Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making ART

Creating is a savior,
an engrossing path to follow.
Creating encourages me
to be mindful in the moment;
Creativity prods me
to surround myself
with objects
that urge me to react
spontaneously, bathing me in comfort.
The process of creating often has no goal
other than to observe some feeling or thing
immerge.  The work claims to be finished
only when I am pleased.
My joy is enhanced
when someone else is moved to appreciate it
but elation  surfaces
when someone else can't live without it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eliminate The Second Hour of Suffering

Everyone has something that causes them to suffer. Pain is not suffering. Pain can often be managed because it is physical, but suffering is mental.  However, when someone has chronic pain, that will cause them to suffer mentally. When some condition, or some situation, is disturbing us it will, by itself, cause us to suffer, and we have to find a way to heal and deal which is a more difficult and lengthy process if we stay focused on the issue/problem. Yet, we can begin to eliminate the second hour of suffering by saying " It is what is is." We can further eliminate what Thich Naht Hahn, a Buddhist Monk, calls "the second hour of suffering," by not asking ourselves or others the aggressive question, "Why" or  by speculating, when we  provide ourselves imagined reasons. We can go 'round and 'round over why some thing occured,or is occuring.  When we try to gain answers that way, when there simply aren't any, we are creating more delusions -imagined reasons- which will cause us to suffer for the "second hour."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Religion and Spirituality-

Yes, I believe religion is different, separate, from spirituality.  Religion is a great divider. Our religion purports this, yours does not, therefore our religion is superior to yours-we understand God better than you do!  Catholics against Baptists, Baptists against Catholics, Jews against Christianity, religions against Atheists or Agnostics, or Muslims, or Buddhists, and so on. Yet, in the heart of all of the organized religions is one, ONE God or belief in some higher power or none at all, or philosophical practices that should humble us enough to at least consider another's way may have worth. Yet, I believe we need, as logical and rationale humans, to heed the Ten Commandments, they make sense, they're good rules to live by. Why? break one (a commandment) and see what suffering or serious trouble transpires. The principles that Buddhism conveys are also practical ways to think about day to day living.  Yet, organized religion  makes stuff up as it goes along, interpreting biblical scripture as they view it; when any critical thinker knows that any piece of literature is subjective and worthy of  a completely different interpretation which may also be a valid possibility. Religious leaders convey messages to their practioners beyond the ten commandments and wise philosophy making religion subject to flawed human ideas and practices. Therefore, I see all religious practice which incorporates man made ideas and rigid biblical interpretations as absurd.
The ultimate irony is that more misery and death has happened in the name of religion than any feuding factor in history. To name a few bloody battles: the Crusades; the Inquisition; Irelands persecution of  Protestants;  the Romans killing Christians, literally feeding them to the lions; and now, radical Muslims against western religions and beliefs. Also,  Hitler and his "Christian" Germans, which led to the persecution and annilation of millions the Jews. I think Jesus was a pacifist; a believer of love not war, acceptance and forgiveness.  So how do these [above named] horrific, abominable, actions honor or represent Jesus and how he expected a true "Christian" to behave?
Let's get down to it, Spirituality emmanates from ones actions. People who are spiritual strive to be gentle.  I am not saying that some people who attend church or synagogue are not living spiritual lives; same goes for those who do not attend any organized group. If they are spiritual, they sow peace by being peaceful; they are tolerant; and strive to be non-judgemental. They are, at the core, inclusive and helpful and supportive. Yes, spiritual people would support gays rights, standing up so the gay population can have all the rights of anyone else in this world. Spiritual people hold their religious beliefs quietly. Being a spiritual person requires one not to shove what they believe down someone else's throat. Spiritual people lead other people to love by living their life as an example so people might evaluate seeking God or Christ or Buddha or Allah in their lives. Spiritual people draw others to the possibility that their lives could be affected positively by a belief in acceptance and not-judgment and then one may see that spirituality has affected the life of that [spiritual] person and the lives of others, positively. Let's face it not one of us, not even I, know which belief is absolutely RIGHT until the day we die--and maybe not even then! Perhaps none of us have it "right." We all need to have humility enough to consider that we may not be right. Yet, I feel one thing is certain: being plain old mean and rotten, excluding others and behaving self-righteously while we are here can't be right, not here in the realm of our earthly existence where we are all flawed; yet all need love. We all know that love is the message of Christmas and we should strive to remember that love should be the message we convey every day of our lives.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice

Putting old things behind us because this is the turning point of the year; that's what the Winter Solstice represents. I know what I need to put behind me and I focus on moments, not days, to accomplish it.
Since the Winter Solstice occurs during the Christmas season I was thinking about its association to the holiday.
I read that mistletoe, which was sacred because it mysteriously grew on the most sacred tree, the oak, was ceremoniously cut and a spray given to each family, to be hung in the doorways as good luck. The celtic Druids also regarded mistletoe as sacred. Druid priests cut it from the tree on which it grew with a golden sickle and handed it to the people, calling it All-Heal. To hang it over a doorway or in a room was to offer goodwill to visitors. Kissing under the mistletoe was a pledge of friendship. Mistletoe is still forbidden in most Christian churches because of its Pagan associations, but it has continued to have a special place in home celebrations.  I have mistletoe in my doorway to the den, an often visited room because that's where the Christmas tree is. The only association I had for mistletoe was people who pass under hanging mistletoe are suppossed to kiss; nothing about friendship--but let's hope the kissers are friends!  I like the idea of offering Goodwill to visitors too and the idea that it has good luck and healing connotations connected to it is also pleasing .  Ah, here's an idea for the day's moments: In order to put the the things behind me, that need to be left behind me, I will focus moment to moment on the dear, loving friendships and the caring love I have from my children and husband. These are healing and centering thoughts and any thoughts like these, any blessings dwelled upon, kept in my heart and mind, will help me start anew.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Homecoming and Going

My son-in-law will be arriving soon.  My daughter and their 6 month old son have been without him since their baby was 4 weeks old.  When we think about someone coming home after some time away it is always heartwarming; but when a dad has been away from his wife and baby boy (he refers to him as "little man") for this long its heartwrenching.  I watched as my daughter went through her days assuming every daily task, as a single mom, and homemaker and I have been so lucky to witness my grandson's growth.  Each time I saw a "first" smile or new behavior I thought about how much my son-in-law was missing.  Soon, though, he will embrace them both and be able to bask, for a time, in the company of those he loves and have his "firsts."  I, for one, can't wait to give my son-in-law the biggest, tightest hug; I hope I don't cry. As fantastic as it is to have him home for the holidays, as elated as we all are,  it will be, I think, more difficult to watch him go again to assume his role as an American soldier in Afghanistan.  We thank God for this time together. We'll be envisioning and praying for his return to the states the end of next summer. Those of you who read this, please, if you do pray, pray with us, for every family who experiences the emptiness that comes with their loved ones time away, and the chaotic onslaught of emotions that one battles when seeking personal peace while they have a loved one at war. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Goodies

Soon after Thanksgiving I begin to think about the things I'll make as gifts for friends. I wonder, should make some decorated cookies, homemade breads, or my "Comfort and Joy," granola with every grain and nut and fruit possible? I make it a ritual to go to and look for something new to bake; yet I always seem to gravitate toward my old favorites. Whatever I make I like it to be something time consuming. I like what I'm making to take time for a few reasons. I like the aroma wafting through my home, I like tasting the results; because I can't give a gift that isn't any good--lol. I also like the idea of taking time to please my friends and that they are unaware that I'm taking time for them; until they receive their goodies. I also love when my daughter(s) or a friend bakes with me. It is such a wonderfully cozy experience. It includes laughing; tasting; and maybe a glass or two of Wine, all while arranging the baked goods in some way to present it beautifully---all Christmas Goodies! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Energy

