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Don’t Worry, Be Happy July 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
8 comments

Think back over your life:  how much time have you wasted worrying about things that never came to pass?

* Someone’s a few minutes late coming home . . . OMG!  They’re DEAD! 

* You had difficulty taking a test . . . OMG!  I”m going to flunk out of school and spend the rest of my life begging on a street corner.

* Someone laughs at your innocent faux pas . . . OMG!  Everyone is laughing at me.  I’ll never be able to live this down.

If we do not control our thoughts, our thoughts control us.

Worry is the interest paid on a debt we may not owe.

In a similar vein, despair is hidden arrogance:  “I have seen the future and it does not work.”

Instead of letting your mind run away with the spoon, while the cow jumps over the moon, take Bobby McFerrin’s advice, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

When we stop analyzing and worrying about anything and everything (and, sometimes, even nothing), life gets easier.  A quiet mind, like the surface of a still pond, provides a more accurate reflection. 

Mountains become boulders.  Boulders become rocks.  Rocks become stones.  Stones become pebbles.  And pebbles become nothing more than dust in the wind.

Try spiritual practice and see for yourself. ~ The Buddha

Embraced By The Light July 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Magick & Mystery.
12 comments

150px-Carlo_Crivelli_052In Embraced by the Light, the author Betty J. Eadie recounts a fascinating  life after death experience.

After dying in the hospital following an operation, Betty travels to heaven, meets Jesus, and feels spectacular.

Then, the “powers that be” tell her it isn’t her time to die.  Not inclined to leave heaven to return to earth, she begs to stay.

In order to persuade her to go back, they show her an overview of her life which reveals why she was born . . . and what she still needs to accomplish to complete her work on earth.

After seeing her life story, she reluctantly agrees to return to earth to complete her mission.

After being revived in the hospital, she remembers everything about the experience . . . except her purpose for being here in the first place.

That part has been erased.

Why?

Our purpose is to discover our purpose and pursue it with passion.

* * * * *

A fellow writer once recounted a dream.  In the dream, he had completed a novel he’d been struggling with for years.

Just as he started to read what he had written, he woke up.

Dismayed that he couldn’t remember the subject matter of the completed novel, he shared the dream with others, including me:

Perhaps the dream was not intended to reveal what you are supposed to write about.   Maybe the dream was only intended to motivate you to keep writing . . . revealing that one day you would complete the book if you wrote without getting distracted.

The Universe is full of mystery and magic which reveals itself on a need-to-know basis . . . one moment at a time.

Join Green Business Network July 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, People, Sustainable Living.
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Green Consumers are a driving force in the marketplace today.  They are creating a new economy based on justice and sustainability.

These consumers put $230 billion dollars into the economy each year ~ and those numbers are growing.

250px-New_Orleans_City_of_Old_Romance_and_New_Opportunity_Crop_p_23_Moneybags

To tap into the growing market of Green Consumers, businesses need to understand the labels, numbers, trends, and values unique to these socially responsible shoppers.

Green America will help your business Go Green and Grow Green by connecting it to the Green Marketplace.

Join Green Business Network

Become part of the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse network of socially and environmentally responsible businesses.

Go Green for a more Sustainable Future

Aphorisms from Aa to Zz: Gg July 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness.
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Gifts

Monday, Monday . . . a new day, a new week, a new month, a new year. Another chance to get it right.

Enjoy this moment, it won’t last. 
The future soon will be the past.
The day quickly becomes the night. 
Fill each moment with delight.

After enlightenment, the laundry. 

In the silence of not doing, we begin to know what we feel.

When we meditate the world recedes and we hold infinity in our grasp.

Our unique points of view are a gift.

Embrace ALL with Joy . . . Anything can be a Gift of Gold in Disguise. 

Barn’s burnt down ~ now I can see the moon. Masahide (1657-1723)

Betrayal by others is a gift which allows us to grow in forgiveness.  We betray ourselves by hanging on to every slight, real and imagined.

Glory

Our glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.  ~ Nelson Mandela

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. – Moliere

Excellence doesn’t require perfection. ~ Henry James

Our infinite worth lies beyond all labels.

If you’re gonna dream . . . dream BIG!

When you stop trying to impress others, you will discover your infinite worth.

You will recognize your path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need ~ Jerry Gillies

Passion makes it happen!   Just start, and the way will appear.

Go With The Flow

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. ~ Alexander Pope

Be flexible.  Let go and go with the flow.

The easiest way to transform the world is to change your perspective.

Master your thoughts . . . master your life.

Want to feel younger, happier, and healthier???  Change Your Attitude.

When we hang on too tightly to what isn’t working, we lose the opportunity to gain that which is worth having.

Whether viewed as “good” or “bad” at the time it happened, with enough perspective, “It’s all good.”

Souls don’t break . . . they bounce!

Life is good, except for the bad bits (which, in hindsight, often become good bits, too). 

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~ Teddy Roosevelt

Embrace all with joy.  Relinquish all with joy.

God

The more you focus on viewing others with love, kindness, compassion, and acceptance, the more your view and God’s view will merge.

God has no religion. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

God requires no synagogue, except in the heart. ~ Hasidic saying

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God. ~ Lenny Bruce

Going to church is against my religion. ♥ ♥ ♥ ~ J.F.

I’m giving up Catholicism for Lent.

Nirvana is another word for God. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

God is the breath inside the breath.  ~ Kabir

Even in the stillness, the cosmos swirls. Even when silence reigns, we hear its heartbeat.

God exists only where man lets him in. ~ Hasidic saying

Stir up the gift of God which is in thee. ~ 2 Timothy 1:5

God believes in you, right now, as you are.

God is with you always.

Enthusiasm = inspired by God  . . .  Inspiration = in Spirit

Let go, and let God. ~ Contemporary Lexicon

No God, no peace.  Know God, know peace. ~ Contemporary Lexicon

God loves us as and where we are. ~ Biblical Teaching

God doesn’t make junk.

Gratitude

It is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. ~ Anonymous

Think about the good that surrounds you, right here, right now.  Gratitude magnifies happiness.

Celebrate your progress.  Sometimes half of success is simply noticing it.   

Every moment is a celebration, a miracle, a mystery.

Find pleasure in things others take for granted.

Count your joys instead of your woes.  Count your friends instead of your foes. ~ Irish Proverb

What a wonderful life I’ve had!  I only wish I’d realized it sooner. ~ Colette

Recognize the richness of your existence.  Develop an attitude of gratitude.

Count your blessings. ~  Adage

Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. ~  Unknown

Fantasy Dinner Party Challenge July 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Humor, People.
13 comments

A few days ago, I posted A Sunset Dinner Cruise and encouraged others to plan their own Fantasy Dinner Party from setting to menu to guests.

If you plan to host an elaborate State Dinner as part of your Fantasy, here are a few fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) tips from a PBS Special on the Queen’s visit to America in 2007.

Place settings should be aligned with the precision of a surgeon performing open heart surgery on an infant.

Buckingham Palace and the White House both employ people whose primary function is to measure the placement of each serving vessel and utensil ~ not by eyeballing them, but with a ruler.

This acute attention to detail reminded me of an attorney who would check the conference room before each deposition to make sure that the bottom of the mini-blinds were equi-distant from the sill, and that each slat was perfectly perpendicular.

The same attorney would examine each piece of out-going mail to ensure  that his secretary had typed the address not just correctly . . . but in perfect horizontal alignment to the bottom edge of the envelope itself.  An address typed slightly askew had to be retyped.

He fervently believed that clients would fire otherwise competent attorneys if they sent brilliant and astute briefs in envelopes with crooked address labels.  Perhaps he misunderstood the reference to “crooked lawyers” in    jokes casting well-earned aspersions on the practice of law?

Consider the hobbies, occupations, and interests of guests when selecting  which china service to use.

Before the State Dinner, Laura Bush lovingly explained that she had selected the Rose China because she thought that Her Majesty would appreciate the flowers embossed on the rim.

Perhaps I’m in the minority, but other than a cursory look at my utensils (to ensure that they are clean), I’m not obsessed with the design on the china, the color of the napkins, or the number of forks I’ve been provided.

Instead, I’m focused on who is seated immediately to the right and left of me (“please let them have the table manners of a toddler”), the quality of the food, and the general nature of the conversation.

