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A Month of Poetry

“I say, ‘Get me some poets as managers.’ Poets are our original systems thinkers. They contemplate the world in which we live and feel obligated to interpret, and give expression to it in a way that makes the reader understand how that world runs. Poets, those unheralded systems thinkers, are our true digital thinkers. It is from their midst that I believe we will draw tomorrow’s new business leaders.”

– Sidney Harman, CEO Multimillionaire of a stereo components company
from Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

……………………….

Be still my heart. April is National Poetry Month, and all the world is celebrating poetry’s glories. Well, maybe not the whole world, but surely as it runs in my blood, I can revel in the fact that poems and poets get a broader spotlight.

So I hope you’ll read some. Write some. Sing some. Because the world needs poetry – if only to remember to savor things like words and feelings and moments; if only to soften the rough edges or roughen the soft ones. Because, whether beautiful or raw, simple or complex, poetry has the power to reveal and re-shape our emotions; to know expression differently; to connect with the human experience.

I’ll leave you with this gem for now. Expect more poetic sharings to come.

 

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My Lucky Pencil

Some St. Patrick’s Day inspiration, a few quick strokes on a paper scrap, and my lucky pencil is born.

Now, if only I were Irish and found me a pot o’ gold. (Or maybe the leprechaun comes first. Or is it the rainbow?) Until then, pencil lead will have to do, with a four-leaf clover for good measure and a favorite Irish blessing for you. Cheers!

…………..

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

…………..

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Outrageous Happiness #5: Happiness vs. Bill-Paying

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This morning I came across a wonderfully written, though somewhat sarcastic (if not scathing), article about the apparently very American pursuit of “being happy”. Of course I felt immediately stung, almost guilt-ridden for not only participating in that pursuit but dedicating a whole section on my blog to “Outrageous Happiness”. Indeed, in my sensitivity, I felt the finger pointing. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the piece, filled as it was with sharp wit.

It was written by a Brit, who proudly claims to possess a certain genetic cynicism – which, whether by nature or my own DNA steeped in British realms, I really do “get”. Even as a born optimist, my inner cynic is very much alive at times – except I like to think of it as healthy skepticism rather than gloom (which seems an appropriate opposite of happiness), and it definitely doesn’t include a distaste for happiness, nor for anyone’s interest in attaining that lovely state of being. Because it is lovely.

Have you ever met someone who exudes a kind of contented joy just for being alive? That person who knows how to not take things too seriously, who, without effort, seems to embody an easy, uplifting attitude? In truth, I think these individuals are quite rare, but what a gift they are. They don’t intrude or demand, they just, very simply, brighten life. Whether a stranger or someone you know, that they exist at all is an inspiring thing.

The Dalai Lama is, to me, one of those people. And his mantra – that we’re here to experience joy – is a pretty exciting concept. Impossible and possible. Makes perfect sense and makes no sense. But it feels really, really good to consider, and terribly worthwhile to at least try to infuse joy into our own lives.

And yes, it must be said that there are times when happiness has nothing to do with anything. Your car breaks down, you can get mad all you want but in the end you get under the hood and fix it. Or a baby’s diaper needs changing. Or a light bulb. It’s not whether you’re happy or unhappy about it, it’s just something to be done. There are also people for whom the whole idea of happiness feels completely out reach, and many of us have experienced periods or events in our lives when a heartfelt “look at the bright side!” just. does. not. work (and may raise your shackles quite a bit more than your spirits). Even for those who have been blessed with a happy disposition, it’s not a 24/7 deal. It just isn’t.

Point being – for the record – that no one should feel in any way at fault, less than, or stressed out if they aren’t feeling the glow of positive vibes all day every day. In fact that would be pretty strange, especially when you consider how volatile life can be – from a pot boiling over in your kitchen to, please, any number of things out there in the big wide uncontrollable world. Our equilibrium can shift in an instant through no fault of our own.

And all that said, I can see where the author of the article concluded that our pursuit of happiness was creating more anxiety. But it doesn’t have to. It’s a matter of perspective.

