Blue Heron Gazes
Blossom Time Again
Tulip Soldiers ©CandyPaull
Nest ©Candy Paull
Trinity ©Candy Paull
Golden Rose © Candy Paull
Tulip LIght © Candy Paull
Pirate Rose ©Candy Paull
November 25, 2013
New! Release date November 26, 2013
My bouncing new book baby is about to be released. November 26, 2013 is the official publishing date.
And download the new edition of The Heart of Abundance. Twice as much good stuff!
It's celebration time!
There's something about a book that's sacramental, something permanent and physical that suggests the nonphysical world. It's a tangible sign of something larger than the physical--something transcendent.
Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori
Set an intention to cultivate more serenity in your heart, and you will be surprised by the ways serenity makes its way into your daily life. You will also be challenged to make changes that may be far beyond the scope of merely reducing stress in your life. Creating a calming home atmosphere, getting grounded and centered in your body, and being proactive about making positive incremental changes will help you create at more tranquil and meaningful existence.
Serenity is not the absence of stress but an openness to experiencing a greater sense of the Divine Presence in your life. You will be guided as you discover ways to blend spirituality and practicality to uncover the hidden wholeness that is already within. Finding Serenity in Seasons of Stress offers encouragement and simple ideas to create a happier and more blessed life. May it be a reminder of the stillness and aliveness that are at the center of your being.
Excerpt from Finding Serenity in Seasons of Stress
September 10, 2013
I just published my new e-book, The Translucent Heart. It's already available on Smashwords and Amazon, and will soon be available on Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, and other e-tailers. Almost two years in the making. It's been a long time since I published a new book, and I'm very happy to be up and publishing again.
I also have a new book coming in November with Grand Harbor Press, called Finding Serenity in Seasons of Stress. More to come on that. It will be available in an e-book format, as well as trade paperback and audio book.
The Translucent Heart is a collection of sixty-one meditations with quotes for the spiritual journey, offering practical ways to bring a little bit of heaven into daily life on earth. This devotional companion offers instant inspiration to illuminate the heart and lift your spirits. If some days feel opaque with weariness and struggle, discover a little bit of light to brighten your day.
The Translucent Heart is much longer than any book I have written. The sixty-one meditations each come with a cornucopia of quotations, showing that wisdom is universal, and people from different times, cultures, and spiritual traditions often agree on the essentials of what it means to cultivate the interior life. I adore quotes, and this book has some great ones. I also stretched in my writing, creating longer meditations, and going deeper into my own experience. I think it is really important to continue growing as a writer, and The Translucent Heart has been an important part of my personal journey. It is my prayer that it will be an ongoing devotional resource for your personal journey, too.
The object of the man, the aim of the moment, is to make daylight shine through him, to suffer the law to traverse his whole being without obstruction, so that on what point so-ever of his doing your eye falls it shall report truly of his character, whether it be his diet, his house, his religious forms, his society, his mirth, his vote, his opposition.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You turn your captivity, or come out of the house of bondage, thralldom, and misery when you claim the qualities, attributes of God as your own, and when you accept mentally all the blessings of heaven.
As one comes into and lives continually in the full, conscious realization of oneness with the Infinite Life and Power, then all else follows.
Ralph Waldo Trine
Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.
Henry Van Dyke
June 18, 2013
George in Bliss
If there were to be a universal sound depicting peace, I would surely vote for the purr. Barbara L. Diamond
I have been cat-sitting this week. I love being the temporary home for special kitties, felines who are loved by friends who want someone who will love their animals when they are going out of town. I’m no professional cat-sitter. I just have certain favorite kitties that I am happy to host in my home for certain favorite friends. The two I am caring for this week have the fond aliases of “Kitty Boy Litterfoot” and “Zen Purr Master.” One is a very sweet independent male kitty who is a Tarzan muscle boy. The other is a soft ball of fur who loves to snuggle next to me and allows me to stroke her in the right kitty places. She isn’t a lap cat (I love lap cats) but she does honor me with her trust, and will sleep in purrfect peace on my bed at night. She also has a penchant for jumping on the desk while I'm trying to type, letting me know that my attention needs to be placed on more important things (like petting her!).
There is all the daily work that comes with kitties. Kitty Boy needs his daily meds (though he’s easy to dose, as he just laps up anything I give him). Then there’s cat food. Dry is simple. Wet—well, it pleases the cats. Not my idea of gourmet dinner, but I’m not a cat. I just make yummy noises when I’m dishing it up, and they come running.
Cleaning the litter box, though not one of my favorite duties in the world, can be the occasion for some deep thinking (along with scooping the deep poop). I have thought about reasons for keeping the litter box tidy and how it parallels certain areas of my life that need regular attention. Here is one of my musings on the ethics of kitty litter duty.
Every life/business/household is like a cat, and every life/business/household has a kitty litter box. It's the nature of things. And every day, someone has to scoop the poop and clean up the kitty litter box so the cat can do its business.
Good kitty litter ethics means keeping the box clean and just doing the work without complaining. Bad kitty litter ethics will ignore or gloss over the box and avoid the work. Instead, they'll shake the box to make it look nice and clean on the surface, but when kitty needs to do its earthy business (just a normal day of doo doo), it digs and finds those hidden turds, the petrified waste still needing to be attended to. And if this goes on too long, the box will smell and the kitty will find other, less appropriate places to do its natural business.
Good ethics: happy cat, purring in your lap, clean house, and everything working as it should work
Bad ethics: uneasy cat, something smelly coming from the corner, and an unhappy household
Sometimes it's just that the kid in charge of the litter box forgot, shirked, or is immature. Sometimes it's someone who isn't bothered by dirty kitty litter smells and waits for a long time to change the kitty litter box. Sometimes it’s someone too ethereal to notice kitty litter, or someone too proud to stoop and scoop. And sometimes it's someone who is unaware or abusive. But no business is without kitty litter issues, so you might as well work with people who like to keep the cat happy and the house clean.
So next time something doesn’t “smell right,” check out the kitty litter box and see who’s been taking care of business.
And for a change of pace, here is a meditation I wrote for myself back in May. I was in the midst of writing a new book that will be coming out around Thanksgiving 2013 (more later on that and other projects I’m getting ready to release) and decided I wanted an affirmative prayer to help me remember what is important in my creative work.
In this precious morning time I fill my spirit and prepare for a productive and celebratory day. I love to write inspired copy that is the equivalent of calling dolphins, whispering to horses, singing to the stars, and drawing the beloved ones I serve with love and joy and peace. I am visualizing that abundant good comes, and then, like a cat purring as it is stroked, sends out even more good vibrations to those I love and serve. I am setting my intentions in a more loving, peaceful, and joyous way than I have ever intended before, and I include all in that circle of intention. I am including the readers I create for, the clients I serve, the people I meet, the partnerships I form, the beloveds I tenderly care for, and I include myself as well. We are all drawn into an enchanted circle of bliss, ecstasy, and wonder. My writing sings as it reaches straight to the heart, from my heart. It is a language and lyric, a song that I can learn, memorize, and sing for my readers, for the earth, for the light and life of all creation. My work is not just earning a living, though I am blessed with a wonderful and prosperous living. My work is an expression of love. And I participate in bringing a higher consciousness to all, nurturing the spirit, and bringing ecstasy, wonder, and beauty into fullness of being.
And so it is
March 27, 2013
Each person is nourished, made more whole, by making something which has life.
Abundance is an inside job. It begins with love. When you are creating a career, a craft, a partnership, a work of art, a home, choose to put your whole heart into what you do. When you give attention and love to your work and your relationships, they begin to glow with Divine life. The energies of love and a high quality of attention create wholeness in your life and in this world.
If you are feeling fragmented and broken, a simple way to bring the pieces back together is to do one humble task with attention and care. Be fully present in the smallest, most insignificant task and you will tap into the innate wholeness of the entire Universe. A new sense of well-being becomes available to you when you wash dishes mindfully or sweep the floor as if it is the most important work in the world. The same goes for focusing on the person you are with. Your loving attention will create a place for relationship to become a sacred trust. This work, this person, become important in this moment because the here and now is all you really have access to anyway. Make it count.
Create small spaces of beauty and order in your life. Commit fully to what you are doing and who you are with. Be fully present and create beauty that satisfies your soul. If you love it and work with your heart, you will be rewarded.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Does this thing I have made or done make me feel more whole and alive?
• Do I feel nourished and happy because of it?
• Does it feel “right” somehow, even if others might not approve or consider it important?
• Do I feel that I did this to the glory of God or for the highest good?
• Am I serving a greater purpose by choosing to do this?
