Friday, January 29, 2016

Ways To Be / Experience The Magic




So, what is the magic?  I will let you in on a secret:  it has nothing to do with the grandeur of pulling rabbits from hats.  Nor does it mean that you'll mysteriously find you've inherited a fortune with a house on a hill from some distant relative you've never met.  Magic like that is more properly deemed fiction.  Real magic has to do with the little things which (you'll find soon enough) add up to be the really great things in life. 

The true magic of our universe is entirely free, you need only reach out and take it!  This is easily done once you  realize what it is and where to find it

Below you'll find thirty-two ways to experience the magic life has to offer, right now:


1.  Take inventory of your values and virtues. 
Are they noble, honest, true?  If you adhere to them, will they allow for a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment in your life?  Writing them down and figuring out what you believe in and stand for (and making sure you do so for the right reasons) may be one of the most important things you ever do for yourself.

2.  Be spontaneous.
So what if you didn't plan that afternoon trip to the coffee shop or the random walk around the block with an old friend you ran into.  Go have fun doing it anyway!  There's nothing wrong with the unplanned pleasures of life.

3.  Do 'fun' things.
Play with your kids.  Trying being a kid again, yourself.  Childhood is magical, it's okay to keep re-experiencing it.  Stop working so much.  Take time for your favorite movie. Blow bubbles.  Do silly, relaxing, gratifying things (even if the end result is just to feel gratified!).  We don't always have to be working at something.

4.  Be calm.
Take a deep breath.  Quit worrying.  Be peaceful.  Remaining in a relaxed state is good for your heart and your mind.  It relieves tension, and gives you a moment just to breathe.  A sense of loving calmness is contagious.  People sense your energy and it puts them at ease as well.

5.  Notice the beauty.
Don't just sit there...look up!  Look around!   At the colors of the sky, the birds that soar with ease, the magnificence of nature.  The  very miracle that you're sitting there, a living and breathing thing in this world full of amazing things to look upon.  Feed your senses with your surroundings.

6.  Cherish the simple things.
This has a lot to do with gratitude and thankfulness.  Love the skin you live in.  Appreciate your family, friends, and the small things we often take for granted (food, clothing, shelter, health).  These simple things are the essence of life.

7.  Take chances.
Have you ever heard the saying, 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained?'  Or how about this one, 'If you never try you'll never know.'  It's important to take risks sometimes, like opening that small business you've been dreaming about or going on the blind date your friend set up for you.  Nothing extraordinary will ever happen if you sit behind the exact same walls all day, everyday.

8.  Practice mindfulness and awareness:  be awake, conscious, and present.
Pay attention to things.  Make it a habit to be in the moment.  Take inventory of your surroundings.  See things, hear things.  Consciously inhabit your life.

9.  Increase self-awareness.
Turn your attention inward.  Listen to your thoughts and emotions (and why you  think and feel the way you do).  Analyze what makes you tick, what makes you angry.  It's liberating to learn about yourself.  With that knowledge comes the freedom to control your reactions, rather than allowing the outside world to manipulate you.

10.  Believe:  Expect to find magic and miracles.
Those who do not look for the magic will never find it!  Though that quote may have come from a story, it's the truth.  Believe in the good of the world.  Believe that great things can, and will, happen.  Believe that life, and the ability to live, is a magical experience.  And look for ways to make your life even more amazing (as well as the lives of others). 

11. Share your enthusiasm.
When you are in a good mood, use that emotion to cheer someone else up.  If some good fortune befalls you, double that joy by sharing it with another.  If you hear good news, spread it.  If you've received good news, share it.  If something great happened to you, try to pay it forward by making something great happen for someone else.

12.  Disconnect from technology and experience the 'real world.'
Yes, put your cell phone away.  Your tablet, your ipod, your ipad.  Even your laptop and the TV.  Spend an afternoon entertaining yourself with a real book with touchable pages.  Or a board game with your family.  Take your kids to the park and play with them.  Take a walk outside.  Whip up something good in the kitchen or just sit on the porch/patio and take in the beauty of your surroundings.  There's a whole world going on out there....with people to meet, things to do and see.  But you're going to miss it all because you are constantly busy looking down at your electronics!

