“Z” is for Zany

Z is for Zany

I thought I’d end the A to Z Blogging Challenge on a serious note – KIDDING!
I think it’s time to celebrate our success and perseverance! We may as well have some fun on the last day of our journey through the alphabet!

I’ve learned a lot about blogging over the last month. I’ve spent hours reading the WordPress tutorials. I’ve learned about themes, headers, widgets, categories and tags.  I’ve also explored this fascinating realm called the “blogosphere” with the oddest assortment of inhabitants – a zany cast of characters: Artists, writers, mystics, scientists, skeptics, poets, and pontificators. The blogosphere is a global community brimming with possibilities.

Blogosphere Info Graph

Since my arrival in the blogosphere, I’ve checked out my “peeps” traveling in the spiritual realms and I’m following several blogs with a spiritual focus. I’m also following several artists, writers, and poets. I’ve become accustomed to the early morning “ding” of my WordPress app as the blogosphere wakes up and comes alive each day. As the A to Z challenge winds down I’m trying to find my groove, find my lane, and decide if there’s a place for my voice in this realm. I want to continue blogging but I need to be realistic about the time commitment. I know I don’t have the time to blog every day. So, after the challenge is over I’m considering blogging twice a week – “Monday Musings” and  “Friday Features”.

The blogosphere is a magical place, so let’s be creative, hop on a unicorn and explore together! Who knows, maybe we’ll learn a thing or two along the way!Unicorn Framed

I hope you’ll join me on  An Artist’s Path! Thank you for following me on my mystical journey through the alphabet!

~ Namaste

“Y” is for Year of Yes

Y is for Year of Yes

If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder you know Shonda Rhimes. She’s the creative genius behind the characters and story lines of these hit television shows. She’s also one of the most successful producers in television and she’s an introvert.

Shonda Collage

Last year, Shonda’s sister taunted her for never saying “yes” to invitations and social events. Consequently, Shonda made a pledge to herself – she declared a “Year of Yes” – and then wrote a book about it! She pledged to say “yes” for a full year to all the things that scare her, make her nervous and take her out of her comfort zone.

Shondra Rhimes

I can relate to Shonda. I’m an introvert too. And, like Shonda, I decided it was time to start saying “YES” to opportunities in my life. As a result I joined a wonderful writing community that meets weekly and I’m attending monthly writing workshops. And when I heard about the A to Z blogging challenge I said “YES” without hesitation (although the blogosphere is a great space for introverts). I enjoy people and socializing, but as an introvert I need time to recharge my batteries so I’m always striving for balance. Introvert Yin yang

During her, “Year of Yes” Shonda also conquered her fear of public speaking and was invited to give a TED Talk.
I’ve been inspired by Shonda’s willingness to step outside her comfort zone and live her “Year of Yes”.  I’m looking forward to more opportunities to say “YES”.
~Namaste

“X” is for X-ray Vision

X is for X-ray vision
If you had x-ray vision and could see inside yourself, what would you see beyond the human you? Do you believe there is anything beyond the physical YOU? Is there a YOU that transcends your physical existence? The answer to these questions requires a journey inward.

“The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.”

~ Dag Hammarskjold

Many of the wisdom traditions speak of the path, the journey beyond the bounds of religion, but a word of caution:

“When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person’s life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.” ~ Shannon Alder

What role does religion play on your journey? In a recent interview, Dr. Reza Asian, author and religious scholar said, “All religions are essentially saying the same thing. They’re answering the same questions. Often they’re coming up with almost the exact same answers. They’re just using a different language. Different metaphors. Different symbols. Different path, same destination. Religion is part of our identity. Religious teachings serve as guideposts but one must break the bounds of religion to truly experience the presence of God. ”

“As with all journeys, the Way has an end, though it should not be imagined as a straight road leading to a fixed destination but rather as a majestic mountain whose peak conceals the presence of God. There are, of course, many paths to the summit-some better than others. But because every path eventually leads to the same destination, which path one takes is irrelevant.”  ~ Reza Asian, No God but God

You don’t need X-ray vision to start your journey…just take the first step.What you seek

~ Namaste

“W” is for Wu-Wei

W is for Wu-Wei
I want a tattoo that says, “Wu Wei” on the  inside of my wrist. It would be my first tattoo and I’m no youngster. So why now? Honestly, I’ve never been able to decide on a tattoo I could live with for the rest of my life – until now.

Wu Wei, literally means “non-doing” and is an important concept in Taoism. It means natural or right action, action that doesn’t require struggle or effort. Going with the flow of life instead of fighting against it. For me, Wu Wei is also a reminder to practice the art of acceptance and patience.

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu

I want to be able to see my tattoo as a reminder to practice Wu Wei in every moment of every day. I’ve narrowed the possible fonts to these, what do you think?
Wu Wei fonts

As a temporary measure, I’m using a black sharpie and drawing “Wu Wei” on my wrist. My daughter disapproves, telling me the inside of my wrist is the worst place for a tattoo, too many veins, she says. So, I’m seeking advice from my friends in the blogosphere. Any suggestions on tattoo location and font?

And, for those interested in learning more about Taoism and Wu wei, check it out here.

~ Namaste

“V” is for Vexed

V is for Vexed Lest you believe this mystic is all sunshine and rainbows, think again my friend! I have my dark days and dark side too and at the moment I’m annoyed, irritated – VEXED! I feel the coming of a full moon.

Full Moon

As I write this post, April 21, the moon is in Scorpio and the tugging has begun. In a recent article in Collective Emotion, Carmen Di Luccio, describes it this way:

“Whenever we have a Full Moon, whatever sign it is in is felt the most strongly out of both polarities. Scorpio has a very powerful energy which can manifest in both positive and negative ways. At best Scorpio can be deep, transformative, strategic, loving, and generous, with no room for superficiality. At worst Scorpio energy is controlling, manipulative, jealous, obsessive, vengeful, deceitful, and overly suspicious. Death and rebirth are also Scorpio themes.”

I know many are skeptical of the “lunar effect” on humans and science has yet to make the connection but I don’t need science to tell me what I experience with the coming of a full moon – it pulls me into the dark places. The dark energy typically releases in some creative creation. Last month, with the full moon in Libra, the energy was expressed with a poem of sorts. “Write it out, sista!” I told myself, get those words down on the page and release the darkness. And so I did, and here you have it, Written in Blood.

Written in Blood

It is often through our art, in whatever form it takes, that we release the darkness and bring it into the light, allowing us to re-center and restore balance in our lives.

As for the power of the moon, it moves oceans, and as Rumi, the great Sufi Mystic said:

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.”

~ Blessings

“U” is for Utopia

U is for Utopia

I want to live in a Utopian world. Is there anything wrong with that? People tell me it’s unrealistic and I’m setting myself up for disappointment. But I am not dissuaded. I believe you get what you expect and if you don’t dream big, reach for the moon and the stars, you’ll never get your feet off the ground.

I read a poem recently on a blog from a talented writer/poet named Nimmu. I was so moved by her poem of the perfect world that I asked if I could share it for my Utopia topic, she gladly agreed. So here it is: My Perfect World, by Nimmu.

In my perfect world,
We will live without borders
Reach out to one another in time of disorder.

In my perfect world,
We will speak a language everyone understands
Leave our egos and love will outstand.

In my perfect world,
Not one human goes to bed hungry without food
We will strive to provide and share all that is good.

In my perfect world,
Money will not be our currency of trade
But talents and services will be exchanged.

In my perfect world,
Whatever we manufacture will be degradable
That which is not, will at least be reusable.

In my perfect world,
For every tree that is cut down
A thousand will be planted.
Animals will be given space to wander.
We will let them live without human encounter.

In my perfect world,
Every child will be cherished and taught about this magical place,
So that he grows up to protect and guard it and leaves it
better than the previous human race.

Nimmu

Thank you Nimmu, for sharing your vision of a Utopian world through your beautiful poetry. This is a magical place, made more enchanting by the creativity of poets, writers, and artists like yourself!

For more magic and poetry visit Nimmu’s blog here.

~ Namaste

“T” is for The Tao of Pooh

Tao of Pooh framed

Did you know one of the greatest Taoist of modern times is none other than Pooh Bear?

“While Eeyore frets
and Piglet hesitates
and Rabbit calculates
and Owl pontificates,
Pooh just is.”
~ Benjamin Hoff,  The Tao of Pooh.

Tao

My first reading of the Tao Te Ching (pronounced, Dow Deh Jing), as translated by Stephen Mitchell, was almost 25 years ago. I put it down after the first few pages. It made no sense to me. Clearly, I wasn’t ready for the profound teachings of such ancient wisdom, but a seed had been planted.

My spiritual journey started in earnest some years later. I studied the major religions and eastern traditions and read the works of contemporary spiritual teachers. Slowly my eyes began to open.

When I revisited the Tao Te Ching after my studies, I read the book with new eyes and was mesmerized! It was so simple and yet ungraspable.  I bought the audio version and meditated to the words of the Tao for several years. This is one of my favorite passages.

Every being in the universe
is an expression of the Tao.
it springs into existence,
unconscious, perfect, free,
takes on a physical body,
lets circumstances complete it.
That is why every being
spontaneously honors the Tao.
 
The Tao gives birth to all beings,
nourishes them, maintains them,
cares for them, comforts them, protects them,
takes them back to itself,
creating without possessing,
acting without expecting,
guiding without interfering.
That is why love of the Tao
is in the very nature of things.

