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The Awakening by Sonny Carroll October 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
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A few days ago, a reader sent me The Awakening by Sonny Carroll; it reminded her of my life philosophy.  I agree.  

The Awakening describes the spiritual path I’m on . . . the journey that has led me to this moment in time.


by Sonny Carroll

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it . . . when in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out ~ ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.  And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something, or someone, to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you.

Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are, and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about:

* how you should look and how much you should weigh
* what you should wear and where you should shop
* where you should live or what type of car your should drive
* who you should sleep with and how you should behave
* who you should marry and why you should stay
* the importance of having children or what you owe your family

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10” Or a perfect human being for that matter. So you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others.

Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that “it is truly in giving that we receive and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” & “contributing” rather than “obtaining” & “accumulating.”

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with: things that millions of people upon the face of the earth can only dream about:  a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed and the freedom to pursue your own dreams.

And then you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships, how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch.  You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally and that not everyone will always come through and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you.

So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns: anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say I was wrong and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture.

And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things.  And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace.

You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake.

Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be, more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given.

And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your” standards and expectations.

You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.”

Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know. Self Love. And so, it comes to pass that through understanding your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So, you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead. You set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God . . . but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it.

And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time FEAR itself. So you learn to step right into and through your fears because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY. . . the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth.

Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire.

Then a sense of power is born of self-reliance.

And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.    

© Sonny Carroll, 1999. All Rights Reserved. 

After doing a bit of research, I found several versions of The Awakening floating around ~ this one seems to be the author’s final version

I have attempted to contact the author on several websites and at three different e-mail addresses to confirm that I have permission to repost.  

No luck yet.  I’ll keep trying.   Sonny, if you’re out there . . .

Narcissistic Consumerism Is NOT Green October 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Less IS More, Sustainable Living.
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Sierra Club must be seeking donations from the privileged few.  Either that, or global warming has impacted its ability to think sustainably (perhaps by frying its collective conscience?).

In the latest issue of Sierra (November-December 2010), Sierra Club implied that a two-story treehouse with running water and electricity constitutes green construction since it’s made with reclaimed lumber:

Comfort Zone:  Smart Designs for Pleasure and Planet

Maybe if the family lived in the treehouse full time, like Swiss Family Robinson, we could evaluate the greenness of its construction.

But they don’t.

And, no, it’s not their vacation home.

This two-story playhouse is built NEXT to their vacation home!  Yup.  It’s a vacation home when they get tired of their vacation home:

It’s a shame that Sierra Club is advocating narcissistic consumerism by encouraging people to build two story “playhouses” (with running water and electricity) next to vacation homes “overlooking the Puget Sound” . . .  while this privileged family pretends to be green.

Three homes . . . for four people . . . is NOT green!

Makes me wonder how much the family bribed  paid contributed to Sierra Club to get a two page spread in what USED TO BE an eco-friendly magazine.

I also wonder if Sierra Club endorses political candidates  known to have an open checkbook policy, rather than eco-friendly candidates with more restrictive purse strings . . .

Related post:  One Mistake People Make

A Month of Meatless Meals October 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Those of you who’ve been reading SLTW for any length of time have no doubt picked up on the fact that I’m a vegetarian for three primary reasons:  (1) better for me; (2) better for the planet; and (3) better for the animals I would otherwise be consuming.

Many readers have expressed the desire to incorporate more meatless meals into their own cooking.

For those of you who are interested in saving money (while saving the planet), here’s a list of Menu Ideas for a Month of Meatless Meals:

