Have You Seen the Rose Bush?

The whole is some of everything

if we but open our eyes to see.

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Growing pains

do not require suffering.

Pruning

encourages growth.

Endings

are beginnings. 

Instead of shooing away challenges

welcome the fortitude of character

as an expansive, cleansing belly breath.

Out. In. Up. Down.

We are the sum of everything —

life experiences,

thoughts, feelings, paths taken.

The Prickly Fine Print

I often viewed challenges as problems, headaches, when in reality my narrow perspective was the constricting chokehold. My limited vision obstructed a panorama of possibilities in what appeared a seemingly bleak situation.

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Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

 

Hearing someone say they were so busy looking at the thorn that they missed the rose, wiped the spattered looking-glass for me.  Working in the garden and studying the Tao pryed open the door to a scopic reality.

 

 

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While I now see both the roses and the thorns, I am learning to not judge either as good or bad but as a unified connection, one simply needing the other in life.

 

 

 

Original feature photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

 

 

A garden then and now…

No surprise to me, this inspirational sentiment about a garden’s virtues.  What is surprising though, is that it was written by the Persian poet Saadi who lived more than 700 years ago.  Can you imagine the beauty he beheld then, before industry dominated our planet?  If I find a garden breathtaking now, I wonder what it was like for Saadi to see?  Could it have been even more beautiful…more uplifting, more astonishing than the way it fills my heart now?

 

Feeling Awkward Around Young Kids?

Reading a snippet about feeling awkward around kids reaffirmed there is nothing wrong with those who feel uncomfortable around children.   Perhaps you have no experience with kids.  Does your gut groan around pre-adolescents…looking for what to say?  Have you purposely chosen to not father children but instead protectively care for plants, pets, or a project benefiting the planet?

Rather than judge or condemn, I respect those who live authentically.  One size does not fit all.  We are not meant to be experts at everything; some are better at some things than others, and sustaining that diversity honors all life.   I respect individuality but believe all of us need nurturing in whatever form it may be as evidenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson‘s sentiments:

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My joy is in a serene garden and when helping others.  Over three decades, I have created three-season flowering gardens, beautiful landscaping for the natural environment, and deliciously fresh organic vegetables and herbs.  It’s hard to say who was more nurtured in these activities — the plants or me — but, assuredly, the benefits were far-reaching.


Fathering is “to treat with protective care.”

What are you fathering?


 

 

Digging with Orphans in the Garden

Digging in the dirt…unearthing rocks, weeds, my thoughts turn to life’s struggles…times my heart was breaking and I did not see a way out, a reasonable solution, how to get past the pain of the moment.  Not knowing what else to do, I dug in the dirt.  I weeded.  I carried rocks.  Pails of small ones, and wheelbarrows of large ones until I ached.  Ached so bad I could barely sleep but went back out and did it all over again the next day.  And the next.

Unable to remove the boulder that was there, and would always be there like unresolved abysmal hurt, I tried to conceal it.  Find a way around it.  Moving on, I cultivated the impermeable soil to breathe and grow while filling my thoughts with affirmations and new perspectives.  Taking time to nurture nature, nature began nurturing me.

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Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

If you’ve ever felt dishonored or abandoned, turn to nature.  Love her.  Honor her.  Nurture her to soothe the soul.  She is always there for you.

 

 

 

Take orphans — or any neglected children — into the garden.  Create.  Nurture.  Love.  Watch them grow.

 

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Featured black/white photo (original in color) by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash.

Get a Universal Hug!

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day sat on my bucket list for several years.  With no events offered in my small, semi-rural community, I made up my mind last year to drive 1.5 hours to participate.  The powerful group energy felt like a profoundly calming universal hug, not to mention the good people I met and now have the pleasure of studying the Tao with.   Yes, I make the 3 hour roundtrip drive to do this monthly but it brings me so much pleasure it’s a worthy investment.  Now, World Tai Chi & Qigong Day is an annual must do event for me.  (FYI, it’s always the last Saturday in April at 10AM local time.)

As an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person),  safeguarding my own peace and serenity (aka well-being) is critical for me.  Detaching from the bombardment of frenetic and frantic energy through sensationalized “news” while staying engaged with humans and the environment is key, and I’m meeting numerous others with similar observations.  Like the waitress who sadly said, “I’m serving more and more families who come in and sit glued to their phones rather than talk to each other.  It doesn’t make sense!”  Or the fellow concert goer who high-fived me after first responding in shock, “You did what?!  I’d like to give up this thing too and get my life back.”

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For the record, I recognize some value in having technology like GPS or locating a restaurant in an unfamiliar city, but it’s not worth the expense to me — financially, mentally or emotionally. I just don’t need technology. My life M.O. has changed to “discarding” rather than “adding” non-essentials. I value my time more. I see how easily I could become addicted. And I see the stress — whether to the user or those around them — from constantly pinging phones interrupting each moment, deteriorating eye contact and banishing personal interaction. I see others trying to remedy their lives after their electronic financial accounts were hacked… What I don’t see is the value of turning my life over to technology.

