Beginnings in Writing and Life

English: Staircase to New Beginnings...

English: Staircase to New Beginnings… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The way a book begins matters.  It’s the same for a journey of any sort.

The first lines of a novel give us a sense of the style of the author, the storyline of the plot and often the genre we will be reading.

In the same way that a writer works diligently at creating and revising to create a great beginning of a work or story, we ought to spend some time making the beginnings of our journeys something special.

Daily contemplation:

If you are starting a trip, a project, a family or any other beginning in life, have you put as much attention to the beginning of your journey as you are to the final destination?

This is part of the Enchanted Journey series for July and August 2012.  Check in every day through August 4th to catch the whole series.

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The Most Powerful Enchanted Symbols in the World

Religion

Religion (Photo credit: Rickydavid)

This post concludes my brief and cursory exploration of symbols of enchantment in this blog.

Outside of this blog, I’m currently writing more stories and in-depth discussion for a book that I hope to have published this fall, but can’t include it all here.

My goal is to share the highlights of this new book freely with you, and hope you’re enjoying this journey through our Enchanted Oasis.

When I was thinking about the topic of enchanted symbols, I asked myself:

What are the most powerful enchanted symbols in the world?

My mind immediately went to the powerful symbols we see in the external world:

  • Symbols for money
  • International Business Logos
  • Stories and Movies
  • Flags of Countries
  • Religious Symbols

All of these symbols influence our actions, whether we realize it or not, and are very powerful in both good and negative ways.  We need to understand our personal and collective relationship to these symbols of power and control, as well as their positive side of freedom, peace and prosperity.

Iraqi girl living next to Al Daura Oil Refiner...

Iraqi girl living next to Al Daura Oil Refinery in Baghdad pauses for a smile, 7 Mar, 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet, when I asked my spirit and heart this same question about the most powerful enchanted symbols in the world, I received a different answer.

One that may sound too simplistic or trite, but I don’t believe it is.

Spirit told me that our most powerful symbol of enchantment is our smile.  The smiles and genuinely kind expression on the faces of the people around us are more powerful than we often recognize.  Symbols of currency, business, country, and even religion are temporary.  They will pass from existence some day.  Some stories may endure for thousands of years, but if we put much focus on these symbols, even religious stories, we can miss an important piece of life.

Smiles are also temporary expressions.  They can be recorded through art, but the true power and enchantment of smiling comes from daily use.

Smile

Smile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We may not understand or appreciate other people’s customs, food choices, beliefs, religions, points of view etc.  Fortunately, the creator of Life made us capable of communicating unconditional love and peace through our face. No expression is more powerfully good than a genuine smile.  It not only transforms others, it transforms us.  Scientists are now recognizing that sometimes we can act as if, until it becomes true for us, though I’m not suggesting that you discard difficult emotional experience and only smile.

There is a reason, that this simplistic symbol 🙂 is used in so many places, including social media. There are other emotive symbols, and other expressions, but none of them bring as much good will and connection as a smile.

The most powerful stories share the timeless wisdom of how we need to cherish the gift of Life and be our best self in the moment. Every religion teaches this.   And we can show our understanding and faith in something bigger than ourselves through our choice to smile.

Smile to the world..the world will simle back ...

Smile to the world..the world will smile back at you (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We cannot hoard our smiles and save them for another day.In fact, the more we use this enchanted symbol to connect and appreciate the people and loves of your life, the more enchanted our life becomes.

There is much in life that can cause us to feel pain and sadness.  Look at the News any day and you will see suffering. We cannot run away from heartbreak.  Yet, even in the midst of whatever is happening in our life or the world, each of us, no matter what our situation, has received this gift to create the most powerful enchantment in the world – a smile.

For me the question for today,  and the rest of my life is:

How have can I use my own magical power of a simple genuine smile to enchant my world today?

What do you think the most powerful enchanted symbols are in the world?  I’d love to hear your ideas.

I leave you with this blessing:

May you every day enchant the world around you and receive the very best enchantment that life has to offer!

Creating an Enchanted Oasis in a World Where Violence Too Often Occurs

Enchanted 1955

I had planned to share a post on symbols of enchantment today, but with the latest tragic gun violence in Colorado last night, it seemed appropriate to talk about the challenges of daring to live an enchanting life when we live in a world that is filled with injustice, tragedy, and senseless actions of the few that affect the many.

Whether we see senseless violence in the world or ongoing injustices, we can feel that creating peace and beauty for ourselves is frivolous or a way of burying our heads in the sand.

I felt a tinge of guilt for my own prosperity when I was reading Behind the beautiful forevers Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity  a book by the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Katherine Boo, about life in the slums of India.  She spent four years observing Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport.  As I read the book, I couldn’t help but be struck by the injustice of so much wealth juxtaposed next to such dire poverty.  For most of us, the way forward is not to all become impoverished but bring balance to our abundance and prosperity.

Yesterday, I heard a riveting radio program that talked about research that has shown that countries where income inequality is high experience increases in a large number of undesirable effects including mental illness, while countries with greater income balance experience more of the good things we all want. In my other blog, I wrote about the increasing amounts of data pointing to the societal problems caused from income inequality in America and other countries around the world.   You might be surprised to find how poorly America shows up on the income inequality scale, or maybe you wouldn’t if you have been paying attention to what has been happening in this country during the last 30 years.

We are living in a time when the questions for all of us include:

  1. How do we keep our heart and mind open to the injustices and tragedies in the world, at the same time that we allow ourselves to experience and create enchantment in our own lives?
  2. Can we use positive thinking and prayers to change the inequities in the world around us?
  3. Is there a change we feel called to make in our own lifestyle?
  4. How can we improve lives for ourselves and help others when we live in less than ideal cultures and social systems?
  5. Can we do something to change the inequalities in our own world?

When I hear or read about a tragic event like the shooting in Colorado, I choose to focus not only on the causes of the senseless violence, but on the outpouring of the kindness of strangers to those who have been hurt.  There is so much goodness in the world, and we need to remember that too.

The enchanted symbols that I’ll return to discussing tomorrow can help us realize that our questions are the same ones that humans have struggled to answer for millennia.  Perhaps seeking a more enchanting life individually can lead to new understandings of how to create a better world for all of us.