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Friday, April 29, 2005

The Ivory Billed Woodpecker
The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology has now reported its discovery that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker (also known as the "Good Lord Bird" because birdwatchers back in the l800's on seeing it would gasp at its magnificence and say, "Good Lord, What a Bird!") has been spotted in the cypress woods of the Deep South. Long thought to be extinct, the region is now bracing for the arrival of birdwatchers from around the world  hoping to catch a glimpse of the treasure.
What the human world now knows, the woodpecker is about to find out. The onslaught of attention and changes in the ecosystem in this remote area as a result of perhaps thousands of birders descending on its habitat may, it is feared, actually drive the bird out of the woods and into deeper seclusion.
We humans often tend to so frantically latch onto a new discovery in our enthusiasm that we actually work against ourselves in the process.
What are you chasing after and hoping to capture a glimpse of? What are the consequences of your actions? Are there other ways to reach and obtain what you are seeking? Think about it. Use your imagination. Exercise your insight. Envision some new possibilities.
Insight and imagination are within you.
9:47 am edt 

Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Slender Thread
The magnificence of a spider web in the morning light, with dew touching it and reflecting the sunlight is more than photogenic. It is a portrait of the beauty and glory of life itself. That such a small being can create such a glorious network of slender threads in so many different and amazing patterns causes one to pause and admire with wonder.
Weavers use skeins of color, small slender threads, joining them together in sunlight patterns of back-and-forth to create testimonies to our own  creativity. Steadily, with care and attention to detail, they demonstrate the joy of dedication to their creativity in cooperation with their tools.
A slender thread connects us all with beauty, strength and the passion of life itself. You are weaving your own creations through your own creativity. You and the spider and the weaver are connected by that thread of creativity. May you see the sunlight on your creations today. Insight and imagination are within you.
9:41 am edt 

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Soft Touch
Tact is knowing how to approach or state something in such a manner that it is most effective and acceptable. The word tact comes from the root word for touch, tactile. To touch and make contact with another with respect and appreciation is to encounter on an equal basis and not attempt to manage or control them. Tactile engagement speaks volumes about the one touching.
We can learn so much from the way in which our parents, or our friends, or we ourselves touch something. The degree of caring and concern, the appreciation for detail (or lack of it) communicates who we are in undisguised and revealing depth.
Touch speaks volumes about us. We are tactile beings who communicate through touch before and beyond every other means. Learn from touch, observe it and watch how companion pets touch the earth and you.
 Touch is a language we can interpret if we ourselves have a soft touch in our awareness. Insight and imagination are within you.
8:27 am edt 

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Price to Pay
The price to pay for deeper understanding and insight is high. You must give up your sense of separateness and specialness. You must join the whole of life and recognize that you are a part of but not all of what is life. You must, in fact,  tune into the vibration of life as it manifests in every living form. You must believe and sense that you are a part of all that is.
Edgar Lee Masters wrote a book called Spoon River Anthology which is a beautiful and haunting introduction to a number of members of a small town, reflecting back on their lives after their deaths.  Much later there was music written for Spoon River, and it was presented as a play. One of the songs in that musical play carries some wonderful lyrics worth recalling and remembering.
"I am the mountain
I am the sea,
I am a part of the things I see,
We're bound together,
this world and I
I am the mountain,
I am, I am"
Simple words set to a gentle tune and with profound and deeply true meaning. Consider and celebrate your place in this symphony of life but also allow yourself to hear the music of the rest of the orchestra members as well. It is not so great a price to pay.
Insight and imagination are within you.
7:43 am edt 

Monday, April 25, 2005

Knowing and Not Knowing
Carlos Castaneda wrote a series of books on teachings from a Native American sorcerer named Don Juan. Many of the teachings are about not thinking, not analyzing, not trying to understand everything. There are things which are not meant for understanding, Don Juan taught, and things which cannot be known by any other means than encountering them. Turning off our minds, our thought process, remaining present and open ready to encounter what is can be the greatest challenge we face.
Our minds are so filled with self-serving, and egotistical justification and defensiveness that we miss the full sense of what life presents to us. We are more than our minds, and Don Juan attempts to liberate his student from the prison of the mind so that life in all of its luminosity can be encountered. We are luminous beings, he says, and knowing is more than mere knowing.  
Luminosity. Can you see that you are it? Insight and imagination are within you.
10:18 pm edt 