I promise, should you invite me to your home, I will not subtract stars from your rating due to your choice of dinnerware unless . . . I see dried egg yolk  smeared on its rim.

As you obsess over the choice and placement of table settings for your next dinner party, do not overlook the chairs.

Before the guests enter your main dining room, please double-check the chair alignment and spacing so as not to turn your guests off before the meal is even served.

All backs should be perpendicular to the table edge, without any visible leaning to the left or right (which could be construed, by some astute guests, such as the Mentalist, as a sub-conscious indicator of your political beliefs).

Time everything in advance (to the precise minute) so that your party has the proper flow and ease.

Before the State Dinner, President and Laura Bush met with The Timer (an individual whose job it is to time every step, wave, and handshake down to the closest fraction of a second):

At 11:50, be dressed and ready
At 11:52, we’ll shoot your photo in the foyer
At 11:54, take 2 steps forward, then 2 steps back
At 11:56, dosie-do your partner
At 11:57, bow to the corner
At 11:58, proceed forward to the Red Carpet

What happens if the President needs to make an unexpected last minute visit to the Little Boys Room:

Timer taps foot: “Why didn’t you take care of that upstairs?!”

President looks chagrined, like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Timer taps watch: “Well, alright, but make it snappy.  Proceed directly to the urinal.  Do not stop to admire your reflection in the mirror.  Spend no more than 15 seconds to unzip, drip, shake, and zip.  Remember to wash your hands.  Use soap.”

Odd isn’t it, thinking of a President, or Monarch, actually having the same bodily functions and needs as the rest of us.

Take the path of least resistance by keeping comments neutral and non-confrontational.

As Her Majesty interacted with American commoners, she said little of a substantive nature ~ nothing that would draw attention to the fact that she has a mind, and knows how to use it.

Instead, she responded with hesitant, non-assertive, meek, mild murmurs designed to put each recipient of her benevolence at ease:

* When shown a portrait of a previous occupant of the White House, she responded, “Fascinating.”

* As Laura pointed out the candelabra on the mantle, a gift from the Queen years earlier, Elizabeth nodded, adding a polite, “I wondered.”

* At the Kentucky Derby, when shown the Trophy, she showed sincere interest with a question, “Lovely.  Is it always the same size then?”

Her seasoned responses are worth keeping in mind if you’ve ever been tempted to respond to an uttered inanity by pointing out that the speaker’s  IQ must rival that of, say, a broom.

Next time you find yourself in that type of sticky wicket, instead of saying:  “I don’t care why you elected to serve crème brûlée rather than vanilla pudding.  I like vanilla pudding.  And, if you weren’t out to impress everyone with your  nouveau sophistication and refinement, you’d have served vanilla pudding,”  merely nod and say, “I wondered.”

It’s as easy as using “STOP, DROP, ROLL” to extinguish blazing clothing . . . once you get the hang of it.

Just keep these 3 points in mind:

STOP:  Never disclose your actual thoughts on the matter at hand.

LOOK INTERESTED: Allow others to shine without showing how smart, cultured, and well-read you’ve become in your short time on the planet.

LISTEN:  Pay attention to ridiculous comments and inane  conversations  swirling around you.  When no one is looking, jot down tidbits to share.

All most people want from a conversation is an audience for their ideas, and the occasional acknowledgment that those thoughts have been heard.

So, just smile and nod, boys.  Smile and nod.

No rules.  Just write!

Further suggested reading (thanks, Liz!):

If you ever want a fun, fictionalized account of life in the White House, may I vehemently recommend “The President’s Daughter” and “White House Autumn” by Ellen Emerson White?   There are two others in the series as well, and they are absolutely brilliant and compelling reads.

“You’ve Got Mail” July 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor.
6 comments

So, I’m sitting in my office this afternoon, minding my own business, when I feel a tap~tap~tap on my leg. 

I look down to see my six-year-old tabby, anxious to climb onto my lap for some much needed R&R ~ after a vigorous morning of sleeping, catnapping, and washing up on the guest room bed.

As Tigger climbed onto my lap, I decided that I could use some R&R myself.  So, while he purred with bliss, I meditated to the sound of his blissful purr. 

