It’s Morning Now

FIRST THOUGHTS.

  •  The final piece in a series of blog  posts (8, in all) focusing on waking thoughts that are often overlooked.

After the hectic pace leading up to a holiday like Thanksgiving, my earliest thoughts turn to what was missing.  But something reminds me that it’s the season of gratitude.  A season that is not time-bound, after all.  And the list of things, people, places to be grateful for is of course endless.

Yet, it is the nature of humanity to consider the entire picture — what we perceive as lovely and life affirming versus what seems to be lacking or not quite right.

But can we still be grateful for the picture pieces that are perceived as less than ideal?  For the missing pieces, per se?  And how so?

  • The pale light of dawn flickers at the window and these thoughts rumble around in my mind like playful questions … darting closer, then disappearing.  Almost daring me to address them.  Luckily, my mind isn’t fully engaged yet, so my “higher self” — my spiritual dimension — brings a deeper kind of awareness to these questions.  Our minds, working alone, are always restricted to past conditioning and are therefore limited in perception and time-bound in orientation.  But by accessing universal intelligence we can see beyond the constraints of our mortal existence.   We can see things in a new light, so to speak.

As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my
gratitude renew itself daily.  The breaking of the sun over the
horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. 

~Terri Guillemets

Most of us have experienced some kind of deep loss.  And of course, the experience itself brings “depth” to our lives … as we confront the greatest unknown.  The spiritual realm becomes more immediate when someone we love dies, so it’s only natural that our spiritual dimensions also grow stronger in the aftermath.  In reaching out to understand, to find peace with a painful absence, we are ushered into a new world … one previously veiled to us.

And, thus, we must lead the way for others.

For those who haven’t yet walked in our shoes … for those who still live primarily on the surface of life, as though it were the only thing to be aware of or concerned with.

Naturally, it can be challenging to bridge that gap in a way that is helpful and constructive.  In fact, it seems that experience often is the only or, at least the best, teacher.  That deep loss remains rather abstract and curiously remote to those who haven’t become acquainted more directly with the tremendous power of death — from the loss of a child, for instance.

Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the
ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.

~Henry Clay

As the light of morning becomes more insistent, I fight the urge to “think” about all of this.  To think about my son, Matthew, and what a wonderful Thanksgiving we had together just a few years ago.

Instead, I want my spiritual dimension to stay in focus because that is where many important insights originate — that is where I want to live my life, by and large.  A higher power connects everything for us in ways that take us beyond suffering, beyond superficial living that neither inspires nor truly supports others.  As Eckhart Tolle points out, by going beyond repetitive mind thoughts born of past conditioning, we can begin to experience the divine in ourselves and those around us.

So, can I still feel gratitude for the entire picture … despite the fact that I miss my son, that his presence at Thanksgiving would have made the day feel more complete and meaningful?

My spiritual instincts go with “yes.”  That it’s normal and natural to greatly miss someone you’ve loved and nurtured for some 27 years, but the spiritual growth I’ve experienced since his loss, early summer 2007, has moved me closer to Matthew’s spiritual essence, which is indeed timeless and eternal.

Would I give anything to see his light-filled smile once more?  Of course.  Would I give anything to hear his voice, see his eyes, and know that he is “fine” in the mortal sense of things?  Of course.  Yet, we all must “let go” of life as we know it — we all must grow in gratitude for quality, not quantity.  A few days of true joy are amazing.  So why do we always think such days should pile up like snowflakes in winter?  Why not begin to understand the fleeting nature of our existence, helping younger generations to live more deeply … more spiritually?

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  ~William Faulkner

It’s morning now.

And the sun is a stronger, brighter, force at my window, as if not wanting to go unnoticed.  As though eager to warm the world.  Do not let this day go unnoticed.  Do not forget to honor the deep spiritual connections in your life that have brought you to this very moment.

Your light, like ours, is part of a universal light — never really lost, merely transformed.

Thank you all for visiting SunnyRoomStudio.  May your days always be blessed with compassion, humility, and a desire to help others.  Everyone is looking for the light, but only some are truly aware of it.  Let your gratitude guide you in all the right directions.

Blog posts by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.

On a Whim

FIRST THOUGHTS.

  • Number 7 in a series of blog posts focusing on waking thoughts that are so often overlooked.

Stepping from the world of dreams reluctantly today.  As though in meditation, I notice a wave of peacefulness — a whimsical floating sensation.

Have I been drifting on a spiritual current?

Feels like it, although, I’m not exactly sure what a “spiritual current” is … maybe just another term for that feeling of oneness when we are aware of the Universe in the spiritual sense.

Heaven is not a place or a condition.
It is merely an awareness of perfect oneness.

~ A Course in Miracles

Joy also flows from this peaceful moment.  And joy is different than “happiness” which is largely a “mind concept” crafted by years of social conditioning.  The word has really lost all meaning, as too often it is aligned with external factors that come and go each day.  Joy, however, is part of our being … inherent to our existence … and clearly a spiritual sensation.

Ego is often at the core of “happy” … but spirit is at the core of “joy.”  And we all know that ego is often a destructive force — pointing us in all the wrong directions.

