"We become what we think about." ~ Earl Nightingale

Welcome to Sacred Ruminations

I hope you'll look around & leave comments
then visit me at my new blog ...

Giraffe Journal

and/or website ... Labyrinth Journal
both self-hosted at WordPress
where I publish as myself
rather than under a

I've not had much time for posting or blog visits, but if you're interested I hope you'll find time to check out my new blog, Giraffe Journal or my Labyrinth Journal website ... both self hosted at WordPress.

Thanks for your visit and have a delightful day ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Day 9 Mindfulness (My Sacred Life)

As always when October ends ... my thoughts about gratitude expand. Before retirement, I used to challenge my students to begin a gratitude list each November and write at least one thing they were grateful for each day throughout the month. Some jumped at the chance and included many more than one each day, while others hesitated ... sometimes even complaining they had nothing to write. By months end, most had written something and many decided to continue the practice indefinitely. I didn't read these lists unless students asked me to do so, but I did count it as an assignment ... entering a grade based on the number of items listed divided by the number of school days in the month. Most kids raised their GPA on this one, but more importantly ... many established a habit of being thankful ... at least for a little while.

Sarah Ban Breathnach encourages each of us to write down 5 things each day for which we are grateful throughout the year. I can assure you from personal experience, doing so will change your perspective and your life. If you haven't tried it yet, may I suggest you accept the challenge for a month and see what happens.

November 1st -- 2:25pm
PS -- I just found this link about Gratitude Journals and Why They Work and figured it might be a useful addendum here. Check it out if you wish ... or not. :)

***Humbling and Inspirational Individuals - Randy Pausch and Lisa Kerr

If you've not heard it yet, be sure to check out the Last Lecture of Randy Pausch on YouTube or visit his Webpage for links to download and/or purchase it on DVD.

I just saw him deliver this talk on a recent Oprah, and I'm grateful a friend called to encouraged me to record it. What an inspiration! He's a Professor at Carnegie Mellon who is dying of Pancreatic Cancer, but living each day in the present ... making a difference.

Also featured was Lisa Kerr whose book CRAZY SEXY CANCER TIPS is one I intend to read. She's been diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of cancer out there but responds to the difficult questions with amazing observations like:
"Life is too sweet to be bitter"
"Desperation turns to inspiration"

These two people remind us that life is a terminal condition for all of us. As Randy said,
"We can't control the cards we're dealt.
We can only play the hand we're holding."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 8 Letting Go (My Sacred Life)

"We need to let go of everything
that no longer serves us.
How long must we carry the burden
of the mistakes of our past?

Mentally give away everything
that you think belongs to you,
so if one day it were no longer there,
it wouldn't cause you a moment of suffering.
from THE ZEN BOOK by Daniel Levin

Ah ... I know this to be true in my heart ... so why do I find getting rid of "stuph" so challenging? I'm such a "pack rat" ... always have been! But I've given up WORKing at it and have begun to PLAY at clearing out clutter instead. Methinks that helps. "Reframing" challenges often does.
What are YOU ready to release today
and how might you begin?

***Found and shared as requested

on The Dream Life
Pass it on if you choose.

excerpted from the article "Writers & the War Against Nature" published in the Shambhala Sun, november 2007 issue

Monday, October 29, 2007

Day 7 Reconnecting with Spirit (My Sacred Life)

In THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, Don Miguel Ruiz suggests we make small changes ... encouraging us to be "impeccable" with our word ... "make no assumptions" ... "take nothing personally" ... and "always do our best". Of the four, the first was the one that I had the most difficulty remembering and understanding, but over time I've come to know it's my INTERNAL conversations that require the most work in this regard. My inner "nag" can be ruthlessly critical & relentless. No one has ever been as unkind to me as I've been to myself.

Decades ago while writing in my journal one morning, my left hand unexpectedly took charge of my mechanical pencil and moved on the page, revealing a more gentle voice within ... writing that I'm perfect & loved ... "just as I am".

The first time this happened, my left hand filled the page (in a childlike scrawl) with a simple phrase repeated insistently ("I love you just as you are ... just as you are ... just as you are ... just as you are ... just as you are ...) and refused to return the pencil to my right hand until reminding me that I need to love myself just as I am also.

I remember the emotional confusion ... tears ... relief ... amazement ... and wonder of it all as I put the journal down and moved through the days that followed ... mindfully realizing this voice dwells within alongside my "nag" but is harder to hear because it's more quiet and calm. When I do listen ... it reassure me often and I experience everyday life differently.

I've shared this experience with a few trusted friends over the years and each tells me it "resonates" ... but recently Christina asked if I'd send her a copy of the page to hang on her wall. I promised I'd do so when I find it. With boxes of journals stacked in my spare room, I have no idea when that might happen ... but it got me thinking.

I'm grateful to authors like Don Miguel Ruiz who share their truth ...(helping us discover our own)... and I'm wondering what gems might be hidden away, but worth sharing from the collection of journals I've filled in the past 40 years.

What authors speak to YOU
and what truths are you here to share with others?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 6 Remembrance & Change (My Sacred Life)

Midway through the Taos Writers Retreat this summer, Suzanne led about a dozen early risers on a Silent Meditation Walk on to Pueblo Lands at 6:oo in the morning, and I took this photograph along with many others.

Looking at it takes me back, reminding me of so many recent firsts in my life ...
-- driving from Southern California to Taos & back on my own
-- exploring the High Road and Enchanted Circle ... stopping often
-- visiting the Sanctuario de Chimayo and the Chimayo weavers
-- finding perfect gifts for friends and special mementos for myself
-- arriving early at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House
-- sleeping in the Georgia O'Keefe room that first night
-- meeting new people & beginning beautiful friendships
-- falling asleep listening to Pueblo Indian drums & chanting
-- dining on delicious Santa Fe cuisine without gaining any weight
-- glorious sunrises each morning and sunsets each afternoon
-- connecting with amazing writers
-- learning we share similar experiences, attributes, and feelings
-- participating in stimulating workshops each day
-- writing for extended periods in lovely locations, inside & out
-- sharing & responding, listening, giving & receiving feedback
-- facing my fears as they surfaced, one by one
-- accepting and valuing myself ... just as I am
-- discovering my writing "resonates" with listeners & readers
-- exploring the retreat grounds and the city of Taos
-- playing fetch with the friendly Chocolate lab as I missed Molly
-- lightning, thunder & heavy rains pounding the roof one night
-- opening to what might be ... if only
-- finding a room available to extend my stay
-- allowing myself time & space to process everything reflectively
-- sharing dinner with three others who didn't leave Taos immediately
-- recognizing subtle shifts within and around me leading to change

The serendipitous confluence of events that got me there & back again remind me that paying attention to invitations from the Universe and making open-hearted choices yield powerful (and sometimes surprising) results. My presence in the Blogosphere now grew out of these moments.

Memories & experiences
serve as continuing catalysts of all that came before.
Peace floods my being as grace brings gratitude and joy
for changes I once foolishly feared.
Blessings abound as I begin to step forth
walking my talk
trusting others again

What invitations from the Universe exist for you today?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Day 5 Embracing a Larger Vision (My Sacred Life)

Sometimes the Daily Email from Renaissance Unity takes my breath away and leaves me humbly considering the staggering possibility that God might have bigger plans for me than I do for myself.

Today's affirmation is: "I am the light of God shining in the world."

What an audacious thought!

Seven years ago, "early retirement" allowed me to step out of an overly busy life into a slower-pace contemplative one. Although challenged at first, I learned to say "No thank you" graciously when asked to take on responsibilities I no longer found engaging, and to release associated "guilt" and "worry" through journaling & meditation ... so that my life is simple, joy-filled, and relaxed these days.

In THE LIFE YOU WERE BORN TO LIVE, Dan Millman writes of "Nine-Year Cycles" beginning that chapter with this quote:
The power of the world always works in circles,
and everything tries to be round.
The sky is round, and I have heard
that the earth is like a ball,
and so are all the stars.
The wind, in it's greatest power, whirls:
birds make their nests in circles,
for theirs is the same religion as ours.
The sun and moon, both round,
came forth and go down again in a circle.
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing,
and always come back again to where they were.
The life of a person is a circle from childhood to childhood,
and so it is in everything where power moves.
Black Elk

If Millman is correct about the timing of things, perhaps I can give myself continued breathing room as I make gradual changes in the next two years of MY "Nine-Year Cycle" before emerging as the Butterfly I choose to be?