The quality of attention that we give to the arts and sciences we love redeems the time of our earthly existence.
The connection between the life of a made thing and the healing effect it has on the maker is…this: People are deeply nourished by the process of creating wholeness.
The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.
G. K. Chesterton
The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.
Love the inward new creation,
Love the glory that it brings;
Love to lay a good foundation
In the line of outward things.
(excerpt from Inner Abundance)
February 22, 2013
Crabapple Spring Returns
The earth laughs in flowers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is something so delightfully enchanting about treating yourself to fresh flowers. They are not “useful” in a utilitarian sense, but they feed the soul’s desire for beauty and bounty. The unfolding of a rose is a miracle, a living reminder that the life force unfolds from within. Lilies are fragrant, filling the room with sensuous sweetness. Sunflowers are the symbols of high summer and phototropic joy, like sunny smiling faces. Dogwood white against forest brown, deep blue dwarf larkspur, and tiny pink and yellow spring wildflowers make the earth new again as the season of growth begins after a long cold winter. The fierce red “I AM” of a tulip, the tender petal pink of a rosebud, or clouds of white crabapple blossoms at their peak of perfection remind me that life is ever new, every lovely, and ever surprising.
One way to give yourself the gift of a lasting bouquet is to take pictures. Petals fall and seasons change, but the beauty lives on long after the flower has gone to compost. I love to take pictures of flowers, capturing a moment as they bask in the light. A spray of plum blossoms caught in setting sun and reflecting the light as if they are living lamps, or the shadowed petals of an unfolding rose that creates a geometry of grace—every photo is a different expression of floral grace. I prefer capturing the blossoms in natural light, and have learned to look for nature’s “spotlight” for each scene.
Much depends on the camera as well as the lighting. It doesn’t take fancy equipment to capture a bit of lasting beauty. I still use my old Kodak EasyShare point-and-shoot camera, and because I have used it for so many years, I have learned its ways more deeply. I have learned more of the ways of flowers from it. One day soon I will be investing in cameras with more bells and whistles, but something tells me that I will want to keep my old camera available, even if it is held together with masking tape (actually, it IS held together with masking tape, as the battery compartment no longer stays closed on its own, thanks to the camera being dropped once or twice). That old camera is a friend, another eye that helps me see what I would otherwise miss. Almost every photo on my website has been taken on my trusty little digital camera. I revel in the bouquets the camera and I create together.
Timing is a big factor. Capturing the peak of the blossom or the perfect lighting is an essential part of the magic. I have a sunset view and at certain times of year the light of the lowering sun comes through the kitchen door and creates a space of light on my counter. I provide a background with a few simple props and place the opening rose in front of the complementary backdrop. Then I just chase the light as the sunset evolves. At other times of year my den skylight sends light down from on high, and my flowers bask in its spotlight for a few minutes of staged beauty.
Best of all is chasing the light and beauty outdoors. I go to local parks, botanical gardens, or a favorite lake in blossom time, and the magic unfolds under the ever-changing weather conditions. It’s such a joy to capture the perfection of spring blossom. I have learned to love the light as it dances with the flowers, caressing them with passing splendor. Light makes love with the earth, bathing it in beauty, coaxing the plants and flowers into being. The clouds and shadows reveal and hide; the early morning or waning afternoon casts a subtle glow that full noon is too harsh to reveal. Sunlight through the petals reveal secrets of the flower, offering a sense of another world more luminous and whole, more perfect in its glowing beauty than earth can fully bear.
Spring comes and goes fast in the South, as a warm day can open everything so quickly, and send it past its peak even more swiftly. Pacific Northwest spring blossoms linger in the grey coolness, but the southern sun can shorten the bloom time with a few days of unexpected heat. If I come upon a scene of peak blossom and glorious light, I take as many pictures as I can. I must capture the moment because it will not come again. Every year it’s different: same tree, same location, same spring blossom—yet never the same, and the photos are always different, day-to-day, season to season, moment by moment. Just like life: you can never repeat the moment, so keep your eyes wide open and your heart ready to receive. One day the cherry blossom is white. Two days later, it has deepened to pink. One day the crabapple buds are pink and red with promise, two days later they are a blanket of open white blossoms covering the tree. Two more days and they are petals falling and gone, swept away by the wind as a thunderstorm rushes in with a cleansing cold front.
