Monday, November 30, 2015

A Crossroads Experience

When arriving at a choice in the road choose to travel in one of four directions.

Pause and linger.

Steep yourself in the mystery of a transition that looms.

Pay attention to the feelings that arise as you visualize the experiences awaiting along each path.

Some areas are paved with cement; others with leaves or grass.

Find a direction. Stay with it.

Change it to let curiosity finds its way.

Shapes and shadows create moods.

Barriers and bridges beckon. Where do they lead?

Call on memories of water crossings for guidance.

Engage in all the sounds
and scents on the journey.

Create stories from discoveries.

Become receptive to inspiration revealed in a crossroads experience.

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. 
-Marianne Williamson
The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away. 
~ Pablo Picasso

Which ability would you choose to enhance for your Super Power?  

Write about getting used to its maximized ability.  

How will you fit it into your life?  

Describe your first action to reveal and share it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Balloon Theory

Observe your flexibility today.  If you compare yourself to a balloon, what do you need?

What color and shape do you desire in a balloon?
Define a context or an event for your celebration balloon.
Is it time to add or let out some of the air?
Do you need to drift with ease or soar above the clouds?
What if you let the breeze take you, attaching your string to a branch?
Will the birds admire themselves in your sheen?

Work with a metaphor to measure your need to adjust mind, spirit and body. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Night's Palette

Poet Gary Snyder writes in, The Practice of the Wild, "Life is not just a diurnal property of large interesting vertebrates. It is also nocturnal, anaerobic, microscopic, digestive, fermentative: cooking away in the warm dark.

Examine writing ideas and notions that you have cooking away in the warm dark.

Celebrate the powers of the pen. Pay reverence to what's underneath, elusive, and uncanny.

Explore shadows, dreams, moonlight, and the depths. Catch reflections the instant before light moves into night.

Where do colors hide in the darkness.

As eyes adjust to night, how will other senses take over? 

Let sounds intrigue. Listen for a shish, wall creak, whirs, and rumblings.

Scents accost in cinnamon rolls and eucalpytus leaves.

Peel an orange and let the aroma find the night.

Feel cool and texture as fingers tap the keyboard.

Let curiosity out to play.
Use the night's palate to arouse instincts.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Day of Gratitude

“For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends. I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Research confirms the importance of Gratitude when felt and also shared with others. Subjects were asked to write for what they felt grateful. After ten weeks in the study, they exhibited major increases in their happiness scores, felt more optimistic, and better about their lives. 

They also reported exercising more and had fewer visits to the doctor following the experiment. The second group wrote about daily problems and situations that left them unhappy. These individuals felt comparably unhappy as a result.

"If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system," said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of the division of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center. Oxytocin, the social bonding hormone, floods the brain and body with euphoria during moments of happiness and feelings of security that can result from a hug.

Gratitude helps us discover the wonders in life. Happiness and contentment result as by-products, especially when gratitude is shared.
Enjoy a Grateful Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have a Grateful Day

The day before Thanksgiving provides time to ponder and celebrate gratitude for life's gifts: family, friendships, and discoveries in each moment. 

We live in a world of chaos but have the ability to bring balance through writing. Give thanks for each challenge as it turns into an exploration.

Celebrate your creativity with gratitude. 

Write a thank you note to anyone who has influenced your life. Then, thank someone mentally and self-reflect on his or her importance to your happiness. 

During the day, whenever possible, thank individuals for their smiles or kindness toward you. 

Keep a journal to express and share thoughts about emotional and physical gifts you’ve received. 

Consider a negative situation that provided guidance and insight. How did it offer feelings of gratitude?

List your gratitudes and explore the specifics of why they made you happy. 

Grow buoyant, float and fly.  A bit of humor conquers all.  

Appreciate what’s offered regardless of the form. 

Share your attention to detail and have a grateful day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Patience, Perspective, Perseverance

Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win
by fearing to attempt.    
  - Shakespeare

If we begin with certainties we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties."  Samuel Bacon

How do you deal with doubt? 

Does it interrupt certainty? 

Where does patience fit in?

Add perspective and perseverance to the mix.

Find examples of how you accomplish the above.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Explore Playfulness

Is it time for a break from life's demands?  Let yourself go beyond the ordinary.

Dance like Snoopy with extreme joy regardless of your skill or grace.

Romp, tumble, roll, and cavort.

In this way you can begin to explore the frontiers of amusement and bliss.

Experiment with fun and rowdy to penetrate playfulness not yet explored.

Liberate your inner awesome.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thrills of the Heart

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
                                                         - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Under every deep,
A lower deep opens
Under every beauty
Every mystery
A love of life opens.
               - Roderick MacIver

Begin the search for what creates your true love of life. 

Discover your passion by opening a flower's bud layer after layer. In each layer, name the fun and enjoyment in talents you possess. Examine what you have experienced in the past that thrilled the heart. Add current delights.

Think of the mysteries that have sparked wonder.

What do you wish for?

Keep the process going to uncover areas you may have forgotten.

Add wild and blue sky thinking.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Time's Essence

Time is free, but it's priceless.  You can't own it, but you can use it.  You can't keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you've lost it you can never get it back. 
- Harvey Mackay

Time involves a sequence of events moving forward. Irreversible, it flows from past through present to future. We measure it in segments and seasons. A variety of instruments reveal it: clocks, wrist watches, computer monitors, cell phones..