I have been in a total cleansing mode for days now. Photos, or any object or piece of furniture, that I do not need or haven't used is making its way to be sold, donated or tossed.  This action has caused me to feel a new energy within my home; It seems I am unburdening myself as this process unfolds.  Now, some things that are tossed or sold need replacing; such as my dining room table. Our family has fed many, many people at this table, shared many laughs, and has engaged in some great conversations sitting around this table. So, of course I have used this table, quite sufficiently, and  every family needs somewhere to sit to eat. My reason for wanting to shed the table is to have new memories around a new one. My mom passed away recently and every time I passed the table I vividly pictured her sitting in her favorite spot with her little pocketbook hanging on the back of the chair. Looking at a new table I don't have the same energy affixed to it--its new energy. Yet, I didn't want to purchase a brand new table. I looked for weeks for the perfect table. To be perfect I had criteria in mind: right design/color, yes, but most importantly it had to come from a home with great life energy. My husband came with me to look at the table and when I told him we wouldn't buy it if the house smelled, he laughed, and I continued; if the people were lacking the right energy. He laughed and said "How will you know that?!?" I assured him I would know. When we arrived at the house a smiling man approached us,  he looked very familiar, and extended a firm handshake to us both. His wife, followed by a white, large, friendly, curly Golden-Doodle and her son, in his PJ's who was meeting dad in the backyard to give the dog a bath. We looked the table over, sat in the chairs and really liked it. His wife and I spoke and during the course of our conversation discovered that her husband was an M.D. who was also a Bass player. Ding! The light went on! I said, Oh! did he play Bass with Steve Luongo at the John Entwhistle benefit (this was the only time my husband went out this year and we had a ball!). Yes, that's him, she said.  I looked at my husband and said: This is how you recognize right energy. He smiled. We have the table in our home now and it has new energy. Tonight we will sit and eat our first meal at this table; hmmm, what's for dinner?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sketchbook Challenge

I have joined up with a wonderfully creative group of women to take a challenge to sketch everyday based on a predetermined theme.  It starts 1.1.2011  keep following to see my sketches that I'll post! Fun, fun, fun and a committment to play and improve my art!!  Check out the details in the link provided below--maybe you'll join us?

Today is Bodhi Day

A friend and I planned to spend Bodhi Day together; this is the day of Buddha's enlightenment. These plans were squelched because she became incapasitated by a cold. I celebrated solo (Get well, friend).  Bodhi Day is celebrated because Buddha, under a Bodhi tree, touched the earth and knew that all of our suffering could end; all of it gone, poof, simply by continually training the mind. Pain, you see, is a physical state and may not end, but our suffering is caused by the tormenting thoughts such as desire, attachment, or ruminations of the mind. By focusing on the breath, in and out, living in the very present moment humans can stop their suffering. Yet, this is a practice. Today, in the very present moment, I decided to continue my cleansing process by going into the New Year by ridding my home of anything that is unneeded, unused or in my estimation held negative energy. I am truly getting somewhere in this process; but there's more to accomplish. One huge project that I usually suffer through is going through my old photos. Generally, I play an internal tape that is too nostalgic. Today, in the spirit of Bodhi Day, I ended my suffering about ridding myself of these old photos, without deeply thinking about them;  I didn't stop and reflect. It was all about picture content or quality. It went like this: My sister isn't married to this guy anymore-toss;  oh, this is a picture of so and so, I haven't seen them and we don't keep in touch--toss. This is a blurry picture--no good ,toss. Pictures of a park where I used to live, lovely but unnecessary--good-bye! Look how young and thin I was here--keep! I have 1/3 of the pictures I used to have!  Fantastically enlightened regarding what I don't need in my life!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Self Promise

I haven't ever made news years resolutions. I don't bother because I'm terrible about keeping my word to myself. I'll walk miles to keep my word to anyone else. If I tell someone I will, I do.  In the past,  instead of personal resolutions, I only reflect upon what transpired in the past year and how the new year will be full of more surprises; some good, some bad. Yet, this year, during the first week of December, I can't stop thinking about how I will change my behavior toward myself.  This year; I'm going to dedicate it fully to my happiness, not my obligations, not reletives that are scientifically related, by blood, but only to those, related or otherwise, connected to my heart. I am on the road to discovering what being loving and kind to myself is all about. Stay tuned to see if I do keep my word to myself, I know I will, you'll see! IF you have ways that you practice to show yourself loving kindness, please share them!

Friday, December 3, 2010

What does it mean to have the Christmas Spirit?

I asked my daughter what it means to have the Christmas Spirit and she said, "I think its more of a Holiday Spirit that begins with Thanksgiving and rolls into Christmas and ends with a brand new year beginning; which is exciting."  I agree that is part of the "Christmas spirit" but I actually feel my whole way of seeing and thinking becomes more spiritually centered. I experience this peaceful internal shift the moment I begin planning my Thanksgiving menu. Then once I begin to listen my Christmas CD's as I unbox all the decorations and decorate the house I'm thinking more about God. I think about what Jesus asked us: to love one another. I think about how Buddha showed us how to end our suffering by considering our delusions and freeing ourselves of attachments. I wondered do I have to live in a decorated home all year to keep this focus?!? Maybe, but, of course, I won't. Then I think about the spirit of now: I will express my love during the season for those who I love and how I won't stress about gifts. I usually buy something purposeful and thoughtful for my family members; I make mental notes through the year of things they say they like or need.  Many times I just spend special time with family or friends I love; no gifts to unwrap but a sweet memory to keep.  Money is never plentiful for the people I love the most so giving anything isn't possible. Before anyone feels even a tiny bit of discomfort, due to their inability to exchange gifts, it is important to pick up the phone and make holiday time with someone as simple as sharing time. We sip tea or drink wine, have lunch or supper at one of our homes; together. If anyone you love is far away its easy and thoughtful to pick up the phone and share a few laughs and catch up with someone.  I truly believe we should bask in the love and comfort and blessings of our relationships and then the Christmas Spirit is defined perfectly...and can continue through the year. Hmm, maybe I don't have to keep decorations up all year (That would be really tacky anyway, lol, but I've seen people do it!!) I only have to live in love, and think each time I consider a friend or someone in my family that God and this spirit is alive--I just need to mindfully focus on how I express love all year.  Happy Holidays and I'm sending my sincere wishes for the most love-filled healthy and satisfying New Year for each of you!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Art Heart

I art-sit at daas gallery and today I was surrounded by the work of Matthew Davis; if you're in Fort Myers you should check his exhibit out! Some of it is what I call Retro Mixed media. He incorporates old newspaper and magazine pieces as a background and lays his subject carefully on top.  The colors are soft yet strongly placed.  Some of his work is done with a free spirit a cool pallette and a heavy black sharpie. Some mirror his faith. As I studied his work moving  from picture to picture I sensed that this artist is a happy, balanced person at least in his "art heart, " my personal phrase for what is true in your soul that comes out in one's art, these qualities resonate! I truly believe that bringing his work into ones home would cast a spell of lightheartedness upon all who reside within.
Most of all it made me want to pull my paints out... bye.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I have been given the freedom to redesign my life, habits and thinking.  I am going to focus on gratitude and honor each moment by resting in mindfulness.  I am not going to waste a moment.  Looks like a week to pull out the paints and canvas and see what develops.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Okay, so this special meal, Thanksgiving,  is to celebrate the Pilgrims finding America?  These days many people wonder what that means, that word, America. We've changed so much as a nation since those raw, pristine, wild days. I don't want to discuss people, politics or religion. I just want to poke fun of the hardship the Pilgrims endured, their cumbersome clothing, and their journey.

1.My daughter said she's grateful we have an oven instead of a pile of wood to cook over, like they had. Me too.

2.My husband said he's thankful  he doesn't have to wear that big buckle on his pants because it doesn't seem you could loosen it easily after eating a large meal.

3.My friend said she's thankful she can come to my house by car and not boat because she wouldn't be able to eat; she'd be sea sick...

4. I'm thankful I don't have to gather, shoot, or barter for my menu; I'm thankful for Publix Supermarket!

I'm thankful for people with a great sense of humor and my ability to appreciate it and use it myself---it helps to get us through all of our days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Family divisions

One of the most painful things anyone can go through is family division. Separation from a parent, a child, or sibling. From what I have experienced, many times the division begins with addiction at the core of the problem. A person's behavior is so incomprehensible they either reject us or abuse us so that behavior forces us to remove ourselves from the individual.  I learned long ago to value my higher power, God, first, and I'm second, all else is in third place. We must have peace in or lives.  That doesn't mean we will have a stress free life; it just means having a calm mind. If an individual wreaks havoc on your emotions- diminishing  your quality of life- it is best to eliminate all exposure to that individual.
The scriptures of the Bible tell us to forgive, Buddhism purports compassion [as does the Bible].  When, in your heart you are solid in the knowledge that you have forgiven and you are compassionate but you have emptied your well of giving, it is time to be compassionate and forgive yourself.  Simply, you have reached the place where ties must be severed; your overall health, your well-being is at stake.  It is time to embrace yourself, recapture your peace and then rest in the fact that as an individual you have given all you can possibly give; and God understands and philosophy supports you; because you have compassion for their plight but can no longer be part of it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Old, Achy & Misunderstood

