Archives For Life

Mostly my own musings on learning, falling down, and getting back up.

“Few things are more revolutionary than finding true happiness in a suffering world.” ~Marianne Williamson

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“If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up, you can’t just wait to see what kind of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have.” ~Joel Osteen

“The world’s wisdom traditions all point inward, stating that there is a level of the mind that serves as the source of happiness. When a person locates this core self, there is peace and silence. One feels safe and cared for. Love and bliss are available as normal aspects of life, not as intermittent experiences that arrive randomly.”

~Deepak Chopra [read more of article at Oprah.com]

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Composure is attainable, and from this calm place, happiness blossoms. Breathe. Relax. Soften. Accept what is, knowing there is a much larger picture of the story than we can ever understand. Being happy is not only a choice; it is a type of loving shield. It gives us strength in troubled times and allows us to offer gentleness and smiles to others. To feel happiness and smile at others is not naiveté; it’s a kind of superpower. It kick-starts the ripples of kindness and offers hope for our worried world. Namaste. Gina

[Pinterest images]

A quiet path

03/18/2017

“Wind in the trees, thunder, flowing water, falling leaves, rain, animal voices, birdsong – we live amid a teeming polyphony of natural sounds.

“Add to these the sounds of human activity, from soft footsteps to pneumatic drills, from muted conversation to pounding trains, from jetting fountains to jet planes.

“Then, we have the articulate, measured, imagined sounds of art – all the many kinds of music, which so specifically and directly convey the spirit of a people.

“Our world is permeated with sounds, some calming the heart and mind, some keeping us frenetic and on edge.”

Thomas Moore

The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life


Quiet is something I need like oxygen. It’s why I camp. I have to get away from the sounds of the city, of the suburbs. Out of earshot of the squealing tires and noisy buses, the wailing sirens and garbage trucks, the roaring broken mufflers and low-frequency stereos at top volume, rattling my windows. These frenetic urban noises are why I need to go hiking and camping on a regular basis. I need to get away to a calming forest path.

Ahh. . . peace and quiet.

At the campground the most persistent sounds beyond the chickadees are the scolding chirps of squirrels and raspy caws of ravens. Crunching gravel beneath my feet as I follow a path to the creek. Water splashes over the rocks. Flames crackle softly in the fire pit. Breezes sing through the tall trees. These are sounds that refresh me deeply, and bring me back to life. This is why I camp. A retreat under the silent stars, immersing myself in the sounds of nature. Time spent amidst nature’s natural noises helps me hear happier thoughts. I wish for you a soothing walk on a quiet path. Namaste.
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Copyright © Gina 2017 Professions For Peace. [Pinterest images]

Our human family

02/25/2017

Incredible images of some of the members of our human family, beautifully compiled and composed with Maya Angelou reciting from her powerful poem. To me, this iPhone ad is a work of art. I encourage us all to view this gem. The beauty it shares in one fast minute can help warm hearts and open minds. Let us remember how vast, and yet somehow small, our world is. Let’s know that each of us are part of a diverse and dynamic human family. Namaste.

Human Family, by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land,
I’ve seen the wonders of the world
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Watch our words

02/20/2017

“Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” ~Desmond Tutu

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We toss them around like they are nothingness… invisible air out of our mouths or thoughts from fingertips. We say we’re just being funny, sarcastic or ‘venting’ but words are things that carry energy and weight. Maya Angelou said they get into the fabric of our lives, our curtains and our clothing. Into our very being. We lighten our hearts and the world around us when we share words that help and don’t harm. Let’s scatter kindness with our powerful everyday words.

People collect all manner of antique items. Dishes, paintings, furniture. I collect old poetry books. It matters not if they are tattered, if a page here or there is stained or missing. To discover an old, overlooked book of old-fashioned rhyming poetry in some obscure second hand bookstore or hidden thrift shop is a wonderful thrill for me! As I gently blow away the dust and carefully peruse the old pages, my heart fills with joy. I have this sensation of rediscovering something important. There’s a part of my heart that whispers to the book and its poet. . . “I found you. I love you. You are not forgotten.”

gs-antique-poetryMy little collection of vintage poetry is, as you can see, a rather motley looking crew of old volumes. These well worn books are not only for display but also for reading and enjoying (albeit carefully). It’s part of my pleasure to keep them from being forgotten. Here is a glimpse into one of my oldest poetry books.

wilcox-1921-bookElla Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) was born in Johnstown, Wisconsin and her poetry was being published by the time she graduated from high school. Very popular, her poems were often written in plain, rhyming verse.

