Sing On

joyful Maya AngelouI first heard this song from 1994 around that time on a Public Broadcasting Station (commercial-free radio!), allowing for this long song. Eight enjoyable minutes of movement-motivating music! This fantastic compilation by the talented Branford Marsalis and friends, which includes Maya Angelou reading some of her incredible poem, is delightful and makes me dance (even if just in my chair!).

I hope this song brightens your heart and your day as it always does for me. May we remember our love for Maya with gratitude for her magnificent example, and how she blessed us with her years here. She will live on, forever in our hearts, and we are so thankful for all she shared. Namaste. Gina

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

(This is her complete poem; certain excerpts are in the song)

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

For more of her exceptional poetry, here’s a post for Maya Angelou on my other blog:
http://peopleexcitedaboutcoexistence.com/2014/05/28/lift-up-your-hearts/

Homecaring

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” ~Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

This spring has found me on hands and knees busily clearing clutter and polishing the precious pieces I want to keep. Having read and marvelled at the wisdom of Thomas Moore for decades, I know I am caring for my soul as I lovingly care for my home. A section from a Louise Hay prayer that I repeat often is, ‘I love myself therefore I provide for myself a comfortable home, one that fills all my needs and is a pleasure to be in. I fill the rooms with the vibration of love so that all who enter, myself included, will feel this love and be nourished by it.’ I encourage us all to take time to appreciate our homes and the loved ones we are blessed to share it with, even if they are company if we live alone. Let’s beautify our homes and help nourish our souls. Namaste.

“Rediscover the sacred soulcraft of homecaring. Creating a comfortable, beautiful, well-run home can be among our most satisfying accomplishments as well as an illuminating spiritual experience. Like sweat equity, channeling your time and creative energy closer to home will produce a big emotional return for yourself and those you love.”

~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance

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[My gratitude to the makers of these lovely images found on Pinterest]

Our Powerful Words

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.” ~Don Miguel Ruiz


Today’s collection of images I’ve gathered for us to ponder were found a while back on Google and Pinterest without original sources. My gratitude to the unknown artists who made these lovely images. Namaste. Gina

Divine Refreshment


Dehydration has been shown to negatively impact people’s moods. Mild dehydration is “associated with confusion, fatigue, and negative moods.” Moderate dehydration symptoms include “lethargy or extreme sleepiness”. [source]

As with dehydration, an early symptom of a weakened spiritual connection is a feeling of listlessness, making us wonder why our zest for life seems to have evaporated.

Symptoms similar to dehydration surface when I have been negligent with my prayer and meditation practice. The ‘busyness’ of life and the distractions of pain are excuses I’ve used to allow lapses in my prayer practice. It’s terribly ironic that when I need that grounding connection the most is when I often forget to be still and go within.

Let’s remember to refresh our body and our spirit. As I reach for a glass of water, I also reach within. I bring my glass to set on the table beside my small altar. I close the door, light the candle and have a seat. It is time. God patiently waits while I run around distracted and in pain. At last I notice my spiritual dehydration and take a moment, no – I make the time – to sit down and empty my mind. Calm those thoughts. Observe them and let them dissolve. Feel the deep calm and bubbling-up of love that rises to the surface to fill all of my life, if I will but make the time to actively pursue my connection with God. Once I am quiet enough it feels as though the still small voice within seems to whisper ‘there you are’.

I like to remember this old poem by an unknown author:

Whoso draws near to God one step, through doubtings dim,
God will advance a mile in blazing light to him.

(Note: To my women friends and spiritual sisters, we know this is beyond gender and speaks to the love God has for us all: if we will take ‘one step’, God will advance towards us ‘a mile’.)

Today I propose that we maintain proper hydration for our spirits as well as our bodies. As healing as a glass of water is for the dehydrated, actively maintaining our spiritual connection nourishes our soul and refreshes our life. Energy and vitality return, bringing a flush of growth in the form of enriched gratitude and renewed awareness of our vast blessings.

Whether you turn to the scriptures of God or other spiritual texts or turn towards a walk in the woods, whether you sit to pray at an altar or practice meditative yoga, whatever works to help you feel God’s love surrounding you, do that. Let us strengthen our relationship with the One who patiently waits. It is we who must make that first step. We must pick up the glass. God is waiting to fill it to overflowing if we but ask.

Are you feeling hectic and busy? Overwhelmed? Depressed? Tired? Take a pause. Close your eyes and go within. Relish some deep calming breaths. Pray, or go for a prayerful walk. You deserve some nourishing refreshment of the most divine kind.

Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE

[Gratitude to the makers of these amazing images found on Pinterest and Google]

Choose Vibrant Thoughts

I discovered inspirational author and speaker Raymond Charles Barker when I was in my teens and his writings still move me today. Today’s excerpts are from my old, weathered, and deeply cherished hardcover copy of his incredible book ‘The Power Of Decision’. These paragraphs really resonate with me right now, and I hope you will feel a lift of your heart and a burst of inspiration as well. Namaste.


“Static states are not conductive to happiness. Static states produce monotony and this in turn creates boredom; and the latter was never intended for you. When you are bored, you are experiencing that which God never planned. The Infinite in Its creative process is always exciting.”

“A great factor in the matter of being unhappy is being bored. Many people are bored and do not even realize it. Check your mind and see if you are bored with your present situation. If so, you had better break it up and fast, for it is negative mental and emotional states that breed unhappiness. It is lazy thinking. It is thinking that is uncreative and, if indulged in too long, it becomes destructive. To be bored in today’s world is nonsensical. The whole planet is exploding with interesting ideas, interesting people, and interesting events. Never before has so much music, art, and great entertainment been available. To be bored takes a good deal of doing, and a large segment of the population is doing the doing that causes boredom.

“Creative thinking gives a zest to living and you are a creative thinker when you decide to be one. The feeling that it is great to be alive is a spiritual necessity. It lessens the strains and tensions of routine functioning. It quickens new ideas in consciousness, and alerts the mind to the fascinations that are available to us. It allows no morbidity, no boredom, and no lazy thinking. It prevents us from drifting in the past. It causes us to be today people expecting great things in our tomorrows.”
Raymond Charles Barker, The Power Of Decision, excerpts from chapter ‘Decide To Be Happy’

Challenges as Adventures

“The universe has a way of pushing us to go beyond our limits. At first our challenges seem like curses, but in the end we learn to bless them. Challenge is God’s way of getting us to wake up to the fact that we are bigger than we thought we were. God is our best friend because He remembers our potential even when we don’t, and He will not let us slumber in the stupor of limited living.” ~Alan Cohen, Dare to be Yourself

“If you shelter yourself from challenge, your spirit will wither and you will grow weak of will. Your creativity will be reduced to a trickle. You will become bored and wonder what you are doing here. Learn to recognize boredom as a sign that you must escape the shell in which you have become entombed. Let restlessness spur you to reach out and stretch to your next creative adventure.” ~Alan Cohen, Dare to be Yourself, p.304

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ~Helen Keller, The Open Door (1957)