Monday, April 28, 2008

The Question Of Love

The question is not whether he loves me enough. The question is whether I am prepared to love him the way he deserves to be loved. The question is whether I have poured enough love into my own heart, my own being to be filled to overflowing. It is the overflow, the more-love-than-I can-possibly-use-for-myself that will create the lake of love for him to swim in.
The question is not whether she loves you enough. The question is whether you have done everything you possibly can to deserve her love. Her love is a gift. Her love is a grail. Her love is the jeweled chalice that receives the purified elixir of the heart in touch with itself. The heart that knows love starts at its own center and ripples outward. The heart that honors itself first, knowing from experience how best to honor another heart with love.
The question is never whether the love without is enough. It is always whether the love within is enough. If it is, if there is love to spare and share and fill the lake, there is no question.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Praise Be

If something or someone is stagnant, if fatigue or inertia or indecision have a hold, if movement is needed for well being and nothing has come to start the flow or end the flow, praise that something or someone. Praise it out loud. Praise her out loud. Praise him out loud. Offer up a hand or a lift by finding something good, anything good, about the circumstances or person in question. Declare that goodness out loud. Declare it like life itself depends on it. Because life itself just might.

Speaking something positive, with sincerity, changes the atmosphere surrounding a stagnant situation. It shines a light in the darkness, eases fears and relaxes a closed heart. If a plant is suffering, tell it how beautiful it is. Kiss it when no one is looking. If a woman is depressed, tell her how much she is needed. Tell her specifically why you love her. If a man is dying, tell him everything you know about his value and his valor and his contributions to the world. Ease him back into life or release him from life with praise.
Everyone and everything is hard-wired to respond to the energy of love. All situations are made better when love is let loose through words of praise, when recognition of value and worth are declared. We all need that caress, that life-affirming hug, of knowing we make a difference. Knowing we matter. To someone or something.

Let's not be stingy with praise. Let's look around, see where the lights are low and offer up spoken words of love. They cost nothing, but their value is priceless. Let's initiate positive flow, let's dare to make each other feel valued, let's light the world with our words.

Be praise and praise be.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Small Is Big

Most days I wish to help make a big difference in the world. A difference in the level of peace. A difference in the level of girls who feel good about their bodies and themselves. A difference in the level of depression swirling throughout the world. A difference that swings the pendulum to the positive. But most days, I don't make a big difference, a big impact, on things that are important to me. Some days, my impact is small. Some days, it doesn't register at all. Some days I have to let the world take care of itself.

If, however, I were to string together all my small efforts and acted-upon intentions, I would see the impact is bigger than I realize. Small and fairly steady efforts add up. Over the coarse of a lifetime, acts of kindness and compassion and help offered create a wake of goodness and positive energy that the world can't help but bathe in. God willing, my life isn't even half over, so let me consider the wake I can create with continued, small efforts in the direction my heart leads.

In a sense, making only one big difference, one star-spangled crowning glory moment in my life would serve the world less than a small, but steady pace of difference-making effort. So let me not be discouraged if I have yet to see the vast field of daffodils that prove my efforts have bloomed. Let me keep planting my singular efforts when the time and energy and muse direct me. A difference will be made at the rate it is supposed to be made. Patience and time and willingness will yield the field of golden blooms, will yield the wake of beauty.

Small efforts matter. Small gestures matter. Small is how big is created.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Prayer Box

Words have power.
Prayers have power.
Invoke the help of the Universe
by placing your written prayers
and requests in the prayer box.
Place the box in a sacred spot
and allow your words to aid and heal.
The prayer box helps bring your prayers to fruition.
And so my little dream of having an online outlet to sell my inspirational art moves forward. My Etsy store is now open: For those of you not yet familiar with Etsy, it is the place to buy and sell all things hand made. Wonderful, beautiful, unusual offerings from artists and craftspeople all over the world. Unlike eBay, it is not an auction format. Prices are set by the artists. My buying experiences on Etsy have been nothing but flawless. It is a pristinely run site. Now, fingers crossed, my selling experiences will be the same.
My quest with this blog has been to offer up hope and love and positive words to any and all who shared a few moments of their time with me. My quest with my art is the same. To offer up hope and love and something positive that can be held in the hands. Because I believe so strongly in the power of the spoken and written word, because I know from experience that prayers and affirmations work, Prayer Boxes are a first, natural, creative melding with my blog.
Each Prayer Box is one-of-a- kind. Some of my own blog posts appear as background layers to my original photographs, altered though they might be. Butterflies are common, as they help give wings to the prayers held in the box. And each box has a small rose quartz heart glued inside. Rose quartz is known at the love stone. It's presence ensures all prayers are infused with the energy of love.
My own prayer box has held my wishes and requests since the first of this year. I have it placed under a lamp so my prayers are lit whenever possible. Already, prayers are being answered. Already, my dreams have more focus.
And so dear Universe, take this offering of hope and love and let it serve the highest possible good for any and all who believe in the sacred power of prayer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Sweet Threshold Of Spring