1.  Stir Fried Veggies over Rice, Vegetarian Egg rolls
2. Veggie Burgers, Steak Fries, Baked Beans
3. Broccoli Alfredo,  Salad Bar, Rosemary Garlic Bread
4. Rustic Lasagna, Italian Bread, 3 Bean Salad
5. Fondue or Raclette, Baguette, Broccoli & Cauliflower
6. Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce (with Veggies)
7. Split Pea Soup with Homemade Croutons
8. Macaroni and Cheese, Tomato Soup
9.  Greek Salad, Hummus, Pita Chips
10.  Cheese Quesadillas or Nachos, Refried Beans, Salsa
11.  Mexican Curry, Rice, Raw Veggies with Dip
12.  Tomato Pie, Sautéd Zucchini
13.  Vegetarian Lecsó, Rice, Three Cheese Bread
14.  Harvest SoupCrusty Cuban Bread
15.  Veggie/Cheese Subs, Versatile Pasta Salad
16.  Spanokopita, Tabbouli Salad with Tomatoes
17.  Veggie Fajitas (onions, peppers, broccoli, carrots)
18.  Zucchini Boats, Roasted Root Veggies, Fruit Salad
19.  Vegetarian Chili, Rice, Grated Cheese, Cornbread
20.  Sausage and Peppers Pizza (Boca sausage)
21.  Curried Veggies over Rice, Peanuts, Chutney
22.  Two-Grain Veggie Casserole, Cole Slaw, Fruit
23.  Shepard’s Pie (Peas, Carrots, and Potatoes)
24.  Spaghetti with Garlic Basil Sauce, Italian Bread
25.  Thanksgiving:  Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing (with sautéed Celery and Onions), Glazed Carrots, Green Beans Almondine, Bourbon Sweet Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, and . . . PIE!!!
26.  Pasta Primavera with Basil Pesto, Bruschetta
27.  Morningstar Farms Hotdogs, Baked Beans
28.  French Onion Soup, French Bread, Salad
29.  Cheese Pizza (w/veggie toppings), Salad Bar
30.  Spinach-Rice Casserole, Steamed Carrots

None of these recipes contain exotic ingredients.  All can be made quickly,  easily, and inexpensively (except for Raclette ~ it’s expensive).

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg:  Nine Bean Soup * Curry Dip * Fun with Food ~ Kid’s Lunches * Veggie Wraps * A Sunset Dinner Cruise * Veggie Tacos * Veggie Kabobs * Fiber Up Your Diet * Bon Appetit!

All Hallow’s Eve October 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Poetry, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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IMGP4172Who hung the moon
All Hallow’s Eve
Bright orange orb
Bare leafless trees
Silent silhouettes
Sway in the breeze
Ghosts and goblins
You must appease
Hand them fair treats
For if you displease
Tricks they’ll bestow
On unbent knees
And pale ribbons caught
In bare, spidery trees
Shall drift and sway
Stirred by the breeze
As the moon glows red
All Hallow’s Eve

Happy  Halloween!

For more ghostly (and vampiric) poetry . . .  Happy Halloween! (Intergalatic Writer)

Irony and Me . . . October 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, Word Play.
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As Jodi noted recently in Isn’t It Ironic?,  speakers and writers may use  verbal irony to express the opposite of what they really mean. 

Once, when expected support failed to materialize, I sent an e-mail along the following lines to a relatively large group: 

How can I thank you all?  Truth is, I can’t.  Your support this week has truly humbled me.

Those recipients who provided the requested support received a heart-felt compliment.  

The rest of the lot received a veiled insult disguised as a compliment. 

What?  I told you all I’m still a work in progress.  😉

Most often, irony in my life appears as an incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the expected result.   

Congestion caused by a road accident, Algarve,...

Want some toast with that jam?

* If I leave early,  traffic is light,  one green light after another in sight. 

If I’m running late . . . would you like some toast with that jam? 

* When I’m wearing a panti-liner “just in case,” nothing happens.  Things remain dry no matter how hard I sneeze or laugh.  

In contrast, if I sneeze or laugh without a panti-liner . . . waterworks.

* If I’m multi-tasking while watching TV, the commercials never last long enough to finish what I’ve started. 

If I’m watching TV with “nowhere to go and nothing to do” during the commercials . . . 

They . . . Are . . . Interminable!

* If we go sightseeing and pack a lunch, we see one eatery after another offering yummy vegetarian options.  If we don’t bring snacks to nibble on, all we see are burger joints and steakhouses.

* When I’m all caught up in my office, and bedtime rolls around, I’m not tired.  When I have a mile-long “To Do” list, I can’t stop yawning. 

How about you?