The most artfully luminous photos become icons for me. One or two photos from a session will stand out because of a bit of light and form captured in random perfection. They represent something more than just the flower itself. It is as if there are more dimensions reflected in their beauty. As I have grown in my artistry, I have found certain ways of looking at the composition of flower and light to create something much more than a mere snapshot of something pretty. The photo itself is like a flower opening my eyes to another layer of beauty and meaning. For me, contemplating flowers has become a way of contemplating the mystery of life.
Whether I take a series of rose photos in afternoon’s fading light or go hunting at my favorite spring haunts for blossoms in the peak of their perfection, I go with an open heart as well as an open eye. Give yourself the gift of fragrant blossom and allow it to remind you of the inner dimension of the soul. A digital work of photo art, a painting that expresses your creative response to beauty, or just a lovely flower to scent your day and bringing beauty to your home; all of these remind you that eternity is calling to you through the lattices and windows of time and space. A big bouquet, a single rose, or wildflowers gathered from the side of the road—say it with flowers and take joy in nature’s sweet pleasures.
• Stop at a flower stand and pick your favorite bouquet. Now buy it and take it home and enjoy it. Or take your digital camera and go for a ramble in fields, forest, or garden. Take delight in the floral bounty that is always blooming for you.
Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies, for instance.
Once or twice I have been asked what the peacock is “good for”—a question which gets no answer from me because it deserves none.
The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.
If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
Beauty is reality seen with the eyes of love.
I like to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
George Washington Carver
Spring—an experience in immortality.
Henry David Thoreau
Every spring is the only spring—a perpetual astonishment.
Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection not in words alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light.
The glory and freshness of a dream.
In the garden mystery glows
the secret is hidden in the rose.
Farid ud-Din Attar
We cannot discover ourselves without first discovering the universe, the earth, and the imperatives of our own being. Each of these has a creative power and a vision far beyond any rational thought or cultural creation of which we are capable.
We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through the fabric of illusion.
Setting aside my worldly affairs,
On the cherry-bloom I will gaze,
Every day till it withers; for
The flowers will last so few days.
Nature never makes haste; her systems revolve at an even pace. The buds swell imperceptibly, without hurry or confusion, as though the short spring days were an eternity. Why, then, should man hasten as if anything less than eternity were allotted for the least deed.
Henry David Thoreau
February 12, 2013
Valentine Roses for You
Your daily calendar tells you that everything is scheduled and accounted for—but your calendar cannot predict the unexpected. Even the most mundane days can hold surprises and gifts from the hand of God, if you are receptive to them. If you have eyes to see, you’ll recognize the loving Presence in all that is. Let the Divine romance you, surprise you, spread the treasures of creation before you. Then you will discover that Heaven is not somewhere far away, but here at work in this commonplace moment. Paper Valentines may come on February 14, but the Universe is sending you a living, loving Valentine greeting every day of the year.
You thought you were only running errands, but you ran into an old friend in line at the bank. It was just another ordinary day until that glorious sunset took your breath away. You ended yesterday in tears, but the sweet gift of sleep offered soothing relief and the next morning came with a clearer perspective The gloom of rain was chased away by sun shining through parted clouds. A smile, a red rose, a helping hand, a kind word, an unexpected encounter—Divine gifts surprise and delight.
You may have a sweetheart who will bring you hearts and flowers on Valentine’s day. Or you may be single and wishing for a Valentine greeting from a beloved you have not yet met. Whatever your life holds in the way of human romance, enjoy and express the Divine romance of living in such a beautiful and complex universe. Spend time with the Creator of Romance, allowing the loving Presence of God to comfort your soul. Choose to be compassionate and forgiving when you meet difficult people, recognizing that we are all works in process. Make an extra effort to let friends and loved ones that they are special to you.
Do something creative to satisfy your soul. Buy a bouquet and make a beautiful flower arrangement. Take a walk and bring a notebook with you for sketching or journaling. Write a poem. Build a birdhouse to welcome nesting birds this spring. Take artistic pictures with your digital camera and turn the best photos into homemade Valentine cards for friends and family. Try a new combination of accessories to freshen up a favorite outfit. Blend a perfume with fine essential oils. Make a delicious meal and share it with someone. Create a romantic atmosphere with candles, incense, and favorite music.
Most of all, cultivate a mindful awareness of the small gifts that life offers. Breathe in deeply, giving thanks for all life brings, good and bad. Breathe out the cares of life and that which no longer serves you. Be open and appreciate whatever comes as Life itself brings you unexpected gifts for Valentine’s Day—and every day of the year.