13.  Find a cause to fight for.
What social or societal problems do you feel really passionate about?  Is it illiteracy, school bullying, or breast cancer awareness?  Maybe one of these things (or something similar) has touched your life in some way.  Pick a cause you deem worthy of fighting for and do what you can to inform, spread the message, speak out for this cause.  Do what you can to improve the lives of those effected by whatever issue you choose.

14.  Volunteer wherever/however you can.
Ring the Salvation Army bell on a busy street corner.  Walk door-to-door asking donations for a cause like Toys for Tots or March of Dimes.  Walk for a fundraising marathon.  Even something as simple as donating goods, clothing, and items to a local homeless shelter.  It doesn't take a lot of time, energy, money, or effort to volunteer things you no longer need/use.

15.  Believe in synchronicity.
Believe in the little life-changing coincidences.  Perhaps that lady who just sat beside you in a recent workshop is the exact person to inspire your writing.  And yes, the random guy who just asked for your number may, indeed, turn out to be the love of your life.  Or the huge letters that just jumped to you from an advertising ad may, indeed, be saying something important to you.  Believe in little signs from the universe, look for them, and trust your instinct when you find them!

16.  Feed your mind, body, and soul.
Read great literature, watch thought-provoking films and documentaries.  Exercise often and try to eat healthily.  Feed your spirit with inspirational ideas, TV shows, books. 

17.  Adopt a pet that needs a home.
There's nothing more rewarding than knowing you have saved the life of a pet!  The world is full of unwanted animals (sad as it is).  Lay claim to the feral cat you feed, or visit your local animal shelter if you're more selective.  You will quickly find that animals are just as grateful and capable of unconditional love as humans are.

18.  Say you're sorry when you're wrong.
The world is already too full of people who'd rather end relationships, abandon friendships, and disown each other than to admit when they are wrong and attempt to make amends.  If you have wronged someone, admit it and try to set your wrongs right.  Try to remember that no one is perfect and good friends are hard to come by.  Don't throw them away over petty disagreements!

19.  Give yourself and others a break.
This goes hand-in-hand with admitting when you are wrong.  We are all wrong sometimes; no one is always perfect, every second of every day.  We all make mistakes.  The important thing is not to cling to them.  Do not continuously ruminate on mistakes and disagreements.  It's okay if you didn't land that job you interviewed for.  And it's perfectly fine that you flubbed that speech you practiced for forever and a day.  It happens to the best of us.

20.  Practice self love.
You are truly the only thing you will ever own.  Irregardless of your belief system, the body you inhabit right now may well be the only one you ever get the chance to live inside.  Love yourself and take care of yourself.  Stop picking out flaws.  Stop comparing yourself to the anorexic, air-brushed models on the covers of magazines.  Those are merely photos, your body is real life.  Appreciate and accept yourself, as is.  Loving yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.  Once you love yourself, you make better decisions because you want the best for you.

21.  Live out loud.
Voice your opinions.  Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind.  Make some noise.  Let the world ring of your laughter.  Find a venue for your voice:  music, art, poetry, writing, blogging.  If you never speak out loud, no one will ever hear your voice.

22.  Do the things you love.
Don't allow the world (or anyone else in it) to tell you that it's not okay to color in a coloring book, or to practice your scrap-booking skills.  It's perfectly okay that you, as a grown woman, wish to take a tap-dancing class or love to read YA literature.  If an activity/vocation/hobby brings you joy and enriches your life, do it!  And do so without caring what anyone else thinks about your doing it.

23.  Find 'new' things to love.
The world is huge, so explore it!  Try new hobbies.  Take on new identities, new fashions, new interests.  Some may flourish into mainstays in your life while others may remain  fancy passings.  The idea is to try out new things.  To branch out.  To reach farther.  To learn more.  You are sure to find other people who share your interests as well.

24.  Perform random acts of kindness.
They really are gratifying.  When you do something nice for someone else with completely no expectation of having that person do anything in return, you'll experience a rewarding sense of selflessness.  After all, we are all inter-connected, rather we like it or not.  We all share this same earth, inhabit the same world.  So pay for the order of the person behind you in line, leave an uplifting note in a library book for the next random person to find.  Leave an inspiring letter on the counter of a public bathroom.  I promise you, these things will touch whoever receives them.  You never know in what positive ways you may inspire someone else.

25.  Be more understanding.
Stop judging and stop blaming.  Practice compassion and empathy.  Put yourself in another person's shoes.

26.  Practice patience.
Stop rushing so much.  I have found that impatience often leads to hostility.  For example, anger toward the slow grocery-store clerk or the person who is holding up the line at Starbucks.  Who knows what kind of day each individual has had, nor why they are being slow or difficult.  Be the bigger person and give some other person a break.  You'll both feel better.

27.  Always choose love.
Everyday I'm faced with things that I could allow to make me angry, hateful, or judgmental.  I'm not perfect, sometimes the outside forces win and I do allow them to upset me (something I'm working on as a practicing yogi).  Try to choose love instead of anger and indifference.  Love the world, love others, love yourself.  Don't allow the world to make you hateful.

28.  Dance.
Allow your feet to beat against the earth as you walk.  Turn the music up when you get home from work.  Love how your body can move.  Appreciate the stability of standing.  Embrace movement.  Celebrate the ability to move with agility.  It's also great exercise.  The body was meant for moving, and dancing is such a celebratory, gleeful act.

29.  Go slow.
Everyday you see people rushing:  to and from jobs, to and from appointments, through traffic lights and restaurant lines.  They walk past each other (and the natural beauty of the world) with little more than passing glances....and they miss everything!  Stop.  Whatever it is you are moving toward can wait.  Slow down, pay attention.  Enjoy the act of going rather than making it into an inconvenience.  You'll see more beautiful things, have more meaningful interactions, and you'll feel more satisfied when you doarrive.

30.  Focus on the 'now.'
This ties in well with awareness.  The idea is in the mind:  focus your thoughts on the here and now.  Pay attention to what's happening right now.   Stop thinking about the past.  Quit worrying about your plans for tomorrow.  Be present right now.  Experience the moment.

31.  Show up.
Be present in your own life.  Get things done that need to be doing.  No matter what you choose to do with your life, you have to begin somewhere.  So get out there and do it.

32.  Begin a meditation practice.
Because meditation is a great grounding tool.  It's excellent for improvement of memory, has been proven to lower blood pressure and improve overall brain function.  Yes, you can (and should) meditate yourself healthy!  You will be delighted with the overall mental/emotional improvement that just five or ten minutes of daily meditation can do.


Imagine how much more beautiful our world we be if we all reach into the void and found just a little bit of our own magic!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Noteworthy Links Thursday #3

My best web reads from the past week.

Enjoy!


Short Literary Fiction

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor gives insight into some dysfunctional dynamics of relationships between relatives who embark upon a trip and end up lost, accosted by bad men.  The story has the uncanny ability to reflect the dark heart of the human spirit.  There's also a surprise twist ending that you don't foresee whatsoever.

The Misfit kept scratching in the ground with the butt of his gun as if he were thinking about it. "Yes'm, somebody is always after you," he murmured.

The grandmother noticed how thin his shoulder blades were just behind-his hat because she was standing up looking down on him. "Do you ever pray?" she asked.

He shook his head. All she saw was the black hat wiggle between his shoulder blades. "Nome," he said.


And speaking of the nature of the human spirit, In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson is Buried by Amy Hempel breaks my heart just a little bit each time I read it.  It's a beautifully-written, heart-rending story of endings, of the truth that breaks you when you pause between the pages of life just long enough to really notice and listen.

I wanted her to be afraid with me. But she said, "I don't know. I'm just not."
She was afraid of nothing, not even of flying.


A Wintery Paradise:  Poetry & Online Journals

Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams as published at the Poetry Foundation is the perfect snapshot of the kind of evening we're having here in the East as the bare trees stand snow-covered and shivering beneath the waning light of a winter moon.

Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Winter Love by Linda Gregg drips an intermixing of simple solitude with just  a hint of loneliness.

I would like to decorate this silence,   
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain.


Bookworm-Worthy Reads for The New Year

Read what one girl learned by reading 164 books in 2016.  She also provides a spreadsheet of everything she read this past year.

"Reading is amazing; it shouldn't be a chore, and when it became one I stopped doing it."

Best Books to Read is full of some great recommendations and a variety of genres if you're 'to be read' pile is growing short.

"A well crafted book can help you to see the world in new ways, open up your imagination, teach you something new, or spark your creativity. All great things for bloggers. Plus, reading good books can help you nurture your own writing as you are inspired to try new things with your words."


Creative Ideas

If you're thinking about photography, or taking up a new/convenient hobby, you might want to check out How to Start at 365 Photography Project.  The article contains some helpful ideas and photography prompts for the beginning photographer.  And, surprise, you don't even need a fancy camera.  Your phone will suffice just fine!

