Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Today is a day to harvest the grapes that are growing over my patio. The birds have been enjoying them for some time, and it seems a shame to not taste any of them myself ~ even though this is not really a terrific climate to grow grapes that are truly sweet…
Other years I have made grape juice out of it; chances are that is going to happen this year as well.

Another perspective is that the abundant amount of grapes is part and parcel of my more personal harvest this year. A bonus handed to me for all the hard work I have put in, as the seasons moved from one into another. Taking this into consideration, I’m double grateful for this time of harvest!

Pondering that thought it does seem funny how the return to our labor ~ to the energy expended ~ can come in such unexpected ways. Especially since I haven’t given my patio and the plants growing there much thought this year. My attention was needed elsewhere. And while there doesn’t seem to be a big ‘return’ with those things I have spent my time and energy on, suddenly I find there are buckets full of grapes, right there in my own patio…

It is unexpected as we tend to look at things from a more two-dimensional perspective of cause and effect. “This is what I am working on, so this is where the results will manifest.”
And when they don’t, we are easily discouraged as we have worked so hard for so little result.

But perhaps we are looking at it the wrong way. Maybe, when we are making the most of walking our personal paths, planning and doing whatever it is we feel we need to plan and do, the results come back to us in a more multi-dimensional way. By suddenly finding ourselves being in the right place at the right time to meet this person we were meant to meet. Or by finding that we have, often unknowingly, accomplished something that ~ while it is truly nice ~ never was a ‘blip’ on our radar.

To notice the full result of our labor over a full year, we may have to look not just at those things we know we have been working on, but also become aware of the little ~ and sometimes big ~ bonuses that may come our way from places where we least expected them to come from…
And then to not just recognize them, but also being grateful for it!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Taking care of business

Nowadays it seems we are all very busy ~ whether that is with a job, with family, sports, or social events; we manage to spend our time like there is no tomorrow.

Gone are the quiet mornings, the lazy afternoons, and long walks; and meeting with friends and acquaintances can only be done by appointment. Mainly because each and every one of us is taking care of business, doing all of those things that absolutely need to be done.

It seems that this, while it in itself is certainly not a bad thing, comes to a point ~ especially in the energy we are living in nowadays ~ where we need to evaluate whether we are focusing on the ‘right’ kind of business. In other words, in the ever higher energies of today it becomes more and more important to figure out where we want to spend our time and energy.

Spending time and energy on a job ~ be it working for a company, being self-employed, or any other way through which we create our livelihood ~ is a good thing. We just need to make sure that we actually like the job we are doing, enjoy the work and the people we work with; even be passionate about creating the best results.
And the time we spend with family; is that really the quality time we would like it to be? Or is it more like saying ‘hello, goodbye’ to each other as one person comes in while the other is just about to leave? Which in and of itself is not a bad thing; yet the question we may want to ask ourselves is whether it is enough?
And our social contacts, are they our true friends? Or are they people we meet occasionally, and who only seek us out when they need us to do something for them? Or the other way around; us getting in touch with them because we need to get something done?

The recurring question is whether whatever business it is we are taking care of; is it what we really want to be doing at this point in time? Is it where we want to spend our time and energy? And whatever it is that we get out of it; is that enough?
When our answers to all of these questions is ‘yes’, without any hesitation at all; we are right where we should be! But if by answering these questions we feel any doubt, we may need to re-evaluate where we spend our time and energy. And perhaps make that our business that needs taking care of…

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Autumn song

That time of year when the temperatures drop and nature seems to turn inside itself always is like a song to me. When the tall grass falls over and changes color from a vibrant green into a somewhat drab yellow-brownish, when the leaves turn into bright, exuberant oranges, reds and yellows before finally falling. When mushrooms and fungi thrive in the moist, sometimes still warm environment, and the scents in nature are stronger than they have been all year…
All of that adds up to that Autumn song. A song that is sometimes subtle ~ even hard to hear ~ while at other times it is wild, eccentric and abundant. A song that sings of accomplishments and achievements.

It is the final outburst of color ~ and song ~ before nature quiets down for its hibernation of sorts during the Winter months. A final pad on the back for a job well done. And sometimes it seems that the greater the ‘bragging rights’ the more abundant the colors, the scents, and the song are. And from that perspective, the song of Autumn is definitely a celebration!

Nature has a way of doing that throughout the seasons; sowing the seeds, allowing them to germinate, to grow and flourish, to finally harvest the achievement of that cycle of the seasons. To celebrate the accomplishment. And in all of its color, scent and sound it tells the world about it.

