Life’s Nectar

Watching this bee extract life’s sweetness from the inviting flower reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw:

The Universe is experiencing itself through every living creature. Make sure to show it a good time!


Some of the ways I show the Universe a good time include:

Watch a sunrise
Swim in a natural body of water
Enjoy nature’s music

How do you milk sweetness from life to show the Universe a good time?


55 thoughts on “Life’s Nectar

  1. Yikes! Showing the universe a good time sounds like quite a responsibility! 🙂
    Let’s just say remembering to laugh (and extra universe points for making a baby laugh) and treating others with kindness–animals, too.

  2. Margaret Fuller supposedly once said grandly, “I accept the Universe.” Upon hearing her declaration, Thomas Carlyle said, “Gad, she’d better.”

    I like both ideas, and both help me see that my small place here on earth for a short time needs to be used both wisely and joyfully.

    Just came back from a blissful “fam jam” at the Jersey Shore. With Owen and Julia, I showed the universe quite a lot of laughter and appreciation. My most recent blog describes our splashing, running, and kite flying.

  3. Play with my dog, chasing each other around the back yard; take a million pictures of clouds, and flowers, and ocean waves, and sunrises and sunsets – then enjoy them over and over again. Always love your perspective and challenge to look a little deeper, Laurie!

  4. I’m enjoying some late summer roses on my kitchen window sill and posting their blooming faces on Facebook. There’s is no way to tell if those roses are thrilled with all the fanfare their presence is causing today, but who knows . . . !

  5. Lovely, Laurie,

    You know already. Muffin and I walk as often as she wants to since Daddy is “retired” now. We sit and roll in the grass, I have been taking nature’s photographs for at least 15 years now. I gaze and surround myself with beauty for it who we are.

  6. Lovely post, Laurie. I show the universe a good time every time I step out my door and watch the hummingbirds flit about the garden, butterflies resting in a shady mud puddle, and the dawning of each new day so full of promise.

  7. I celebrate the universe every morning as I watch it through my window when I have my morning coffee. In the warmer months, I listen to nature’s music and watch her creature’s antics from my deck as I enjoy a beer or glass of wine.

  8. I show the universe a good time by practicing stewardship and protecting natures wild places especially working with so many to secure in 2012 the Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge (urban; bi-state IL/WI) and continuing to serve as a board member. This month we offered programs to raise consciousness around the needs of Monarch butterflies. I took my niece Keegan a few months ago to an annual USFWS bird banding exercise (catch and release). It brought us in close contact with birds. I continue to learn as I participate in leading while celebrating nature.
    This week I noticed a large spider near my kitchen sink. I was able to scoop her up with a plastic cup and piece of cardboard. I was surprised at how happy it made me to see it scatter away outside the front door. Spiders do so much for us … they deserve a chance.
    Walking … attending … breathing in and out … walking … attending … breathing in and out …
    and loving the life around me in the nearby wetland.
    This week a red sunset … caused by smoke from the west (says our weather folks) … reminding me again of our interconnectedness and the fragility of this universe.

    • Audrey — I oh-so-enjoyed reading the example of how you show the Universe a good time. Practicing Stewardship and Protecting Nature is a phenomenal one-two punch! I’m so happy to hear that you shared bird-time with Keegan! 🙂

  9. Laurie, I always appreciate the beautiful photos your post headers and illustrations, you are an active participant in the Dance and Joy of Living. For myself, every day possible is spent outside somewhere, either working, playing or simply as an Observer. The trees, the clouds, the rain, flowers and people, all of it is part of the vast organism we know as Gaia, or Mother Earth. I am just one of her many particles and one blessed with sentience, I can recognize and experience the Love and Energy that goes into the production of every organic and living being, the intricate balance it requires to keep it all together and moving along it’s allotted course. From microcosm to macrocosm, what a remarkable design!

  10. How do I?…
    Today, as I was out for my morning walk, a feeling swam over me. I knew I had to stop right where I was, close my eyes and know–the beauty, the wonder, the magic, the presence, the communion.

  11. Laurie I do believe that the universe and I have an endless party happening for most of my waking hours. Long walks, photography shoots, plein air painting, sitting quiet for no reason, picking tomatoes from the garden, digging potatoes, gathering windfall apples are just a few of this past weeks adventures. Isn’t it most pleasant to wake up and say “Yes!” to the universe for no particular reason – just because it is and we are is good enough for me. All the best to you as always. Now back to the studio and my behind-the-scene work. Yes, painting edges…. that would be a small and quiet “yes” but still a yes.

