mindfulness of gratitude

“Soup” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Being relieved of the endless wants and worries of your life’s drama, even temporarily, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of life blossoms into a feeling of being blessed, not in the sense of winning the lottery, but in a more refined appreciation for the interdependent nature of life. It also elicits feelings of generosity, which create further joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too guarded, and it builds the capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.
~ Phillip Moffitt
(Yoga Journal, July-August 2002)

Happy Thanksgiving!

when your friends come by

“Dear Bird” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Got to keep it together when your friends come by
Always checking the weather but they want to know why
Even birds of a feather find it hard to fly
~ Aimee Mann
♫ (Goose Snow Cone) ♫

Today is the 26th anniversary of my mother’s death. The pain of loss has dulled somewhat over the years, but this year is a little different because my mom was 59 when she died and I am now 60. It just feels a little unsettling… One thing I still miss terribly is calling her and telling her what was new in my life and what her grandchildren were up to. She would have found this autism thing very interesting.

When I was in nursery school my behavior was different enough to prompt my parents to take me to a child psychologist for evaluation. Autism was not understood or even heard of in the 1960s. The psychologist told them I needed more attention from them. A few years later, when I got a stomach ulcer in elementary school the doctor told them I needed more emotional support from them. How I wish I could tell them now it was not their parenting that was the problem!

Currently I am reading a wonderful book, Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing by Julie Brown. It’s no secret that Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet and my jaw dropped to learn that she probably had autism and one whole chapter in this book is devoted to her. I found it interesting to learn how autism made so many of her poems indecipherable, although they no doubt made perfect sense to her.

The recurring practice of quoting from someone else’s literature in your own text resembles the echolalia that people with autism are known for. Some repeat words from movies, television, or other people because they are trying to understand the meaning of the words. Sometimes echolalia is an attempt to communicate with others — the words are tools borrowed to build meaning. Some repeat phrases for the sheer joy of it.
~ Julie Brown
(Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing)

A couple of things struck me in the above paragraph. My autism may be what drives me to collect and share quotations! I’m not sure I completely understand the definition of “echolalia” but my mother did tell me something that I think may be related. She could always tell when I made a new friend at school because I would come home with a different accent and different mannerisms, evidently copied from various classmates. It still happens to me when I spend a lot of time with someone, although I try not to do this.

So many things are making more sense these days…

fairy tale forest

“The Fairytale Forest” by Edvard Munch

All forests are one. … They are all echoes of the first forest that gave birth to Mystery when the world began.
~ Charles de Lint
(Pulphouse: The Hardback Magazine, Spring 1990)

The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords. In that realm a man may, perhaps, count himself fortunate to have wandered, but its very richness and strangeness tie the tongue of a traveler who would report them. And while he is there it is dangerous for him to ask too many questions, lest the gates should shut and the keys be lost.
~ J. R. R. Tolkien
(J. R. R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth: Understanding Middle-earth)

subtle joy

7.24.16.3364
7.24.16 ~ Richmond, New Hampshire

In the woods, sitting still, there is subtle joy in listening to the tiniest sounds. There is delight in the textures of light.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Awake in the Heartland)

7.24.16.3381
7.24.16 ~ Richmond, New Hampshire

We, all of us — blue-green algae, galaxies, and bear grass, philosophers and clams — will some day dissipate into vibrating motes. In the end, all of natural creation is only sound and silence moving through space and time, like music.
~ Kathleen Dean Moore
(The Pine Island Paradox: Making Connections in a Disconnected World)

7.24.16.3421
7.24.16 ~ Richmond, New Hampshire

Logee’s

3.7.15.3655
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound
coming out of the flowers.
~ Matsuo Bashō
(Voices from Earth)

3.7.15.3592
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

There is an extraordinary place located in the quiet corner of Connecticut. My sister and I used to frequent Logee’s, a sprawl of greenhouses specializing in rare and tropical plants and fruit trees. But I think it’s been a good ten or twenty years since we’ve been there.

3.7.15.3595
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Flowers and fruits are always fit presents; flowers, because they are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world. These gay natures contrast with the somewhat stern countenance of ordinary nature: they are like music heard out of a workhouse.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Gifts)

3.7.15.3597
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Back in February there was a discussion in the comments here about how nurseries in northern climates don’t open until it’s safe to start planting outdoors in the spring. For the first time in ages, this got me thinking about an exception to that rule, Logee’s, and I was delighted to find out that they are still open year round!

