Saturday, January 21, 2017

Invictus

In light of the Circus yesterday (in D.C.), I waited until today to give meself a minute to process. Truth be told, I did NOT participate. Not in any way. No TV. No social media. No involvement of any kind.

Why?

Because, my friends, as I've said over and over and over again: Joy is a CHOICE.

Yesterday I chose Joy.

Here's the thing: I knew that watching the inauguration would cause my stomach to heave and my heart to ache. I knew that no matter what, there wasn't a single thing I could DO to change the fact that a new president would be taking office, regardless of my opinions, preferences, emotional distress. SO, rather than participate in all that, I chose, instead, to lavish myself with all things JOYFUL.

It was an intensely stormy day here. HUGE wind and rain and cold and wildness. I love that kinda day. I began with an hour of study. Next, I spoke to a dear friend about the many blessings in our lives. Did some yoga. Had a long, hot shower. Took my darlin' Sophie to the nearest strip mall where we could walk without getting soaked. {She is not a fan of walking in the rain.} Once home, I poured a lovely glass of wine, fired up the fireplace AND the oven, and set about the happy task of making some oh-so-yummy Double Chocolate Banana Bread.

{YUMMMMM!}



Oh yea.

Whilst the bread was baking, filling our humble abode with its fabulous aroma, we sat on the bed and watched the storm. The wind was howling so loudly it drowned out the music I had playing. Sophie was still shivering, both from being a bit damp and from her fear of storms, so I wrapped her in a blanket and cuddled her until she settled down. I had candles at the ready in case the power blew, and felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this place we call Home. In all, I spent the entire day in my happy, loving space, with nary a care in the world.

The Circus would go on, with or without me. And THAT, for me, is A-OK. I write these words now for a couple of reasons. First...I do believe in active participation, whatever that means to you. I believe that we ALL make a difference. I believe that in order for there to be GOOD in this world, we must do our part. There is a saying: "All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." This strikes a chord for me. {I hope it does for you too.}

Secondly, there are many ways for us to participate. What matters is that we DO. Whether it is marching for the rights of HUMANS, or getting in the faces of those in office, writing to share good messages, or lighting a candle and saying a prayer. All these things matter BECAUSE of the energy required to do them. Energy is energy. Regardless of how small and insignificant it may seem, what goes OUT will come back 'round. So...

You can participate without leaving your Joy behind.
You can focus your intentions to good end.
You can make a difference, even if you are but one person (aren't we ALL?).

OR...

You can choose to ignore it all and let someone else do the work.
Just remember: There is power in numbers.
We DO have the power to change what needs changing.

It is, as always, a matter of CHOICE.




Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Little Reminder...

Not sure when I wrote about this first go 'round, but it doesn't really matter. I feel the urge to remind you AND meself about the words we choose to use. It seems to be coming up a lot lately; folks who say things like "Man, I'm old!" or "I am so tired." or "I am sick of...." What they may not realize is that whatever follows "I am..." is precisely what is becoming. It is a non-stop ticket to THAT. Whatever "that" may be.

This isn't just some fuufuu nonsense I'm talking here. Words are sound. Sound is energy. Energy is circular. These are facts, not LaLa bullshit. The saying "what goes 'round comes 'round" is pretty much the same as what some folks like to call Karma. Whatever you put out, comes back. I've been known to call it the The Boomerang Effect.

I know these things to be true (for me) because I have experimented with them, over and over and over again. AND, just because you don't believe it, does not make it false. Belief certainly makes a thing more powerful, but not believing doesn't make it not so.

The point here is this: YOUR WORDS ARE YOUR WAND. You don't have to believe me. You can do your own little experiments. You can focus on what you're saying and see if those words don't bring a "thing" to manifest. Haven't you ever noticed when you get all excited about something and then, in short order, that something starts showing up all over the place? You start looking for that "thing". You're excited (energy). You're talking about it incessantly (more energy). You can't stop thinking about it (even more energy). Pretty soon..."it" shows up.

You say something like, "It was pure magick!"

You are absolutely correct.

So I'll say it again:

Your. Words. Are. Your. Wand.

If you want to BE old, keep saying it aloud.

I am old.

If you wish to be well, say that.

I am well.

It won't be long before your body agrees.

If you think it doesn't matter, that, too, is your choice.

Just because you don't believe it does not mean it isn't true.

Your words are your wand.
Choose them wisely (AND KINDLY!)

The End.




Friday, January 13, 2017

EnJOYOGA ~

At the turn of the calendar year, I made a couple of promises to meself for 2017. Not one to make "New Year's Resolutions", I prefer to envision doing some things I've not yet done. Like go to The Grand Canyon. And..YOGA.

I have a sister who happens to teach Yoga at the local YMCA, and she's been kind enough to have me over (to her home) for a lesson. It was an hour long, and it was a large challenge for me. Mostly because of the way my body is currently demanding my attention. I don't need to lose weight (don't judge me!) and I have no desire to sculpt my physique as I once did. My Gym Rat days are over. I bid them farewell a decade ago, but not without a fuss. It wasn't really a choice so much as it was about me heeding my body's message:

TIME. FOR. CHANGE.

