FEAR

 

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
― Frederick Buechner

 

Fear is insidious. It undulates and creeps around like a viper.  It whispers in our ears like the winds; howling and shaking and crying out. It demands our attention. It assumes control and commands there shall be no other gods before it.

Fear makes us think the unthinkable. It calls us to action at times and paralyzes us at others. It seizes all common sense and hijacks the imagination, forcing it to succumb to it’s will.  Fear is irrational. It claims to be all-knowing, all-seeing. It promises to share it’s insight for it insists it knows the future. It will take care of you. It will provide you with thoughts to think, things to do, and people to hate. It offers so much but leaves only emptiness in it’s wake.

Fear grows rampant in this crazy world. It’s no wonder since it has been used as a means of control since the very beginning.  Nothing motivates like fear and nothing can feed that mob mentality quite like it.

Throughout history there has never been a shortage of boogeymen. We have been taught to be afraid from the very beginning. Some of that fear has been benefical. Our early ancestors lived a life fraught with real life dangers, it paid off to be able to perceive threats and respond  quickly and efficiently. The physical effects of fear itself such as a quick dose of Adrenalin gives us quicker reflexes to be able to try to outrun that Saber-tooth Tiger or fight it off.

saber tooth tiger brave face the tiger

Not all fear is bad. Some of it is fun. We can get a vicarious thrill by watching scary movies. Haunted houses are popular at Halloween which is a major holiday in The United States. People go to amusements parks for that same thrill. Facing danger without truly facing it can be quite exhilarating. Science has proven our brains really don’t know the difference between a real and not so real threat. 

dracula pics-qDtU

There are forces in this world which feed off our fears. They distract us and manipulate our thinking. We don’t need them but they need us. It’s a new threat played out on TV, the internet, and in advertising and print media…everywhere. It is fed to us and it’s difficult to know who or what to believe. In times of doubt and uncertainty we tend to believe the authority figures we are trained to obey. Governments, the media, religion and even your 5th grade teacher and dear old mom have used the tactics of fear on us at one time or another. But we are all grown up now and ready to face the truth, whatever that may be, not what someone tells us it is.

Fear of disappointment
Fear of disappointment

  The only thing we have to fear….

Fear causes us to miss out on what is truly important to focus on the improbable. Most likely it will not be the object of our fears which will “get us” but something that hits from left field. If we have taken reasonable precautions in life there is nothing much more we can do to prevent that great unknown menace except for having a positive attitude.   There is no logical reason to worry. At this point any concern is counter-productive.

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That often quoted quote by FDR still rings true today maybe even more so.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Fear-Mongering

Fear can hurt you literally. Fear effects our physical and mental well-being. The most common physical reactions are a rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, sharpened or redirected senses and dilation of the pupils. Muscles tighten up and are primed with oxygen, in preparation for a physical fight-or-flight response.

Most of what we fear in this modern age we cannot fight or run away from. Many of us live with a certain amount of chronic fear, real or imagined. This weakens our immune system and can cause heart damage and gastrointestinal problems. Fear impairs the formation of long-term memories and causes damage to parts of the brain. This can make the impact so much worse because we lose the ability to regulate fear by rational thought.  We are more susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions and our decision making processes are altered in negative ways.We are anxious, depressed, tired and old before our time.

 “Is it useful to feel fear, because it prepares you for nasty events, or is it useless, because nasty events will occur whether you are frightened or not?”

― Lemony Snicket

AK4253-006.jpg

Of course there are valid dangers in this world, much too many. It is within the realms of possibility, albeit a very slim possibility, I could walk out my front door and get hit by a meteorite. It is much more likely that I will proceed to my destination unharmed.  Most of our fears are the meteorite-type ones; dramatic dangers, hideous and terrible with the infinitesimal odds of ever happening. 

Credit: Jack Ohman
Credit: Jack Ohman

Most of us lead relatively uneventful lives and deaths. What are the chances of your typical average Josephine such as myself or you or anyone being killed in a terrorist attack, or from getting the “plague du jour”?  Not likely, but it seems the dramatics of the very possibility can supersede reason.

Being a person who has been afraid of most everything for most of my life I can testify to the needlessness of fear and how it can control you and keep you from living life to it’s fullest.  I can also say that it can be overcome. I know most have never been afraid to the extent of myself but I do know I can’t be the only one who has experienced this intense emotion. Any fear is valid because it feels that way to the one experiencing it and it’s difficult to step outside of an accustomed way of thinking. Face the dragon and the dragon will dissolve before your eyes. We are more powerful than we believe.

 Have a fearless day,

Nancy

dragon_slaying____by_pixelcharlie-d3in4jm

 

Warning!!

You are about to enter SBI’s Gallery of FEAR!

Enter at your own risk…

 

adam eve eden snake
Evil knowledge

 

el diablo devil vintage creepy
Scary Evil Dude. Boo!

 

1957---invasion-of-the-saucer-men movie fear vintage
Aliens!!

 

Cold-War-Ads-and-Propaganda-Main fear
Bad Communists

 

vintage fear invasion
Invasion!

 

Bad drugged out zombie people
Bad drugged out zombie people
Fear mongering: Probably the best-known example in American politics is the Daisy television commercial, a famous campaign television advertisement.
Fear mongering: Probably the best-known example in American politics is the Daisy television commercial, a famous campaign television advertisement.

