Who would you pick to join you if you could pick anyone? Something to ponder….What do you think you would like to talk about? Hmm…while enjoying the view of course.
Thanksgiving is coming… so the other day before I began an art lesson, I asked some young students in a kindergarten class to name things they were thankful for. Here were some of their responses: my mom, my dad, my baby sister, myself, my house, flowers, my dog, roller coasters, watermelon, macaroni & cheese, ambulances, fire trucks, bunk beds, trees, my friends, ipads, my bicycle, baseball, pandas, dolphins, airplanes, the sun, the world.
What are you thankful for? What comes quickly to your mind?
I will start. I am thankful for…
my children, extended family, grandbabies, friends, family, students I’ve known, my cats, divine guidance, feeling healthy, my laptop, a roof over my head, my artistic skills that bring me such enjoyment, people I’ve met who helped me to be more spiritually aware, my busy hands, my book project, creative inspirations, pink roses, having nutritious food to eat, all kinds of trees (especially mighty oaks), sunrises, kind people I meet, funny movies (like What About Bob? and Money Pit :D), being optimistic, living near an ocean, living in California, national parks, birds of all kinds, having lived in Mt Shasta, all my road trips ( I love to drive), healing from health issues, my small feet that get me where I need to go, swimming with a dolphin in Hawaii, beautiful art, my education, always being near children and hearing their laughter, growing up in New England, my “former” life in CT, found pennies, the gift of song, believing in miracles as something ordinary, angels, golden opportunities, strawberries, libraries, happy dreams… this zany, wonderful life that’s getting more and more interesting….
OK, that is how I began.
Start your own thankful list and see what shows up. :)
Enjoy the holiday with loved ones. Blessings!
I was intrigued by her presence when we met for the first time at a neighbor’s picnic. During our chat, I learned she was a former teacher on the east coast. She had come to California sixteen years earlier by herself (“single” after being married a few times), to have the experience of living somewhere new. I was impressed with her intelligence, vitality, and most of all… passion for life. Reading, learning new things, and also politics have been her lifelong interests. She was involved in the Feminist movement years ago…and today committed to several “causes.” We enjoyed a lively conversation punctuated by her spontaneous remarks about how colorful and delicious the food tasted, or how beautiful the light was shining on flowers in the garden…
The fascinating fact is that “Fran” is ninety-six years “young”! She attributes her youthful energy to yoga every morning, an active social life, and… sex. YES, she has a man friend who is going to be one hundred shortly. (And, he recently passed his test at DMV to have his license renewed til he is one hundred and five!) I would like to meet him also. What an interesting pair! :D!
I took Fran out to dinner a few nights ago. It was primarily to get to know her a bit better. It happily evolved into a small belated birthday celebration with a few close friends who live in town joining in. And… who was the most stimulating conversationalist? Fran. “I really hope I live many more years,” she commented. “There is so much I still want to learn.” :)
Wow! The hope of most teachers is to instill a passion for learning in their students. Perhaps that is a key to her ability to savor life—retaining that curiosity, excitement, and being engaged with life on all levels. What an honor to meet her just as I embark on “writing” the next chapter of my own life. I look forward to spending more time with this wise woman—a source of inspiration!
l’chaim (to life!)
It is Autumn again…my how time moves on. It is my favorite time of year, however. I miss being on the east coast during October though. I spent many years looking forward to seeing the maple trees display their colors. Of course, playing in the piles of raked leaves was always fun as a child, and with my own children when they were younger. I took this photo in Sonoma, California where I was visiting in August. Some leaves were starting to turn already— this tree is related to the maples we have back east. So pretty.
I titled this piece Hanging On because I have been in that mode lately. We all have those days when life can seem very overwhelming. For me, last week I was feeling overwhelmed and anxious a couple of days about concerns over how I would pay for dental procedures, pay for the final stages of my book— proofreading and layout, etc, pay for doctor visits for my three feline friends… I have been working extremely hard… especially on my book and teaching five days, definitely need a vacation from my “problems.” (I look forward to my daughter visiting in a few weeks. We might go to a mineral spring for my birthday. yay!) Do you remember that line in one of my favorite movies? Dr. Leon Martin tells Bill Murray’s character in What About Bob to “take a vacation from your problems.” Ha!
