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Common Courtesy

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Photography by Gracie – © All rights reserved

Small Gestures Make a Big Difference

We often feel that we don’t have the time or energy to extend ourselves to others with the small gestures that compose what we call common courtesy. It sometimes seems that this kind of social awareness belongs to the past, to smaller towns and slower times. Yet, when someone extends this kind of courtesy to us, we always feel touched. Someone who lends a helping hand when we are struggling with our groceries makes an impression because many people just walk right by. Even someone who simply makes the effort to look us in the eye, smile, and greet us properly when entering a room stands out of the crowd. It seems these people carry with them the elegance and grace of another time, and we are always thankful for our contact with them. Common courtesy is a small gesture that makes a big difference.

An essential component of common courtesy is awareness and common sense—looking outside yourself to see when someone needs help or acknowledgment. As a courteous person, you are aware that you are walking into a room full of people or that your waiter has arrived to take your order. Then, awareness leads to action. It is usually quite clear what needs to be done—open the door for the woman holding the baby, move your car up two feet so another person can park behind you, acknowledge your sister’s shy boyfriend with a smile and some conversation, apologize if you bump into someone. A third component is to give courtesy freely, without expecting anything in return. People may not even take notice, much less return the kindness, but you can take heart in the fact that you are creating the kind of world you want to live in with your actions.

When you are out in the world, remember to be aware of others, lend your hand when one is needed, and give this help without an ulterior motive. Through these small actions, you make this world a better place in which to live.

Daily OM

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Posted by on June 19, 2009 in Art, Daily OM, Inspirational, Nikon D60, Photography

 

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Nature’s colorful palette

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Photography by Gracie – © All rights reserved

In the Open Air

Spending Time in Nature

In this modern age, we spend so much time indoors, focused on the busyness of our lives and disconnected from the earth. But much of what we truly need can only be found under the naked sky, alongside tall trees, on open plains, or in the sound of running water. Spending time in nature allows us to commune with other living beings and to find comfort in the nurturing embrace of Mother Earth. You can’t help but experience a different sense of self while walking in a wood or traversing a mountainside. Being in nature connects us to the earth, grounding us as we walk, unhindered by concrete, upon her. Surrounded by other living beings, both bigger and smaller than we are, we remember that human beings are simply one form of life in this vast universe.

Because we instinctively know that nature is good for us on many levels, it’s not unusual to feel powerfully drawn to it. Even if you live in a city or find it difficult to travel to a forest or the countryside, there are a myriad ways to reconnect with nature. When you step out of your door each morning, pause for a minute and close your eyes long enough to let your senses absorb your surroundings. Listen and breathe deeply, until you hear the wind rustling through branches, smell rain on damp grass, and see the reflection of leaves brushing up against windowpanes. If you have time, crouch down and closely examine any nearby grass and soil. The sights, sounds, smells, and sensations we experience that are part of nature can remind us of all the gifts Mother Earth grants us each day.

Spending time connecting with nature nourishes the soul, reminds you that you are never truly alone, and renews you by attuning you to the earth’s natural rhythms. Taking a walk under the stars or feeling the wind on your face may be all it takes for you to reconnect with nature. Remember, you are as much a part of nature as are the leaves on a tree or water bubbling in a brook.

Daily OM

 

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Becoming Whole Again

That I am weary of words, originally uploaded by Logan Williams.

The Process of Grieving

When we experience any kind of devastating loss, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a dream, or a relationship, feelings may arise within us that are overwhelming or difficult to cope with. This sense of grief can also come up when we are separated from anyone or anything we have welcomed into our lives. And while it may feel like we are caught up in a never-ending spiral of sadness and emptiness, it is important to remember that the grief we are feeling is not a permanent state of being. Rather, grief is part of the process of letting go that in many ways can be a gift, allowing us to go deeper within ourselves to rediscover the light amidst the seeming darkness.

The emotions that accompany any kind of loss can be intense and varied. A sense of shock or denial is often the first reaction, to be replaced by anger. Sometimes this anger can be directed at your loved one for “abandoning” you; at other times you may feel outrage toward the universe for what you are enduring. And while there are stages of grief that people go through – moving from denial to anger to bargaining to depression to acceptance – the cycles of grief often move in spirals, sometimes circling forward and then back again. You may even experience moments of strength, faith, and laughter in between. While these emotions seem to come and go sporadically, it is important to feel them, accept them, and allow them to flow. With time, patience, and compassion, you will eventually find your center again.

As we move through our grief, we may find ourselves reluctant to release our pain, fearing we are letting go of who or what we have lost. We may even regard our movement toward healing as an act of disloyalty or giving up. Know that while the hurt may fade, the essence of what you had and who you loved will have already transformed you and forever stay with you. If anything, once you are ready for the pain of your loss to subside, their memories can then live more fully within you. Remember, that healing is a part of the spiraling cycles of grief, and that in letting yourself feel restored again, you are surrendering to a natural movement that is part of the dance of life.

Daily OM

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2008 in Art, Flickr, Inspirational, Meditation, Nature, Photography, Women

 

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A Question Of Balance

One-Sided Relationships

One of the most beautiful qualities of an intimate relationship is the give and take of energy that occurs between two people. In the best-case scenario, both people share the talking and listening, and the giving and receiving of support, equally. Occasionally, within any relationship, the balance shifts and one person needs to listen more, or give more. Generally, over a long period of time, even this exception will take on a balanced rhythm; we all go through times when we take more and times when we give more.

