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Monday, August 30, 2010

Aunt Victoria's Tea Party

I lost my aunt yesterday and it feels like I’m wandering around in the Lost and Found Department. I lost her from this three dimensional home and she found her Higher Self as she was released from the limitations of life on this earth. She had completed her work and, no doubt, is enjoying the commendations of hosts of angels for her persevering heart, tenacity in the face of life’s challenges and continuing and childlike delight in the special gifts we are given.

The reason I think she would be celebrated by the angels is because she had a special connection with them. Many people believe in angels and pray to them, asking for guidance but my Aunt Victoria invited them into her home to display themselves in all of their wondrous glory and playfulness.

A number of years ago she began collecting images of angels. Family and friends joined with her in this delight by gifting her with angel icons of every kind. During Christmastime at her home you could find her tree adorned with angel ornaments and her living room decorated with a beautiful Hummel angel, angel orchestras, angels wearing feathers, snow angels, bear angels, angels bought on trips during family travels, etc. Some of the angels looked serene and serious; others were playful and even flamboyant. Every angel was welcome. Over time, Aunt Vic amassed such a collection of angels that they could not all be displayed at once and most had to be rotated each year. So many boxes were filled with angels that she needed assistance to do the annual Angel transport from their attic room storage to her living room. (What a beautiful metaphor that the angels were housed on high just as we see in Christian art!)

As much as she loved angels, Aunt Vic also loved to talk. She was never at a loss for something to say. She even had to be reminded to open a gift brought to her because she would so delight in conversation. The opportunity to visit with family and friends was as important to her as breathing as she had lost her husband at a very early age and was left to raise four children on her own.

Everyone, I believe, has something to teach us. I think Aunt Victoria’s connection with the angels is one of her special gifts to us. Her love of angels gave birth to the manifestation of the spiritual guidance we all have, the guidance we only need to tune in to. Aunt Vic learned that lesson well. Not only did she surround herself with this beautiful reminder, she shared it with joy and delight with all who visited her, serving her famous home-made cookies while her guests enjoyed the amazing collection of celestial images and glowing candles and the angels, undoubtedly, looked on, nodding and smiling in heavenly approval of her "tea parties".

Our lives always convey a message. And Aunt Vic knew a secret she was delighted to share with everyone. We are all guided in this life by love and caring and inspiration. Aunt Vic just knew where to look to find and celebrate them.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Website of Your Life

The wonderful Internet has bestowed upon us so many unanticipated opportunities. Recently, I have had the privilege and responsibility of helping design a website for my Mystic Marks bookmarks. I have worked diligently and excitedly with my web designer, Renee Bledsoe, of Fort Myers, Florida. Renee has a very poetic web name: She Who Weaves the Web. As I was first searching for a web designer a couple of years ago, I happened upon her website, read her philosophy, saw her web name and immediately fell into what I call Grace with her. A few weeks later I was visiting my sister who lives in Bonita Springs, Florida and went to Fort Myers to meet Renee. I knew immediately that this was the web designer for me. The moment was electric and inspiring and, at the same time, peaceful and gentle. Two years later I was ready to leap off the endgrain and share my thoughts with the larger arena of the world stage.

Renee and I worked on the website over the course of a few months. Several delays occurred. One because of a seven week illness I experienced this summer. Another came because I was asked to design bookmarks to meet a special need of several clients and everything stopped while I addressed that request. During this time, Renee intuitively knew that we needed to gently wait out the Divine messages that were coming into the picture and that they would, of course, enhance the website’s design.

When we were finally able to direct our energies full-force on the project, we were both delighted to find how beautifully our visions merged in this creation at every turn. We share the same spiritual view of life and this led us to amazing discoveries and inspirations that evolved as we talked and worked together. Renee is a masterful artist and teacher and she was determined to make sure that I would
LOVE the website design and every part of it. We took great care with each choice of color and font and design and, as we worked, new and wonderful ideas kept entering the scene.

When the website was completed, I discovered that this accomplishment was exerting great power in my life. I was intrigued by the dynamics of how this was happening. I found myself waking up in the morning calmed by some aspect of the website or one of the messages on it. It was teaching me, mentoring me, soothing me and, most important of all, it was
inspiring me.

