"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,

Friday, November 30, 2007

Enthusiastic Season's Greetings to Everyone

Happy Holidays

as though
comfort and luxury
were the
chief requirements in life,

when all
that we need

to make us really happy
is something to be
really enthusiastic about."

Charles Kingsley

I am in love with LIFE

is over,

never come.
NOW is the only moment

that will ever exist.

LIVE each second
to the fullest.
Daniel Levin

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Simple Things

A Thought for Today

"Too often
we underestimate the power
of a touch,
a smile,
a kind word,
a listening ear,
an honest compliment,
or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential
to turn a life around."
~Leo Buscaglia

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Taking Things as they Come ... One at a Time

Today's Zen Cards remind me of these two things:

To straighten what is crooked,
You must FIRST straighten yourself.
Once you are aligned,
The whole WORLD
Daniel Levin

I'm doing
what I can with what I have
where I am.

The past
is over.
will never come.
Now is the only moment
that will ever
LIVE each second
to the fullest.
Daniel Levin

"The breath of God is breathing me
and resting in the breath of God, I know that all is well."
~Rickie Byars Beckwith

Blessed Be ... and so it is.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sharing this story -- Rite of Passage

I found this Cherokee Story at Peajay's Blog and thought I'd share it with you here since she invited readers to pass it on. :)

Rite of Passage

I received an email recently and wanted to share it with you.

'Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone.

He is required to sit on a tree stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he will be a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience, because each lad must come into manhood on his own.

The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his tree stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man!

Finally, after a horrific night the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.

We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, sitting on the tree stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him.

If you liked this story, pass it on. If not, maybe you took off your blindfold before dawn...'

Monday, November 26, 2007


Although I continue to encounter challenges with my computer currently, I'm considering this Zen Card today as I move a little slower and do less ... breathing to remain calm in the face of frustration.

SIT quietly.
Watch your thoughts and feelings
pass in front of you.
control and the desire
to get caught up in them.
See that nothing
in your life is permanent
Your thoughts,
and perceptions
all pass before you.
If anything catches you,
gently release it,
and simply continue watching.
Daniel Levin

And so it goes :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sacred Life Sunday -- Living in Gratitude (especially when problems arise)

Today's "daily email" lesson from Renaissance Unity begins with this quote:
“Thankfulness is a healing energy and vibration that can uplift and transform any stuck experience in life. Gratitude is more than just an emotion. It is a state of being that is felt deeply; the substance of a heart that is ready to express its fullness, coupled with no desire to benefit yourself at all. This is the fire and the power of gratitude.”
~Greg Barrette

and the affirmation is:

"My mind overflows with rich ideas
and my heart overflows with gratitude."

Exhaling (and chuckling to myself) here ... I don't know if I can honestly say that my mind is overflowing with rich ideas just yet, but I've managed a few "successes" this afternoon, moving some image files from the laptop to the WD Passport Drive and freed up a little memory ... and I am grateful for many things including but not limited to the following:

1. a long "catch up" conversation with my sister this afternoon
2. decreasing Santa Ana winds allowing fire-fighters to gain some containment of the fire in Malibu
3. the assorted Pansy plants and Giant Impatiens clippings given to me by a neighbor today that are now planted in my yard, adding color
4. the rising humidity as the winds shift from off shore to our usual onshore breezes
5. my ability to log on to both my Blogs and add posts today after all (even when things seemed hopeless earlier)
6. I still have access to my photos after moving them off my Dell hard drive
7. the delicious Satsuma tangerines I'm eating as I type this post
8. my calm, peaceful and relaxed state this evening
9. Molly keeping my feet warm as I type
10. the "Daily Puppy" and "Phases of the Moon" widgets in the side bar (& the PacMan game in the footer) on my Small Reflections Blog
11. the long-lost, recently discovered family photo in the footer of this Blog
12. the scent of my Gratitude Candle from Zena Moon burning nearby
13. the hot bath waiting for me upstairs when I post this and log off for the evening

Another "baker's dozen" :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Patience, Problem Solving, and Peace

Apparently, working on the "photo grids" for my "yard reclamation project" series at Small Reflections (or the scanning & posting of the Zen Cards in my previous post here at Sacred Ruminations) has done something BAD to my aging Dell laptop. Of course, it's possible there's some other explanation for the problems I've experienced in the last 12 to 18 hours.

I suspect the issue is with "available memory" and I'll be working to resolve that today. I must confess that I'm relieved to be able to log on here finally, and am hoping for the best (as usual). Believe me as I share that I spent several frustrating hours last night (before giving up and logging off ... hoping today things might work better) and again this morning (from about 3am 'til 7:45am) when I started writing this post.

I've scrapped Saturday's post (the one I was working on & hoping to publish before logging off last night) and have decided to use these three Zen cards (selected purposefully out of sequence, but which seem appropriate here & now) to help me focus and do whatever's necessary to "fix" my problems and continue Blogging with minimal interruption :)

water drop onto
the rock beneath it.
One drop
does nothing,
but many drops over time
create a hole in the rock.
Such is the POWER of patience."
Daniel Levin

So ... I've been practicing patience ... writing in my journal with my mechanical pencil, processing everything (a consciously cultivated habit I've used for decades to calm myself in times of trouble) ... observing my thoughts & emotions rise & fall as the computer backs up photo files to my Western Digital Passport Drive (although MOVING them off the C: drive is what I really want to do) so that if I do something foolish, I won't lose all my pictures (as a friend did a while back) with his photos.

