Want to see more collaged Contemplation Cards? The theme was Power. Click here The HeART of Spirituality
Don’t remember how I found Susan Wojtkowski’s blog I only remember the title of her blog irreversibly moi made me laugh, her love of rescue dogs made me smile and her online classes kept calling to me.
So I signed up for Art Journaling Through Proverbs. The price made me happy and the novelty of journaling inspired by proverbs (with which I’m not very familiar) made me interested.
My first journal page
I’ll share what we do and the Proverb we are focusing on. So stay tuned for some more of my heART!
P.S. There’s still time to join the online class. Here’s Susan’s description:
“Our first class/group course of 2016 is a journey through the Book of Proverbs! If you enjoy art journaling (or would like to start) and want to spend time in the Bible this year, this group is a great way to go. We will enjoy artsy fellowship in a private, fun and comfortable Facebook group while learning new art journaling techniques and discussing how to apply Proverbs in our daily lives. Read on below for more details about this great group class that kicks off on February 1st!”
Too pooped to pop! It was worth it! I facilitated a HeART of Spirituality workshop at the Tapestry Unitarian church. It’s my first post-retirement creative expression workshop. Not sure if it’s the last . . .
After so many years of having the luxury of giving workshops in my own office – with the set-up in place and all the materials on hand – I’d forgotten how much prep there is in doing a workshop off-site. (I’ve also forgotten lots of other things . . . like what I had for breakfast).
Here’s a small sample of what we did and a few of the INCREDIBLE prayer/contemplation cards created by the participants (Unfortunately not all the photos I took “took”.)
“Artistic talent is a gift from God and whoever discovers it in himself has a certain obligation: to know that he cannot waste this talent, but must develop it.” Pope John Paul II
“Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next.”
Missed the beginning? Click here:
I haven’t a clue why I decided he was mine. I just remember turning around, pointing to his enclosure – “I want that one.”
“You sure?” My husband’s a bit stunned.(Small decisions, like what color to paint the wall, incubate in my mind for a long time. Whereas, buying my first new car, purchasing a house, picking a dog – these kind of decisions are generally impetuous, emotional with no basis in logic or fact.)
“Yes, That one.” There was no turning back.
The shelter was closing. If I wanted to adopt I had to return and take him into the play yard to see IF HE LIKED ME . . . or not. IF he responded positively THEN I could then fill out an application to adopt which they would THEN review.
Now I’m getting nervous. What if he doesn’t like me? What if the shelter volunteers don’t think I am a fit dog owner? What if someone better comes along and gets him?
The next day he and I have our first face to face. Literally. To enter the large fenced in play yard there’s a very high steep step. He has very short legs. I’m told to lift him up the step. Eyeball to eyeball , he licks my face and I laugh in delight. The more I laugh the more he licks. This dog LOVES me!
In the play yard it’s a variation of “the pillow or me” – He runs to the fence, barking at something unseen (at least to me) that needs to be barked at, runs back to me, licks whatever part of my body he can reach before dashing back to the fence for more barking. Back and forth, back and forth, he’s as possessed with barking at the fence as he was humping the pillow. I can’t stop laughing and he can’t stop running back and forth, barking and licking, licking and barking. I was in love.
Apparently the shelter volunteer decided I passed the “likeably test”. I was allowed to fill out an application to adopt. Now I’m nervous again. Answering questions like:
Suddenly truth doesn’t matter. What matters is figuring out what they are looking for so they won’t give MY dog to someone else. Takes me forever to answer the application. Finally I go with the truth. I don’t like myself if I lie. But the truth is I am more fearful they’ll make home visits, find I lied and take him away. My mind was crazed with love.
My heart sinks when they announce my application will be REVIEWED. (This is no “APPLICATION”. This is a life review for top-level security clearance) He’s scheduled for neutering at the end of the week. Nothing will be decided until then.
“Would you tell me a bit about him?” I ask hesitatingly not wanting them to think I’m nosey.
HOMER! ! ! Trying to keep a blank expression on my face so as not to upset the shelter volunteer, my mind races. (I can’t call him HOMER! He doesn’t look like a Homer, act like a Homer. Homer is a loser name. No Homer I’m aware of has ever made it big, except Homer of the Illiad and the Oddysey – ay yi yi – painful flashbacks to struggling with the classics in college. Homer isn’t quirky, lively and no respectable Homer would EVER hump a pillow.)
Little did I know then how classic “Homer” really was.
Coming! Homer and the Wicker chair – the plot thickensLinks to all the current chapters (they do need to be read in order to follow the story thread): Prologue & Epilogue Chapter 1 – Instincts Rule Chapter 2 – Love at First Lick Chapter 3 – Chewsing Heaven Chapter 4 – Unleashed Chapter 5 – Our Little Angel Chapter 6 – Favorite Flavors, Patience & Self Control Chapter 7 – Love has no Bounds
” . . . it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. “
I mourn the passing from my life of this incredible lively, quirky and wonderful spirit. Max was a love – stubborn, incredibly stubborn, but a love.
December 2012, he would have been 14 years old. He was about 10 months old when he adopted us 1998. In his last week in both appearance and behaviour he wasn’t “Max”.