One of these mornings I awoke with the words
Gentle Reminder singing in my heart. I wondered where they had come from. I thought about the beautiful, calm blue green of the website design and it made me feel gentle. I realized then that the website was working its magic. Next, I found myself applying these words to my life approach, and, in particular, to the times when I would berate or judge myself for not living up to my expectations. I am a deeply sensitive, intense person and whenever I am dealing with something, it tends to pop up in bold, technicolored hues. Now, the blue green of my website was showing the concept of gentle to me and I realized that at these times I only needed to whisper the words Gentle Reminder to myself and to tell myself that I only have to make some course corrections in my life. The sky was not, indeed, falling.

(Interestingly, my daughter Valerie told me that before she had seen the blue-green backdrop of the website design she had imagined what it would look like and it was the very same color Renee had chosen!)

Over time, I realized that this website which had been labored over with such care and love by both Renee and me represented my
Higher Self, the self I aspire to and that I was being treated to the joy of seeing that Higher Self in living color and design on the world-wide web! I discovered that when I needed to strongly connect with that special guidance I could go to the computer to tune in.

Which brings me to the title of this message:
The Website of Your Life. I am not assuming that everyone has the inclination nor the reason to produce a website for the Internet, but I do think that everyone could IMAGINE what the website of their life would look like… what colors it would have... what design... what message... what inspiration... and be able to use that vision to find the Divine Guidance we all need.

I want to close with this suggestion to you and, hopefully, it will ignite your emotions, your dreams and your aspirations which sometimes lay hidden… and bring them beautifully into the full vision of your imagination:
What would the website of your life look like?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Changing the Default Button

Eckhart Tolle has become a well-known guru of Living in the Moment.

Tolle's book, The Power of Now, instructs us regarding the importance of releasing our fear and anxiety about the past and what the future may bring and concentrating solely on what is occurring in this moment. Quantum belief says that time is an invention of man and that, if you change the present, you've changed everything (what you have already done and what you might choose to do in the future). If quantum belief is correct (and I believe it is), we are not bound to our past choices, decisions and actions. What those past choices, decisions and actions represent is the opportunity to learn from experience. (Of course, if we don't get the lesson, then we get another opportunity to "seize the day".)

The mindset we bring to the present moment is critical to what it brings to us. Somehow we always find what we are looking for. If we are looking for the difficulties we anticipate to be inherent in a situation, we will be able to find them like flashing neon lights. If we are open to learning new truths or experiencing new insights, they will be there. Our choice of focus will be borne from our most basic view of whether the universe is a friendly place to be. Let's say we recognize that the concept of a friendly universe is not and has not been our default button. Rather, we have been disappointed and hurt and have come to expect disappointment and hurt in order to protect ourselves. Now, let us imagine, we wish to change what we have realized about the way we view the world.

Enter Abraham Hicks and some very simple, very practical advice.

"If all you did was just look for things to appreciate you would live a joyous, spectacular life."

The more we practice finding the beauty and love in everything around us, the easier it is to do so. It may not come naturally at first, but what a great way to begin to see the world's color and passion and light. If we notice the delicate flight of the hummingbird, the roses scenting the air and the insect colonies building their fortresses, we can be delighted in the gorgeous setting of the Play of Our Lives. If we can find love in someone's action (even if it is in the intention and not the behavior), our life view starts to change. We begin to expect positive things to happen. We expect beauty and goodness. We expect love and, in expecting love, we begin to radiate it. The giving of love lifts our hearts. Then, experiencing our Present Moment feels like a gift...waiting to be opened and reopened whenever we desire.

Live in the moment and let that moment bring you an appreciation of all that surrounds you...the beautiful, miraculous, intelligent world we take for granted. Revel in its beauty. Savor its sweetness. Honor your LIFE and the joys awaiting you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Harold and the Purple Crayon

a reflection on a book by Crockett Johnson

There’s a Harold in all of us. But, sadly, he often gets lost when we grow up. Harold (the innocent, all-powerful, all trusting child) is untouched by the “lessons” we are supposed to learn…That we have to be careful…and safe…and do what we are told to do.
Harold knows that he already has everything he needs. To him life is simply a wonderful adventure and he creates whatever he wants to bring into his world by drawing it with his purple crayon and then letting the fun begin.

On a purely intuitive level, Harold knows that he is creating his life. He embraces this gift and is grateful, making choices that are delightful, supportive, adventurous and full of bliss. He is happy and hopeful and his purple sketches reflect these beautiful treasures. So he draws more of “happy” and “hopeful”.

This delightful creature is not just a fantasy. He is accessible to all of us. Ideally, the journeys of our lives will ultimately lead us back to the realization that Harold is still in our hearts, waiting to be let out to play.