With the fire burning in Malibu just 20% contained (49 homes destroyed and 27 homes damaged), I'm mindful of the "smallness" of my current issues. Nonetheless, dealing with them is necessary today ... and I'd like to remain as "complaint-free" as possible as I do what must be done.

The way
to remove darkness from a room
is SIMPLY to turn on a light.
In the same way,
to rid yourself of any difficulty,
concentrate on the
rather than the problem."
Daniel Levin

I'm aware I have options from which to choose and could:

  • use my normal "trial and error" methods to seek resolution
  • make an effort to find someone to assist and/or fix this problem for me
  • scrap it all and buy myself an early Christmas present :)
  • wait until my friends return from the road and enlist their help
  • mutter, grumble, complain, and feel sorry for myself
  • give up "blogging" and do other things I enjoy
There may be others choices also ... but for a long time, peace has been my primary goal, so whatever I choose to do will be that which creates and sustains peace in my heart, mind, spirit, and life.

To create peace in the world,
you must be
unruffled within.
walk in stillness,
act in harmony.
The SERENITY that radiates from you
will create peace."
Daniel Levin

Prior to beginning this post, I've enjoyed my morning coffee with half &half, taken time to write in my journal, unload the dishwasher, make and eat some oatmeal, play with Molly, pull some weeds in my front yard, chat with some passers-by, breathe in the ocean air, start a load of laundry, and relax before selecting these cards to share. I'm confident I'll figure things out sooner or later. In the meantime, I'm choosing mindfulness and trusting that this too shall pass.

And now ... I'll post this and get started with problem resolution ... after wishing for you all a delightful day, wonderful week, and marvelous month between now and Christmas Day.
Hugs and blessings,

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happiness, Kindness, and Love

I'm trying an experiment
with my Zen Cards today and hopefully it will work.

I think it was Will Rogers who said,
"Most people are about as happy
as they make up their minds to be."

It took me a long time
to realize
the fact that I could be happy
or I could be "right"
but seldom
both at the same time.

Learning to be as kind & gentle
with myself
as I've always been with others,
took even longer,
but I realized eventually
that until I could treat myself
with genuine consideration
there was always a price to be paid
by all concerned.

Everyone wins
when we each take care of
ourselves as lovingly
as we care for others.

Learning to
love and accept myself
just as I am (warts and all)
allows me
to love and accept others
just as THEY are
without needing to change a thing.

We're not perfect
and maybe never will be
but perfect

(See these song lyrics at Small Reflections)

This post didn't turn out like I'd hoped, but it's good enough for the moment at least because "I'm not perfect and I know I never will be ..."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 31 Thanksgiving Day (My Sacred Life)

How fitting that this day of remembrance and gratitude falls on the final day of My Sacred Life month-long journey.

“Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the celebration of work and the simple life... a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry of the turn of the seasons, the beauty of seedtime and harvest, the ripe product of the year - and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God."
~Ray Stannard Baker

As I write, my "Gratitude" candle from Zena Moon burns nearby ... filling the air with the scent of rosemary and rose. The quote on the label reminds me:

"If the only prayer you said

in your entire life was 'thank you',

that would suffice."

—Meister Eckhart

About the candle itself, Carla writes:

"The intent of the gratitude candle speaks volumes for itself ... and it is the candle that almost always graces my home altar. The combination of rose and rosemary is absolutely divine. Amazonite is a stone of honor and tiger eye of clarity."

I couldn't agree more! I'm happy I met Carla this summer in Taos at the Writer's Retreat and that I undertook this daily journey here once my friends got me started Blogging. As she & others have done before me, my intention is to post on Sundays henceforth.

I've followed with interest the conversation at Rick's Blog with Kelly, Olivia, and several others engaged in the 37 Day Complaint-free Challenge because I'm thinking about taking it up next ... though I'm equally interested in reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE and participating in the Soaring Free Souls discussion started by Olivia and Annie, and may be more than a bit late for that one.

Whatever I decide to do next, I'm happy to be here ... grateful for the "virtual friends" I've encountered ... and eager to continue whatever arises ... with the freedom I knew in childhood. As I've done the past few days, I share three Zen Cards I'll be contemplating today:

Inner peace brings
Attain it,
and life works.
Give it away,
Daniel Levin

Discovering ways to let life unfold as it will and enjoy whatever comes may be a gift of my advanced age or the product of decades of seeking; but whatever the source, I find myself exceeding grateful to be in this place ... here and now ... traveling with companions such as yourselves.

that the journey
is as important
as the destination.
ENJOY every moment,
and live life fully.
This is Zen.
Daniel Levin

And so it is that I wish you & yours peace, love, and joy ... today and every day ... offering this reminder as I hold it in my heart today also.

Joy is INSIDE you,
not in attainment
of things desired,
nor in the achievement
of goals made,
but in the simple feeling
that lies within you.
Know that JOY
is unaffected by outer circumstance,
and joy will be yours forever."
Daniel Levin

A melody has been running through my mind all morning (I suspect from my Methodist adolescence) ... and the following words just "registered" in my brain ... "Blessed be the ties that bind, our hearts in human love. The fellowship of kindred souls, is like to that above." (Please forgive an old woman if I'm wrong. I've got "sometimes dis-ease" ... sometimes I remember, and sometimes I don't.)

Blessed be ... and so it is :--)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 30 Harmlessness, Harmony, and Humility (My Sacred Life)

A COURSE IN MIRACLES teaches (among many other lessons) that

"giving and receiving are the same"
"love is letting go of fear"

"our safety lies
in our defenselessness"

... three powerful and humbling ideas when allowed to settle into our psyches and guide our decisions. These teachings bring to mind the idea of "Do onto others what you would have them do unto you" that comes from my Christian roots. Of course, today's Zen Cards present the following three ideas for consideration:

ALL beings fear violence.
All beings fear pain.
When you see YOURSELF in all
your brothers and sisters,
then how can you
bring harm to them?"

How indeed? Sometimes we create harm out of thoughtlessness ... failing to pay attention to the effects of our actions and/or the chaos we leave in our wake. Sometimes it's through selfishness ... believing there's not enough for everyone, so the need to "get our share" (no matter what) drives us to make foolish choices. Sometimes we believe we deserve to be "punished" for our "sins" ... whether consciously or buried deep in that place of embarrassed self-loathing we've locked away in the depths of darkness (and, all too often, thrown away the key). And sometimes our "defensive behaviors" (designed to protect ourselves from real and/or perceived dangers) are seen as "attacks" by others ... who then respond in kind, causing situations to escalate and spin out of control. If what we think about expands in ours lives, then "harmlessness" seems worth some mindful meditation. How to be harmless ... good question to consider ... for sometimes it's hard to predict outcomes ahead of time.

Restore harmony.
Create PEACE in all situations.
Rather than
pushing the river,
FLOW with it."
Daniel Levin

Smiling with recognition here because for me, the choice for peace in all situations remains an on-going challenge. I learned from ACIM (or perhaps from the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh in PEACE IS IN EVERY STEP?) ... to stop and say to myself (in moments of anger, frustration, pain, irritation, fear, self-doubt, confusion, etc.)
"I could have peace instead of this" ... and the thought would stop in in my tracks. I'd realize I'd been holding my breath ... so I'd exhale ... allow myself to take a few deep, relaxing breaths ... realize we all make choices all the time (some better & some worse than others) ... consider my options along with lessons from the past ... and choose my next step more mindfully ... at least for the moment. This practice taught me about ...

The way of the EARTH
is to empty
that which is full,
and fill that which is empty.
brings great fortune."
Daniel Levin

The Universe brings us many opportunities to learn and to teach what we need to know. In the early 70s I happened upon a book by Jerry Jampolsky entitled TEACH ONLY LOVE. I've been working on that lesson ever since. Simple ... not always easy ... but certainly worth the effort required, and I'm grateful.

Blessed be ... and so it is.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 29 Coincidence and Grace (My Sacred Life)

All too often, the things I believe I want in my life just aren't good for me (though this awareness usually shows up long after the fact). The older I get, the more grateful I am that God's simple response to my most fervent (yet often foolish) prayers is a loving "No" ... because I've come to know that her vision for my life is greater than anything I might imagine for myself (a most humbling recognition of how "grace" works).
“How do you know which of your intentions is likely to be fulfilled? The answer lies in paying attention to the clues provided by the nonlocal mind. Notice the coincidences in your life. Coincidences are messages. They are clues from God or spirit or nonlocal reality, urging you to break out of your karmic conditioning, your familiar patterns of thinking. They are offering you an opportunity to enter a domain of awareness where you feel loved and cared for by the infinite intelligence that is your source. Spiritual traditions call this the state of grace." ~Deepak Chopra
I've heard coincidence defined as God's way of remaining anonymous. I've come to see coincidence as grace in action ... something we learn to recognize over time through experience ... and pass on (or not).
The beauty of grace
is that you receive blessings
for no reason.
As above, so below.
PRACTICE random acts of grace.
Give to others for no reason.
Offer kindness to those who are undeserving,
love those who no one else loves.
Practice grace.
Daniel Levin, Zen Cards

These days ... I realize how much better my daily life becomes when I pray ... "not my will, but thine, be done" ... simple, but not always easy.

"Slow down
and everything you are chasing
will come around and catch you."
~John De Paola

***Simple Truths of Service

"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others." Pericles

I just watched an inspirational presentation that really touched me and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy it also. It's called The Simple Truths of Service
Hugs and blessings

Addendum -- Thanks to Olivia to mentioning this videoclip at Happy Luau to spread the word. Somehow her direct link no longer works.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 28 The Journey (My Sacred Life)

In Carla's Sacred Sunday post this week, she wrote of EGO as "edging God out" ... something I'd heard before, but forgotten. Coincidentally, the next Zen Card said:

Those who say they know
do not know.
Those who SAY they do not know,
also don't know.
be quiet
and let your ACTIONS
speak for you.
They speak much louder
than your words
--Daniel Levin--

Then the Daily Message from Renaissance Unity offered this quote:

“For thousands of years, the spiritual path has been shrouded in mystery. By demystifying your spirituality and taking practical steps in your growth, you will discover exciting ways to create measurable changes in your thoughts, attitudes and decisions. By utilizing Spiritual Power Tools, you will unveil the hidden knowledge contained within your soul.”
~Jane Hart

I carried these ideas with me as I moved through the day ... mindfully (before and after listening to Thich Nhat Hanh and posting about my ruminations at Small Reflections) ... and awareness of the amazing way things work settled upon me.

Returning to post here later, I drew two more Zen Cards ... and noticed a smile of recognition cover my face.

yourself and everyone
around you.
When you judge others,
are the one who
feels pain.
Through forgiveness,
all pain disappears."
Daniel Leven

Exhaling here ... I remember discovering this truth first-hand while listening to Don Henley sing "It's about forgiveness, even if ... even if ... you don't love me any more" as I finally accepted the fact my marriage was over but life continued. Forgiveness was a gift I gave myself ... grudgingly ... yet blessedly.

