The Voice of the Universe

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

—Jonna Jinton

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

~nlm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Garden of the Mind

 

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

~Claude Monet

 

We all engage in self talk. A running inner dialog that writes the script of our lives.

Seldom are we completely aware of just how influential we are on ourselves. We definitely live up to our own expectations. Positive or negative.  Problems arise when insecure feelings begin to dominate the conversation. And rarely do we share these dark thoughts with others. They are hidden behind a wall of bravado we put up between each other. This causes us to see only the exaggerations put together by our imaginations not the full scope of reality.

Insecurities are kept in a secret place locked inside ourselves in that dark closet of pessimism, where fear lives. It is fear that leads us to lie to ourselves in the first place. Much of the negative crap that our own insecurities whisper to us is not accurate or realistic at all, but these hidden feelings do have a profound effect on our behavior. Only when we can forgive ourselves for not being perfect can we begin to rebuild and replace all that negative crap with good crap.

I liken a life to a garden. What grows in our garden is what has been planted.

 

 

The lives which we are living now are the result of our past actions and those past actions were the result of our past thoughts. The seeds we planted long ago are sprouting now.

We truly are what we have cultivated. We can thrive in a colorful vigorous and sunny garden or we can wallow in the dark. and it is that simple… of course surprises can spring up

Life is random and certainly not fair. We are subject to the whims of that randomness…

…and no matter what we do surprises can spring up…

Sometimes squirrels can dig up your tulip bulbs and plant them in your neighbors backyard…sometimes a spring hail shower can wreck havoc on your tender pansies. There have been times when a black cloud descended into my garden and left it cold and dark. There have been times when I thought that the sun would never shine again…

And then I found the sunshine within myself and lit up my garden with hope, faith and blind determination.

 

 

These are the times when we have to rely on that sort of sunshine to make our gardens grow.

…that’s why you need a good dose of it stored up in your pocket for a rainy day.

 

 

Determination: Yes. Work: Most certainly. Anything worth anything takes work and belief. That is your sunshine and nothing will shine without it.

Gratitude is like water. It nourishes life in our garden. It makes what grows grow. Without gratitude we will never find the happiness and contentment we seek.

Attitude. How we frame the picture we see.

What some may interpret as a raging storm can seem like a gentle shower watering a summer flower.

 

Seeds are the ideas we present to ourselves. We can plant what we want.

 

Being afraid; having social anxiety…the alien-ness I felt being on the autism spectrum…my alcoholism.. these were symptoms of a greater problem these were/are my challenges. I on instinct planted seeds to counteract the ones planted many years before which led me to feel so sad.

How do I do this? I change my inner dialogue. I forgave myself. I saw myself as a poor damaged thing that needed sympathy, love and understanding.  I began to treat myself more kindly; I began to lie to myself but in a good, encouraging way.

I told myself wonderful things about me; things I didn’t believe. But I kept planting and counting.

I counted reasons to be grateful. I thanked God or the spirits that be. I thanked the universe for my good fortune. I embraced mindfulness and tried to enjoy every passing moment for what what it is without expectation. I found worthiness in contentment and strength in humbleness.

 

I wrote words like”optimistic” ,”happy”and “Yes” in bright colors and tapped them around the house.

I found solace in the colors of music and the sound of the rain.

I refused to be daunted by a reluctant sun so I made my own.

 

What began as a tiny spark has grown larger and my garden is growing with colorful, green, growing wild things.

I continue to plant seeds whenever I can. My garden is a work in progress. Always planting something, digging, weeding, taking it all in.

Despite changes and setbacks I am here to encourage other gardeners who may be discouraged. Maybe to make myself feel a bit better too.

 

As Ram Dass once said: We’re all just walking each other home.”

And I say that it’s damn good to have a friend to walk through the rain with. 

 

~nlm

 

 

 

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Fresh Quotes: Mary Oliver

I’ve always wanted to write poems and nothing else.

~Mary Oliver

Coming in whispers that speak to that child that lurks within

the one that plays in grassy fields and kisses the sweet spring wind

she who laughs at chickadees and muses with birds

Quietly knocking one over the head with her simple earthy words.

I have been literally brought to tears on more than one occasion by this immensely talented writer and poet.

Mary Oliver is an artist who more than paints pictures with words. She illustrates profound feeling in vivid and not so vivid colors and hues. They hit me deep down in my soul.

Never before have I so connected with another’s words. It reinforces to me the greater connection we all have with each other and our beautiful planet.

What follows are some of my favorite quotes by this Pulitzer Prize winner.

MARY OLIVER

 

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty. 

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

 

 

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”

 

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

 

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”

 

 

Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath? Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?

 Yes…yes I do Mary Oliver… thank you for your inspiration. 

