Pierced by Beauty

I love rainy Sundays. The falling rain curtains the house, shutting away the world and encouraging me to stay indoors and rest or participate in light, enjoyable activities. Several times today, the words of Simone Weil came to me.

“There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.”

I understand those words. My heart has been run clean through by both in my lifetime. I much prefer being undone by beauty. For today’s Sunday Short, I chose to share some of the beautiful arrows that have pierced my heart, by way of photos.

Pierced by Beauty

My heart is pierced by the beauty of …

Nature

Pierced by Beauty

Water

Pierced by Beauty

The Garden

Pierced by Beauty

My Family

Pierced by Beauty

Venice, Italy

Pierced by Beauty

My Beloved Scotland

Pierced by Beauty

Beauty Surrounds Me

The photos above are just a sampling of the beauty that moves me to my core. In truth, if I am open and aware, with eyes to see, I can be pierced daily by the beauty found in a sunrise, a stranger’s smile, a gorgeous fox running through a field, piles of fresh fruit, autumn leaves quivering on a tree, or a silver moon high in the night sky.

I am grateful for beauty’s ability to find the heart no matter how protected it may be. Even the most barricaded heart cannot withstand the sharp, sweet agony of great beauty. Nature, art, humanity, animals, architecture, candlelight all soften us and expand us so that we may then receive, and give, joy, hope, compassion and love.

Taking in beauty allows me to know I am enough. I’ve done enough. I can breathe it in and sit quietly with it, in deep appreciation. Beauty nurtures me and sustains me and leads me onward.

Pierced by Beauty

The Golden Light of Autumn

The day was gray and overcast. However, far from being depressing, the grayness provided an effective contrast for the burgeoning colors and golden light of autumn.

I felt inspired to capture those golden tones by lighting candles throughout the house and on the deck. Not only did the glow from candles warm my home and welcome in autumn, they created their own pools of gold, reminding me of the importance of being Light in the darkness.

The Golden Light of Autumn

Golden Autumn Throughout the House

This Sunday Short is captured through the power of photos, accompanied by some of my favorite quotes about this season.

The Golden Light of Autumn

“Turn your face to the Light, and the shadows fall behind you.” Unknown

The Golden Light of Autumn

“Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.” Oprah

The Golden Light of Autumn

“There will always be a spiritual light that beckons to us, giving us the hope of rescue and relief.” L. Whitney Clayton

The Golden Light of Autumn

“I am struck by the simplicity of light in the atmosphere of autumn, as if the earth absorbed none, and out of this profusion of dazzling light came the autumnal tints.” Henry David Thoreau

The Golden Light of Autumn

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

Golden Light

Before the light faded from the autumn sky, I slipped outside. The rust and gold colored tassels adorning the ornamental grasses in the garden stirred in the breeze. There was a ripple of energy in the garden, born by the wind but independent from it.

The energy carried the stories of plants nodding off to sleep, after a time of great growth, and falling leaves, and the promise of long nights of rest and contemplation. Autumn marks the beginning of a time of harvesting what we have created and of nourishing and replenishing ourselves.

How appropriate are the colors of fall, to warm our souls and our nights. How necessary the golden light of autumn to illuminate our way through winter’s darkness, until spring makes all things new.

The Golden Light of Autumn

Oklahoma Scotfest 2018

My Scottish blood got to sing today, and rejoice in the soulful sound of bagpipes, in neighboring Oklahoma. Greg and I joined my sisters, nieces, nephews and their children at the Oklahoma Scotfest 2018, in Broken Arrow.

OK Scotfest 2018

OK Scotfest

This annual event, which draws more than 25,000 participants, is a celebration of Celtic heritage, music and history. The festival features Scottish clans, set up in booths, athletic competitions, drum and pipe bands, Scottish and American food, and vendors selling a variety of Scottish wares. Traditional folk music as well as Scotrock is performed throughout the three days of the event, in stages set up in tents.

For the first time my Scottish clan, the Maitland Clan, set up a booth. My family and I had the pleasure of meeting another clan member, Annette. We enjoyed chatting and getting to know her.

