Photographic Journal: Azalea Walk

The azaleas are currently at the height of their blooming season in our area.  Lovers, artists, and photographers alike flock to the gardens for romantic strolls and inspiration. Pair the blaze of colors with the setting sun and your are in for an enchanting evening.

Azalea Walk_1

Meditation: Before I Die ….

This photo has been taken at the Redux Art Studios in Charleston, SC.  It was part of the “Before I Die” travelling installation which has made its way around the world.

What are your dreams?  What is it that you want to do before you die?

Why Look In The Mirror?

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Why look in the mirror?
Don’t we already know our bodies from the inside out?
Are we not already connected with them in the most intimate way possible?

Think of your arms and legs.
Your arms will perform any task you command them to do,
  no matter how straining and difficult.
Your legs will sedulously carry you wherever you ask them to take you,
  no matter how far or how high.

Think of your eyes, mouth, ears, nose, and hands.
They are your portals to the outer world and to life itself.
How tirelessly they take in air, nourishment, and outer stimuli,
And help you express your inner life to the outer world!

Why look in the mirror and judge your miraculous body
  that is so supportive and perfect?
You already know it.  It is the temple in which your soul resides.
Treat it with gratitude, kindness, and great care!

			

The Beauty in Flaws

Recently I stumbled upon a rose bush which was void of any leaves.  However, as I looked more closely, I noticed something peculiar about it:  it had one big, plump rose bud.

All the other rose bushes nearby had an abundance of leaves.  Yet the leafless rose bush was not concerned with that. It did not compare itself to the other rose bushes.  It did not get depressed or let envy get in its way.  Instead, it decided to bloom and reveal its unique beauty to the world  the way it was intended to. And gorgeous it was!

The observation above reminded me of our obsession with looks.  We worry so much about perceived flaws in our physique.  We feel pressured to measure up to unachievable, unrealistic standards.  Of course, by default hardly anyone ever does.

The truth is, we are all beautiful and perfect just as we are in our own uniqueness.  There is only one of you and one of me.  Let us follow the example of the leafless rose bush and unfold our own unique beauty the way we are intended to.

At the End of the Day

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I rest my head on a soft pillow of lush green moss and

cover my body with a warm blanket of twinkling, golden stars. Then

I say good night to mother Earth and father Heaven and

the ten thousand things.

Bridge Crossings

 
A bridge represents movement and direction. Movement is good. Where there is movement, there is no stagnation, or stagnation is about to dissolve. Crossing a bridge is like being in liminal space. One is in between two points. The bridge itself is not the destination, it’s the means to get to the other side.
Compared to the place of departure and the destination, there is nothing going on on the bridge. One could even say that it is empty. Yet it may be precisely this emptiness, the beautiful vistas of the sky, the water and the land and the anticipation of the destination on the other side that makes crossing a bridge so exhilarating.
However, crossing a bridge is usually not easy. A bridge can be steep. It may take a lot of effort to cross it. Any bridge runner or walker can testify to that. It is good to prepare for the crossing by learning about the bridge and bringing along things that sustain us and help make the strenuous journey more comfortable.
We cross bridges because we hope for something worthwhile on the other side. If our longing is strong enough, we will decide to tackle the effort it takes to get across. Sometimes our yearning pales before the anticipated effort and we endlessly postpone crossing a bridge, although deep inside we know that we need to set out and do this.
I am on a bridge right now, on the ascending side. This means I am on the steep side that takes the most effort. The zenith of my crossing is not even in sight yet, leave alone the other side. I am on a spiritual journey that is both hard and liberating.
Exactly two years and eight months ago something happened that provided the impetus to catapult me out of my ‘old’ life and comfort zone and set me on my spiritual bridge crossing. It was a book I read, or rather the author of this book. Since that moment in time in August 2009, I have been in that liminal space with the beautiful vistas and the anticipation of something much more worthwhile on the other side, prepared and equipped with the teachings and practices of old sages who crossed the bridge before me.
Although, I don’t know my destination, those before me have described it extensively and provided the necessary maps and instructions. This they have done for me and for all of mankind out of the indescribable love and compassion they have developed during their own journey and bridge crossing. That’s how I know that my destination on the other side of the bridge is worthwhile and I am ready to put forth the effort to reach it.
While trotting along on my path, I will marvel at the vistas of the sky, the water and the earth and work hard on developing those qualities in myself that I so admire in the old sages.

In Response To Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist Blog Entry

To wander the palace
while guarding the treasure

Enjoying the splendors
not falling for pleasure

Reveals the secret we desperately seek
eternal happiness to us will speak

 

Link to Paulo Coelho’s Blog entry:  http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/04/19/the-two-drops-of-oil-3/

Faith

Row seven.  I started with nothing.  Now there are seven interwoven rows.  A form is emerging from something raw and formless.  It is a beginning.  Will the final form look the way I want it to?  Will it be the right size?

Soon I have to change my strategy.  The first part, the ribbing can only be continued until it measures 2.5 inches.  Then I have to change course.  Later on, I will have to change course again.  At some points I have to increase at others decrease.  Only this way all will fit together.

There is no guarantee that the end result will be as I expect it.  It takes faith to continue without this certainty.  Only with faith do I get to the end. Without faith, reluctance will weigh heavily on me and I won’t be able to either start or continue.

In the end, I will put it all together.  It will form one usable whole.  All separate pieces merge and become one.  I will have a sense of accomplishment and joy.

I will look back and remind myself that without faith, diligence and continues hard work there would be no result.  Yes, there were times of doubt and hesitancy. Times where I misread the pattern or my attention lapsed and work had to be unraveled and done over again the right way. Times where I wanted to give up.  I will tell myself that everything starts with faith and is led to completion through the ups and downs by upholding faith.

That’s the creative process.  No matter if we are creating a sweater, a painting, a story or developing the full potential of our Selves, all requires faith.

The Stream of Life

Next time when in the shower, cup your hands together and let the water run into them while holding them close to one ear.  Listen!  Can you hear the sound of the endless stream of water splashing in your hands?  It is like the stream of life: continuous, ungraspable, dynamic, never stopping, endless.

By capturing the sound of the water in our cupped hands, it is as though we could make the stream of life audible.  Actually, it is audible!  Sit comfortably on a chair, close your eyes, and just listen.  What do you hear?