvy enough to realize that fairy tales typically don’t come true and that life is not only not fair it’s a bitch too.

I can see how people especially the ones who get the short stick may get a little angry with the world and society in general.  I can see how easy it could be not to care for someone who doesn’t care about you. I can see how one could get caught up in inevitable feelings of futility; why should we care about a world that doesn’t care about us?  I ask again why should I care?   I know that I am but one small voice in a sea of millions so I better shout it out:

I care because someone has to care, dammit!!

If there is to be any meaning in my insignificant scant-of-a-minute life it’s this: that I made a difference however small on the side of good and that I  took whatever sad, nasty or indifferent thing that came my way and turned it into something wonderful, however small.  I cannot  expect anything more or less. I want to leave this world a little better than how I found it.

I want to live in a world where people care about one another and I want my children…I want all the children and their children to grow up in such a world. There is too much ugliness, too much to tolerate. I suppose the way I cope with it is by not only ranting about it, but living up to the ideals I’m ranting about.

Kindness begets kindness and if more people gave a damn more people would give a damn. We all could use a little more kindness  And so there it is:  My spiel for the day. You can only do what you can do….

 

~NLM

 

 “The earth was overwhelmed with beauty and indifferent to it, and I went with a heart ready to crack for its unbearable loveliness.” ― Josephine Winslow Johnson

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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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”

An Open Letter to the Status Quo

 “Sit, be still, and listen,
because you’re drunk
and we’re at
the edge of the roof.”
Rumi
art odd weird strange godzilla monsters
This crazy puppet show is distracting me from what is important.

Dear Status Quo,

We both know this can’t go on, not they way it’s been going…so you’ve got to go. We can’t take you anymore. You have outstayed your welcome and you must leave immediately.

I know you’ve been here a long time and some people are counting on you to stay but nothing is forever and frankly there are so many more of us who want you gone. We are quite adamant about it…in fact we demand it!

king kong -vs godzilla-image-8
Lets root for the lesser of two evils.

The way you carry on is unsustainable.

You said you’d change and we believed you only to be let down again.

The truth is we can no longer afford your frivolous ways and outlandish and wasteful behavior. You’ve damn near wrecked our home and now it’s our future selves and our children who’ll be cleaning up the mess that you’ll leave behind.

Put down that drink and wake up! Do you ever listen?

Hey YOU!!! Do we need to yell?

LEAVE!!   

Get out now! Never come back….

godzilla monster moivie
To the victor go the spoils. RAWR!

 

As a witness to 45 years of history I am thinking thoughts I never would have imagined years ago when at first I began to pay conscious attention to what’s was going on around me.

It’s funny how history can rewrite itself before one’s very eyes and yes indeed the victors do write and rewrite history over and over again….

It’s so easy to ignore it all…It’s hard to take. But as time goes on and events play out I am forced to concede that everything is not what it pretends to be and no matter how crazy I tell myself THAT is…I can’t help but begin to believe it.

It’s not that I don’t have hope. I am loaded with it and it is not just blind faith. I go on evidence. I see people waking up and realizing that if we don’t open our eyes and have the courage to say what we really think and how we really feel about what is going on, one day it will be too late. No one will come and save us. We have to save ourselves.

~NLM

variations-on-an-audience.038 fear vintage

 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

~Carl Sagan

monkey evil see no

 

 

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Connected

 

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

 

The sky is a deep cerulean and it is inviting. It is a spectacle decked out with puffy white clouds like cotton. The sun is warm and kisses my toes, inviting a stretch and a yawn. I am sprawled out on the grass, it is soft and cool and I feel at home here among the green.

The birds sing like mad and I can’t help but smile. I close my eyes and feel the sun’s warmth on them. I imagine being a feather on the wing of an eagle soaring ever higher in the sky. I feel the rush of air go through me, the power of the bird and the exhilaration of flight.   I feel a part of the bird and the sky and the sun beaming down…

 

…and I do feel a part of this greater whole. I can’t help it, especially out here, outside under the trees among the flowers and the weeds and the bees and the worms and the neighborhood owl that surprises me every time it hoots. I feel the grass under me…it’s alive and so is the soil that nourishes it, teeming with lifeforms from the obvious to the microscopic. We are all made of star-stuff. The grass, the trees my cat and me.

 

When I look at the night sky and gaze upon the lovely moon I cannot help but feel a kinship with its solitary light.  I imagine others gaze upon the very same moon with the very same thoughts. The stars twinkle and universe expands and time goes on and as I sit here in reflection I am awestruck by my existence and how really small I really am; like a speck…a drop of water in a vast ocean.