OK Scotfest 2018

Photos from Scotfest

Here are highlights from the fun day:

OK Scotfest 2018The clan tartans on display.

OK Scotfest 2018Doing genealogy research, Greg has discovered a Scottish connection to the Buchanan Clan.

OK Scotfest 2018We enjoyed watching border collies compete to herd sheep. The dogs respond to whistled commands from their owners.

OK Scotfest 2018Look at these cuties! Weston and Lola arrived in kilts.

OK Scotfest 2018These handsome boys purchased their kilts at the event. Later Ethan and Kaleb wore their kilts to a Cub Scouts meeting and used the experience as a teaching opportunity to explain what a kilt is.

OK Scotfest 2018Athletes from around the world competed in Highland games.

OK Scotfest 2018Pipers and drummers preparing to perform. I absolutely love the sound of bagpipes.

OK Scotfest 2018The band Wicked Tinkers performs in the main tent.

Scotfest Opportunities

The festival provided wonderful opportunities to step into Scottish culture, in the middle of the US, and learn more about my heritage. It was especially fun to share the day with family and make new friends.

I loved the busy and rowdy atmosphere, the many colorful tartans on display, and the ever present wail of bagpipes. That sound stirs a deep response in my soul and calls to me. It is an invitation to return home, to Scotland.

Soon, I whisper. Soon.

OK Scotfest 2018

Never Settle

Never settle. Not the Sunday Short I intended to write today. That post was earmarked for another day. I worked instead on a different piece, long after I knew I was headed in the wrong direction.

As often happens when I go astray, I am gently and unmistakably guided back onto the right path.

Never Settle

My daughter Elissa recently sent me the inspiration for today’s post. It resonated with me deeply.

Never Settle

There are subtle variations that define the word settle. Settle down, settle up, settle in, get settled, settle on, settle for…all convey slightly different meanings. When we settle for something, as implied in the meme above, the meaning is to accept or agree to something that one considers to be less than satisfactory, less than desirable.

The counterpoint to settling is to be brave. Bravery requires courage and the willingness to face fears and overcome challenges to get what one truly wants. The root word for brave reveals that boldness and an untamed savageness are at the very heart of bravery.

I understand that. I’ve settled before, in my life, and I’ve bravely decided not to at other times. My truest self is always uncovered and called forth when I refuse to settle. As I am making some shifts in my journey, now, these words come as an excellent reminder of what is at stake.

Never Settle

This second quote that I saw confirmed that I was back on track this evening as I wrote. These words reinforce the need for courage and bravery, especially when hitting a reset button in life. I’ve started over several times as I have journeyed, most recently two years ago when my eating habits were completely overhauled. Starting over in any area of life requires the deepest of self love and the strongest of desires.

It also provides an opportunity…to not settle, to not give up or give in, to go where the heart is leading, no matter what others may say or what society may dictate.

As I watched a movie, my thoughts led me away from the earlier half written piece, and back to bravery, courage and never, ever settling again. Twice, in a short space of time, one of the characters in the film said “settle”. And that settled it! I knew which direction to go as I started over…and wrote.

Brave girl. Never settle again. I won’t.

Never Settle

Creating Space

Imagine a closet, with clothes hanging neatly in it. Periodically, more clothes are added…sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly. As more and more shirts and pants and jackets and dresses are hung in the closet, joining the outfits already there, space becomes limited. Eventually, there is no room for even one more item. The closet is so tightly packed that it’s impossible to tell what’s in there or to easily remove anything to wear.

Creating Space

Today’s Sunday Short was inspired by a snippet of a meme I saw. There’s more to it than I’m sharing today, however the part that impacted me was this:

Make space for the next version of you…

Like the closet described above, our lives, our inner and outer lives, can get so packed with “stuff”, physically, mentally, emotionally and energetically, that we reach a point where we just can’t add or do one more thing. When that happens, our growth becomes limited, stifled, halted. There’s no space for us to expand who we are.

