Friday, December 14, 2012
As we head into another holiday season, and the stress and excitement of the upcoming festivities begin to fill our days, it’s good to take a moment to reflect upon the things for which we are truly grateful. Thanks to my friend, Catherine, for passing along the words of English writer, C.K. Chesterton, written over 100 years ago--
What has happened to me has been the very reverse of what appears to be the experience of most of my friends. Instead of dwindling to a point, Santa Claus has grown larger and larger in my life until he fills almost the whole of it. It happened in this way. As a child I was faced with a phenomenon requiring explanation. I hung up at the end of my bed an empty stocking, which in the morning became a full stocking.
I had done nothing to produce the things that filled it. I had not worked for them, or made them or helped to make them. I had not even been good – far from it. And the explanation was that a certain being whom people called Santa Claus was benevolently disposed toward me…
And, as I say, I believe it still. I have merely extended the idea. Then I only wondered who put the toys in the stocking; now I wonder who put the stocking by the bed, and the bed in the room, and the room in the house, and the house on the planet, and the great planet in the void. Once I only thanked Santa Claus for a few dolls and crackers; now I thank him for stars and street faces and wine and the great sea.
Once I thought it delightful and astonishing to find a present so big that it only went halfway into the stocking. Now I am delighted and astonished every morning to find a present so big that it takes two stockings to hold it, and then leaves a great deal outside. It is the large and preposterous present of myself, as to the origin of which I can offer no suggestion except that Santa Claus gave it to me in a fit of peculiarly fantastic good will…
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Dennis was accomplished in many areas: he studied philosophy on a Fulbright Scholarship at the university in Heidelberg,Germany; he went on to pursue a doctorate at M.I.T. and UMass; and he was an accomplished oil painter, as well as a musician. He traveled extensively, was active politically and socially, and cared about the environment, particularly about land conservation. But the gratitude and love that were expressed by the people in Dennis’ life, both personal and professional, paint a picture of a man who truly cared about others, and strived to make the world a better place. His brother-in-law offered the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson to illuminate Dennis' life --
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.
As we head into another holiday season, and the stress and the excitement of upcoming festivities begin to fill the days, it’s good to take a moment to reflect upon a life well-lived. As I look out into the trees, from my office window in the house that I moved to seven years ago – a house that is “just right” for my life right now -- I have to give thanks to Dennis for his guidance, support, and genuine good cheer. You will not be forgotten...
Friday, October 26, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
It has been eleven years since I began my formal study of Feng Shui. The New England School of Feng Shui held its first class that year in
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Saturday, March 31, 2012
It probably won’t be a surprise that the biggest obstacle to good Feng Shui is clutter. If we define clutter as stagnant energy, that is, anything in our life that is no longer vital to us, nourishing, cheering, satisfying, or useful in some way, then it makes sense to give ourselves permission to let it go. There are compelling arguments for holding on to things that we don’t need (for example, we might need it some day!), but lurking beneath all of this is some kind of fear – of not having enough, of what tomorrow might bring, of an unkind universe.
The process of letting go is ongoing – don’t believe those newsstand articles that claim you can do it in a weekend, with a few plastic bins from Target. However, once you start to turn a focused eye to the truth of your stuff, you are in a process that creates its own momentum; once you get going it will carry you along. This is a refreshing journey that starts to bring rewards almost immediately, with increased energy, greater clarity, and more confidence.
When you are not bogged down by the detritus of life, you will find that you are able to connect with the things that you really want to do. You will find more, passion, joy, and spark; as well as more time. There is a greater ability to cope with problems and to move forward in life. And at the end of the day, there is better rest and deeper sleep. So, far from being a discouraging reality, clutter can actually be a beacon in our lives, showing us where we’ve come from, and pointing the way to where we might go from here.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Thanks to my friend, Libby, for passing along this story in its entirety. Years ago, and in a very special place, I had heard a segment of it and was moved even by that. It’s so nice to have friends who help you put the pieces of the puzzle together –
When a woman in one African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends, and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the unborn child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else.
And when children are born into the village, the community gathers and sings their song, one unique melody for each unique child. Later, when children begin their education, the village gathers and chants each child’s song. They sing again when each child passes into the initiation of adulthood, and at the time of marriage. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the bedside, as they did at birth, and they sing the person to the next life.
In this African tribe there is one other occasion upon which the villagers sing to the child. If at any time during a person’s life, he or she commits a crime or aberrant social act, that individual is called to stand in the center of a circle formed by all members of the tribe. And once again the villagers chant the child’s song. The tribe recognizes that the proper correction for antisocial behavior is not punishment, but love and the remembrance of true identity. When you recognize your own song, you have no desire or need to do anything that would hurt another.
A friend is someone who knows your song and sings it to you if you have forgotten it. Those who love you are not fooled by the mistakes you have made or the dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.
May we all be blessed to have others to help us remember our own songs, and may we help others remember theirs.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD, because it’s a 6 Heaven year, according to an ancient form of astrology based on the I Ching, or Book of Changes. The Chinese Solar New Year begins on February 4, and the I Ching – or 9 Star Ki – astrology uses the year of birth to determine your star sign. We have just emerged from a 7 Lake year in which we were encouraged to find our creativity and the joy of our own expression, and now it is time to be taken seriously.
In a 6 Heaven year, honest and straightforward dealings are the best course of action. This is not a time to go back on your word, or to use the subtler forms of manipulation to achieve a goal. The “old-fashioned” values of kindness, generosity, patience, humor, punctuality, trust, tolerance – will be the way to go for 2012. (How interesting that this is an election year!)
Each of the 9 stars in this system are also associated with members of the family; and this year’s resident family member is Father. This is a Dad who is the ultimate authority and leader, but one who is supremely fair. The energy of this Dad carries over into all of the Helpful People in our lives, encouraging us to be in the right place at the right time, in all areas of our lives. This is a good year to move ahead with confidence – because, if we’ve been doing our homework, we’ll find all the support we need.