My daughter is visiting for a few days. She enjoys wall decorations with inspirational sayings, and she has several of them hanging on the walls of her house. In general, she loves decorating and cheerful little things. I thought of her when I saw this image recently:

Word-art that says "Always remember you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, & twice as beautiful as you'd ever imagined."

Although I haven’t spent as much time decorating, I do agree with her that the more reminders of positive things, the better!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

February 12, 2019 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I dreamed that I was a refugee trying to get away from a war zone, sometime long ago. I was helping a young woman who just had a baby. Although that made it much harder both to travel and to hide from the soldiers, it seemed the decent thing to do. Our dinner was rat and weeds soup. Rather than thinking about how yucky that was, though, I felt lucky that I had found an old pot to cook it over a fire.

Old pot hanging on a hook.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

After I woke up, that dream certainly had put all of my trifling modern-day gripes into better perspective. People typically judge their circumstances by comparison to what they see around them, which is why surveys asking about happiness levels generally tend not to show any increase as populations become wealthier. We don’t often compare our lives to what’s in the history books.

Indeed, unless we regularly work to cultivate the habit, we don’t often reflect on our own personal history and all the ways we are doing better than in the past. Small annoyances get our attention instead. Given the fact that we have so many comforts in the here and now, we shouldn’t take them so much for granted.

Today was very dark and wet. I got rained on when I did the grocery shopping this afternoon, and then there was a power outage for about two hours. Meanwhile, my husband had to move the rowing club’s boat trailer to higher ground because the river was rising high enough to flood the parking lot at the boathouse.

So, even after the power came back on, I didn’t feel particularly lucky or glad until my husband texted me from the gym after work. He asked if I had checked the basement. I went down there to look, and the sump pump was running. The floor was dry, though; so even with all the rain, there hadn’t been enough water to flood the basement floor while the power was out. That left me feeling much happier about how the day had gone, as compared to what might have happened.

With all the water around here today, I decided this word-art was quite appropriate for Nurturing Thursday:

Word-art that says "Happiness comes in waves."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

February 5, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Sunday afternoon was unusually warm for early February, so my husband turned on the self-cleaning cycle on the oven because we could open the windows enough to air out the house. While he was opening windows, I noticed that the wood blinds in the great room were dusty. This time of year, I like seeing the brighter morning sun through the blinds as the days grow longer. So I cleaned them while my husband went to the Y to work out on a rowing machine.

Wood blinds with sunlight behind the windows.

Although it would’ve been nice to get in some real rowing, last week was so cold that even though Sunday afternoon felt like spring, the river still had some ice and was not at all rowable. That was okay, though, because we spent some family time together anyway, when the cleaning got done, and we’re not far from spring now. On Saturday there was so much snow and fog, it’s no wonder the groundhog didn’t see his shadow; just getting out of his burrow must have taken some effort!

I put on my cozy winter pajamas after taking a shower, and then I started thinking that I should go write my Nurturing Thursday post because it was getting late in the evening. But instead I sat down by the fireplace, on the carpet next to the bricks, enjoying the warmth and feeling grateful to have a comfortable home.

After a while I started composing this post in my head, so I wasn’t entirely idle; but mainly, I was just sitting there and letting myself have a few pleasant minutes without feeling obligated to start doing something. It’s good to write blogs, along with all the other ways we can so easily connect with people in modern times; but we also need to take enough time to connect with and care for ourselves.

Word-art that says "You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

January 31, 2019 · 6 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a really weird dream last night. I was some kind of ancient prophet, and God spoke through me in my dreams while a group of disciples carefully wrote down the words. Every morning I would wake up to see a new parchment scroll beautifully illustrated and full of divine wisdom.

Ancient parchment prayer scroll with illustrations.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

When I woke up this morning (for real), I decided that my subconscious mind most likely was telling me to pay more attention to the wisdom in my dreams. Even if they’re not divinely inspired, my dreams may have useful insights and be worth taking the time to write them down.