3.7.15.3606
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.
~ Jean Giraudoux
(The Enchanted)

3.7.15.3608
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Tim & I made a trip up there on Saturday and the place was still a perfect antidote to the cabin fever which has been plaguing us. Several linked greenhouses are stuffed from floor to ceiling with colorful, bright and cheerful tropical flowers! The aisles were so narrow that two people could not pass by each other or keep from brushing against some of the plants.

3.7.15.3642
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
3.7.15.3645
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
3.7.15.3649
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Permission to take pictures was granted and I had a wonderful time shooting right and left, above and below, and at eye-level. An employee was on a step ladder picking fruit from an orange tree, answering questions while he worked. The stifling heat and humidity was a welcome change from the bitter and bone dry air outside.

3.7.15.3659
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
3.7.15.3662
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut
3.7.15.3665
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
~ Claude Monet
(The Fantasy of Flowers)

3.7.15.3677
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

I came home with two impulse purchases, a climbing onion and a white Easter cactus. We’ll see how well I care for them. After a nice lunch at the Vanilla Bean Café, we went to see a movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and enjoyed it very much.

3.7.15.3685
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.
~ Gerard de Nerval
(The Fantasy of Flowers)

3.7.15.3701
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

We noticed on the way home that the temperature outside had crept up to above freezing, just a smidgen! It’s time for the mounds of snow to start melting!

3.7.15.3709
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

What a nice day after being housebound for so long!

3.7.15.3740
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music; it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy, than to attempt to fully understand.
~ Henry T. Tuckerman
(The Fantasy of Flowers)

3.7.15.3744
3.7.15 ~ Danielson, Connecticut

two nephews

February 2015 ~ Dominic, Nate and Julius ~ Kingsland, Georgia
Dominic (left) and Julius (right), with their adored Uncle Nate (center) ~ photo by Shannon Rodgers

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder … he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
~ Rachel Carson
(The Sense of Wonder)

numinous mystery

"October" by Efim Volkov (1844-1920) Russian Realism Painter
“October” by Efim Volkov

How lovely trees are. The human species grew up in and around them. We have a natural affinity for trees. … We human beings don’t look very much like a tree. We certainly view the world differently than a tree does. But down deep, at the molecular heart of life we’re essentially identical to trees.
~ Carl Sagan
(Cosmos)

When a man plants a tree, he plants himself. Every root is an anchor, over which he rests with grateful interest, and becomes sufficiently calm to feel the joy of living.
~ John Muir
(Steep Trails)

A tree is a self: it is unseen shaping more than it is leaves or bark, roots or cellulose or fruit. … We can not point to anything physical and say, “There is the self!” This holds for the tree’s activity as well as for the human’s. What it means is that we must address trees. We must address all things, confronting them in the awareness that we are in the presence of numinous mystery. Who shapes the tree? Who shapes my thoughts? We are in the mystery of the self.
~ Brian Swimme
(The Universe Is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story)

baby girl!

Our new little granddaughter arrived yesterday morning! I am still thrilled to pieces that I got to be there when she was born. 7 lbs, 12.5 oz., 20 inches long. Cute as a button, large bright hazel eyes, her mother’s long eye lashes, her father’s long toes, and a head full of hair. Full of curiosity. I had a chance to hold her, too. Mother and baby are doing well.

A few days ago my laptop broke and I have no way of sending pictures from my camera to the computer. Sigh. But when things settle down and the computer wizards have a chance to fix this I will definitely post some pictures!

ordinary lives

“Teen & Children” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905) French Academic Painter
“Teen & Children” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.
~ William Martin
(The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents)

Our wait continues…

Yesterday I went with Larisa to see one of her midwives for a routine appointment and everything looks good, except that Mother Nature doesn’t seem inclined to acknowledge the human-determined due date! So, if nothing happens before Thursday night labor will be induced on Friday morning.

I vaguely remember my mother saying I was two weeks late and had to be delivered with forceps. And first babies are often late, they say. I had three planned Cesareans so all of my babies were born a few days before their due dates. But we’re still enjoying watching the little one wiggle around in her mother’s womb!