I know I’m not alone in this feeling and that comforts me. I also know that much of this feeling can be backed up with science and that is intrigues me.

The patterns of life…the sameness..the variety all beautiful, all beckoning another look…

 

For me it goes beyond The Fibonacci sequence and all that math I can barely understand.  It is more than pattern recognition and the appreciation of beauty and even the seeking of truth…

It’s a feeling, a real physical feeling and it’s emotional for me.  Perhaps it is because I am sensitive, perhaps it is because I am empathic, perhaps everyone feels this way…perhaps…

I can only speak for myself but it makes me more compassionate.  I see it as a gift although it hurts inside sometimes…but mostly it is the most wonderful feeling; this feeling of “connectedness”.

It allows me to imagine like I do and write what I do. It moves through me like music and this causes me to dance! The more I feel it, the more I yearn to seek it out. The more I seek it out, the more it finds me.

butterfly_blue_little_

~NLM

 

Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh

 

gif spider

 

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∞

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

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The Making of MAGIC

 

 

There’s much to be said for the way we look at things. Our vision is tempered by what we expect to see. Look for ugliness and you’ll find it, the same goes for beauty for both can be found in everything. It is the way we look at things which control what we see and how we see it.

We create our own reality. I know how that sounds; like some metaphysical mumbo~jumbo that seems profound and  wise but an idea that some of us may find difficult to grasp, myself included. Real life is the reality we live with every day. It can be cold and hard and can smack one right in the face.

If I had control of all reality…seriously…I would eradicate war, hunger and poverty, mean people and bad hair days too..all that stuff. Most of us would but that does not make it so. We can see the state of the world.  Who wants that? It’s so overwhelming and beyond anyone’s power and control but we can control some things.

And that is where the magic comes in…

 

Zenith_by_MescalineBanana art psych
“Zenith” By MescalineBanana

Yes…back on the magic. I realize you are sophisticated and have a certain sense of the world that is pretty much on target. I like to think of myself as an open-minded sort who is tempered with a fair amount of skepticism. I want to believe in Santa Claus and in unicorns and elves and giant talking trees. Do I really, truly believe? Perhaps not, but am I certain? Can I be 100%certain of anything?

 

unicorn random

 Any 

.

Any minute now my knight in shining armor will pop up riding a unicorn and whisk me away from my life of drudgery.

😀

Not likely…but I do contend there is magic. This I know for sure.

Magic exists! I know for I have seen it. It is all around us.

gratitude-zen-life-coaching hands magic

“It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.”
Charles de Lint

 ♥

 LOVE is magic…so is gratitude.

Attitude is everything: We choose how we feel; happiness is a choice and so is dissatisfaction. Pretty much we are as happy as we make up our minds to be.  I have found this to be true after much trial and error.  There was a point in my life a few years back when I very much needed this to be true…

..and so on blind faith born of desperation I believed. I willed myself to believe and I didn’t stop despite all my wishes not coming true.  I learned that my happiness cannot be based on outside forces. I had to stop reacting to life and start acting. My challenges gave me an insight I wouldn’t have had before; an appreciation for perseverance. A willingness to go the extra mile without a promise of reward, the strength to carry on despite it all….and through all this I believed.

 

gold sunset ocean sea light glitter

 

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and MAGIC in it.
W. H. Murray

.

I am learning that the most direct way we create our own reality is by our own actions.  Action powers everything we do, everything we create, we are responsible for the kind of world we live in–all of us.

We can have a world where magic exists, we just need to create it.

 

art psych girl bubbles universe

I found happiness in gratitude and in taking pleasure in tiny things. Oh what a joy this has given me! It is a gift granted to me by circumstance.

 

 hands and moon

 

We can embrace these wonderfully human and magical traits like love and compassion, generosity, altruism and understanding. We can reach out to each other in friendship, our minds and hearts open. We need to stop paying attention to what we are told to think and believe and learn to trust in our own hearts and our own souls again.

These are natural inclinations.  Bring these into your life and miracles happen…

Magic happens…and it’s contagious.

Have a magical day!

 ♥

Nancy

 

 

web-of-lifeA-550 fantasy art

“When you’re touched by magic, nothing’s ever quite the same again. What really makes me sad is all those people who never have the chance to know that touch. They’re too busy, or they just don’t hold with make-believe, so they shut the door without really knowing it was there to be opened in the first place.”
Charles de Lint

 

 

Magical Related Articles

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow – The Wizard of Oz by Judy Garland

Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole

 

Balloon flights in Turkey optimism sunrise happy sky