Monthly Archives: July 2013

Time, Control and other Illusions…

Standard

Blog11Image

 

Change is a constant.  We know this to be true.  Seasons change and visible change takes place; things grow, mature, decline, die.  In light of this fact, we should question:  Can any of us predict the exact day a flower will bloom?  Do we know what will entangle the hours and minutes of our inevitable death?  Can we, in the conscience of all that is spontaneous, say we will recognize a life-changing event prior to its inception?  May we hope to unravel the complexities of connection, discourse, and influence in our own existence, and all those around us?

No…we can do none of these things…

Therefore, we are not in control.  We control ourselves, our emotions, responses, and perceptions but nothing else.  If I plant a flower, feed and water it exactly right, it still holds within it the potential to die.  Nature is uncontrolled and breathing and she does not yield to human will.  We can include human beings in the mix too, because we are of this world, this ‘nature’; unpredictable and wild, somewhat stable, but certain to change.

So why, without constants, do we still believe we exercise control over the uncontrollable?

We strive to control because we find the illusion of control comforting…our belief in the illusion makes us at least feel as though we are not given up to chance, and feelings, it seems, are quite important to our perceptions of order.  We function under a grand ideal; an ideal which preaches unequivocally that stability trumps change, order trumps chaos and preparation trumps surprise…

Yet, we yearn for all things spontaneous.  We fill our legends, music, and movies with it and we dream lofty dreams.  Silly really, since true spontaneity is literally defined by throwing oneself into the disordered, wildness of the universe with the sole purpose of experiencing the unplanned with a devil-may-care attitude.  True spontaneity is a rare thing, because the ideal prefers boundaries and borders to spontaneity.   Spontaneity must conform to the comfortable parameters set forth by our illusions.  Illusions which state we can somehow exercise a measure of control over our ‘spontaneous’ experiences, somehow making them ‘better’.

Because, of course, all we do not know makes us uncomfortable.  So what we do not know is unpredictable, and requires explanation and measurement to become comfortable, even if the measurement and explanation is illusion…

Take time for example…does time, as we understand it, actually exist?

What does time fundamentally mean to a newborn?  How does it matter to the deathbed?  And all the spaces between, which are filled, managed, scheduled, forgotten, procrastinated, or logged…what do they mean?  Is life merely a score sheet of timed tally marks in which we, as human beings, with our ‘mathematical concepts’ of time set out to measure and denote and catalog that which is, in reality, unpredictable and constant change?

It is uncomfortable to us to admit our lack of control.  We feel set adrift on a vast, dark ocean in a rowboat.  But our perceptions are the issue, not our lack of control.  If we could, in a moment, consider the marvelous nature of life; its progression, change, and interrelatedness with the rest of creation.

I’m not advocating the rejection of common sense.  I’m not advocating harmful recklessness.  Nor am I advocating that anyone should operate outside the rules of culture in which they live and make a living.  In other words, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but perhaps try in small steps to begin letting go of the illusions of control that bring a false sense of comfort within your own life.

I’m talking about the possibility and potential inherent in the moment.  I am talking about the release of the paradigm.  The confining paradigm that works against the notion that any given moment is beautiful in its own right, full of complex shifts between good and bad, the latter producing infinite benefits if one could only embrace the lesson.  I’m talking about approachability, sensibility, respect, and compassion.  So that every individual you meet and moment you experience is not merely factored, measured, and sized up, but rather embraced as the natural infusion of force in which we all play part.  Respect the journey, not for its measurability, but its immeasurable and untamed potentialities.  In this, the moments within the journey become recognized as awesome blessings  🙂

 

*image courtesy of:  http://www.cumberlandchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/control.gif *

Sunshine Blogger Award…

Standard

sunshine-blog-awardWOW! I feel so honored and humbled to be nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by fellow inspiring blogger Molly at Love Well-Live Well!

THANK YOU SO MUCH, MOLLY! 🙂

There are some small details that go hand-in-hand with excepting this awesomely-titled award, so here they are:

‘The rules…’

  • Include the award logo in a post or on the blog
  • Include a link to the person who nominated you (Molly, you rock!)
  • Write 10 random things about yourself
  • Nominate ten other bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”, and let them know you nominated them…

Now for those 10 Random Things about Me…

1. Sometimes I repeat things to myself using a British accent…I do a lot of voices.

2. I prefer jeans (long or short) to any other garment in the world

3. I lack the ability to turn down a dare

4. As an artist, my favorite color is burnt sienna and I have to closely monitor myself for its overuse

5. All my animals have been rescues

6. I am a genealogy N-U-T…I love research and investigation

7. I’m not sure I could survive without music and movies

8. The Palauan name ‘Deurreng’, which means ‘happiness’ or ‘joyful’ was given to me during my archaeological dig experience in Palau, Micronesia…it’s now tattooed behind my right ear 🙂

9. My life motto is: ‘There is always a way…’

10. I first learned to ride a bike uphill

And my SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD nominations are (drumroll please…)…

1. Jenna Dee 222

2. Insight from a Woman’s Heart

3. Ravens Ink Well

4. Dosage of Daily Inspiration

5. Health, Happiness, and Skinny Wraps

6. wesweezy

7. Brevity

8. Mindfulbalance

9. Truth and Cake

10. Real Life Co.

A big THANK YOU to each of these bloggers for the SUNSHINE they spread with every blog they write  🙂
And to Molly, I say thank you again for nominating me for this wonderful award  🙂

