“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

~ Carl Jung

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Colors of My World




Climb the mountains and get their good tidings,
Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

~ John Muir





It has been a beautiful weekend in the North Georgia mountains.  















The woods are alive with the colors of spring wildflowers.  



























The bird feeders off the  deck have been busy with birds that have returned from their winter habitats










or are stopping by as they migrate North to their summer residences.

These are some of the beautiful colors of my weekend. 


Hope your world is filled with the beautiful colors of spring as well.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Whispers of Love



We are whispers of love dancing in the breeze.
We are spiritual beings on a path of loving service,
Where if we pay attention the sacred earth wisdom
Within will direct our destinies to a  place of
Peace where joy and love abound.
Embrace how beautiful you are and
Make your life a garden of grace and beauty.
We are love and love is the light 
within that guides our way.
~ Michael Teal

I found this quote recently.  The line “we are whispers of love dancing in the breeze”  has been going round and round in my mind since.  I think in part because I want to be a whisper of love and lately I haven’t really felt very successful in that regard.

As I have enjoyed this beautiful spring weekend in the mountains, I realized that I haven’t been listening to the things around me that whisper love to me.  I have been focused on the things that worry me, the stressful things in my life - the very things that drain me and rob me of love, joy and peace.  I wonder why the things that give us joy and peace and that refill the reservoir of love inside us whisper to us and the worry thoughts seem to shout. 

This weekend has reminded me to listen to the whispers.    So I thought I would share some of the things that have whispered to me.


Sunset on the water



Trillium



Forsythia

Fern Fiddleheads
What is whispering to you?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Is It Spring Yet?


It was a another cold, rainy weekend in the North Georgia Mountains.  I just knew that Spring would be popping, but not so much.  The rain did let up long enough to let me walk in the woods and check on my little spring ephemeral wildflowers.




 Unfortuately some of the little Trilliums are up.  Snow is predicted for tomorrow and Tuesday; so, we will see next weekend if any survive the week.  Thankfully some of them are still tucked in tightly in the ground.







Since Spring was not showing itself outside, I created a colorful bouquet filled page in my art journal.  This will have to hold me for now.



Sunday, March 17, 2013

BEND








One of my favorite images is the Live Oak tree.  I grew up in Louisiana and there is nothing more beautiful to me than an ancient oak with gnarled limbs covered in Spanish moss.  In one of my favorite pictures of my children, they are sitting on the limb of a huge Oak tree in Audubon Park in New Orleans.  For me the Live Oak represents strength, permanence, and being rooted, grounded in my heritage. 

The very thing I love about Oak trees is also a problem.  Their strength creates an inflexibility that makes them vulnerable to the winds of change.    And in Louisiana the winds of change often come with hurricane force.


I realize as I grow older that I am like the Oak trees I Iove.  I prefer being solidly rooted in this moment, this current reality.  I don’t like the winds of change.   I like to live my life with a long term plan.  I want to know where I am going and how I am going to get there.  My body reminds me of this preference in the arthritic stiffness I am beginning to experience in my joints. 


And so, currently, I am trying to build flexibility.  I want to be able to bend with each moment.  I need to be less like the Oak I love and more like the willow - rooted yet able to be resilient and supple.  In my physical life I am trying each day to exercise, breathe and stretch,  to build flexibility.  And in my spiritual life, I am stretching myself to accept and rejoice in what is now, to trust that tomorrow will take care of itself if only I will get out of the way - living my life in this moment with trust and faith that there is one greater than I who is watching over me with love.   




Saturday, March 9, 2013

Home

I started a novel this morning as I was taking my morning walk on the treadmill.  I didn't get very far into the book.  It started with a young woman's description of her home.  I was immediately lost in my own thoughts.  First memory triggered was of a speech I had to give in front of my seventh grade English class.

I was an shy, self-conscious 13 year old.   Not helped by the fact that I had curly (sometimes down right frizzy) red hair and freckles.  Creativity was not a part of my fearful nature.  So the 3 minute speech was a dry walk through of our nice, but not very special home.

This morning as I thought of the concept of home, my mind went in another direction completely.  Not that I don't love the physical spaces I call home; I do.  But, ask me to describe my home and I will share treasured sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations.  The smell of coffee in the morning; the sound of laughter and, yes, sometimes tears; the comfortable feel of snuggling under a blanket with a three year old; the taste of wonderful food prepared with love, the faces of the ones I love.  Treasures.


Currently I am working with a number of folks who have had to leave their homes.  Some have become too fragile to live independently; others have lost their homes due to the economy.  I wonder what treasures of home they carry in their hearts?

I think that's why I love to put pictures into altered books and scrapbooks.    It reminds me, and comforts me somehow, to realize that the most treasured aspects of home will be with me always.

What treasures of home are you carrying in your heart?

  

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What are you longing for?

Why is it that February is the shortest month of the year and yet it seems to go on forever.  I feel incredibly impatient the last couple of weeks of February and the first couple of weeks of March.  I am ready for Spring.  In the North Georgia mountains this is the coldest part of our winter.  This weekend it didn't get out of the thirties and for most of today it was in the twenties.

Now I know many of you endure a much more difficult winter.  Some of you even enjoy snowy days.  But this southern girl's soul longs for warm days filled with sunshine and the beautiful blooms of spring - starting Red Bud and Forsythia and soon followed by the Dogwoods.

My bouquets of the moment are limited to daffodils and Lenten roses; and, they are giving me their best in an effort to cheer me along through these last weeks of winter.








 Longing for more, last weekend I got out my flower press full of little pieces of last years garden and made collage bouquets.













This weekend I finished up a canvas to hang with these botanical collages.








Spring is coming.  In the mean time, I guess, patience and finding the beauty in the present moment is sufficient.



What are you longing for?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dancing with Change




I am reading a wonderful little book, Life, Love and Lilies:  The Sanctified Self , written by my neighbor Brenda Bunch Strickland.  I keep returning to one particular section - her discussion of change.  Change is one of those topics my heart and my head just can’t reconcile.  In my head I know change is our constant companion on this journey through life; but, my heart’s response to change is almost always fear and dread. 

In my work I often help others negotiate the change life brings to us all every day.  In this context I can offer empathy and provide a safe haven for processing through the often conflicting emotions we experience in the face of life’s challenges.  In this context I can think of the changes in my life and remember that the most difficult and painful periods of my life have clearly resulted in the most growth and positive development both within me and my circumstances.  My heart and my head are both connected and engaged the process. 




When dealing with changes in my own life, I lose this perspective.  My heart is not able to stay connected with what I know in my head.  Brenda has provided me with an image that I am hoping will help me to stay integrated.  Brenda states: 



"To breathe and dance 
with change 
is to be fully alive, 
 fully one with God
 and fully at peace.” 

I love the image of dancing with change.  The image of myself learning the steps to a new, unfamiliar dance fits.  It is about movement.  It is about struggling to get the steps, stumbling a little, and probably stepping on a few toes in the process.  It requires me to exert myself, to breathe deeply and engage with the life process, with God.




This weekend I created this image in my art journal and on a canvas to share with the wonderful woman 
who gave it to me.  To learn more about Brenda and her book visit her website at www.brendastrickland.us