“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”

~ John Muir

John Muir has a way of moving my heart and soul. His words resound with all the magnificence of nature and wonder.

Nature graces us with an unparalleled show each and every moment. If we can remember to look around and see it! If we can look up from our computers, ipads and phones. Hey, I am as guilty as the next person, but I do work on being mindful of the glory and beauty of nature when I can.

How staggering it is that we live on a vibrant planet full of life! How astounding that it spins and whirls and we never loose our balance or float away! How mind boggling is the balance that must be kept to keep everything alive? How fragile and yet how strong is our planet?!

Go out and take a look. Look up. Look down. To the north, the south, the east, the west. Take a look and marvel at your home.  Behold Nature and all her beauty, as the round earth rolls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kukVNtyNDCw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RhgLCIsGq0&feature=related

http://www.sierraclub.org/

John Muir

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Recently we were in Bloomington, Indiana visiting our daughter who is beginning graduate school at Indiana University.

All around town were billboards with the IU logo on a crimson background and simple white letters that offered these six words:

Work hard.

Have fun.

Be kind.

This past week, at work, I was sitting at our morning Circle Time with 15 three to six year olds. We were reviewing important to things to remember as individuals in a classroom community. We covered many of the basics; walking feet, indoor voices, washing hands, etc.  Soon to be kindergartner Leo raised his hand with another thought. When I called his name, he put his hands out in front of him, palms up, raised them slightly and said:

“Just be kind.”

Indiana University and a five year old say kindness is important, so it must be true.  Kindness counts. Practice  kindness today and every day:

http://www.randomactsofkindness.org/kindness-ideas

Flawed Beauty: Wabi Sabi

August 11, 2012

Flawed beauty.

I knew a woman who was a weaver. She created stunning works of fiber art on her loom. And yet, not one piece was “perfect”. Each and every one had a repaired thread, a knot where a string had broken, a spot where the dye didn’t take in the yarn, a misread of the pattern: something. She never stopped to fix the errors. This artist commented that some of her contemporary weavers would tell her with much seriousness that she should “fix those mistakes to make the piece perfect instead of flawed.” She would shrug her shoulders and just say “I don’t worry much about perfection…..I think these pieces are richer because they remind us that none of us are perfect.”

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Most of us don’t like those words or their meanings.

“Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” ( from Wikipedia)

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes. (Wikipedia) Those are interesting concepts for our American society and way of thinking.

“Wabi-sabi is exactly about the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things and the pleasure we get from freedom from things.” Leonard Koren

You have some wabi-sabi somewhere in your life. Where is it? What is it? Do you accept it or are you embarrassed by it?

I believe we could all benefit from embracing the idea of wabi-sabi in our lives and let go of the illusion of perfection.

The In-Between Spaces

August 4, 2012

ECOTONES: the in-between spaces in an ecological setting.

It is a  transition area between two biomes

or different patches of the landscape,

like the space where the ocean meets the shore.

We have spaces like this too. In-between spaces, where the boundaries are blurred. It is not always clear where one emotion or thought begins and another ends. There is a symbiotic relationship. Each “part” needs the other to be balanced, but sometimes the boundaries change or are blurred making it difficult to feel we have completely moved on from one to another.

Emotions, thoughts, feelings that we might consider separate, actually coexist. There is no finite  boundary, no solid line where one begins and another ends.

For many of us this lack of clearness can be difficult. We want to know that one thing is ending, finished, and another is beginning. But it isn’t always so easy, so clearly defined.

We have pain and sorrow right along side joy and happiness. Anxiety can be cradled next to assurance. Perhaps trust is holding hands with doubt.

How do we live with dynamic boundaries where variables blur the edges? The in-between places where we are just not sure of what is going on, of how we are feeling, of where are going, or where we have been? What we may have lost? What we might have gained?

In nature these areas are sometimes turbulent, sometimes peaceful.  Waves on the shore may carry sand and plants away, eroding the shore. Other times the waves bring new sand, plants or animals to the beach. Sometimes these are “good” changes, sometimes not. There is a give and take. Sometimes the balance is quick and easy.  Other times, the compromises cause the two sides to give something up.  But in the end it is Nature’s way. Nature is life. And death. And violence. And supreme gentleness. In the ebb and flow there is all that represents life: change, uncertainty, risk, balance, loss, pain, joy, gain, happiness, sorrow, life, death, beauty, “ugliness”, fear, calm, love……without any one part, the other pieces are diminished.

Think about the synonyms for “transition”:   changeover, conversion, development, evolution, flux, growth, metamorphosis, passage,  progress, progression, realignment, shift, transformation,  turning point, upheaval.

What are the whispers from your in-between places telling you? Take some time in this space and listen to the possibilities.