Category Archives: Words

On Longing

long·ing [lawng-ing, long-]
1. strong, persistent desire or craving, especially for something unattainable or distant: filled with longing for home.

This, my time of longing
This, my time of growth
This, my time of expanse and insight
This, my time of connection
with truth of me and why

This, my time of longing
This, my time of freedom
repreave from fear and doubt
This is my time of Spirit moving
unburdened by distraction within, without

Breathe deep this time of longing
Feel full this expanse of time
Live complete this moment of ache and solace
Exist whole in every and each universe
Anchor firm the allness and isness of now

Abandon absolute
one moment of now, and now, and now

This, my foundation
This, my root
This, my ground

From this ground, expanse
From this moment, eternity
From this longing, fulfillment

This, my time of longing

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Lonely petunia – A case for action

ac·tion

/ˈækʃən/ [ak-shuh n] –noun

1. the process or state of acting or of being active: The machine is not in action now.
2. something done or performed; act; deed.

Origin:
1300–50;  < L āctiōn-  (s. of āctiō ), equiv. to āct ( us ) (ptp.; see act) + -iōn- -ion;  r. ME accioun  < AF < L

Action only happens in the now. Taking action (really doing something) and thinking about taking action (good intentions, plans, goals all that) are two very different things. The future created by action, is very different from the future of intending to take action. I was just recently reminded of this fact.

“Action is eloquence.” – William Shakespeare

Lonely PetuniaA few days ago on my walk with Chloe, I saw this lovely little flower. It was lonely pink petunia, all by itself in a neglected, untended dirt side yard. I saw it and loved it instantly. It wasn’t cared for or fertilized. It wasn’t planted. It wasn’t a part of well-thought-out flower bed. It was just this lovely little flower. All alone. Surrounded by nothing by but tan, dry dirt, displaying its cheery self to an indifferent world. “Awwww, how sweet…a lonely petunia.” And then I loved not only the flower, but the phrase – lonely petunia.

I wanted a picture of it, but didn’t have my camera. No worries, I’ll come back by and get it on the next walk. That was a week ago or more. I walked past, again without my camera, three or four times. Each time thinking “It looks healthy, not like the bloom will fade anytime soon – I’ll get it next time.”

Then a couple mornings later over coffee, I thought again of my lonely petunia. Its image and phrase had kept coming back to me. Time to finally go get that picture. Now. No more waiting. Note: This was August. Summer in Seattle, and it was raining. Really raining. Not just sprinkles raining. Gray, cold, windy, reminding-you-of-November raining. But I was determined not to wait any longer to get that picture of my lonely petunia.

On with the Gortex and rain boots, remember the camera, and down the street I go. Just a few short blocks. I’m wet already. Here we are – only….you guessed it…My lonely petunia is gone. Someone or something has plucked it. It was just gone. Done. No more lonely petunia. In my procrastination I had missed it and all that it represented.

It was still raining and raining hard, and I stood there. Stood there looking at the empty dirt all around, and the bare green petunia plant and just stared. I stood there and stared for a long time. How long? Long enough to feel sad. Long enough to feel disappointed in myself. Long enough to wonder – How silly must I look standing in the rain looking at a bare petunia plant? Long enough to know that somehow the plucked petunia had a lesson for me, and that I was determined to stand there long enough to learn it.

Men are what they are because their characters, but it is in action that they find happiness or the reverse.” –Aristotle

I started to see, it wasn’t a picture of a flower that I had missed. What I had missed was a moment of now. I had missed a precious, creative moment of taking action, moving with and toward something that had inexplicably and insistently called to me – for no other reason than that it had called. I had been called by something. I heard it, but instead of acting, I waited. And because I waited, I would never get to see where that calling would have led, or what it had to show me.

I stood there long enough to realize that this wasn’t the first time, and probably wouldn’t be the last. I stood there long enough to realize that even though I didn’t have the picture of my lonely petunia, its image and lesson would to stay with me. Reminding me to move, to take action without waiting into the next moment of now.

What about you?

  • Are you in danger of finding a plucked petunia?
  • What action is calling you now?

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P stands for Puppy = Present

Truth be told, I almost always think I should be doing something other than what I am doing.

