By opening up our heart then, the blessings come in. If our hearts are closed, then, like they say, like the sun is shining, but if you close all the shutters and the curtains, then the room is dark. If you open it up, then the sun is always there. It will lighten you if we open up to it. So from the Mahayana point of view, the whole universe is filled with blessings. All we have to learn how to do from our side is to learn how to develop that quality of openness and devotion and trust in order for those blessings to percolate into our own heart.
~ Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo
To perceive the world through other senses is to find splendor in familiarity, wilderness in one’s backyard, the sacred in the mundane.
~ Ed Yong
Hello! How are you? I’ve been thinking about those old coffee share posts (which I believe some people are still doing) and how much I miss them. So, in the spirit of a coffee share (without the official participation), come on in out of the heat. Let me get you something cool and refreshing to drink. Since this is the world of our imaginations, any drink of your choosing is possible. I’m an iced tea kind of gal, year-round. I find it especially restorative in the summer months. Tea can be energizing (when it’s caffeinated or spicy), calming, soothing, and, well, pretty much all the things since there are so many different types of tea. However, with this being an unofficial coffee share, I should tell you that coffee is available, too. Hot, warm, or iced. Your choice.
Let’s have a seat at the table in the kitchen where we can enjoy the light without the heat. There are red roses blooming just outside of the picture window and maybe the deer with their fawns or the turkeys with their chicks (or poults) will wander by where we can see them. If you take the seat on the far left — usually given to guests — you’ll have a good view of the pond and one of the flower gardens. You might want to keep a quiet eye on the pond. Our resident Great Blue Heron (he of the white head) spends a lot of time fishing the pond, and it’s possible you might see an osprey or eagle diving for fish.
So, tell me… what have you been up to lately? How is summer treating you so far? Or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere? For those of you in summer, how are you staying cool? It looks as though the heatwave we are in the midst of here on the island is pretty much everywhere right now. Have you traveled anywhere recently? Read any good books or seen any good films? How about music? What are you listening to these days?
I could complain about the heat and humidity, but what’s the point? It’s weather. It will change, given time and seasons. The flowers are not complaining. As long as we get the occasional rainfall, they are thriving in the heat. The hydrangea just outside of the office window where I sit and type up my posts is heavy with blossoms, bees, and a variety of butterflies. There has been a recent influx of Eastern Swallowtail butterflies who spend some morning time on the hydrangea flowers. The birds seem to like it, too, although I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a good, shady place to sit and rest.
I have a new personal yoga practice to start my day. I suppose it’s not entirely personal since there are a group of us that are giving this practice a try. But I can and do personalize it to suit my body, my mind, my heart, my needs. I think I might have mentioned in some previous post, long ago, that I was committed to a 1,000 Days Project, and that project is to do my morning practice every day. Not so much as a goal but as devotion, as something that opens my heart and mind to the day and to life, perhaps to prayer. Today is day 683.
Some days the practice is slow and long and voluptuous (isn’t that a strange word to use for a yoga practice? And yet, it is that). Some days it’s short and to the point because that’s all I have in me that day. The practice changes day by day by day even if the basics are somewhat the same. It starts with a little checking in to see what my body, my mind, my heart, my soul need, or maybe just to listen in to what they have to say. Then there’s a little bit of chanting, a little bit of prayer (a thank you, an asking for help, or just a listening or leaning in), some movement (asana) when I can, more breath work (pranayama), meditation, and a last thank you and chant to wrap things up. Something simple. Om shanti shanti shanti (peace, peace, peace). Or to the same tune: thank you, thank you, thank you.
In other news, I’m enrolled in a new art class. Soulful Abtracts with Laly Mille. It was one of those spur of the moment decisions. I’m fascinated with abstract art, and have come to realize through my attempts at it that there is method to the madness. It might look as though the artist is just throwing paint around any which way, but try it. It’s not as easy as we might think it is. Oh, sure, you can splash some paint or ink around and scribble some lines or circles over it. But there is something else there that artists capture, something that has a meaning or message to it. In my attempts at it, I’ve started to feel (and/or think) that there has to be a looseness, an openness, a surrender to whatever wants to come through. One reason I think that is because I can see it in the art my oldest grandson produces. There is an ease there that I don’t yet have. He goes with his own flow. I don’t think he’s developed his own inner critic just yet. I hope he never does, at least not when it comes to anything artistic/creative. Constructive criticism is good stuff. That yammering voice inside that insists you’re not good enough is not.
Anyhow. We’ll see how it goes. Painting, drawing, collaging, and the other mixed media things are play time for me. I want to keep it that way. It keeps the inner critic quiet when I show up and just make a mess. It’s possible, too, that what I’m playing with on paper and canvas has me seeing things a little differently when it comes to my photography. Time will tell.
Shall I tell you a little secret? When I was a child, I wanted to be a writer and an artist. I also wanted to be a nun. Somehow it feels like the three are converging as I enter this aging part of life. Well, maybe not the nun part, but I do have an appreciation for spirituality, meditation, and prayer. It’s been an interesting journey from there (childhood) to here. I feel fortunate, in many ways, to be bringing forth some of my childhood wishes even at this later stage in life.
This feels like a good place to stop my meandering and turn things over to you. Leave me a note in the comments, if you wish, to let me know how life is going with you.
Thank you so much for visiting with me. Let’s head out to the Point for sunset. We’ve had some colorful sunsets lately, and it’s been a while since I’ve actually gone to the Point to have a look. I’ve watched from home, but it’s much nicer to stand at the water’s edge and see that wide-open view. Sunset is scheduled for 8:21 PM. It will be hot but they’re saying not quite as humid. We had some storms move through yesterday evening and that seems to have spawned a bazillion mosquitoes. Just giving you some fair warning on that.
Please be safe and be well. And keep imagining the world you wish to see.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 2,051) I hate to say it but… air conditioning. I’m conservative with it. Still, I feel like I should do something to balance out my summer energy usage by promising not to use too much heat in the winter. 2,052) All of the interesting and beautiful clouds that have been floating by recently. 2,053) Learning and new projects. 2,054) Dr. Holly, the vet who did Bella’s surgery on Monday. Bella had three teeth extracted and she’s recovering really well. 2,055) The body’s cooling system. In other words, sweat.