My book of hers is “Poems of Pleasure” originally published in 1888. This small, soft, leather-bound book of 127 pages has a gilded design and lettering on the cover, but inside it is undated (perhaps the page is missing) however it was a gift to someone in 1921 according to the faint inscription. Regardless of its flaws and wear, and all the hands and hearts it has passed through, this beloved book now resides in my collection of very old, and deeply cherished, poetry books.
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“I Will Be Worthy Of It”

wilcox-i-will-be-worthy-of-it
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“Love Much” (and the start of “In The Long Run”)


To poets and lovers of poetry everywhere, may you always be remembered.
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[2017 © All images are mine. Click on bottom gallery to open and view.]

winter fogA few days ago, in my neck of the woods, we had a morning of rare thick fog. It hovered deep over rooftops and created frost linings along wires and tree branches. The sky was white, with no hint of sun through the haze, just the glow that bathed everything. It was utterly magical.

On this frigid Saturday morning at 8:00 am, I wasn’t concerned about throwing on my yoga pants and a t-shirt to go buy some groceries since I’d be mostly hidden beneath my black parka anyways. As I hopped in the car and backed out of the garage, the awe escaped me in a gasp of wonder. If you live in a northern clime and have experienced a hoar frost in the making, you know what I mean. If you live more southerly and haven’t experienced this incredible wonder of nature, it’s difficult to describe how beautiful it is. Photographs, no matter how artfully taken, fail to grasp the beauty of this natural phenomenon.

My local grocer is only a few blocks away but I kept on driving. I’m very grateful to live near a huge wild park preserve with a network of paths, some that run along the river, and picnic table areas scattered among the acres of old growth forest. It was definitely a ‘selling feature’ when we were house hunting.

As I drove past the grocery store and into the wild preserve, I was pleased with the lack of traffic. Indeed, everything seemed hushed and in slow motion. I found myself driving under the speed limit just to gape and marvel at the incredible sight of the trees frosted with white, their tall tips melting into grey fog. Luckily the speed limit is already very slow into this family-friendly park as I kept inching along. Keeping a close eye on my rear mirrors, I saw that no one was coming, or going, on this incredible morning.

Then I saw one person, with a small dog on a leash, walking out of the fog in front of me to cross the road. I happily stopped and leaned forward to look up at the exquisite splendor of the tall trees being painted with hoar frost icicles on every surface. Glancing in my mirrors I saw, again, no one behind me. I drove slowly deeper into the park, approaching the lake and the turn-around where the road ends.

The beauty of nature always feels like a painting by God to me, and the more beautiful the sight, the more deeply I am moved. This particular morning I was moved to tears. Perhaps that I was listening to Amy Grant’s ‘Better than a Hallelujah’ might have something to do with it, but mostly I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for life, and the gifts we are so freely given, every day, if we but open our eyes.

hoar frostAs I finished the drive and looped back towards the grocery store I realized, I wasn’t finished. Not yet. I wasn’t done admiring this incredibly beautiful and rare event of nature. I had to go back! Pulling a careful U-turn on that deserted road, I drove back to the one parking lot in the middle of the main cluster of picnic areas, a place I visit often in the warmer months. A place one can easily walk down to the river. I pulled in and parked not too far from the only other vehicle, a mini-van.

As I turned off the engine, wrapped my scarf around my neck a couple of times and pulled my wool hat and gloves from my bag, I saw the occupants of the van slowly heading towards the river. From their sizes I guessed one adult and three young children, all bundled in snow pants and parkas.

Seeking solitude, I headed the other way along a path following a creek that feeds into the massive river. The hush upon the forest couldn’t hide the occasional squeals and joyful shouts from the small gathering behind me, and it made me smile. I looked up at the treetops in the blanketing fog and quietly recited a poem aloud, knowing no one was around to hear and wonder about this woman speaking to herself.

There was tremendous duck and goose chatter at the river, and I was compelled to stop walking away from the commotion and instead go and see what kind of bird action was happening. As I turned around I noticed that the family hadn’t gone far, and instead were playing in a small copse of trees just beyond the parking lot. I walked past them towards the river, pausing at a small cluster of young aspen beside the path to touch the intricate frost icicles that formed along their thin branches.