Us humans don’t seem to do these things quite as much.
Even when we are aware of the cycle of the seasons, we plan and scheme; we find structure and work hard to make our plans reality in our world. And when the time comes to celebrate our achievement, we often see all the things we didn’t do, the things we haven’t accomplished, and the faults in our original planning first and foremost. We seem to focus on the things that go wrong instead of on the things that go right; and rather than being grateful and celebrating, singing our ‘Autumn song’, we find ourselves stuck in a quiet murmur of negativity.

Perhaps this is the year ~ the time ~ to consciously focus on our personal ‘Autumn song’. To focus on the things we are grateful for in our lives; to truly see our achievements over the past year or so, and to celebrate our accomplishments. Even when they are not the things we set out to do, or planned.

After all, sometimes our greatest accomplishments can be found in the fact that we handled those things the universe has thrown our way effectively and with grace…

Friday, October 2, 2015

The promised land

Apart from the biblical meaning of the promised land, there are many aspects of our wishes and desires that constitute our own, personal promised land…

That personal promised land is more common than we might think. When we are very young, the promised land is when we can walk. Later it is that time that we are allowed to do things on our own. As teenagers the promised land may be that time when we pass our drivers test and obtain a drivers license; and finally having that drivers license it opens the world to us!

During our lives there are those wishes and desires we may cherish that, each in their own right, become our promised land. At least for a while. And after that we have either reached our personal promised land, or we have moved on and are now desiring something different.
For instance when we may have wished for a grand mansion to live and enjoy and to raise our family in. At some point in our lives we may come to the realization that we are better served with a smaller, more modest abode. Sometimes even in a different setting; more quiet, more culturally stimulating, or perhaps in a setting where we are surrounded by like-minded people…

Throughout history there have also been times when people started moving from one place to another in (family)groups; sometimes over quite expansive distances. Often driven by needs rather than desires, and looking for a place where they would have a better chance to not just survive, but also thrive.
They would bring the culture they were raise in with them, which often became an instigation for new things, new perspectives in the places they ended up settling in.

In other words, the fact that they moved to their ‘promised land’ benefited not only them, but it advanced the whole area they traveled to.

And yet, chances are that even in those days they were met with strong opposition by those that didn’t understand their language, their behavior, and their way sin general. The argument that may well have been used as a ‘catch-all’ reason to oppose those new-comers could have been that they were taking away the food as they were hunting the same grounds, or tried their hands at agriculture in the same area where others had been living for generations…

Looking at the world of today, nothing much has changed.
We, who have lived here for generations, still try and deny the ‘new-comers’ their ‘promised land’; and we are doing so from the same fear-based thoughts and reasons that have been used throughout the ages.

Perhaps it is time to focus on our own wishes and desires, to reach for our own, personal promised land, benefiting from the newness that new perspectives bring as others come to join in that place we know so well.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bette Davis eyes

Some descriptions are best done by comparison. When my mom was young, people often commented on how much she looked like Ingrid Bergman; and she did! And in the song a girl is compared to both Bette Davis as well as Greta Garbo:
She got Greta Garbo stand off sighs
She's got Bette Davis eyes
It can only mean one thing, placed in that context; the girl is downright beautiful!

When we compare people to other people, it is all about context.

If the person we are compared to has grace, is smart, funny, and has Bette Davis eyes ~ the comparison is meant to be a good thing. However, if the person we are compared to is loud, abrasive, well dressed and rich; things are not as clear-cut as the comparison may mean we are (too) loud, (too) abrasive. But it can also mean we are well dressed and generous, often depending on the conversation, opinion, or on how well liked the person we are compared to is.

This is even more true when we are compared to acquaintances or friends, than when we are compared to public figures. No matter which public figure we pick, each of them has something others may appreciate; something others would hope they could achieve. Whether it is a skill, an income, the house, the ability to move in circles most of us can only dream about…
Yet when we are compared to friends or acquaintances, suddenly it is more about how well we like that other person, rather than the perks and prices the other person possesses.

And just like that we have moved from innocent comparison into gossip and veiled insults.
First talking about someone behind their back, and then comparing someone to them hardly ever brings anything good into being…

But then, even innocent comparison has its drawbacks. As soon as we compare any person to someone else, whether we compare the person to a celebrity or to a peer, we stop seeing that person as the unique individual he or she truly is. We start thinking about that person as ‘dressed like …’, or ‘sounds like …’, or ‘can sing like …’ without appreciating the person ‘as is’.
And when less sought after qualities enter into the comparison, not only do we distract from who the person really is, but often we add just a tinge of insult into the mix.

So I, for one, am very careful not to compare people to other people.
Unless, that is, she’s got Bette Davis eyes!