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Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash

But anyway, the point of this post is to encourage you to try World Tai Chi & Qigong Day if you haven’t already.  Whether you are or aren’t engaged with technology, Tai Chi and Qigong are certain to bring a calmness into your life.  And couldn’t we all use that these days?

Visit this site to find an event near you:  http://www.worldtaichiday.org 

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Can You Love More than One Day?

Pets are on my mind.  I’ve finished viewing “The Truth about Pet Cancer” which I alerted you to in my previous post “Your Pet Trusts You.”  And with today being National Pet Day I’m thinking about these beloved creatures more than usual.   According to PetSecure.com, “Americans spend over $50 billion annually on their pets, and 36% give their dogs birthday presents.”  But why wait for one special day when animals freely give us their love, forgiveness and attention 365 days, year after year after year?

Don’t have, or can’t have a pet you say?  It doesn’t matter.  Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter American animal shelters every year.  These animals don’t have a pet parent or pet guardian — their only hope is caring humans.  Cats and dogs come in varied sizes, so are the ways you can help.  Here’s some options:

dog-hugShop on Amazon Smile and get 0.5% of your purchase donated to a 501(c)(3) pet charity registered on their site.   Even better, buy some pet supplies via Amazon Smile then donate them to your local SPCA, no-kill shelter or rescue group.

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Support no-kill shelters.  Look for no-kill shelters in your area:  https://www.nokillnetwork.org/no-kill-animal-shelters.php

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Aid rescue groups.  Some rescue groups are breed specific:

http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/maps/feral-cat-groups/feral_cats_list.html

https://www.habitatforhorses.org/state-national-rescue-links/

For some tips on rescue groups visit:  http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-breeds-breed-specific-rescue-group-adoption-tips or http://www.avianwelfare.org/links/organizations.htm

dog hug boyAssist with dog transport and save the life of a dog on death row:

FreedomTrainTransports: http://freedomtraintransports.com

If you’re on FB or Yahoo, take a look at these sites to see what you can do:

Animal Rescue Transport Network: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Animal-Rescue-Transport-Network/117998798306519

Rescue Angels on Wheels: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RescueAngelsonWheels

goat hug ladyHelp find homes for orphaned pets by signing-up for Shelter Pet PR and promoting the pets on your social media site:  https://www.dosomething.org/us/campaigns/shelter-pet-pr

And what about that beloved pet you do have?  I thought I gave good care — at least until I realized that Big Farma and Big Pharma have also corrupted the pet food and medical “industries.”  Remember, your animal friend relies on you to give them the best of health. It’s not that difficult (and you’ll become healthier too).

 

Feed a breed-specific diet and the best diet you can afford.  For instance, use quality canned food for cats who can dehydrate easily and need more moisture; and if your dog can’t tolerate a totally raw diet, select kibble without soy, corn or rice, and is preferably organic.  Supplement a few times each week with raw meat-based scraps and chopped brightly colored veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli and carrots.  Blueberries and even a raw egg now and then are good too.  Just skip the pizza crust and other highly processed foods!  That includes colored food treats too.

Offer plenty of clean water — spring or distilled rather than fluoridated city water — in metal or ceramic bowls.  (Get rid of plastic dishes.)

Play with nontoxic toys, get lots of exercise and sunshine!

Consult a holistic vet especially if your pet buddy is already not feeling well.  They are trained to help pets achieve quality living without costly surgeries, pharmaceuticals or side effects:  https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/

Bess still thanks me for taking her for acupuncture.  In two treatments she was running like a pup again — even though she was 11 (and now doing well at 13).  She’s not leaving a spec behind of the raw purple cabbage and kale with flaxseed oil and organic raw chicken added to her kibble!

Include animals in your will.  If you have a chunk of cash to leave behind, consider naming a charitable pet organization in your will.  None of us will be here forever so make sure your pets will be cared for in the event you depart first.  For some helpful info, visit: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/protect-your-prized-pet-create-a-pet-trust or https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/pet-trusts.html

Of course, the standbys of donating money, supplies, and volunteering your time are always needed.  Hopefully, National Pet Day is the kickstart for you helping animals all year long — just like the love they give to us every day.

Oh, and if you missed National Hug Your Dog Day yesterday (4/10) — just give them a hug every day too.

Contemplating Compost

Death is not so permanent as one might think.  When contemplating compost, you more fully understand the cycle of life.  Fruits and vegetables provide nutrition to us.  Flowers offer beauty.  When their peelings, parings, stems and leaves are tossed into the bin to decompose, in time they become nutrition for the soil.   Black gold I like to call it.

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This rich compost continues nurturing us by transforming the soil to produce nutritious fruits and vegetables, and flowers to soar the spirit.

And so the cycle of life continues.  Quite simple, really.  Nature shows us how.  So what is all the fear about?

compost dirt

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

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Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

Nature Teacher: Apologies

Tree boughs lie pummeled to the ground,

shrubs remain paralyzed with ice

like lingering stinging words

from tormenting razor-sharp winds

and a staccato of angry snow piercing the air.

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Apologetic vivid blue skies and dazzling sunshine

appear the next day

as the bouquet offered after an argument

yet tangled branches of bewilderment remain.

Time sometimes softens deep wounds.

Some rebound.

Some do not.