The ego seeks to divide and separate.  Spirit seeks to unify and heal.
~
A Course in Miracles

Joy, to be certain, comes without striving.  It just is.  It may not be noticeable to others, but it’s a much steadier force than what society calls “happy.”  And it doesn’t depend on much of anything in particular to make it so … it just is.

“Is there a difference between happiness and inner peace? Yes.
Happiness depends on conditions being perceived as positive;
inner peace does not.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Pleasure is always derived from something outside you,
whereas joy arises from within.
~
Eckhart Tolle

The problem with happiness, as commonly defined by society, friends, or family, is that people tend to project their feelings on others.  They take their personal definition of happiness and plaster it on the world stage — assuming that their version of happiness applies to everyone.  And of course it doesn’t.  People who have pursued spiritual awakening, for instance, experience a deep sense of joy from the most basic of things.  A sunset.  A bird in flight.  A beautiful flower.  A smile from a stranger.  A kind word.

Even the colors of autumn can bring joy into our awareness.  

I notice joy, for instance, when I do things on a whim … when I allow that intuitive nudge to take root in my day.  That’s when we let the Universe guide us … that’s when we are most peaceful.  Avoid the complexities of “happy” … an overworked idea that is too often linked to commercial definitions and external factors (ever-changing).  Besides, most people who claim to be happy are unhappy moments later … what an exhausting roller coaster.

  • Have you discovered freedom and spiritual joy by looking within?

Blog posts by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved. 

Dream Writing

FIRST THOUGHTS.

  • Number 6 in a series of blog posts focusing on early morning impressions that are lost in the haste of alarm clocks, schedules, and daily routines.

The whisper of an idea.  An intriguing scene from a story you’ve never read or heard about.  The faint outline of a dream you want to remember.

It’s the playground of artists, writers, poets, and dreamers.

In fact, Pulitzer prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler wrote a wonderful book called From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction.  He’s published numerous novels, short story collections, and so on, but admits that before he wrote his first published novel, The Alleys of Eden, there were frustrating years of effort — period.  As he puts it, “…I wrote literally a million words of absolute dreck.  Five god-awful novels, forty dreadful short stories, and a dozen truly terrible full-length plays.”

Butler believes a fiction writer must think less and write from the world of dreams.  That uncensored arena that moves us beyond the confines of habitual thoughts and ideas.

I suspect he’s right.

Whenever I write fiction or poetry or anything really … I have to get in touch with that part of myself that leaps well beyond a sensible, logical outline.  That is willing to let go of  assumptions or expectations.  And I have to let the artist within dabble with many colors, play with awareness via sensory cues, eventually creating something my conscious mind could never have envisioned.

“Only in this way, by shaping and ordering experience into an art object, is the artist able to express her deep intuition of order.” ~ Robert Olen Butler

Perhaps, this is why I am captivated by First Thoughts — by whatever edges into my morning awareness with gentle clarity.  It feels pure somehow, like new snow drifting toward earth with a certain brightness protecting each flake.  So stay receptive and welcoming as dawn arrives.  Be alert to “first thoughts,” knowing your subconscious may offer something surprising or noteworthy.

Out beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. 
~Rumi

This morning I’m reminded of the fiction projects I haven’t worked on lately.  A couple of my characters drift into my awareness as if seeking my attention once more.  As if wondering what happens next in the story they carry on their shoulders.  Winter is coming, I muse, so maybe I will be drawn to the dream world once more.  Do some dream writing.  It sounds like the perfect way to spend a few months, when sleep becomes deeper, longer, and part of a long winter’s nap.

Spring, summer, and fall fill us with hope; winter alone
reminds us of the human condition.

~ Mignon McLaughlin

Robert Olen Butler also refers to the human condition, reminding readers and writing students that works of fiction that endure … “reflect and articulate the deepest truth about the human condition.”

What examples come to mind?

When it comes to the classics, I’m a big fan of Steinbeck and Fitzgerald.  Kafka and Tolstoy were remarkable writers.  And who could forget Dickens or Twain?

Willa Cather was also a wonderful writer.

And there are many contemporary novelists who deserve our attention.  Robert Olen Butler, for instance.  In 1993, he won the Pulitzer for A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.

Before the snow flies, while touches of color still cloak a few trees, I may dig out a short story to work on.  Maybe even one of the novels I wrote a few years ago.  Novels that need a great deal of work.  They were merely first drafts, all 5 of them, but something is bringing them back into my awareness.

As someone once said, the words won’t have changed, but the author will have changed.  Life experience definitely deepens our understanding of the human condition.

What experiences have you had this past year that gave you insight into the human condition?  How did they deepen your understanding of yourself and others?

What hints of color are leading you in the direction
of spiritual and artistic growth?  

What early-morning insights linger in your awareness?

Was it only by dreaming or writing that I
could find out what I thought? 

~ Joan Didion

Blog posts by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.

Letting Go

FIRST THOUGHTS.

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Relaxed, adrift, deeply silent.  My waking hours brought thoughts of autumn and how the earth is preparing for its long winter nap.  At least in many parts of the world.

I wondered if our rose bushes, covered in old sheets, had survived the below freezing temperatures.  The weekend is supposed to be warmer, so I hoped they would be around to enjoy for a few more days.

Thinking about this in that hazy state of mind that morning brings, I knew I was wishing for something that probably didn’t matter in the overall scheme of things.  Inevitably, the roses would die back with the advance of colder temperatures.  I couldn’t prevent it … no matter how much I tried.  Change was imminent.  Yet this natural event was triggering feelings of loss for me.  Deeper feelings that went beyond a rose in autumn.

Roses
by George Eliot
You love the roses – so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
But saying good-bye, even to plants we have cared for all summer, can be less than joyful.  I wished for more days of “wine and roses,” and wished for more time.  Endings, something we often resist.  Yet, our resistance creates suffering, according to many spiritual leaders.  So I counseled myself to accept the moment that nature had created for reasons beyond my full awareness.  I reminded myself that roses return in the spring, undeterred by winter’s fury.

The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns;
the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose.

~ Kahlil Gibran

And I also tried to let go my mortal definition of time.  On a spiritual level, we are all timeless, as we move beyond calendars, seasons, and 24-hour cycles with ease.  So I drifted with the dawn for a few more minutes, knowing I would be fully awake soon.  But then I moved into feelings of gratitude — for the beauty of summer, the delicate fragrance of a rose, the fragile bloom that somehow transforms my day.

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to
paint a rose,
because before he can do so he has first to
forget all the roses that were ever painted.

~ Henri Matisse

I realized that gratitude brings surrender.  Like a waterfall, it also brings a rush of energy by allowing a mellow kind of joy to permeate our awareness.  It also takes us beyond clinging, allowing us to let go a bit easier.

A single rose can be my garden, a single friend my world.
~ Leo Buscaglia

  •  How does letting go of beauty or the seasons impact you?  When did you last study or really appreciate a rose?  Do you bring them into your home for no special reason, even during the winter months?   Ever meditated on a rose?   Ever painted roses, written poetry about them?

And so, the day is here, welcomed more warmly than I’d imagined. 

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and time in this sunny space for kindred spirits.

Blog posts by DazyDayWriter @ work in SunnyRoomStudio: all rights reserved.

Facing Fear

First Thoughts.

Do you ever start to wake up in the morning with reluctance?  With that feeling of … fear?  Maybe you have a difficult day at the office on your calendar, maybe you have a dental or doctor visit that you’ve been dreading, maybe you have a big decision to make or a funeral to attend.  So many things can spark that desire to stay in bed as the dawn slips in around the edges of your curtains.  Maybe you want to start a new project, even though it will greatly challenge you — taking you out of your comfort zone.  Maybe your car isn’t working and you have to find a way to get it to the shop.  Maybe your head hurts.

I woke up to that feeling of reluctance today.  Merely a vague idea in my head, but still there.  And I’d much rather wake up with a feeling of gratitude for life — a sense of anticipation for what the day will offer.  An overall feeling of well-being.  Worries safely at bay.  Schedules under control.  High pressure situations not on the horizon.

Finally, I thought about the lovely lavender still blooming in our garden and that lightened my mood.  Fragrant, cheerful, sort of carefree in appearance.  A windblown look of being at peace with its surroundings.

Immediately, the day ahead didn’t feel so daunting.

Such is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it, the next wish is to change again.  ~ Samuel Johnson

So I relaxed a bit, tried to figure out why the sense of dread.  Clearly, life was beautiful.  The lavender proved that much.  Finally, it dawned on me that I hadn’t identified a topic for today’s blog post … what if my creativity failed me this morning?  What if I couldn’t think of one possible thing to write about?  I reminded myself I was focusing on “first thoughts” … intentionally, not planning ahead.  Ah, so I relaxed again.

I enjoy writing freestyle, not locking myself into a specific topic in advance of posting.  My writing feels fresh and fun in this context.  Not forced or censored or contrived.

Our thinking and our behavior are always in anticipation of a response.
It is therefore fear-based.
~ Deepak Chopra

Yet, fear had wormed its way into my morning thoughts — basically without my awareness.  I resented that feeling somewhat and wondered about its origin.  Hadn’t I been sleeping, after all, not thinking about SunnyRoomStudio and how I might inspire my readers and friends today?

Well, yes, I’d been asleep, but toward morning … my mind had begun to churn before I was fully awake.  Apparently.

So without my permission, my mind had jumped into action, decided to worry about the blog and turn fearful in the face of a morning deadline.  All of this taking place on a subconscious level.

A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.  ~ Oliver Goldsmith

Fortunately, my silly worries presented me with a good topic for today.

It seems much of our angst in the waking hours is not of our choosing or of our design.

Be alert to the present moment, turning away from false fears that arise in our minds from past conditioning … not from the present moment when we are in step with our true spiritual essence and the peace it provides.

Fortunately, I enjoyed this creative opportunity and hope you also find threads of morning wisdom tucked within these lines.

  • Is there something you are feeling fearful about?  Is the “fear” truly justified or just a figment of your imagination?  What is fear all about, really, and is it ever part of the present moment or just something planted in your mind many long years ago?  In other words, is it just a bad habit?

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