Friday, July 29, 2016
This October Bumba will have been with us for 15 years. That is a long time no matter how we look at it, but for a cat it means that Bumba now is of ‘advanced age’. Living his ‘Golden Years’.
For the longest time he has been the King of the neighborhood, but lately he hardly ever picks a fight anymore; almost like he is waiting for one of the new arrivals to come of age and take over his leadership role. In the meantime he observes the world from his ‘special place’.
A couple of years ago, a lot of changes were going on in our neighborhood. Suddenly one neighbor after another decided to move away. Even Bumba’s best friend moved. It created a lot of stress in Bumba’s life.
Where we may be happy for our friends and neighbors that they have found another great place to live, for a cat there is just the stress of the upset. An unbalance ~ at least for a while ~ until the new neighbors have settled in and found their way.
It is clear that stress is a major cause of ailments; there has been sufficient research been done to prove that stress may well cost us years of our lives. And while that makes sense; living our lives we may not feel particularly stressful ~ or perhaps we are just used to s certain level of stress ~ and therefore we don’t really see the effects stress may have on our health.
With Bumba the increased stress level has created very apparent changes in his (well)being.
At first he just seemed a little lost. But the strong cat he has always been was certain to find his own way and handle whatever life was throwing his way. Like he had always done in the past.
But pretty soon he started to loose weight. Being hyper vigilant and extremely aware of what was going on in the neighborhood, he was still looking good and healthy, but he was starting to feel thin.
According to the vet, it all has to do with a thyroid issue… An unbalance that started just as soon as the stress in his environment was raised to a level that he had a hard time comprehending.
In a sense the very same thing may happen to us.
As soon as we get ourselves in a situation ~ especially when it is a prolonged situation ~ with a higher stress level than we are used to or can handle, chances are it will affect our health adversely. How exactly it will affect our health is a very individual thing. But it will take away a part of our well-being. A part of our joy of living.
Like Bumba, we would do well to take time to reduce the levels of stress in our lives, and take time to become truly whole again.
Posted by Anne Claire at 2:43 AM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
According to the dictionary, a Seer is soothsayer, oracle, prophet(ess), augur, prognosticator, diviner, visionary, fortune teller, crystal gazer, clairvoyant, psychic, medium; literary a sibyl; a woman able to foretell the future.
In the most literal and modern sense of the word a Seer is one who sees.
One who can observe and see what is going on with great honesty and without having a stake in it. So there is no reason to defend either perspective; no reason to take sides.
A Seer sees not only what is happening right now, yet can also see how this situation has been building ~ perhaps over a longer period of time ~ and what the effects will be. Not just in our own environment, but also on a national, even global scale. So it is not just about honestly seeing what is in front of the Seer with great clarity and expressing that; it is also about having the foresight as to the ramifications of what is happening and communicating those ‘results’.
As soon as we call the one who sees a Seer, suddenly we are thinking about fortune tellers and soothsayers. As soon as we call such a person a ‘Futurist’, the dictionary defines: a person who studies the future and makes predictions about it based on current trends. In other words, one who sees current trends and makes predictions as to how they will affect our future.
But whether we call them a Seer or a Futurist, the ability to grasp or even foresee the consequences of our actions is something that has a lot to do with common sense. If we pick a fight, chances are we get hit as well.
Looking at it from this more common-sensical perspective, one might hope that those who are ~ or are aspiring to be ~ our leaders have a lot of the qualities of the ancient Seer, or the modern Futurist. One would hope that they can observe with honesty what is before them, and, given foresight and forethought, can more or less accurately predict the consequences of their actions. the results of their decisions.
Not just locally, but also from a national or global perspective.
Those are among the qualities of a true leader. His or her ability to make wise decisions can then make them a great leader.
Observing the news ~ globally ~ it seems like while we value the qualities of the Seer ~ the honesty, clarity, wisdom and the ability to see the consequences of their words ~ more and more, those who are our leaders seem to have an entirely different agenda in their thoughts and actions.
Perhaps it is time to give the ancient Seer a prominent place in our societies again…
Posted by Anne Claire at 11:15 AM
Friday, July 22, 2016
There is no question that maintaining a calm, cool collected state of mind whatever happens around us is a good thing. It is also a great accomplishment as it is by no means as easy as it sounds. Especially when we see a lot of violence happening as soon as we turn on the TV, we are often pushed out of our balanced, we loose our calm, cool collected state of mind and are more apt to quickly react in judgement. Pointing fingers at ‘those people’.