In the meantime, I shall "let my little light shine" here and elsewhere ... remembering it might be bigger than I realize.

Blessed Be -- and so it is. Thank you very much. Amen

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 4 Giving & Receiving (My Sacred Life)

A COURSE IN MIRACLES teaches that giving and receiving are the same. I've learned this truth first-hand many times in the past, and I experienced it twice over today ... first with C and then with S ... both women I met recently in Taos at a Writers Retreat.

C does psychic readings in person and over the telephone. She did mine today ... providing amazingly useful, thought-provoking, & self-affirming information. I suspect I'll be processing what she shared indefinitely as I pursue new challenges, stepping out of my comfort zone to share what I can with others while discovering what I'm here to do with a joy-filled & playful spirit. When she finished, I asked her how she could possibly know so much about me ... and she just laughed and thanked ME for this "gift" of validating feedback. We both felt enriched by our connection. I shall write more specifically about her reading in future posts.

Similarly S called this afternoon to compliment me after checking out my two new Blog sites for the first time. She shared her desire to experiment similarly and I offered to talk her through the process ... sharing what I've learned recently myself. Within a couple of hours she created a site of her own called The WGASA Revolution, and, afterwards she expressed her gratitude for my clarity, knowledge, and "infinite patience" ... along with conveying joy-filled excitement with all she'd accomplished. Like C, I found her feedback to be a gift of validation and experienced my own joy mirrored in hers.

Touch truth and pass it on. How cool is this?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 3 Gratitude & Cleanup (My Sacred Life continued)

It's evening ... and I've done my best with these photos ... (the ones I took as I cleaned up the yard and mentioned in today's earlier post)... though I'm unable to arrange and/or order them on the page as I'd like with captions.

I've tried everything I can think of, learned a few things about how this works, and suppose I'll eventually discover better ways to to this kind of thing, but for now ... this will have to be good enough.

Day 3 Gratitude & Cleanup (My Sacred Life)

Thankfully, the Santa Ana winds have subsided and we have a light onshore breeze this morning. There's ash everywhere and I'm sure the air isn't clean because all the smoke hanging off shore will blow back through as the winds pick up and continue to shift, but Molly and I needed some "outside" time and a break from the ongoing Southern California fire coverage.

In a little less than three hours, I've cleaned up the front yard, almost completely filling one large trash can. Because the Korean grass is bumpy, rakes and brooms did little to remove the thousands of palm seeds nested therein ... so I did most of the work sitting on my rolling "Lawn Buddy" ... leaning over while using my hands to gather seeds & debris in the same way I do regular weeding ... meditatively. I noticed about a dozen Daffodil sprouts already peeking through the grass so they'll bloom early again. Last year after the lawn was stripped, the bulbs went crazy as this photo illustrates.

One lovely pink and three apricot roses greeted me this morning. In addition to the lawn and the roses, several Periwinkle, Heaven's Breath, and Giant Impatiens plants (along with the Potentilla ground cover) weathered the winds as did the lime & lemon trees, but most everything else is in sad shape. Hopefully the Endless Summer Hydrangea will bounce back. I'll plant new flowers in the next few weeks.

I took a few pictures this morning as I worked (before, during and after) but will need to wait to transfer them from the camera to my computer & add them here because McAfee is doing it's weekly security scan of my laptop, significantly slowing things down. This reminds me, belatedly, that I've missed my usual Weight Watcher's meeting ... forgetting today is Thursday, so I'll look for another meeting before the week ends. Because I don't know how to add photos within the post, I'll probably create a "continuation" for today as I did previously.

For now ... I continue to count my blessings, pray for all affected by these fires, and feel encouraged to learn that fire-fighters have "contained" some & are more proactively "fighting" other fires in addition to defensively protecting structures.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 2 On Being Myself (My Sacred Life)

"The greatest contribution that you can make is the aliveness that comes from simply being yourself, living, your truth, and doing what you love. The passionate expression of who we are will heal the world." Shatki Gawain
Upon stepping outside this morning, I'm grateful to experience the air here at the beach smelling almost normal again though the skies remain ominously brownish-orange. Winds must be shifting. I hear the surf and anticipate a walk with Molly in a little while. Maybe we'll go to Dog Beach where she can run and play, though as I type this, the television commentator advises us to stay indoors and out of the surf, so perhaps I'll take her to a local park instead. I know she won't be happy on a leash for long. She needs to stretch her legs and run ... at least for a little while.

