This cheerfully said to the waiter by a man at the table next to us while deftly removing his almost empty glass back off the clearing tray.
We laughed—inconspicuously, of course—and determined to remember that bit of sage advice.
How do you capture your thoughts?
When you hear something you want to remember, a brilliant idea shamelessly flings itself at you, you find an exceptional quote, or you read a particular turn of phrase that plucks at your heart strings, how do you capture it?
One of my clients brought me a delightful gift of blooming flower tea from a recent trip overseas. It was a pleasure this morning to sit quietly and watch the leaves gently unfurl. For the occasion—truly enjoying a cuppa tea is an occasion—I delved into the pages of one of my favorite tea books: Tea Here Now: Rituals, Remedies, and Meditations by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer.
While I’m enjoying this delicious morning cuppa blooming flower tea, I’d like to share with you a small passage from page 142 in their book:
“Tea has enhanced our own lives in many ways. It has refined our way of moving, teaching us to carry ourselves with grace, dignity, and precision—helping us to develop a newfound sense of our bodies. We tread gently, aware of our personal impact upon the world and respectful of all that we encounter along the way. Learning to make tea becomes an exquisite and personal art.
It’s also a way of being and doing that can inform our entire lifestyle. It allows us to do whatever we do well, take time to pause and reflect, and contemplate our actions deeply. Tea does not tell us what do, or what to reflect on, or what actions to take. It only encourages us to pursue our endeavors mindfully, thoughtfully, with integrity and consideration—all the qualities that we learned through making a cup of tea wellapply to doing anything well. The spirit of tea invokes a sense of caring and attention, a feeling for excellence that can have a positive influence in every part of our lives.”
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
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?
The University of Life — Mindfulness Course Description
Mindfulness is simple, but it’s not easy. Mindfulness is the open-hearted energy of being aware in the present moment. It’s the daily cultivation—practice—of touching life deeply. To be mindful is to be present with, and sensitive to, the people we’re with and the things we’re doing, whether it’s raking leaves, tying our shoes, or preparing a meal.
John Kabat-Zinn said, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” He shared that above his desk sits reminder given to him by one of his friends:
Am I awake
And fully present
And living my life
It is my perspective that mindfulness is more than paying attention; it’s paying intention. Paying attention engages the mind. Paying intention additionally engages the will.
Here’s a link to the actual course syllabus at Brown University for their Mindfulness class.
Here’s a link to an article I wrote for Evolving Your Spirit magazine, “Don’t Miss the Gorillas” after attending a presentation given by Jon Kabat-Zinn (pg 10).
I am currently attending the University of Life. Each class I complete takes me a little closer to graduation. At some point I will have gained all of the necessary wisdom from this coursework and return home. Right now I’m carrying a full class load with:
Mindfulness – (prerequisite, Touching Life Deeply)
Being Still – 301
Letting Go – (remedial course)
Divine Grace (no cost, freely bestowed)
Living Meditation (prerequisite, Insight)
Over the next few days I’ll share the course descriptions, but right now I’ve got to go; I’m studying for finals.
Our physical body systems are interdependent with our emotions, thoughts, and spirit. They operate as a whole. What we think, how we feel, our actions, what we ingest, where we work, the people we associate with, and our environment all have an impact—positive or negative—on our inner ecology.
Inner ecology includes the mind (thinking), emotion (feeling), and spirit (essence).
I believe that when we make the time to explore and nurture our inner landscape—cultivate our inner terrain—some of the many dividends include peace of mind, a healthier physical body (the package we currently reside in), and inner wealth.
We may not have large sums of money, but we are rich beyond compare.
Whether I am at the end of a paper letter or email correspondence my signature signoff is always “Listen with your heart.”
It is my perspective that the heart is the intersection of thinking (logic) and feeling (emotion). When these two powerful aspects of self are healthy and used in conjunction with each other, we function from a place of wisdom—the heart. This brings clarity in decision-making, removes drudgery and adds exponentially to joy in the abundance factor.
Cliff Echo Bay by Terrill Welch
On February 20, 2010, I received the following email from my friend, author, photographer and artist, Terrill Welch:
On Sunday, February 14th, a circle was called here on Mayne Island (BC, Canada) for World Sound Healing Day. I thought of this thread part way through the prayers, songs, and chants that accompanied each person as they walked the portable labyrinth. The chants changed as those around the circle listened deeply and intuitively to what was needed for the person walking. This wasn’t discussed, explained or even anticipated by those holding the circle.
Laurie, because of you – I had a name for what was happening. In thinking about this experience this morning I decided to come by and thank you.
This photo is the latest heart I have found in nature… I hope you can find it on the cliff rocks. This photo was taken in Echo Bay on Saturna Island, BC, Canada.”
Terrill’s email continued … “It was an absolutely sacred place where the energy flow immediately aligned within me without any effort. The sensation was enough to want to drop to my knees in tears. A geographical place with this kind of open-field-of-energy is not something I experience everywhere (Haida Gwaii and Machu Picchu are two other places)… though, the whole of Saturna Island seems to have a kind of sacred hum. Over 50% of the land on this island is now part of one of Canada’s newest National Parks. About 250 residents live there full-time. The island has very limited services and the people, on the whole, are minimalist. They recently raised $5,000 for the Red Cross efforts in Haiti under the banner of — From one island to another.