Snowy October Morn

Our friends and family said move back to Kansas City from Massachusetts. So we did. However, at least on this October morning, it looks like we brought a little New England home with us to the Midwest.

What’s your weather like today?

Inter-Being – Day 271 of 365 Days to a Better You

Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the 1968 Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He did not win the Nobel, but it was a great honor nonetheless. He was banished from his home country Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He led a group of Buddhist monks who were actively seeking peace in their country which invited the disdain of both sides.

“Thay” (teacher), as he is known by his followers, founded a retreat called Plum Village in France. Vietnam’s loss has been the West’s gain. For the past 45 years, Thich Nhat Hanh has taught, written, and spoken on his brand of “Engaged Buddhism” in Europe, the U.S., and around the world.

I first became aware of his work about 30 years ago when I picked up a book titled “Peace is Every Step”. Since I have read many of his other books. One of my favorite passages from any of his books – in fact one my favorite things I’ve ever read – is his brief essay on Inter-being.

Today I’d like to share this beautiful and powerful insight with all of you. I hope it transforms the way you think about the interconnectedness of the people and things around you.

Stay inspired!

Ray

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Inter-being

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we ha vea new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And wesee the wheat. We now the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.

Beauty of the Seasons

What a beautiful planet! When life gets ugly, hang on to the beauty. There’s meaning and learning and growth in every bit of it. Stay positive and pointed toward your dreams.

#followyourdreams #BeTheChange #staypositive

Ray

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Celebrating The Life Force – Day 121 of 365 Days to a Better You

Celebrating fertility, rebirth, and the life force.

Happy May Day or, as Celtic and Pagan cultures refer to it, Beltane. This holiday has been celebrated throughout Europe going back to Roman times as the midpoint (cross-quarter) between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

year-celebrations-3088405_640Along with its opposite on the wheel of the year – Halloween – this day was considered by the ancients and some modern observers as one of the two times each year when the veil between our world and the spirit world thins.

Beltane is a Celtic fire festival that celebrates both the rebirth of the world around us, since the beginning Spring six weeks earlier, and the life-force within us. Observance involves noticing the small things that bless our lives every day, understanding their fleeting nature, and finding the joy in it all.

May Day is a celebration of fertility and the color and life that has now returned to the Earth. It is a celebration of warmth, positive energy, and the coming abundance of summer.

Power hack: What can those of us who don’t celebrate this day religiously take from these celebrations and apply to our lives?

  1. Pay close attention to and enjoy the way the Earth has come back to life. Feel yourself coming back to life. Stop and smell the flowers…literally.
  2. Feel the warming sun on your face and the fresh green grass between your toes.
  3. Notice the small blessings that fill your life and the people who share them with you.
  4. Consider, as we discussed in the Easter post, the power in this motif of rebirth and new life. Look for ways to use that metaphor in your life and endeavors.
  5. Become very conscious of the life-force that courses through you and everything and everyone around you.
  6. Absorb the positive energy of this time. Life is at full force and death has been conquered.

Some may be uncomfortable with playing too much into these celebrations for religious or scientific reasons. I’m a fan of making use of anything that comes your way to remind you of the power of the natural world and your connection to it. You don’t have to be Wiccan or Celtic to see the good in that.

Have an amazing day and thank you for taking a few minutes out of your day to read the blog!

Ray

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Let the Beauty Around You Defeat the Ugliness

My black lab, Mia, and I were out for an early walk this morning during a moderate rain shower. The rain of the past week has greened things up nicely here in New England. I always take my phone on our walks because you never know what you might catch.

One of my weird photo addictions is taking close up photos of objects with fresh rain drops glistening on them. This morning provided the perfect opportunity for indulging.

It’s a good reminder, as much ugliness, chaos, and negativity as there is in the world, that beauty and miracles are right here, right now, and all around us.

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Raindrops on grass close up.
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Trees reflected in a puddle.
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Raindrops and spring buds.
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pink flowers with raindrops

 

Amazing Moment in the Woods

Since we won’t have many more chances to capture the beautiful winter scenery in Massachusetts, I braved the knee-deep snow in the woods this morning. I was richly rewarded with this moment of a coyote walking down the frozen bed of the Sudbury River.

 

How Nature Proves Abundance is Everywhere

Today Ray discusses how nature demonstrates that we live in an abundant world and an abundant universe. He takes on those who peddle lack and limits.