• Surprise someone you love with an unexpected gift—flowers, a card, chocolate—something simple to celebrate life together. Express your love of life in tangible ways: holding the door for someone, a smile, an extra large tip for a hard working waitress, a kind word, an anonymous Valentine for some lonely heart longing for a word of love.
The very commonplaces of life are components of its eternal mystery.
Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or the last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.
If we are rooted in the belief that everything God created is potentially holy, we have the capacity to notice that which is beautiful and holy in everyday life. Everything can be seen as a miracle, part of God’s plan. And when we can truly see this, we nourish our souls.
Rabbi Harold Kushner
There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Spiritual love is a position of standing with one hand extended into the universe and one hand extended into the world, letting ourselves be a conduit for passing energy.
The more we have given to ourselves, the more we have to give to others. When we find that place within ourselves that is giving, we begin to create an outward flow. Giving to others comes not from a sense of sacrifice, or spirituality, but for the pure pleasure of it, because it’s fun. Giving can only come from a full, loving space.
In the faces of men and women I see God,
and in my own face in the glass,
I find letters from God dropt in the street,
and everyone is sign’d by God’s name,
To love another person is to see the face of God.
Insomuch as love grows in you so in you beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
If the day and night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more strong, more immortal—that is your success.
Henry David Thoreau
Heaven walks among us ordinarily muffled in such triple or tenfold disguises that the wisest are deceived and no one suspects the days to be gods.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Heaven is throughout the whole world.
Heaven is within, it revolves around us. It is the real state of Being.
February 8, 2013
Apple Blossom Time
Touch the earth, love the earth, honour the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills, and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places.
Though it is still winter, signs of spring are starting to appear here in Middle Tennessee. I was walking at the lake the other day and saw daffodils already out. It's way too early, as we can have hard frosts into March. But so lovely to see the bright yellow against the sere brown landscape. I look at photos of apple blossoms taken last spring, and their beauty lifts my heart on gloomy winter days.
I feel I have been in a long winter; a quiet but intense time of going within. I have missed blogging and connecting with you, dear reader. But a full time day job and continuing work on my new e-book, The Tranquil Heart: Inspired Choices for Challenging Times, have been the fierce focus through fall and winter months. More festive plans are afoot now as I prepare my finished book for publication and move on from my last assignment at a day job into a season of full time writing. I will be sharing more in the coming weeks about the rebirth of my writing career.
Today I want to express my gratitude for all who have commented or sent me messages of encouragement or reviewed my books on the many websites where they are available. I read your comments and take them to heart, and they have an influence on what I write and how I present it. I have been in an intense place the last few months, so thank you for your patience with my slow response to your letters and emails. I honor every person who cares enough to communicate, and will try to be more available now that my life is moving from winter into spring. I think we all, as a collective, found 2012 to be a challenging year. So many friends have experienced big transitions and unexpected changes in these times, as I have. I know my own spiritual life has deepened in the process, and I am excited about the new things I have to share with you, beginning with my upcoming e-book, The Tranquil Heart. More announcements will be forthcoming. Until then, I want to encourage you to make choices that will help you cope when things get intense in your life.
If you’ve been closeted indoors too long, your thoughts get as stuffy as the closed rooms you’ve been living in. It’s time to get out and let the wind blow through your hair, the sun shine on your face, and the fresh air invigorate your attitude.
Escape to the wild places to renew your spirit. Let the wind blow through your hair and whisper secrets of wild freedom to your heart. Enjoy being away from all man-made structures and in the midst of nature’s beauty. You’ll return to your daily life with a wider—and wilder—perspective.
Mountains, deserts, seashores, green fields, gardens—find a little bit of earth and spend some time on it, staring at the clouds, digging in the dirt, smelling the flowers, and just being with green and growing things out under the wide bowl of arching sky. Rejoice in nature and let it remind you that life is larger and airier and freer than the enclosed world you’ve been immured in.
Watch a squirrel scrambling through leaves, intent on her business. Listen to the returning birds sing their songs of joy. Enjoy the picture of a baby animal kicking up its heels in the spring sunshine. Look at the tight knobby buds just beginning to swell. Watch for the signs of returning spring, and make room for spring in your soul.