And so, after her private class I decided I needed to find something a bit more gentle. Not that she was forcing me to do poses I couldn't. Quite the opposite. She repeatedly reminded me to "ask" and then listen to what my body would agree to. It was both beautiful and frustrating. I never forgot the feelings, though, after it was over. I felt so energized. I felt energy actually moving through me. I felt a profound sense of gratitude. I knew that I needed to do more of this. I also knew it was about finding the proper regimen for my particular set of circumstances.

So, I went to a class at our local library. It was NOT to my liking. For so many reasons. For the sake of brevity (here), suffice to say that the instructor and the energy in that room were not what I was looking for. I left the class with even more determination.

I will find the right-for-me teacher.

I had already done some major perusing on YouTube. You can find videos on anything there. And so I did. I found this woman, who goes only by "Candace", who struck a chord. She has a vast collection of videos on many types of Yoga, from the beginner to the highly-practiced. I was looking for something that would allow me to actually do the entire regimen without feeling like I'd failed. I wanted gentle movements, not ones that would pain me to try. I also knew the voice of the instructor mattered. It's a thing for me. I'm a singer by nature, so voices do matter. A LOT. When I heard Candace's voice in that first video, I knew I'd found the one.

BINGO! is what I heard.

Now, a little more than a week later, I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am to have found her. I'm listening to her wise guidance (about pain) and her gentle way of working through the routines. I'm excited to do them. I feel fantastic! And...it's definitely changing the way I move throughout my day. In all, it's MAGICK! So, I thought I'd share her YouTube channel with you. Just in case you have the urge to do something you've never done. OR to do something a little differently. OR...just because.

Regardless of your current situation or physical circumstance, I do believe she's worth a few moments of your time. If it's not your thang, you might like to share with your own friends/loved ones if they're looking for some inspiration. Either way, I thought it worth the time to tell you.

As always, Joy is a CHOICE.
So is Yoga.

Cheers!

Yoga by Candace

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

back to the beginning...

Every now and then I like to go back to the beginning. Back to when I first began this Blog; to see what I wrote and where I was. It is a way of realizing my changes. Also, it allows me a better view of not only my world, but how my perceptions of the world have changed (or not). It is both amusing and, sometimes, disturbing. Mostly, though, I don't get far with the readings. Because, as happened today, I find something that so moves me, I cannot help but share it again.

Before I do, though, a few other things:

I had not realized that I began this Blog more than EIGHT YEARS ago. Although I've had occasional lapses, the fact that I've stuck to it for that long is both shocking and delightful. See...I've long thought that I am "not very good" at stick-to-it-iveness. I tend to get all excited about a thing, immerse myself for however long I happen to stay excited, and then move on. I'm told this is very much an Aries thang. I don't know about all that, but I do know that it's something that can be annoying (to me). I have long wished I could be more consistent. More enduring. More devoted.

Turns out, I am. In many ways. Short of telling you all that, I'll just say this:  they're only "flaws" if I see them as such. Someone recently offered up a little pearl that struck me to my core. She said, "If you look at those things you have stuck with for what you consider "a long time", you will see that those are the things that make you happiest. All those other things, the ones you see for your 'inconsistency', those were just things you had to taste before you got the full flavor of who you are."

If that isn't a pearl, I don't know what is.

So then...here is the link to the post that stopped me. In essence, it is exactly the kind of thing I love most about who I am. And, near as I can tell, cherishing one's Self is about as essential as food, sleep, water...and my dog.

Carving Away the Not  (just click on the title...)



{it's kinda hard to see, but "Camille" is carved just above my thumb}

CHEERS!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Toodle-ooooo!

I've spent the majority of the past week watching football. Yep. 'Tis true. My favorite week of the year is that between December 25th and January 1st. More football in those seven days than the previous month. And I do love me some football.

What has this to do with the last day of the year?

Well, let's just say that having read every post on this blog from the past SEVEN New Year's Eve posts, I thought it might be a good time to change things up a bit.

I'm kinda cool on change these days.

That hasn't always been the case.

Wasn't too long ago that I was mighty big on avoiding change. In any form. Change is a thing most humans avoid like the flu. Or lima beans. Or stinky sneakers. Most folks just don't like change. Mostly, I think, because change means one must stretch in ways that may not seem doable. Else, it's fear of the unknown. Or maybe some unconscious dab of laziness. Whatever the reason, I have found that change is not something most folks are big on.

Seems kinda weird to me.
But then...who am I to say?

I used to be a Human who tackled change like a kid with a brandy new two-wheeler without the training wheels. Fearlessly. With nary a thought of failure. BRING IT ON.  Somewhere along the way though, I, too, began to resist change. I wanted things to feel "safe". I wanted all the people I loved to be here forever. I wanted to stay where I was and not have to think about what was coming. How that happened is a ginormous mystery to me. One thing is certain, though.