What wrinkles does irony throw into the laundry basket of your life?

WWPD??? October 28, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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IMGP4187Q:  What does WWPD mean? 
A:  Be patient, I’ll get to that in a minute.

Q:  Is it like WWJD?
A:  Nope.  Not even close.   

So, have you caught the fever?

Are you counting down the days until November 1st, pen in hand, back up laptop recharging?

Do you plan to shoot out of the starting gate like a jack rabbit, or take it slow and steady like a tortoise?

Before we’ve consumed our weight in candy, or cleaned up the smashed pumpkins, NaNoWriMo commences with a vengeance as writers around the globe compete for bragging rights and keep track of . . . WWPD.

* 1,667 x 30 = 50,000
* 2,000 x 30 = 60,000
* 2,500 x 30 = 75,000
* 3,000 x 30 = 90,000

WWPD = Words Written Per Day . . . as NaNoWriMo holds sway. 

For more on NaNoWriMo, swing by:  Uphill Writing * My Literary Quest * Aardvarkian Tales * Maggie Madly Writing * Ready for NaNoWriMo? (WP Prompt)

BTW:  NaNoWriMo is definitely NOT the time to use “Less is More” as your writing mantra.  🙂

Island Aunt WINS Island of the Aunts! October 28, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Humor, Writing & Writers.
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I live on an island . . . our third.

(Third time’s a charm.) 

I am aunt to 10 enchanting nieces and nephews . . . 4 households, 3 states.

4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . 0  (that’s us!)

I am an Island Aunt . . . who oft weaves magic.

(I’ve always been an Island Girl!)

And . . . I WON Island of the Aunts in Becky Levine’s recent contest! 

Thankful Thursday: A Good Week (And a Contest Winner)

Thanks, Becky! 

Here’s to Flying Dragons . . . that forage for their own food.

BTW:  In case you’re wondering, Flying Dragons are my second favorite way to fly.

See if you can guess the first.

Hint:  Think Quidditch

Related Article: Eva Ibbotson

My Favorite Narcissist! October 27, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Books & Movies, Humor.
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Related posts: Look At ME!!! * Mirror Mirror On The Wall . . .

An Awesome Terrific Awful Terrible Day October 27, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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How can something, anything, be both awesome and awful?

How can  something, anything, be both terrific and terrible?


If you speak English.

I can’t decide if that’s awesome or awful, terrific or terrible . . .

You tell me!

For clues . . .  The Great and Terrible Language

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Ever Wonder Why * Foxes with Sockses * Pronunciation Variations * Dissever

Which Witch Ate Eight Nome Gnomes??? October 26, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play.
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200px-First_crosswordThe English language includes an eclectic mix of ingredients thrown into the pot to create a relatively tasty melange which only occasionally gives us heartburn.

Rather than allowing too many cooks to spoil the broth, let’s have some Fun with Words!

Specifically, let’s focus on Homophones, Homographs, and Homonyms.

According to my M-W Dictionary:

A.  Homonyms (which can include both homographs and homophones) are words spelled and pronounced alike, but with different meanings:

After playing a game of pool, we jumped into the pool for a swim.

B.  Homophones are words pronounced the same but with different meanings and/or spelling:

Which witch ate eight Nome gnomes??? 

C.  Homographs are words spelled alike but different in origin, meaning, or pronunciation:

He shot his bow and arrow over the bow of the ship.

Want to play???

To enter the Which Witch Contest and win bragging rights . . .

1.  Create a sentence of any length using homonyms, homophones, or homographs.

2.  Score your creation: 

* Add 5 points for every homonym, homograph, or homophone used.

* Subtract 3 points for every word in the sentence which is not a homonym, homograph, or homophone.

* Add 20 bonus points if your entire sentence consists of homophones,  homographs, and homonyms.

3.  Enter as many sentences as you wish, posting each sentence as a new comment.  See my example below. 

That’s it.

We’ll tally up scores and assign bragging rights to the winners (First, Second, and Third place) soon . . .

In the meantime, have Fun With Words!

Related post:  Write An Entire Sentence Using Just One Word (Buffalo)