A Plethora of P’s / #50: Presents

December 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.  ~ Khalil Gibran

Everyone likes presents. They feel good to get, they feel good to give. Large or small, maybe wrapped with shiny paper and a big fat bow, maybe not wrapped at all. Presents say “I’m thinking of you”.

And then, of course, are the presents which no packaging can hold ~ your talents, your thoughts, your care. Gifts of inspiration or hope or wonderment.

Children are gifts. Friends are gifts. You, who make people laugh and smile – you are a gift. You, who ease another’s load, are a gift. You who openly delight in another’s good fortune, are a gift.

There’s no doubt that thoughtful things are worthy ~ and tying them with fancy ribbons adds a joyful spirit. But the gifts you cannot wrap are those that often mean the most. So maybe we should all try sprinkling more of the unwrappable around this holiday season, and remember to top our presents with bows of kindness.

And you receivers… and you are all receivers… assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.

Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father. ~ Khalil Gibran

Tis The Season..!

December 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m a terrible salesperson. Remember how in 4th grade you were supposed to go door to door selling greeting cards or cookies or some such thing? … Not. My. Thing. If I got the least bit suspicious that I might be a.) interrupting or b.) annoying, that was the last door that got a knock from me. Shortly after that experience I vowed never to do it again. It’s just not in my DNA.

That said, I’ve gotten a little bolder. It helps when you have something that’s your own, or something you’re excited about, and even better when others are excited, too. So let me extend my gratitude right now to those of you who’ve bought my books and gifts and shared the love with others. It makes my heart sing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

It’s also that time of year when people do an awful lot of gift shopping and I figure I’d be remiss not to put in a specific mention of my own offerings, so here you go ~ especially for any of you who are new to my world, or simply need reminding (as in “hey! yes! I could get THAT for so-and-so… perfect!”).

What’s shown below is also what appears on my Shop page. (< listed over there on the left) For future reference, you can check in there anytime to see where to get stuff (although it’s not always decorated with holly and ornaments).

And please feel free to forward to a friend, in case they decide something would be perfect for so-and-so. Thank you! Blessings to you. Thank you. I’ll go now…

 

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Outrageous Happiness #13: Bless Everything!

December 7, 2014 § Leave a comment

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That’s right. Bless everything. Every beautiful, craggy, uplifting, hurtful, thoughtful, ugly, sweet or sour thing. All of it.

What I’m saying is, don’t bless just the warm, fuzzy stuff and the openly good-hearted souls. Don’t reserve blessings only for the downtrodden. Shower them with blessings, yes! ~ but also send blessings to the grouchy, the crotchety, the rude, the ignorant. Don’t hold back.

Send a silent blessing to everyone you meet and every experience you encounter. Bless your broken down car. Bless your burnt toast. Bless your ex. Bless the ornery waitress, the loud neighbor, the nasty driver. Bless the hole in your socks. Bless the rainy day. Bless the mess. Bless each one.

Sure, sure, you may need to let off steam, (putting it mildly?) but don’t stoke the flames of anger with more anger. Remove yourself, become the observer and fuel the situation with blessings. Pour ‘em on. Like a heavy rain. Like a rushing stream to thirsty horses. Like syrup on your pancakes or milk on your cereal. Shoot those invisible waves of light right out like arrows from a tight bow. Like a lighthouse beacon. Like pie in your face. Hammer to a nail. Straight on.

Just bless it.

You’ll feel better, and you never know…. they might too. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it. It’s potent stuff.

“A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen.” – John O’Donohue

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How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

The Last Leaf

December 3, 2014 § 1 Comment

I’d meant to post something fun today, but then this happened, impressing itself with some odd sense of urgency on my over-scheduled brain of late, and so, I’m going as the spirit moves. (The fun one will come later ~ promise!)

“Falling Leaf” photo by Eirik Adan

Soon the last leaf will fall ~
I may see it from my window,
I might watch its descent,
Its elegant tumble,
Its demure, soundless slip
From a crisp gray sky.
Its color dim,
Its softness
now a crunch underfoot ~
A piece of dust, a memory,
An unceremonious gesture of time
In the waltz of life giving life,
and giving life again,
on and ever on.
– P. Saxton

A Humble Thanksgiving

November 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

One more for this season of gratitude… I think I had my Dad in mind when I made this simple poster. The wheat reminded me of his upbringing, a time when they lived off the land ~ worked from sunup to sundown, ate the crops they grew, made butter and cream and drank the milk from their cows, had appreciation for a good harvest. Nature was kind or troublesome from year to year, but they never went hungry (something to do with my Grandmother being a good cook?!). There were some very hard years, yet he claimed they never “wanted” for anything. An orange for Christmas, some hand-knitted socks. He never lost his humility, love for land nor respect for its bounty. There was a lot to learn from that.

