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WHAT’S BEAUTY, NANA?

WHAT'S BEAUTY?Both of my four-year old grandchildren, Alexis and Anthony, recently asked, “What’s beauty, Nana?” It was after hearing the chorus of the song, I See Beauty.

I see beauty, all around me
Inside you and be
I see beauty.

I found it tricky to answer. What would you say?

It’s interesting that they asked “What is beauty?” because they will often say “That is beautiful” about many things, such as the sky, trees, flowers, rainbows… the natural world. Already a girly girl, Alexis also comments on pink clothing, shoes, and princess items as “beautiful.”

But since we’ve been playing the song now and then, I think that are starting to understand the essence of beauty itself.
The rest of the lyrics are helping:

I see beauty all around
From the sky down to the ground
in the flowers in the trees
Inside you and me.

I see beauty every day
In hugs and smiles that come my way
In everything we say and do
It flows through me and you.

Yes, The Twelve Gifts of Birth Music is a help. So is the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids. Check them both out for the children in your life.

We can also watch for opportunities to comment and say things like, “Ah-ha. I see beauty right now in the way you are… being kind, helping your sister, caring about your friend, sharing your toy, being truthful, apologizing, forgiving…

As the song goes, let’s aim to see beauty everywhere, especially inside you and me.

SEE WITH AWE

SEE WITH WONDERWhat a beautiful idea. Imagine if we could see at least one thing this way every day. What joy that would bring. Peace too.

How do we do this?  We don’t see as we did when we were children. With wonderment. Over time our senses have dulled. We’ve seen so much. Perhaps too much. There may be things we wish we have never seen. Continue reading

BE WILLING TO TAKE A NEW STAND

Sedona Red Rock“Sometimes a slight change in where we stand can dramatically change how we see things.”
~ Melody Beattie

I love how this is true both literally and symbolically.

For a literal example, consider the Red Rock formations of Sedona, Arizona. Many of them are named according to how they look when viewed from certain vantage points, such as Merry-Go-Round, Snoopy, and God’s Chair. 

We used to live near what is called “Coffee Pot Rock.” From that area, the formation does resemble an old style percolator. But, when seen from various spots along hiking trails, that same rock can look like a chicken or just a rock with no meaningful shape.

May we be willing to see things differently by making changes in how and where we stand on positions and life situations, especially if we find ourselves seeing ourselves and others as wrong, bad, or just not good enough.

Today, let’s take a stand that allows us to see beauty.

BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD

“Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

                                                                                          ~ Courtroom Oath Question      

A few days ago I wrote a touchstone that invited us all to be courageous and hopeful about beginning something for the first time or “yet again.”    

When I wrote that touchstone, I thought of many possible “somethings” I might approach with this fresh start intention, such as eating more greens and organizing my office, to name two simple ones.

But when I read that touchstone in my own email in-box, something deeper came up from the guiding voice within. Be impeccable with your word, I heard, which, as you may know, is the first of the four principles written about in the bestselling book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.   Continue reading

HOPE FOR ALL AGES AND STAGES OF LIFE

 A week ago, Suffield High School Principal Donna Hayward in Suffield, Connecticut delivered a commencement address that was inspired by The Twelve Gifts of Birth.  I’m sharing it here because I believe Ms. Hayward’s message of hope and courage is for all of us. Thank you, Donna, for permission to post your speech along with your photo. I hope to meet you someday, new friend!  And thank you, dear reader. As always, I would love to hear your comments.  

Donna HaywardClass of 2014, you are just minutes from receiving your high school diploma. Your parents are wondering how you got here so fast, as it seems such a short time ago that you were born. Just a few years ago, you took your first steps, spoke your first words, got on the school bus kindergarten bound, learned to ride a bike. This is a natural time for your parents to reflect on the last 18 or so years and for us, your teachers, to reflect on whatever role we have played in your upbringing. As it turns out, teaching and parenting are closely related.

When my daughter was born, we received the usual tidal wave of gifts – blankets, cute little outfits, and baby gear of all kinds. One gift, in particular, though stood out as it arrived without a note or tag from the sender to indicate who had given it. One day, it simply arrived in my mailbox – its message clear – but to this day I don’t know who sent it. It was a book entitled, The Twelve Gifts of Birth, by Charlene Costanzo and it details the gifts or qualities bestowed upon each of you upon your birth as a human. “Royal dignity was yours from the day you were born,” the book begins – and on that day and on a day such as this all parents and teachers hope their children know these gifts. My role today is to remind you that you do all have them and to implore you to use them consciously and with purpose from this day forward.

The first gift is Hope and each of you were born with it. Continue reading

CATS: AND THE LESSONS THEY TEACH US

We have two cats. Both adopted us in 2001.

 

My husband and I were traveling in a motor home from Arizona to Florida.

 

MinkaAt a KOA in Texas, as we pulled onto our site, a homeless Tortie kitten raced across the campground, sat, and meowed outside our door. We let her in and named her Minka.

 

Three days later, a handsome grey shorthair did the same thing at a campground in Orlando. We named him Bailey.

 

Over the years, Minka and Bailey have given us many gifts and life lessons. They’ve shown us how to play, be silly, stretch, be flexible and graceful, cuddle, snuggle, nap, be present, savor scents and all our senses, stay nicely groomed, and more.

 

Last week, Bailey was diagnosed with widespread carcinomatosis. Our vet saidBailey that our sweet boy cat has perhaps two months to live. Probably less. Among the hard things: we are going to have to decide when to say when.

 

We’ve never had to put a pet down. We aim to preserve life. In fact, in our home we’ve had a catch-and-release program (for spiders, mice, and other unwelcomed house guests) in place since the 1980s.

 

But we must consider Bailey’s comfort and quality of life.

 

Among the good things: facing death hurts, and yet it can lead us toward greater love and compassion.  Continue reading

COURAGE IS ONE STEP FORWARD

“Courage is one step ahead of fear.” ~ Coleman Young
Bridge through Jumble Jungle  

When I first came upon this quote, I questioned it. It seemed to me that fear often comes before courage. Is this the case for you too? But then I saw the quote differently and had a shift in understanding. Yes, I may encounter fear first, but courage is ahead, leading the way.

So, fear not what’s ahead, around the corner, where you cannot yet see. Take a step, then another, into courage, with courage. It’s not only out there, one step ahead, but you have it in you, along with many other gifts, including one the world needs you to give. 

Let courage lead the way for you to be fully you and to realize your highest and dearest dreams. 

 

SIGN OF PEACE FOR THE NEW YEAR

a sign of  peaceI was walking along when suddenly a white dove, holding a twig in its beak, flew onto a branch in the tree in front of me. He, or she, let me get close and we watched each other for awhile. What a sweet sign of peace that was for me.

 

Wishing you peace in the new year. A full flow of hope, love, and joy, too. May the best of life’s gifts be powerfully present for you today and every day.

 

Here’s something to consider: Holding a touchstone related to our inner resources can help keep us mindful and open to the gifts within. If you wish to try holding an inspirational touchstone each day, please see the box on the upper right side of my website where you can subscribe. It’s easy and free.