After absorbing a few brilliant insights on the meaning of life, my reverie was interrupted by that familiar voice intoning, “You’ve got mail!”

Already in a contemplative state of mind, I thought of something I had not previously considered:  doesn’t he ever tire of saying the same thing every time an e-mail bounces into my mailbox? 

And into your mailbox?

Maybe he doesn’t mind because he receives a commission each time he utters those three magic words. 

Imagine how wealthy he would be if he had negotiated properly at the outset of the partnership:  “OK, I’ll be your e-mail delivery guy . . . but I get one cent for every time I have to say, ‘You’ve got mail.'” 

That’s a gig that I’d like to have ~ record once, receive commission checks for life. 

Even so, wouldn’t it be more interesting for him, and us, if he mixed up the message a bit, or spoke in different languages, or with funny accents:

“What now?”

“Why can’t they leave you alone???”

“Junk mail!”

“Come quick ~ it’s from Publisher’s Clearing House!”

“Hey Meester . . . an e-mail from your seester.”

“OMG!  E-mail!” 

“Vite! Vite! Cherchez le message!”

“Bonjour!  Une message, c’est arrivee!” (Sorry, my French is a bit rusty).

Well, I may get tired of hearing the same three words repeated throughout my day, but I love regular distractions which cause me to re-surface from imagination long enough to realize that I’m still sitting in my office, with Tigger purring in contentment nearby. 

Off to read the latest!

The Age of Entitlement July 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
4 comments

In Everything’s Amazing . . . Nobody’s Happy, Louis C.K. reminded viewers to focus on the wonders of the world.

To really “wake up” and smell the coffee brewing.

Great advice.

Following his lead, here are a few things that: did not exist just a few short years ago; free up our time for more important pursuits (like living life); and are often taken for granted in this Age of Entitlement.

First, the kitchen appliances:

* With a flick of my wrist, my coffeemaker starts brewing, filling the house with a delicious aroma, leaving me free to attend to other morning rituals and ablutions.

* During the day, I toss in a few basic items (water, flour, salt, sugar, and yeast), and my breadmaker mixes, kneads, and bakes a loaf of tantalizing, homemade bread for dinner.

* My microwave perfectly steams fresh veggies, pops popcorn, and reheats left-overs.

* Through it all, our refrigerators keep food from rotting, and our A/C’s keep us from melting, in the sweltering heat of summer.

Thanks, guys!

Snoopy5Second, there are entertainment gadgets, like our DVD Player:

* We can watch movies in the privacy of our own home, on our timetable.

* We don’t have to drive to a theatre, stand in line, pay for a ticket, sit in a sticky seat, and listen to other people talking, eating, or emitting other (even more disgusting) noises.

* We can pause the movie for a quick snack run or bathroom break.

* We can replay selected scenes, or watch the movie with captions to clarify dialogue (or learn a new language).

* We can enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film ~ an especially nice feature on documentaries.

Thanks for bringing the world of entertainment into our living rooms!

Third, there are cleaning gadgets, which enable my husband to clean clothes at the same time he is dusting, vacuuming, or scrubbing toilets.

(Sorry, girls.  He’s taken.)

(And, before you ask, he came this way . . . I didn’t have to train him.)

Thanks, BFF.  You rock!

Fourth, the digital camera transformed Kodak Moments:

* We can take a photo, see it, and take another if necessary (for example, if Johnny is picking his nose in the center of the reunion photo).

* We no longer mail film to a processing lab and wait. . . wait . . .  wait . . . for the developed photos to be delivered (or lost in transit) via snail mail.

*  We no longer flip through the long-awaited prints only to discover that every photo on the roll is blurred, smudged, too dark, too light, or someone else’s photos entirely.

* We choose which photos to print, obviating the need to a) callously toss scary bad photos of loved ones into the trash, or (b) hold a cremation ceremony to dispatch their bad hair day images to  Kodak Heaven.  With a quick flick, those truly awful images are deleted and no one is the wiser.

Thanks!

Fifth, communication gadgets:

* Used to be that neighbors had to run next door to ask if they could borrow a cup of sugar or an egg.  Now, they can pick up the phone, start chatting, and forget why they called in the first place.

