Tuesday, October 31, 2017

What's Next?

“To affect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”

-- Henry David Thoreau

How many of us are really living the life we dreamed when we were six years old, or even twelve, maybe twenty-one?

Aren’t we running too fast, over-scheduling ourselves, feeling that we have no time?

What’s next?

Nothing in society teaches us to live in the now—everything is “What’s next?”

When we enter grade school, we feel the pressure to do well so we can get into college. When we get to college we are asked, “What’s next? What is our major? What job will we have?

We look for the ideal mate to make our lives fulfilled and joyful. We wait for children. We wait for them to sleep through the night. We have an eye on their education, their college.

Remember when you were a kid and you laid on the grass and felt the cool dampness of it?

You were lying on a living pallet, and as you lie there with the sunshine a blanket of warm on your skin, you looked into the sky and watched a whiff of white gas gather itself into a cloud.

Can’t you smell the grass, feel the sun?

Thoreau said, “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

 Recently I reread a book I had read about 20 years ago and loved the author all over again. It was Dorothy Gilman, and her book was A New Kind of Country.

She was a lady alone, her boys were in college, and for $10,500 she bought a house and ten acres in Nova Scotia. She went there to find a new kind of country, one in which she could “Front only the essentials.”

During a Christmas visit back to New York, at a dinner party, the host turns to her and says, “It’s high time you told us about your move to Nova Scotia. Which I certainly envy you doing.”

“Yes,” his wife says, “I’m so curious. Tell us, for instance, what you do every day.”

Dorothy was about t reply when the friend who accompanied her to the party, said, “Oh, I can tell you that. She gets up at dawn, chops wood, milks the cows, builds fires, does a little writing, eats fish, and goes to bed at sunset. Now tell me, she continues. “what you’ve heard about the Johnsons’ divorce.”



I, too, feel I must be working all day, to read a book during the day is somehow frivolous, so I squeeze in a little reading before I fall asleep at night.  I’m caught up with the need to be doing “important” stuff,  too.


In his book, Medicine Power, Brad Steiger quotes a one-hundred-year-old medicine man named Thomas Largewhiskers. “I don’t know what you learned from books, but the most important thing I learned from my grandfathers was that there is a part of the mind that we don’t really know about and it is that part that is most important in whether we become sick or remain well.”


Oh, It’s Halloween—go scare yourself silly.



So true! I remember well the oak tree up the 'D' hill by Grandma Willett's , climbing the hill, lying in the weeds to look up at the clouds to see what the might be......and look out over the area below extending to the river. There was a retired horse in that pasture named, Captain, whom I had asked the owner if I could climb on/sit and pretend as well as stand on while he grazed. Almost the same mentality as drinking out of a hose, 'eating' the mud pies, riding in the back of a pickup.......M.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Traveling With Joyce

To the grocery store on a rainy day. 
I looked up at chattering overhead...

Daughter, grandson, and I drove to Albany, their first visit, my second. We wanted to see the carving in the basement. And there was the senior carver, Larry, telling us about carousels, and that this one has been carved in the old tradition, by hand, even with the carving tools being sharpened with a leather strap.

And he told us that many people work on each animal--this is on purpose to keep one person from claiming possession. Within the hollow belly of an animal is a time capsule of all the people who worked on it.

Do you know the difference between a Carousel and a Merry-go-round?

A carousel is fixed, usually in a building or a Pavilion. a merry-go-round is movable, such as those in traveling amusement parks.

And then driving home down I-5

Monday came and with it a celebration of the leaves. A footbridge leads from the parking lot on one side of the Willamette River to a park on the other side. Many people come and go across the bridge walking or with bikes, and some leading dogs. Sweetpea proudly pranced across it as though she was a charger.

A walk through the Park.

Back on our home street, I hear this from the tree, "Hey man, I was sleeping, you know, when suddenly something cold hit me, and I woke up with one limb red as a lobster."

A block from our house I sit under a spreading walnut tree,

Home, I am met by our Magnolia tree, and I think,  Hum, all these Magnolia leaves will soon be on the ground, our ground... 

But, come spring
our Pegasus Magnolia tree will awaken with buds in her hair.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Our Purpose

For the past 29 days I have been doing a self-imposed process. I’ve been taking and posting a photograph a day.

If someone had asked me what I did during the past month, I would hem and haw, either not wanting to explain, not remembering, or making small my experience. Sometimes it does appear we do not accomplish much, we go through our daily process and nightly sleep, only to get up and do it all over again.

Taking those pictures made me notice what was around me and to find something noteworthy in it.  It made me keep my word. It was a journal in pictures.

There is nothing terribly fancy in my pictures. It is life as I see it, beautiful flowers wet with rain, a tiny frog, baby chicks, carousals. Go for a walk and what do you find? A horse coming to the fence to greet you, a tree turning color behind your house*, mushrooms in the yard.

Me and my phone walking  around.  One more photo to go.

 All are posted on www.travelwithjoyce.com

And now about our purpose:

Ever since I heard the writer/ researcher Michael Tellinger say, “Our purpose is to raise the consciousness of the people,” I said, “Yes. That’s it.”

This is the top purpose, you might have sub-purposes, like pursuing your dream of becoming an artist, or building a hospital in Africa, but first and foremost, we ought to uplift the consciousness of the people that populate this planet.

We do not need to fix people; we need to assist them in fixing themselves. One by one if people popped out of their limitations, the world would be transformed without our lifting a finger. And we could say that rarely do we find a broken person, only people in want of something.

Evidence of my claim is that hordes of people are seeking out healing experiences, joining consciousness-raising groups, and studying Quantum physics to understand where they fit into the cosmos. People throng to Tony Robbins events with the belief that their lives will improve because of it. Millions follow the TED talks with presenters encouraging us to live our dream, follow our bliss, and live the life for which we were born.

All this tells me people are hungry to know and to understand where they fit into the cosmos. People throng together to bring fresh water to Africa, to begin a peace movement, to stand up for green movements, promote solar energy, animal rights, clean ocean, and healthy forests.

See, people do care.

The negative side is upping the ante as well. Perhaps we have negativity running scared. Movies feature violence unprecedented, with writers coming up with atrocities that rival the inquisition. Television, once fun, and a cultural unifier, has become to use Seth Godin’s phrase “An instrument of dissatisfaction.” Either it presents something we can’t obtain, or it tells us that something is the matter with us for which a product can fix.

Don’t listen. Don’t watch.

We have become polarized over politics to the extent that we can hardly have a civil conversation. The Democrats think the Republicans are stupid. The Republicans think the Democrats are losers. You can shake your head and say, that’s about right, yet, remember the neighbor who took you to the hospital when your little boy broke his arm? She was of the opposite party from you, yet, she was your friend. It is hard to hate someone close up.

“Dehumanizing,” according to sociologist Brene’ Brown , “always starts with language, often followed by images.” We call people aliens, cockroaches, or savages, to justify exterminating them, ostracizing them, delegating them to subhuman status, or just plain not liking them. When I was a teenager I read that in 20 years it would be as abhorrent to us to kill a person as it was then to eat one.  Whew, I thought, however, I must wait a while longer.

We have been enslaved for millennia, and largely still are. That’s where we need to assert our independence. And people are—when employment became ridiculous to obtain even with advanced degrees, people turned to entrepreneurship. 

We are a creative bunch.

The best account I have read of unleashing your creative self, came from #Don Hahn, the producer of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast (animated version). He was the son of a pastor, and his Sunday morning memories were of the fragrance of coffee and doughnuts wafting up from the basement. One morning his teacher read a Bible verse that changed his life. She read that God created humans in his own image. Wow, thought Hahn, I am related to God.  A creative relationship, like the potter to his clay, the painter to his canvas, the baker to his bread. And, God is crazy about creativity—oh he must have had a few false starts, like dinosaurs, and giants, but look at his successes.  Then, thought the young Hahn, if I am related to God, I must be creative too. (Hahn was an animator for Disney.)

“Rather than searching for life’s meaning, know that you have the power to create it.” –#Marie Forleo