"I wanted to take time to shoot for myself and create beautiful memories for my family and I. And let me just tell you, the entire process has been so rewarding!"

The article How a California School 'Cured Advanced Cases of Housewife Boredom' was a wonderful article that served a two-fold purpose for me:  a history lesson on societal gender roles of the 1960's and a resounding affirmation that yes, it is important that we stay creative!  Rather you are a stay at home mother/home-schooler (like myself) or if you cater to a bustling career, it seems everyone can benefit from some simple yoga poses and crafting projects.

"The Village offered classes in papier-mâché and sculpture, ballet and yoga."

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Word List Wednesday #2

This week I challenged myself with some words taken from the poem Demographics written by Catherine Bowman as it appeared in Best American Poetry 1994.

Word List:

licking
November
palms
wallow
lips
noon
city-shift
underground
glare
river
cedar
hips
yellow
counter-currents


I was inspired by the snowy weather here in Eastern Kentucky.  We were gifted with an early snowfall this morning.  It actually is the first real snowfall of the year, which accumulated in several inches.





Breath on Snow

The snow is a city-shift,
Bare branches of cedars
And elms spread the landscapes
Wide like two empty palms
Awaiting to be filled with
The licking swipe of
Inner-tubes and make-shift
Snowboards made from
Summer’s last wood.
The air feels like a late
November noon in
Some other lifetime
Of myself as a child.
I watch the river play
Its hollow song against the
Late afternoon sun, yellow
Glare whose warmth touches no one.
I wallow in the ambient
Emptiness of an early-morning
Snowfall, all swaying hips
And lips too full of cold for words.
And I can’t help but feel
Someone else standing inside
The quiet beside me, an
Underground counter-current,
All warm-breath and full-cheeked,
The ghost who stands beside me.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Favorite Lyric Erasure Poetry

For the longest time, I have collected journals full of favorite songs/lyrics.  I simply write them in journals and colorfully decorated composition notebooks.  Oftentimes I write in the margins what specific lyrics speak to me of personal experience.  I also my doodle, add my thoughts, whatever tickles the fancy of my muse as I'm recreating the music on paper.

I've had songs touch me.  Enlighten me.  Songs with lyrics that have truly spoken to me, that have resonated with me on some deeper level than mere audible experience, and I've carried the lyrics of those songs with me for years.

I've always wanted bring these song lyrics a new life, or perhaps what I wanted was to apply my own life experience to them.  To pull out of them exactly what they made me feel, the emotions they evoked, the messages they conveyed.  To create my own art from them.

And now, thanks to the lovely idea of Amanda Oaks (a poet I recently discovered via her Tumblr) I have found a way to do so through erasure poetry.  Sure, I have known of erasure poetry for years.  I have even written a few of my own.  I just never thought to use my favorite lyrics for them until I read Amanda's recent book Where'd You Put The Keys Girl, which was actually inspired by the lyrics of Tori Amos.

Oh, I know, be still heart!  Tori Amos...one of my absolute favorite musicians.  Doubled with lyrics and erasure poetry and new ideas.  I haven't told this Amanda Oaks girl how much she's inspired me yet, but I surely plan to!

Anyway, back to my lyrics and poetry.  I'm a fan of Jewel, she was probably the first serious musician  that I could really sit down and listen to and feel I was being transported into the eye of someone else's experience.  I've had others do this for me:  Sarah McLachlan and Ani DiFranco (to name only my absolute favorites).

                      

So it's no surprise that I decided to do erasure lyric poetry on Standing Still, one of my favorites by Jewel.

I created the image for the feel of an erasure effect.  I actually used a magnetic poetry app to create it.  Although I did first use a journal,  I like the clean cut image from the magnetic app best, though.   I also included the poem in typed form below.

I had an awesome time playing with this and hope to do many more.

Enjoy!  Maybe you can even try your own.





                                                         Darkest night
                                two headlights
                                                clear
the twilight
                dead end
                  Burning
                     Insight
I want you
I stand          still
on the stoop
In
    This hot summer night
I
Feel broken
like I need you
   You
Said
    You love me
Like
                                A darkened sky
                The scenery
You pass                              by
You

Are                         passing me by.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Wisdom Makes Me Long For Random Things Lost

I have no idea who the artist is, but this vintage painting reminds me very much of the one I speak of in this poem.