~nlm

MARY OLIVER
Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio.  She attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College.  As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay and briefly lived in Millay’s home, helping Norma Millay organize her sister’s papers.
  Oliver is notoriously reticent about her private life, but it was during this period that she met her long-time partner, Molly Malone Cook. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Cape Cod landscape has had a marked influence on Oliver’s work.  Mary Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. In addition to such major awards as the Pulitzer and National Book Award, Oliver has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also won the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 
(Excerpt from the Poetry Foundation Bio)

Mary Oliver (Poetryfoundation.org)

(Great site chocked full of resources including full-length poems)

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

.

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.

 

 

SOUND

“In the world I am
Always a stranger
I do not understand its language
It does not understand my silence”
― Bei Dao

All I want for Christmas is some peace and quiet.    I need a retreat. A retreat from noise, a retreat from interruption. A break from the outside world that interferes with my thinking and writing.  I must do both of theses things and if I don’t for a while I become like a caged tiger. I pace the confines of my cell all stored up and ready to pounce, except that I don’t pounce–I suck it all in.

I am kind and patient. Seldom do I lose this demeanor but there are times that I feel as though I am a ticking time bomb ready to go off.  The pressure builds and builds, I cannot flee–I cannot fight–I hold it all in. This can’t be good for my health.

 

tiger art maxresdefault

 

There is no place where noise does not scream at me. I pretend that it doesn’t effect me like it does. I learned to fake nonchalance a long time ago but there is nothing nonchalant about me. I have prided myself in my outer coolness but I must confess and it feels damn good to confess that at times on the inside I can burn hot like a volcano.

 

WOMAN fire art

I try to meditate in my own way.  I seek out nature and I think good thoughts. I am earnest in my devotion to goodness, truth and beauty and all that. I believe I only lack one simple thing. Something that if granted to me would enable me to take on the world–whatever it takes. Silence, a wee bit of silence would save me. Time to listen to nothing would be utter bliss.

 

quote quiet still

 

If you have ever listened to silence you know what I mean.

Silence allows the mind to wander freely.  It gives us a chance to take a deep breath and relax.  The world is a noisy place, most of us experience a great amount of it in our daily lives.  These form the soundtrack to our lives. Most of it we cannot control.

 I seldom mention this but I am on the Autism spectrum (Asperger’s) and sensitive to sound. I have always been this way. Certain noises are amplified  in my head and at times this can be overwhelming.  Echoing reverberating noises, kids screaming, crowds of people talking, generally loud and unpredictable noises, these sounds can unhinge me but also small and meaningless ones too can set me on edge. I have learned to control my urges and I can block a lot of it out but this is tiring and doesn’t allow me to ponder like I like to do.

Noise effects me in good ways as well as bad. There are good sounds. Music is exquisite rapture and so are the sounds of nature; songbirds, the breeze in the trees, crickets, the ocean. These sounds speak to my soul. They call to the restlessness and the calmness in me. They soothe, invigorate and inspire.

These sounds are big and open like waves,  they do not mind sharing space with all the thoughts my mind.  These sounds not only allow me to think, to contemplate, they allow my mind to simply wander freely without intent purely for the sake of wandering.

Haystack Rock Cannon Beach Oregon sky water beautiful

 

I feel at one with the universe. I feel at peace.

Sounds can transport one to another place. I have listened to recordings of birdsong and whales and other natures noises. I will close my eyes and imagine myself there; in the forest or by a lake or in a bird sanctuary wherever it be my mind can travel there.

Music is especially magical.  Slack Key Guitar music instantly takes me to the Tropics and certain Heavy Metal songs from the 80’s take me back to my rebellious teens.  Melodies paint colorful landscapes across the universe of my mind.

color tree mountain lake water night sinset beautiful back

Just thinking of all this is good for the spirit. Already I am calmed.  It’s through expressing myself I’ll find the peace I seek. I know that I create my own reality and I know that if something is important enough I will make time for it.

Writing and putting this post together has certainly worked it’s magic on me. And I hope it will for you too.  Please take a listen to the wonderful sounds by clicking on the following links that will transport you to the mythical land called Youtube where the music of nature will play for you.  Enjoy and have a nice day!

~NLM

beach waves gif

 

Sounds of Nature: Ocean Waves

 

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) perched on a branch in Manitoba, Canada.

White-throated Sparrow: Whistler of the North

 

field of flowers

Bach, Air (“on the G string”, string orchestra)

***

Related Articles

Musical Landscapes (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Listen   (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

A Befriending of Crows

The morning sun shines in stripes through the slats in the blinds and onto the wooden floor. There is a golden hue to the light at this time of year. I see a squirrel bounding across the yard looking around for a nut or two to store away for the quickly approaching winter but you wouldn’t know it from today’s weather.  There is a slight chill to the air but the sun feels warm and welcoming. I step out onto the front porch, plastic bag in my hand. I pick a few peanuts (in the shell, unsalted of course) and toss them high in the air and onto the walkway that leads to the sidewalk. Immediately a black crow swoops down to the neighbor’s tree. It waits until I am inside then it swoops down again but this time it is right on the walkaway. It goes right for a nut and so does it’s partner. They both get a good grip with their beaks then it’s off to parts unknown across the street and behind the neighbors house.

 

I throw a few more nuts and the fun continues. We are joined by a pair of Scrub Jays. One squawks high atop the ornamental cherry tree broadcasting it’s new-found bounty. It hops down and captures a nut or two before the crows return. It is more timid and unsure of itself but is the first to see the three nuts I left on the step. It scores all three. Right on! I am impressed. In fact I am impressed with Corvids in general.

The Corvid Family of birds include Nutcrackers, Jackdaws, Ravens, Crows, Jays, and Magpies.

common_raven_calling_nps raven not crow corvid bird
Common Raven

 

 

crow _little_by_shochin-d4otx57
American Crow

Corvids are the most intelligent of all birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals. They have a strong sense of organization and community. Most such as Crows typically mate for life. They live in family units where members of an extended family care for all the babies collectively. They are also protective of all the others in the family pod. They readily accept other adult and baby crows into the group. They form bonds and attachments. Crows are even known to visit their parents years after they leave the nest.

 

Crows like most successful animals are adaptable.  They have  excellent memories and problem solving skills. They can remember a face years after an encounter. Which can be good or bad considering the encounter.

Crows are agile learners like all Corvids. Some have even been known to make simple tools and pass on their knowledge to others of their kind through observation and imitation.  Great apes are the only other animals besides Man known to use tools in such a fashion.

Crows are large, noisy, and social, and they’re not so shy in the presence of people. They have a sense of humor; they play pranks, tease other animals, and engage in aerial acrobatics for fun. They live alongside us and have found many ways to exploit our kindness and curiosity. They also give back and have been known to reward their benefactors with gifts.

Eight-year-old Gabi Mann feeds the crows in her garden - and they bring her gifts in return.
Eight-year-old Gabi Mann feeds the crows in her garden – and they bring her gifts in return.

They are seen as pests by farmers and city dwellers alike and a harbinger of bad things by others.  They are impressive: They are loud and brassy and can be aggressive if threatened.  They exhibit dramatic behavior. We find them in folklore, legends, literature and variety of artistic expressions.  Their voices are used to accompany dramatic images associated with bad situations. Crows are frequently used as a symbol of death .  A flock of them is called a Murder.

hitchcock and-the-birds-corbis-large movie crows
Crows were used in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” not only because of their impressive looks but because they are so trainable.

 

If any bird has a bad rap it’s this one. I think though that crows aren’t given their due when it comes to the positives of this magnificent animal.

I admire their pluck and tenacity and their intelligence. They are the ultimate survivors. They live alongside us in our cities. They thrive where others do not. They are misunderstood, underdog, misfits and considering all of this, of course I want to befriend a crow or two.  I know this may sound crazy but may not not surprise you.  My only concern was if the crows would want to befriend me too, hence the peanuts.  This has been a natural progression of adoration for me; the more I learn about them the more I am drawn to know more.

I feed them sporadically. I don’t want them to grow dependent on my help too much I suppose; a few times a week at most.  It’s the same pair.  I recognize them by their trust of me not by appearance, they all do look pretty alike to my ignorant eyes. I have not given them names although I reserve the right to do so if a flight of whimsy suggests it.

 

I think I am well on my way to befriending these two; My friends the crows I call them.  They seem to know me and we have become pretty close. The bolder one has hopped up onto the porch a foot away and  looked at me before securing a peanut and flying off to stash it near the rosebush; burying it under a few leaves with it’s beak.

I feel good with this Befriending of Crows. I like to watch them. It’s better than TV to me. My daughter has recently joined me in this bird watching which has added to the enjoyment.

We are all connected and it feels wonderful!  This becomes more clear as time passes: you and I,  the crow, the peanut, the earth, the sea. Everything. I stand on the front porch pondering this and watching the crows, I wonder if they feel this connection too…

 

~NLM

 

baby crow bird cute

 

 

References and Related Articles

Grateful Dead - Mountains of the Moon 3/1/69
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CROWS
The girl who gets gifts from birds (BBCNews)
The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe read by Vincent Price
Secret Life of Crows(full documentary)HD
NATURE | Ravens | Ravens Playing in Snow | PBS
Corvids: The Birds Who Think Like Humans  (io9.com)

 

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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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”