To LOVE people
who love you
is easy.
Choose to be
everyone's friend,
whether they like you or not.
When you love
and ACCEPT others
as they are,
you will have friends everywhere.
Daniel Levin

Exhaling again (a habit I formed in those difficult years when I realized I lived life holding my breath all too often ... waiting perhaps for "the other shoe to drop" and wanting to be ready to run for cover) the most amazing lesson I learned was how to befriend MYSELF ... how to be as good to myself as I'd always been to others. Beyond that, I discovered that taking better care of myself allowed others to do likewise and everyone benefited. Who knew?

Simple ... though not necessarily easy.

I've read it's not about the destination. It's about the journey itself. I'm grateful to find others walking the path in front of me (opening doors & pointing the way), along side (companionship is comforting), and behind (offering hope and reassurance to those who follow). Many of my friends laugh and tell me I'd dig for a pony in a pile of dung, and maybe I would ... but even though I've been "there and back again" ... I'm convinced it's a wonderful world!
Blessed be ... and so it is.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 27 Dancing with Destiny (My Sacred Life)

For the 3rd day in a row now, I've turned to Daniel Levin's Zen Cards for inspiration and guidance ... and today I'm "dancing with destiny" ... joyfully right now ... inviting you to join me.

In dance,
no movement or direction
is BETTER or worse
than another.
This, too, is a way to view
all of life.
See all
the 'good and bad' things that
happen to you
simply as movements
in the
DANCE of life."

You can look ... and
you will FIND it.
You can not look ... and
you WILL find it.
That which is yours
will surely
come to you."

Reminds me how this summer (in a store across the street from Moon River Gifts) on the Enchanted Circle drive near Taos, New Mexico ... I found little metal discs with words inscribed on them ... designed to wear on a chain around the neck ... and three selected me.
They say

In the few weeks I've explored this virtual world, the commonality of experience and the issues being explored by so many of us here … grows increasingly obvious. As each turns inward to listen to and learn from "the still small voice within" ... and dares to believe & follow our personal truths genuinely ...sharing with one another honestly ... we encounter and acknowledge one another on the path ... sometimes leading, sometimes following ... continually emboldened by a sense of community. Rather perfect isn't it?
Hugs & blessings,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 26 Practicing Compassion, Contentment , and Courage (My Sacred Life)

Today I choose to share three more of Daniel Levin's Zen Cards -- all three beginning with the letter "c" and each requiring me to be "calmly active" and "actively calm -- in balance.
FEEL the pain of others.
Understand their struggles
and disappointments,
their hardships and inadequacies,
and open your heart to them.
REALIZE that everyone
is doing the best they possibly can.
Judge no one,
but rather,
cradle all of humanity

in your heart."

in whatever life gives you.
CRAVE nothing else.
KNOW that
whatever you have been given
is for your own highest good."

Find the courage
to hold on to your beliefs,
even if the world around you
chooses to believe differently.
Have the COURAGE
to change those beliefs
that no longer
fit the person you have become.
In doing so, you truly become

Mindfully balancing these thoughts today, I step forward and embrace what comes in gratitude and invite you to join me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 25 Creation Continues (My Sacred Life)

Smiling here with recognition and gratitude.
Today's daily email from Renaissance Unity reads:

Creation Continues
"We take no step unpartnered. We may feel like the fool from the Tarot deck, stepping heedlessly into blank space, but that is not reality. The Great Creator is an artist and he/she/it is an artist in partnership with other artists. The moment we open ourselves to making art, we simultaneously open ourselves to our maker. We are automatically partnered."
~Julia Cameron
Quote is taken from:
Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity

The affirmation is: I am co-creating a masterpiece as my life.

Wednesday's Zen card reads:
Be clear in all things.
As a calm POND
reflects the full moon perfectly,
let your actions
REFLECT your speech,
and your speech
reflect your actions."
Daniel Levin

Thursday's card:
Understand that you
will be like those with whom
you SURROUND yourself.
Your environment
is stronger than you are.
Daniel Levin

and today's:
As a drowning man wants air,
as the lover SEEKS their beloved,
this is the way you
must FOCUS on that which you want.
This intensity of concentration
will remove all obstacles."
Daniel Levin

Messages around us always, pointing the way. All we must do is believe and respond. Simple or complex, the path lies ahead ... beckoning me across the bridge unencumbered. Blessed be and so it is ... thank you very much.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Day 24 A "linear" version of yesterday's Visual Poem -- with some editorial modifications (My Sacred Life)

I searched my files (with considerable difficulty because I'm not the most organized soul on this earth) and finally found this revised version of the piece posted yesterday. I used this "transcription" on an "Holiday Card" sent to family and friends in 2000. As I recall, the shape poem appeared inside the card (on the right) and this (on the left) ... much the way I've envisioned publishing them at some point.



joy ... delight



holding tight




searching for new ways of breathing

climbing ... slipping

fear-filled falling

tired of the truth, but stalling

wandering through dark illusions

sorting through the odd confusions

meeting others ... re-engaging

linearly aging

yet repeating all the prior

self-defeating but familiar


growing ill … unaware

but beginning to remember

and believe

as each December

rolls around

the Christmas story

reestablishes the glory

bringing with it awe and wonder

gentle rain



fear recedes

and love re-enters

A Course in Miracles re-centers


“nothing real can hurt us

nothing unreal exists

therein lies the peace of God”

remembrance makes way for miracles

as we step back in faith and love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day 23 Visual Poetry (My Sacred Life)

This original piece is one I created years ago (in 1994 I believe) and after the fact, I noticed what looks to me like a "3" which brought to mind an experience from my past at the Methodist Church I attended as a teenager. For weeks there were signs posted all over the church grounds that said, "I'm Third" and we speculated what their significance might be. On the last Sunday of the month, one of the leaders told us a story (the details of which elude me) but I recall the meaning of the sign as being to put God first, others second, and ourselves third.