The elderly population is explosive here, not just in their numbers but in their attitudes, toward those younger and in the sometimes crotchety way they navigate through life. Many [younger] people complain about their driving.  "They think they own the road," they say, or "why doesn't that old geezer move," or "oh, look at her/him, they can't even see over the wheel!!" . It's also common to hear people complain that older drivers are wickedly impatient in their retorts and they are  basically incompetent nimwits behind the wheel.
I was thinking, perhaps because they've been on the planet the longest, they are simply seeking a position; they need to feel treasured and respected in society and perhaps they seek a little attention in their vacant, lonely lives. Unfortunately, many do not treasure them, or respect them in our society [therefore; this will apply, one day, to each of us]. I wonder if the road gives them a place, in their heavy cars, to put themselves first, at all cost.  They may grow impatient with those of us who want to more more quickly from point A to point B because they carry the knowledge, ever pressing upon them, that their lives could be completed in mere seconds; their trying to make what's left last (lol). Most older folks experience not only the anquish of this knowledge that their life is becoming shorter and shorter very quickly but many have physical pain as well. It could be that there are far too many prescribed painkillers on the road. Side effects are: irritability and  slow reaction times...hmmm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

One Smell

The scent of memory:
Wafting throught the air was the sweet smell of balsa pine
That clean scent pricked my memory like a needle full of the past; the fountain of my youth.
Suddenly, I was in Lenox, eight years old, sitting on a bed of soft, brown, in the tall and twisted stand of pines during a calm, drizzling spring rain. The openings in the heavy canopy revealing puffs of blue; places where the sky was clearing. Youth is a champion runner; its time is less than a season should be; but a transporting scent can become a fountain of youth that will stay as long as the thoughts visit.

Feeling safe is a necessary illusion

Deep down, logic tells us we aren't truly safe anywhere. That's right, nobody is safe at anytime, anywhere.  safety s an illusion that we must believe exists or we would all be crazy; paranoid. Faith too, is only real if we feel its exisitence. Why, then, do most people feel safe most of the time and lack faith more often?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How you play is who you are

I volunteer some of my time in a downtown art gallery. It is a wonderful place to be inspired and have quiet time while viewing and being absorbed in total creativity.  This month the gallery is featuring an extremely talented rising artist who works with iron, as a blacksmith would, to form the most extraordinary sculptures. Today is the second time I've met the 30-something artist.  Today, he came in with his parents.  As they viewed his exhibit, the mother proudly told me they owned the originals of two of the displayed pieces.  I commented, "His art is organic, yet futuristic."  She said, " I always knew what he'd do best and this is it.  He'd make things that no other person would think of; you wouldn't believe what he'd do with Legos as a child."  She explained how he would exasperate some family members because if he couldn't get it to look like he wanted it to look with those simple snappable squares he'd break them and attach them in creative ways.  Hmm, how do mother's just know what their child will become by observing play?  I think because how someone PLAYS defines them fully. Knowing this it should be our personal committment to make our work our play!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gratitude and Humor

My dear brother-in law is living with me and my husband. An accident left him physically limited and subject to his hip popping out of its socket (OUCH); which leads to needing anesthesia to knock him out to pop it back in place.  He can't bend at all, he uses a cane and wears an uncomfortable, unattractive brace that he hates, but needs. We tease him that twirls his cane nervously, tell him he looks like a transformer or Joe Namath in the old days because of his brace! One morning, we were talking and he expressed how horrible he feels because he "puts us out" to serve his needs until his surgery which we hope will resolve this for him. I reminded him that unless we die quickly, by accident, or in our sleep all of us will be in his place, needing someone to assist us.  Already knowing the answer I would get, I asked, "You'd help us if the situation were reversed, wouldn't you?"  Then I started to think about how we really need the help of others every day of our lives and we easily accept it, sometimes thinking nothing of the efforts someone "puts out" for us ( something as simple as pouring your coffee or taking out the garbage). Being unable to reciprocate is the thing that changes when someone is injured and has to ask and receive from others all the time. I think this is why it is so difficult for them to accept help in their situation. I thought about how we need to tell others that we know what they have done and would do for us; then they feel a bit of relief.  Rememering our good humor lifts spirits too, its a way to get through, and we shouldn't forget to use it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Artwork Never Lies