If I am working, I should be outdoors playing. If I am outdoors playing, I should be paying bills. If I am paying bills, I should be saving more money. If I am saving money, I should be giving more to charity. If I am giving to charity, I should be cutting my expenses. If I am cutting my expenses, I should be figuring out how to make more money.

If I am reading, I should be writing. If I am writing, I should have started writing earlier. If I am watching TV, I should be doing almost anything else. If I am eating, I should be eating less. If I am exercising, I should be exercising more. If I’m blogging, I should have had a better concept before I started the blog, or I should be improving the design,or doing less or more online social networking.

Well, you get the idea.

Living in the now…later

I am just not naturally a very ‘present’ person. I know it’s hip, enlightened, smart and even healthy to be present.  Popular thought asserts that being present is the key to happiness and contentment in life – and who doesn’t want that? In fact, there is a whole industry created for the sole purpose of teaching you how to live in the now. Even so, I’m still mostly always thinking I should be somewhere else, doing something other that what I am.

Many times, it seems like the only way for me to turn off the “I should be somewhere else/be doing something else” noise in my brain is to go semi-conscious. So I take to watching TV, reading trashy novels, or aimlessly web surfing.

Often, when I go to ‘practice being present’, the unfiltered, unedited, unflattering truth is – I find I’m just too damned lazy. It’s much easier to numb out and kid myself that ‘later’ I’ll be in a better mood, have more energy, and really feel like being present. Yes, that right – I procrastinate being present.

Puppy, stage right

Enter Chloe. (I hope you will bear with me. It seems clear you will be hearing a lot about my new puppy. As the newest addition to my life, she is foremost in my mind, and at least for now, everything seems to relate back to her.)

Bringing home a 6 month old puppy has forced me to wake up and be present in my life in a way that’s a shock to my ‘I-only-have-myself-and-one-annoying,-yet-entertaining-and-lovable-cat-to-worry-about’ life.
Suddenly, the noise in my head has switched from “I should be doing X instead of Y” to “Where’s the puppy?” “What’s she doing?” “Does she have to go potty?” “Ooops, did she go potty in the house? Hope I find it quick.” “Do I need to take her for a walk again already?” “Is she eating? Does she like her food? Maybe I need to get another kind?”

The necessity of being hyper-vigilant to her every move has woken me up to other things, like going for a walk. “Wow, look at those blackberries, they’re ripe. Oh, yum. They’re rain rinsed, and then warm from the sun. Nice.” And, “Wow, look, I have another new pet. Walter, my front door spider. He’s a very hard worker. And patient, too.” and “Look, Chloe – a dandelion.”

Now, instead of numbing my mind with the constant, steady stream of other people’s thoughts and insights, I’m noticing my own. And instead of watching prepackaged life in 42 minute segments on a box, I’m looking at and living the small details of the larger world, both inside and outside my door.

There are lots of ways to practice being present. A zillion books to buy, a hundred workshops you could take. For me, a mostly lazy gal, I am happy to find that P for puppy = being present.

What about you?

  • What do you do to be un-present?
  • What brings you back to now?

Explore further

  • This guy – Eckhart Tolle knows a lot about being present – he’s kinda famous for it, I guess.
  • So is this guy. Seen him in pictures with lots of other famous people. I hear he’s the real ‘being present’ expert.
  • If you want to go the lazy-gals route to being present, you could get your own puppy here.

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52 things I know about words (and you should too): #2 Words Create Experience

Recently I lived two entirely different weekends in the same 48 hours.

Weekend one – The I did weekend

  • I connected with friends
  • I re-read a favorite book
  • I listened to the rain on my roof
  • I had a great coaching session with my personal trainer setting fitness goals and strategies
  • I went for a wonderful West Seattle walk with my new puppy Chloe.
  • I picked & ate some fresh blackberries
  • I had fish & chips outdoors with a wonderful view of downtown, and the nice lady at the restaurant give me a free glass of wine just because I was short on cash in my pocket
  • I wrote and posted a new blog post – an accomplishment weeks in the waiting
  • I bonded and did some training with Chloe
  • I did some much needed shopping

Weekend two – The I didn’t weekend

Continue reading

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5.5 lessons from a shy, scruffy, perfect pup about the power of words

This little scruff of fluff is my new BFF, Chloe. And, the story of how I got her taught me a lot (again) about the creative, god-like power of words.