I went for a walk tonight and heard the melodious crickets chirping with
the rhythm of life so I am going to draw more crickets and
more musical

I received some beautiful emails from my friends this week so I am going
to draw more friends and more email messages.

I saw the powerful waves at Grand Haven last week wash majestically over
the pier and so I am going to draw even bigger

Thank you...is the message of my heart. Thank you…and I’ll have more.

Harold, the magical creature, is our child heart's manifestation of our desire for connection with the beauty and hopefulness of life…a dream we all share.

What could the purple crayon do for you?

"Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."

Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

William Shatner, Thich Nhat Hanh and Mindfulness

A few months ago I was surfing my digital cable
for programs that looked interesting and I happened upon an interview segment hosted by William Shatner (of Star Trek and Boston Legal fame). It was called Shatner’s Raw Nerve. The name made me wonder what kind of commentary and conversation I would be hearing and I was delighted to discover the warmth and depth of caring which William Shatner exhibited as he talked with his guests. In point of fact, I was mesmerized by his manner and loving presence. I have rarely seen anyone listen in quite this way (with a few notable exceptions). It’s true that he gets so involved in the conversation that he often cannot contain himself and interjects his questions spontaneously but the amazing interest and obvious reverence he displays for the stories of his guests is over the top – wonderful. His guests always respond with deep appreciation. Since my first Raw Nerve discovery I have constantly searched for this program’s listings. I often record them if I will not be available to watch. I don’t want to miss a thing. What happens on this program is magical. I am so hooked on it.

As I reflect on this newfound and positive addiction of mine, it seems to me that William Shatner is a powerful and poignant example of a very beautiful quote I happen to love from Thich Nhat Hanh:

The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.
When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.

A while back I was having lunch with a lovely and engaging friend. I was telling her a lengthy story about something I had recently experienced and I noticed how beautifully and thoughtfully she listened to me and the lovely energy of this gift. Her rapt attention made me so happy and I relaxed into that very special moment. I thanked her at the end of the story and told her how much that attention meant to me and she looked up, gently took my hand and said, “Marie, it is an HONOR to be asked to listen. When someone cares about sharing his or her thoughts and feelings with another, there is a powerful interest in wanting to know the response.”

And yet how easy it is to take this “honor” for granted, to treat it casually…and sometimes in an offhand manner. And when we do that we are missing this amazing opportunity to help our loved ones, our friends, even casual strangers we are conversing with to feel truly cared for and to “bloom like flowers”. What better investment of our time and energy is there than to choose to give the gift of our full presence through Thich Nhat Hanh’s Mindfulness! Watching the persons who come into our lives Blossom and Bloom makes us Master Gardeners and must, by its very nature, deeply touch our own souls.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seeing with the Eyes of Love

If you look at your body, you will find billions of living beings who depend on you. Every cell in your body is a living being that depends on you. You are responsible of all of those beings. For all those living beings that are your cells, you are God. You can provide what they need; you can love all those living beings, or you can be so mean to them.

The cells in your body are completely loyal to you; they work for you in harmony. We can even say they pray to you. You are their God. That is the absolute truth. Now what are you going to do with this knowledge?

Don Miguel Ruiz

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ways to Show Love to Our Cells

Providing an Environment So That Cells Can Do Their Work of Healing

Get in the sunshine
Spend time out in nature
Get near water
Take a passeggiata (Italian walk for the sheer joy of moving with no particular objective in mind)
Walk fast or play sports for aerobic value
Observe birds, squirrels, deer, etc. and flowers, trees, shrubs, grass, etc.
Do physical activity that is fun for you
Sleep 8 or 9 hours each night
Relax before bedtime
Eat nutritious, non-toxic food
Drink purified water
Eat slowly and mindfully
Honor the body’s signals of hunger and satiety
Honor all of the signals of the body (pain and pleasure)
Deep breathe
Find the things that bring you joy/bliss
Accept life (honor the innate nature of things as they unfold; do not interfere with this rhythm.)
Honor the paths and journeys of others
Feel and express gratitude
Recognize the gifts of your life and the lessons which are there for you
Trust that you have all you need
Speak your truth and listen to others’ truth
Communicate with gentleness and love
Accept responsibility for your actions
Give a heartfelt apology when you feel you have made a mistake
Grieve your losses freely
Focus on the positive
Keep your environment clear and non-toxic
Avoid persons who carry negative vibrations
Note: If your vibrations are higher than the other person’s, it is OK to stay there, but the sheer effort of being in this environment may eventually exhaust you.
Decide things for yourself; listen to what is in your heart, not the opinions of others