Or, when we do see the full ramifications of what is happening, find ourselves sliding into a depressed state.
And as soon as we have lost our balance, whichever way we find ourselves pushed, we become ineffective in our thoughts and actions. We just cannot see what we can do to make a difference. How we can make a difference.
Staying balanced in the world of today takes continuous work and a considerable amount of skill.
Staying balanced, like many other things, does start from a point of peace. And this innate point of peace resides within each of us. It is the energy of peace we were born with as a whole, perfect human being, not bothered by thoughts and attitudes that divide humanity or the world in any way, shape or form. Surrounded by love. At peace with the world.
It is from this unfettered peaceful state of being we experienced at that time, that we can regain our peaceful state of mind. Realizing that we are a perfectly whole human being and that whatever is happening in the world is not proving that we are not. There is no reason to start defending our humanity. And while what we see happening around us can be horrifying, as long as we are not finding ourselves right in the middle of it all, there is no reason for fear. No reason to get angry, judgmental or to point fingers.
It is however inviting us to ~ from our own peaceful state of mind ~ ease the stress and hurt and yes, anger that has become apparent.
There are many ways to help bring balance to a topsy-turvy world.
Through compassion, and kindness. Through sending Light and healing and our prayers to those places that have ~ for now ~ lost their balance.
And to resolve those situations in our lives that leave us feeling less than the whole, peaceful human being we are. To not allow frustration to take over, but rather to keep maintaining that calm, cool, collected, peaceful state of mind.
Posted by Anne Claire at 2:37 AM
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Some days are better than others. There are those days when the sun keeps shining on your face, and the wind keeps blowing in your back. There are those days when everything seems to come about effortlessly; just think the thought and it happens…
And then there are the days when we have a ‘bad hair day’. When the wind keeps pushing us all directions, and the sun is nowhere to be found. The days when, no matter how hard we work at it, nothing seems to happen quite the way we had envisioned it.
Perhaps the hardest thing to take away from this observation is that ‘bad weather’ isn’t punishing us, and that we are not the cause of everything someone else is choosing to do. However, balancing out the good days and the ‘bad hair days’ is something that falls entirely unto ourselves.
The thought behind it is that we create everything in our lives ~ or more precisely, we create our lives from second to second; minute to minute.
Through our attitudes, the way we act and react, the way we handle things we bring ‘stuff’ into our lives that can either bring about a ‘sunny day’ or a ‘stormy day’. Even the people we have to deal with on those days and their attitudes are ~ to a certain extend ~ our creation as our discomfort may feed their discomfort; our frustrations feed theirs, etc.
Therefore, in order to change our ‘stormy days’ into more pleasant days, it is a good idea to take an honest look inside of ourselves and see what our part in it truly is. Once we have seen that, we can choose to change it in ourselves.
On a global scale the same is true. Especially as the world ‘is getting smaller and smaller’, and newscasts are making us aware of pretty much everything that is happening in any corner of our world. Our personal little frustrations can feed the violent outbursts in other parts of the world. An attitude of ‘us against them’, even when it is all in good fun, for instance in sports, can feed the divisiveness in the world. And when we consider ourselves better than anyone else ~ whether it is based on education, experience, or any spiritual practice we adhere to ~ our thoughts can feed conflict elsewhere…
Personally I like calm, sunny days in my life, those days when everything I do seems to happen easily and with grace…
So, May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
And may the sun shine warm upon your face.
(Part of a traditional Gaelic Blessing)
Posted by Anne Claire at 12:02 AM
Friday, July 15, 2016
I like books. I like their smell. I like the feel of the pages as I turn them one by one. I like the identifying covers, the titles on the spines, and the fact that I can picture that book in my mind’s eye, knowing where it sits on the shelf (and after I have read it, what it is about).
Those things are hard to replace by e-books…
On the other hand, the fact that they don’t take up space in the book case is definitely a point in favor of a more modern perspective on reading. As well as the possibility of a multi-media experience where the pictures clarifying the text can come to life as the video stream is accessed.
Ultimately, its about the content of the book. Whether it is an old fashioned page-turner, or a more modern e-book; whether it is a roman, a detective, a thriller that we may enjoy as relaxation, or a book on a topic we want to learn more about, that really doesn’t matter.
And when thinking content, books can give us a context.