May we all be grateful for our blessings.

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Grateful

November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

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They say the only two things you can count on in life are death and taxes. And I suppose there’s some truth to that. But there are other things; things that cost nothing, take nothing, and give much; things deserving of steady gratitude. They’re simple, and yet somehow grand in how they make life more bearable; they make life sweeter. Here are some of those things for me:

The sunrise
that never fails,
And evening skies
with orange trails,
Moss beneath a tree, and
Cathedrals made of leaves.

Children laughing,
Lovers dancing,
Birds announcing dawn.

Poetry and paint,
Seasons and songs, and
Boundless African skies.

Breezes made of lilac,
And honeysuckle,
And great rolling seas,
And angels’ whispers,
And dragons’ wings
That flap against the clouds.

Kind familiar friends,
And hands that hold,
Bodies that heal,
Minds that imagine,
Spirits that soar,
And the grace
Of hearts that love.

– P.Saxton

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“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought;
and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Outrageous Happiness #12: Love What You Do

November 23, 2014 § 2 Comments

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Do what you love. Every day.

Sure, we’re all up to our eyeballs in to-do’s. I know I am. But try. Whether it’s half an hour or two full hours, give it your best shot each day, wherever you are, to do something that you love.

If you really truly can not do that something each and every day, make it once a week. But that’s as much rope as I’ll give you. It’s critical for a healthy spirit, and a healthy spirit is critical for a healthy everything else.

It doesn’t have to be “the big thing”. You don’t have to compose the next Big Symphony or write the Great American Novel or paint the masterpiece that’ll get you a show at the MOMA. It doesn’t have to be the discovery of little orange beings on Mars. But while waiting for that bigger chunk of time, or the financial backing, or this or that issue to resolve, you can be taking steps in the directions that feed your spirit. Even teeny ones. Bits and pieces. Forward momentum.

Whatever it is that your mind, body and spirit say a big unified “yes!” to, whatever makes hours pass like minutes, whatever makes your heart sing ~ do something about it. Do what you love and love what you do. Give it a nod. Bring it into the light. Make yourself happy. And guess what? Happiness is a little bit contagious, so if you’re happy, there’s that much more happiness in the world to ignite a potential blaze of happiness worldwide. An avalanche of joy. A cosmic reaction. Into the universe. And beyond!

Alright, got a tad carried away. But still. Do. What. You. Love.

(I mean look at these guys. Loving what they do. That’s what I’m talking’ about. More like these at distractify.)

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Hunter S. Thompson, writing at Big Sur, California

 

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Jim Henson and crew working on Sesame Street

 

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Nat King Cole and his piano

 

Monty Python crew partaking in tomfoolery

Monty Python crew partaking in tomfoolery

 

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Johnny Cash performing at Folsom Prison

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

 

What Are We Teaching Our Children?

November 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Risking sounding like an old worry-wart, I do sometimes wonder what we, as a society, are teaching our children. That said, my faith is not lost on the youth – not yet – as I know many who are not only bright and beautiful but resilient and strong thinkers. And isn’t it the task of every generation to worry about the next? Our parents surely did at some point, and theirs before them. “What is the world coming to?” and “How will these kids become our great leaders, our future?” are probably timeless questions.

In fact, it’s not the kids themselves I worry about. It’s what they see, hear, and ultimately experience on a daily basis. What they’re “fed”. In near gluttonous levels.

Is it that any problem can be medicated away? Is it that violence is commonplace? Is it that hard work is for someone else? What examples do they have, within their families, within their communities, and within that great machine of celebrity? Are they examples with solid values at their core, or examples of shrewdness, coolness, false fronts?

I wonder. In lots of ways these are exciting times to be alive. But there’s so much coming at them, so much! ~ so much accessibility to just about anything and everything, so much information to filter and absorb and sort.

To be fair, within the “so much” is an abundance of good, right alongside the not so good and even the atrocious. And maybe because they grow up with it, their brains may adapt in ways we ~ who did not have so much-so much-so much coming at us in one continual thread of bundled energy sprouting a thousand tendrils ~ perhaps do not so easily adapt ~ or maybe we have more built-in resistors.