“Happiness” is not, and never should be, a test you pass or fail. It’s something that’s very hard to measure – some days we fly, some days we fall, some days we want to stay in pjs all day, other days we want to conquer a mountain. Sometimes life is just hard. But I hope we never give up, because it sure beats the whole “pay bills and die” outlook, and for that alone, happiness is absolutely worth pursuing.

pjs-optHow’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

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Outrageous Happiness #2: Super Powers

As if on cue, life decided to throw some curve balls ~ or, because it’s not uncommon for life to do that, maybe I’m just aware of them in a slightly different way. That doesn’t make them any more fun, but now that I’m consciously armed with an unrelenting turn-lemons-into-lemonade approach, I’m thinking I might be handling them with less angst. And less angst = more happy.

And yet, when staring down a sidetrack that clearly did not feed my happiness quotient, I almost went off course. I felt somehow responsible, put myself down, and got a little stuck there. Life lessons, all that. But I rallied. Because rallying is better than being miserable.

In fact, just this morning, I felt my super powers kicking in. And man, do I love them! (You have them too. It’s where you’re strongest, and truest. Where you’re lifted up.)

Here’s the thing though, before they kicked in, I sat down and had a serious conversation with the Universe. And I made sure to not just talk, but listen.

You might talk to God, you might talk to Divine Intelligence, or to Angels, or your Higher Self, your Spirit Guides, your mother or father, sister or brother, a trusted friend, a counselor. Guidance is available in many forms, and none of us, no matter how wise or experienced or content, is outside the realm of needing some now and then. It might be brief, or it might take a few goes, but in the process it’s key that you listen – you have to hear not only what you’re saying and thinking, but what you’re hearing in reply. Then, listen to your heart and find what’s true.

And then, by all means, gather your super powers and don your cape!

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How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

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A Plethora of P's: (the final eight)

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

Wa-la! Here are the final eight of one hundred P’s in my “Plethora of P’s” series. But how did it come to be, and why the letter P, you might ask? With the original intention of creating an alphabet, I soon found my mind overflowing with “P” words – most of which were falling in line with my beliefs in Positive Thinking – add to that my own name beginning with a P – and well, one thing led to another and yet another series was born. I suppose it was “inspired”, as most of them are – from where I’m not exactly sure, but if it’s fun, positive, and allows me creative freedom, I go with it.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed them. 🙂

 

#93: PotteryP_pottery

Pottery has the admirably dual qualities of beauty and functionality. Designed at the discretion of the maker, each piece is essentially a vessel of creativity – figuratively, through artistic expression and simultaneous usefulness in a variety of practical ways – and symbolically, representing the womb; the carrying, giving and nurturing of life. 

– ♥ –

#94: Planets

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If one wants to be awed, all one needs to do is look up at the night sky. What’s there is unfathomable – billions (upon billions?) of stars; planets within universes within galaxies within more galaxies. Distances the mind can not comprehend. Possibilities of life – similar or very, very different –  in far, far, far away places.  Star Trekkian ships and Star Wars-like creatures are only fantasies, but … are they? Beyond our sky, beyond the stars and beyond the planets lies the truly Great Unknown, and amazement on an enormous scale.

– ♥ –

#95: Parachute

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Here’s to safe landings!

– ♥ –

#96: Prolific

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Abundantly fruitful. Profusely productive. Being prolific can as easily be a vineyard, a garden or a tree, as a poet, an artist, mathematician or scientist. There are no bounds, just rich creation.

– ♥ –

#97: Paperclip

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Perhaps the most talked about invention ever, and one that needs no explanation. (But, who DID invent the paperclip?)

– ♥ –

#98: Poppy

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Ah, the alluring poppy. Its brilliant bursts of color and tales of mysterious concoctions make the poppy, all in all, a happy flower to behold.

– ♥ –

#99: Perspicacity

P_perspicacity

noun
1. keenness of mental perception; vision, insight, acumen. 
Keep your mind sharp and kickin’. Bend and stretch those mental muscles! Read. Do crossword puzzles and number games. Play scrabble. Study things. Ask questions. Listen, a lot. Stay curious. Always, stay curious.