The actual message around the outside of this "shape" came through me ...(from the depths of my soul as I worked through issues related to the death of my mom, the loss of my marriage, and an illness that caused me to spend about six months in bed)... but the first three phrases "inside" the shape are a direct quote from the beginning of A COURSE IN MIRACLES that have stayed with me since I first came upon them in 1989 when I began to study the course ... something I did daily for the next 5 years.

I keep this framed piece in my living room because it's one of my favorites. Recently, when my new neighbor's daughter dropped by for a visit and asked about it, she saw an "Om" and found the message appropriate for that symbol. I suppose you may see something totally different. In the interest of "facing fears" today ... I share it here. A friend scanned it for me several years ago and gave it to me on a CD when I expressed my desire to use the piece a few years back as part of my annual Christmas greeting. I happened upon the file today while reorganizing my photos in Picasa and it seemed like a "sign" :)

I've created numerous "abstract" visual pieces like this one over the years, framing and giving many of them as gifts to family and friends. Typically I begin with a "doodle" (or line drawing) on the page then write whatever comes to mind around the outside edges using ink ... always in a single draft. Sometimes, as with this piece, the message continues inside the spaces. Often, my perfectionistic self would like to "fix" perceived errors, but because of my process ... whatever mistakes occur, remain forever. I've had to learn to live with them.

Upon uploading this one using Picasa and testing it quickly before composing this accompanying post, I discovered that clicking on it enlarges the piece enough to read the message more easily than the smaller "test scribblings" I've published on Small Reflections (here , here and here), so there's no way to hide. It is what it is ... I write what I write ... and I am who I am. I'll need to teach myself how to use the "scanner" function in my HP All-in-One printer before I can share any more of these pieces.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 22 On Growth and Courage (My Sacred Life)

Some time ago (perhaps in late Spring about a month after I committed to attending the Taos Writers Retreat) I received this message from Renaissance Unity in my MSN email box:
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'
You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

Today's Affirmation: I am filled with confidence, courage, wisdom and desire enough to do what is before me today.

I'd heard the last line of Eleanor Roosevelt's quote many times, but the rest felt new (as well as timely since I'd made the decision to push some personal boundaries by participating in this retreat & was experiencing periodic episodes of sheer panic as I wondered what I'd gotten myself in for). The affirmation resonated as empowering, so I added it to the "inspirational reminders" in my Palm Life Drive and checked the "repeat daily" box to keep me focused and calm. (I've since changed to repeat "monthly" so it shows up regularly even now).

This morning's message from Renaissance Unity reminded me of the previous one, and I'm pondering both as I move through the day.

"It's been proven that the only effective way to deal with fear is to walk through it, through the pain that accompanies doing something you're afraid to do. It takes courage to fulfill your commitments, courage to stay on track, courage to follow your dreams, courage to reach your goals, and courage to walk through your fear. Remember, reaching goals is not so much about doing big things when the feeling hits you; it's more about doing little things every day that move you toward your dream. It's about staying steady and on course."
~Francine Ward

Today's Affirmation: I am capable, constant, courageous and confident.

It took about 6 weeks (after returning from Taos) for me to act on the suggestions of so many of the writers I met at MDL & finally accept Kara's challenge to check out this "Virtual World" ... and in the past three weeks since I dipped my proverbial "toe" in the water, I've faced my fear of "being known" ... jumped into the Blogosphere with both feet (well actually with both hands and all my fingers), encountered an array of lovely, supportive people sharing in this virtual space, discovered (with surprised delight) the decades of personal writing practice in journals has led to fluidness of thought & expression here, and now I wonder what the big deal was all about.

I suppose my next steps will involve returning to those journals and mining them for whatever pieces of myself from the past that I'm willing to share, but I'm seeing Joy's advice in my head here ... (the "angel" who found & left me a comment on my very first post at Small Reflections before I'd added anything but my Profile to my side bar, spurring me onward with a promise to return) ... gently reminding me "baby steps" ... and I'm grateful.

What fears call you to face them today?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 21 Calmness (My Sacred Life)

Today's card from Daniel Levin's Zen Box says:
In all activity, practice CALMNESS.
To remain calm amidst the chaos of Life
requires a tremendous amount of focused ENERGY.
Be calmly active and actively calm.

I do my best to strive for balance. The idea of being "calmly active" while being "actively calm" reflects my on-going efforts to be mindful in all situations and consider paradoxes ... learning as I go ... releasing gently while holding on. So much of life is about embracing opposites ... seeing how things complement one another. It reminds me of "force nothing and hold nothing back" ... a recurring theme at our Writers Retreat this summer. I choose this idea for my walking meditation today ... "Be calmly active and actively calm."

Let's hear it for paradox ...
"both/and" rather than "either/or" thinking!
What opposites pull at you today?

***Have you seen this incredible story of Patrick Henry Hughes & his amazing dad?

Patti at 37 Days provides this link to Living on Purpose where she shares a YouTube "must see" link to the most inspiring father & son team I've ever seen. If not, I hope you take the time to check it out today and pass it on.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Day 20 On Taking Action (My Sacred Life)

This morning I revisited what I've written here and at Small Reflections in the first three weeks of Blogging. I'm surprised by a number of observations.