 

islamophobia fear
Islamophobia

 

 References and related articles

 

Impact of Fear and Anxiety

Viral Outbreak – Fear – Chaos as Means of Control

The Bogeyman (Wikipedia)   Bogeyman-like beings are almost universal, common to the folklore of many countries.

How to Spot a Communist

“Daisy Girl” Rare 1964 Lyndon Johnson Political Ad -aired only once- 9/7/64 

Duck And Cover (1951) Bert The Turtle Civil Defense Film

YOU are not alone and neither am I

 

shadow woman waiting dark

I have wasted too much of my life being afraid. Afraid of sharing my unique self with the world. Keeping my little jokes to myself for fear of someone not getting them, not getting me. Afraid to speak up, afraid to say anything at all. I blended into the background as best as I could. Trying not to be “discovered”.

I kept in my own little world for fear of living in the real world. And that is what that fear was doing to me; it was preventing me from living at all. I responded to events, I never initiated them. I never tried my best at anything for fear that my best wasn’t good enough.

Fear is isolating. It self perpetuates; feeding on doubts and insecurities. My fear kept me away from people, from getting to know anyone. Even my own family. I would don a placid and vaguely pleasant mask that I wore for the social events I couldn’t get out of.  I was labeled shy and thus ignored, and I liked that for a time… but as my life passed and I found it more and more difficult to convince myself that I enjoyed being alone in a crowd; never sharing my thoughts, my hopes, my dreams, my opinions. It never occurred to me that others could feel the same. I think loneliness has a way of making one think they are the only person in the world who has ever felt the way they do.

stars shadow lake night

Perhaps it was my loneliness which caused to to reach out.  I have discovered that loneliness is quite common, many of us are lonely. Some hide it well but it shows in the eyes. It shows in the constant seeking some people do; the restlessness, the looking for that something they can’t seem to find.

I have found that something and that is this glorious truth;  by reaching out to others, others reach out to you too. I have been encountering such beautiful souls…wonderful people who shine like the sun. Some of them don’t think they shine at all but they do and that light warms us all in this cold world.

We need more of this. This world is dark and cold and we need those special people out there, the quiet ones out there in the shadows, hiding…waiting perhaps for someone to notice them and beckon them out into the light. I understand you. I am one of you and you are not alone.

 

Contemplation

Part of me wants to shout out from the rooftops: I am here!  I exist!  I yearn to make a difference in the world!

(Another part of me wants to run and hide and blend into the background.)

This time I won’t allow it.  I will wear my heart on my sleeve and I won’t give a damn what some may think or say. I won’t let fear run my life, rule me. I won’t be afraid of opening my heart, my mind, of freeing my soul to something wonderful that I cannot yet see. I will free myself from fear…those of you who fear like me, you can too…

You can. Take my hand… We can come out into the light together and together we shine like a million suns…

 

shadow kids-in the sunset

 

Thanks for being there and listening. Thanks for reading my blog and for commenting. Thanks for accepting me as I am. My confidence grows daily.  It is through my writing and because of it that I can come out into the light and be the person I’m meant to be.  

 

~Nancy

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The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby

SHY

 

shy girl

 

“My feelings are too loud for words and too shy for the world.”

― Dejan Stojanovic

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I have always been shy. There has never been a time in my life when I wasn’t to some degree or another. It’s not just that I don’t know what to say or how to say it, I am afraid to say anything at all.

It is embarrassing and what’s even more embarrassing is that it is so evident. You can’t hide shyness, it is tough to cover. The shy person may look like everyone else on the outside but on the inside he or she doesn’t feel the same.

 

 

me at age 6 001 eyes

I remember when I first started kindergarten at age 4. It was my first exposure to a large group of other kids and it was very odd and surreal to me. Everyone seemed so at ease with being themselves. They could move around gracefully whereas I was clumsy. They knew what to say, I never did. I couldn’t understand how they could know what to say.

This was so evident from the very first day. I didn’t understand. It was as if these other kids had been told how to act or if they just knew instinctively.

In my whole school “career”  I never spoke up.  I never raised my hand or even  asked a question, not once. I would willingly take a lower grade in order to get out of public speaking.

All I could do was to try to blend into the background as best as I could. Most of the time it worked. At other times, it did not.  From time to time some idiot would make it a point of drawing attention to me and my shyness by making stupid and sarcastic comments about it always within earshot of a crowd . This was horrible and it only drew me more inward.

 

 

 

 

 

As an adult shyness has held me back from life. I remember so many instances when I felt I needed to speak up, to say something but so many times I never did.  I just let fate and circumstance dictate the direction of my life and to be brutally honest; I haven’t gone far.

Shyness has held me back in life. It has been an albatross around my neck and I want this to stop.

I am better today but it has taken a long time to get where I am now and I still have a long way to go…

quote lonesome in a crowd marilyn monroe

 

 

 

Shyness is a prison. It holds its captive in a state of the perpetual outsider even with one’s own family.  A shy person rarely makes friends with another, it is the other who must make friends first. For two mutual sufferers of this affliction to meet and later become friends is a very rare and beautiful occurrence indeed.

woman sitting on rock sunset shadow contemplation

 

Often shyness is mistaken for indifference, aloofness and downright coldness. I know when it is happening and I can feel it. There  seems to be a wall or some sort of  invisible barrier between myself and everyone else. It’s as if it is written on my face,  this social awkwardness. I suppose that is why I am telling you this painful embarrassing stuff about me.  There is always that one in the crowd, the one that stands a bit a part from everyone else, the one who is always left out of the loop, the one thought unapproachable and unfriendly, may be a warm soul who would love to make a friend but just doesn’t know how.   Shyness is not a choice. I do not choose to be this way. It has stunted my growth and my life and as I scramble to make up for lost time at 44 and I feel the need to call attention to the plight of the shy person.