Remember that life is rich and full and mysterious. Nature shares secrets of renewal with those who will take time to listen to her. Seek out the wild places—mountain, forest, untamed shore, winding riverfront, vast desert—the primal creation that shimmers with living glory and reminds you that this is a very large and beautiful world. And in your own backyard, the changing seasons remind you that even the coldest winter will finally give way to spring.
Climb the mountains and get good tidings. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
Spring flowers, autumn moon,
Summer breeze, winter snow—
When the mind is free from unnecessary thoughts,
Every season is just perfect!
If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let them be your only diet drink and botanical medicines.
Henry David Thoreau
Earth laughs in flowers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
July 14, 2012
Through the Clouds © 2012
[This is an excerpt from my upcoming e-book, The Translucent Heart: Inspired Choices for Challenging Times]
When unhappy, one doubts everything. When happy, one doubts nothing.
When life feels dark and overwhelming, become aware of your thoughts and actively choose to think better thoughts. Get out of a negative mental rut and decide thatyou can choose your thoughts, and those thoughts can be focused on the good that is already in your life. It may be a simple thing, like the warmth of a cup of coffee or a helping hand or a soft bed to tumble into at the end of a long day. Stop going over why things went wrong or how someone hurt you or why life is hopeless.
When you find yourself dwelling on what’s wrong, look for hidden blessings in troublesome situations. Choose to move from negative stories into more positive and creative possibilities. Replace complaints with praise. When you find yourself thinking negatively, create a positive affirmation to replace the negative talk.
Notice when you begin to lose perspective. Sometimes going to bed earlier is the best antidote to a poisonous mood. Remember to take care of your body, for a brighter outlook can come after a good night’s sleep or a comforting meal. Take care of the physical body with rest, exercise, and good nutrition, and your psychic energy will improve as well.
Two Yiddish archetypes illustrate the difference between empowering high thoughts and disempowering low practice. First there is the Nebbish, a character that drains the energy from life, a person whose nothingness diminishes everyone and everything around. A classic description of a Nebbish says, “When a Nebbish leaves the room, you feel as if someone came in.” Jeanne Houston says in The Possible Human, “when all present human characterological types have gone the way of evolution and transmutation, the Nebbish will probably remain along with the cockroach and termite—mankind’s representative of the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy principle incarnate.”
We all have an innate talent for being a Nebbish. You’ll hear your own Nebbishness when you say things like “If I try, it won’t happen. If it happens, I won’t want it anyway or it will cost too much. Why bother? Nobody wants me anyway. And anyone who did want me around is probably not the kind of person I would want to be around. So, I don’t feel so hot, but why should I? I think I’ll just go home and eat ice cream and cookies, and flip the channels, though God knows there’s nothing on television worth watching.” The Nebbish is the personification of all the gloomy, sad sack, limp, drooping, whining, persistent thoughts that sap hope, drain energy, and make you feel that nothing is worth doing, even if you were capable of doing it, which of course, you are not, because you are nothing special and nothing in particular. This addiction to negativity and inertia is a familiar “frienemy” that erodes confidence with its continual vapid criticism and willed passivity.
Then there is the Mensch. A Mensch is alive on all levels, a complete person who walks into the room and makes everyone feel better. A Mensch not only sees the ideal in others, but also brings out that quality in each person he or she interacts with. A Mensch has staying power, is willing to laugh freely and feel sorrow deeply. An archetype of the human possibility in full blossom, the Mensch is an artist of high practice, expressing a whimsical, unconditional love for life. A Mensch is an authentic “person” in the larger sense of personhood; a social artist and a human being who is awake to beauty, wonder, and the art of high play.
There is power in recognizing the many facets of the self, and how the lower self and higher self are both part of your experience. A Nebbish lives in each of us, and can only be disarmed by love and laughter. A Mensch is the awakening of the possible self, the higher, more joyous and aware being that also resides in our hearts and minds. Being able to identify when you are sinking into Nebbishness is a marvelous, whimsical way of looking at those negative thoughts that can darken a day and make the world a gloomy place. A consciously chosen High Practice offers opportunity for growth and experimentation, leaving room for mistakes and mirth, wonder and love. The Mensch laughs at the Nebbish, but also understands what makes a Nebbish a Nebbish, and consciously chooses another way of being in the world.