So, I put this one into my blog, which seemed as good a place as any. Maybe it’s too weird to inspire anyone, but it might at least have some entertainment value on this cold winter day.

This year I am keeping a journal of people’s kind acts, as described in my New Year’s post. The original idea was that by writing about kindness, I would give it more weight subconsciously, which in turn would shift my perspective toward seeing the world as a kinder place.

So far I’ve noticed something else, which is that I am not only giving more weight to kind acts—I am seeing more of them in the first place. When I take the time to consider (as journaling requires) what acts of kindness I’ve seen on a particular day, I find myself reflecting on events that seemed ordinary at first glance and then realizing, “Oh, this was done with kind intentions, and that was kind too.”

Even the most commonplace things can seem very different, depending on how we look at them.

Word-art with a dandelion that says "Some see a weed, I see a wish."

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I sometimes do a meditation where I imagine myself turning slowly in a clockwise circle and looking to each of the four directions. Then I consider what messages from my subconscious mind there might be in the various images that pop into my thoughts.

Usually it’s like a silent film or a dream without conversation, but yesterday—without having planned it—I found myself imagining that the four directions were speaking to me and offering blessings.

Weathervane showing the four directions.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I started in the East, as I always do—the direction of the dawn and new growth. I pictured tiny green leaves sprouting up from the cool, damp spring earth, confidently owning their surroundings. “You are safe here,” the leaves told me repeatedly as they kept on multiplying, with more and more voices joining in their chorus. “You are safe.”

I gave them my thanks and went on to the South, representing fire and summer. Warm pebbles on the dry ground reflected the early afternoon sun. I pictured myself sitting down to look at them more closely, like a child searching for the prettiest ones. Huge tree roots stretched before me, and I felt drawn to touch them. “You are becoming,” the roots announced, when I put my hands on them.

Thanking the roots, I turned to the West, where leaves were falling from tall white birches, swirling in a graceful motion through the crisp air. The autumn winds surrounded me comfortably, like old friends walking with me. “You are part of this world,” they said.

I thanked the winds before moving on to the North, the land of quiet darkness, cold rain and snow, winter’s rest and replenishment. Drops of water fell gently all around me. “You are healing,” they assured me.

Once again I gave thanks, and then I returned to my imaginary starting point and let the circle dissolve into the air around me. I pictured its energy flowing into the world, full of blessings for all.

I didn’t really go for a walk in the woods today because it was very cold and icy here. I can tell when I’m getting cabin fever this time of year, though, because I spend more time browsing through outdoor photos. Over the weekend I downloaded some Creative Commons landscape photos from Flickr and put them into the library for my digital art display. This is the one I chose yesterday, after a snowstorm.

Snowy path between tall conifers.

Seeing a snowy path through my imaginary “window” makes me feel as if I could get bundled up in warm clothes and go play in the snow, like when I was a kid. I haven’t actually gone exploring in a winter wood in a very long time, and I must confess that I don’t even own a pair of sturdy winter boots anymore. The snowblower is my husband’s domain. When we have a winter storm I’m usually sitting at the computer, or maybe reading a book on the couch.

Still, it puts me in a cheerful mood to see something that looks like a window onto a vast wild forest where I could spend many hours happily wandering around, even if it’s only an illusion.

This evening I got distracted and, instead of writing my usual Nurturing Thursday post, I put on my pajamas and chatted with my husband for a while. Then I got in bed and was still awake, looking at the brightness behind the window shades where light was reflecting from snow, and had a vague sense that there was something left undone.

The internal to-do list never fully came back after its mysterious disappearance over the holidays, it seems. I did eventually remember that it was Thursday and I hadn’t written a blog post, so I got back out of bed and sat down at the computer. Oh well, nobody’s perfect, and anyway, Nurturing Thursday is about gradual self-improvement rather than getting it right every time.

Word-art that says "Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection." -Mark Twain

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.