Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visiting Lyrics

"The moment at hand is the only thing we really own."
~~ John Denver

Friday, June 20, 2008

From Mike in Maine

"Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants."

Thanks for the quote, Mike!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gettin' Squirrelly

In our youngest, tiniest, new birch tree the squirrel perched, making a late afternoon snack out of the catkins found hanging from the spindly branches. Cassie snapped these photos through the window while standing motionless in the living room. Little Squirrel remained for several minutes before he scampered off in search of new and exotic foods in our yard and beyond.

After removing our three ancient, rotting Thundercloud Plum trees over a year ago we wondered if we'd ever have squirrels in trees in our front yard again.

Guess that question's been answered!

It's a sign that our life is returning to us after our long remodel project. And we welcome the arrival of the new and familiar.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Postures of the Heart

"If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. That will help change your family. From there it just gets bigger and bigger. Everything we do has some effect, some impact." ~~ Dalai Lama
Greeting me with a gently welcoming invitation to join her in the pleasure of a comfortable Saturday the sun's finger-rays warmed my face, sneaking a crack of light into my darkened sleeping space, enticing and imploring me to awaken from slumber. "A pleasant day is forming. Interested?"

Gentle and alluring is a temperate sun, friendly energy. Flower blossoms follow its path, vegetable plants soak it in, beagles bask, children laugh and play, waters sparkle. Shadows maneuver, contrast. Men remove their shirts and glisten. Women stretch out white winter limbs and sigh. The living is easy.

A mellow yellow sun's influence on an Oregon June morning reminds me of kindness, soothing yet energizing, encouraging, flowing out and into, expanding goodness, praise, support, life out and out and out in ever-widening circles. My mind and body surge with creative freedom. Humble people, pure in heart, maturely sensitive, lovingly patient induce courage and harmony.

As I ponder this comparison my thoughts naturally turn to opposites. A tornado, a ferocious tornado has the opposite effect. Vegetation is ripped out of its soil, destroyed. Children run in terror, seeking solid shelter. Waters are attacked, splayed, muddied, madly disrupted. A tornado forces itself where it is not wanted, upsets, demoralizes, harms with its frenetic energy. Constriction. Destruction. Unharnessed, the energy of a tornado is wasted.

A rampant tornado reminds me of competitive, insecure, pushy people who, in their glory-hound mindsets, stir everyone up. Demoralizing behavior saps energy, divides relationships. Arriving with chaos in their hands, ambitious motivation in their hearts they leave us dizzy in their wake. Little rag dolls.

It is the opposite of kindness. It is inconsiderate, mean.

If the motivation for a deed is self-serving does the good that would be done ultimately end up being bad? We intuitive humans can tell the difference between altruism and narcissism. Discomfiture from living amidst such negative ambition feels like a tight scratchy jacket. While it may warm us, we squirm. "Get this off of me." Deceit. Manipulation. Unforgiveness. Bullying and condescension. Such patronizing rejection shuns, discourages, harasses. Can genuine good, lasting good follow?

It's true that, "Everything we do has some effect, some impact." Life-affirming impact like a moderate sun and kindness. Or demoralizing impact such as a tornado or self-seeking busyness.
"Kindness is the key to peace and harmony in family life." ~~ Dalai Lama
This morning I'm thankful for the sun's inspiration, reminding me of my influence on family, friends, and strangers alike. Good or bad, helpful or hurtful. It will be one or the other.

Today, I choose harmony.

It's a better fit.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Together Old and New

"You know that elderly people are very sad when they have to live separately from their children and grandchildren. This is one of the things in the West that I do not like. In my country, [Vietnam] aged people have the right to live with the younger people. It is the grandparents who tell fairy tales to the children. When they get old, their skin is cold and wrinkled and it is a great joy for them to hold their grandchild, so warm and tender. Nowadays the elderly have to go to a home where they live only among other aged people. Just once a week they receive a short visit, and afterwards they feel even sadder. We have to find ways for old and young people to live together again. It will make all of us very happy." ~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

"Once there is seeing, there must be acting. Otherwise, what is the use of seeing?" ~~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Up a Tree

Stuck on a thick limb high in our silver maple tree was a neighbor's white and black tuxedo cat. We kept an eye on him while we mowed the lawns. And while we trimmed the lawns. While we thinned the garden vegetables and potted flowers for the sun patio. And while we had dinner...and dessert.

"He's scared. He's not coming down."


Tom happened to be wearing a fire equipment shirt he was given for one of the many seminars he's attended as a mechanic. He was the obvious choice for cat-rescue-hero. Before the kids and I could make our decision official Tom shinnied up the tree. Besides some good exercise his efforts proved futile. Kitty cat was out of reach and climbing higher with each rescue attempt.

Sam stretched tall, sniffing, letting an occasional beagle bay reverberate from his throat. "Unacceptable to have a strange cat in my yard!"

The cat descended and fled by the time red sky at morning appeared. Caroline checked.

For over a month I've felt like that feline, up a tree and not knowing how to descend to my normal environment. Frozen. But, like the cat, I'm down again. The world makes sense and I'm not afraid anymore.

For now.