~Passage 51, Tao Te Ching

The Tao Te Ching or, “Book of the Way” is comprised of 81 passages, written by Lao Tzu, of whom little is known, other than he lived in China around 551 B.C.E. His legacy is the Tao, the art of living. Stephen Mitchell describes it as, “One of the wonders of the world,” and I agree.  But when asked to explain the meaning of the Tao, words fail me – until I found Pooh. The Tao of Pooh is a present-day gateway into the wisdom of the Tao. Author, Benjamin Hoff describes it this way:

Tao of Pooh

“Within each of us there is an Owl, a Rabbit, an Eeyore, and a Pooh. For too long, we have chosen the way of Owl and Rabbit. Now, like Eeyore, we complain about the results. But that accomplishes nothing. If we are smart, we will choose the way of Pooh. As if from far away, it calls to us with the voice of a child’s mind. It may be hard to hear at times, but it is important just the same, because without it, we will never find our way through the forest.”

~Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

And so my fellow travelers, if you find yourself fretting, hesitating, calculating or pontificating, may I suggest you allow Pooh to guide you through the forest and the wisdom of the Tao. Happy trails!

~ Namaste

 

“S” is for Synchronicity

S is for Synchronicity

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe the universe conspires to help us through our human experience. When I’m in need of spiritual guidance I ask the universe for signs – and they appear everywhere! I believe all of humanity is connected, woven together through space and time, and what we call coincidence is the magic of the universe at work – synchronicity!
Conspiring Universe
If you look back over your life, you’re likely to see that synchronicity has been at work all along – all those chance encounters, timely messages, answered prayers.
You’ve heard the phrase, “What are the chances?” That’s a good question. What is the likelihood of someone you’re thinking about calling you or sending you a message? I had the experience a few weeks ago with a friend I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. I was thinking of him as I wrote my memoir. The next morning I was surprised to see a friend request from him on Facebook.  I accepted the request and sent a message asking what prompted him to think of me. He replied, “Your name just popped into my head.” We’ve been reminiscing ever since.  Coincidence? I think not!
If you’re still skeptical, as many are, try your own experiment to see if there’s anything to this notion of synchronicity. Spend the day thinking of someone you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. Visualize them and send them good thoughts and energy. This should be someone you have fond memories of – don’t surround yourself in negativity.  And remember, the universe conspires to give you what you wish for – so be careful what you wish for – just sayin.
~ Namaste

“R” is for Row your boat

R is for row your boat

A few weeks ago, my husband walked into the kitchen singing, “Row, row, row your boat.” I smirked and continued unloading the dishwasher. He laughed and  asked if I knew the true meaning of the childhood nursery rhyme. I had to admit I hadn’t given it any thought. And so, as I put the last of the dishes away, he sang it again, this time with commentary and emphasis.

“Row, row, row, YOUR boat,” he sang, and then explained, “means to live your own life, to do your own work. Ya can’t live another person’s life for ’em, so stick to rowing your own boat. That’s good, huh?”
“Oh, I like that,” I responded, wondering if my hubby was channeling an ancient mystic.
“And how do we row?” he asked.
“Gently?” I replied, puzzled at where this was all coming from.
“Yep, they say life is meant to be lived gently with love and compassion. It means ya row gently down the stream – with life. Ya don’t fight with life or try and row upstream.  And, ya row merrily, merrily, merrily, ’cause life is meant to be lived with joy.”
“Oh, I love that analogy!” I said, convinced that hubby had gone through some deep awakening.
“But wait, there’s more!” he said grinning.
“Oh?”
“Yes dear, because ya know, when it’s all said and done – life is but a dream!” he clapped his hands together and laughed.

Hubby confessed he’d been watching a PBS memorial tribute on the life of philosopher and spiritual teacher, Wayne Dyer, who died last year at his home in Hawaii at the age of 75. I first became aware of Wayne when I read his book, The Power of Intention.  I’ve watched many of his PBS appearances over the years but had never heard the nursery rhyme analogy. Wayne was a gifted motivational speaker and author. His legacy lives on through his many books and PBS appearances. He was one of the great spiritual teachers of our time.

There are so many teachers, for every generation, in every part of the world – guideposts and life lessons all around us if we simply have the eyes to see and the ears to hear. I’m reminded, by the last line of that nursery rhyme, “life is but a dream”, of another great teacher from another time with a similar message.

“This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.
Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.”

~Rumi

So dear travelers, live your life, do your work, share your gifts. Live gently, with joy and compassion because one day you will awaken and find that life is but a dream.

~ Namaste

 

“Q” is for Quotes

Q is for Quotes

I didn’t know what topic to choose for the letter “Q” but as the universe tends to do, it fell into my hands with a little book called, Brave Enough, by Cheryl Strayed, author of, Wild; from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

In her latest book, Brave Enough, she shares her favorite quotes and those her readers have turned into memes from her books and other writings. Cheryl’s favorite quote is of unknown origin, handed down from her grandmother:

“Love many, trust few and always paddle your own canoe.” 

We all have our favorite quotes. I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. I hope you find them inspiring.

“Yesterday is but a dream,
tomorrow is only a vision,
but today, well lived,
makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”
~Bhagavada Gita

“Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.”
~ Rumi

“Change the way you look at things
and the things you look at change.”
~ Wayne Dyer

I would love to hear your favorite quote! If you have time, please share in the comment section.

~Namaste