However, there are also relationships in which the balance has always felt one-sided. You may have a friend whom you like, but you have begun to notice that the conversation is always about their life and their problems and never about yours. You may also have a friend who seems to require an inordinate amount of support from you but who is unable or unwilling to give much in return. Over time, these relationships can be draining and unsatisfying. One option is simply to end the relationship, or let it fade out naturally. Another option is to communicate to your friend that you would like to create a more equal balance in which your concerns also get some airtime. They may be taken aback at first, but if they are able to hear you, your friendship will become that much more sincere. They may even thank you for revealing a pattern that is probably sabotaging more than one relationship in their life.

A third option is to simply accept the relationship as it is. There are many one-sided relationships that actually work. One example of this is a mentor relationship in which you are learning from someone. Another example is a relationship in which you are helping someone who is sick, disabled, or otherwise needy. In these instances, you can simply be grateful that you are able to help and be helped, trusting that the balance of give and take will even out in the big picture of your life.

Daily OM

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2008 in Daily OM, Inspirational, Meditation, Women

 

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Life Can Be Scary



Dreams lost………, originally uploaded by *Gracie.

Photography by Gracie – © All rights reserved

Plunging Into The Deep

Life can take us on a roller coaster ride full of highs and lows and twists and turns. Even for those of us who enjoy unexpected thrills, it’s frightening to suddenly find ourselves heading for a deep plunge. Yet, it happens to all of us. At these moments, it is important to remember that you are not alone in your experiences. No matter how brave, strong, or levelheaded we are, sometimes, we all get scared.

Our fears may revolve around our physical safety, particularly if we are not feeling well, living under difficult circumstances, or doing work that exposes us to hazardous conditions. Or, we may be experiencing financial woes that are causing us to be fearful about making ends meet. We may also fear the loss of a loved one who is sick, or we may be scared of never finding someone special to spend our life with. We may be scared to start at a new school, begin a different job, move to a new town, or meet new people. Whatever our fears are, they are valid, and we do not need to feel ashamed or embarrassed that we are, at times, afraid.

It may be comforting to know that everyone gets scared, and it is perfectly OK. Sometimes just acknowledging our fears is enough to make us feel better. And while it sometimes takes a lot more to ease our mind, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that life can be scary at times. Giving ourselves permission to be scared lets us move through our fears so we can let it go. It also makes it alright to share our fears with others. Sharing our apprehensions with other people can make our fears less overwhelming because we are not letting them grow inside of us as pent up emotions. Sharing our fears also can lighten our burden because we are not carrying our worries all by ourselves. Remember that you are not alone.

Daily OM

 
 

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We Are All Connected

..pure and simple.., originally uploaded by *Gracie.

Photography by Gracie – © All rights reserved

October 28, 2008

Intertwined Fates

There are times when we may feel disconnected from the world. Our actions can seem like they are of no major consequence, and we may feel like we exist in our own vacuum. Yet, the truth is that our simplest thought or action – the decisions we make each day, and how we see and relate to the world – can be incredibly significant and have a profound impact on the lives of those around us, as well as the world at large. The earth and everything on it is bound by an invisible connection between people, animals, plants, the air, the water, and the soil. Insignificant actions on your part, whether positive or negative, can have an impact on people and the environment that seem entirely separate from your personal realm of existence. Staying conscious of the interconnection between all things can help you think of your choices and your life in terms of the broader effect you may be creating.

Think of buying a wooden stool. The wood was once part of a tree which is part of a forest. A person was paid to fell the tree, another to cut the wood, and yet another to build the stool. Their income may have had a positive effect on their families, just as the loss of the tree may have had a negative impact on the forest or the animals that made that tree their home. An encouraging word to a young child about their special talent can influence this person to develop their gift so that one day their inventions can change the lives of millions. A poem written “merely” to express oneself can make a stranger reading it online from thousands of miles away feel less alone because there is someone else out there who feels exactly the way they do.

Staying conscious of your connection to all things can help you think of your choices in terms of their impact. We are powerful enough that what we do and say can reverberate through the lives of people we may never meet. Understanding that you are intimately connected with all things and understanding your power to affect our world can be the first step on the road to living more consciously.

Daily OM

 
 

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To Be Human

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Putting People On Pedestals

When we fall in love with someone or make a new friend, we sometimes see that person in a glowing light. Their good qualities dominate the foreground of our perception and their negative qualities. They just don’t seem to have any. This temporary state of grace is commonly known as putting someone on a pedestal. Often times we put spiritual leaders and our gurus on pedestals. We have all done this to someone at one time or another, and as long as we remember that no one is actually “perfect,” the pedestal phase of a relationship can be enjoyed for what it is-a phase. It’s when we actually believe our own projection that troubles arise.

Everyone has problems, flaws, and blind spots, just as we do. When we entertain the illusion that someone is perfect, we don’t allow them room to be human, so when they make an error in judgment or act in contradiction to our idea of perfection, we become disillusioned. We may get angry or distance ourselves in response. In the end, they are not to blame for the fact that we idealized them. Granted, they may have enjoyed seeing themselves as perfect through our eyes, but we are the ones who chose to believe an illusion. If you go through this process enough times, you learn that no one is perfect. We are all a combination of divine and human qualities and we all struggle. When we treat the people we love with this awareness, we actually allow for a much greater intimacy than when we held them aloft on an airy throne. The moment you see through your idealized projection is the moment you begin to see your loved one as he or she truly is.

We cannot truly connect with a person when we idealize them. In life, there are no pedestals-we are all walking on the same ground together. When we realize this, we can own our own divinity and our humanity. This is the key to balance and wholeness within ourselves and our relationships.

Daily OM

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2008 in Art, Daily OM, Inspirational, Meditation, People, Photography, Women

 

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