Here is a short, and by no means complete, list of ways to make space, so the next versions of our beautiful selves can appear.

Declutter physical space

If it hasn’t been used, worn, read, looked at, or enjoyed in the last 6 – 12 months, get rid of it. The tried and true method of creating three piles…keep, toss, give away/sale…works. Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, suggests holding each item to see if it brings you joy. If it does, keep it and create a place for it. If it doesn’t, let it go. Clutter clogs up energy, and clogged energy affects us. When I start to avoid my creative studio, because I’ve allowed mail, or documents, or books to pile up, that’s my signal to clear the space, literally, so I can create in there again. Cleared space allows me to breathe and move freely.

Declutter emotional, mental and energetic space

This is just as important as clearing a room or the house. Our minds and souls get filled with regrets from the past, losses, wrongs done to us and by us, and people who walked with us for a time and no longer do. Our thoughts return to those memories and we fret over them, even though there’s nothing we can do to change them. This is inner work, but so necessary to free us up to grow. Let go of those things that are constraining you. Let go of all of it. Pray. Meditate. Cut energetic cords. Write. Draw. Allow the cleansing and healing of past wounds. Do whatever works for you to uncover and them move that old, old energy through the heart and out. Then turn around and stop looking into the past. There’s no growth possible when our attention is constantly focused behind us.

Experience new things

This is one of my favorite ways to create space. It’s easy to get stuck in the ruts of old beliefs, habits and patterns, limited ways of thinking, and feeling comfortable. Nothing has opened up my life like trying new things has. It doesn’t have to be daily, but at least once a week, do something you’ve never done before, or do something in a fresh way, visit new places, eat different foods, learn a skill or hobby you’ve always been interested. Life loves a body in motion, and as we open to new experiences, more opportunities will appear, to experience, and we grow to meet them and inhabit them.

The beautiful thing is, as we create space around us and within us, expansion is inevitable. Our lives shift. Change occurs. We grow. And suddenly we realize, we are not the same person we were a year ago, nor do we want to return to being who we once were. We don’t “fit” into that space anymore.

We have become the next version of ourselves, and it is marvelous. With great excitement we journey on, knowing the next version of ourselves is on its way.

Create Space

Seven Wonders

Today’s Sunday Short was inspired by a meme I saw on Instagram recently, by Power of Positivity. It listed the “Seven Wonders of the World”. These weren’t the monuments and structures created by mankind in ancient times. I was captivated by this meme because it listed the true wonders of the world…our abilities to sense and perceive and love while in this realm.

Seven Wonders

My creativity kicked in and I chose to create seven mini memes using each of the wonders with my own photos. The fun was in creating and also in looking through photos and finding the perfect representation of the wonder. The original meme that fueled my inspiration is posted at the end.

The Seven Wonders of the World

Seven Wonders The Grand Canal, Venice, Rome

Seven Wonders The lone piper, in The Highlands, Scotland. Hear the song he played HERE

Seven Wonders Creeping phlox in my backyard garden

Seven Wonders One of my veggie bowls.

Seven Wonders Elissa, Dayan and I with our feet in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Cinque Terre, Italy. We felt the sea wash over our feet and the enormity of our experience, a long awaited trip to Italy, wash through our hearts and souls.

Seven Wonders Dayan and I experiencing a moment of hilarity on the Italy trip.

Seven Wonders The love between these second cousins, London and Aubrey, is profound.

Can you feel the magnificence and the wonderment of these human abilities? How grateful I am to be able to experience these wonders on a daily basis. And how mindful I want to be that they truly are gifts.

Seven Wonders

The Hero of My Own Story

This extremely brief Sunday Short was inspired by two things. A meme on Pinterest caught my imagination. It was made from a series of photos featuring the women of the fantasy fairy tale on TV, Once Upon a Time. These women journeyed together and individually, figuring out who they were in the Story. While they all were in various relationships, those did not define them. What did was the strength they all discovered within themselves, the strength to step into their unique roles and the strength to overcome challenges and thrive.