Of course we can find any and all information online, but more often than not, when we search for it online we tend to find little tidbits of information without the broader view. In other words, we find the answer to our question, while a book may also answers those questions we hadn’t even thought of…
Yet, both paperbacks and e-books seem to give way, slowly but surely, to video’s.
We want to read less and less. At 38 pages in an hour reading takes a lot more time than finding a video that tells us what we want to know in 10 minutes. (And plain information video’s need to be even shorter.) And when we do want to full content, there are ‘spoken books’ and podcasts that we can listen to for easy access.
From a sensory perspective, it means that we are starting to rely more on what we are hearing than on what we are seeing. It may not be a lack of awareness, as it is a different awareness. An awareness that brings sound more to the foreground. An awareness that, when raised, can let us hear ~ and even feel ~ things that for the casual listener aren’t there.
And just like we can block the light ~ and to a certain extend what we see ~ with sunglasses, we can block the sound with ‘earbuds’, controlling precisely what we are hearing…
Almost like discerning which book to read at any given time…
Posted by Anne Claire at 2:04 PM
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
The new bag of cat-litter shows a kitty with a background of Europe in cat-litter. Its name? ‘Euro Kat s’.
It brings to mind a fairy tale cat who was dressed in ‘7-mile-boots’ and who could travel over enormous distances in very short periods of time. After all, a little kitty cat would need boots like that to actually make it all over Europe.
The other thing it brings to mind is the perspective that the best travel is to those places where one can bring their own cat-litter. Or in human terms, where we can eat the same type of food we eat at home, preferably speak the same language as we do at home, and thus create an environment that is fairly predictable. Just like it is at home.
Some people prefer traveling that way; and, truth be told, there is nothing wrong with that. After all, when we start traveling to other places, more often than not it is to enjoy ourselves, to relax. And if we can best do that while having the certainty that things are not quite as different as they are at home, then that is what we should go for!
Others travel to explore. To feel the differences in the soil as they travel from one place to the next. To taste different foods, smell different flowers, meet different people… They may relax most exploring the dissimilarities between home and the places they are traveling to. They desire to be comfortable, yet they don’t necessarily need the comforts of home wherever they go.
And then there are those who truly enjoy the comforts of home right where they are at; at home. They may not see the need to travel at all!
As it turns out, whether we travel long distances, short distances, or not at all; whether we bring ‘home’ with us wherever we go, or explore everything about the place we have travelled to; it really doesn’t matter as long as we are enjoying ourselves.
It is like traveling our personal paths. Whatever our next step is, how we take it, where we explore and gain new experiences, it is what we choose to do. In other words, where we find ourselves at the end of the day is a place of our own choosing; as are our experiences along the way.
It is up to us to be discerning, and choose those things that bring us happiness.
Posted by Anne Claire at 12:24 PM
Friday, July 8, 2016
So far this Summer ~ which is only a couple of weeks ~ there has been a lot of rain with relatively high temperatures where I live. Not exactly Summer temperatures, but not unpleasant either. It is a combination that sparks thunderstorms…
The unexpected thing is that right now, we hardly see any ‘thunder-heads’ in the clouds. Some days because it is so overcast we simply cannot see them. Other days, like today, because they simply don’t seem to be there. And yet, there is an almost continuous sound of thunder in the distance; even when the sun is out.
Last night, after seeing the bright light of lightning in the night sky, the thunder never came…
There are many myths and legends about thunder, lightning and rain; almost every culture has one. The loud noises an fierce lights that come from the skies simply have to be the work of ‘the Gods’. And when a thunderstorm breaks with heavy rain and lightning right overhead, it is easy to understand that this was sometimes looked upon as ‘the Gods’ talking to us; even being angry with us.
But there is also something magical about it.
Something very refreshing. After a thunderstorm, the air always smells different. And during a thunderstorm, it seems like people are either afraid of the raw power of it; or are attracted by it, finding it hard to turn away. Simply have to keep watching how the rain pours down, seeing the lightning and then counting the seconds until the thunder follows…
And just like there are myths and legends about it, there are fairy tales and tales about those that wish to use this raw power of nature. Perhaps the most famous quote is found in Shakespeare's Macbeth when the three witches are contemplating their next actions: “When will we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?”
