I came across this today and wanted to share the uplifting, incredible beauty captured here. Enjoy!
The soul would have no rainbow
No more tears. Do you remember that great slogan for Johnson & Johnson's Baby Shampoo? What a stroke of marketing genius! After all, what mother would not wish her baby no more tears?
Thinking about tears recalls a childhood event in which my 7-year-old self, an intrepid explorer even then, found and cut myself on a rusty something or other, requiring a trip to the doctor for a tetanus shot. I wailed and sobbed in his office, the tears streaming down my cheeks. In an attempt to comfort, he told me not to cry in a gentle, kind voice. I hiccuped to a stop finally, saying, in all my childlike innocence, that I might run out of tears. He gave an immediate assurance, with an ironic chuckle, that he didn't think that would ever happen. Hmmm. I guess I must concede that point.
Life does bring tears to our eyes -- of grief, of pain, of joy, of sympathy, and the whole gamut of emotions in our human repertoire. It is part of our uniqueness as sentient beings that we have deep feelings and that we can allow them to express. And according to John Vance Cheney's poetic pronouncement, out of the well of our tears, rainbows of the soul are born. That is a truly lovely thought!
Rainbows have special significance for me, and living in south Florida, I'm fortunate that they occur frequently. I have come to think of the rainbow as my own personal message from God (but, don't worry, I'll share). Rainbows have shown up in my life at just the moment I needed reassurance that all would be well, when I was fearful, despairing or feeling abandoned. They are a sign - a covenant and a promise that God's love is always present. And a rainbow is also a reminder: if there are tears in your eyes or rain in your skies, just look around when the sun peeks out for the rainbow! It's bound to be there. You have to let the light shine in order to make a rainbow.
Life is a song. I know the melody, but seem to be stumbling over the old lyrics. Perhaps it's time to write new ones for the next few verses. But, it takes such courage to compose and create -- to reinvent myself in the middle of the song. It takes vision to reach out seeking new purpose and to let it kindle a spark of creativity and joy--to try on new ideas like clothing and take an honest look in the mirror of self-respect. It requires openness and vulnerability. What will people think? Do I care too much what they think? Or not enough?
Actually, I vacillate between moments of incredible clarity and focus, where the vision is compelling and motivating, alternating with times of fear and confusion when my spirit draws back into its protective shell like a sea creature responding to a dangerous predator. I never know which of these extremes will predominate. Anyone else on this same roller coaster?
I came across a quotation that gave me a physical, visceral jolt from its charge of truth:
"If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment," wrote Dostoevsky, "all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning."
Is it an intrinsic part of our humanity that we need to be needed? If we are not useful, finding and expressing connection and meaning, we suffer for the lack. I sang this song of work "utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning" for two long years and it was indeed terrible punishment after a life song of love and service, filled with purpose and meaning. I somehow had fallen into inertia and amnesia about the fact that I can rewrite my own lyrics!
I imagine all of us have experienced times during a dark night of the soul when our life purpose is ripped away through loss, grief, fear, disconnection or adversity. Life's song can be challenging because we often find ourselves improvising it as we go along. Sometimes we lose our voice. Sometimes we forget the words. Sometimes stage fright makes our knees knock and we hyperventilate our way through the song. If we are unwilling (or unable) to leave the safety of our shell, to risk failure in the eyes of our peers, or worse, our own highest selves, our soul is indeed meted out the "terrible punishment" Dostoevsky describes and we are sentenced to life without meaning. But it doesn't have to be that way.
In the words of the poet and philosopher, Kahlil Gibran, about work in his beloved classic, The Prophet:
"When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
A life song is certainly to be charged with a breath of our own spirit! And our work is vastly richer if we suffuse it with love and joy. As I sing my life song, I want it to be vibrant, heart-full, breath-taking, with tenderness and love, meaning and beauty. I want to sing a song that lifts others who hear it, gives hope and healing. As I hesitantly start to sing my new lyrics to life's song, I am watching those listening, letting go of my fears and just singing. And I try to silence the biggest critic of all -- the inner one who is loud and sometimes downright destructive!
I sing on, semi-bravely, trying to let my life purpose shine in the lyrics. Sometimes, the song is effortless and it soars, while others join in beautiful harmony. Other days, it's solo and scary. But if I stay in this present moment, feeling all there is to feel, living fully and vibrantly and appreciating all the simplicity and complexity of life -- well, then the song writes itself.
The holiest of all holidays are those
The new year starts with fireworks, parties, celebration of all kinds, but I think the real joy and beauty may belong to those who go "in silence apart" to search their hearts deeply for wisdom in two things: what they want to release of the "old" (habits, stuff, damaging emotions, ideas, limitations, excess weight or addiction) and what they truly wish to create "new" (peace, nurturing relationships, meaningful work, space for spiritual practice and contemplation, service to others, healing).
To me, the new year has always felt sort of sacred -- a little oasis of time in which to reflect on the year just ended and all it brought, for good or not. To find any lessons we can count as "learned", growth that happened, mistakes made, and also triumphs to celebrate. Often, a year will contain a theme that recurs, such as change, loss, joy, love, awakening...but, no matter what challenges the year brought, they can be set aside, somehow, at the ending. You get a fresh slate, a new shining chance to start again to identify and solidify thoughts, desires and actions. It really is a happy time if for no other reason than that!
I have seen an idea to "capture" moments through the year, since they are often fleeting and can easily be lost in later experience. In order to properly recall and cherish the moments that bring joy, write down a short (or whatever length appeals) reminder in prose or poem, or even pictures if you are so inclined. Place them all in a glass jar or other decorative bowl or vessel and let them accumulate all year long. Then, on New Year's Eve, take them out and revisit each one, to reawaken the beauty therein. After all, it is quite easy to remember the traumas, the events that feel as if a cosmic 2x4 has walloped us! But, we surely also want to bring the joys alive and appreciate them fully, rather than let them be lost along the way.
