Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Uncarved Block

Balanced rock in Arches State Park Utah - photograph by Tim Pearce

used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence

One of the basic principles of Taoism is P'u, the Uncarved Block. The essence of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed.

Everything has its own place and function. When you know and respect your inner nature, you know where you belong. You also know where you don't belong.

From the state of the Uncarved Block comes the ability to enjoy the simple and the quiet, the natural and the plain. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work, odd as that may appear to others at times.

As Piglet put it in Winnie-the-Pooh, "Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right."

"Just How do you do it, Pooh?"

"Do What?" asked Pooh.
"Become so Effortless."
"I don't do much of anything," he said.
"But all those things of yours get done."
"They just sort of happen," he said"

Benjamin Hoff - The Tao of Pooh

ISBN-10: 0140067477
ISBN-13: 978-0140067477

Monday, 21 June 2010

The Sun Stands Still

Stonehenge Summer Solstice Sunrise
- photograph by Simon and Vicki
used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic licence

''Solstice'' is derived from two latin words: ''sol'' meaning sun, and ''sistere,'' to cause to stand still. As the summer solstice approaches, the noonday sun rises higher in the sky on each successive day. On the day of the solstice, it reaches its zenith, and it appears to have stood still.

People have for centuries celebrated the first day of summer: the Summer Solstice, Midsummer, St. John's Day, or the Wiccan Litha. Today, the day is still celebrated most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

Ancient Pagans celebrated Midsummer with bonfires, when dancers would leap through the flames, Aromatic herbs such as St. John's Wort were said to be burned on the fires.

Midsummer Eve was traditionaly a time for fairies to cross over from the Otherworld. Dancing around bonfires is said to attract them!

Making flower headdresses is an ancient tradition for this day, with wreathes of sacred plants and herbs hung on houses for good luck and prosperity.

When the Summer Solstice was incorporated into the Christian calendar, it became the feast day of 'St. John the Baptist'.

For druids the Summer Solstice was symbolic time of the wedding between Heaven and Earth. The Goddess as Earth Mother and God as Sun King. The Midsummer moon was called the "Honey Moon" for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice. June is still a traditional time for couples to marry.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Sunshine of Our Love

Sunshine Butterfly - photograph by hocusfocusclick
used under the Creatuve Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic licence

Is not love like sunshine, it is given freely, and shines down upon us from the heavens, whether we feel the rays upon our face, or need to hide away in shadow. A true wish for the happiness of others can only ever be unconditional.

When we meet our true friends, after a long absence, there is always joy in our hearts, for friends genuinely care for one another. We share our tales of travelling through life, and really want to know how things have turned out. I have recently made contact with some friends, that I have not seen for maybe fifteen years at least, and yet it is like only a moment has passed. We connect within an instant.

There are times in our lives where we literaly dissolve inside. We are in a chrysalis, underneath our old hardened skin. Inside our hearts may be broken, or our dreams shattered, and we must grieve for the unavoidable pain. We are in transformation, how we think and feel about ourselves is in change. We dissolve and the anguish can be painful. Yet when something terrible is happening to us on the outside, something wonderful inside is being born.

And in time, the beautiful butterfly will return...

And the sunshine of our friends, will still be there waiting for us.

How does god manifest love, if not through our loved ones and friends?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sunny Days and Ice Cream

Ice Cream - photograph by Sarah G
Used under the Creative Commons Attibution 2.0 Generic licence

It has been a beautiful sunny day here in England.
That rare summer event!

If you are an overseas student and ever wonder when all those sunny pictures of your university were taken, that they put in the brochure - well it will probably have been the one day in the year, like today!

Isn't that the greatest ice cream ever, in the picture. I think I'll have to go and search for one...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Moon and Geese

Moon and Geese at dawn - photograph by Viki's Nature
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic licence

Some nights stay up till dawn

as the moon sometimes does for the sun.

Be a bucket filled, pulled up the dark way of a well

then lifted out into light.

Something opens out wings,

something makes boredom and hurt disappear.

Someone fills the cup in front of us,

we taste only sacredness.

