Category Archives: nature

The Tao of the Self — Six

valley_of_flowers_uttaranchal_full_view
The Valley of Flowers, in northern India’s state of Uttarakhand

Be open and empty, like a great valley;
Be receptive of the world like a mother is to her child.
Be open to all things, soak up the rain and the sunshine.
And accept the fog and mist that rolls in sometimes,
If you are always open to life, that spirit will never fail you.

– The Tao of the Self — Six

Meditation Garden — Inspirations

meditation garden from http://www.talesoftheearth.com/

Because of their abilities to heal, sacred landscapes provide inspiration for the design of gardens in therapeutic health-care environments. Gardens designed for contemplation and healing are likely to be most effective and responsive to the needs of its users when the elements of the sacred landscape are applied. The following design elements constitute such a landscape:


Being of favorable context –
it is sited to take advantage of positive attributes,
and mitigate negative effects
receiving auspicious life-forces
given by the earth, sun and moon;
It is contained – a distinctive form in space,
a distinct space surrounded by form;
It is coherent – clearly defined and ordered
to help things make sense;
It is composed – enabling one to pay attention;
It has clarity – made simple in format
to help develop concentration and insight.
It is an artistic expression of contemplation –
quiet and light inside,
enabling one to listen to the heart sing.

Being of favorable context, the sacred landscape is located in an auspicious setting. It mitigates potentially negative effects, and takes advantage of the environmental attributes of its location, gifts offered by the earth, waters and skies, the sun, moon and stars.


“At a true site…there is a touch of magic and light.
How so, magic?
Here the breath gathers and the essence collects.
Light shines in the middle and magic goes out on all sides.
Try to understand!
It is hard to describe!”

So, I’m thinking of turning an available space in my back yard into a meditation garden… anyone have interesting inspirations, ideas for what should go into a meditation garden space, etc? I’m thinking California natives for the plants, and looking for good ideas for seating, lighting, arranging the space, etc… all thoughts, ideas, comments, photos of nice spaces, etc welcome!

Solstice


Winter Solstice, Brigitte Lopez

“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer” — Albert Camus

“Sometimes our fate resembles a fruit tree in winter. Who would think that those branches would turn green again and blossom, but we hope it, we know it.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the
landscape – the loneliness of it – the dead feeling of winter.
Something waits beneath it – the whole story doesn’t show.
– Andrew Wyeth

Of winter’s lifeless world each tree
Now seems a perfect part;
Yet each one holds summer’s secret
Deep down within its heart.
— Charles G. Stater

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”
— Japanese Proverb

“In the summer I have this friend who I am closest to, and sometimes, in the winter, I long to call her up and say, come here and live with me, in this cold place. But we are summer friends. There is a rule it seems, that summer friends don’t get together in the wintertime. Now, sitting here, waiting for her, I realize that I have never seen her in a winter coat, and for some reason that makes me sadder than anything else in the world.” — Jacqueline Woodson

Now the seasons are closing their files
on each of us, the heavy drawers
full of certificates rolling back
into the tree trunks, a few old papers
flocking away. Someone we loved
has fallen from our thoughts,
making a little, glittering splash
like a bicycle pushed by a breeze.
Otherwise, not much has happened;
we fell in love again, finding
that one red feather on the wind.

— Ted Kooser, “Year’s End”

“I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.

‘We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,’
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.”

– Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

Enjoy the lunar eclipse tonight as the Solstice begins, if you are fortunate to have clear skies. We’ll have clouds and rain here, so I’ll miss seeing it tonight.

What lives within us

Thoughts for the day, based on Thoreau and my past blog posts….

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” ~Henry David Thoreau

When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence, that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.”
— Henry David Thoreau

I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” — Henry David Thoreau

To say that a man is your Friend, means commonly no more than this, that he is not your enemy. Most contemplate only what would be the accidental and trifling advantages of Friendship, as that the Friend can assist in time of need by his substance, or his influence, or his counsel. Even the utmost goodwill and harmony and practical kindness are not sufficient for Friendship, for Friends do not live in harmony merely, as some say, but in melody.”
– Henry David Thoreau

If the day and night be such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more immortal –- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.” ~Henry David Thoreau

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” — Henry David Thoreau

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” — Henry David Thoreau

“I would give all the wealth of the world, and all the deeds of all the heroes, for one true vision.” — Henry David Thoreau

“It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.”
–- Henry David Thoreau

“I am tired of frivolous society, in which silence is forever the most natural and the best manners. I would fain walk on the deep waters, but my companions will only walk on shallows and puddles.” — Henry David Thoreau

What lives within you?

Rock and Roll!

A major earthquake occurred at 3:40:40 PM (PDT) on Sunday, April 4, 2010.

The magnitude 7.2 event occurred 26 km (16 miles) SW of Guadalupe Victoria, Baja California, Mexico.

via Recent Earthquakes – Info for event ci14607652.

Nothing to get you living in the moment and aware of nature like an earthquake!

And sadly, the day only got worse and weirder from there — this happened on the next street over from our house… there were sheriffs’ cars all over and two helicopters overhead for hours. Our family was not affected, but we’re very sad for our neighborhood tonight.

Deputies kills Poway gunman suspected in 2 slayings

A Poway man thought to have killed two of his neighbors was shot to death by sheriff’s deputies Sunday night, authorities said.

The identities of the three, who lived on Olive Grove Drive west of Community Road, were not released.

Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Brugos said two sheriff’s deputies responded within 2 minutes to a 6 p.m. call that shots had been fired. They confronted a man with a rifle or a shotgun, and he was fatally wounded at the scene, Brugos said.

Deputies later discovered that the man also was carrying a handgun, Brugos said.

A search of a house in the neighborhood revealed the bodies of a dead man and woman, Brugos said.

Digging Deep: Creativity

A lot of us still think that in order to be creative we need to pen a great piece of fiction, compose a symphony, build a skyscraper or design magical gardens. This isn’t true. Creativity is not restricted to being specifically creative in terms of one area of expertise or talent. The ultimate goal is not to be more creative, but to learn how to live creatively. Simply put, it is much less about what you do with your life; rather, it is how you go about doing it.

Living creatively means approaching each moment as a new opportunity. It’s about exploring, trusting your instincts, and owning and expressing your unique style. It means being true to your needs, experimenting, taking risks, staying flexible, and not always having to rush to conclusion. A person living creatively is always pushing towards new growth, as the psychologist Rollo May says, not without fear, but in spite of it.

via Digging Deep: Creativity.

Blooming

A person with true self-acceptance is “a person with full awareness of self in body, mind and spirit. This person’s center of consciousness (Hsing – “Heart Flower”) is in full bloom, ready to receive power from above, openly relating to and being reflected by others.”

“Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.” — Shigenori Kameoka

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour.” — William Blake

“Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.” — Ikkyu Sojun

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.” — Kent Nerburn

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“If, instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give” — George MacDonald

Loving thoughts to all today… with thoughts of spring coming soon…