As I approached the river I noticed more birds than I’d ever seen on this section of river before, and seeing as some were on this side of the river, I stopped well back since I didn’t want to disturb them. For several minutes I stood and watched this massive display of wildlife. There were Canadian geese intermingled with black Coots, and ducks of various species, and I estimated their numbers to be in the hundreds. Shuffling about for position, drifting into the swiftly flowing, deep river to glide to a new spot, these waterfowl were busily settling in for something, or conversing with relatives, re-establishing friendships… who knows for sure. But their noisy bustling was a wonderful sight and it helped swell my already happy heart up to nearly bursting with joy.

Google search forest+fogWith a smile on my face I turned to head back towards my car, since I hadn’t dressed appropriately and my legs and feet were getting quite cold. Seeing the mother and children (I’d heard her voice so now presumed the adult under the parka to be ‘mom’) slowly spreading onto the narrow footworn path I’d taken from the main path towards the river, and not wishing to interrupt them, I turned to the left to follow the main path. After several feet of walking I realized this route would take me much farther from my car before I could head back towards it, over a bridge.

I was too cold to walk the further distance so I turned around, deciding to head back through the family gathering on the pathway. They were climbing up out of the lower ground amidst the copse of trees they’d been in. I was about 20 feet away when the tallest child turned and saw me, a boy maybe 5 years old. He reached his arm out full length to point towards me and exclaim excitedly, “Look Mom! A PERSON!!”

I laughed out loud with the most joyous love overflowing from every part of my being. It was already a magical, meaningful morning for me, but NOW to be someone’s sighting! How fun is that?!

I waved as I laughed again, and said, “Yes, it’s me. A person!” and the mom smiled at me, undoubtedly having known of my whereabouts ever since I arrived in the park, just after them. The youngest one at her feet, about 2 years old, slipped and did the cutest little slide in his snow pants, down the one-foot embankment the snow-blower had left beside the paved pathway. He was smiling at me as he laid there. I said ‘whoopsie-daisy’ and his mom gently asked, ‘Are you alright buddy?’ to which his smiling face, still looking at me, replied, ‘Oh yes, that was nothing.’ My heart melted even more.

My walking had now brought me right amongst them, and I smiled at the mother and said, “This fog is really rather magical, isn’t it?” waving my hand in a sweeping motion, and she replied immediately “It IS rather magical! That’s why we’re out here.” “Yay. Good for you. Have a wonderful day!” “You too” she replied. The five year old ‘wildlife spotter’ called out, ‘There’s a great big hole to play in there!’ indicating the hollow in the wooded copse they’d spent much time in, and where I was walking past. I called back ‘Yay! What fun!’

I was someone’s sighting! I felt like Bigfoot, or better yet, Buddy the Elf in the forest when he was ‘spotted’ during his assistance of Santa’s crashed sleigh in that sweet, funny movie “ELF”. I chuckled and smiled all the way to my car… and all through the grocery store actually. That sweet child, and his enthusiasm at spotting ME coming out of the fog, made my day. How wonderful that I’d chosen to go beyond merely admiring the fog’s beauty from my car, and decided to actually walk in it, correct clothing or not. God gifted my choice with the pure sweet joy that radiates from happy children, and just remembering that moment makes me smile. And the chorus was playing in my mind, ‘We pour out our miseries… God just hears a melody… Beautiful, the mess we are… the honest cries of breaking hearts… are better than a hallelujah’

Yes I wasn’t dressed perfectly for a winter outing. Yes I felt overwhelmed with grief and sadness much of the time, but the beautiful fog captured my imagination and I forgot everything else. I went for it and was rewarded with a most joyful gift. This helps me remember to go with the flow and be open to whatever might happen. Things don’t need to be preplanned or perfect. I am not perfect and that is perfectly alright. God loves me, and all of us, just the way we are… hurting or not… right here and right now. He knows we’re working on it. We’re trying to get better, to be better, but we’re already good enough. Right now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my frosty and magical morning foray. May nature’s beauty gift you always with joy, love, and learning. And may we embrace the understanding that we are enough, just as we are.

This is what I felt like…

Bigfoot+walking

Okay… who am I kidding. You know I’m more like this!

Elf sighting