* Now, instead of running around looking for a pay phone, while searching grimy pockets for quarters which were never there when needed, we can calmly pull a cell phone out of purse or pocket and place a call.

* Used to be that someone who’d had a bit too much bubbly would sleep it off without bothering to share their shadow self with the world.  Now, they can call WordPress and record those thoughts (about the boss from HELL)  and, in the morning, while struggling with a wicked hangover, rush to their laptop to erase the verbal abuse, only to find that the internet is DOWN.

* Even if we don’t use cell phones for daily chats, it is a lovely lifeline for unexpected “emergencies” ~ a safety net when family members are spread out through enormous McMansions and it’s time to gather for take out.

* Internet provides instantaneous answers to questions that bother us so, raising new, even more troubling, questions.

* E-mail allows us to communicate with the outside world without waiting for a reply, or having to remember what we said.  When we press “Send,” our computers keep a copy.

* We can e-mail ourselves any time of the day (or sleepless night) to jog our memory, “Remember to take a sleeping pill before bed tonight.”

* When we want to share something funny, we don’t have to repeat the same story over and over and over until it ceases to amuse.

* Best Invention EVER:  Please Leave A Message at the B*E*E*P 

We have it so good.

And still we find things to complain about:  like the guy who cut us off in traffic LAST WEEK, or the cashier in Taco Bell who got our order WRONG.

I wonder why that is . . .

Quote:  Recognize the richness of your existence.

Related post:  A Day in the Future (Raptitude)

Aphorisms from Aa to Zz: Ff July 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
2 comments

Failure

I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.  – Michael Jordan

The greatest mistake we can make is to be continually fearing that we will make one. ~ Elbert Hubbard

If you aren’t making some mistakes, you aren’t taking enough chances ~ John Sculley

Our glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.  ~ Nelson Mandela

You cannot fail until you stop trying.

Edison FAILED to invent the lightbulb 1,037 times before the lightbulb finally went off.

When we hang on too tightly to what isn’t working, we lose the opportunity to gain that which is worth having.

When we are jealous of the success of others, we cannot achieve true success in our own life.

I’ve never liked the quote, “Good guys finish last,” because it implies that greed, and power, and arrogance will get you to the finish line first . . . but that’s not the finish line that I’m aiming for.

Faith

No God.  No peace.  Know God.  Know peace.

Have faith that you are growing whole
And learning lessons craved by your soul.

God is the breath inside the breath.  ~ Kabir

Even in the stillness, the cosmos swirls. Even when silence reigns, we hear its heartbeat.

Awaken to Spirit and you will know.

Fear

Although the chance of stubbing your toe increases the more you walk, it is always better than going nowhere by standing still. ~ Robin Sharma, in The Top 200 Secrets of Success and the Pillars of Self-Mastery

Face your fears.  Rise above your limitations.

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. – Moliere

Freedom lies in being bold. Do one thing every day that scares you.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Forgiveness

Each act of forgiveness is, of course, an act of love. ~ Lama Surya Das

Betrayal by others is a gift which allows us to grow in forgiveness.  We betray ourselves by hanging on to every slight, real and imagined.

Failure to forgive is like swallowing poison and hoping it hurts the other person.

Be patient with everyone, but above all, with yourself. ~ St. Francis de Sales

Always forgive your enemies.  Nothing annoys them so much. ~ Oscar Wilde

When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us:  power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, and our happiness.  Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil. ~ Dale Carnegie

When you have conquered the enemy within, there are no enemies left to conquer.

Freedom

We take showers each morning to wash off yesterday’s junk, but we often forget to toss out yesterday’s anger, pain, and frustration.  Instead of toting yesterday’s trash around, let it go. ~ Marianne Richardson (paraphrased)

How can you seize the day until you let go of yesterday?

People hang on to so much of the past that they can’t find room for the present moment.

To fully embrace this moment, you must let go of the past.

He who trims himself to suit everyone else will soon whittle himself away.
~Raymond Hull

Be who you are and say what you mean, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.  ~ Dr. Seuss

Happiness overflows and spills onto others when we take the time to please ourselves.

How much time we waste on matters we would brush aside if we knew our time grew nigh.

The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Do what you will and harm none. ~ Wiccan Philosophy

Moments of freedom will never be given to you.  You must take them.

When we understand who we really are, we free ourselves from the illusions that hold us back.

I am invisible . . . or is that invincible?

What you think of me is none of my business.  ~ Wayne Dyer

Mirror Mirror On The Wall . . . July 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, People, Spirit & Ego.
9 comments

When we give ourselves permission (i.e., freedom) to enjoy the journey through life by doing what makes us happy, we become enthusiastic about our endeavors, our creations, our passions.

We feel the joy of life and start to shine!

How do we share that increased enthusiasm and passion with others without being labeled a narcissist in the process?

Well, first, let’s take a peak at what a true narcissist looks like.

In A Field Guide To Narcissism, Carl Vogel (Psychology Today) shared examples of extreme narcissistic behavior:

* There’s the groom who wouldn’t let his fiancée’s overweight friend be a bridesmaid because he didn’t want her near him in the wedding pictures.

* The entrepreneur who launched a meeting for new employees by explaining that nobody ever gets anywhere working for someone else.

* The woman who had such confidence in her great taste, she routinely redecorated her daughter’s home without asking.

* The guy who found himself so handsome, he took a self-portrait with a Polaroid every night before bed to preserve the moment.

These individuals are looking at the world through the eyes of Ego.  (Not too surprising given the way we are socialized.)  Ego does things in order to gain validation and admiration from others, not to share joy with others.

In short, Ego acts in ways designed to bolster its Ego.

In the extreme, narcissism develops ~ an absorption with external opinions and appearances rather than a healthy recognition of inherent value.

From the same article:

* Real-life narcissists desperately need other people to validate their worth.

* They feel entitled to special treatment, are easily offended, and readily harbor grudges.

* Narcissists take all the credit, and none of the blame.   Fault, if it exists, is always attributed to others.

* Narcissists never see their own contribution to relationship woes.

* Narcissists are defensive and needy.

* In order to maintain an inflated self-regard, they throw temper tantrums when their unreasonable expectations are not met, and display a shocking selfishness and complete inability to engage in teamwork.

* An unhappy narcissist generally believes that his main problem is that other people don’t treat him as well as he deserves.

People on the spiritual path are rarely in danger of becoming narcissistic.

Instead of looking for external validation, they accept themselves as is, without worrying much about what other people think.  They look within, rather than without, for guidance on what to be, say or do.

They are more interested in sharing joy on the journey than in receiving accolades for reaching some set destination.

Plus, they are disinclined to throw temper tantrums.

So what happens when someone on the spiritual path runs into a narcissist?

Fireworks!!!

In fact, anyone who views the world through the eyes of Ego is apt to claim that those on the spiritual path are becoming selfish and self-absorbed.

Why?  Well, as a general rule, we are not encouraged by society to share our talents fully with the world.  Instead, we are admonished to subdue our enthusiasm and passion and joy, and feign humility, in order to be perceived as humble ~ a personality trait seen by many as a virtue.

Should we subdue our creative enthusiasm and joy to satisfy others and comply with societal expectations?

No.

We are born with different skills, interests, and abilities.  Some of us are born to be musicians ~ like Mozart who started composing at age 5.  Others are born to dance ~ like Martha Graham.

Still others are born to create with paint or words or food or jewelry.

Why should anyone allow their field of dreams to lie fallow in order to be viewed as humble?

Why should anyone allow creativity to lie buried in order to foster humility?

Who would that serve?

When friends, neighbors, co-workers, or acquaintances discourage us from allowing our innate creativity and joy to shine, they are looking to their own Egos for guidance.

Maybe they want us to “tone it down” because they are jealous or envious of  our talent, skill, or ability.

Maybe our dedication makes them feel guilty, and, rather than pursuing their own passion with purpose, they encourage us to hide ours away.

Maybe they have been raised to believe that human beings should “live small” rather than living out loud.

Maybe they . . .

Bottom line:  it doesn’t matter.  What others think of us is none of our business.

We are not here to satisfy them, we are here to share the best parts of ourselves with the world.

We do that by filling ourselves with enthusiasm for life and by sharing that enthusiasm and joy with anyone who is interested.

Those who drift away are bound to terra firma by the invisible ties of Ego.  Let them go.