There are things I wish
I had taken from my fathers
House before the move.
Funny how the mind can
Mature in a span of four years,
But here I am reassembling
A life I tried to forget:
A country community of
Late 80’s mom and pop resurrections,
Tiny grocery stores with paper doll books
And a summer’s worth of
Movie-watching for wide eyes,
Moon eyes my mother would call me
When, at the age of 12, I exchanged
Sleep for books and film.
I am a mother now and
I miss the innocence that childhood
Loans us in those few short years
Of finger-painting and doll-dressing,
The magic-come-to-life kind of way
I used to watch the cornstalks
Sway in farm fields until darkness fell
And they became boneless ghosts
To dance their rituals beneath a hangnail moon.
I miss pulling straw from my hair,
The adventure of bath-time play and the
Voyages that, in make-believe, I made
From soft couches and too-fat pillows
That rocked me like a rowing boat,
And the games of chess and porch-talk
With the neighborhood elderly, old-timey
confederates who missed the old days.
I miss time spent dreaming on a soft-shag rug
While gazing into a vintage painting at
Some snowy winter scape, a place I could
Lose my wiles for hours without worry.
The thing I’d want most, now, out
Of all those boxes of strong china and silverware,
Of wineglasses, old bottles of cologne and aftershave,
Of the grade school cheerleading uniforms,
Nor even a cassette tape collection galore could
Pull my hands from the delicately-smeared
Acrylic of an ideal winter, were those moving boxes here.



I guess this poem is really about growing older and beginning to realize the important things...like old vintage paintings that hung across the walls of your childhood home before it was sold.

It is true, on sweltering summer days I used to lay on a soft, shaggy rug and gaze into the wintery snow scape that hung on the wall to the left of our front door.  The inside-wall air conditioner sat snug in the wall across the room behind me so that if I laid in just the right position, I could feel the cold air caress my body.  I'd lay there for long periods of time during the boring days of summer break, gazing into that picture, feeling the cool air land across my skin....imagining that scene.  Was it real?  Imagined?  Had someone sat by a window and painted the outside scenery on a winter day long before I was ever born?  When I gazed into that old painting, I felt almost as if I were touching history, momentarily transporting myself to another place and time.

It wasn't until recently that I remembered the picture.  Perhaps a few days ago as I watched my daughter dance beneath the first snowfall of the year, small and short as it was.  

The painting is long gone, now.  Sold in a garage sale, I was told.  I only hope that wherever it is, it's found a warm, safe home.  And that, just maybe, some kid, somewhere, may one day gaze dreamily into that work of art instead of the blank, shiny face of an ipad.  

And that's really what the poem is about...the old days.  The innocent, interpersonal time before technology stole so many precious moments from us.  This poem is reminiscent of my childhood, back in the 80's and early 90's.  And I'm so happy I was able to live mine without high tech gadgets and screens kids have lost themselves in these days!


This poem was inspired by the visual poems of Maria Wulf as showcased in a  prompt at Imaginary Gardens.  I enjoyed all the videos, but was particularly inspired by the snowy scene and the corn stalks waving in the wind.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dear John Letter From A Broken Man (A Persona Poem)

Untitled by Frank Horvat (1962)



Don’t cry over me, girl.
In these modern days
There’s a cover-up for every scar.
I wrote these words myself,
A melody to rise and fall
Inside your mind, and then I was gone.
The days keep spinning us along,
Two visionaries whose eyes have
Grown too weary for travel,
Or maybe I walked too far ahead
While you chose to stand among
The proverbial field of wildflower.
Either way, Im already gone.
I sit in a room alone, an empty box
Surmised of dusty curtains and fireplace;
It’s just me and the cigarettes I smoke.
There’s no soft skin around my neck
The way I wanted your arms to rest.
There’s hardwood floors with scuffs,
A vague roadmap unreadable,
too-cold feet, dark sky between
The window blinds, and a forlorn feeling
That maybe you can forgive me
Although you probably won’t:
The goodbye was a brutal unending,
To say I once loved you for the things
You carried, smiling eyes, bright soul.
Then ask you to forget my number
In the same month of sex-filled Sundays,
To cause us both to miss a memory
That only really ever existed between
Fantastic walls built of the sweetest words.
But when you’ve been hurt,
And girl, I have been hurt too much,
You’d rather miss the world,
You’d rather lose the only girl
Than to fear the brow-beating
Of another symbolic father;
Than to be afraid you’d beat her brow too.
Understand me when I say
I did love you, and that is why I had to leave.
There’s no shady blow, no nighttime smoke
In this room where the only companion
Is the sad truth of an undoing of two.
The only thing left in my lap are two
Nervously-wringing hands, hands that could
Have touched you in all the wrong ways
Had I allowed them certain freedom to throw
The stones my heart carried.  Such heavy things,
An apothecary of unrealized dreams
To bow the ribs of my chest,
Medicine-bottle shelf for a broken man.