Secondly, I’ve been doing a 7 Day Book Cover Challenge this week, in which I post a different book each day without explanation or review. The photo of the book tells the story. I’ve chosen books that have created change in my life…and resisted the urge to explain how.

The Hero of My Own Story

And so, in bringing those two ideas together…the Once Upon a Time meme and the book cover challenge…I created my own photo display, using a slight variation of the words on the meme that I was captivated by.

It is presented below, as a creative expression of my journey, without further explanation. I am smiling…

The Hero of My Own Story

The Hero of My Own Story

The Hero of My Own Story

The Hero of My Own Story

Listen to Yourself

I love a quote I came across this week, attributed to Tiny Buddha. For today’s Sunday Short, I adapted the words slightly and created a meme.

Listen to Yourself

Reading the quote, added below, I wondered why I’ve found it so difficult in the past to listen to myself…listen to my own voice, my own heart, my own intuition, my own instincts. As a people pleaser, I was much more apt to listen to what someone else said was true for me, even when I knew those “truths” ran contrary to what was right for me.

Thankfully, a time came in my journey when I chose not to live an outward life that was out of sync with my inner life. This happened as I got to know myself better, accepted who I knew myself to be, and let go of the desire to please others.

Living as my authentic self required inner work that then allowed my outer expressions of self to shift and come into alignment. I’m at my happiest, most joyful and real self when I listen for Divine guidance and then listen to myself, trust my intuition and act accordingly.

Life has become a magical adventure that began with a simple command. Listen…

Listen to Yourself

A Message from My Dad

Father’s Day is one of those bittersweet holidays for me, as it is for many others. I enjoyed a brief chat with my stepfather Walter this afternoon. When my sister returns from vacation, we will take him and my mother out to dinner, to celebrate him.

My thoughts have been on my dad the past few days, with the approach of this time of special recognition for fathers. I had even decided already that I’d write a Sunday Short about an item that belonged to my dad, that has meaningful significance to me. And then, my dad changed that slightly, by visiting me and sharing a short message with me. That’s not unusual. Many people had visits with their fathers today.

The thing is, my dad passed away eight years ago.

A Message from My Dad

I love the award that my dad received, almost 20 years ago, in recognition for excellent customer service at the car dealership he worked for. Dad supervised repairs and body work. He was great with cars…and even better with people. I’m sure the award was well deserved.

What brings me joy is that the award is made to resemble a golden Oscar, the award handed out each year in the film industry, for the Best of categories. It makes me smile for two reasons: I adore movies, and the Oscars is a must-see event for me every spring. And…my dad’s middle name is Oscar. Seriously! How appropriate is that?!

Near the end of his life, Dad had his children look through his mementos and select what we wanted to take home. He was, quite literally, handing out memories for us to keep. He was amused that along with other treasures, I wanted this Oscar. It means a great deal to me. I have it displayed in a little vignette that contains the award, a photo of Dad, and a small container that holds a portion of my dad’s ashes.

A Message from My Dad

There it is, the little story I intended to write. Dad added to it though.

He visited me last night, in a dream. It is common for those who have departed to visit their loved ones in dreams. These aren’t typical dreams though. To me they feel more like a visit. There isn’t anything happening. It’s a face to face conversation with one I love, who is now in spirit.

Dad appeared to me, in my house, looking like he was in his mid to late 30s. I remarked about the dark hair on his head, and even touched his neatly trimmed mustache, which was black as well. He looked so young. It made my heart ache.

Dad hugged me. And then he shared these words:

“I am so proud of you, Sissy, for taking care of your health. You are doing well. And the things you are learning, about the connection between the health of your liver and your pancreas…they are true.”

I know. That seems like a strange conversation for a father and his daughter to have. However, it carried great meaning for me. I have turned my health around. And I continue to learn how to improve my wellbeing even more. I just listened to a webinar, presented by my health mentor, Anthony William, on the very thing Dad mentioned…the vital connection between a healthy or unhealthy liver, and a healthy or unhealthy pancreas.