Cheers All!
Mary

Nature Lessons: Caterpillars & Butterflies

Standard

Caterpillars…
The word ‘beautiful’ doesn’t exactly leap to mind.bfly james took
Butterflies…
Now we’re talking b-e-a-utiful 🙂
But think of the process at work here; two creatures in one.  Metaphor, and metamorphosis.
How unlikely it seems that such a slow moving, low-to-the-ground, and oddly represented creature as the caterpillar should ever aspire to the beauty and grandeur of the butterfly.
Yet, they are butterflies…inside.  Until change brings makes their beauty visible to the world.
They sense change coming and embrace it.  They accommodate change by preparing for its coming…they do not run away or avoid.
Changing (as a verb) is harsh and even unpleasant.  It simultaneously tests endurance and perseverance.  Coming out on the other side of such a struggle is victory and it fills the heart and mind with a rare confidence.  The kind of confidence that allows one to soar…
Because change is good, change is new…a rebirth. And if prepared through acceptance, change is positive and exciting.  A promising chance and hope for something new 🙂
Be like the caterpillar…
Prepare for and accept change as it comes (because it will come…).  Embrace what is offered to ‘become’ what is wished.  Only then can we display the beautiful, vibrancy of our inside to the outside and reach heights only dreamed of a moment ago, when we were confined to the ground, before change allowed us to fly 🙂

*photo courtesy of my husband, James…*

Wearing Nothing but a Smile…

Standard

Blog 10 ImageThere are times, especially when we’ve been hurt by another, when our hope in humanity seems a fruitless endeavor. ..

But there are other instances, those that renew our opinion of humanity, and they always manage to appear when we’re feeling let down, hurt, or hopeless…

Instances like May 1995…

This was the night I lost my driver’s license and ATM card.  I lost them in a restaurant.  The manager called me at home about an hour after I’d dined there to let me know he had them.  I drove (yes, without a license…) to the restaurant to retrieve my lost items, all the while wondering why someone had turned them in, as opposed to taking them.

The thought was due to the information I’d received from the manager.  You see, although my license had been found near the restaurant table I’d occupied, the ATM card had been found in the parking lot.  My response was immediate surprise that someone found my ATM card in the parking lot, bothered to walk back inside the restaurant, and took time to consult the manager about the situation, all on behalf of a person they didn’t even know.  I mean, they could have gotten a free Bahamas vacation or….something….right?

What a sad prospect…

With the constant barrage of worldwide media, we witness so much of the violence, pain, and senseless destruction people bring on others, we begin to believe the world must generally be that way; the summation equal to certain parts of the whole.

Take smiling for example…

I smile at everyone I pass.  Usually, I receive blank stares or odd looks, which feels pretty terrible after a while.  It’s not terrible because I’m not receiving a smile in return.  It’s terrible because the majority find it too bizarre to simply return a smile-for-a-smile without believing there are strings attached.  My grandma always told me, “smile, it confuses people,” and she couldn’t know how right she was.  Yet, out of 1000 people I might give a smile, 999 might look confused, but at least one will always smile back.  That one person makes it all worthwhile.  If nothing else, it proves there are other ‘smiling weirdoes’ like me out there 🙂

What I’m getting at is this:  We tend to label before knowing, judge without facts, and consistently fail to consider the math that states unequivocally, “there is just as much opportunity for good as there is for bad”.

So when I questioned the motives of the person who found and returned my ATM card, I failed to give a smile-for-a-smile.  I went against my broader belief that people are generally good at heart.  There is a lot of good in the world.

And to that wonderful ‘weirdo’ who returned my ATM card that night in May of 1995, I would like to say:  God bless, and may the next person you see, pass you with a smile…  🙂

 

*image courtesy of:  http://pernix.at/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/take-a-smile.jpg *

Kindness…it’s what’s for breakfast…

Standard

Blog 9 PicI’ve always liked the phrase ‘you get what you give’, but there’s a kink…

You don’t always get what you give when it comes to kindness.  Ouch.  I just ripped that statement off like a Band-Aid…

No worries, there’s a silver lining…it doesn’t have to impact you in a negative way.

Is it frustrating to be treated like crap when you’re being kind to someone?  Are there times when it feels as though there is a complete lack of justice in the world, especially when some seem to make it their life’s mission to make other people miserable by being mean, rude, or uncompassionate?

When our frustration stems from the inability of another person to return our kindness, than our kindness wasn’t given freely.  It came with strings attached…strings of expectation.  In fact, those individuals necessitate greater compassion, rather than frustration.  It is incredibly sad when a fellow human being doesn’t have the capability to receive kindness.

Damage manifests many ways and although we are all damaged goods to varying degrees and crossroads, we are also each on a unique journey of learning and healing.  There is no certain formula for the amount of time or circumstance required for a person to heal, to be healthy.  Unfortunately, some damage runs too deep; intersections with connections never made, when a lifetime isn’t enough time to fix all the issues.  This kind of hurt continues to haunt and spread pain.  Healing is as complex and unique as a fingerprint.

Motivations for kindness are the key.  Kindness isn’t something we give because we expect people to return it by treating us the same way.  Kindness isn’t for show or a method for getting into Heaven.  Kindness is just because.  Because a kind person is the type of person we choose to be, regardless of circumstance.  We strive to say with honesty that we treat everyone with kindness not because it makes us better than someone else, but just because it is in our power to do so; because we choose to put kindness out into the universe, just because we believe kindness matters.

A truly kind spirit is one that cares, loves, nurtures, and chooses to propagate kindness just because.  Kindness is its own hope, with the capacity to soak into souls like a summer rain into parched earth.  Let’s do ourselves and the world a favor and be a source of expectation-less kindness…

🙂

*image courtesy of: http://headlinebistro.typepad.com/.a/6a00e553f9f2f388340133f4d5a2f1970b-pi *