The transition from winter to spring can sometimes be slow here in Western New York. Bare trees, bare earth, clouds, and a chill in the air that prevents the storage of mittens wears thin. The soul aches for color. But just when limits are reached and the lack of sunshine begins to call in the question of sanity, time tips the scales and sweetness slips in. Tiny blossoms burst through damp earth and reassure the soul monochromatic times are passing. Lavender is arriving. Yellow is arriving. Pink and white and fresh, spring green are arriving.
And so it is with our lives. Just when we think we can handle no more, when the chaos and depression and colorless days have threatened to shut us down, sweetness slips in and carries us over the threshold to a new season. Often the sweetness is small, easily overlooked, barely visible in all the mud. But it comes.
It comes. It comes. It comes. Look to the earth. Look to the sky. Look to the hands and smiles nearby. Spring comes. Outside and inside. It comes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Pause

Every once in awhile, life takes a pause. The ebb and the flow suspend themselves. Clocks stop ticking. Mind chatter stops racing into the future and backpedaling into the past. Anchors are dropped. Shoulders are dropped. Stillness settles at the surface.
There is very little doing and much more being. Decisions are put aside. Obligations are put aside. Issues and events and very important happenings register a flat line on the interest monitor. It is quiet inside the pause. Unriled inside the pause. Passionless and open inside the pause. Observation without judgement is a prime activity. Effortless release is another.
Inside the pause there is light. Not a bright light that shines on anything particular, but a light with soft edges that calms and soothes and echoes the freshness of dawn. A light that assures the safety in stillness and the wisdom in stillness. A light that assures the path remains visible.
If the pause is given its full measure, if fears are quelled and stillness is allowed to ripen, if being becomes the primary activity in doing, balance, strength and clarity of mind are the succulent fruits of the harvest.

Monday, April 07, 2008

3 Cups Of Tea

Simply put, this is the most important book of our times. Read it. Absorb its message. Pass it on. This is the story of an American man, Greg Mortenson, who, since the early 1990's, has selflessly worked to build 55 schools in the remotest parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. His schools promote education and literacy, especially for girls, in an area of the world that has been an easy target for the brainwashing tactics of militant extremists. The key to dowsing the flames of terrorism is the education of children. The key to promoting peace on a world wide scale is the education of girls.
If we Americans are to effectively decrease our own angst and feelings of insecurity on the world stage, fighting terrorism from a military standpoint is not the final answer. As Greg Mortenson demonstrates with his blood, sweat and tears, the most effective means to ensure our security is to build relationships with other cultures and offer up the death of ignorance through education.
One student at a time, one school at a time, one consistently paid teacher at a time, the world will enlighten itself. Stop watching the flame-fanning news and read Three Cups Of Tea. It will give you hope. It will give you answers. It will give you ways to contribute and make a difference in the quest for world peace.
Not 5 minutes after finishing the book, I went to the 3 Cups of Tea website, , and made the largest single donation I have ever felt compelled to make. This was the comment I made that went along with my contribution:
"Just this moment, I finished your book. My face is still wet from tears of joy and gratitude. The empowerment of girls and women as the key to world peace is uppermost in my heart. Please use what little I can offer today in the best manner for the highest possible good.
Blessings and continued protection in this most important mission, Graciel of Buffalo, NY."
Let's reduce our own ignorance and learn about other cultures and their needs. Let's follow the example of one extraordinary man in any way we can. Singular help matters. Singular efforts count. Singular efforts multiplied will change the world.
Three Cups Of Tea: Read it. Absorb it. Pass it on.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Ancient Wisdom

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection.”

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Student Again

The older I get, the less I know. The less I am sure of. The less I understand. I used to know everything, or darn close to it. But here in the outer fringes of my early forties, I am forced to rethink the known world. And admit that it will take more than my sparse lifetime to know even the smallest of important things.
The more open my mind becomes, the more fears I conquer, the more there is to understand. The more that gets revealed in the crystal clear light of day. The more I see the world is too complex to fathom.
So let me be a student again. Let me approach people and things and circumstances with freshness and openness and a willingness to learn. Instead of thinking I have any answers. Instead of presuming or stereotyping or seeing only 2 of 4 sides.
Let me learn about love. Let me learn about joy. Let me learn of the value of service to others. Let me remember wonder. And surprise. And the yelping laughter from tickle-fights. Let me know nothing to experience everything.