Sunday, June 26, 2011

Perfectly Imperfect

When I was a young child, I used to watch one of my uncles paint.  He would set up in the foyer of my Granny’s old house on Silver Avenue where, I suppose, the light was just right.  He would have the smelly oil paints on a palate, mixing blues, whites, yellows, and many others.  He was especially fond of oceans and skies and I was amazed at how many colors existed in ocean, sand and sky!  In my child’s simple mind, an ocean was greenish with white waves, sky was blue, clouds were white, and sand was yellow.  Yet my uncle showed me how many, many shades of color it took to express each of these on canvas.  I, too, wanted to explore this art form, but somehow had the impression that you could either paint or not.  You either had “talent” or not.  There was no in between and nothing you could learn.  I was not encouraged to pick up a brush although I did receive the “paint by number” kits at Christmas and they were some of my favorite gifts.
Many years have passed and I have never forgotten my urge to create in this manner.  And true to my uncle’s influence, it is usually when I look at the sky (particularly clouds), ocean, trees, and other natural beauty that I am most inspired.  It has been on my “bucket list” a long time that I would take an art class.  I knew I could create art and have created several wonderful pieces, but not a drawing or painting.
Last night that all changed!  One of my best friends had called earlier in the week and told me about a new place that had opened where you could go, drink some wine and be taught an art class.  They guaranteed you would come away with a painting of whatever the subject happened to be that evening.  So we went!!  Our purpose in going was simply to do something new, have a creative experience and HAVE FUN!!  Lo and behold, I now have a painting that I did!!  It isn’t great, it’s very simple, but it is mine!  Most importantly, my inner child was released in a playfulness and remembrance that was sacred and inspiring.
One of the AHA moments I had during all this was the realization that the constant fear of failure lives within those of us that are perfectionists.  We don’t even try things because we know they won’t be perfect.  Now, my painting is far, far from perfect, as you can see, but it is perfect for me.  When I look at it, I don’t criticize it, I think of the enjoyment of our experience.   I think of the fun we had!  I think of the new people we met and the funny stuff they said and did.  Each of us came away with our version of the picture….each perfect in its own way.
Just have fun.  Fill your life with joy.  Do things you’ve always wanted to.  Know that perfection is a myth and some false standard we have convinced ourselves exists.  ALL is perfectly imperfect.  WE are perfectly imperfect.  Live.  Love.  Laugh.  Create.  Revel in you imperfections, for that is what makes each of us a perfect individual. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Be In Love

Photo by Simone Lipscomb

I used to live in the beautiful mountains of NC.  From the front room, I had a perfect view of a mountain.  Season after season passed and I observed the mountain as each one passed.  I saw the fresh green and flowerings of spring, the deep and lush greens of summer, the array of yellows, reds, and oranges of fall and finally, the contrast of dark branches and snows of winter.  No matter what time of year it was, there was always beauty to behold.  Even during the winter, when each little perfect imperfection could be seen, it was still the mountain and still beautiful.  I loved each season equally. 
I think of this mountain on occasion and realize how like my family and friends this mountain is.  I see them in their beautiful new, freshness with their flowery personalities.  I see them in their full ripeness during their “summers”, all dressed up and rich with beauty.  They turn colors like the fall leaves, and even though this is a time that foretells of being dormant, the colors are just dazzling.  Then their “winter” comes…they are laid bare with each imperfection visible.  Yet they are the same beautiful being during this time as during the times of their showy beauty.  I love them no less…for a person, like a mountain, has many layers and personalities to show.  Even when the imperfections are the most visible, the beauty remains and will return in another season.

Image by Idea Go

Don’t discard your friends and/or family when they lay bare their imperfections.  Know that their beauty is still within them, just dormant for a spell.  Let not your love depend on what they may be going through at any given time…let your love be unconditional upon what they are going through.  Love and support them even if they are upset with you or you are upset with them.  Love them even when you cannot agree with them.  Be in love with them no matter what the circumstances…even if they do not return the love.  Just like you, they are evolving and changing…give them the benefit of the doubt.  Don’t cast them in old and worn out roles that they no longer play.  Their season will change, and they will once again flower, bloom, sparkle and support you.  Life is ever changing just like the seasons that were reflected in my mountain.  All of us constantly re-invent ourselves based on what we have learned.  Be kind.  Be compassionate.  Be in love. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Miracles Happen Every Day

Photo by Graur Razvan Ionut
These thoughts have been on my mind for several days so I must get them out!!  It’s about Miracles…you know, the kind that happen every day, especially if we are expectant and anticipating them.  There’s one we take for granted every day…waking up!  We are alive!  We are animated!  We have choice, if not in what we do, at least in how we do it. 
Sometimes they come about from need and by holding the need as met rather than as unfulfilled.  This happened just last week for me.  I had a need.  My past patterns were to worry, shuffle it around over and over as to what I must do and how I could make it happen.  Since I have many years worth of knowing for a fact that this method does not fulfill the need, I decided to do what I’ve been intuiting I should…just hold the thought that the need is fulfilled and not worry about the hows or wherefores.  As my minister once told me, “get off the ways and means committee”!!  Anyway, I began my week last week with needs.  I did not worry and when I found myself worrying or orchestrating, I just said, “All is well.  I am safe.  I am loved” and the needs got fulfilled completely.
And not only were my “needs” met…something I have been wanting also made its way to my door!  It was a lovely bedroom suite for my granddaughter!  I have been wanting to re-do her room since she came to live with me last Thanksgiving.  God, the Universe, Divine Will…by whatever name you choose to call it…brought all the pieces together.  I am so wonderfully blessed and appreciative!
I must comment here that often, in order for miracles to happen, someone else must listen to their inner guidance.  So it is as important for us to expect and receive miracles as it is to be receptive to being used to provide one for someone else.  It could be as simple as giving a smile or kind word to someone and it could change their entire day.  Maybe you get the urge to call someone and it was just the encouragement they needed.  Maybe you just get that feeling to do or say something and you have no idea why.  DO IT!!  You may be being used to provide a miracle in someone else’s day.  I am so thankful to the dear persons that heeded their inner promptings last week to provide some miracles for me! 
This is what compassionate service is all about…the giving and receiving of miracles.  Look around yourself…can’t you find one miraculous thing?  If you cannot, I suggest you get up and look in a mirror…there you will see one of the greatest miracles of all!  Go out and be open to giving and receiving miracles today…I would bet on the fact that something amazing will happen!
What a coincidence?!?  My inbox delivered Walt Whitman’s “Miracles” as the poem of the day!  I will share it with you below, as it truly sums up my thoughts…everything can be perceived as a miracle!