It’s important information for me. My dad died of pancreatic cancer, a cancer that is on the rise. In addition to my father, I’ve lost three friends to this type of cancer and I know of many others who have succumbed to this horrible disease. If taking care of my liver is good for my pancreas as well, then I’m all for that. I’m grateful that Anthony’s new book, Liver Rescue, is due out this fall. I’ve already preordered it.

I’m grateful as well for my dad. It could be argued that my dream was just that, a dream, created by my subconscious. The hug felt real. The man who spoke to me looked like my dad. His words were relevant to what I am learning. I’m going to accept it for what it appeared to be to me…a loving visit from my sweet dad.

And his advice was sound. Just before he vanished, he looked into my eyes and offered these words:

“Take care of your liver.”

I smile when I think about his words…such a Dad thing to say…even while I feel a little catch of emotion in my throat.

I will, Dad, I promise. Thank you for caring. Happy Father’s Day. I love you.

A Message from My Dad

Conversations with Myself

Today’s post was inspired by a journaling meme that asked three questions. These questions created an opportunity for reflection and also provided a great follow up for last Sunday’s Tips for Living a Full Life post. Unbeknownst to me, they would also mesh perfectly with the chapter I am working through in the It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again Workbook. I love such synchronous collisions.

Conversations with Myself

Journaling is a form of conversing with myself. Writing down my thoughts seems to open access to my higher self, or to my inner child, or to some part of me that has shut herself away. It is very healing for me, as well as revealing. Many of my ahas in life appear as thoughts become words, flowing onto a page.

So I welcomed the questions presented in this meme:

Conversations with Myself

I appreciate that all three questions ask me what I can do…to feel loved, to support myself, to nurture my body…rather than asking what I need from someone else. The moment I look to another for something, expectations are created. And when expectations aren’t met, disappointment arrives. I don’t like putting expectations on another or living with disappointment or regret.

I made a list of ways that I can show love to myself. I’ll share a couple.

What do I need to give myself to feel loved?

1. Connection – This is at the top of my list. To lose connection with myself, with my heart, with my soul, with my body, creates a-lone-ness, otherwise felt as loneliness. Being present with myself, centered in myself, and feeling my feelings creates awareness. I can’t feel alone when I am so connected.

2. Recognition – I need to acknowledge myself, my journey and what I am doing, in a positive and sincere way. I used to reward myself, for accomplishments or for sticking with a tough task, with food, which was unhealthy on so many levels. Now doing things that bring me joy is my way of recognizing who I am and my worth.

Conversations with Myself Spending time, outside, on a quilt, under my favorite tree.

How can I best support myself?

I can support myself, and who I am, with compassionate self-care, self acceptance, openness, curiosity about my journey, and the willingness to continue seeking, learning and growing. When I am aware of myself, and tuned in physically, emotional, spiritually, mentally and creatively I know when a part of me needs extra care and support.

What steps can I take to nurture my body?

My focus has been here the last two years, with astonishing results. Here’s the list I jotted down.

1. Nourish – eat healthy, whole foods. For me this means fruits, veggies, legumes, brown rice, herbs, seeds and nuts. I know my body thrives on such a lifestyle and that my body can heal itself.

2. Eliminate – limit toxins that go into my body and go on my body, and that are in my environment. For me this means no GMO produce, chemicals, pesticides, dyes, herbicides or other poisons. I’ve been switching over to different cleaning products, laundry supplies and toiletries such as chemical and dye free shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. What goes on my skin, goes into my body. I want to create optimal health.

3. Move – walk, garden, stretch, play and do yoga.

4. Be still – journal, meditate, read, go within, keep developing my intuition.

5. Clear – energy, old emotions, old habits and patterns, limiting beliefs, past experiences, anything that weighs my spirit down.

Conversations with Myself

These were good conversations to have with myself, and they are ongoing. I appreciate what I am discovering about myself, and what I am uncovering. I love deep conversations and connecting at a heart level…with another, and most especially, with myself.

Conversations with Myself