– ♥ –

#100: Puppies

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Because just the thought of puppies makes most people smile. 🙂

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(See all 100 Plethora of P’s here)

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A Plethora of P’s / #88, 89, 90, 91 & 92

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

#88: Plucky

saxton.P_pluckyPlucky. Such a lively little word. Even better, it means something pretty good: it’s about showing courage in the face of difficulties or danger.

Sometimes it’s okay, and even necessary, to let someone else be brave. But sometimes we need to don our own capes and be our own source of courage.

– ♥ –

#89: Penmanship

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The physical, pen-in-hand act of writing is not only a form of communication, it’s a form of self-expression; another window into the soul. There’s also the value of hand-eye coordination, thinking patterns, and better comprehension when writing things down “painstakingly” by hand (not to mention knowing how to spell and use proper grammar and punctuation without spell-check tools). Doctor’s aside (why is this?), developing good penmanship is a plus any way you look at it.

I wrote an essay on the subject of cursive writing earlier this year, prompted by news stories that penmanship may be (or already has been) eliminated from childhood school curriculums. I feel pretty strongly. If interested, you can read that here. Meanwhile, please, write on.

– ♥ –

#90: Pets

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Cats and dogs are probably the most common pets in any family, and with good reason. They provide companionship and are scientifically proven to increase our well-being. They love us, they teach us. And they make us better people by caring for something besides ourselves!

– ♥ –

#91: Pyramids

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With three equal sides, the pyramid, or triangle, is the most stable form in our world. (Example: A three-legged stool is much harder to knock over then a four-legged one) In sacred geometry*, the triad symbolizes the trinity of life, of substance, intellect, and the force that drives it; it’s the point where matter, and consciousness connect with the higher realms. And according to Plato, triangles form the basic building block of the entire universe. That’s some pretty impressive stuff about the humble pyramid shape.

And then there’s the math: There are 5 types of triangles: right triangle, equilateral triangle, isosceles triangle, obtuse triangle and acute triangle – but no matter their shape or dimensions, the sum of all three angles always adds up to 180 degrees. Nice.

*Sacred Geometry is a term used to describe patterns, shapes and forms that are part of the make up of all living things and that regularly occur in nature. It is system of universal design in which the energy of creation organizes itself into form.

– ♥ –

#92: Pickles

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When I hear the word pickle, I can’t help but think of Arlo Guthrie. (“I don’t want a pickle/ Just wanna ride on my motor-cickle…”) Now that I’ve dated myself, let’s move on.

Pickles are a flavorful, low-calorie vegetable high in vitamin K. This is good news for all the people who adore pickles, and too bad for me, as I’m only an occasional fan of pickles. The conditions have to be just right. My grandmother made her own pickles. Sweet pickles, they were called, and they were well-loved. Still, while I loved my grandmother’s home-made bread and just about everything else she made, I slithered away when the pickles were served. Same goes for pickled this and that. Pickling is clearly not my favorite flavor. It placed me in a bit of pickle to admit I didn’t like pickles. Maybe no one noticed.

 

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Only 8 more Positive P’s to go!

(until next time, you can see the ongoing Plethora of P’s here)

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Outrageous Happiness #19: Friendship, Magic and Clark Kent

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Whether it makes me lucky or unlucky, strange or strangely interesting, I’m one of those people who can go for days at a time without interacting a whole lot with other people. (Okay, even I think it’s kinda strange sometimes.) Maybe as an artist it simply comes with the territory; where swaths of solitude are a necessity. Who knows. But for whatever reason, I ended up a decent dose of the “I’m okay being by myself” gene. I’m a quality over quantity kind of person, and fairly choosy about how and with whom I spend time. Admittedly, there are times when I wish I were a more social animal; but at some point you just accept how you’re wired.