We learn time is of the essence. It waits for no one. We're admonished not to waste time.  Staying on time becomes a challenge. Wisdom arrives when we learn about life's timing. 

Writers expel ideas in the moment. We can speed or slow sentences and paragraphs to create mood and provide intensity to capture the reader. Decades can exist in pages. In a chapter, time shrinks, expands or gets pruned as irrelevant. Poems and stories jump forward, backwards, even sideways. Characters might move in parallel time exploring worlds beyond the present.

How do animals relate to time?

How would you write about time? Let the above concerns spark your notions. 

Write to make the reader lose track of time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tickle Your Funny Bones

Life is way better when you're laughing. - Oprah Winfrey

I looked out the window and saw an owl perched on the wire behind our neighbor's house. I crept closer to see it move its head.  

"Wow. Get your camera," I urged my husband, Michael. "You won't believe the size of this creature."

"I don't see an owl. How could an owl be out there?" he responded.

"Just look," I pointed beyond tree branches. "Open the sliding door slowly so you don't scare him."

I raced ahead of him to another window's view. Then broke into laughter. One of those plastic owls swung in the breeze. Someone had thrown it up to dangle on the wire. It sure looked lifelike from
a distance.

"Owlright! At least I'm observant." I flapped my arms, hopped around the room, and chuckled. 

Michael shook his head, "It's not even funny."

I just kept laughing; a rolling on the floor episode.

"Owlright!" I flapped away.

* * * * * * * * * * *

What makes you laugh?  

It could be circumstances, misfortunes regarded in retrospect, or just the events of everyday life. The ability to poke fun at oneself after a strange situation provides material.

What tickles one person's funny bone may not inspire laughter for another. It's all about perception and possibility.

Write about an "owl" experience where two people don't connect about a humorous situation.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Creative Mind

How many ways could you use a pine cone? Make connections beyond the obvious and pursue innovations. 
In Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson documents how pathbreaking innovations derive from inventors’ ability to notice previously unrecognized connections between related fields.
Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press developed from his understanding of the screw press in wine-making and his understanding of metal-typeface design. When he connected the synergies of two fields, he thought of the printing press.  
Creativity reveals the potential to make connections and conversions. Ideas move from abstract to concrete and weave possibilities.

Reconceive a pine cone and innovate beyond the shape and texture. What productive use follows?

Try for five.

Would the cone's scales become replacements for a disabled turtle's shell?

Turn them into nail files for a group of gray squirrels.

Use them above windows to capture bird droppings.

Tune the scales for a rendition of your favorite song.

Combine with . . . ?

Play with pine cone reconceptions. Recycle. Reuse. Replenish!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chased by the Wind

During my morning run along the sidewalk at Windansea beach, gale force wind sailed sand into my arms, legs, and face.

Moistened by spindrift, the grains stuck. The sea roared its laughter.

Turning the corner brought scents of jasmine.

Blankets of scrambled egg whites covered the expanse of ocean.

I glanced upward and stayed vigilant to avoid falling palm fronds.

The wind's surges pushed me forward; pulled me back.  My feet nearly left the pavement.

Searching for narrow streets and lanes, I scurried to avoid the intensity. A fast walk resulted in a granulated feeling.

Once in Chicago, the wind turned my umbrella inside out. I also raced the Big Sur marathon where rocks and road debris made nicks in my arms and legs.

Near the cove, sea foamed upward to match the clouds. Waves in shades of blue from azure to turquoise battled to shore.

Pelicans soared higher than usual. No seals or seal lions occupied the rocks.

The groups of cormorants huddled in crannies.

Invigorated by the experience, I continued my journey, outwitted the wind, and found my way home.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Flower Power

Just as musicians express themselves through the language of music, Ikebana artists must use the language of flowers....One takes a piece of nature and adds something that was not there. This is what creation in Ikebana means. In Ikebana, the flowers are imbued with a human meaning. They are no longer the flowers of the meadow or the flower shop...the result is an expression of the Ikebana artist. - Baiko

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement, creates a design where nature and the arranger collaborate. 

The word comes from ikeru (keep alive) and hana (flower): arranging and giving life to flowers. Ikebana began in the sixth century as flower offerings to Buddha. Monks meditated on blossoms as signs of the impermanence of life.   

Alan Delaye said, "When we make a bouquet, we find ourselves before our plants and our vase like a child before the elements of a construction game or paper cuttings, and I have often thought that Ikebana takes us back, in a way, to infant school. What is the spirit of childhood?  This "spirit of beginners" of which Shunryu Suzuki speaks : a state in which our sensitivity and our intelligence find once more their freshness and their original unity, while harboring the fullest maturity."

Color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines create the meaning in the arrangement. Relaxation and attention to nature and the art of beauty result. During the practice of Ikebana appreciation of the art form requires silence. It becomes a meditative process for the mind, body and soul.

For me, in the silence, a sense of serenity arises when going into the garden in search of blossoms and leaves. Yellow and green chrysanthemums discovered from the market also help me decorate my home and mind.

Joy arises by selecting each bloom and placing it with care. Breathing and calm coalesce and prepare me for my day's work and adventures.

In a variety of simple arrangements, flowers provide Power, reflect our human relationships, and a search for harmony.