New Ways of Knowing


My wish for you is PEACE of mind, JOY of heart, HEALTH of body, GRATITUDE for blessings, KINDNESS both given and received, INSPIRATION that fuels CREATIVITY, and GRACE—the immediate presence of Spirit.

I auto-scheduled this holiday greeting to publish today because I’m currently at the New Ways of Knowing: Meditation and Writing Retreat in California.

I’ve turned off comments as I won’t be able to respond, and look forward to being back online next Tuesday.


My Cup Runneth Over

When we saw this trailer overflowing with bicycles galore, I thought, Holy cow, that’s a lot of bicycles! I don’t know who owns them or why they have so many, but clearly their “cup runneth over.”

For the rest of the walk I wondered, what do I have a lot of? Certainly nothing tangible in that quantity. But I have a heckofa lot of intangibles to be grateful for: peace, joy, and whole health—body, mind, and spirit. In fact, my cup runneth over!

Does your cup runneth over?

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours.


Flight of Fancy

Hummingbirds — their name comes from the fact that they flap their iridescent wings so fast (about 80 times per second) that they make a humming noise. They can fly right, left, up, down, backwards, and even upside down.

Using strategically placed salvia, hyssop, and a sugar-water feeder, we’ve intentionally created a hummingbird hideaway. “Build it and they will come,” they said. That’s an understatement. They’ve come all right—in droves—and I’m enamored.

Laurie Buchanan

Once I started researching these colorful little creatures, I quickly discovered that they hold a wide variety of symbolism in different cultures around the globe, but there are a few core similarities:

  • Joy — the foundation of joie de vivre
  • Exuberance — high energy
  • Tenacity — persistence, determination, sticktoitiveness
  • Flexibility — they bend but don’t break

Laurie Buchanan

Which hummingbird attribute best describes you?


Majestic Wings

While pushing my cart from the Co-op, I spotted a dragonfly on the blacktop in the parking lot. Frail in appearance, their iridescent wings are actually quite strong. Among the fastest flying insects in the world, dragonflies can fly backwards, change direction in mid-air, and hover.


Native American folklore tells us that the iridescence in a dragonfly’s wings is a glimmer of hope; believing that with the dawn of each new day the dragonfly brings possibility and joy.

Where do you see a glimmer of hope?

WRITERS, if you want your writing to soar — to take flight — I’d like to introduce you to my friend Laurie Scheer. Here is a link to my review of her wonderful new book, The Writer’s Advantage.

© Laurie Buchanan

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What Do You Do With Fear?

In August my friend, Kathy Drue, published a post about fear in her thought-provoking blog Simply Here. Earlier this month my friend, Daisy Hickman, published a post about fear in her warm and welcoming blog SunnyRoomStudio. If you don’t already know these two wise women, please go introduce yourself—they’ll make you feel right at home.

Fear can be debilitating—it can cause us to freeze in our tracks (emotionally or otherwise), cutting us off at the knees.

Fear can be a leverage point—(emotionally or otherwise), helping us get from Point A to Point B.

One of my clients recently said, “Laurie, how can you possibly relate to what I’m going through? You have the perfect life—you don’t have anything to be afraid of.”

I’ll be the first one to say that her perception of me is not accurate. But as I shared with Kathy, I’ve always found it a good practice to set my fears down so that I can stand on them, and step up into joy.

What do you do with fear?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               — Laurie Buchanan and our Facebook page

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

J is for Joy

From the outside Happiness and Joy look a lot alike - but they're different

From the outside Happiness and Joy look a lot alike - but they're different

Happiness and Joy—from the outside they look a lot alike, but they’re different.

Happiness is a feeling. It goes up and down—fluctuates—based on external circumstances. It’s temporary, fleeting at best. For instance, we check the mailbox and find a notice from the IRS that states we owe a considerable sum in back taxes. For most people our happiness level would plunge. On the flip side, we check the mailbox and find an unexpected refund check from the IRS—it could be in any amount—and our happiness level soars.

Happiness can also be a result of manufactured merriment such as going to the circus, watching a funny movie, attending a birthday party.

When our perspective is governed from the inside out, the external pressures fall away and we experience joy.

Joy is a state of being. It’s inexplicable peace. Joy is internal and when nurtured and encouraged, it becomes resident—abiding—regardless of external circumstances.

Cultivating and maintaining joy eases the struggle that exists along life’s path. Joy leads to grace, the immediate presence of Divine Love.

The life of Viktor Frankl—Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor—is a perfect example of someone with inexplicable peace. He was a joy-filled person even though he was confined by the narrow boundaries of a concentration camp.

Another, more recent example is the many people who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina. There were few whose happiness didn’t plummet. However, there were some who suffered tremendous personal devastation, yet still retained a state of joy—inexplicable peace that defies explanation.

Through which lens do you view life—external happiness, or internal joy?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

© 2010 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

America the Beautiful

Recently I said to Kathy over on Lake Superior Spirit, “Isn’t it grand to be grateful, to be appreciative of the things we sometimes take for granted? Just the other day on a bike ride I was thinking about the many freedoms I enjoy and I started singing out loud.”

In thinking about my comment—and also being grateful for the 1,100 photographs that were retrieved after my hard drive died—I thought I’d pull some of the photographs to support the song I was singing:

Oh beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain

America, America

Grace has been shed on thee

Crown thy good with peoplehood

From sea to shining sea

In order of the lyrics, the locations where the photos were taken are listed as follows:

Spacious skies – Mackinack Island, Michigan
Amber waves of grain – Owasso, Oklahoma
Purple mountain magesties – Mount St. Helens, Oregon
Above the fruited plains – Capron, Illinois
America, America – Belgium, Wisconsin
Grace has been shed on thee – Poplar Grove, Illinois
Crown thy good with peoplehood – Wrigley Field (Chicago, IL)
From sea to shining sea – Cardiff by the sea, California

What was the last song you sang out loud out of sheer joy or gratitude?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved