Category Archives: Inspiration

A Closer Look at Ice

Copyright 2018 by R.A. Robbins

Something different happened earlier this month.  The lake froze.  Not that common around here, but it does happen.

I’ve never thought that much about ice.  I try to avoid it as much as possible.  We lived across the road from a lake before we moved here.  It would freeze and people would cut holes in the ice for ice fishing.  Other than falling on ice and putting cubes in my iced tea, that was about all I knew about ice.

But around here there is time.  Time to walk and time to really look at things.

One morning while walking along the lake I looked down and noticed the water had frozen in waves as it reached the shore.  Cool!  Then I noticed that the ice was not all the same.  Different patches where I was walking had frozen differently, creating different textures and patterns.

 

Copyright 2018 by R.A. Robbins

Later in the day I went back to the lake with my camera and took some pictures, focusing on capturing texture.  The only thing I worried about in composition was how I included the ice.

Copyright 2018 by R.A. Robbins

At one point I went out on the dock, held my arm straight out over the water with the camera facing down and took a shot.  The result was a stepping stone type of pattern in the ice.

Copyright 2018 by R.A. Robbins                                                                                                                                  I’m not sure what I will do with the pictures but they may contribute in some way to my art.  I do know that the act of taking them has forever changed the way I look at ice.

Take a minute to really look at something you may take for granted.  What you see might surprise you, it might even change you.

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Cats or Dogs in Real Life

Yesterday I posted the Cats or Dogs survey.  Did you have a strong immediate reaction one way or the other?  Did you feel torn because you love both equally?  Or were you a little irritated by the question because you just aren’t an animal lover?  Or maybe you are a horse, snake, gerbil or fish lover and felt left out.

Do you find yourself experiencing the above about a person because of their pet preference?  “Experts” who claim to identify certain personality differences and sometimes even character weaknesses in people based on what type of pets live with them. make it easier to judge others don’t they?

I am a proud “cat mom” living in a world of dog lovers.  There seems to be no middle ground with cats.  People either love them or hate them and wish them all dead.  As as proud cat mom who would never say I “hate” dogs, when we first moved  here I was a bit afraid of dogs.  I was more than a little uncomfortable when a dog wanted to sniff me or heaven forbid started toward me at a full run.  But over time I have come to know the dogs around here.  I can even say some of our canine community (and their people) are my friends.  And I hope at least a cat hater or two has learned to look past my choice of pet to see at least of little bit of who I am beyond all that.

There are other, more serious ways we judge others based on their personal choices aren’t there?  Do you have a strong reaction or immediate judgement based on whether someone is (or you identify them as) liberal, conservative, evangelical, atheist, gay, straight, married, single, rich, poor or somewhere in between?

How often do you decide someone is a bad person, unworthy of getting to know, based on labels or personal preferences?   Or perhaps you do know or even really like someone but have problems reconciling that with their labels or choices?  Do you socialize with only like minded people, thinking that everyone agrees with you, ignoring those who don’t?

What would happen if you got to know someone beyond the differences?  What if you took time to get the know the person, likes, dislikes, hobbies,, favorite foods, music, their ethnicity or skin color and the other stuff that makes them who they are?  Do you think you could accept another with beliefs, lifestyles or ideas that you just cannot accept for yourself?

The example I started out with of dogs and cats seems kind of silly, doesn’t it?  But bitter feuds have been known to go on for years over pets.

We all judge each other for many different reasons.  It’s human nature.  But when we begin to recognize it in ourselves we can being to change ourselves.  If enough of us change ourselves we will change the world.

So go out there and say “hello.”  You may find you are more alike than you are different.  You may even make a friend.

Changing is Easy Living Changed is Hard

This is the time every year when people are making changes.  Some formalize this in the form of “resolutions.”  We all know many of these resolutions fail.  Most of us have experienced this personally.  One of the reasons I believe New Year’s resolutions fail is because we can make changes, but we are not prepared to live changed.

Living Changed

We all know that making changes in our lives can be difficult.  But living as changed beings can be even more difficult.  It often takes time to settle in and accept the changes as well as learning any new skills that may be needed to live with them.

If that isn’t enough, there is no set time for the changes to click in and become who we are.  It takes as long as it takes.  Some may not make it through this adjustment period and slip back into old patterns, but to those who persevere a new way of life is waiting.

Change Doesn’t Always Feel Good at First

There have been times in my life that changes for the better have not “felt good” at first.  I have been experiencing this during the past year.  As I have been approaching my third year of living and practicing yoga I have  been experiencing a few changes.

The constant adrenaline rush I used to live in is gone and I now live in peace and quiet.  That was extremely uncomfortable at first.  I was afraid without all that physical energy I wouldn’t get anything done.  It took awhile to realize that life is about who we are and how we live, not so much about how much we do.

My body has also been doing a little remodeling and I have been losing weight.  This is something I am not really comfortable with.  There have been times when I did not know when to stop with weight loss.

I have to remind myself that this loss is not the result of dieting and extreme exercise, it is coming from a healthy way of life.  There have also been many affirmations said and may lessons learned about dealing with well-meaning people during this time.

No Turning Back

Bob says I am a very determined person (some might call me stubborn) and I have a rule of “no turning back.”  I know there is nothing back there in the old life that I really want and there is nowhere to go but forward.  That doesn’t mean it is easy, it’s just the path set before me.

