Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational comes to an end?

I've been blogging about Loving Kindness over the last month or two as part of the Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational. And now, it's coming to an end. July 1st to August 31st were the official beginning and end to the SOLI put out there online by Mahala Mazerov from her blog, Luminous Heart, where her intention was to "create a space for your heart and your insights, for things positive and unexpected."

I've learned so much from all the comments and posts on Mahala's wonderful blog, Luminous Heart. It's become a place I look forward to visiting every week, listening in and learning from her wise words and the comments of fellow bloggers. It is a soft, warm place to rest and learn, such a different pace from usual frantic feeling of the internet.

What keeps popping up here and on Mahala's blog are about the feelings of selfishness we sometimes feel when we practice loving kindness on ourselves. Taking time for you or me without feeling guilty seems to be very hard. And, yet, how can we truly be there for anyone else, if we're not meeting our own needs? There's a huge difference between being kind and being a martyr.

Many other SOLI bloggers have commented saying that self kindness is practical, like food and water for our body and soul then when we add true kindness toward others to that and we can create positive energy that helps everyone. I do think this is true.

With that intention in mind: to create more positive energy in our lives personally and globally, I'd like to keep my end of the SOLI open. I'd like to keep reminding myself to be kind, and pass that kindness on to generate more of that positive energy here, there and everywhere.

Because it seems to easy to forget that in the rush, rush of life. Ya know?
What are your ideas for you? Let's keep the kindness ball rolling.

(Homemade Frittata with homegrown tomatoes and zucchini made with kindness for me and my hubby!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Listen to the Music: And other wise words from the Doobie Brothers.

Last night under the stars, Michael and I rocked and danced to the music of one of my all time favorite groups, The Doobie Brothers. The concert at McMenamin's Historic Edgefield was a new experience for me, and truly wonderful. Sitting on blankets on a soft grassy slope in front of a massive stage, we enjoyed Thai chicken curry, Hammerhead sausages and beer listening to the opening act, Laura Johnston, Doobie Brother Tom Johnston's daughter. Great to see the 'next' generation out there on stage.

The Doobie Brothers played a combination of old favorites and new cuts from their new CD, 'World Gone Crazy'. Here's a YouTube video of a new song off this CD with another great message.

They ended the night with one of my all time favorites, 'Listen to the Music'. The lyrics just seem to hit the right note today as they did when I first heard them, so I wanted to post part of them, here. Wise words, then and now.

Listen To The Music
By Tom Johnston

Don't you feel it growin',
Day by day
Gettin' ready for the news
Some are happy,
Some are sad
Wo, we got to let the music play
Wo, oh yeah
What the people need
Is a way to make 'em smile
It ain't so hard to do if you know how
Gotta get a message
Get it on through
Oh now mama's goin' to after awhile
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
Wo, oh, oh, listen to the music
All the time

Friday, August 27, 2010

Being in the Moment isn't always easy. Be anyway.

In the last few days, the phrase "Be in the moment" has come up all around me.

I hear it from the beautiful, swaying birch tree in the woods. It whispers, "Be. Just live here, now."

I hear it from the internet, other blogs like Susan Tweit's Walking Nature Home. She even reviewed this wonderful new children's book, "What does it mean to be present?" by Rana Diorio and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler that's all about teaching children to be in the moment.

I hear it in the interview I did yesterday with artist friend, Jan VonBergen who talked to me about her art, new show and life changes. (By the way, I'll have more of Jan's wise words coming up next week in a new interview.) Her message that life is too short to miss those moments, she wants be here now, with her granddaughter, her family, her art and herself.

It's even in the new movie, Eat, Pray, Love based on Elisabeth Gilbert's wonderful true story about finding herself by being in the moment. Whether that meant pasta in Italy, meditation in India or opening her heart in Bali, her body, soul and heart were only to be found in the moment.

Here's a cute quote from the book, 'What Does It Mean To Be Present' by Rana Diorio, "Being present means living in the moment.
It means realizing that...
Tomorrow is a mystery
Yesterday is history
Today is a gift--that's why we call it the present!"

So maybe being in the moment isn't always easy, all that mucky mind stuff and busy, busy gets in the way. But I see the value and want to be in the moment, really I do or rather, be.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer of Loving Kindness - Around the House

After joining in on the Summer of Loving Kindness Invitational, I've become much more aware of how much loving kindness there is out there in the world for all of us. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way, but as I reach out to this online group and my fellow bloggers, I'm finding loving kindness is always available for giving and receiving, if we are aware.

Many of you have shared the way you show loving kindness to yourself and others. Last time, I talked about the importance of walking not just for exercise but as an act of loving kindness.

This week, as I worked around the house, I began to see that some of the little ordinary, everyday things I do are, indeed, acts of loving kindness.

Making a fresh peach and blueberry cobbler may not seem like an act of loving kindness, but it is. As I peeled the soft, ripe peaches, I placed them in the baking dish, I thought about my family and friends enjoying the treat and I remembered all those wonderful scones and brownies baked for me when I was growing up.

Gathering my lavender and rosemary, I realize is another act of loving kindness. For myself, I get to breathe in the luscious and relaxing scents. For the earth, I trim the plant so it can grow healthier. For others, I dry the herbs for sachets to give to my family, neighbors and friends.

Recycling a copper candle holder I made years ago into a patio fountain. Ok, I had a hard time looking at my early copper efforts, but taking it apart, I realized how much more I was able to do with it now. So, I practiced loving kindness there. And my husband loves sitting and watching the water flow as well as playing with the position of the copper leaves to change the water's direction. I'm hoping the soft sounds of the water fountain are soothing for the small children and parents living nearby.