Taking time to create my art has a similar benefit to those who indulge in Beverly Hills or NYC style therapy. Although my time spent creating is not comparitively expensive because they pay hundreds per hour to gain "insight" into themselves and I don't have to. When I have time to create I am in the process of discovery too, yet, all I have to do is head toward my paints and choose the colors that I am drawn to at that particular moment.  I don't think about the color wheel. I don't think about a subject. I don't know if the colors I chose will be at the surface of the canvas at the end of the creative process. I just know for sure with some paint, a rag or two and a few embellishments, I create a representation of whatever lies deep within me. The final piece of artwork never lies.

Holding onto Faith

When events in life are concerning I call upon my faith. Faith is built upon, grows stronger, as we come out of these situations because we see that there is always a way to find peace and there is always a resolution. We have no control of outcomes. Yet, for me, focusing upon the fact that no living being has an event that has happened only to them helps me center myself. Death, happens to all, sickness happens to all, and having  unraveling feelings touches all of us at one time or another. Finding a way to help someone cope, praying or thinking positively,  helps me to create calm through chaos. Faith in something more after this life seems intrinsically true. When I am simply worn out I have often pictured laying my head on Jesus' lap and I imagine him stroking my hair, as one would a child who is upset. This brings me to a peaceful, coping place.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do you feel a light breeze, see delicate flowers or smell freshly mown grass? Notice these things and take them inward; absorb their energy. How do you feel?

Pausing to notice our surroundings is a grounding and rejuvinating experience.  There is intricate beauty all around us throughout our days; noticing and appreciating these things will soothe and refocus the mind.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I view appreciation as a high form of love.

My husband will often tell me that he sees all that I do for the people around me. He'll say, " C'mon, no cooking or cleaning or ironing or going anywhere to help anyone for a few hours. I'm taking you to breakfast and then you can call to get your hair done or get a massage; whatever you like." Being shown that I am appreciated and taking the initiative to show me, is just the most loving thing that I can think of. It seems that anyone in a relationship would and should be treated the same considerate way but often this isn't the case.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Neither joy nor pain is lasting. That fact is both the joy and the suffering of life. Yet, once we recognize the impermanence of everything we can experience happiness.

My favorite quote sums up both the fantastic joy and the tormenting pain of life:
Nothing comes to stay; everything comes to pass.  Recognize the impermanence of every single thing and it helps make a happier spiritual existence.

Your home is your sanctuary. Only place things in it for comfort & convenience. Have arrangements of furniture and items in it which bring you comfort & peace. Only allow people over the threshold that wish you well. Be particular about your visitor list.

Be vigilent; people will know you through and through when they see what you surround yourself with; do you want just anyone to be familiar with your passions? I believe it is wise to invite only positive, loving people into my home.

30.) If you’re going through a rough patch Just do the next right thing and get through it

Before you know it the time has passed and you're on to something else which still requires doing the next right thing!

Escape negative thought by creating something. Perhaps you'll choose to bake, sew, paint, or just reorganize a cluttered space. Time spent while undertaking any positive action will cleanse negative energy.

Tackle something you like to do. Get lost in it! Calming and refreshing and positively productive!

Quality, longstanding, relationships are made by reciprocity. Continue to make time and show effort toward those people who do the same for you

I can't count the number of times someone has repeatedly claimed that they are "in love" but the person they are in love with contributes absolutely nothing to the relationship. Instead "the loved" disappoints them and disrespects them. This is not love, love is not one-sided. Unless the person you love shows you actions that prove the too often spoken phrase " I love you, " they do not love you. If it's one-sided move on and improve your spirit.

Unlike emails, the handwritten letter is a beautiful, tangible display of real effort, time and thought usually held on to over long periods of time.

How would you feel if you found a beautiful envelope (that wasn't an invitation) containing a letter written by hand by a friend on lovely paper? Everyone loves to find a letter from a friend in the mailbox--so send one!

Mind your own business; we all have enough to examine in our own lives without meddling in anyone else’s.

Don't gossip, don't hang out with gossips, and don't encourage gossip by asking them to elaborate or adding to what they say or by asking them more questions.

Don’t ever say you’re sorry for anything unless you are absolutely sure you will never be sorry for the same action, which brought you to say you were sorry, again.