So if you see one of us out there trying to blend into the background wearing an insecure scowl offer up a warm smile or a simple “hello”. This sort of thing spreads. Insecurity and shyness are often go hand and hand. If you see something wonderful in someone, tell them, perhaps they will recognize it too and eventually in time it will be they that say hello to you!

 

We all have own strengths and weaknesses, no one is perfect. It takes time to get to know someone but it is well worth that time. Shy, not shy…whatever. It is healthy to want to reach out, some of us just need a little help on what may come naturally to others. No one wants to be left out entirely.   We are all human with human needs and wants including friends.   That’s all. 

 

 

vintage-friends beach fun madness

 

 Have an excellent day!

Nancy 

 

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“If you’re an introvert, you also know that the bias against quiet can cause deep psychic pain. As a child you might have overheard your parents apologize for your shyness. Or at school you might have been prodded to come “out of your shell” -that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and some humans are just the same.”
― Susan Cain

 

Related articles

 

Pink Floyd – Outside the Wall (With Lyrics) 
Social Anxiety Disorder & Social Phobia–Symptoms, Self-Help, and Treatment (helpguide.org)

Your mountain is waiting…

 

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!” 
~Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

 

 

There it is. It looms large over me blocking my path, blackening out the sun and staring me straight in the face. It is icy cold and hard as rock and its jagged peak lies someplace beyond the clouds where I cannot see.  It sits outside my door haunting me…taunting me..whispering  “I am the way, I am salvation. I am the path to be followed and through me lies freedom.”  I can’t ignore it. I have tried that.  I have made excuses, I have lied to myself…I have even denied it’s existence but it is there just as it’s always been.

It is that very thing I think I cannot do that I must do. The very thing that blocks me. It is my mountain and it is mine alone to climb. No matter what I do in life, no matter what other mountains I may climb it is this one and this one alone that is essential; for by scaling its peaks I conquer myself and that can be a very steep climb indeed.

We all have our mountains,  some people seem to immediately recognize them and with no apparent effort at all bound right over them.  Most find theirs in time and slowly ascend and through trial and error, a  little luck and determination make it over the hump and on their way without too many bruises.  And then there are others like myself who for whatever reason have yet to begin the climb.

I suppose I am writing this for you, for us…for we that linger near base camp…looking to the sky at that damned mountain. Make any excuse you want. I think it’s fear; fear of the unknown…fear of failure…fear of looking like an idiot…fear of being myself…fear of dreaming, of risking, of trying and failing…of wanting and not getting.  Fear of not being enough….or too much. I have been hiding so long from what I thought was the world but in fact I think I’ve been hiding all this time from me.

And that mountain is me. It is myself that I must conquer.  It is all my faults and mistakes….my vulnerabilities that I must own along with the rest and it is those sweet bits of goodness that make it all worthwhile.  Many many years from now when I am on my deathbed reflecting back on my life it will be atop that mountain, wind in my hair, sun on my face and I will look down on all that was and know I did my best. And that’s all any of us can do…Stuff to ponder…

 

  Have an excellent day my friends,

Nancy

quote zen Mount-Haleakala-Hawaii     

 

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” 
~Andy Rooney

 

Mountain Sounds

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Of Monsters And Men – Mountain Sound 

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Led Zeppelin – Misty Mountain Hop – Live Madison Square Garden

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BIG ROCK CANDY MOUNTAINS – Harry Mac McClintock – 1928

A Good Cry

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.”
― Charles Dickens

The light streams through the blinds and tickles my eyelids. I am slowly pulled from a nasty dream brought on by last night’s wicked storm. The faint melody of birdsong rouses me to full consciousness. I waken refreshed and renewed. With a slow lumbering yawn and cat-like stretch I move closer to the window. The streets are still wet with last nights revelry. They glitter and shine in the morning’s surprise sun.

The world seems  fresh and new after a long rain. As the sun shines it graces everything with a wee bit of hopefulness. It’s as if the sky has had a good cry and is now sporting a beaming shiny bright smile.

I myself always feel good after a good cry. I suppose that is why it is called that: a good cry. I have always been the sensitive type; prone to cry easily and at times for what I will later deem silly reasons. I used to be ashamed of my sensitivity. I hid it well behind a veneer of fake indifference but now I am proud of my sensitive nature. I know I am far from the only one who feels the way I do.

Crying is basic. It is humbling and very human.  It puts us in touch with our very basic of needs. It makes us vulnerable. It is generally thought of an activity of one who is sad but sometimes the act of crying can denote joy.

Tears of Joy
Tears of Joy

I have cried at the birth of both of my children. The first time this took me by surprise as tears of pure joy often do. I have also shed tears for the normal reasons of loss and rejection….misfortune, unfairness and at times simple frustration. I have wept at the loss of loved ones and upon witnessing the death of a tiny bird on my front steps.

Music makes me cry, certain songs do it every time. These I generally avoid, except on certain rare occasions.

I always feel better after I do. Crying is good for you.

And this is not just in my imagination. Many scientists agree with the theory that emotional crying is the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins and waste products that build up in times of elevated stress. The phrase “having a good cry” suggesting that the act can make one feel better physically and emotionally better is not far off the mark.

Crying is a great way to release pent up emotions, frustrations and stress. It restores the mind to a quieter place. Holding your emotions in can be dangerous over the long-term. In fact, research indicates that stifling emotional tears can cause elevated risk of heart disease and hypertension.

tears boy in public domain

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The Three Types of Tears

“In fact, three types of tears exist, all with different purposes. Basal tears are omnipresent in our eyes. These constant tears are what keep our eyes from drying out completely.
The second type is reflex tears, which serve to protect the human eye from harsh irritants such as smoke, onions or even a very strong, dusty wind.
Reflex tears are generally found to be about 98 percent water, whereas several chemicals are commonly present in emotional tears [Source: The Daily Journal. First is a protein called prolactin, which is also known to control breast milk production. Adrenocorticotropic hormones are also common and indicate high stress levels. The other chemical found in emotional tears is leucine-enkephalin, an endorphin that reduces pain and works to improve mood.
The third type of tears is emotional tears. It all starts in the cerebrum where sadness is registered. The endocrine system is then triggered to release hormones to the ocular area, which then causes tears to form. Emotional tears are common among people who see Bambi’s mother die or who suffer personal losses.”
                                                                                               *Courtesy of HowStuffWorks.com

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Soldier Crying IraqColorLineNews (1)
Real men cry.

I think society treats males unfairly when it comes to the issue of crying and emotions in general. It is crazy, nonproductive and downright unrealistic to think that boys and men do not have feelings. Men may deny they have them to each other but we mothers and wives and sisters know better.

Having emotions are not exclusive to one gender  but showing and sharing them is. In most societies, tears in men are seldom acceptable.  Boys learn early on it’s not kosher to show emotion, as it is considered a weakness and thus they grow up to be men who are cut off from expressing emotions of grief that can help them heal from emotional wounds. Anger becomes the preferred emotion because it is considered to be more “male”. (I don’t need to tell anyone how that is all working out.)

We as a people are in constant change. We have evolved and adapted to our circumstances. I do think we as a species are on the road to enlightenment but is a long one. Despite the harshness of the state of the world and apparent accelerating violence everywhere, I do believe that on a one-to-one individual basis people are growing kinder, gentler and more tolerant. In my own experience living on this planet for 44 years I have noticed this trend and it is encouraging. The acceptance of the showing of emotion is just one aspect of this shift.

“Those who do not weep, do not see.”

Victor Hugo

Strawberryindigo.

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“Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”
― Tina Fey 
 
 

“Those who do not weep, do not see.” ― Victor Hugo

 
 

Related YouTube.

Make You Feel My LOVE  by Adele

Wuthering Heights Lover’s Last Scene

The Sky is Crying  by Stevie Ray Vaughn

The Tracks of My Tears by Smokey Robinson 

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 References, Related Articles and Interesting Tidbits

Do animals cry?  (news.discovery.com)

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Why Cry? Evolutionary Biologists Show Crying Can Strengthen Relationships  (Sciencedaily.com)

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Why is it so hard for men to cry? (psychcentral.com)

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 How Crying Works _Hoyt, Alia.  “How Crying Works”  02 July 2008.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/crying.htm&gt;  17 February 2014.

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Crying  (wikipedia.org)

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Why do People Cry? (wisegeek.com)

 

The importance of being dreamy

Dreams are nebulous. They are intangible. They lie in the murky depths of our subconscious where they travel between various layers, blinking in and out of reality. Like tiny universes, changing and growing, fading and dying only to be reborn. They entertain us at night and manifest themselves as successions of images, emotions, and sensations that occur in the mind during certain stages of sleep. Our dreams tell us much about ourselves. They speak of our true nature and are a source of inner wisdom. They possess some importance but it is the other sort of dreams that are by far the most significant and it these dreams that will have the most bearing on our current lives and our future.

sunsets ocean clouds horizon dark waves photography skyscapes 1680x1050 wallpaper_www.wallpaperfo.com_17

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

It is the dreams that haunt us in the daytime; our hopes and ambitions. our wants, needs and desires. These are the ones we can direct and it is these that can come true…but essentially the power of dreams do not lie in their fruition.

Having a dream is much more important than having a dream come true.

star-jump-331284560366vhlk

To dream takes courage. It means listening to what our heart tell us is the truth. Our own personal truth. No one knows this but us and no one but ourselves know what we can do if given the chance to do it.

To dream is to risk.  And the road to the realization of a dream is often a long and strenuous one. There are twists and turns and pitfalls along the way. To dream is to dare. To dream is to dare to want more than what there is. It comes from a part inside that can not only see what is, but what can be.

Dreams allow us to become more than what we are, adding color and life to life. They come from our heart’s desire.  They can be whimsical and beautiful, they can be practical or imaginative. Seldom at the time of their creation do they seem realistic at all and history is full of success stories that began as mere pipe dreams.

A dream realized can occur in a flash of an instant; in one dramatic and fluid motion. Life-changing events often happen that way. It is tempting to see these breakthroughs as occurring spontaneously and naturally like rain.

Dreams do not just happen, they are made to happen.

To follow ones dream not only takes courage but tenacity, perseverance and plain hard work. We seldom see the effort that lies in the protected shadow of success, but more often that not…the only way to having a dream come true is to make it true by never giving up.

Never let negative forces tell you “No”.  Don’t allow the words of others cloud your blue skies. Only you know what your true potential is.  You are more substantial than you believe. You have the right to dream. Dreams make us great and all greatness begins with a dream.