~thirteenth century Persian poem


Daisies - photograph by photographic poetry
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic licence

Over the shoulders and slopes of the dune I saw the white daisies go down to the sea, A host in the sunshine, an army in June,
The people God sends us to set our heart free.
~ William Bliss Carman

I wish upon you a daisy blessing, may your path be paved in shining white and gold.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Fairy Queen and Silver Pond

Silver pond by by cosmonautirussi
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 generic licence

The water fairy leads us down through the roots, to the spirits of the depths, and the sources of dreams beneath the threshold of consciousness.

I have bathed in the clear cool waters, refreshed, cleansed.

It is so very hard for me to leave, the joy you given me, the love you have shown. The shining jewels beneath, as I gaze into your reflective depths. For one brief moment, you became my very own fairytale, the stuff of stardust. But you live on your side of the pond and me on mine, each of us within our own magic kingdom. The steps I have taken alongside you on our brief enchanted path, have been full of wonder. But I dare not linger, too long, least you should suffer some fairy tale curse, from a broken promise.

In my heart I simply want to stay forever, but to live, we must constantly take our leave. The beginning of every path is at the same time the end of another.

I leave a trail of tiny flowers, in words and pictures, for you to follow in my waking dreams.

Farewell, my bright and shining companion, until we meet each other on the road ahead, when our star clad paths shall cross again.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Margarita Recipe

Margarita - photograph by by Akke Monasso
used under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 licence

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup white Tequila
1/3 cup Triple Sec
Coarse salt for coating the rims of the glasses

Dip the rims of 4 glasses in the lemon juice and put the glasses in the freezer. In a sealable bottle or shaker combine the Tequila, the Triple Sec, the remaining lemon juice, and about 2 cups crushed ice, seal the bottle, and shake the Margarita vigorously until it is very cold and the ice is almost melted. Remove the glasses from the freezer, dip the rims in the salt, shaking off the excess, and fill the glasses with ice cubes. Divide the Margaritas among the glasses.

Not exactly cooking, I know, but just a little something to put a smile on your face, if you happen to take up a friends offer of Tequila!


Blossom - Photograph by Paco Alcantara
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic licence

An endless sea of apple trees
Each flower a soul
In blossom
The soft golden sunlight
Never sets

My dearest friend, I am so so sorry to hear of your loss. I am giving your hand a little squeeze...

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness

Sunshine - photograph by **Mary**

Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence

Even though we are slowly letting go... know that we are flying freely... across forever. We'll meet now and then, when we wish, in the midst of the one celebration that can never end. (With acknowledgement to Richard Bach, There's no such place as far away)

The fondest farewell

Is a whisper

Resting softly

In your heart

The Eagle and the Sun

An eagle soars above the sun - photograph by Jasmic
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic licence

Eagle Medicine is the power of the Great Spirit. It is the gift of clear vision with which one can truly see the things one sees. It has the spirit of tenacity and courage. It is the patience to wait for just the right moment. It is to live in balance with heaven and earth. The eagle reminds you of your connection with the Great Spirit. It tells you that the universe is giving you the opportunity to fly above your life's worldly levels, and beyond the shadow of the past. Eagle teaches you to look above in order to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart, to love the Shadow as much as the Light. Eagle asks you to grant yourself permission to be free in order to reach the joy that your heart desires.

Lift yourself into the wings of all birds that fly
You can see through their golden eyes,
You can touch the wind that sweeps through their velvet feathers,
You can know the joy of going way up high above the world and all its cares.
You can stay as long as you want in the sky, past the night, through sunrise,
And when you feel like coming down again, your questions will have answers
And your worries will be gone.
~Richard Bach (There's no such place as far away)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Sunflowers and Blue Skies

Sunflower sunflower by Irina
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic Licence

Here is a sunflower for you. I chose it because there was a comment underneath which said, "gives one only positive thoughts." Wishing you a blue sky and happy thoughts.

Monday, 7 June 2010


Sunlight breaking through the clouds by Chad Johnson
Used under the Creative Commones Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic licence

"But every time it rains,
You're here in my head,
Like the sun coming out--
Ooh, I just know that something good is going to happen.
I don't know when,
But just saying it could even make it happen."

~Kate Bush, Cloudbursting

Don't give up hope, I've not gone away, the sunshine is just waiting, hiding, behind the clouds for another day.