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Stellar Showcase
Carl Sagen used to say that there are "billions and billions" of stars in the universe. We cannot comprehend the number of stars in the number of galaxies beyond our small blue planet. One Summer night in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, several of us slept out under a July sky filled with what did look like billions and billions of stars. Amazingly, that night, there was a display of shooting stars unlike anything we had ever seen. One by one, stars shot across the dark night sky to pass beyond our field of vision. How to sleep on a night of such magnificent beauty? We watched throughout the night until the early dawn, when we finally tucked into our sleeping bags for a few hours of rest.
Stars are so far away from us, and yet they touch some part of us which responds to beauty, harmony, and light. We are enchanted by them, and we name them to make them ours. We imagine them in patterns or constellations that we can identify with: big bear, little bear, the archer, and so many others we have filled books with their descriptions. Stars so distant yet so close to us in mind and spirit. We connect with their essence if we cannot touch their surface. Stars touch our essence with their beauty and light. "Star light, star bright, first star I've seen tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight."
Insight and imagination are within you.
7:17 pm edt 

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Early Warning System
If something doesn't "feel right" do you pay attention or change your plans or do you dismiss your feelings? Knowing when to give credence to your early warning system is important, and there is no hard or fast rule or way to determine when you should or may want to "trust your gut." Your comfort level with something is determined by and through a combination of ways of knowing--your feelings, your thoughts and past experience as well as your "inner guidance" combine to provide an overview from which you can make more informed decisions.
Poker players read one another in a multitude of ways. They develop a highly honed and hyper-refined sensitivity to the behaviors, the words other players use, the clothing they wear, their posture and many other barometers which may help them know if another player is bluffing or holding a stronger hand than they have. Their success depends on the skillful reading and interpretation of all of the information they observe and process.
A good physician also reads his or her patients with more than a chemical analysis and reports from instruments, though these provide valuable information which cannot be dismissed. A good physician listens to the words, watches the body language, considers the patients own assessments and expressions as critical information to consider in diagnosis and treatment.
Are you using all of your resources when you make an assessment of others or of yourself or of a situation? We shortchange ourselves and others when we rely too fully on one and do not include or allow the comments of the others. Don't short circuit your early warning system, but don't rely totally on it either. Use all of your resources. Insight and imagination are within you.
7:42 pm edt 

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Tea Leaves
Have you ever heard the expression "read the tea leaves?" Reading tea leaves was one classic and esoteric way to discern the future. Now you must go out of the way to obtain loose tea, or you would have to open a bag and liberate the leaves in order to read them after the tea has been brewed and consumed. Tea leaves are not as liberated as they once were.
We have confined our imagination in much the same way, putting it into a prepackaged container produced by our cultural assumptions and prepared for our consumption without awareness or critical questioning. Our fancies do not fly as free as they might or perhaps once did. The studios in Hollywood, the TV and Cable Channels are too often the the repositories and boundaries of our imaginative experience. Our cultural imagination is held captive to consumer society, it appears.
How do we read the tea leaves when they are confined to those small paper, mesh bags? How do we unleash our imagination when we are served up with constraints and definitions of it on every front?
By recognizing the constraints we can acknowledge the situation and take action to liberate ourselves from them. We can begin to exercise the life of the possible. We can discover our own source of joy and energy and commit to pursuing it whole-heartedly. We can reconnect with our sense of freedom and wonder and find and help to create an environment which cultivates them.
Reading tea leaves is not really necessary once that connection has been regained. After all, insight and imagination are within you.
10:34 pm edt 

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What is sleep? We need it, we fight falling into it, we go to it, we awake from it. Is it a place? Is it an escape? Is it merely recovery? What is the meaning of sleep? Why do we sleep? Perchance to dream, suggests Shakespeare.
Sleep makes space for the dream, the imagination, the possible, the unbelieveable. It resets our conscious thought even if we do not remember our dreams and it disturbs our normal routine with its unfathomable extremes of images and invitations.
What is consciousness? Control and management, rigor, and restriction to more of what psychologists tell us is "left brain" or analytic thought. We build and construct during the day, whatever the product or task may be. Night brings us a different view and perspective. Sleep provides the environment in which we shift our vision and enter a world we have also made, but that has, like an iceberg, been hidden from view.
The whole world sleeps and awakens then sleeps again. Sleep is the downbeat that answers the upbeat of life. Rhythm. Breath. In-out. Back and forth. Sleep meets us and invites us to tag along for the ride. Sleep well. Insight and imagination are within you.
8:07 pm edt 

Monday, April 18, 2005

Identity Issues
We are beings on a journey of identity. How do we identify ourselves? Do we know who we are by our family or racial identity, or by our values, or do we know who we are when we are at work, driving, or during our other duties? Is our identify tied to our activities? Is our value tied to our identity?
Who we are is determined on an ongoing basis and actually shed and redefiend as often as the cells in our body change. We are an identity in process and there is nothing very fixed or set about who we are. We choose who we are every day, month, year and, actually, every moment.
Our identity is our choice from a smorgasboard of possibilities. We could be the exact opposite of who we see ourselves to be now. Looking back on who you were twenty years ago or who you will be twenty years from now, you might wonder if you would have anything at all in common with who you are now.
We are a stream of life and we reflect the light in different ways at various times of our life. We may hold the same identity as a choice but that is never a mandate. Because more than identification with one group, job, family, behavior, or activity, we are a stream of the possibilities of life within us.
Life moves us along toward new dimensions, opportunities, challenges and experiences. We ride along resisting it, or we engage ourselves with the process of change knowing that the issue of identity is beyond our complete management. We identify with life when we welcome ourselves to the free flowing, dancing stream of life and possibility. Insight and imagination are within you.
1:40 pm edt 

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Less is More
We crowd our days with too many activities and our homes with too many objects. As an acquisitive and materialistic society, too many of us find ourselves shopping for pleasure and for recreation. We become hooked on the newest technological marvels and we crowd out our direct contact and involvement with the true material world and life in the process.
Remember the sandbox? There in the small space that was our world in kindergarden were a few toys, a shovel and pail or two, but our pleasure and fun was the sand itself. We filled the pails with sand and stood them upside down to construct castles, sculptures of any kind and we may have added water to create moats, small streams or ponds. We were caught up in the adventure. We had a tangible relationship to our world. We could touch and feel the cold damp sand while the breezes blew, the birds sang and the sun shone upon us.
Perhaps we might now look to begin or cultivate a diet from our chronic acquisitiveness. In the process of shedding a few pounds of miscellaneous hardware we may rediscover that less is more. More time, more contact, more peace and perhaps more pleasure. Insight and imagination are within you.
1:42 pm edt 

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Pictures from outer space show the brilliant blue and white of this orbiting planet, and we can, in these photographs , see both the light of earth as well as the darkness of space.
The background of darkness--of space--enhances the illumination--the lightness--of the earth. Darkness in fact accentuates lightness by providing contrast to light and color. We can see better when we view the lightness and the darkness together.
When we see only the earth without the darkness we lose some detail as well as perspective, or context. When we see only the darkness we lose all of the view of the earth. We focus on one or the other and lose something in each way of seeing.
John Berger wrote a classic and helpful book on art and aesthetics called Ways of Seeing. You might be interested in it. How we look at things can make an enormous difference, and being aware of how you are seeing is a valuable insight into what you are seeing. Insight and imagination are within you.
10:35 am edt 

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Escape Hatch
A friend we know has for years endured long and tedious meetings by shifting her awareness to another more pleasant place while maintaining her connection with the concerns discussed. She does not allow herself to wander too far away in attention, but she does use her daydreaming for productive and more nurturing opportunities.
This wonderfully creative person has found it important to have an "escape hatch" available if and when meetings drag on with little or no engaging ideas or progress.
A young ball player we know used to daydream so routinely that he often missed fly balls hit to right field, where he was stationed. He too had found something more engaging to do--perhaps a place in his imagination which was more interesting to see--than the one on the ball field, where others were waiting for a softball to land in their gloves.
When do we need and want to catch that ball and when can we find something more creative to do with our time? Its a matter of choice.
Insight and imagination are within you.
11:04 pm edt 

Monday, April 11, 2005

Get Unreal
As young children we are busy marveling and being amazed at life. We explore and test reality through our play and games with others. We sense life is a great adventure and it is exciting to be part of it.
As we grow we acclimate to reality rather than test and change it. We consume too many stereotypes prescribed by the media and we probably become judgemental of ourselves and others as a result. Some of us never escape from or transcend that phase of life, unfortunately.  We have become "real" and identified ourselves within the confines and terms the media has dished out for us. We have also in the process perhaps conformed and lost the sense of life's exhilaration and fun.
How do we get "unreal" and take hold of our life again? Catching a glimpse of your conformity according to dress, the kind of work you do, the friendships you cultivate are just a few of the ways. How do you break free of the notions you have about yourself? How do you shift into a different mode of life and identity?
In all likelihood you have also lost a sense of fun and humor as you put on the identity the media, your family, and your work gave you. When was the last time you surprised yourself? Don't give up on the possibility that you can still surprise yourself. Explore some new interests. Need to change your wardrobe? Ironically, to follow a dream you must first "wake up." Get unreal. That's the ticket!
Insight and imagination are within you.
4:53 pm edt 