My neighborhood is littered with palm fronds and debris. Thousands of palm seeds rest on sidewalks, lawns, and flowerbeds. My lemons have started to ripen at last, but the plants & flowers droop. Perhaps water will revive them. I survey the neighborhood, counting my blessings, and praying for those in need. We've been spared the devastation so of many Southern California communities. My mind cannot process such destruction. More than 750,000 evacuees ... thousands of homes lost ... and fires rage on ... mostly unchecked. Apparently they'll burn for weeks ...(possibly months)... because limited resources have caused fire-fighters to concentrate on structure protection rather than fire containment ... allowing the non-developed sides of the fires to burn unchecked through the wilderness areas.

Today's message from Renaissance Unity begins with this quote ...

"Our neighbor is anyone who needs assistance, whether friend or stranger. We cannot expect to correct all the ills of the world but we can help the people with whom we come in contact. This is our spiritual service." Elizabeth Sand Turner

and offers this affirmation:

"I am in alignment with my spiritual responsibilities."

I'm grateful for these daily reminders to keep me focused. If you haven't found them yet, you can check them out here
and subscribe (if you choose) at http://www.renaissanceunity.org/dailyemail.htm .

For myself, I think I'll pull together things to drop off at the Red Cross and begin to clean up the yard as I consider what else I might do to be of help and offer blessings to you and yours as I post this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Day 1 Molly as Teacher (My Sacred Life continued)

The two of us have been house-bound for the past three days due to the smoke and debris from the multiple fires burning all over Southern California. I'm hoping the Santa Ana winds will stop so that the cooler on-shore breezes can reestablish themselves and provide some relief for the fire-fighters and everyone else in the area.

In the meantime, I'm trying to remain calm and do my "homework" for an online class ... taking occasional breaks to play "indoor games" of "fetch" and "tug-of-war" with Molly who, in her doggy-like way, has obliterated several tennis balls while she takes a break from chewing on assorted Nylabones as I do my work. As usual, she reminds me to stay present with what is ... enjoy life's simple pleasures until things return to "normal" and we can play outside again safely.

Earlier today I sent email to my "study-buddy" encouraging her (among other things) to lighten up and be kind to herself. I found myself laughing aloud when she sent a short reply saying, "I think I love you." Sometimes all it takes is a gentle reminder to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others.

Although I usually don't watch much TV, I've found myself unable to turn off the fire coverage the past few days ... and I continue to pray for those affected by the fires while holding positive thoughts that the weather will shift soon and the infernos will be brought under control as quickly as possible ... counting my blessings while practicing gratitude and compassion for all.
"I'm not a teacher: only a fellow-traveler of whom you asked the way.
I pointed ahead -- ahead of myself as well as you." George Bernard Shaw

Day 1 Molly as Teacher (My Sacred Life)

"Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you?" Fanny Brice

Inspired by Carla's example & open invitation to participate in our own ways, I promised to begin a Sacred Life exploration once I managed to set up a blog of my own. It's time, but the only way I could figure out to keep "My Sacred Life" posts together and separated from my other posts was to create a second Blog. Oh my gosh ... what am I thinking? There's so much I don't know!

One of Natalie Goldberg's "seven writing rules" is "Don't Think" ... so I won't let that stop me now. I shall keep my fingers moving and see what emerges.

The baby dog running in the rain is Molly, my "Yellow" Labrador Retriever who is almost completely white in color ... except for a little color on the tips of her ears, the back of her hind legs, and the tip of her tail. This picture was taken in April of 2005 shortly after she came to live with me. Those fourteen pounds of love and energy have expanded to fifty-five or so, but considering she could have grown to twice that size, I won't complain ... even when she wants to climb in my lap and sleep on my tummy.

Sigh -- since I can't figure out how to insert a picture here ... I'm going to put it in a separate post and call it Day One (continued).
"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." Aristotle