Every day you have a choice between the low cockroach thoughts that scuttle around in dark places, seeing only the dreariness of life, and the high practice of seeing beauty, potential, and meaning in even the most commonplace life. You can fall into a Nebbish vortex with defeatist, critical, low thoughts, and watch your life spin down the drain. Or you can choose the daring high road of believing in yourself and others, staking your claim to the sunny side of the street, and being willing to accept and appreciate life in all its glory and sorrow. Nebbish or Mensch? It’s always your choice.
What kind of thoughts are you entertaining? Who would you want spend time with—and what mental commentary colors your day? That mental commentary, positive or negative, is the person you live with all the time. What attitudes make you feel that life is worth living and lift you into a clearer, more bracing atmosphere? What attitudes and mindset hold you back, locking you into a grey fog of negativity and nothingness?
Allow the light of love to transform your thoughts and illuminate your life. You can do this even on dark days. Meditate, pray an affirmative prayer, then release your cares to the loving hands of God. Believe that the Universe will make a way where there seems to be no way. Focus on what needs to be done in this moment, trusting Spirit to guide you.
Indeed, the Mensch is the ultimate musician, the Artist of the High Practice. The Mensch is ourselves whenever we go into the High Self. And having experienced ourselves as High Self, we are enchanted by the beauty and the wonder of this memory, by this glimpse of the possibility within.
Life is like a 10-speed bike. We all have gears we never use.
A single sunbeam is enough to drive away any shadows.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Follow your bliss...if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.
Argue for your limitations and they are yours.
It’s hard to defeat an enemy who has an outpost in your own head.
Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed, so is the body.
There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
Introducing an inspiring friend:
We are moving out of the Age of Information into the Age of Inspiration. It’s no longer practical to rely on sagging facts and the criteria of the past. Everything is changing too fast. This is the time to listen to Inspiration, the cutting-edge technology wired within you. It’s time to attend the instincts you were born with, your feelings, truth, and sense of purpose, and the boldest intelligence within you. You were born with wings. It’s time to take those feathers for a ride.
I first heard Tama Kieves at a writer’s conference in Nashville. Her first book was newly out, her career was just beginning to take off. She was one of the most inspiring and funny speakers I had heard in a long time. She will definitely help you get in touch with your inner Mensch. She also helps you laugh at your inner Nebbish. But most of all, Tama believes in your potential to change the world, to make a difference, to be a magical person expressing the fullness of your gifts in talents in exciting ways. Sign up for her monthly newsletter. I read it every month and am always reminded of what great writing and a willingness to cultivate higher thoughts can do. Her new book, Inspired and Unstoppable, is being released in August 2012. Look for it in bookstores.
Here is the address for her blog.
Tama Kieves has been featured on Oprah Radio and is the bestselling author of This Time I Dance! Create the Work You Love. She is a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands worldwide discover and live their true work in the world. Sign up at ThisTimeIDance.com to receive the free monthly email newsletter with Tama’s latest articles (and events). Look for her new book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work (Tarcher/Penguin) in August 2012.
June 14, 2012
In a society focused on results and end products, it is easy to forget that you can’t create without going through a process of creation. You may say you have a certain goal or end result in mind, but often the actual work may take you in another direction. And many times a seemingly messy detour becomes the path to something unexpected and wonderful.
Sometimes the process includes unexpected time out. That time out may be a business setback that plunges you into deep waters as you work to survive and pay your bills. A layoff or hiring freeze means that the bright career plans are put on hold. The collapse of the music industry or tremendous changes in the book industry can mean that even successful writers and performers find themselves without a livelihood, having to reinvent not only their careers, but who they are and how to offer their gifts in a chaotic marketplace. Sometimes it’s a family emergency, and you may find yourself in the role of caretaker, putting your own life on hold while you walk with a loved one through the valley of the shadow of death. It might be a mistake you or someone else made, a change in market conditions, an unexpected emergency or health crisis. It could even be as simple as a creative project that didn’t come out the way you hoped, leaving you wondering whether you should try to salvage it or start all over again.
Take it one day at a time. Instead of trying to second guess the future, look at what you have right now. What can be accomplished today? Concentrate only on what you are able to do today. Do what you can and let go of trying to control the outcome. All you can do is do your best and leave the rest up to God. In most of the important things in life, we are dependent on the nature of creation and time, the grace of the Life Force flowing in us and carrying us through the events and processes of living.
