Beginnings in Writing and Life

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 written back in July and August 2012.  

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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.

The Vulnerability of the Enchanted Heart

English: Ilustration of "The Emperor's Ne...
English: Ilustration of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Español: Ilustración del cuento El traje nuevo del emperador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great paradoxes of living a life aligned with the enchanted part of our human nature is that we must be vulnerable to create enchantment.

How many fairy tales involve the vulnerable one — whether a young child, a princess or simple thinker — who drinks the poison, takes the road no wise person would take, or dares to say the Emperor has no clothes? It is almost universally the vulnerable heroes and heroines who save the day and return enchantment to the land.

We live in a time, like all others in human history, where we can create an enchanted world as long as there are those of us who are willing to be vulnerable in service of love, truth, beauty or whatever ideal(s) calls to us.

This is a good time to contemplate what vulnerability means to you in both your life and writing.  Where has your vulnerability been the key to the enchantment moments of your life? How might your vulnerability be your strength now?

Today, dare to ask for help, express your feelings, admit that you don’t know how to proceed and release your need to be in control.

See if you can create some new small or large moment of enchantment in your world by opening up to your vulnerability.  The world is depending upon you to listen to the vulnerability of your enchanted heart.

The Beauty of Sad Times

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.
Charles Dickens
Sometimes change is gentle, sometimes it is not.  Seasons of loss can come upon us at any time.

The last week and a half have been one of those times when my family felt the highs and lows of life with a beloved pet.  As I mentioned in a post last week our beloved Lhasa Apso, Ginger has been ill.  We’ve been on a roller coaster of seeing her get better and then take a turn for the worse, over and over. Ginger has been on every medication imaginable to address a wide host of diseases, and the truth is the totality of her symptoms don’t match up to any normal disease.  She’s young to be experiencing disease the ways she is now.

Yesterday Ginger embodied many symptoms of a dog that was dying.  She wouldn’t eat, she couldn’t stand up, she was trembling, and had a sad vacant look in her eyes.  The veterinarian had warned me that she was in bad shape, and let me make the call to take her home.  I basically expected that we would be watching her die.  Both of my boys kept asking me if a miracle could happen, and I’d say yes.  Then, they would ask if I thought she was going to die soon, and I’d also say yes.

We all ended up keeping a watch on her until 4 am.  We spent hours crying, and in some ways became closer than we have been in a long time with each other. At one point, my youngest son asked if we could do anything to more to help her.  So, I suggested that we pick a healing angel card and ask the oracle what could we do for Ginger.

Perhaps not so surprisingly, I picked the Enchantment card.  I’m not making this up for those of you have been reading my recent posts on the Enchanted Oasis.   I took the card as an indication that I better walk my talk about what I’m recommending to others.

The advice on this Enchantment card was:

Recapture your childlike sense of wonder and awe.   View the world as a magical place. Ask God and the angels to help you with anything — small or large.

Certainly, I was already praying, but I prayed some more last night after seeing this card and decided to believe that anything was possible.  I also decided that as difficult as it is to do when a beloved is sick, there are still ways to create enchantment and magic for those we love.

And today Ginger provided her own enchantment for us.

This morning,  I went in another room to get a glass of water and returned to find Ginger perked up, with her eyes clear and wagging her tail.   She is so used to following me all over the house,  she was trying to do that. She looked like her normal self, except she was still to weak to walk.  Yet, I was able to carry her outside to do her business and she did this morning, something she couldn’t do yesterday.  To me, all of this was a kind of magic.

Since Ginger looked much better, I woke up the boys around 8:30 so they could see her in a lucid condition at least once more.  We decided she was well enough to create perhaps one last bit of enchantment in Ginger’s life and placed her in a Radio Flyer wagon and took her on a walk around the block so that she could feel the summer breeze on her face and see the places she loved to walk so much.  She was clearly happy to do this, even though it also exhausted her.

Ginger still looks better now, but it’s hard to know if she is recovering in some way or just having a good moment.

All of this reminds me of when my father was sick with Alzheimer’s Disease, and what it was like to spend his last hours on earth with him.  Moments of deep sadness rarely feel like enchanting ones.  But there was so much around my being present for my father’s death that now looks enchanting to me.

If we look for it, and make some effort to create it, there is an enchanting beauty even in our most sorrowful times.

