Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jealousy...What a Beautiful Emotion!

Jealousy, what an amazing and sneaky emotion! I was so pleased with myself the other day while thinking, “I am so glad I was created with the temperament such that I don’t find myself jealous of others, but rather find joy in their success, happiness and well-being, even if they have what I want.” Yes, it is as soon as we puff up our chests with a sentiment such as this that a reminder of our humanity is served to us on a silver platter, or Instagram.

This past Sunday the weather was unseasonably warm and was a day that beckoned outdoor play. I was sick and I had LOTS of work to do. I had no choice but to spend my day inside or rushing from place to place. I opened up Instagram and beautiful hiking photo after beautiful hiking photo popped up. I felt myself overcome with a pouty feeling at which I smiled.

One of my favorite lines from Maya Angelou’s book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is (paraphrased) “Sista, if you find something about yo’ self that you don’t like, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” This has been something I have returned to time and time again. You can replace “yo’self” with anything, a situation, circumstance, etc.  It is wonderful tool for balancing emotions and feeling truly happy and content in life.

Anyhow, I momentarily lamented about the beautiful January day that I unfortunately could not spend outside and then it fluttered away and I was able to feel joy for my friend who was out frolicking in it. To make up for the beautiful day I missed, I seized the opportunity and carved out an hour from my Monday afternoon to do a little playing myself.  In this case, my momentary tinge of jealousy served as an inspiration for me to feel joy for another and receive joy in the action I took as well.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Firefly Patch..

It never ceases to amaze me how when we push ourselves just a skosh, the gifts that reveal themselves to us. For instance, tonight...
I had already donned my paisley pajama pants and black camisole. I prepared a cup of chamomile tea with honey, overly-sweetened by most people's standards, but just the way I like it! I was ready to head upstairs when Abigail gave me the nod and ran to sit next to the front door. "Oy vey! I can't walk around the neighborhood in my jammies, Abigail." The voice of reason piped in... "What if I have to take a sh**?"
"Okay, you win." I quickly slipped on my black leather flip flops and headed out on our path. The humid summer night enveloped me as I walked. Tiny flickers surrounded me. It was as if I were walking through a firefly patch! That is, if there is such a thing. It brought me back to memories of childhood in my front lawn catching fireflies and storing them in a mason jar topped with a shiny gold lid punched with holes.
I felt like I hadn't seen fireflies in years! Is that even possible?
I continued walking with Abigail. I was a few paces behind her and we turned the block. As we approached the next corner, a man from his garage called out. I smiled, waved back and Abigail trotted up to greet him. "Great," I thought, "not exactly what I wanted on this walk!" After properly introducing Abigail and myself to this gentleman named Steve, he remarked, "Is she always so nice?" I smiled with great satisfaction and replied, "Yes, she is."
After giving her a minute to enjoy the company of her new friend, I gave a gentle cluck of my tongue and snap of my fingers. Abigail and I returned down the driveway to the sidewalk to continue on our path. At this moment, I felt myself overcome with joy.
To think... If I had been selfish and not given the extra 15 minutes it took to give Abigail an additional walk she longed for, how much joy I would have missed out on!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Stop to Smell the Roses

This morning’s walk is dedicated to Mary Oliver who I was recently introduced to … A woman whose relationship with her dog and nature are equally as strong….

Abigail and I have become accustomed to walking without a leash. I find it necessary to scoop her solid, little body up only when other dog owners of more ferocious dogs have their pets off of leashes and Abigail gets territorial.

During this morning’s walk around the block, she bolted across the street and started heavily sniffing a mailbox. I made my way across the street to give he a gentle nudge to come back to our walking path and she moves along to the next mailbox, then the next and then the large shrub. I can tell that she has had this desire and she is filling her palate with all new, intriguing scents.

She reminded me that we often go through our routine because we are in a hurry and because it is the most efficient way. It is often a very pleasant and stress free as well, but every once in awhile you have to break from your path and make a dart across the street to “stop to smell the roses”, or mailboxes!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


The word compassion is derived from the Latin roots com- "together" or “with”+ pati "to suffer" or “endure”. To endure or to suffer with another is something that comes from the heart.

One would think that experience begets compassion and that those who have experienced similar situations would inherently find compassion for others who follow the same path, but this isn’t always so. I have observed the opposite in both myself and others; the scenario in which those who have walked in the same shoes turn their back on those currently in similar situations. I once naively thought that circumstances of the same caliber were created equal. They are not. We have a different capacity for that which we can personally handle and for the compassion we have for others. For these reasons, all experiences are not created equal nor do equivalent circumstances beget commensurate amounts of compassion. However, it all balances out in the end. Fortunately, the world is blessed with souls who find compassion less the experience to obtain it.

I began writing this piece several months ago and kept running into fallacies in my thinking. I was troubled with how we could possibly create a more compassionate world when it is necessary to distance oneself from situations for the sake of self-preservation. My mind took twists and turns down a maze of thoughts as to where the balance was between compassion and self-preservation.  I had a moment of clarity while driving and quickly sketched out this train of thought in The Power of Intention.

This moment of clarity resulted in classifying different forms of compassion such that all people can be compassionate to one another always. It is all in one's intention. This in and of itself a difficult thing to understand and often misunderstood.

Branch to bough, with an open heart, compassion is always available for both the receiver and the giver.

Distant Compassion  

  • To endure or suffer with another from a distance in a detached state. In this state of compassion one can offer his hand to another through prayer, good thoughts and actions.

Indirect Compassion 

  • To endure or suffer with another while maintaining boundaries. An example of this may be to be directly involved in someone’s life, but choosing to abstain from conversation about that which they may be suffering. While I have no empirical evidence, my instinct tells me that albeit an extremely beneficial form of compassion to practice, indirect compassion is likely to be the least practiced. I find that people often go for outliers when it comes to unknown situations such as one where practicing a form of compassion is appropriate. It is easier to go all in or do nothing.

Direct Compassion

  • To endure or suffer with another directly. One might say this is a gentler form of empathy. When one has direct compassion for another she is involved in someone's life on a regular basis, understands the sufferings and endures them with him/her. This is not to say that she takes on the feelings of the sufferer. That would be moving into a position of empathy. We can have direct compassion for each other at all points in life, both good and troubled. Although, during the latter it is often beneficial for most to take positions of distant or indirect compassion. This form of compassion usually falls on caretakers, family members, spouses, lovers, etc

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Power of Intention...

I have been writing a piece on compassion for several weeks now and I have had a major breakthrough on a fallacy in the development of this piece that I didn’t know how to address. I found myself effortlessly typing through this fallacy and desired to reference another one of my writings regarding our words and thoughts and their intentions. I quickly looked through the documents saved on my desktop and lo and behold, I have not written this piece! I have spoken these ideas and referenced the quote mentioned below, but I have not put ink to paper or finger to keypad.

It was in 2005 around the time of Pope John Paul II’s death that I remember really thinking intensely about prayer and about how so many people in the world were actively in prayer together. I thought that although it was a beautiful thing that so many people were gathered in prayer together at this particular time, it would be nice if it happened more frequently. It was somewhere around that time that a St. Francis of Assisi quote found its way into my favorite quote book.

"Pray without ceasing. If necessary, use words."

How does one do this? Oh, how I love this catholic (in the lower-case sense of the word) quote! I interpret this to mean that all of our actions, interactions, thoughts, deeds, and words are all forms of prayer. Practicing mindfulness; being aware of the energy we put forth into the world and that we are all one and have the ability to impact others in both a positive and negative way. We are always praying whether we realize it or not. The true power comes from applying discernment, awareness and love to our daily life. No mala beads, rosaries or kneeling required.

Monday, September 23, 2013


September 12

The train of thought that I will now take that any reader that so chooses to follow me down began yesterday. However, I opted not to put fingers to keyboard until today in order not to diminish the gravity of tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001 by the parallel that I will soon draw.

Upon leaving mass yesterday, the thought occurred to me of the date. The common thing you hear on 9/11 is, “I remember where I was on 9/11”.  My mind wandered to where I was when I received a call. “Is your TV on?” I was sitting on the edge of my bed in my apartment in rural Murfreesboro, TN when I took that call. This image of me on the edge of my bed sparked the thought of another time I sat in the very spot on the edge of my bed and had a realization that has carried me over the past 12 years…

No matter what is taken from you; material possessions, your reputation, relationships, etc. The two things that no one can take from you are your ability to forgive and your ability to love. They are wellsprings.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Morning Walk, A Blue Top & A Chinese Proverb

A morning smile crept across my face as my 12 pound, bossy little lady gave her doggy version of a little girl putting her hand on her hips, tossing her head to one side as her pig-tails set high upon either side of her head follow and said, “Come on mom. I want to go outside. This is soooooo boring!” I was being selfish and was already busy at work before taking her for her morning walk. I sometimes forget that I enjoy these walks equally as much as she does.

This morning’s walk was filled with the oscillating cadences of nature’s song. It’s hard to place all of the sounds. This morning I was curious as to what controlled the different rate at which crickets and other insects chirp and learned there is a correlative effect to temperature and this relationship is known as Dolbear’s Law.

Anyhow, during this perfect, peaceful morning walk down a tree-lined verdant street; I noticed an electric blue, round plastic top, which measured about 3 inches in diameter. The lid had slits in it, which were in the form of pinwheels. I may have past it once or twice before. Actually, I am pretty sure I have, but I tend to daydream on my walks, so I have never given it much thought. However, yesterday, I saw this very same top on my godson’s snack holder. It is a brilliant invention!!! It is designed so that the little tyke can get his hand into the snack holder and the snacks don’t easily fall out!

The point to this morning’s rambling is that we often see things in life, pass by them, listen to them (songs), read them etc. But after we experience them, they take on meaning and we recognize them for what they are.

I had no idea when I began writing this that I would get to share one of my all-time favorite quotes!! Yay :)

Tell me, I’ll forget.

 Show me, I’ll remember.

 Involve me. I’ll understand.

Chinese Proverb