We remember what is was like to be bored without incessant distractions. Yet they are there, smack dab, and they are oh so attractive, these distractions.

Still, if you take that child to a farm for a week, or take them to the mountains where there’s no electronic reception, a marvelous thing happens: they do just fine. They don’t think they will. But they do. And that has to be good. Because there has to be room for the spirit to breathe some of the time. Just to “be”, to discover or just sense what’s driving the wondrously distinctive ship called you.

In any event, what are we teaching… ? Is it to be a good person, strive to do your best, have a sense of humor, care for others, build dreams? The art of communication? Or is it wanting what someone else has; their look, their money, their life. Glamour. Intrigue. Drama.

So you just hope you set a good example. A strong, good one. (And that more are setting that example than what we hear about.) You hope you provide enough stimulation and opportunity to get through the onslaught of stuff. Trusting and hoping that at the end of the day doing the right thing will win.

Okay, worry session over. Although I do wonder what they’ll say in 20 or 30 years. Maybe it’ll sound something like “Kids these days…. “

 

Outrageous Happiness #11: The Goofy Quotient

November 9, 2014 § 4 Comments

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I was recently marveling at the architecture in an old city in northern New York. “Oooooh! Look at that one! Just look, oh, the detail! And that one, oh my goodness, it looks like something from Harry Potter. And that one. And over there, that’s a beauty! And just imagine, people built these! Who were they? What were their lives like? How long did it take? Did they take pride in their work? They must have. And who designed them? Aren’t they amazing?”

With a knowing smile in her voice, my daughter says,”Mom, you’re such a nerd.”

“Yes, I am,” I reply.  “And I embrace that!”

…………….

So, yep, I enjoy old architecture. But in truth, I’m mostly a word nerd. Granted, I suppose it’s not so “inner” since it doesn’t take long before people know this about me. Like how much I like Scrabble. Or how almost any word game will do ~ on a board, on paper, in the car, at the table. “Twenty Questions” anyone? Maybe a good round of the Geography game to pass the time on a long drive?

Yes, I love words. How they sound, how they form sentences, the infinite varieties of written expression. Some people like old comic books, or maybe they’re all about shoes. Maybe they’re into astronomy or Egyptian hieroglyphics. Maybe football and nachos. I like words and tea. (And hot fudge sauce.)  A bit geeky, but being cool is not the goal, being happy is. (And, true, a nice pair of boots doesn’t hurt…)

Goofy is also good. Not all the time – but the well-placed goofy quotient can really turn things around; in fact, my first love may have stolen my heart that way. He was a pretty big deal, handsome, smart, athletic. And on one of our first few tennis-playing dates, I wore these silly flag socks. Not sure why; it could have been that’s all that was clean, but more likely because they were fun, and somewhat out of character. In any event, my boyfriend seemed to mock me. I acted like it didn’t matter, but it felt hurtful, like an “oh brother, what a weirdo” sort of vibe. So the next time we played tennis, I was sure to wear the plain variety  ~ and he showed up in the same flag socks as mine, grinning from ear to ear. Strangely unromantic as it sounds, I do believe that was that was the tipping point for me.

The moral of the story being that your inner nerd likes to be heard. It wants to play. And I for one think it’s a necessary ingredient to personal happiness, worthy of indulgence now and then!

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

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Things That Go Bump in the Night (… boo!)

October 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ll be missing the trick-or-treaters this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get into the “spirit” of things. So I present you with some art and prose to keep the spirit alive. (oh, yea, I said that)  Just remember to keep the little ones safe, stir your cauldrons slowly and never take candy from a goblin you don’t know.

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Print small_pencils.boo peace_halloween_72
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……………………………..

All Hallows

By Louise Gluck

Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:
This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling

Come here
Come here, little one

And the soul creeps out of the tree.

 ……………………………..
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene I
by William Shakespeare

Three witches, casting a spell …
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights hast thirty one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

 ……………………………..

And a song to sing:
to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”)

If you’re a monster and you know it, wave your arms.
If you’re a monster and you know it, wave your arms.
If you’re a monster and you know it,
and you really wanna show it,
If you’re a monster and you know it, wave your arms.

……………………………..
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……………………………..

And off I go then.
But first I will leave you with this link to some really cool, very spooky art created by artist Don Kenn. Happy Halloween…. !
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