Do you dare to dream?  If so what is your dream?  Let me know, you are fascinating and I’d love to hear it.

Strawberryindigo.

saturday SunshineClouds3 cows

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” 
― Louisa May Alcott

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 I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King (short version)  (YouTube)

Dream a little dream of me by Mama Cass Elliot (YouTube)

We are allowed to wish (cosmicastaway.wordpress.com)

I believe in my dreams (ideasforimagine.wordpress.com)

The Key to Happiness

I am glad to be here; to have a go at it. I am thankful for my body. For eyes that see blue skies and my daughter’s beautiful face. For ears that hear birdsong, soulful breathtaking music and the simple but profound words; ” I love you.” For hands that write poems and plant seeds and make cheesecake. For a brain to take it all in.

love-kiss-silhouette-photography-background-hd-of-love

I am thankful for friends and family…for LOVE ♥

For peace and understanding, patience and tolerance and for generous hearts and kind souls.

I am thankful for good people who do great things, for smiles and ice cream…for chocolate.

I am thankful for our fantastic planet. For apple trees and hummingbirds and summertime. For cats and mocha lattes with extra whipped cream. I am thankful for the scent of roses and a newly mowed lawn, for thunderstorms and fireplaces.  For kisses and sandy beaches…for oceans and sunsets.

beautiful heart_latte_art by wikipedia

I am thankful for happy thoughts and good intentions, for opportunity and hope. For dreams and the tenacity to live them out.

I am thankful to be able to share all these happy things with such wonderful people…like YOU…

smile

I am thankful I have another day of life in which to appreciate and to know that this is

THE KEY TO HAPPINESS

There have been times in my life I found myself waiting to be happy; waiting for this or that to happen. I’ve found that I don’t need a turkey to tell me to be grateful and everything doesn’t have to be perfect. There is so much in this incredible world to be thankful for…and I am thankful for that.

Earth large

What are You thankful for?  Let me know?

Strawberryindigo.

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“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” 

― Maya Angelou

Girl-Holding-the-Sun-Sunrise__32633-480x320

Thank You by Led Zeppelin (YouTube)

Thank You by Dido (YouTube)

Free Hugs

I came across a picture today.  It was a drawing made by a someone I don’t know. I saw it online, I think it was in my Facebook inbox.  The artist’s name is written in the side. It is basic but genuine and to me conveys the most achingly beautiful sentiment.

and it sparked something…

I will sometimes get an idea for a post, but I won’t know actually how it will turn out.  It starts with a message I want to convey, whether it be simple or complex. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months even. it just rolls around in that crazy head of mine waiting for something… a spark?  Something to give it life. Incidences will happen; little things, really of no significance but then one day–wham! It all fits together. This picture was a catalyst.

Love will show us the way by Art the System on Facebook

We share a collective consciousness. The good, the bad, the everything contained therein.

The best and worst of us is inside us all. We share so much. One important need is to give and receive love. We are an empathetic species that thrives on mutual understanding and cooperation. We need togetherness.

Newborn babies can die if denied love, it is ingrained in us, the need to reach out and be held. It is a basic and human need we first receive usually from our mothers and fathers. And it this need to touch to be touched lasts through our lifetimes. It is beyond sexual desire which in itself is powerful. It is grounding, it is humbling and uplifting.

The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety.  Hugging relaxes muscles; releasing tension in the body. They can take away pain and soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.  Hugs balance out the nervous system and boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.

“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”

~ Virginia Satir

FREE_HUGS';_Tokyo

Hugs are wonderful. They are warm and innocent expressions of affection.  To me hugs are magical events.

free_hugs_2_by_dastalisa-d3adynw

They are hopeful. They are happy. They spread happiness.

'FREE_HUGS',_Notre_Dame_de_Paris

We have a human need to be wanted and valued and accepted. A hug is a demonstration of that.

There is much to be said about the power of a hug. I have noticed a trend as of these last few years of people with signs giving out free ones. It is a novel thing. it creates a bit of a spectacle and maybe it isn’t all that serious but it does make people happy. and it sends out a terrific message.

I have noticed with the passage of time that hugs are becoming more freely given and socially acceptable. When I was a child one rarely would see two men hug, these days it is commonplace. This is a wonderful thing.

It is such a wonderful thing and so is a kind word, a pat on the back and a smile.

Sometimes we don’t know the burden another may be carrying and cannot fathom how one simple act of encouragement from someone; a stranger even and what sort of positive impact that it can have.

If we all made a point of doing this;  reaching out to others even sometimes going  the extra mile to tell another person you care; whether it’s just an ear to listen.  Sometimes all people need is a release; someone to talk to and a little sympathy.  Sometimes it is a stranger, a person you will never encounter again, this does not lessen the quality of the interaction. Every positive interaction we have with another person makes them feel good and makes us feel good. it’s all good!

And just like rabbits these positive interactions spread and before you know it the room is of full of rabbits.

Try it you’ll like it. Hug someone today.

Strawberryindigo.

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“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 
― Albert Einstein

English: 'FREE HUGS' in a marketplace, Chile
English: ‘FREE HUGS’ in a marketplace, Chile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

References and Related Articles

Why we need at least 8 hugs a day (mindbodygreen.com)

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5756/10-Reasons-Why-We-Need-at-Least-8-Hugs-a-Day.html

5 Ways to Hug  (wikihow.com)

 Miracle/soulmate (helioshub.wordpress.com)

The Mad Artist

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” 

― Friedrich Nietzsche

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What is it that takes over one’s mind and compels them to create? Is it sickness? Or madness? What is it that runs through the long corridors of souls and haunts hearts with this need to make something where once there was nothing; be it a blank page or a white canvas…or a pile of wood…empty bandwidth or file space or…. just empty silence? Whatever the emptiness, it is the artist that yearns to fill it.