Nothing irks me more than having someone apologize for doing the same thing over and over again. If your sorry, truly sorry, you don't repeat the err of your ways; it causes many broken relationships.

22.) Care for your children tenderly and by being a good example, then they will care for their children tenderly and be a good example, and then their children will care for their children tenderly and be a good example…

The wisest advice I had came from my daughters pediatrician. He was an Indian doctor.  I was worried that I wouldn't be a good parent and I asked him what I could do to be a good parent.  He looked at me squarely and took both of my hands in his. He said, " There are only three ways: example, example, example."

When we pass from this life someone else gets our stuff and money; how much more do you need to collect for them? Enjoy it now.

I hate shopping; who needs more stuff? I give my things away quite often hoping the cupboard will be already be bare when I'm waiting to check out.

Spend more time thinking about how you can be a better person (deeds and words) not how you can improve your face or body (make-up and surgery).

These people who run for plastic surgery to help them feel better often find that it works- they sometimes do feel better but did it change them essentially?

You don’t need love or money in the same amounts; you just need enough, not excess.

Simplify your expectations of life; live it where you are. It's good to remember the old adage " Too much of anything isn't any good." Money in excess gives people headaches and being loved to suffocation is no longer loving.

What would Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa do?

Knowing we cannot reach the level of any of these saints or prophets, just try to do the right thing and forgive yourself when you don't.  I often feel frustrated with my dad who has dementia and then I feel horrible that I feel that way---then I remind myself that I am not Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa.

I know a 91 yr. old gentleman and I ask how he is doing; his response is always the same: “I’m upright, and taking nourishment, thanks.” That is a simple, practical, yet grateful response which helps us to reflect upon what is important and not trivial

Live with an attitude of gratitude. If you focus on where you are at each phase of life there is always something to take special notice of.

Don’t worry about wrinkles unless they are on your clothing. The wrinkles on your face indicate a continuing life but the ones on your clothes indicate a lack of caring

Do the best with whatever you have. Look at your self with kind and caring eyes.

Good manners are never out of style. Manners give others feelings of respect, appreciation, and value. Your good manners make others want to be around you, and to continue to do nice things for you, because they are fully considered (Please don’t forget to write thank you notes!).

Think about the last time someone wrote you a note to give special thanks. Remember the last time someone shook your hand and said, " Nice to meet you." Think of the last time someone made a request and prefaced it with a "Please."  Manners enrich the spirit, yours and others.

In a relationship things about ourselves are discovered. For example, being told you interrupt too much is a chance to become introspective and improve that trait so one could become a better listener. Staying by ourselves too much may inhibit our growth potential.

Solitude is healthy; lonliness is dis-ease. Gather around quality people who'll help us grow into people who choose to evolve; over the course of a good relationship or friendship, they will reveal things to us which teach us where we should seek to improve. 

You have an attitude choice for each day: sandpaper or silk?

Abrasive is

 smooth is

What else?

12.) Hold a baby or play with a small child every chance you get. Any moment spent holding a baby and engaging in playfulness with a child erases angst and brings peace.

Oh, to realize the feeling of hope and new beginnings that a baby holds; we see that they are fantastic reminders of our own core being where joy lives and faith in better days exist. Playing with a small child gives us the eyes of a child as we watch them find such happiness in every little thing.

11.) If you focus on staying in the very moment, reading this, right now, for example, be aware of how you are calm living moment by moment.

Find someplace quiet. Sit up with your spine aligned. Breath in and out naturally focusing on only your breath. Let thoughts come but don't dwell on them; let them go as fast as they come. After ten minutes I am reenergized. Help yourself, try it.

10.) Giving time to someone is always a better gift than something we unwrap; relationships strengthen and improve from time put in to them; gifts collect dust, get old, get tossed...

Evident in the closet was her meticulous order, her cleanliness, and her taste and style.  Standing inside, I could smell the light scent of her brand of detergent, and her favorite perfume; Red Door.  All tops and pants hung by hues of color and were placed a certain distance apart.  My stomach turned over several times over a couple of hours when I pushed down the urge to burst out in tears. I clenched her trinkets in my hand and hugged a bathrobe and one of her shirts she often wore; I guess hoping to feel her.  A clips-reel of memories played continuously as I pictured her; remembering the times and places where she wore each piece of her clothing.  I found a stylish, slightly old, softly used pocketbook that was carefully wrapped in tissue; I am left wondering why she felt compelled to take extra care of that one since she had so many others.  Some of her size seven shoes were worn; yet none were worn out.  Many more pairs were never worn at all; to me these were reminders of her long incapacitation.  I am left numb by what we like, care for, hold on to, desire and need in life --and how it is all simply divvied up or discarded when we go.  I'm so happy I helped her while she was here and it made her smile.