First off, I appreciate all who have left comments on both sites, and apologize for not acknowledging most of them sooner. I only just discovered them today as I was scanning "the appearance of things on this site" after making some changes to the sidebar (the same way I found early comments & responded previously). I've figured out how to stay on top of this from now on and have posted at Small Reflections about those discoveries. Anyway, I've left my responses today and will be notified by email when new comments are left from now on, so I can reply in a more timely manner from now on.
Live & learn ... :)

Second, I'm surprised by what I've accomplished on these two sites in just three weeks and marvel at the wonder of it all. I frequently ask myself "Who knew?" and respond "Certainly not me!" ... and yet I might have known if I'd given more credence to the words of family and friends throughout the years. They've told me repeatedly my words "resonate" and should be shared with others, but I assumed they believed these things and encouraged me to publish because they loved me ... not because they recognized & understood something I didn't. I'm grateful they didn't back off (nor push me too quickly, for I needed to come to awareness in my own time). I apologize here & now for "discounting" their input for so long, and promise I'll do better (now that I know better).

Finally ... I'm acutely aware of the need for action (finally) and as I continue to explore on these two Blogs, I feel assured that my next steps will become clearer as I travel this path.
"However many holy words you read, however many your speak, what good will they do if you do not act upon them?" Buddha

What's calling YOU to take action on today?

***Complaint-Free Challenge

My friend Kara sent me a link to this site where I found two intriguing opportunities. One invites artists to Create Calling Cards between November 19th through the 29th and submit them for possible inclusion in a book to be published. The other is a challenge to live Complaint Free for 37 Days. Both seem worth passing along in case you've not heard of them and might be interested in checking them out an/or letting someone else know. I'm not sure I'm ready to take on anything new today, but in a week ... who knows? :)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 19 Balance (My Sacred Life)

My friend J told me about a little box of Zen Cards by Daniel Levin. Of course I bought one for myself (and for her) immediately. I've been drawing a card each day for months now ... reading & meditating on the words ... leaving it on top of the box & returning periodically to reread it until I can hold it in memory and use the idea in conversation with others throughout the day ... reflecting on each before returning it to the box and drawing another the next day. Today's card has this to say about Balance.
"The center is not
always the point of balance.
When you find that place where
BALANCE is achieved,
peace will result in all situations.
There is no conflict,
for everything RESTS
without strain."
Daniel Levin

Resting without strain ...
What a concept!
Letting ourselves and others be ... just as we are.
That's what I'll be playing with today.

What's on your mind that could use some balance?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 18 On Friendship (My Sacred Life)

This month, I choose to express my heartfelt gratitude to the many people in my life who have consistently mirrored me as I am ... so that I can see my own my own reflection more clearly, with fewer distortions. I'm glad you patiently "nudged" me through the years without losing patience with my hesitance (nor confidence in my potential), and that you're standing beside me now.

“A friend is someone who knows your song, and sings it to you when you’ve forgotten it yourself.”~Alan Cohen
How have friends blessed YOU in your lifetime?
When was the last time you said thank you
from the depths of your heart?

***Thanks to Sober Briquette for this ...

A beautiful Gratitude Button! I love it and want to spread the word.
Thank you for your generosity! Touch magic, pass it on.

The code is available (to add to your site if you wish)
at Shily, Shall I Dilly Dally, where she explains:
"This Gratitude button is a celebration of the readers who, through their comments, propagate the rapport that is one of the many valued aspects of blogging, and for me, the most valued. I chose a crocus for the image because it is a hardy perennial that thrives in a variety of habitats, and (most importantly) it naturalizes easily. Spread them around!"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 17 Allowing Myself to Receive (My Sacred Life)

In the Fall of 1989 I my overloaded schedule included a series of workshops for teachers to be conducted within the same time frame that I needed to prepare my own classroom environment and write lesson plans for the start of school. I'd done it all before and this should have been a piece of cake ... but it wasn't because "life" interrupted my plans.

In the midst of coping with the sudden death of my mom and the unexpected announcement from my husband of 21 years (best friend for 33) that he didn't want to be married any longer (both within a two week span) ... I tried to conduct "business as usual" without letting anyone know of the turmoil in my life. My friend A (who was one of the few friends who DID know of all this because my friend J didn't keep her mouth shut as promised) exploded at me one day calling me "selfish" for refusing to let her take over some of my workload. She said (and I quote here because I can still hear her words echoing in my head):
"Dammit! You're so selfish. You always do things for everyone else, but you won't let me do anything for you."
Exhaling here to release the rush of old feelings surfacing as I recount this incident ... I recall how she took me by surprise ... rocking my already shaky world a bit more. I had never considered doing for others selfish, but I realized in that instant that all things have multiple meanings ... depending on your perspective. Of course, I let her help ... and over the years since then, I've learned to ask for and receive help graciously.

I've long since forgiven J for breaking her promise to keep my secret. (Back then it felt awful because I wondered what I'd done wrong to cause all this bad "stuph" to happen, but now I know it was all perfect ... just what my soul needed to grow.) In retrospect, I'm grateful she activated my support system by calling all my friends with the news I couldn't share myself. I've discovered it's often impossible to repay those who help you directly, but you can pass it on in remembrance and gratitude.

So it is that today I'm allowing myself to "take in" the lovely comments people have left on this site in response to my offerings. I feel blessed you happened by and honored you took the time to introduce yourselves. My circle of virtual friends expands ... my cup runneth over.

