Express Joy!

Springtime is perfect for inviting us to express joy! Just think of the beautiful warm colors in this tulip bloom for perking us up after a long winter. Just as spring is renewing the cycle of life, so is joy renewing. In fact, let’s think of joy as a renewable resource!

  • Spring’s greatest joy beyond a doubt is when it brings the children out. Edgar Guest
  • Joy can be found in the simplest things: watching a robin build her nest, receiving a dandelion bouquet from a child, taking a walk on a summer’s eve, or feasting on a home cooked meal. Anne Costa
  • A flower blossoms for its own joy. Oscar Wilde
  • You have to sniff out joy. Keep your nose to the joy trail. Buffy Saint-Marie

Spread Joy!

In order to spread joy, we need to share it with others. This helps to renew joy, not only with ourselves, but with the world as well.

  • Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams. Patch Adams
  • To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with. Mark Twain
  • Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joy, and dividing our grief. Joseph Addison
  • The simple presence of a pet can offer lightness and a joy, a sense of connection, and an invitation to be uninhibitedly ourselves in a way that is both unique and priceless. David Michie

Feel Joy When You Express It!

  • When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. Rumi
  • Joy is the feeling of grinning inside. Melba Colgrove
  • She found joy and wonder in every little thing. And joy and wonder always found her. Katrina Mayer
  • Joy is to fun what the deep sea is to a puddle. It’s a feeling inside that can hardly be contained. Terry Pratchett

May you express joy, spread joy and feel joy! If you’d like a little more encouragement to bring on the joy, check out Speaks with Sunshine. It is in the sharing of this precious renewable resource of joy that we plant these seeds!

Life Is A Dance

Life is a dance. Your every step, gesture and expression declares to the world who you are. This beautiful performance art symbolizes so much! Let’s start with exploring some quotes on dance.

Grief’s Dance

  • Dance when you’re broken open, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. (…) and when you’re perfectly free. Rumi
  • If you hit a wall, climb over it, crawl under it, or dance on top of it. Unknown
  • The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. Alan W. Watts

When we are suffering from the change grief induces, we may feel as if we are broken or as if we’ve hit a wall. Many have derived comfort from comparing our grieving selves to a BROKEN piece of Kintsugi pottery.

Eternal Dance

  • This world we live in is the dance of the creator. Dancers come and go in the twinkling of an eye but the dance lives on. Michael Jackson
  • The dance goes on forever. So shall I. So shall we. Gelsey Kirkland

When we lose a loved one, particularly a child, it can be one of the most tragic events in our lives. However, when we ponder signs from nature or from dreams, it leaves evidence that life is an eternal dance. See My Mother’s Day Guest (nature), OUR VISITOR (nature), or MIRACLES AND DUETS (dream) as examples.

Artistic Dance

  • Dancing is creating a sculpture that is visible only for a moment. Erol Ozan
  • To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. Osho
  • To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music? Michael Jackson

All the arts: dance, visual arts, music, theater, culinary, writing, etc. can be tremendously healing when it comes to living a balanced life, and easing any grief. See ERASE GRIEF for an example of how the visual arts can walk you through grief. While you are doing or viewing any of the arts, pay attention to how you feel. Your feelings will tell you whether that particular art is healing for you as an individual. Here is a study on the effects of dance on grief:

Your Unique Dance

  • Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world. Voltaire
  • Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. Friedrich Nietzsche

Finally, the arts are humanity’s way of of expressing our own way of being. Listen to the music, dance your dance. May you revel in being exactly who you are as you dance this dance called life!

Suicide Loss

One of the most challenging types of grief can be after the suicide loss of a loved one. For that reason, suicide awareness and prevention is of utmost importance. Sometimes friends or family may realize there is a problem beforehand and try to get them help. Other times, it happens out of the blue. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one from this cause, there are special resources available for you.

Suicide Awareness

First of all, as I have been in the art teaching field, I am particularly interested in artistic ways to bring awareness to suicide prevention. One of the most intriguing art pieces is entitled Finding the Light Within. This mural is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the US. It was a true community effort involving more than 1,200 community members. It included the lead muralist as well as two suicide survivors. Here is more information on this huge and effective project:

Finding the Light Within

Secondly, here is another piece of art to bring attention to the mental health issue of suicide: This temporary sculpture certainly brought a lot of attention to the fact that 84 males a week die from this very reason in the UK.

Personal Reasons: Suicide Loss

A little over four years ago, I had an interesting dream. Apparently I love writing so much that I even compose pieces in my sleep! One night I awoke with two lines begging to roll off my tongue. I arose and released the words to paper for safekeeping. Upon returning to bed, I pondered my penned words, “Swimming in circles” and “watching the ice melt.” With amazement, I noted each of the two phrases contained five syllables. Immediately, the haiku 5-7-5 syllable count came to mind. I had a pair of five syllable lines. However, I was two syllables short for the second one. I tweaked the melting ice line for more potent meaning. In the final draft, my initial second line became the third.

swimming in circles
two syllables short he quit
watching icebergs melt

I don’t know what you intuit from my little poem, but six days prior to that poem-writing-dream, a close family member took his own life. Grievously, it has now been over four years ago. Toward the end, we knew he was having issues. Family members did their best to intervene. Unfortunately, the extent of his pain was not realized until it was too late. It is truly as if the psyche of a depressed person is like an iceberg. There is only a small portion which is openly visible to the eyes of others. The depths of the iceberg are far below “see” level. As such these feelings are hidden from others as the secret feelings seem too dark and foreboding to share.

At his service, a relative gave some sage advice, “First, none of us is perfect. Second, it is okay to be vulnerable. Finally, everyone needs help sometimes.” Our relative only wished he could have rescued him with this advice.

Suicide Loss Help for Parents

One of the most difficult kinds of grief may be for parents who have lost a child in this manner. Here is a site with resources for the survivors: This includes three stories written by parents who’ve lost a child: Here is another resource for parents who have lost a child from any cause: Comforting Bereaved Parents.

Suicide Prevention

As you can see, mental health is so important all around our world. Pay attention to what we can do to insure that mental health is regarded as a vital part of healthy living. Support policies and actions which help to prevent suicide loss.

Finally, If you or a friend or loved one ever feel in such despair to want to end your life, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE reach out to someone. It could be a friend, a loved one, a minister, a doctor, anyone! There is a suicide hotline with experts trained to assist by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting 741741. Your loved ones will be eternally grateful!

GREEN: Ten Quotes

Green April #WordPrompt #WordPress

This color can mean so many things. First of all, it can remind us to eat our veggies. Perhaps it could be paired with technology. Our current season of spring beginning to color up the northern hemisphere comes to mind. Someone could be a greenhorn on a project. Another person could be envious. While the first three had potential for me, I decided to give the arts the greenlight. What do people in the arts have to say about this color?

Here are some of my favorite quotes!

  • The color up there is different… the blue-green of the sage and mountains, the wild flowers in bloom. It’s a different color than I’ve ever seen – there’s nothing like it in Texas or even in Colorado. And it’s not just the color that attracted me either. The world is so wide up there, so big. Georgia O’Keeffe
  • In the hierarchy of colors, green represents the social middle class, self-satisfied, immovable, narrow… Wassily Kandinsky
  • Even in winter, it shall be green in my heart. Frederick Chopin
  • Since the appearance of impressionism, the official salons, which used to be brown, have become blue, green and red. Claude Monet
  • