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LET NATURE GIVE YOU DAILY INSPIRATION

A Wave upon a Beach for daily inspiration “We have to support the beauty, the poetry, of life.” ~ Jonas Mekas
 
What a difference it would make if we could let nature give us daily inspiration. Surely within us there would be more peace. Among us there would be more harmony if we sauntered along sandy beaches, toured through rich gardens or hiked Red Rock trails, smelled juniper and mesquite, and admired cyan-blue sky. What If we could stroll through sunny meadows or meander through shady forests?
 
Instead of remaining angry, instead of feeding fear, in some way, let’s let the natural world soothe us, heal us, and guide us toward peace, harmony, and respect for all people and all creation.
 
We may see a lot that disturbs us, but much more love and hope and courage and compassion is happening in the world now. Let’s look for that. Let’s share news of that. Let’s be a part of that. And if we can’t be near nature in some vast form, let’s bring in a houseplant, watch birds, and smell the freshness of a lemon. Seriously, there is always a way to find a little blossom and connect to it.

With hope,
Charlene

The Twelve Gifts from the Garden book
We can also receive daily inspirations from quotes, reflections, and stories about nature.
My forthcoming book, The Twelve Gifts from the Garden: Life Lessons for Peace and Well-Being
is filled with them. Arriving September 15, you can pre-order it now,    https://tinyurl.com/yxhoa5tr
If you liked Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Twelve Gifts from the Garden is very similar, with flowers and trees on Sanibel Island stirring the stories instead of shells on Florida’s sister island, Captiva. Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of Anne and Charles Lindbergh and author of Two Lives, says this about The Twelve Gifts from the Garden:

In this lovely, thoughtful series of meditations on what the author calls the “simple-yet-sacred” moments of our lives, Charlene Costanzo calls upon the beauty of the natural world outside ourselves as well as the quiet wisdom that lies within us, offering strength and healing. This book is a gift of peace and comfort for all readers.

Other advance readers agree that this book will have a prominent place among inspirational gifts and best friend gift ideas and say things like:

 “There is so much to learn from nature and Charlene ties it all together beautifully .
   I didn’t want the book to end and I know I will read it again and again.” – Adrienne Falzone, author, The Search for the Perfect Shell and other children’s books.

“The Twelve Gifts from the Garden is a joyful read bursting with the beauty of nature and reflections of lessons learned in life.  I have been a fan of Charlene Costanzo’s daily emails and books for many years.  Most mornings reading her reflections give me goosebumps because they are like having a cup of coffee with God.  They are what I would imagine God would be saying to me in that moment because Charlene’s reflections were inline with what I prayed the night before.  This is a wonderful book to gift yourself and others!  – Gina La Benz, author of Anchor Moments:  Hope, Healing, and Forgiveness

“From the very first paragraph, I felt my spirit stirred—like when you don’t know how thirsty you are until that first sip of cool water. Instantly, I was transported to an enchanted island to experience insightful gifts alongside the author. Her prose is as soothing as the scenes she describes. Charlene will renew your wonder and gratitude for our beautiful earth, and the gifts and lessons available to us all when we’re mindfully watching.” – Angela Howell, author of Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness


“Just as the waves of the sea ebb and flow, so do the currents of our lives. Charlene Costanzo’s
The Twelve Gifts from the Garden, with its stunning imagery and poignant recollections, reminds us to savor the pleasures and discoveries of the day, the healing power of nature, and the joy of connection — to oneself and others.” Maryann Ridini Spencer, award-winning screenwriter and bestselling author of Lady in the Window and The Paradise Table

FOOD FOR THE SOUL – TODAY’S TWELVE GIFTS TOUCHSTONES

 

 

“I hope you never lose your sense of wonder…”

~ Lee Ann Womack

 

 

 

Me too, Lee Ann.  I wish that wonder would be protected and nourished in every child and adult.

I believe we can’t actually lose the wonderment we were born with, just as we can’t lose our innate gifts of hope, joy, courage, compassion, love or any of the qualities that are a part of our essence. But we can lose our sense of them.  It seems to me that we all sometimes lose our sensing of the beauty that’s built into our being.  If we ignore them, we can get out of touch with all of our inner gifts.

That’s why I write “touchstones” and share them freely each day. They feed my gifts. They feed my soul. And sharing them doesn’t diminish them one bit. In fact, the more they’re shared, the more their nutritional power grows like yeasted dough.

I’m resolving to deepen my awareness of and appreciation for the gifts of life in the New Year. Care to join me in this intention for 2018? That’s all we need to begin: the intention. We’ll be guided further.

Already I’m feeling a surge of increased enthusiasm for messages that uplift and encourage us. And not only for the touchstones I compose. I’ll be watching for inspiration in books, films, music, news and all forms of expression and communication. If you don’t already receive Today’s Touchstone via email, perhaps you’ll subscribe now, using the form on this website.

Before closing, I’d like to add a few more lines from the well-known song recorded by Lee Ann Womack:

“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance”

With joy,
Charlene

THE POWER OF WONDER

“May you see the world with wonder.” 
– from The Twelve Gifts for Healing                             
                              

 

Like Charlotte Eriksson, “I want to remember to notice the wonders of each day, in each moment, no matter where I am, under any circumstance.”  And that includes the circumstances of sickness, sadness, and stress. How about you?

Did you know that wonder promotes healing?

​​​​​​​“The more I wonder, the more I love,” said Alice Walker. Love promotes healing too. As does beauty. And joy.

We were bursting with wonderment in early childhood. It wanes as we age. But we can re-invigorate our sense of wonder. Why would we?

Well, for one reason, as Einstein said, “Whoever…can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead.

 What stirred wonder in you when you were a                            child? What does now?

 Did you experience wonderment when you saw a wildflower growing through a sidewalk crack? The bare roots of a tree clinging to the side of a rocky mountain? Sun stars sparkling on water? Bright green insects? Baby ducklings? A newborn child? The Milky Way?

Do you still feel a little thrill of joyful awe
when you see “God rays” streaming from above
through a break in the clouds? For many people, that sight is a touchstone for faith and wonder.  

How about when you see a full rainbow or a double one?

Let’s intend to experience wonder somehow, somewhere today. At least once.

Along with setting the intention to experience wonder, expect to be delighted. Give thanks for the awesome beauty you trust you will see. Open your mind, your heart, and your eyes. Your ears too. Notice what happens for you.

With reverence,
Charlene

ANOTHER LESSON FROM TURTLE

“After a long, lonesome and scary time…
the people listened and began to hear…
And to see God in one another…
and in the beauty of all the Earth.
Old Turtle smiled.
And so did God.”

~ Douglas Wood

 

Are you familiar with the book, Old Turtle?

I thought of it when I saw sea turtles at Caneel Bay on the island of St. John and when I wrote the previous message.

Here’s the essence of that story.

There was time before humans when all creation could speak and understand one another.

One day the breezes, the stones, the mountains, the fish, the stars, the ants, the antelopes,the trees, the islands, the sun, the waters…everything….started describing God. And they began to argue.

“She is a hunter, roared the lion.
“God is gentle,” chirped the robin.
“He is powerful,” growled the bear.

The arguments grew louder and fiercer.

Finally, Old Turtle spoke.
She said that God is all that they described and more.

“God is indeed deep,
she said to the fish in the sea;          
and much higher than high,
she told the mountains.
He is swift and free as the wind,
and still and solid as a great rock,
she said to the breezes and stones…
God is all that we dream of,
and all that we seek,
all that we come from
and all that we find.
God IS.”

The message is already powerful.
But there’s more.
It’s about the coming of people.

“They will be strong yet tender,
a message of love from God to the Earth,
and a prayer from the earth back to God…

But the people forgot…
they were a message of love
and a prayer from the earth.
They began to argue…
and hurt one another…
And they hurt the earth…
…even the forests
began to die…”

At that crisis time,
all the creatures began to speak
to the people from their ancient wisdom.

“After a long, lonesome and scary time…
the people listened and began to hear…”

May we soon get better
at listening
and hearing
and honoring
how we all see differently.

May we revere the earth
and all creatures too.
And see God in one another
and in the beauty of the earth.

Imagine if we each did that.

Seeing it so,
Charlene

 

GLIMPSING HEAVEN

Sun on the Sea

 

“Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.”
                                                   ~ Henry Ward Beecher

 

Through tears, I’ve glimpsed into heavenly places the past few weeks.

A kindergarten classmate of my grandchildren died the day after Christmas after showing slight signs of illness on Christmas Eve.  A serious, mysterious decline happened so fast.

Since then I’ve been experiencing how shock and grief can lead to seeing what is hidden behind the clouds of everyday consciousness….that human life is awesome, wondrous, and precious, which seems to me is a glimpse of heaven. I’ve also experienced how shuddering with sorrowful tears can shake and break a heart in a way that opens it to a flood of heavenly love and compassion.

May we not be afraid of tears. They can lead us to healings and learnings as well as to awakenings and glimpses of heaven. I’ve also heard that tears are a sign of Spirit moving through us.

Whatever life brings for us each day, may we cherish it and live it well, with wonderment, reverence, gratitude, and joy.                                                                                                    Gratitude, Joy, and Zest for Life


“It’s only when we truly know and understand

that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have
no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”                              
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

THIS MEANS SOMETHING!

Have you ever seen the 1977 science fiction film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind? The main character, Roy, who is played by Richard Dreyfuss, has a vague image of a mountain in his mind after he sees a UFO. Feeling compelled to find the meaning of that mountain, he attempts to form that mountain in a pile of shaving cream in his hand, in a heap of mashed potatoes on his dinner plate, and in mounds of sand outdoors, as well as in soil he carts into his kitchen. With each zealous effort, he exclaims, “This means something! This means something!”

Sometimes I feel like that character, Roy. Often, when I think about, speak about, or write about life’s gifts, my heart seems to proclaim, “This means something! This means something…SOMETHING MUCH MORE THAN WE YET REALIZE!” And I want to know: what is it about these gifts that we do not yet realize? I sense that when we do realize (as in understand), we are going to realize (as in bring about) a profound transformation.

I sense that, even with the high regard and deep appreciation I have for life’s gifts, it is only a dim glimmer compared to what is possible for us to realize. Perhaps that’s why, like the film character Roy, I feel driven to seek better understanding of these gifts and to learn how to use them consciously day-by-day.

I invite you to join me on this quest. Together, let’s realize.

THE THIRTEENTH GIFT

March 1st, is the release date for The Thirteenth Gift, my latest book.

Ever since writing the first version of The Twelve Gifts of Birth for my daughters, I mused about a situation described in that book:

“…the wise women came to understand that the twelve royal gifts of birth belong to every child, born anywhere, at any time. They yearned to proclaim the gifts to all children, but the customs of the land did not allow that.”

I wondered, What did those godmothers do? And what happened as a result?

The Thirteenth Gift reveals the answers to this these questions–and others–when the book’s main character, Claire, a U.S. journalist on assignment in Eastern Europe, stoops to pick up a stone and meets Baba. The old woman explains to Claire why so many people throughout the world find stones alluring. The legend told by Baba has a profound healing effect on Claire.

I hope that this story will renew your sense of wonder…as it did for Claire…as it did for me.