How does one fill emptiness ? I suppose there are as many different ways to create as there are individual artists. The nature of creativity is that it is centered in the new and the untried. There is always a risk to creation. It takes a lot of backbone to present ones work to be judged by the eyes of others, to be put up on display in front of the crowd…. it’s a gusty thing to do.

Art is definitely meant to be appreciated and the role of appreciator can be just as important as the artist. Art can be a group experience–community wide.  Art encourages more art…which is a beautiful thing.

L I F E   is   A R T

Art comes in endless various forms..shapes and hues.  It is a rich phenomena, experience, wonder…whatever you call it it..it is sheer delight. Art can awaken and excite the senses.

It can be exhilarating, scintillating, sensual even, but also fun and whimsical…it can also be deep and rich and sometimes sad..it is emotional and it is real. You can feel it. It is that feeling that makes it great art in whatever form.

Artists, good ones, anyway…infuse an essence of themselves into their creation; a small taste of their inner soul…the really good ones make you feel what they feel.

 

monarch-butterfly

Life is color…

It is vivid-intense, sometimes stark and sad, but a great bright and spirited thing with wings.

~N.L McKinley

sbi eyes new sepia

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” 

― Ray Bradbury

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It’s a mad compulsion, speaking here from experience. Writing is infused into me…I need to write, it is a thirst that is never quite quenched. As a shy child I spent many hours alone. Writing was my only outlet. I would pour out my feelings to paper, writing as fast as I could. I would keep everything I wrote and I never showed anyone.  Whenever I was happy or sad or confused my thoughts would go straight to paper.  I was never much for talking. I kept my feelings deeply contained inside me.

I still do write everything out. I have made the mistake in the past of publishing things perhaps I shouldn’t have. I am a sensitive sort and at times I cannot move past something without writing it out.

I can become quite testy when I don’t have a chance to write. I become like a caged animal; I pace, looking out the window. I get anxious and tense.  It is not fun to be around me at those times. I must admit I do have my dark moods but once I get at them by writing I am as free as a bird–totally unencumbered and at ease with the world.

It’s like I am a junkie who has just had a fix. I am never as happy as when I am in the middle of it all; writing away…fingers tapping, when I reach an especially engaging patch my fingers get faster and faster, the tapping gets harder and louder. When I am going at full tilt it is total ecstasy!

That is my personal madness and I claim it as my own. Are you a bit mad? Do you engage in a creative endeavor that demands your engagement? Tell me about your madness and we can compare notes.

Have a fantastic day full of loveliness,

Strawberryindigo.

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“You have to be an artist and a madman, a creature of infinite melancholy, with a bubble of hot poison in your loins and a super-voluptuous flame permanently aglow in your subtle spine

Vladimir Nabokov

van gogh self-portrait-with-bandaged-ear-1889-1.jpg!Blog

Famous Artists a to z

(biography.com)

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 A brief history of mental illness in art (scientificamerican.com)

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Artist Paints by Snorting Colors Then Crying Them Onto a Canvas (newsfeed.time.com)

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The Magic of Youth

This post is designed to make you feel younger and if you don’t feel younger after reading this I promise to refund every penny you paid to enter this lunatic asylum.

What is eternal youth and how do we attain it?  This thought brings to mind Ponce De Leon and his futile search for the fountain of youth. This poor fool wandered all over Florida hoping he’d find this all elusive thing. A billion dollar industry is based on it. In our youth obsessed culture many are looking for this very thing; this endless and eternal youth. Well my friends I know the secret and I will share it with you now. You will be astonished and amazed to hear that just like Dorothy and her Ruby Slippers, you have had the power to go home all along.

Just what does make one young? How does one do it?  For me with each passing birthday I get younger and younger. So much so I will need a babysitter soon (or at least a keeper) and so what if there are enough candles on my birthday cake to start a 5 alarm fire?  It’s chocolate dammit!

I have found that youth isn’t on the outside..it’s on the inside. Youth is the way we feel and the older we get the more important it is to be young.

Would you believe?...this man is 96 years young...how does he do it? He credits a daily cigar, a shot of whiskey each and every morning and simply put; a love of life!
Would you believe?…this man is 96 years young…how does he do it? He credits a daily cigar, a shot of whiskey each and every morning and simply put; a love of life!

It is the joy of living that makes us young my friends. It is that intangible something that is born in our hearts and lives inside our souls. Youth cannot be found in a bottle or a jar of face cream. Youth is the happiness we derive out of being alive.

Youth walks barefoot in the dewy morning grass. It is whimsy and breathless awe. It is hope and dreams and fanciful schemes.  Youth is an ice cream cone with two scoops. It is fun and laughter. It is sweet music and tasty treats. It is cozy friendship and drinking hot tea by the fire on a cold winter’s night. Youth is tinged with the green of trees and colorful leaves. It is a red rose with soft petals. Youth is anticipation and excitement and trying new things. Youth is looking forward to tomorrow. It is the companionship of a beloved pet. It is kindness and warmth.  Youth is a boisterous red balloon. It is sunshine and a newly moved lawn. It is a tall glass of lemonade that packs a punch. Youth is a wide and open smile. It is making silly faces in the mirror. Youth is allowing ourselves to be ourselves.