9.) Everyone can and should help someone else today. We are only here to learn and help other people.

It made me angrier than I can confess when I suddenly became caregiver for both of my elderly parents. Yet, as time went by, I came back to words I had stated long ago: We are only here to learn and to help other people. Really, what else is there?  Sometimes it is not appreciated but I consider what I do alms for the karma basket and I'm trying to ease the angst of others; while I still can.

8.) Look at the intricacies of a single flower and think about how its color and beauty soothes you in that moment.

Color therapy is used by psychologists and designers to create a mood. When I look at flowers I examine them closely. Each one is as complex as each of us and the delicate nature is as fragile as our breaths.  The colors of nature are healers, get lost in them; it will carry you to a new and refreshing place.

7.) If you see a person who seems troubled or deficient say silent prayers for them [without them ever knowing].

When I see people who look sad or in poor health, etc.  I have often said a silent prayer for them; I hope they will find peace and happiness; isn't that what we all need?

6.) When driving, instead of feeling irritated with the other drivers focus on what they may be suffering from: loss of a loved one, poor health, family problems, financial hardship, etc. and send positive thoughts to them.

Oh, how many times do we yell and shout at people on the road?  I know I have had my share of times but recently I am consciously not engaging in that behavior anymore. I experienced a paradigm shift: I just received a call that my mom died and I had my father in the car with me, her husband of 64 years, and I had just given him the news. We were stopped at a red light and my father was wailing and flailing his arms, I reached over to hold him, to calm him, and the light turned green.  The cars behind me began to honk and looking in the rearview mirror someone shot me the bird for not moving when the light turned.  I wondered if they knew what happened would they have reacted the same way?

5.) Make something delicious and surprise a neighbor with it, you’ll both be happier.(April)

Service to others is a marvelous way to reach outside of ourselves. I find that when I surprise someone with a gift of food the pleasure is multiplied because we are all so fullfilled by a simple gesture.

4.) Change is inevitable, so meditate on this: The beauty of a fallen tree is in being what it never was.

In January I lost my job because my parents became ill. The overwhelming feeling of losing my career less than midstream was nearly unbearable...then I asked what can I become now?  I have discovered my creativity and self worth is truly not from one thing. Through my art, which I have displayed, wopn awrds for and sold I am born again.  I became what I never was and so can anyone else. Change IS good because the doors and wondows open IF we reevaluate what we are.

2.) Whenever you speak, think of yourself as the one who’ll receive your words; if you wouldn’t like them, reconsider speaking. (July)

More often than not, because I am such an unervingly candid person, I say things without thinking about a person's reaction to my words. I am trying to be a better person.  I have a long road of practice ahead--but being conscious of areas that need improvement is the only way to become a better spirit.

1.) Look around. What do you see that is beautiful? Savor it. (July)

 I made a point of looking at the world around me one person, one view of nature and one item at a time.  It is very centering to practice living this way.

Meditation Door-hanger

Meditation Door-hanger

Making handpainted, jewelry

Making handpainted, jewelry
resin pour over all.

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA

State Forest, Pittsfield, MA
Me, standing there, in my meditation image.

Tick tock

Tick tock
"Time flys, catches fire, and sinks." p. malafronte (2010)

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All Art and text entries are the registered works of Pam Malafronte. Do not copy, distribute, or use any text or art on this blog without expressed permission.

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

3 of 10 paintings exhibiting at Starbucks

Peaceful Buddha

Peaceful Buddha
Be compassionate toward yourself

Start a true Rebirth on Earth

Start a true Rebirth on Earth
SOLD 8/13/11

Birds of What Feather?

Birds of What Feather?
Not Available

Time is KING---SOLD

Time is KING---SOLD
Longevity and Joy within

In Kinder Garden

In Kinder Garden
Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge

ClothPaperScissors, My Art for their Readers Challenge