Before our eyes Max lost his hair, his pep, energy, stubbornness and his bearings. He stopped greeting us at the door, giving hundreds of loving licks, he became completely disoriented, standing in space, starring at some unknowable sight, unable to move forward, backward or lie down. Max’s body was here, his spirit was lost.
We knew without question it was time, on November 26, 2012, to release him
I have turned even more to the Baha’i spiritual teachings and prayer to stay as graceful and loving as possible through my tears and rely on Max’s spirit to help me keep perspective.
I began writing this series of remembrances days before we euthanized him, unconsciously knowing he had not many days to live here on earth. I want to share a bit of Max and my journey together. If you choose to accompany us on this spiritual path Max & I will be honored.
“It is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man … The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express its hurt nor take its case to the authorities … Therefore it is essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. Train your children from their earliest days to be infinitely tender and loving to animals. If an animal be sick, let them try to heal it, if it be hungry, let them feed it, if thirsty, let them quench its thirst, if weary, let them see that it rests.”
Next, Chapter 1 –
How Max picked me for adoption
“…Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart…” Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat, Pray, Love”
This is all probably too convoluted for a post but here goes a try.
Haiku-Heights posted the Saturday prompt -” illusion”. I spontaneously and quickly wrote the Haiku below and then have labored how to express what prompted me BEHIND the “illusion” prompt.
I always smile inwardly when I hear “We need to live in the moment”. Think about it! We can ONLY LIVE IN THE MOMENT. It’s just our conscious mind busy IN THE MOMENT worrying or thinking about the past or the future – our ego defining what we want, what we need. Our ego deciding what is fair and thereby defining who we are.
We are creatures of two worlds. We make our way through this physical plane while having an innate sense of an invisible realm – something outside our conscious ego. I think that the sense there’s something “more” comes as a sense of longing. A yearning which we try to fill with relationships, possessions, things of the world. But no matter what STUFF we try to fill it with, the void is still there.
Translation: Reality is in the background patiently waiting for us to turn our focus inward, beyond our thoughts. When we choose to focus on this moment, and Be CONSCIOUSLY Present (like when we meditate) we can get a glimpse … of our real self, our spirit and let go of our ego. (Easier said than done)
As I grow older the void grows smaller the more I consciously try to live less from ego and a more spiritual life. Hopefully, that too isn’t an illusion.
Believe it or not
Everything’s an illusion
…If you can recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also it’s ending. Its survival depends on your mistaking it for reality. In the seeing of who you are not, the reality of who you are emerges by itself…” -Eckhart Tolle,( A New Earth)
“When you wish to reflect upon or consider a matter you consult something within you….Surely there is a distinct power, a distinct ego. Were it not distinct from your ego you would not be consulting it. It is greater than the faculty of thought. It is your spirit which teaches you, which inspires and decides upon matters. ” (Abdu’l Baha’i: Baha’i Scriptures, p. 365)
Artwork by M.C. Escher
Not a lot of people believe me when I tell them I wait for rain to wash my car. I pull it into the driveway and when it’s wet enough I sponge it off, pull it into the garage and dry! Lickety split. It’s raining right now in sunny southern California.
*Celeste, http://www.thesethree.com/ lives, works and writes in sunny Arizona where, when the rain falls, lightening booms. I thought about Celeste today because both her poem and prose speak of rain.
I Am But a Visitor Here©
by Celeste Cooper
I fondle the threadbare cloth, as I don the table,
Honoring the calls of nature, thankful I’m able.
The evening mist whispers,” Listen, hear my name,”
Interrupted by thunder, earth trembles, making its claim.
Learned chipmunks frolicking, hurry, to tidy their throne,
Drumming rain upon an awning, nature sways to the tone.
Hummingbirds arguing, swooping the found red feeder,
Obliviously provoking, rejecting, “who is their leader?”
Merely hobos we are, here, the land inborn by time,
Crickets melodically join in song, all claiming it’s mine.
Lightning enlightening the sense of my presence here,
Nature’s orchestra, the teacher, those willing to hear.
Strings strumming from the river, float up as a gift,
Deer blindly oversee meadows against the cliff.
Portly pine bellowing scent, permeating the park,
Nature quiets its soul, timidly soothed by the dark.
Flames speak, stimulating thoughts that are clear,
The campfire is laughing, “You are temporarily here.”
Brazen promise seen through the bifocals of time,
This inheritance, nature summons, proclaiming its mine.
Enchanted by this instruction, the beauty, I endear
The fact of the matter, “I am but a visitor here.”
Every Day a Gift ©“I will meet each day with a grateful heart. It is through admission that I am able to have positive expectations. I accept the reality of temptations that could deconstruct my day. I understand that as the sun meets the rain, the rising up of peace will meet my pain. I am mindful of thought blocks and keep expectations in line with my reality. I will honestly greet positive with paper and affirm each day as a blessing not to be wasted.” *Celeste Cooper, author, Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: the Mind-Body Connection (co-author, Jeff Miller, PhD) Celeste is a retired advanced trained registered nurse. She cared and mentored others, and practiced as a clinical educator who wrote and implemented continuing education programs.