The importance of letting go

I have recently had two lessons in the importance of letting go. One which has haunted me for some past twenty six years, which I have sought to bury so deeply, that it could never be uncovered, and one which by my presence causes their distress. I don't ever want to hurt them and certainly not more than I could ever possibly know.

I have learned that digging a tiny grave and burying a part of you, does not lay the ghost to rest. It simply resides in you deeply. To grieve you must let go. To ask for forgiveness, when for all this time you cannot forgive yourself, and the others around you, who caused your pain. It takes great strength and courage. But we are never meant to carry such a burden, throughout our entire life. I have carried the screaming angry spirit of an invisible child within me for all these years, and it was killing me, trying to get out. And although I tried my best, I wanted to cradle you in my arms, in the end I simply had to let go.

And someone, who has helped me, more than they could ever possibly know. Who I love in a way, I cannot possibly express, but a love which is not selfish or blind. I must let go. For I cherish their happiness more than anything.

I will never ever forget you, not even when I'm one hundred. You will be in my prayers forever.

Tears are silent prayers

If I had arms that could stretch
around the world
I would hold you tightly
for dear life
and not let go
until the very last tear
from your deep dark well of sorrow
had fallen on my breast

If I had wings
I would carry you in my arms
And fly back to a time
When you felt safe
Before fear began

And if tears are silent prayers
Then I pray for you
From the river in my heart
For you to have the strength
To carry on

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Magic Hour

Milos Bay Church Magic Hour by ChrisGoldNY
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 Generic licence

Magic hour is the first and last hour of sunlight during the day, but not at the point of sunrise or sunset.

Lighting is more diffuse and softer and shadows are longer. When the Sun is near the horizon, sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, reducing its intensity, so that more of the illumination comes from the sky. More blue light is scattered, so that light from the Sun appears more reddish. The Sun's small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.

There is less contrast during the magic hour, shadows are less dark, and highlights are less likely to be overexposed. This can enhance the colours in landscape photography.

Life is for sharing with your friends

Our happiness comes from others. Being self-centred is the source of unhappiness and suffering, as we struggle to take away other peoples joy. Thinking about and caring for others is the source of all happiness. Genuine friendship is based on true human feeling, we are bought close to one another when we care for one another and share our feelings. We become connected. Everyone needs friends, and compassion and concern for others are what attracts true friendship.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Apotheosis of the Rose

The Apotheosis of the Rose - Joseph Stella 1926

I love this painting by Joseph Stella. It is joyous and full of hope, and is accompanied by this beautiful poem by the artist. I understand now why artists are so driven to show the beauty of creation. Although I don't know why I was chosen for such an important task... maybe I heard a telephone ringing on the sidewalk, and answered the call!

May, shining and filled with the sounds of warbling,
Proclaims its arrival with vermilion bursts if joy
radiating from the centre of the canvas like
A heart.
The clear serenity of the sky offers as an altar
The Queen of Heaven
With a silver Halo, the song that foretells the Mystic Dawn.
And from the base of the canvas arises, fluttering - propitious votive offering -
A dewy thicket of small roses and field flowers
Set in snowy whiteness.
The whiteness of two herons spring outs as if by magic out of the shining brook that echos with heavenly reasonance,
The brook toward which other birds, to bathe themselves
In the blue and the light,
To draw fresh energy for their joyous voices that they may strengthen, render more fully
The ringing Chorus of Praise
Celebrating the divine union of Sky and Earth
As they sing in unison.

Recognising the Path of Destiny

An image in the heart by Diane Barker

This is a greeting card which a long lost love once sent to me. Although you can't see it in the scanned picture, there is an important message in this card written in very tiny writing around the four sides of the "path" in the middle

It all came back to me
Colour, shadow, sunlight
The soul just opening
I abandoned myself

This is a message about remembering your hearts desires, the states of feeling which you wish to attain, and allowing your imagination to dream - to bring them forth, to manifest your feelings. Abandoning your fears and doubts, and selfish misconceptions of happiness... to step out upon the path.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Guardian Angel

An angel which I drew for a very special friend who was recently in hospital for an operation.

I used special metallic oil pastels which shine if you have the light at just the right angle. They are my favourite artist materials.

I hope she likes them.