All small, ordinary things but I realize that you don't have to go anywhere or do anything special to bring more loving kindness to the world around you...it really does start at home.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Otter and family - In the Park

I've been waiting all year, watching the lake with care for the arrival of our visiting otters. Now, they're here! And they brought the kids, ok, pups. Even though they arrived several months later than last year, I don't care. I'm just excited to see these cute and wily characters swimming and fishing.

River Otters inhabit small lakes and streams in and around Oregon. Otters weigh between 20-30 pounds are about 2 feet long with tails about 20". Their whiskers, cute little ears and squared off nose give them an almost puppy dog look. According to the information I found, Mama otters take care of the pups with Papa only involved in the breeding part. And most litters are 2 to 3 pups born around April, so this would be about the right time for them to getting out of the den with Mama. So maybe, it's not Papa at all, then who is it?

It's hard to get close to where they're swimming, if there are too many people walking around the lake, they hide.

So I was very happy to catch a few pictures. The photo at the top, is 'Papa', I think cleaning himself after a fishy feast. And this one is his partner, 'Mama', swimming along the bank. And I did spy a few small, very dark little otter shapes bouncing in and around the edge of the island while Mama was swimming in the water. But, alas, I didn't have my camera that day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rest and Resistance

Visiting around other blogs, I'm reading a lot about loving kindness, self-care and the need for rest. Another blogger and well-known author, Jen Louden, has even gone on a month long, self-imposed internet sabbatical.

I want to sink into this idea like I sink my toes into soft, cool, sand.

All this internet input is wonderful, but can it become a burden, distraction, energy drain that saps away creativity? Can your head love the internet while your heart gets lost along the way? Is it procrastination to rest your mind, so your soul can speak and be heard? Why if rest, space, quiet is the way back to the heart of creation, do we resist it so strongly?

Many questions, here. I'd love to say I have the answers. I don't.

I do have glimmers, though. Those times when I do allow myself to rest in the valley of the unknown long enough to hear the whispers of longing and ideas. I see the faces in the clouds and trees. I feel the energy underfoot. I learn about stories that have yet to be told.

The clay calls to me. The metal shimmers with possibility and the shadows reveal scenes longing to be released.

Then, my mind resists the pull of my heart. Product gets pushed in front of process. Comparison and competition and fear shake me from my rest.

Don't you just hate that? I do.

Do you resist rest? How do you deal with it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer On Tour - In the garden.

In a garden overflowing with the beautiful flowers, lush bamboo, roses, dahlias, poppies, and lilies over 5 feet tall, just to name a few of the wonderful plants to be found, I was fortunate to be able to show a few pieces of my garden art. My Season's series screening sculpture, 'Summer' and my bamboo lilies were part of a garden tour in SW Portland hosted by artist, Wendy Dunder.

Here you can see the entrance to Wendy's wonderful garden with jasmine growing up the porch and through the gate, their cute little puppy, Tikka.

Inside, my lilies look beautiful tucked into these white dahlias.

And my Summer sculpture stood proudly among these almost 6 foot tall Stargazer Lilies.

It is such a beautiful spot they've created here. There's a stone path with a flower design in it, an artful shed painted all purple, turquoise and ruby, shovel art, exotic flowers and bushes, as well as ducks and chickens.

Garden as art and art in the garden...what could be better?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer of Loving Kindness - Walking

Being part of the Summer of Loving Kindness Invitational, I'm becoming so much more aware of how unkind I can be to me. And I know I'm not alone. Last post, many of you chimed in about how difficult it is to take the time to be kind to yourself.

The good news is that it is possible to show loving kindness to ourselves and many of you had great ideas to pass along. Meditating. Yoga. Naps.

I walk. I realized this week that for me, this is an act of loving kindness. I used to think of it as necessary exercise but over the years, it's become much more. I get out of my doing and into being. Instead of listening to the noise in my head, I listen to the birds, lean on the cedar tree, watch the ducks, fish and otters in the lake.

An added plus, walking with my cute doggy, Jilly. Now, to take a suggestion from Stacy, maybe it's time for a nap.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sometimes you've just gotta get out.

After all the work on the inside of my home, I just had to get out. I'm sure you know the feeling. Enough of the painting, cleaning, mopping, dusting and re-arranging on the inside. It was time to get back out into the world and have some fun.

We went to the local Brew Fest along with my daughter and future son-in-law and tried a few new beers including one with pomegranate. This is micro-brew country, so it was a big deal and very crowded.

We saw the new movie, 'Inception'. I had my doubts, when all the trailers came out that it was going to be some kind of 'Matrix' movie, but it was great. Action packed, superb special effects and, most surprisingly, a really good storyline.

A picnic in the middle of suburban development might not sound wonderful but it was. Jazz pianist, Michael Allen Harrison played surrounded by the Max light rail line, children playing in a fountain and people sitting around on the grass sipping wine and eating noodles.

Another night, I went to Powell's where Brian and Wendy Froud were presenting their newest Fairie Oracle book and tarot deck. I've loved Brian's illustrations for years, but didn't know that his wife, Wendy, is a sculptor and created the lead characters for The Dark Crystal and Yoda for Star Wars. They were visiting here from Devon, England. Yes, I bought the new deck and it's amazing.

Topping off the week was a family barbecue with my husband's famous ribs. And I baked my favorite, blueberry cobbler because I love our local blueberries!

Although the weeds have gotten way too big and there's still cleaning to do, it was a big act of lovingkindness for me to take the time to have some fun, just for the fun of it! And isn't that what life's all about?