Another idea is to use a technique taught to children: write a letter to God. Children tend to be very direct in their observations and requests (and often quite funny, too!). Why not do your own adult version of a letter in which you put your fondest desires for the new year into words. I challenge you to take the time to do this exercise, and put the letter in a safe place to be opened next New Year's Day and see how life has changed. You may be quite pleasantly surprised that many of those things you deeply desired have come to pass. A treasure map also works to produce these results, if you find that more appealing. You use photos, magazine clippings/images, words, or whatever represents your desire and place them all upon a poster board or other surface, adding and changing as needed. This is used to then focus and concentrate your attention and intention. It has amazing power for many folks. I've done this and then forgotten it and rediscovered it later, to find so many of my desires did indeed manifest, even without my continued energy.
Whatever method you choose, do at least find a creative, fun way to capture the moments of your own life and rejoice in those that have blessed you. You can think of it as collecting cherished ornaments for your heart and inner life. And may you find peace and prosperity in all your special moments in 2013!
Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to, miraculously, survive childhood. With my lively sense of curiosity leading me to try many "experiments", my natural clutziness causing me to be somewhat (uh, highly) accident prone -- think falling, scrapes, cuts, bruises, and many tentanus shots-- and my strong tendencies as a young environmentalist to rescue every kind of living creature -- animals, reptiles, baby birds, and sea creatures--sometimes at great risk to my own wellbeing. Well, it's really a wonder I'm here to tell you about it! So, here are the gems of wisdom I learned from the school of hard knocks, shared for your general enrichment and entertainment:
1) Caterpillars can't swim. Or even float for long. I proved this beyond a shadow of doubt when I was 5, by floating one in a bathroom cup for two days. After noting that it sank to the bottom and no amount of poking could revive it, I flushed the remains and replaced the (unwashed) cup back on the counter for my sister to use. Experiments are useful for satisfying one's natural curiosity.
2) It is not necessary to tell others of your experimental failures (or successes) -- especially when they mention the "funny taste" in the bathroom cup. Sometimes it's best to keep those secrets to yourself.
3) Electricity is a very tricky thing--when you stick a plug in an outlet with one prong in the outlet and one in the wall, it short circuits the power to the whole house, thus prompting an expedition by flashlight to the basement panel box. Note, this experiment could also result in short circuiting YOU, so don't try this at home! See what I mean? Childhood is fraught with danger!
4) When you rescue small furry animals from pain and possible death, comfort them and feed them, they are devoted to you for life. Over the course of my long, illustrious career as a rescuer, I saved 2 dogs, an abandoned kitten, 7 shelter cats, a duckling, a dozen baby birds, untold numbers of geckos, and many other assorted critters (and still counting!) I have found that rescuing critters is more rewarding than trying to rescue people, generally speaking. There might be some exceptions to this rule. I'll let you know.
5) When you are flying solo (i.e. without training wheels on your bike) for the first time, know that you can do it even when your Dad lets go. I didn't believe this and crashed the moment I realized he wasn't running along beside me anymore. Self confidence is crucial, in bicycle riding and life. As soon as you let doubt and fear creep in -- you fall. It always helps to have a guiding hand of love to keep you going until you realize you can fly on your own. Trust the love. Trust yourself, too. Love will always pick you up after you fall, dust you off, dry your tears, and praise you for your excellent effort.
6) Mothers can't actually tell if you are fibbing by looking into your eyes. About most other things, however, they are usually right. I also noticed that my mother got increasingly smarter as I got older. Interesting how that happens. I find myself remembering and speaking her words of wisdom now. They are still relevant and true.
7) The external scars of childhood will usually heal on their own with time. Some of the more spectacular ones remain as badges of courage and honor, and good conversation starters. The internal scars may need some extra help to heal. Ask for help with this -- from friends, family, God, Mother Nature. Even when life hurts, try to keep your heart open to others and keep the circle of giving and receiving love going round. Be adventurous! Dance, sing, play, and love fully in each moment, with the openness and joy of a trusting child. Decide in advance that the Universe is a good, kind, happy place. And so be it, so it is! Remember Abraham Lincoln's sage advice: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right!"
On this special day when people are thinking about love -- romantic love, unselfish giving, cards & cupcakes & chocolates --take a moment to ponder what brings you joy. We are often so distracted by our busy schedules, our immediate "must do" list, those who depend upon us, the noise of life which is especially amplified in this electronic age of the Internet, that we let days or even weeks slip by without checking in to our own quota of joy. I read a recent article on the subject of deep happiness and it reflected the idea that doing something to inspire your creative spirit, to focus your attention in the NOW by creating something, is a great way to bring deep, abiding happiness to your life. Anyone who has ever experienced that deep sense of concentration and intention that blend into an act of creative pursuit -- be it making a piece of art or a homemade Valentine -- can attest to the fact that it slows the perception of time and makes a quiet little pocket of happiness (stimulating endorphins in the brain chemistry) in the center of life. My wish for each soul on Valentine's Day is that you can create a moment of deep, abiding happiness and share it with another who needs it!
I am a singer, a writer, a craftswoman, a student of life and of Spirit, a wife, a friend, an inquisitive adventurer on the learning path. Seeking, sensing, sifting and now connecting! Please join the fun by leaving a comment or passing on a favorite post via your social network. As you can tell from the category list, my interests are varied and somewhat eclectic. I am seeking all that brings joy & excitement to life, purpose & passion to our daily round. I am curious about pretty much everything.