by Walt Whitman                                                                
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of
   the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
   with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
   quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
   the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,                                                                                           
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—                      
   the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?                           

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Daily Dose of Inspiration

May 29, 2011.  Today I began a new facebook fan page…Daily Dose of Inspiration.  It has been an interesting unfolding process.  For a while now, I have been focused on following my joy.  I check in with my emotional self to discover what is/is not bringing me joy.  For me, and I’m sure for many, what seems to bring me the most joy is inspiration of some type.  It can come in so many forms…often unexpected…such as quotes, poems, songs, video, anyone or anything has the potential to inspire!  Now that I realize how good this makes me feel, I stay alert and expectant for such moments in my life.  They usually arise out of some synchronistic moment when I’ve just gone or done what I felt like rather than some well thought out moment…when I’m in the flow.
I had already begun posting some of these moments on my personal fb page….and most of the time I received likes and/or comments.  I know what it is like to be feeling down, sit down to the computer, bring up facebook and see a post of some sort that can change my entire day.  But my page is also there to support friends, family and other business interests such as posts relating to Massage Therapy.  I had been toying with an idea that was not quite yet formed as to how to isolate inspiration on a page.  The gelling of these ideas came together last week during a news broadcast on a local minister’s page that now has over 5 million followers!  I visited the page to see what it was, and it was basically what I had in mind other than a different focus.  Over the past week, my journal has filled up with ideas on the formation of the page and its various components.  I had initially wanted to name it “Daily Inspirations” but found that was already being used by searching on fb.  I began writing down various names and finally stumbled upon “Daily Dose of Inspiration”.  When I was growing up, our local radio station (92.3?) always played your “daily dose of Beatles”. 
I have no aspirations for this page.  I am doing it for myself.  I have found that if I pass along something that inspires someone, it comes back to me 100 times over.  So if even 1 person is inspired 1 time, I’m so fully blessed!  Let the inspiration begin!

Monday, June 6, 2011

AHA Never Stops

Photo by Idea Go
I do so miss Oprah, especially the AHA moments of which she was so fond.  She loved doing the shows where she would get folks to share their own AHA’s, which had been inspired by one of her shows.  I’ve had several while watching, but can never think of what they were when she does the “call” for such!  And I have plenty of them without Oprah too!  Frankly, I’m often amazed at how many layers of ego, of personality, of ignorance, of imbalance there are to a person.  The person, of whom I am speaking, of course, is me!  I now understand that the learning – the peeling of layers - never stops for an entire lifetime!  When I was young, I thought at some point in life one “arrived”.  Now I understand there is no destination, just a journey!  As Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life:  it goes on.”
AHA moments can occur anywhere, anytime, and be brought on in any situation.  Something happens to spark a memory, change a perspective, acquire a deeper meaning to a situation, and then forces us to evolve spiritually.
I had my own AHA this week when I realized I was harboring a judgment against someone.  I actually saw a picture of her and her husband…still happy and together after many years.  I smiled remembering their wedding and how young and different things were then.  I too have been married, had children and so wanted the Cinderella story…but, that is not what I chose for my life.  Chose?  Really?  I know it’s practically impossible to imagine that I would have chosen my life, but, indeed I did.  And so did you.  Don’t like what you’ve chosen?  Neither did I.   So the obvious solution was to make another choice.  And so I did, and so I continue to do. 
But back to my AHA….I saw my friends still so happy after all this time.  I smiled to myself and thought about how happy I am for them.  Then I suddenly realized I was harboring an ill feeling that was totally stemming from an assumption I had made about a situation.  I asked myself and in spirit, my friend for forgiveness.  Suddenly I could see several such situations with various people.  As I followed each one down, I realized that each situation had been perceived as personal to me…I had made an assumption about something…I held some hardness in my heart toward that person as a result.  One by one, I went to them in spirit and asked forgiveness.  I forgave myself and thought of the wasted time and blocked energy I was carrying around.  I realized that I avow that it’s never too late to be a good (fill in the blank….parent, friend, spouse, etc.).  If I allow that of myself, how much more should I allow it to others?
Though sometimes I whine and complain that I’m weary of all this peeling back of layers, I know that if I’ll keep at it, some wonderful treasure will eventually be revealed.  Hopefully a few already have.  Maybe when the biggest AHA occurs, that is the moment the physical can no longer contain us and we must continue on in Spirit.   Still, I’m MOST happy to keep on peeling for a while and having many AHA’s on the way!!