I wrote this poem with the Persona prompt at dVerse but didn't link up in time.  Still wanted to share it though.  :)  

I tried to write from the viewpoint of a man who has told a woman goodbye, but with reason that he was afraid he'd hurt her.  Perhaps he had demons in his own past.  Perhaps he was callous when he said goodbye.  Maybe he told her he never wanted to speak to her again and she just didn't understand why.

Maybe I excavated my memory for this, maybe it's not personal experience at all.  Maybe someone, somewhere might find it and read it and think it's about them when it's not.  Maybe it is about someone else altogether...or no one at all.

Or, maybe the muse just struck me.  And I wrote.

I suppose that's the mystery in any piece of poetry.  The words could be real.  They could be fantasy.  They could be lies, truth, something lived inside a dream.  

What matters isn't how it's written or what's said...but in what the reader finds inside their own interpretation of it.

Noteworthy Links Thursday #2

Welcome to my weekly installment of Noteworthy Links.

For the longest time, I have made it a daily goal to read at least one short story, one self-development article, and one poem per day.  In celebration of all the free education and resources available via the internet, I try to make sure that my daily reading material comes from the internet and is freely available for any and all to read.

I aim to choose literature and poetry from talented writers as well as informative articles that educate and promote self growth.

This is a collection of my best reads this past week.

Enjoy!


Poetry, Prose & Online Poetry Journals

I loved the poem Leisure by Charles Rafferty  for it's bare simplicity.  His words could be anyone's morning, especially mine.  The poem appears on one of my favorite websites Poetry Daily.  You'll find a new poem and author biography every single day on Poetry Daily.  I've discovered quite a few wonderful poets via their daily posts.

I also found a prose-feature essay on Poetry Daily (they have an archive of these free for the reading!) titled Just to Watch Them is to Feel Again:  Film and Poetry, Time and Image by Troy Jollimore which takes into account his reflection of the cinematic shot as compared to the poetic line as a type of entertainment that allows one to transverse dimensions as well as be entertained.

"at home I lie in bed turning Ezra Pound’s pages, finding there, too, a delicious weirdness, words I don’t recognize, words keeping company with words that seem to come from different neighborhoods entirely, if not different worlds, fragments of thought and language that seem somehow to have survived from a different era, pre-T.V., pre-consumer goods, pre-suburbs, pre-everything I am familiar with."


"The dream-life of reading poems could barely be distinguished from the dream-life of watching movies; to experience either was to go into a kind of trance, to exit through the invisible portal that, it turned out, was always hovering just to the side of one’s field of vision, into a symbolic realm whose refusal to make straightforward sense made more sense than anything conventional existence offered."

I thought it was kind of ironic that I found an essay on this topic since one of my new years resolutions this year was to lose myself in great film and read more books.



Short Stories

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin had a surprising twist to the ending that I thought was rather karmic, as the main character was met with the news of her husbands death with a sense of freedom.  Though I didn't find it alarming that a married woman might feel trapped, nor was it unrealistic that she'd view her future as prison willed to her partner as relationships can become rather stifling.

"And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!"


The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury is an oddly realistic tale of how a population calmly reacts to the eerily quiet news of an apocalypse.  It seems uncannily appropriate that they don't do anything, they go on as they always did, dinner rituals and all.  

"They sat and read the papers and talked and listened to some radio music and then sat together by the fireplace looking at the charcoal embers as the clock struck ten-thirty and eleven and eleven-thirty. They thought of all the other people in the world who had spent their evening, each in their own special way."

The moral of the story seemed to speak to me that everyday life need not be grand of lotto winners or riches or big huge experiences...that the little things are really the big things.   That's what  I took away from the story, anyway.  Read it for yourself and draw your own postulations.



Personal Growth and Self Development

Really, I am Almost Enlightened by Jerry Stocking over at the amazing Elephant Journal really drives home the point that if we want to be, we can be happy right now.  Rather or not everything is okay really is a matter of thought rather than external components.  

"It really isn’t nearly as big a deal as I sometimes imagine it to be."

I think the most important component to developing a Buddha mindset is in learning that it is us who govern our own thoughts, which are a direct result to whatever emotion we decide to identify with at any given moment.  So, yes, we can choose to be happy or sad....everything occurs inside the thought!



And if you're one of those people (like me) who often struggle with making meaning of daily tasks, or maybe you feel stuck in the groundhog day kinda ritual, I think you'll really enjoy the article How to Enhance Your Day in Seven Minutes, Daily by Diana Mae Fernandez.  

"By taking out seven minutes in your daily routine in the morning for self-care, you'll be able to jumpstart your day while improving in seven sections of your life that needs nurturing - only a minute each area."

And while I agree that her ENHANCE theory is an excellent method, I cannot find myself to implement each of those steps in less than an hour.  Maybe it is me, as I love to think, reflect, really plan...and then demonstrate that plan immediately after.  My morning ritual also includes Silent Time, Meditation, Yoga, and Reading some uplifting material.  But, the idea does give a good start to a morning ritual that can change one's life.

"You have to both take care of your body and your inner self.  YOU ARE A PRIORITY."



Hope you enjoyed my week's favorite internet picks!  Until next week, I hope you find some of your own reading gems.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Beauty.

Cloud Breaks
“hark, now hear the sailors cry, 

smell the sea, and feel the sky 
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...” 
― Van Morrison


Created for the Beauty challenge at Take A Word.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Noteworthy Links Thursday #1

Welcome to my weekly installment of Noteworthy Links.

For the longest time, I have made it a daily goal to read at least one short story, one self-development article, and one poem per day.  In celebration of all the free education and resources available via the internet, I try to make sure that my daily reading material comes from the internet and is freely available for any and all to read.

I aim to choose literature and poetry from talented writers as well as informative articles that educate and promote self growth.

This is a collection of my best reads this past week.

Enjoy!


A New Year, A New Start.   Let's toast to 2016.

52 Fun Things:  Try a New One Each Week of the Year
If you're anti new years resolution, but you do welcome some positive change, then this article is for you.  Full of some fun, stress free and innovative ways to enrich your life in small, weekly installments of merely one easy-to-do task per week.  I love this list!

However, if you want to try your hand at some new years resolutions and are unsure of where, or how, to start, this awesome Playlist of TED Videos are sure to spark a fire in your resolve to better yourself this year!


Self Development & Personal Growth

"Be a Buddha" is one of my personal life commandments.  It's a helpful mantra in trying times.  I have been practicing Buddhism since 2009.  I always try to explain to people that Buddhism is not a religion, it is a philosophy of the inner self.  It is the study of peaceful and content being in the world.   So I'm always happy to find an article like A Ten Step Journey Into Buddhahood that contains a thorough investigation of the Buddhist philosophy.  It's a great beginner's resource for those interested in pursuing a Buddhist experience.

I found the article Behind the Scenes of Wonderful Instagram Photos To Make You Rethink Social Media to be highly insightful.  The author sheds light on the idea that social media is a concept, rather than real life...a place where the imperfect is made to be perfect.  Yet the article also has a deeper, more meaningful message pertaining to the exaggerated perfection of cropped photo images on Instagram:

 "...allowing us to understand that there is beauty in everything. Even ourselves."


Poetry, Literature, & Online Journals

Late Hours by Robert Gibb reminds me of the deeds unfolding and of days well-done.  It brought me into a train of thought concerning my own late hours, how the evenings seemingly unwind themselves, day after day, one after the other...all the same, but different unto their own ways.

"In the meantime a single light is burning in the house 
Beneath the last hard carbons of the winter stars,"


New Years Poem by Margaret Avison intricately details a New Years Eve evening with her calming, meditative observances.

 "The Christmas twigs crispen and needles rattle
Along the window-ledge.
             A solitary pearl
Shed from the necklace spilled at last week’s party
Lies in the suety, snow-luminous plainness
Of morning, on the window-ledge beside them.   
And all the furniture that circled stately
And hospitable when these rooms were brimmed
With perfumes, furs, and black-and-silver
Crisscross of seasonal conversation, lapses
Into its previous largeness."