And thank you.  I truly believe that all of your prayers and kind wishes have made a difference for Ginger whatever her outcome. My family thanks you from the bottom of our heart for the magic of your kindness.

The Enchantment of Everyday Living

Enchantment Goat
Enchantment Goat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before we go much further in this blog series on accessing our inner and outer Enchanted Oasis, I want to offer a few disclaimers:

  • The word Enchantment can be off-putting to some people.  There are many people who fear anything that has an element of magic to it.  My belief  is that enchantment is like the goat in this picture – natural. I suspect  prohibitions against magical or intuitive ways go back to times when “magic” was used against people in manipulative ways by priests or shamans. Or healers with superstitious or evolving medical practices ended up doing things that were hurtful instead of helpful.  This negative type of magic is NOT the kind of enchantment that I am talking about..
  • My idea of enchantment is to work with and expand the natural energy within each of us and outside of our selves to create results in our lives that feel magical or enchanted.
  • Also before going further in talking about accessing our inner and outer enchanted oasis, I want to be clear that I don’t consider myself to be a spiritual sage or saint, or to be fully awakened to the God-consciousness within.  I am on a journey of spiritual growth and expansion as much as anyone else.
  • My views are meant to stimulate your own discernment and spirit, not to dictate any particular path for you.

Our Energy

You may not think about this often, but everyone creates an energetic transmission with their words, presence and actions.  It’s up to each of us to choose to open up to and create an enchanting presence with our life.

My chosen spiritual task this summer is to increase the connection with my own enchanting energy and increase the amount of enchantment in the world.  I’m hoping that some of you will also work to increase your level of enchanted living for your own sake and for the sake of our world.

Our Time in History

We are living through times when perhaps being frugal or constricted is going to be more valued for a while.  That doesn’t mean that we have to give up enchantment,  perhaps quite the contrary. In the next week, I’ll be sharing about the ways in which we create enchantment through our everyday choices of where we live, how we live, what we eat, what types of clothes we wear, who we spend our time with, and connecting with the spirit of the earth.

Yesterday, I asked you how it is that you stay connected with the Enchanted Oasis inside of you.

For this weekend, I ask you:

How could you increase the level of enchantment in your life over the next two months, between now and the next season?

I ask this question to prepare you for the months ahead.

My intuition says that the intensity of life is going to increase in a new direction by October of this year.  Some of that intensity is normal seasonal change. Beyond that, if you’re quiet within yourself now and the next few months, you can feel an energy building up.

We see it reflected in global economic challenges, climate change, growing gaps between the rich and poor, and so many other outer trends.  If you’re astrologically inclined, there are major alignments shifting between now and October.  We’re moving into a very intense time for most people.

It’s best to be shifting yourself now, before this more intense time hits.

That’s part of the reason that I’m writing about enchantment.  To live an enchanted life, does not mean that everything goes the way you had planned.  With a focus on looking for creating enchantment, you make your life and that of those around you easier.

So, again, I suggest today and this weekend think about how you might increase the enchantment in your life, because the changes you make now could make the rest of the year a one of dazzling intensity versus one of overwhelming intensity.

Are any of you feeling this same rising wave of intensity coming?  Just curious.

Your Enchanted Oasis

For some time during this summer of 2012, I’d like to share some ideas on what it means to discover and create the Enchanted Oasis within ourselves.

This theme and the following poem is in part inspired by the sweltering heat enfolding much of the United States and in part by the beautiful poetry of awakening by the Sufi Mystic Rumi.

I begin with a poem of invitation from my Enchanted Oasis to yours:

The Enchanted Oasis

Come to a place

You Know is Waiting for You

A place where you choose

the questions of your life,

guarding those diamonds,

bright as guiding stars,

in the dark night of the crimson desert

of your own making.

love

You may be parched,

slaked with thirst,

Dying for a drop of refreshment,

from a Long Journey.

love

You may be overburdened,

carrying a load too great and mighty,

for your delicate gentle shoulders

to Endure a Moment longer.

love

You may be swift and sure,

speeding along on a black stallion,

through the tall dunes of the tawny desert

with the ease of a Master.

love

You may be a light as powerful as the sun,

wandering through the delights of life,

a living expression of the Enchanted Oasis,

in your every word and deed.

love

It matters not.

love

At the Enchanted Oasis

All are welcome.

love

All Travellers

have a place at the table

the feast of Awakening.

love

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