Happily Ever After

 

 

The wilds touch my back door. A part of them does anyway. Strangeish insects and unfamiliar Corvids enliven the “wilds”of my new backyard.  Tall skinny Evergreens surrounded by persistent English ivy. Small deciduous trees that await new spring leaves dot the landscape accented by bright green moss providing splashes of color that reminds me that spring really truly here.

A tiny brook babbles on by fifteen feet below. I can hear frogs in the morning and the friendly neighbor’s cat comes to greet me in the bright but cool sunshine. I am beginning to attune to my new atmosphere.

It is different here but I find much beauty in this newness.

I am now an apartment dweller. My big yard has been replaced by this woodsy spot with two cement slabs and the before-mentioned surrounding moss which will now serve as my garden area. I have three large pots, empty for now. I will certainly get more. Out of the thousands of plants in my old yard I brought only one; the meadow rue. It lies dormant under the soil in an indigo planter awaiting warmer weather.  It wasn’t a choice I wanted to make but in order to make a new life for oneself one must put aside the old.

I have done a lot of that lately; setting aside.

After a 17 year relationship I parted ways with someone who wasn’t good for me. My trusting nature and naivety paired with my wholehearted belief in redemption kept this damaging storm rolling much too long despite the, obvious to others, unhappiness it was bringing me. When living inside the eye of the hurricane; the epicenter of emotional and psychological abuse, you can’t see how bad it really is. Over time the abnormal can become the normal.

And a deep sadness can embed itself in you and you don’t realize how awful it really is in part because if you stop and do this it will break your heart and maybe you can’t go on. And so I put what I thought was a convincing happy face to the word and went on. Inside a hole grew and grew and in time, by the end of those 17 years, it was a giant gaping hole…a chunk torn out of me and beat to hell.

My yard which was in it’s entirety what I deemed my salvation would have to be left behind. My  cats too. Spotsy and my Mario would stay with the house and the yard and it’s owner. I left with my two kids ( 18 and 21 ) to go live in an apartment across town. A new place of sanctuary. A place of  freedom with my name on the lease.

It’s different but it is becoming home. Home is really in the people you are with not the place anyway.

I was fortunate to meet someone at work. An amazing person I knew that I knew the instant we met. I have been having the pleasure of getting to know him ever since. We all live together in this apartment that skirts the edge of this thin strip of urban woods.

There is a freeway that lies beyond it. I can hear the traffic, its steady hum sounds like the ocean to me, it is easy to drift to sleep to.

I feel free and happy and loved. I feel confident and hopeful, more than ever.

The hole in my soul is filled, love pours out and spills out into the world. I am grateful. I thank God everyday. I am blessed beyond measure. I have the opportunity to start anew and this I will do, This I am doing.

 

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Winston Churchill

~nlm

George Harrison – What Is Life

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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

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

Fame is a harsh mistress, just ask my cat.

 

 

mario my famous cat face

“I’m already crazy. I’m a fearless person. I think it creeps up on you. I don’t think it can be stopped. If my destiny is to lose my mind because of fame, then that’s my destiny. But my passion still means more than anything.”
~Lady Gaga

 

My famous cat Mario is beside himself.  He fears his fame is fleeting and soon he’ll be forgotten. I was shocked. My cat never talks this way; he has been always a positive force, what happened to his great lion-like confidence?

Apparently he’d noticed his page-rankings were down. He had Googled himself multiple times over the past few weeks and had been disappointed by the results. I laughed and cited his numerous accomplishments, awards and medals.

In a light hissy tone he ranted on and on about link analysis algorithms and numerical weighting. He then he spewed out formulas and equations. Honestly I was lost there.

He complained that his new book “Napping for the Sophisticated”  hasn’t been selling and that he’s sick of “playing some fool human’s pet in tawdry pet food commercials.”  

Mario confided in me that his secret dream is to be the star of his own talk show. He wants to bring back the glamour and as he put it: “The Va va va voom of old downtown Burbank back into late night T.V. just like his idol Johnny Carson.  He said he needed to “create a stir online to garner support and create a buzz”.

I offered to write a blog post about him and he laughed at me with disdain for suggesting such a thing. He brought up the fact that my readers are few, a devoted few( thanks guys) but a few nonetheless.

 

 

mario sleep nap sun

He said we need to hire a production team to make an overly dramatic and wildly expensive but tasteful You tube video about his napping habits. He showed me this pic of him I took last summer. He called it “golden” and asked how could anyone human or cat “resist this cuteness?” 

He also wants a publicist “that knows what they’re doing” and a secretary to keep all his projects together for him. He demanded money to pay these “over-priced but well worth it professionals”.

He went so far as to suggest he could pull a wild stunt possibly involving himself and that other cat Spotsy who he calls White Fang in some sort of well-documented and digitally enhanced posturing incident where Mario wins a place atop all the furniture ( yeah right) while The Fang is delegated outside.

How did I get involved in this? ~Spotsy
How did I get involved in this?
~Spotsy

 

In a fit of  hysteria he told the tale about the cat down the street who flushed the toilet all day long while his human servants were off “working”. Eventually he become so famous for this one simple act a news crew showed up and filmed him.

“He now has his own pilot coming out this fall on NBC.”  Mario wailed in a mournful and pathetic mew.

Like I said, I had never seen Mario like this. My poor loving and faithful friend was reduced to a sad and desperate victim of that bitch goddess, fame.

 

Follow your bliss Mario, I said in no uncertain terms, he rolled his eyes knowing it was just me quoting Joseph Campbell again.  There is a reason I do this.  I  brought up the fact that his true love is music, which it is and that if he diligently and deliberately pursued this love, all that he desired will come to him. As some of you may or may not know,  Mario is a fabulous vocalist. He has the soul of Cat Stevens with all the pizzazz of a young Catty Purry. His lack of confidence holds him back, it’s something we share, that and pure laziness.

Your family loves you and that’s all that really matters Mario, I told him. Fame is supposed to be fleeting, love is not.

We spoke on throughout the afternoon. Mario entertained us with a medley of his favorite show tunes and we twittered away the rest of the day lost in a sweet and legal marijuana haze his musician friends contributed to the packed room of neighborhood cats and trippy neighborhood people.  We drank tea and enjoyed the music and that is what it’s all about.

😀  

~NLM

 

mario my famous cat sing song

 

 

 

mario my famous cat sings sing a song

 

“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of the dull mind forever threatens — but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.”
~Tom Robbins

 

(UPDATE: Mario will soon be coming out with a new album. A bluesy reggae pop sound he’s been working on. I’ll keep you all posted)

 

Related Articles

The New Face of Friskies (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com) 

Cat Stevens – If you want to sing out

 

 

mario my famous cat in garden

 

Seeds of Love

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

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

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

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

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

apple-with-leaf

 

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

   ~Ken Kesey

 

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

flower nature determination dandelion crack

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

…and indifference, greed, Monsanto and war…

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

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

maxresdefault girl children kid love

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

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

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

~NLM

Flower petals spelling LOVE

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

 

 

 

Related Articles

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

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

Fresh Quotes: LOVE Hafiz

 The words of Hafiz:  How they enchant. They move, they writhe and wiggle up and down from right to left; dancing like crazy….inspiring me like crazy… Hafiz is another one of my favorite poets. Never mind he wrote these words in the 1300’s. They are timeless, ideas even more so.  Translation adds a twist to these quotes. Daniel Ladinsky does a superb job. It’s hard to tell how much of himself he adds to the text. I concentrate more on the pleasure of reading and the places my thoughts travel to, invoked by the ideas, the whimsy and the thoughtfulness.

LOVE is always inspiring. Poetry lends the power of words and ideas and Hafiz adds the magic. Enjoy!

The following quotes are by Hafiz

 heart of compassion art

Your heart and my heart
are very, very old friends

Arces Natural Park Utah USA night sky rock vista star
Arces Natural Park Utah, USA

I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.

 

shadow morning sun woman

 You carry all the ingredients

To turn your existence into joy

moon vintage woman

“I caught the happy virus last night
When I was out singing beneath the stars.
It is remarkably contagious –
So kiss me.”

vintage love couple kiss dunaway_cornwellengagement_connection_photography_34_low kiss

Love sometimes wants to do us a great favor: hold us upside down and shake all the nonsense out.

 

Gustav Klimt’s The KISS art
Gustav Klimt’s The KISS

 ♥

Your love
Should never be offered to the mouth of a
Stranger,
Only to someone
Who has the valor and daring
To cut pieces of their soul off with a knife
Then weave them into a blanket
To protect you.

gif hawaii ocean sunset gold

The tide of my love
Has risen so high let me flood
over

You. 

a-single-rose-of-love woman love romance

How did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too frightened.

blue sky seed potential dandy

Let us be like

Two falling stars in the day sky. 

Let no one know of our sublime beauty

As we hold hands with God

And burn 

Into a sacred existence that defies –

That surpasses 

Every description of ecstasy

And love.

Hafiz quote Persian_Poet_  Love

hafiz

Hafiz (also spelled Hafez), whose given name was Shams-ud-din Muhammad, was one of the greatest of Persia’s mystical and lyrical Sufi poets. He was born in Shiraz in southeast Persia (modern Iran) c. 1320 and died c. 1389. He is affectionately known as “The Tongue of the Invisible”. His poems were artfully translated and interpreted by American poet Daniel Ladinsky.

Spiritual Sun  heart art radiate love

References and Related Articles and Recommended Reading 

Hafiz Bio (hafizonlove.com)
FRESH QUOTES: RABINDRANATH TAGORE 
Fresh Quotes: LOVE RUMI
"The Gift" Poems by Hafiz, The Great Sufi Master * Daniel Ladinsky
"A Year With Hafiz" Daily Contemplations * Daniel Ladinsky 

I Believe

shinebright sunset in hand shadow

I believe in magic.

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

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

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

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

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

unity big-wave

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

WE.

I believe in UNITY

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

WE have more power than we know

unity peace people

 It is we who create our own reality

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

We need action and work and planning and focus.

We need HOPE

and dreams…we need one another.

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

~NLM

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

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

― George Saunders