Youth is chocolate and kittens and a good book. Youth is holding hands under the pale moonlight. It is hugs and tender kisses. Youth is watching butterflies flutter by and laughing at life’s ironies. Youth is love; love for the sake of itself…love that extends out to the whole world. Youth is forever!

It is that simple. It is pure and it is yours for the small price of just believing in it.

Forget what these naysayers say; youth is not wasted on the young. Go forth my young friends. Enjoy it!

Strawberryindigo.

play happy old man arthur%20ritis%203

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We are Young by fun (YouTube)

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Come out and PLAY!

PLAY!!!

“O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales.”

―     Leo Rosten

Summertime is a bright and happy season. Like childhood it is full of promise and possibility.  Waking up on a weekend morning in summer, a gentle morning breeze tickles my toes and the early morning rays of that pale gold sun sneaks between the slats on the blinds. The birds sing a slow and hopeful song in the maple tree right outside my window. It is a glorious day!  It is the perfect day for some well deserved play!

Yes, a big helping of play today with a side of fun. This is a childhood activity that is sorely lacking in the lives of children, and adults.  We all need play. We all need fun.  It is a very real need that doesn’t disappear with age. In fact, playing and the subsequent fun that follows, helps keep us young.

PLAY helps keep us young!
PLAY helps keep us young!

 Webster’s Dictionary online has much to say about play.  Just the concept evokes many ideas and images. I found a wealth of activities that qualified as play, including but not limited to; swordplay, wordplay, sports play and sexual play too. The Concise Enclopedia, truly living up to its name, describes play as; actions have all the elements of purposeful behavior but are performed for no apparent reason.

While I respect the writers and editors at the Concise Enclopedia,  I must disagree with this very concise definition….I say play has a reason and the reason is very apparent and if it isn’t,  it soon will be…

“Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.”

~Michael Jordan

play happy_kids play

The Importance of PLAY

  • Play is a source of relaxation and stimulation for the brain and body. It is important to our physical and mental health. Just as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Play helps us relieve stress. It enables us to manage the day-to-day realities of life. It helps channel “negative” experiences and emotions into positive ones. Play is vital to good mental health.
  • Play encourages creativity by stimulating the imagination. It supercharges learning and is essential in developing problem solving abilities.
  • This act of play triggers a mix of endorphins that enlivens the mood and lifts the spirit.
  • Play connects us to others.  Sharing happiness and laughter promotes bonding between people.
  • Play brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships. Play can also heal hurt feelings, resentments and disagreements,
  • Playing together promotes a sense of safety and trust, trust enables people to work together and is essential to unity.

play flappers-on-rocks-beach-wear-t0f20

How do I play especially in public without looking like a complete idiot? My advice is to embrace looking like an idiot. At some point I’ve learned is that you have to stop caring what others think and just do it, whatever it is. If it isn’t harmful and destructive, why not?  I’ve always liked to swing on the swings in the park. In my twenties I thought I was too old, now I know better. Life is too short for hang ups like that. We all have an inner child in us. Some of us are in daily communication with this other self, some need a bit of coaxing to bring this child out.  I know from experience it is well worth the coaxing. Some of the most dour adults can transform into some of the most fun and best playmates if only given the chance.

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I guess sometimes a little “unrealness” can help us cope with the very realness of life. And besides, play is fun and who doesn’t need more fun?

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What do you do for fun? Do you still find time to play as an adult? Let me know. I’d love to hear what you have to say.

  Have a great day!

Strawberryindigo.

SMILE!

“A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who doesn’t play has lost forever the child who lived in him and who he will miss terribly.”

~Pablo  Neruda

play happy-child-finds-joy in public domain

***References and Related Articles***

WE ARE YOUNG by FUN (YouTube)

TED TALKS: Play is more than fun it is vital

 Lifelong Games: Playing Together for Fun (helpguide.org)

 Why Play Matters (helpguide.org)

Health Benefits of Having Fun (about.com)

Definition of PLAY (Merriam-Webster.com)

5 Ways to Bring Happy into Your Life (lifehack.org)

Adults need playtime too (bookofmohs.com)

The Art of Ridiculousness (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

The day that was never supposed to be

golden japanese maple
Sunlit Japanese Maple at my front door Credit SBI

Today is the day that was never supposed to be. It is a day where I am not where I am supposed to be and neither is MM. No, today we are not where we are supposed to be at all. Today we are thumbing our noses at convention and “the man”. We are sticking up for our rights to have a wee bit of control over our own lives. Today we made a choice. It was a collective one and one that  we did not enter into frivolously or without careful consideration. Today MM and I took a voluntary day off from work…gasp. How irresponsible and perhaps somewhat stupid to confess here for the “world’ to see. As if the powers that be have time to read my blog…haha.

More than likely whatever I say here won’t get farther than you and I. What is there to say? well….I am enjoying the hell out of myself.

I’m calling this day The Day That Was Never Meant To Be and I am determined to make this day count! I want this decision to stay home today and get a much-needed break from the daily grind that is grounding me down to be one of the smartest things I’ve ever done.

I awoke at the usual much too early…the still sleeping part of my brain was  able to persuade the only half asleep side of my brain that “runs” things, that today, a day off  was essential to my  physical and mental well-being  and life in general would be better for me and my family if I spent the day on life enhancing activities of the domestic variety.