Whichever way we look at it ~ as the scientific phenomenon, the wrath of ‘the Gods’, the raw power of nature ~ whether we are afraid of it, or captivated by it, when it goes on for a prolonged period of time it can make us wonder…
Especially when we find ourselves experiencing a weather pattern that is a-typical for the time of the year; when the amount of rain has changed dramatically and the daily highs and lows of temperature are all over the map. (Last Christmas was warmer than it was on Whitsunday.)
Whether it is coming from ‘the Gods’, from nature, from magical creatures, or just form our own subconscious… What are we being told?
Picture by Gellius Kaars Sijpesteijn
Posted by Anne Claire at 7:49 AM
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
‘Standing strong’ has a meaning that goes quite a ways back. In the Bible we find: Ephesians 4:14
So we are no longer to be children, tossed back and forth by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching by the trickery of people who craftily carry out their deceitful schemes. (©NET)
In other words, it is important for us to stand strong in the things we believe to be true. To not be swayed by ‘trickery and deceit’, or by other people’s opinions for that matter. To grow up and stand strong for who we are, with all our potentials unfolding in that unique manner that is truly ours. To stand firm as we let our inner light shine, and share ourselves with the world in a way that is loving and without judgement.
So, from its ancient meaning, standing strong doesn’t have anything to do with drawing a line in the sand and protecting our own ‘turf’. It is far from picking a fight for the sake of winning it, and in doing so proving that we are strong. That would be bullying.
Although there are references that say we should stand strong ~ and even fight the fight ~ when injustice is being done. When others are falling victim to trickery and deceit.
Pondering the concept there are two things that make it a bit tricky to see where we are at, when we choose to stand strong.
The first one is that there are two kinds of truth. The factual truth, and our personal truth. The factual truth can often be measured and observed. Our personal truth has to do with our personal experiences, our honesty and respect toward ourselves and others, and ultimately with how well we know ourselves.
Therefore, standing strong for a personal truth may well have to be accompanied by the question whether it will let our own light shine brighter ~ without judgement toward others who may have a different personal truth, or toward ourselves.
The second point is indeed discerning whether what we think is right and the best line of action in a given situation really is ~ or whether it is a judgement based on what we think someone else should do… When something has worked well for us in the past, doesn’t make the same thing automatically the best thing for someone else to do now. And even when we have the best intentions, judgements can slip into our thinking easily and without warning.
That being said, there may not have been any time when it is more true that we need to stand strong. That we need to grow up and be an example as we let our light shine all around us, without judgement.
Posted by Anne Claire at 12:31 PM
Friday, July 1, 2016
According to the dictionary, it means self-governing, self-ruling, self-determining, sovereign, autonomous, free, nonaligned. Or, when looked at from a more personal level: self-sufficient, self-supporting, self-reliant, standing on one's own two feet, freethinking, individualistic, unconventional, maverick, bold, unconstrained, unfettered, untrammeled.
Reading through the list it is easy to understand why we are valuing our independence so much ~ both on a national level as well as on a personal level. Our independence not only makes us self-reliant, or even self-governing; it will also set us apart from others as it tends to highlight our individualism ~ the unique persons that we are.
Our independence is seen as an empowerment.
Yet sometimes, the stronger, more empowered person is the one who knows when to ask for help. Or the one who is secure in allowing someone else to take the lead in a venture or a process. The one who finds joy and fulfillment in accomplishing something together ~ even if the ultimate achievement will therefore be linked to someone else.
It seems like the concept of independence is changing.
The smaller the earth seems to become, the more we need to address issues and solve problems from a global perspective. No longer is any one Country a self-governing, individualistic island on the face of the earth. Just like we, the people, need each other more and more. Not from a ‘needy’ point of view, but more from a perspective of sharing ourselves in order to inspire both ourselves and those around us.
With that comes the opportunity to extend a helping hand to those who are not quite as strong, those who may stumble and fall. The privilege to help them on their path. Helping them on their path, ultimately will help us on our paths.
And that is where the true difference between independence and dependence is found.
For those who stumble, yet have a mindset that says that they too will be self-reliant and empowered; those who just need that little boost in order to get up and run with it ~ those will never become dependent upon others; dragging others down.
On the other hand, those that have a mindset that says it is easier to have someone else doing it for you; those who ask for help time and time again, without having the desire to step up and start doing it themselves ~ those will always be dependent upon others.
It is the mindset that makes the difference ~ personally, nationally, and yes, globally.
Posted by Anne Claire at 12:09 PM