I share this memory with you as a gift ... hoping it will "resonate" ... if not with you directly, then with someone you meet along the way. We all "get by with a little help from our friends."
Hugs and blessings,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Day 16 Reflecting on my Day with Gratitude (My Sacred Life)

This evening I'm grateful ...
--my body seems to have fought off a cold successfully
--my health is much improved this evening
--my Bookmarks are organized finally
--I've learned some useful lessons along the way
--Annie at Journey Through Life visited Small Reflections this morning and told me about Google Reader & where to find it
--I've found & figured out how to use GR so it's up & running
--With GR I'm able to read Talking Bear's thought-provoking posts
--GR led me to Olivia's post about the Gratitude Dance at Happy Luau
--Christina at Lulu's Good Thoughts shared Gabriella's Song
--Mother of Invention shares From the Soul Within at "Spilling Out"
--I figured out how to add links to all three here in this post
--I've added links on the left side panel just below My Profile also
--I'm learning how to use YouTube at last!
--My hair is curly again!
--Lee gave me a new perm this afternoon
--I'm all set for the next six weeks
--I'll visit again for a trim before the Christmas holidays :)
--I used my 20% off coupon to buy myself new sheets
--Costco has Starbuck's Winter Blend coffee beans already ;)
--my sister & her husband have met up with my two best friends & their husbands on the East Coast and are the three couples are happily RVing together for a couple of weeks
--I harvested about 5 dozen Satsuma tangerines today and will share these yummy delights with friends & neighbors tomorrow
--the lemons and limes will be ripe soon
--there was one avocado on the tree this year and it's now ripening in a brown bag on my kitchen counter
--Carla added this site to the Sacred Life blogroll
--magpie-girl has welcomed me graciously to the Small is Beautiful revolution added both of my sites to their blogroll
--to be learning new things and meeting new people in the Blogosphere every day
--I'm able to share what I'm learning here with you.
Life IS good indeed!
I hope you'll check out some of the links for yourself!
Enjoy ...
Hugs and blessings to all!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 15 Letting Myself Be (My Sacred Life)

I'm resting today ... to recover my health ... hoping that these respiratory symptoms will pass without wreaking havoc on my body.

"Insofar as we are able to stay attentive to the moment, we can serve the will of God. Insofar as we are able to abandon our ideas about what should happen, and what we demand to happen, and allow the situation as it is to reveal itself to us, we are amenable to discerning the will of God. 'Thy will be done' is a prayer that will force us into this present moment, if we pray it from the heart."
~Regina Sara Ryan
Quote is taken from: Praying Dangerously: Igniting the Inner Life

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 14 Playful Discovery (My Sacred Life)

A follow up comment to one I made yesterday (regarding cats, prisons, & Johnny Cash) at Spiritual Anecdotes showed up in my gmail account this morning and curiosity led me to click on Angela's name where I discovered Eclectic Recovery. After reading a bit about her journey (and making a mental note to pass this information on to a loved one dealing with addiction himself), I examined her link list of Friends and Neighbors and checked out a few.

That's how I encountered Rainbow Dreams, a Virtual Circle ... "a space to gather, and connect with other women who are blogging their thoughts and feelings, struggles and revelations as we journey on the path of our individual spiritual journeys" ... and stayed to explore with wonder. I eventually left a comment in response to a post about one of Isha Lerner's Inner Child Cards (a resource new to me that I may seek out) and asked to be added to their list ... sensing this is a community I long for.

I'm reminded that in Christina's "psychic reading" of me a few weeks ago, she shared multiple images of JOY ... explaining I was "showing her these images" to encourage myself to to "get our of my mind and into my heart" ... to play ... laugh ... dance crazily ... allow others to see my goofy, wild, saucy, sassy sides .

Fascinating "coincidences" since my "debut" into the virtual world of blogging include (yet are not limited to) the following:

--Learning my Aura is Violet. As I read the words in my reading (shared on Small Reflections near the bottom of the right column along with a link to find the color of your own aura) I felt humbly surprised, yet happily validated ... as if I could acknowledge myself in this "reflection" and be known finally ... just as I am. This, in turn, reminded me of earlier discoveries I blogged about ... You are Sunrise and Might This be Me? ... and today (as I revisit those early pieces) I recognize myself as I am becoming ... returning to love. I feel blessed and encouraged.

--Finding "kindred spirits" out there in this Virtual World ... connecting through comments and emails ... filling the empty places in my heart ... answering the longings of my soul. How strange to "come home" in this electronic space! I'm laughing aloud as I type ... dancing for joy as I refill my coffee cup ... realizing I want you to know me just as I am (in all my goofiness, saucy & sassy playfulness) at last ... and I trust you will greet me with kindness and consideration, whether or not you agree with my perceptions. Our experiences differ and our views (shaped by what's come before) may "resonate" (or not) ... but the conversations we encounter have value here and now. Some that come to quickly to mind are at Hearth Talks, Wellied on Life and The Joy of Six.

--Virtual communities springing up around wonderful ideas shared freely ... My Sacred Life, Soaring Free Souls, Blogging Without Obligation, Small is Beautiful & Passionate Blogs, One Thing--Be Brave, Wellness Wednesdays , and Rainbow Dreams mentioned previous (just to name a few) ... encouraging others to join in if desired.

Those who fear "letter writing" (along with reading, writing, "listening & speaking" our truths) are lost arts (&/or skills) need not. Forms may change, but communication continues ... and I feel blessed to meet you all.

Brief addendum:
Interesting to discover this morning's Daily Email from Renaissance Unity (after I left this post) is about PLAY and today's affirmation is
"I am at play with the Love that fills all things."

What playful discoveries have you countered lately?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 13 Meditation & Timely Gifts (My Sacred Life)

I found an unexpected gift today on The Dream Life
-- a Sacred Life post on Meditation that ends with a YouTube link
to a 7 minute meditation I just completed.
In gratitude
I choose to pass this gift along here,
with thanks to Lori Lyn
and blessings for all.

What timely gifts have you given and/or received?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day 12 Morning Inspiration (My Sacred Life)

After writing in my journal as usual this morning, I booted my laptop & turned on the television a few minutes after 8:00 as I made coffee ... discovered Wayne Dyer speaking on the topic of INSPIRATION ... and found myself captivated when he shared the following quote:

"The morning breeze has secrets to tell you.
Do not go back to sleep."

I've risen earlier than usual the past few days ... throwing my sleep cycle off. Fortunately I'm "happily retired" ... so this doesn't create the problems for me that it might for others. I did find it interesting to receive this reinforcement for I know the truth conveyed by A Course in Miracles as follows:

"The memory of God comes to the quiet mind."

When Dr. Dyer asked his audience to raise their hands if they wake between 3 and 4 in the morning, I was astonished to see so many respond in the affirmative. Not many indicated that they actually rise at that time, but he encouraged those who were willing to try put their feet on the floor and listen receptively the next time they awakened early ... indicating the wee hours are when we are closest to Spirit.

I find myself wondering how many "early birds"
...(or Larks, as my friend J refers to us)...
are out there?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day 11 My Candle Order Arrived this Afternoon! (My Sacred Life)

The front doorbell seldom works (living so near the ocean has it's price) ... but Molly announced the arrival of this UPS delivery a few minutes ago, and I retrieved the cube-shaped brown box from its resting place near the front door with anticipation ... smiling as I brought it indoors. I've only just opened it and the room is filled with wonderful scents, though I've not yet unpacked the items. An enclosed card from zena moon bears the word "restoration" and the following message:
"Today, make getting in touch with the Silence within yourself your first priority. As you do, you will be amazed at how everything else seems to find it's own order." Sarah Ban Breathnach
I think I'll leave it by the computer for a while
and use it for a bookmark later. :)

In addition to the 8 candles I ordered last Saturday, the lavender colored invoice contains a round sticker announcing a "free gift" is enclosed and thanks me for my order. A pleasant surprise! Each of the hand-made candles is individually wrapped in paper ... and nestled in "popcorn packing" for protection. The one I opened first is scented with "lavender and sweet pea" & contains an amethyst gemstone (my birthstone) and bears the message ...

I honor the place in you
in which the entire Universe dwells.
I honor the place in you which is love, light, truth and peace.
When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me,
we are One."

It is the perfect candle for this moment as I near the end of my second week online typing this Sacred Life post, and I light it now as I offer this greeting to each of you this afternoon. I shall leave the remaining candles and the "surprise" for other days ... as serendipty chooses for me which to light next when the time is right. When the "free gift" surfaces ... I'll let you know what it is.
Blessings Be.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Day 10 Guidance (My Sacred Life)

I rise early ... begin my days writing in my journal while listening to music ... often opening a book at random ... seeing what catches my eye ... reflecting upon whatever words & images draw my attention ... and carrying it forth into my daily life. Renaissance Unity's Daily Email is the first I read once I turn on the computer ... and this morning's message began with this quote from Deepak Chopra. I pass it along today because examining my own "inner dialogue" and learning to get out of my own way to "let the fire of the soul shine" through me remains a challenge.
"When we find ourselves looking at the world and saying, 'There's nothing out there for me,' we should probably also look into our hearts and ask, 'If there's nothing out there, is there anything in here?' We need to examine our inner dialogue to discover where we might be blocking the conscious energy flow, then remove the ego, step out of the way, and let the fire of the soul shine through us." Deepak Chopra
Yesterday I shared a leisurely lunch at a favorite Japanese restaurant with a dear friend I see only occasionally these days ... yet with whom I feel a strong bond. We spoke of many things ... catching up ... sharing ... listening ... laughing ... reconnecting joyfully (which felt unexpected yet wonderful). Her eldest daughter (mother of 3 young children) died of breast cancer after a valiant fight less than a year ago leaving everyone deeply saddened. Among other news, M's youngest daughter shared recently that she's pregnant again ... due in June around her sister's birthday. What JOY!

In the midst of our conversation, I realized how seldom I perceive myself as graciously and lovingly others do. When they reflect the LIGHT in me, the "inner nag" deflects and/or automatically rejects the image ... often even before it registers consciously. And yet lately ... when I slow down enough to really listen & hear ... I'm learning to take these loving reflections in ... experience them fully ... and say thank you. M expressed gratitude for me in her life several times in the course of our time together ... assuring me that the gifts I share bless her and others. I'm still "processing" this.

I began this blog ten days ago (one day after I introduced myself on Small Reflections) with no expectations ... simply because I believed the time had come for me to share myself authentically with whoever happened along. The messages inviting & encouraging me to share (as in "publish" in a public forum) have long been present ... yet I hesitated for decades. Unexpected blessings arrive in the form of the many gracious souls I've met in the Blogosphere during past two weeks. If I'd known of (or even suspected) such richness existed ... I'd have jumped in sooner. I'm grateful for those who have left comments and sent emails ... sharing their stories ... offering encouragement ... adding their two cents. Thank you ... and blessings to you all.

What invitations call for YOUR attention today?