Saturday, April 9, 2005

There is a wonderful shop nearby which sells the most beautiful stones and crystals. Just entering the shop is an experience in peaceful renewal. One of the books they sell in the shop is Love Comes From the Earth. The colors, textures, patterns and, yes, vibrations of the different crystals open us to universes of feeling. No wonder the author of this book compares the encounter with crystals as love.
There is a woman we know who speaks of the divas (small earth fairies of light) which surround natural life and objects. Divas celebrate the beauty of life and are guardians and harmonizers for it. They make certain life continues and bless every element and particle of life.  Stones attract divas for their beauty and energy.
What seems inert and unexpressive is actually brimming with expressiveness and were we divas we could recognize and appreciate that.  We have something to learn from stones as well as light divas. Can you believe it? Insight and imagination are within you.
8:44 pm edt 

Friday, April 8, 2005

Once when visiting a friend we noticed that his clothes closet held more than 20 light blue shirts. Light blue, he had decided, fit his temperament and his professional demeanor.
Emotions have color. We stereotypically identify red with anger; green with envy; blue with sadness ; black with depression; yellow with cowardice. In the ayurvedic system of polarity therapy these colors have very different associations.
Color has an effect on our emotions beyond these easy stereotypes and recognizing your response to color, both positive and negative, can give you insight into your own preferences as well as deficiencies. Do you dislike orange for any particular reason? Orange is a sensual and expressive color. Are you expressive? Are you partial to blues, which are cool in feeling and effect? Studying your responses and even your wardrobe can give you an understanding of your patterns of thought and feeling.
Try steping into a different color once in awhile. Check out your clothes closet. Wear a different color and notice if people react to you differently. Notice if you feel differently as a result of different colors. Express yourself in a variety of colors.
Insight and imagination are within you.
7:09 pm edt 

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Guess Work
Have you ever wondered why they call something which cannot be managed, "guess work?" When you think of it, what is so well controlled that it is not "guess work?" in some way? We have the illusion of control so embedded in our minds that "guess work" refers to those areas we feel we cannot control. But even "good" control is only temporary.
Have you been to Yellowstone Park? The geysers of the basin keep road crews busy all year, guessing whether small geysers shooting up in the roads will last for a night, a week or more. How do you decide when to build a fence around a new geyser which suddenly appears? Do you move the road? Guess work becomes the norm in Yellowstone. The Park Rangers and the road crews respect that control is an illusion in this magnificently dynamic and changing landscape.
There is nothing wrong with "guess work." We all have to take risks and make decisions based on our best "hunches" from time to time. Follow your feelings and your sense of what feels "right."  Respecting the dynamic changes of nature allows us the opportunity to recognize that we do not so much control, as participate in and enjoy our part in the natural world. Insight and imagination are within you.
9:34 am edt 

Monday, April 4, 2005

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Eyes express and show feelings, intention, and moods. Watch the eyes of a dog and even a cat and you can see and feel what they are saying to you. Sometimes it is about food, or affection, or frustration. Eyes sometimes say more than words say.
In polarity therapy the eyes are the element of fire. Fire energy can be searing and brightly inflammatory or warm and comforting like a cozy hearth on a chilly night. There are many expressions of fire energy and many varieties of its expression.
Sight is a true blessing and another way in which we encounter and receive the world. Looking deeply we can see that. Insight and imagination are within you.
9:44 am edt 

Sunday, April 3, 2005

The Wind
Windy days feel like spring cleaning. All the accumulated and old material is snatched up and swirled into the air. A blue balloon dances up in the branches of a tall tree...carried off on new adventures.
There is a force which moves us on and it is a clearing and cleansing force with takes our breath away if we walk against it. We have to walk with the wind at our backs and then we move more quickly than we could have imagined.
Going with the flow and following the movement of natural forces is very Taoist.  We learn from the forces of nature both outside and within us. Follow your own natural forces and inclinations.  Learn to go with the flow. "May the wind be always at your back."
Insight and imagination are within you.
11:14 am edt 

Friday, April 1, 2005

The Playground
What did you learn on the playground when you were young? Pass any playground during recess and watch the children. Some play individually on swings and slides while others race one another and still others bounce balls and battle over toys. There is a tremendous variety and difference in the ways children play. There is so much exploring and learning going on in playgrounds.
What if we reclaimed a daily recess from our work and simply gathered in the same location to play? Would we even know how to play? Undoubtedly this would make some adults very uncomfortable and uneasy. How to we recapture the spirit of play? Without play we are missing out on a sense of adventure, exploration and community. We can't afford to lose these any more than children can.
Where is your playground? What exciting new creations are you working on there? The bell to begin recess rings anytime you can hear it and respond to it. Don't miss out. Insight and imagination are within you.
10:05 am est 

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