In the larger perspective of life, eternal lessons teach us that trust and patience are required for the things that are really important. It takes time to raise a child, write a book, nurture a relationship, grow a career, and create a community. Think of a farmer patiently waiting for seed, soil, sun, and rain to do its work. The field must be plowed, the seed sown, the land fertilized and watered, the soil weeded, and the crop tended before it comes to full fruition. So it is with us.
Trusting the process is a form of letting go. You can try to predict and control life, but life is larger and more gloriously complex than the calculating planning part of the human brain can comprehend. When some plan or project is on hold, trust that it, too, is part of the process. It has been said that we make our plans—and God laughs. So why not laugh along? Or at least stop resisting and open your mind to receive new insights.
Trust that the goodness of life itself will lead you if you keep going. Trust the process of its unfolding. When a butterfly is working its way out of its cocoon, it is no kindness to cut the cocoon to make emergence easier. The struggle itself is an essential part of the process. When a human hand interferes with the process, the butterfly’s wings are undeveloped. It cannot fly. It dies. When the butterfly’s struggle is done in nature’s time, the emergence may last longer than our impatient hearts can stand. But when the butterfly finally emerges from this birthwork, it spreads its wings to dry, and then flies into its destiny. When you are stressed because your own process seems to be one of struggle and delay, remember the butterfly. Trust that a greater process is happening; that all this is working together for your good and your growth.
Whether you are creating a work of art or a life, trust the process. Let go of your expectations and let what you are doing lead you from one step to another. Do your best and leave the results to God.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go.
Proverbs 3:5-6 THE MESSAGE
By going a few minutes sooner or later, by stopping to speak with a friend on the corner, by meeting this man or that, or by turning down this street instead of the other, we may let slip some impending evil, by which the whole current of our lives would have been changed. There is no possible solution in the dark enigma but the one word, “Providence.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Sometimes providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backward.
One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.
• Do a creative project, such as building model airplanes or knitting, and watch the process unfold. Meditate on the processes unfolding in your life.
Life on the farm is a school of patience; you can’t hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.
Henri Fournier Alain
I find that it is not the circumstances in which we are placed, but the spirit in which we face them, that constitutes our comfort.
Elizabeth T. King
Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they might have been.
The greatest and most important problems in life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, but only outgrown.
The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it.
Jean Nicholas Grau
Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.
Nature magically suits a man to his fortunes, by making them the fruit of his character.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
On every level of life from housework to the heights of prayer, in all judgment and all efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are the sure marks of an amateur.
[excerpted from my upcoming e-book, The Translucent Heart.]
May 26, 2012
Forest Magic ©2012 Candy Paull
Today is all you have. The past is behind you and the future is unknown. This moment is where life is lived, not in yesterday or tomorrow. Each day offers opportunities that will never come again. Your choices and decisions will color not only this day, but also cast their shadows on coming days. Remember, too, that by not making a choice, you are really making a choice, and that choice always has unforeseen consequences.
Procrastination, putting off till tomorrow what should be done today, steals precious opportunities. Procrastination produces guilt because you know you should do something but you don’t. Instead, choose to value your time by doing what needs to be done right now, and live fully in each moment.
Be aware that there are hidden depths and dimensions in each day, unique to that day. Yes, there will be other opportunities on other days, but this day lived well will reward you with its own special joys.
Procrastination is the thief of time.
Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do.
Jose Ortega y Gasset
This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.
May you live all the days of your life.
We look backward too much and we look forward too much; thus we miss the only eternity of which we can be absolutely sure—the eternal present, for it is always now.
To bring to the place where you live only the best and most beautiful—what a plan for life!
• Set a simple goal for today and achieve that goal. Reward yourself with a small pleasure when you achieve the goal.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
Author Profile Page for E-books
Chris is a great resource for building your internet empire
ActionWhey business website
Sixty-one meditations with a cornucopia of quotes. Inspiration for daily life.
Abundance, Encouragement, Simplicity
Trade Paper, E-book, Audio: Coming November 26, 2013, Grand Harbor Press
A full color Christmas gift book from Simon & Schuster/Howard Books
Simplicity is releasing that which no longer serves me to make room for what I most deeply desire.
Encouragement is inspiring each other to embrace life with courage, enthusiasm, and love.
Abundance is not how much I own, but how much I appreciate.
Selected links, resources, and ideas, especially if you have questions about book publishing.
Words and Pictures
Poems and photos for the fun of it