  12. Really interesting stuff in that question Laurie.

    Two terms that stand out like sledgehammers to me, sweetness and good. What do they mean?

    Look at sweetness.
    We have this genetically determined attraction to things that are sweet.
    It now seems beyond any reasonable doubt that such attraction is a function of our long genetic history of interaction with all the other life forms on this planet and the fact that fruit that are sweet generally contain a lot of calories and nutrients and have co-evolved with us and the plants that have them to have us distribute the seeds of the plant with a little pile of fertiliser at some distance from the parent tree.
    So in this sense, sweet is both something attractive to awareness and useful in the ecology of our being.
    And there is another sense in which sweet just happens to be one particular route that evolution has taken, when it could have taken others, and given that sugar is such a relatively simple molecule, it is one of the “low hanging fruit” (one of the simplest possible in terms of complexity, and therefore more probable for any set of entities moving from the simple to exploration of the more complex, by essentially random means).

    So in this sense, sweetness has both accident and simplicity and utility in the functions that have led to it delivering the experience that it dose to the sort of awareness that we are.

    What about “good”?
    Good seems to be the very simplest possible distinction any entity can make in realm of utility or value.

    Given that it seems we each essentially start life from a very simple start, we each have to acquire the set of distinctions that are language anew. Mostly we do this in a social context, learning by doing what terms mean.

    It seems that when we start to realise that there are more possibilities that just one way of being, that we need some sort of measure of value to choose between options, be they present or future options.
    It seems that any instant in time has a potentially infinite set of possible options, and any given human in any given instant will be conscious of some small finite subset of that infinity, and some small subset of ongoing probable consequences of any action (or inaction) over time.
    So it seems that in order to form some sort of abstract tool to help in the requirement to make real decisions in real time, we have developed this notion of good and bad. In a very real sense it is the simplest possible binary (set of 2) approach to simplifying a computational problem of infinite complexity.

    It seems that the really tricky problem is, that while this idea is simple and fast, and both of those things have a certain survival utility, they also carry risk of being too simple and too fast when things really are far more complex than that.

    As one develops an understanding of the sorts of complexity that seem to exist in reality, it becomes clear that such simple notions as good an bad can become a real barrier to understanding the sorts of possibilities and outcomes that can be created when one is able to look more deeply into the infinite realms of the possible and the probable.

    One of the things to come clearly out of my investigations 5 years ago when I was given a terminal cancer diagnosis, was to realise how our market economy has taken the notion of sweetness (and extracted sugar), in a realm of supermarkets, to deliver processed foods high in sugar that are attractive and addictive to our monkey minds, yet do not meet the complex needs of our body for the many other things that were associated with sweetness in nature, that sweetness alone was a useful proxy for in that context.

    The context has now changed.
    We have manufactured sweetness (as in extracted sugars added back to all sorts of high calorie foods), and the lack of associated nutrients (most particularly Vitamin C, and a host of others – some 30,000 of them) is directly responsible for the epidemics we see of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

    So sweetness has become a trap in one sense, and the bait in a trap in a much deeper sense.

    In the context of our monetary system, the drive to get money by delivering food that is both satisfying to taste and creates addiction (and thence repeat business), is creating vast “health” industries (an example of “new-speak” if ever there was one) from the illness that results.

    Our simplistic understandings of what is actually in our own best interests seems to me (beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt) to be the greatest threat to us all.

    I survived my cancer by being able to delay gratification, and to choose to stop eating all the addictive sugary foods that my brain craved, and to return to a whole-foods diet. On the same day I gave up sugar, alcohol, chocolate, meat, dairy. All my treat foods gone. All the “sweetness” gone.

    And over many months, my neural networks reprogrammed, and I started to enjoy some of the things I was eating. And it is difficult going out, and having all those smells of foods that my neural network still finds attractive, yet I consciously over-ride and reject.

    It is even harder, when like last night I drove 120 miles each way to a meeting on climate change, and I tried to build a context where I could ask a question of the panellists, and before I was half way through building the context, the moderator cut me off insisting that I ask a question rather than make a statement.

    To me it is so clear that it is the incentives of the market that are now the greatest danger to humanity.

    We do things to make money, rather than doing things that will deliver abundance and choice and freedom to every human being.

    Money only has any value when there is scarcity.

    The very idea of money, as a measure of exchange value, implies scarcity.
    When something is as abundant as oxygen in the air, it has no market value, in spite of it being the single most important thing to any human being.

    The really crazy thing is, that we already have the technology to deliver an abundance of all the necessities of life to every person on the planet, but it is the very idea of money as an abstract measure of value that is preventing such abundance, as the delivery of such abundance will (by definition) destroy market value (money). Anything that is truly universally abundant has no exchange value – we all have what we need, by definition.

    What I see as desirable long term, is a state where every individual has real security, and real freedom of action, within reasonable limits of energy and environmental impact (including the impact of procreating).

    To me, such an outcome requires that we get past the idea of money.
    Money is a measure of scarcity, not abundance.
    Oxygen is abundant – it has zero market value.

    We know now, today, how to deliver all the essentials of life to everyone on the planet, with no one having to work for more than about 10 hours per week.

    We also know that human beings have evolved to live in social groups, of up to about 200, and are happiest doing so.
    We also know that females tend to have a far stronger need for conversation than males, and there is considerable variability.
    We know many thousand such things that are not given free expression in an environment dominated by money.

    So there are a great may things about our existing technical and social structures that we know are far from optimal for allowing individuals to explore the infinite range of actions that are possible with the sorts of brains evolution has equipped us with.

    The idea that we need to somehow restrict ourselves to that suite of actions that were of utility in our evolutionary past (both genetic and cultural), and give us the desires we have, needs to be seriously examined.

    For me, the possibilities of life are far beyond that.
    With sufficient awareness, one can retrain any neural network.

    It seems to me that we allow ourselves to be captured by the likes and dislikes that evolution has distilled into our genetics, and an even larger set of judgements that have evolved in our cultures and are present as implicit assumptions in the words and concepts and distinctions we use.

    We can be so much more than that.

    Reality is so much more than that.

    The simple model of reality that our minds construct for us that is our experiential reality is such a poor shadow of what seems to actually be there, such a simple approximation, and it is our experiential reality.

    Being in a society of people who value life and liberty above all else, and who design systems that support that and to empower conscious evolution beyond the strictures of biology and culture and to do so in an environment of maximal biological and cultural diversity, seems to me to be the nectar of life.

    • ted, Ted, TED — it’s abundantly clear to me that you MUST (not shoulda, woulda, coulda) write a book. You’ve got so much to offer! My biggest takeaway from your response? “We do things to make money, rather than doing things that will deliver abundance and choice and freedom to every human being.” And that’s a HUGE takeaway 🙂

  13. Right now Laurie I am milking every fibre of the universe . I am on a narrow boat on a canal in Brecon …Wales and adoring every moment thank you for joining me. Love the sunflower and with you watching the sunrise

  14. I love this message Laurie! Every breath I take (at least when I am conscious …) is in gratitude to the life force energy and the universe.
    So I would say having an attitude of gratitude is my gift back.

  15. Lovely post, Laurie. I’m enjoying the warm days and cool nights, the changing colors of the leaves–all glimpses of Autumn–my favorite season. And I love the sunflowers. There is so much to appreciate about our earth and the changing of the seasons. Thank you for this colorful reminder!

  16. I write about the joys of life within the universe. And when not writing about it, I enjoy walking and soaking in all the beauty and joy surrounding us, if we only stop long enough to notice. xo

  17. Lovely thought! My milking is all about trying to freeze nature’s splendor in my camera for later enjoyment, and I some case for sharing with others 🙂

  18. This post reminds me of the young schoolboy in Woody Allen’s ANNIE HALL who states flatly that “the universe is expanding.” I love the outdoor spirit of your post Laurie, and of the many creative responses that put your ideas into action. As we engage in our favorite art form of the moment (literature, music, opera, film, theater, art) we expand our horizons and appreciation. For sure it is making the most out of life.

  19. I like to run my fingers over plants and grasses. I’m a believer in touching my garden…good for me…good for the plants. If my day is getting tense I’ll go outdoors, watch the butterflies, the bees…the birds…rub a bit of spearmint to release the essential oils…touch the scented geraniums and breathe deeply…then I’m ready to return to the mundane chores of life once again.

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