I do not like this aversion to change.

It seems to me that Life without change is about as safe as a driving a big rig on an icy road with slick tires. Life IS change. Being scared of change seems counter-intuitive somehow. So when I got wind of my own aversions I immediately set to changing that too. I made a conscious choice to embrace change. To welcome it with open arms. To be giddy with anticipation instead of dread. And while it hasn't always been an easy road, it's certainly more fun. Which leads me back 'round to the point of this New Year missive:

A new year implies new beginnings. A new start. Another chance to reset and get focused on those things that matter most. A way for us to redefine our Life's purpose and/or tune it up so that it might run a bit more efficiently. Which is likely why so many people make resolutions. Lose weight. Work out. Stop smoking. Find a new job. You know the drill. And if that works for you, that's terrific. I've never found any semblance of success with those methods, so I simply stopped. I opt for a more broad perspective. Like....

Just for TODAY, I will be kind. I will look for something new to learn. I will make time for a walk with my dog. I will nourish my body with foods I enjoy and nourish my soul with songs of gratitude. When I approach the "new year" in this way, I find far more success. I live the moments of my days with more gusto. Because, when it's all said and done, LIFE is always lived one moment at a time. If we can live it in Joy and Gratitude, all the rest will take care of itself.

Or so I've heard.

Happy New Year.
I hope you live this one with wild abandon.

CHEERS!


Friday, December 23, 2016

The Standing People

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“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone.

In their highest boughs, the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts. They preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

When we are stricken and cannot bear out lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy. Life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you and your thoughts will grow silent.

You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the Mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is a birth, every grave is Mother.

So the trees rustle in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts. Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them.

But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts, achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

~ ~ Hermann Hesse ~ ~

Solitude & nature:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wishing You a Very ....

Merry Winter Solstice.

Happy Hanukkah.

Happy Festivus.

Happy Kwanza.

Pure Day of the Innocents.

Stellar St. Stevens Day.

Yummy National Syrup Day.

Sweet National Cotton Candy Day.

Stealthy Day of the Ninja.

Oh...and let us not forget..
Scrumptious National Cookie Day.

Did I miss any?

The list may not be all-inclusive, but it does lead me to the topic for today's meandering:

"POLITICAL CORRECTNESS"
{don't worry. I haven't lost my mind. take a breath. okay. ready?}

I am not a Christian. Although I was raised in the Catholic church, I realized the inconsistencies of that particular mythology long ago. Having spent decades researching both "religion" and "science", I've made my choices based on what feels like truth. To me. That being said, I don't believe that the man called Jesus of Nazareth was born anywhere near December 25th. There's far too much evidence to the contrary. But that's not the point.

The point is: Who cares? If people want to honor that beautiful man on December 25th, so what? What's the harm in Christians spreading their mythological cheer? Who is being harmed in the process? Is this some kind of life or death situation?

I say it's high time everybody get over the whole stupid mess of taking offense when somebody says Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanza (which, for the record, is also a made-up holiday. Do your homework.), or WHATEVER. When folks are wishing you ANYTHING joyful, why not just accept it for what it is (a happy greeting) and be grateful for the good cheer?

Option number two is: don't accept that good cheer and stay in your Cranky Pants snit and live in your chosen misery. Because it IS. A choice. Do you think it matters one single hoot to somebody who can't feed their kids? Or won't have any semblance of a "holiday" in that cardboard box under the bridge? Do you think that the child with no mother cares about "political correct-ness"? REALLY? Besides, what has political correctness to do with holidays anyway? I realize that the whole concept of "separation of church and state" is a joke to begin with, but when did we decide that wishing good cheer to a person is something that must have conditions? Who started this nonsense? What makes you think that YOUR holiday, whatever it be, is more important than mine? What makes you think I give a shit about your definition of holiday cheer in the first place? (for the record, I do not.)

I think it's important to add my little aside here:
I do realize that this, my blog, is called "JOY IS A CHOICE". I also realize that this post is fairly lacking in both. However, there comes a time in a person's day when one must decide to speak up. Even if it means a rant that's left of center. Maybe it's better to offer it up and let folks decide. While it isn't my usual cheery missive, it doesn't mean it has no value.
Just sayin'.

Well then...back to topic:

I am more than tired of wimpy-assed people getting all worked up about the words they think "we" ought to use to spread good cheer. I believe that if those same folks would spend that same energy on stuff that actually matters (like that motherless child or the folks without food/shelter), we might all then come to what the spirit of the season is about in the first place.

It is meant to replenish the stores of "Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men".
{and if you even think that crap about my using the term "men", I'll throw my eggnog in your face.}

And...on that note...I'd say it's time I wrap this up.

Should we happen to cross paths and I happen to wish you a Happy Winter Solstice or a Merry Christmas or a Marvelous Monday, I suggest you be grateful for the well-wishes and carry on. It might just be the last time anyone offers you GOOD.

Ever think about THAT?

{a special thanks to the darlin' Andy Murray for sharing this glorious photo. Love and hugs to you and yours!}