“This too shall pass,” is another mantra I tell myself when “Hang on” doesn’t work fast enough. Things feel easier too, when one has had a good night sleep. I am like a little leaf though, just “hanging on” because I know that somehow the money I need will come through. I actually thought of a creative way to bring in the abundance that would ease my financial challenge, but I am still ruminating about this “campaign” idea of mine.
And, perhaps “hanging on” is not the best strategy. I could choose to just let go and allow Spirit to gift me with the next step.
This reminds me of a wise story. It goes like this. A man falls off a cliff, but is lucky to grab onto a branch on the way down. As he clings desperately to the branch which can’t possibly hold him much longer he calls out, “Help! Is anyone up there?” A voice answers saying it is God. The man asks God for help, and God tells the man to just let go and he will be fine. The man feels reluctant to do such a thing so instead responds by asking, “is there anyone else up there?” :D!
May joyful blessings “Fall” into your laps this season and always!
I find solace in nature. I also find inspiration and feel rejuvenated when I spend time in a natural setting. I am so grateful to be living in such a beautiful area of the United States—northern California. I don’t need to drive far to be surrounded by wildness. I used to live in the north bay of Siskiyou county where magnificent redwoods and sequoia’s stand powerfully, as they have been for hundreds of years. Presently, I am in the east bay; but within driving distance to the beach or to a pine forest up in the hills that border Oakland.
Recently, I spent some time in Sonoma/Napa area…also known as “wine country.” I just love hiking in the woods there, and feel so serene just taking in the scenery of the rolling landscape and acres of grape orchards. It is where I would like to live soon. Just walking amidst trees, flowers, and greenery creates a cleansing energy exchange with one’s breath. I am making it a point to be sure I allow myself to connect with nature every week to receive the free health benefits. It can be either in a “wild” place, a park, a walk besides the ocean, or wherever I can just commune with “life.”
We are bombarded constantly from when we rise in the morning with noise, other people’s energies and attitudes, pollution, work schedules,”to do”" lists, and world news. Our bodies and minds need a break from these manmade stressors. Nature is there for us, giving us a small “vacate- tion” from it all.
Breathe in, Breathe out…ahhh!
I was happy to see that my blog was still intact and that my readers had not abandoned me…I know it has been actually a couple of months since I last posted. I will explain. I have been working fervently on a book project that is after a few years of intense dedication…soon to be birthed. Someone once told me that writing a book is like launching a ship… I get that, although I usually succumb to sea sickness on boats. This book, which I see as a tool to help revolutionize education for “our” children has been a definite journey- complete with gloriously large waves and calm water. All in all, a passionate project that required me to make peace with the Internet, my “old” laptop, and three felines who insist on lying near a warm computer for naps….
I call this post New Blossom because just last week an amaryllis flower blossomed off a huge stalk that emerged from a pot outside my door. My landlord and I were dumfounded because neither of us had seen anything like it before in the yard, nor had we “planted” it. It is a beautiful pink color that has just about reached its peak now. Here for just a while just doing what comes naturally…and then it will be gone.
So, that blossom got me contemplating about how effortlessly it exists, bringing forth such beauty SO easily. It makes me think about how we humans are always trying to figure out what we are supposed to be doing, and pushing ourselves to be successful, attractive, and be noticed. Besides my landlord I can think of only two other people who witnessed this flower’s debut. (Well…many more than that now that I am posting a pic)…but the point is we can learn such valuable lessons from nature. Like the “lilies of the field that do not toil”…, this beauty just allowed itself to be and the energy of that loveliness will linger after its passing.
If you haven’t noticed I changed my name on this blog. It felt like the natural step to take as I birth my book and move on to a new chapter in my life. For me, changing my name helps me to ground into a new identity on my path, and also technical reasons. My birth name is Lissa, but although beautiful and somewhat unique- it has been a stickler in public situations with people wanting to pronounce or introduce me as “Lisa,” even after coaching that it is pronounced “Lissa” like in Melissa. I have made the choice to use the name Melissa to avoid confusion and explaining…but all who know me well…. aka “Lissa” is still fine…
P.S. The contemporary meaning of the amaryllis is that it symbolizes pride, determination, and radiant beauty that emanates from an inner source and flowers outward…nice!