Hang in There

So if you are having trouble learning to live with positive changes in your life I encourage you to hang in there.  Keep looking forward and don’t turn back.  This is all a part of the process and you will get through it.

Please feel free to tell us about your experience with living changed in the comment section.

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your light: A Grattitude Tree

Take time during the holiday to create a tangible reminder of the blessings in your life.  A gratitude tree may be made using a tree branch you bring inside.  Try to use a branch that that has fallen on it’s own.  Write things you are grateful for on leaves cut from paper, create a hanger using yarn or string and hang from the branch.  Or tie ribbons to a tree or branch.

You could also turn your Christmas tree into a gratitude tree.  Or save a tree and tie your blessings to a live tree in your yard.  You can add blessing as you think of them and see how they add up or create a special blessing ceremony with readings, songs, prayers, poems or other things you find meaningful.

Of course this is a good activity to use with children.  But don’t we all need to stop and remember how blessed we truly are?

For more information on gratitude trees visit:

http://showmecrafts.blogspot.com/2009/10/gratitude-tree.html

https://feltmagnet.com/crafts/how-to-make-a-gratitude-tree

http://momitforward.com/gratitude-tree/

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine your Light: Be Nice

Snow Couple Wreath
Copyright 2011 by R.A. Robbins

When you read todays topic you may have thought, REALLY?  Do we need to be reminded of this during the holidays?

Well apparently we do.  It seems that each year during November and December we start hearing about things like brawls at the mall with people fighting over particular items that may be in short supply.  Or angry battles over nativity scenes being displayed on government property with both side being sure they are “right.”  Then we have the annual brouhaha over what type of holiday greeting is proper to extend to people.

As I watch this unfolding year after year, I can’t help but wonder what all this has to do with what we say we are celebrating.  If you are a Christian, does your holiday behavior reflect the life and teachings of the Master Teacher, the Price of Peace whose birth you say you are celebrating?  If you celebrate a “secular” Christmas and say your celebrations are all about family, does your behavior reflect this?  Do you want to pass down traditions that bring you closer as a family or that teach greed and selfishness?  No matter what you celebrate during this time stop and ask if you behavior is reflecting what you say you are celebrating.

Okay so what can we do to make the holiday season a little kinder and gentler?

  1.  Remember this is a stressful time for many people.  Retail workers in particular are working long hours and  serving larger crowds.  Tempers can be short and people can be easily provoked.  Be patient with others and do  not do anything to intentionally provoke another person during this time.
  2.  When someone gives you a holiday greeting accept it in the spirit in which it is intended.  They are greeting  you from their traditions and customs and may not even know that you believe or celebrate differently.
  3.  Focus on light, love and peace rather than who is right and who is wrong.
  4.  Buy an extra gift, pair of mittens, winter hat, etc. for charity.
  5. Watch what you post on social media.  Focus on the positive.  Be the voice of love and light instead of discord and anger.
  6.  If you practice random acts of kindness, continue throughout the holiday season.  If you don’t this is a good  time to begin.  These don’t have to be big and flashy.  Something as simple as opening the door for someone  with their arms full will be appreciated.
  7. Each day think of one thing for which you are grateful.  Speak it out loud.  Come back to this throughout the  day.
  8. Finally take time to listen.  I mean really listen to someone else.  Give them your full attention.  Look them in the eyes and listen.  Don’t look at your cell phone or other distractions.  Let the other person know you are present and you really hear them.  Give the gift of listening — this could be the best gift someone receives this year.

Life is not always about who is right and who is wrong.  Our life on this planet is a school.  We are here to learn how to get along with each other.  If we are ever going to learn this we need to start practicing.  Isn’t this the perfect time to start?

Oh and one last thing…  SMILE!  But be careful.  It’s contagious you know.  🙂

 

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Non-Perishable Food Donations**

A word of advice here.  Don’t just give that old can of lima beans no one really likes anyway.  First think of practical needs.  Items always needed at food pantries include:
 *Shelf stable proteins — Canned tuna or salmon, Canned chicken or other meats, Canned beans, Dried beans, Canned soups and stews, Peanut butter, Nuts, Canned chili, Trail mix
* Pantry staples such as Rice (especially whole grain), Oatmeal, Pasta (especially whole grain), Diced tomatoes, Tomato sauce, Canned vegetables, Cooking oils (such as olive oil or canola oil), Flour
*Holiday Ingredients and Side Dishes, Canned pumpkin, canned yams, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, dried macaroni, canned vegetables.
Think about healthy foods you like to eat.  Hold off on the snacks and junk foods.  Most food banks get more than enough of these.  What they need is good food to fill people up.  Some food pantries like to have juice boxes for children, but real juice only please.  If you have special dietary needs think about picking up an extra when you buy your special foods.  People in need also have health conditions requiring special diets.  If in doubt call the food pantry and ask what they need.
Finally, remember there are hungry people every day of the year.  Contribute to food pantries throughout the year, especially in the summer.
For more information:

Fun and Easy Ways to Shine Your Light: Think Good Thoughts

We create our reality with our thoughts, so make them good ones.  You have to work at this folks, but it is well worth the effort.  Remember it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we think about and react to it that matters.  We make our world heaven or hell through our thoughts.   Wouldn’t you rather live in heaven?  Wouldn’t you rather be an example to others that they can live in heaven?