Those who gravitate to us are looking at life through the more generous and compassionate eyes of Spirit.

They want us to grow in happiness by fully utilizing our talents and abilities.  They know that our candle flame, no matter how bright, will not extinguish their own, nor diminish their inherent worth.

They encourage us to Shine On!

So, back to the original question:

How do we share our increased enthusiasm and passion with others without being labeled a narcissist in the process?

Oh, we can’t avoid being labeled.  We learn to shrug off the labels (good and bad) so we can fully embrace the dance of life.

Quote:  Don’t worry about what the world wants from you.  Focus on what makes you feel more fully alive. What the world really needs are people who are fully alive. ~ Joseph Campbell

Related posts:  Our Deepest Fear: Our Inner Light * So, What Do You Do? (My Literary Quest) * Daily Prompt ~ Mirror, Mirror * Daily Prompt ~ Mirror Miror #2

A Sunset Dinner Cruise July 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Magick & Mystery, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

Before moving to Florida, I wrote this piece for a Fantasy Dinner Party challenge which prompted writers to invite 12 guests (plus themselves) to any setting on the planet (or even in a galaxy far, far away) to share fabulous food, convivial conversation, laughter and love:

Setting:  On a sailboat, with a large round table and comfortable chairs set out on the forward deck, under the setting sun (and, later, the moon and stars), with a gentle breeze billowing the sails, balmy temperatures, and turquoise water as far as the horizon.

An able captain and crew will handle the sails while an unobtrusive wait staff serve the food and pour the libations, liberally.

Attire:  Casual Comfort or Sporty Style.

Menu:  A Vegetarian Buffet representing cuisines from around the world.

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Appetizers and Starters:  Peanut Soup from the King’s Arm Tavern in Williamsburg; Greek Salad overflowing with Feta and Olives; Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves); Spanokopita (Spinach and Feta cheese wrapped in flaky phyllo); Hummus with Warm Pita Triangles; Vegetable Tempura from Japan with Horseradish (or Wasabi) dipping sauces

Entrees:  Vegetable Curries and Stir Fries from India and Asia, served with fragrant Basmati Rice and assorted chutneys; Vegetable Paella from Spain and Portugal, with Saffron Rice and fresh grilled Asparagus; Spicy Noodles with Chinese Vegetables and Peanut Sauce; White Pizza with Broccoli, Artichokes, and Black Olives; Spinach Lasagna with melted Mozzarella

Sides: Colcannon from Ireland and Bubbles and Squeak from Jolly Old England (Mashed potatoes sautéed with onions and cabbage ~ served as is, or deep fried); Tabbouli with fresh Mint; freshly baked baguettes from France, Scones from Scotland, and Jalapeno Cornbread, Hush Puppies, and Corn Fritters from the Deep South

Desserts:  Gourmet Cheese Tray with Red Grapes and Bosc Pears;  White Chocolate Truffles; Dark Chocolates from Switzerland and Belgium; Tortes from Vienna; Chocolate Eclairs, Napoleons, and Crepes Suzette from Paris; Bananas Foster from Louisiana; fresh Gelato from Italy; and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch from Ben and Jerry’s

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Duration:  Until we’ve had “enough.”

And now, the most important part of any gathering, the Guests:

First, let me thank WinterJazz for the spark of inspiration.  She mentioned the Fantasy Dinner Party game (that many of us played) in The Casting Game (on her Collective Misgivings project).  Since her piece prompted the Fantasy Dinner Party project, my guest of honor is . . . Winter Jazz!

Second, being a fan of English literature, I want a few “less contemporary” writers in attendance.  The value of their work arises from its timeless quality.  The English authors invited to my dinner party are none other than . . . Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, is the center point of the Christmas season at our home.  We read it, watch it, and grow inspired to live with its message in our hearts for the coming year.

And, dear Miss Austen, a talented “old maid” who understood love and shared that understanding through brilliant writing and clever dialogue in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and other good works.

Third, being a fan of all things magical, my next guests epitomize, to me at least, that there is magic in each moment, that change is constant, and that we need to pay attention to the shifting winds.

Please join me in welcoming  . . . Mary Poppins and Merlin, the most magically delicious wizard of all.

While Walt Disney brought the story of Ms. Poppins to life for me (and countless other children) with his brilliant casting of Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke and wonderfully clever special effects, I had already read the book, “Thank you very much.”  Mary certainly measures up in my book ~ she is, as she will tell you herself, “practically perfect in every way.”

I met Merlin for the first time by way of introduction by Walt Disney, in the animated story, The Sword in the Stone.  Mesmerized by Merlin, I decided that I too should like to develop the ability to wave a magic wand and change the state of the world around me.  While not nearly as proficient as Merlin, I expect that my talent will continue to develop, especially after receiving a few pointers from him at my party.

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While we are on the subject of wizards and wizardry, my next invitee has the dubious distinction of being one of 19 alleged witches hung in Salem Massachusetts in 1692 ~ give it up for my great, great, great . . . . great grandmother, Susannah North Martin, whose trial testimony is testament to her acerbic wit and “devil may care” attitude.

Like many of the alleged witches in Salem, Susannah happened to be a female landowner with no male heirs.  Once accused of witchcraft, she lost her land, but not her sense of self, or her sense of humor.

When asked what she thought of her accusers, she laughed.

When asked why she laughed, she replied, “Well, I may laugh at such folly!”

You go, girl!

As a spiritual seeker, I would be remiss if I did not include as guests those individuals who have understood more of this world than meets the eyes.  Namely, Jesus of Nazareth and Buddha.  Although I have some rather pointed questions to ask them, I anticipate being met with less than pointed responses ~ paradox, my friends, is just the nature of this beast we call life.

Next, I want to invite two individuals presently sharing the planet with us, who understand the challenges we face, and solutions we must implement, if we are to survive as a species:  The 14th Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Many of you will already be familiar with the beliefs of these inspiring individuals.  For those of you who are not, they remind us all of the need to bring full awareness to this moment, both for internal peace of mind, and for achieving lasting peace on earth.

With all that the Dalai Lama has been through, both personally and as the leader of the displaced Tibetan people, he still meets the dawn of each day with a gentle smile on his lips, and ends each evening with gratitude for the grace he has received ~ shouldn’t we, with our less significant daily frustrations, strive to do the same?

Finally, to round out my guest list, two more relatives:  Nora Logie Rogie, my maternal grandmother, and her older sister, Edith Logie.

My grandmother died of bone cancer when I was only 10, despite my best efforts to bargain with God in order to save her life.  When God “failed me” by allowing her to die, I vowed never to believe in “Him” again, and kept that vow for a quarter of a century ~ at which point,  God (a/k/a The Universe) got my attention with the ease of plucking a ripe tomato from an overloaded vine.

Since then, I have felt a connection with Spirit which is both filled with wonder and wonderful.

As we sail around the seas and the Southern Cross, I would chat into the wee hours with my grandmother (who was taken away from me before I could truly appreciate her love and laughter) about things I remember, and things  I never knew. What I remember:

* playing Canasta and laughing
* Mystery Rides ~ once all the way to Maine!
* picnics at Deer Lake, with creamsicles and Adirondack chairs

Grand memories make me want to know more about my mother’s mother.

My grandmother’s sister, my great aunt Edie, lived into her nineties.  When we were young tots, she would entertain us endlessly, playing “Dot to Dot” on a scrap piece of paper, or acting out the skit, Knock on the Door:

* “Knock on the door” (a quick knock on our forehead)
* “Peep in” (pull up on our eyelids)
* “Lift the latch” (pull up on our nose)
* “Brush your feet” (paint an imaginary mustache above our lip) and
* “Walk in” (march two fingers into waiting mouths amid laughter).

So, that’s it.  That’s my list of twelve.  If only there was more room at the table to expand the guest list.

Of course, once a dinner party becomes too large, conversation can become cumbersome.  Perhaps, the solution is to enjoy this party, and then begin planning the next.

Quote: I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.  ~ J.B. Priestley

No rules.  Just write!

Who would you invite?  What would you serve?  Where would you serve it?

Related posts:  Fantasy Dinner Party Challenge * How NOT To Throw A Dinner PartyDescribe a Perfect Meal (WP Prompt) * Dream Dinner (Thoughts From Finchley) * Dream Dinner (WP Prompt)