We started our day off with a large cup of hot coffee; dark and satisfying. We giggled like school kids we talked of our daring defection and just how nice it was to relax. We lay in bed sipping coffee and enjoying the early morning sun streaming in the windows.

Here comes the Sun. credit SBI
Here comes the Sun. credit SBI

I took out the camera and took some experimental happy shots around the house. This is my idea of fun.  The early morning sun makes for excellent ethereal pictures.  The birds were in the spirit singing their bestest which may have drawn the neighbors cats who paid a visit from up atop the fence.

I decided to do some barefoot gardening. Nothing strenuous; weeding, seeding and a bit of this and a bit of that.   The bees were going full buzz and I spent several minutes enjoying and admiring them before I returned to “work”

Scarlet Lily. credit: SBI
Scarlet Lily. credit: SBI

MM the dear and wonderful person,  did the dishes as has become his custom since I started my current job. He is a dedicated and special man who doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.  Thanks to his industry, the kitchen was spotless before we went out “exploring” which sounds exciting but really just involved  visiting an exotic place called the grocery store for a bag of Friskies and some grape soda before sneaking into a well-known fast food  joint that I never eat at for some inexpensive and satisfying coffee, yes the coffee is Ok in a pinch)

After the mid afternoon pick me up, I was back at it full steam and the rest of the day played itself out gloriously. Tasks that would have stricken me as mundane just a few scant months ago delighted me in their comfortable simplicity from one thing to the next, leading to a delicious cashew chicken dinner at home . We watched a  Classic Star Trek rerun. It was like seeing an old and dear friend you haven’t seen for a long time. I polished my nails (sparkly blue) and indulged in a big bowl of ice cream (Chocolate Brownie Thunder, YES!)

Credit: Public domain
Credit: Public domain

We snuggled under the covers, Me, a good book and MM. It was an excellent day. It was just what I needed…

Am I glad I did it? Yes! Am I making excuses? Sure. But I must say this unexpected break from the daily grind let me have a chance to look at my situation with perspective.; my much too long commute is wearing thin on me. I am not a quitter but I am rational and can see my current lifestyle is unsustainable. So I did one more thing today; I revamped my resume, added some color and worked on some cover letters…who knows… I may be ready for a jump. Wish me luck!

Columbine, phlox and Johnny jump ups. Credit SBI
Columbine, phlox and Johnny jump ups. Credit SBI
By the way, does anyone want to hire a tired and starving writer? I’m right here!

Have a good one.

Strawberryindigo.

😀

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
―     William Arthur Ward

My Love Affair With Coffee (joyceyl.wordpress.com)

National Ice Cream Day – July 21, 2013 (sibcyclinenews.com)

Instant Now

The time is NOW
The time is NOW

In this modern world of the instant everything, patience has become quite a commodity. Why wait for anything?  Anything and everything is instantly at your fingertips…the world is at your command…at least it seems that way in this hectic fast paced treadmill we run on.

Hungry for “food”? Zap your meal in the microwave. Hungry for “knowledge”? Look it up online (Wikipedia anyone?)  Hungry for “love”? You can get that too (find your match for “free”) We are all so hungry most of us are obese in the Western world. In the US everything is supersized; the roads, the buildings, the people, our egos…

There is no reason to wait for anything, which is just as well. There is no time in which to wait. No one wants to wait but a little waiting can be a good thing. Waiting builds patience and tolerance. Not having everything we want exactly when we want it, builds character. Idle time gives the mind the opportunity to roam about and explore. Time to oneself can lead to quiet reflection which may perhaps lead to thinking for oneself. This once basic aspect in all of humanity is not as prevalent. We are bombarded with distractions and instant satisfactions all from a limited amount of sources. It is easier and quicker of course more economical to go with the tried and true…life is going at light speed and if you don’t get it together you will quickly be left behind.
Don’t stop and think, hurry along…

keep going it's grand

Our society does not appreciate slowness, consideration or thoughtfulness.
As circumstances in my life have forced to me to acknowledge and appreciate the concept of free time all the more, I am realising how essential it is to the spirit and well-being to have time to just plain do nothing. This sort of time is a rare commodity for most of us. Somehow many of us must conjure up from seemingly nowhere this mystical magical “free time”…while mostly juggling one obligation for the next, each one taking a chunk of our time….until we run out…

Are we but a cog in the wheel of time?
Are we but a cog in the wheel of time?

No wonder we are in such a hurry….
I have watched one minute go by on the microwave. The perfect time for heating up tea or coffee and I’ve noticed as the pace of life speeds up, the longer and longer that short little minute seems.
A minute is a long time….
Ever been put on hold?  Wait in line? Wait at a long red light when you are running late for work?
Given the right perspective, the matter of a few seconds can feel like an eternity.

do it now

The Societal concept of patience is slowly eroding. It is a muscle that needs to be exercised. I think a little waiting is good for a person and a little idle time and dare I say boredom, is a concept that needs to be embraced as a positive rather than a negative. When the mind is allowed such time for exploration it can and will go places. These are the times that bring insight and clarification.

keep time cog_eye____by_blamemybrain-d5z3nw0

I ran across the following quote;

“Why is patience so important?”
“Because it makes us pay attention.”

Paulo Coelho

flowers pink roses in neighborhood

When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses?

Or went for an aimless walk? When was the last time you simply did nothing for no reason in particular?

There is something to be said for that…

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~SBI

Related You Tube

Modern Times starring Charlie Chaplin on You Tube