That all said, people matter. There are people I absolutely treasure. People I’ve known for eons, people I’ve known for just a few years, even some special people I’ve just met. There’s something remarkable that happens when the connectivity ions are in sync. They’re all a little bit different, of course, with varying depths and points of connection, but they matter, tremendously. And because they matter, they deserve nurturing.

We ‘ve all probably experienced friendships where we may not see or speak to one another for years, yet when we finally do, the years dissolve and the connection is as real and true as ever. And those are pretty darn great. But it’s not enough to count on that. For one thing, pardon the morbid truth, they may not be there any more. For another, different people love us and teach us and learn from us and help us grow in all sorts of ways. Their value is often immeasurable. (And vice versa.) But most of the time none of these happen of their own accord. You have to cultivate them, feed them, water them. Pay attention. Be present. Write the note. Make the call.

And sometimes, when you nurture, when you do your part, you even find magic. And magical = happiness. Magical lights you up. The air feels electric, your energy is high, the weights of the world are somehow lifted for a time.

I was blessed to experience this twice in the last month. Once with a beautiful family who came to visit from Austin, Texas. It involved a serendipitous introduction by a mutual friend, a little girl who loves fairies, and a very real feeling of being surrounded by angels. Another was just the other day, with a few friends whose paths didn’t cross until years after having been, unknowingly, in the same place. It was like we’d known each other forever. (And there I am, looking a little like Lois Lane with Clark Kent. How fun is that?)

Both instances were joyful, and pure, and magical. Both also came about because along the way, other friendships were nurtured. And both gave me a sense of deep happiness, because it feels pretty wonderful to know those connections exist in this life.

And they exist because we take the time to give them some of our heart.

People matter. (Even for those who might prefer a night in with their paints and pencils to a night out.) And a lot of the time, they’re even responsible for some pretty outrageous happiness.

Nurture, my friends, nurture. Nurture the people who matter to you.

How’s your Outrageous Happiness going?

 

 

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New Season, New Shoes and Life on Mars

There may be life on Mars, have you heard? While we’re pondering that, there’ve been visits from the Pope, world leaders convening, and rare lunar eclipses eclipsing. Big stuff.

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And somehow in between all that, seemingly small by comparison, our own lives happen. Everyday lives stitched together with various versions of joy and struggle. An ever-changing tapestry of our individual here and nows, hopes and dreams, fears and glories.

Life happens in moments, in thoughts, in conversations (and if you’re Italian it also happens in meals). It happens while your house needs painting and your front walk needs paving and your faucet needs fixing and your clients need tending. It happens while holding the hands of your spiritual sisters during hard, mind-boggling times. It happens while sharing stories with old friends and recognizing a kindred soul in the eyes of someone new. It comes as a hug from a child, a butterfly landing on your hand, a laugh, or a cry. When you read, go for a walk, talk to your pets. It happens when you’re alone. It happens when you’re not. It happens when we do things with love. There’s nothing small about any of that.

And I had no idea I’d be going in that direction ^ when I started writing this post. I’d meant to point out the changing of seasons, tie that in with both the evolution of my next book and the fact that the shoemaker – me – finally made her own new shoes –new website (well there, I just mentioned it), and how so much can transpire in a month’s time, even while you’re immersed, head down, in dragonry and a whole bunch of design and wondering how and when you’re going to deal with your crumbling walkway.

I guess the point is to embrace your here and now. Do your best. Stitch well. Pay attention to your heart. And, yes, believe in magic.

PS: For the record, I have no interest in visiting Mars any time soon. There’s plenty of life right here.

Needle_and_red_thread.

 

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A Plethora of P’s / #87: Peony

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

– ♥ –

#87: Peony

saxton.P_peony2

Dear Peony ~ Your bloom is brief, and your heavy heads droop low under the weight of folds and folds and folds of petals – deliciously soft, intricate petals going every which way, having blossomed from tightly packed, perfectly round balls to form, perhaps (if there could by such a thing), the perfect flower – oh, how I adore your sweeping grace! You are elegance and beauty; you are divine.

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……………………

(until next time, you can see the ongoing Plethora of P’s here)

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