word of the year: hope

 

She-Ra, Princess of Power

She-Ra, Princess of Power

Finding my word for the year (rather than making resolutions) was an interesting process as usual. Last year my word was “Trust,”  and I learned so much from adopting and dissecting that word for 2013. But that’s another story.

For 2014, my Word of the Year will be “Hope.”  When choosing this word, I was ambivalent. I was thinking it was a passive word. After looking up the definition, I took my first step toward understanding the journey I’ll be on this year.

According to Wikipedia: “Hope is the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large.” also: “In the English language the word can occur either as a noun or as a verb, although hope as a concept has a similar meaning in either use.”

So the fact that it can be a noun or a verb is an interesting aspect I will explore. It seems that we can create a sense of hope in our minds, and in our lives, hope leads to action, which results in positive outcomes.

My friend Lisa and I were discussing it, and I had to agree with her take on it: “Hope is not a wimpy word!”

Let’s see where this leads!

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Mirriam & Webster: 

1hope verb \ˈhōp\ : to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

Wikipedia

Hope is the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or in the world at large.

Hope is 

– the “feeling that what is wanted can be had or
– that events will turn out for the best” or

– the act of “look[ing] forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence” or

-“ feel[ing] that something desired may happen”

Other definitions include: 

– “to cherish a desire with anticipation”;

– “to desire with expectation of obtainment”; or

– “to expect with confidence”

In the English language the word can occur either as a noun or as a verb, although hope as a concept has a similar meaning in either use.

 

Cheers to you in 2014! K

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red lotus

red lotus lantern

The Lotus Flower
The lotus flower represents one symbol of fortune in Buddhism. Growing in muddy water, it is this environment that gives the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment. The second meaning is purification, resembling the purification of the spirit which is born into murkiness. The third meaning refers to faithfulness.
The color of the lotus flower also has symbolism. A white lotus flower refers to purity of the mind and spirit; Red: compassion and love; Blue: common sense – using wisdom and logic to create enlightenment: Pink: the history and historical legends of the Buddha; Purple: spirituality and mysticism; Gold: all achievement of all enlightenment.
The stages of the lotus flower represent different stages of enlightenment. A closed lotus flower represents the time before follower finds enlightenment. A fully-bloomed, open flower represents full enlightenment and self-awareness.
The mud represents an importance in the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism. All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. This suffering is a vital part of the human experience; it makes us stronger. The mud shows us who we are and teaches us to choose the right path over the easy one.
Finally, the lotus flower represents rebirth, both in a figurative and a literal sense. The rebirth can be a change of ideas, the dawn after one’s darkest day, a renaissance of beliefs or the ability to see past wrongs. In a literal sense, the meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism represents rebirth.

lesson learned

bathroom vent

Today I learned a lesson in an unusual way. The lesson is that some things cannot be changed, and that by simply deciding I can change it just won’t work. Then, when I am daunted, I go after the problem harder so as not to be defeated… which brings more problems.

Here is how I found out that determination is sometimes not the answer; that acceptance is.
 
I was in the bathroom of my brand new condo. I’ve lived here for almost three months. I noticed that the heating vent in the ceiling was screwed on with the vents facing back toward the window, not towards the room where most of the heat should be delivered.
 
I have all the tools to fix such a simple job: screwdriver, power drill, a ladder. So, I got up on the ladder, unscrewed the vent and took it down. It almost fell on me, thus needing some tape to hold it in place when I replaced it with the vents facing the other direction. Got the tape. Reversed the vent, taped it to the ceiling and replaced both screws.
 
Tried to open the vents by moving the slider back and forth, to open and close them. It won’t move. Unscrew it and take down the vent. Tape rips a section of paint off the ceiling….
 
Try once more, but the opening is not symmetrical with the screw holes. Need new screw holes. Try once more, and still the slider does not move. Unscrew it again. Drop the vent on the vinyl flooring and the sharp edge of the vent dings into the floor. UGH!
 
I stoped and looked around and realized things went from bad to worse in this simple plan of changing something. The only intent was to improve the quality of my life just a little bit – something I could have an effect on. Yet, it would have been well enough left alone, with my acceptance that having the vent face a less than desirable direction was just fine.
 
Instead of accepting that, my need to change it has tripled the work of the project: have to put the vent back the way it was, patch the ceiling, paint the ceiling, and forever look at that unfortunate ding in the vinyl flooring – which happens to be right in the middle of the room.
 
What did I learn from this? It’s great to want things a certain way, but it’s not always necessary to try to change things. Sometimes the determination to change things toward our preference can be too forceful and bring on more difficulties.
 
This is so metaphorical with regard to people. This concrete example is aligned with struggles I have had with people close to me in my life. Acceptance is flowing with life, not bending it toward my desire.
 
namasté

horse as healer

horse fetish, healer

 

Here is my Zuni fetish of a horse I brought home from Arizona. Fetishes are small stone animal carvings made by the talented artisans of Zuni Pueblo, located in the northwest corner of New Mexico.

In the Zuni culture, the fetish carvings represent the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone. Initially Zuni fetishes were found stones that had the rudimentary shape of an animal. Arrowheads were placed on the stones with a prayer that the hunter’s arrow would find its mark and in gratitude for the animal giving its life for the sustenance of the hunter and his family.

I have a small collection of these and find affection for them at different times, depending on my life circumstances. The bear has protected me, the eagle has helped me soar and find my true spirit, and the badger has helped me persevere.

I have them all in a small cabinet with lattice doors and pick the one I am interested in and set it out to contemplate. The Zuni’s attributed the horse symbol to Healing. Other cultures ascribe these qualities: Power, Grace, Beauty, Nobility, Strength, Freedom.

All of these qualities are ones which I would like to concentrate on right now in my life. To find out more about Zuni fetishes and animal totems, there is much information on the internet. You can also purchase fetishes for yourself. Here is one link…. www.zunifetishstore.com

 

 

mystical saint theresa

lake, sky, clouds

 

This prayer, written by Saint Theresa of Avila in the 1500s seems so current to me, so relevant. Is seems a good one to contemplate each day.


May today  there be peace within. 


May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. 


May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. 


May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has  been given to you. 


May you be content knowing you are a child of  God. 


Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
 dance, praise and love.


It is there for  each and every one of us.

word of the year: trust

TRUST IN YOU

For the past several years my new year’s tradition is to pick a ‘Word of the Year’ rather than making a resolution. The idea originally comes from Garrison Keillor’s weekly radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, but passed down to me by my esteemed minister, Elea Kemler from First Parish Church in Groton. This year John Calabria, a wonderful yoga teacher in Concord, MA shared this exercise with his classes. I see this tradition gaining momentum as a way of self-exploration that lasts well beyond one given resolution.

Last year my word was ‘Truth’. I had a few options for this year, and finally settled on ‘Trust.’ What later struck me as interesting is how the two words are so similar in structure, with only one letter being different between them.

The meanings of the two are very different, and as I live with the word, so are the experiences I am having….. It will be an interesting year!

This photo was taken by my daughter Eva on the Baja Sur in Mexico. She sent me the image as a Valentine wish. To me it seemed like a very good one to combine with my word. After living with the word Trust for the past month, and talking with some of my most spiritual friends, the consensus seems to be that Trust in yourself is the most important place to begin.