Cliff notes version

No more than a week ago at lunch with co-workers they all talked about their dogs, and at the end I said in a very definitive voice,  “That’s it – I’m getting a dog!”  I’d been wanting a dog for several years, but for various reasons the time had never been right. But now, something in the conversation had moved me to step out and say it with conviction like I meant it. That declaration started a whirlwind series of events, that led to Chloe’s adoption exactly 7 days later.

“Really, what kind?” my co-workers asked.

“Well, I want a puppy. Female. Easy to train. I want a small dog that will be good company and a playmate for Sparky (my somewhat annoying, yet entertaining and lovable cat). Pretty sure I want a Havanese (non-shedding, non-allergenic, non-yappy). I want her to be black or have a lot of black. Preferably a rescue dog. For sure I don’t want to spend a fortune.” Continue reading

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52 things I know about words (and you should too): #1 Words are Absurd

I remember the beginning of my life long love affair with words. I must have been 8. Second grade. My (tiny) family (just me, mom & dad) had just moved from Eugene, Oregon to the shores of Puget Sound in the rural outskirts of Olympia, Washington. My father had accepted a job with Simpson Timber Company in nearby Shelton.

I was in my new room, in our new home. Laying in bed, the unfamiliar sounds of the tide lapping the shore outside my window. Wide awake. Too excited and unsettled to sleep. A new home, new town, tomorrow a new school and making new friends, my dad’s new job at Simpson Timber Company. I was busy trying to make sense of it all.

My mind was racing. Searching. Trying to find connections between what I had known, and what was to come. Simpson Timber Company. What was that? What is a timber company, any way? There had been some explanation about the forest and trees and how lumberjacks cut trees for the wood that made houses. And that timber companies were somehow part of that whole process.

But really, Simpson Timber Company? What did it mean? What would it mean for me? The questions just kept swirling around in my head and did not, would not stop. So I started to say the words over and over – Simpson Timber Company – and wondered. Believing perhaps that repeating the words would yield some insight into the mystery of my new life.

Simpson Timber Company. Simpson Timber Company. I said it fast. simpsontimbercompany I said it really slow. S i m p s o n T i m b e r C o m p a n y. Tim ber Com pan y. Tim ber.

I said it with feeling, like they do in the woods. Tiiiiiiiiiiiim Berrrrrrrr! I kept saying it. I let the vibration of the sounds roll around in my body. I savored the feel and the texture of the words in my mouth.

I said it in little mousey, squeeky voices ‘timber, timber’. I said it in big, booming, commanding man voices TI M BER! TI M BER! TI M BER!

Eventually, the silly sounds of the words deconstructed just started me giggling. What an absurd and funny-sounding word. Timber. Say it ten times in ten different ways, and you will see what I mean. Try it. I dare you. I’ll wait. Tiiiiiimmmmmmberrrrrrr! Continue reading

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Annoyance diet – a move toward feasting on gratitude

grat·i·tude

/ˈgrætɪˌtud, -ˌtyud/ –  noun
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.

Origin:

1400–50; late ME < ML grātitūdin- (s. of grātitūdō) thankfulness, equiv. to grāt(us) pleasing


Gratitude is all the rage these days. You can hardly fire up your computer, turn on the TV, or browse a best-selling self-help book without hearing about the benefits of being grateful, and living from an attitude of gratitude.
There are books about it, websites and social networking sites devoted solely to expounding on it, there are suggested prayers, affirmations and incantations designed to amplify it. We are supposed to cultivate it, nurture it, have a journal for it, and always have an attitude of it. And, that sounds good like good stuff. It really does. So I am not putting down gratitude at all. Far from it – I do my best to practice it. I am grateful, and blessed. I live an abundant life, with abundant resources, in an abundant country, in an abundant world where, paradoxically, so many have so little.

But sometimes when I am writing in my gratitude journal about being thankful for my annoying but entertaining cat, and being blessed with pretty feet (hey, I have to come up with at least five things per day, and after a few weeks, fresh ideas are running thin) it does sometimes seem a little contrived. But the other day, I stumbled across a practice which has moved me from being a bemused cynic about gratitude, to being a whole-hearted, sincere champion of the cause.

The world of annoyance Continue reading

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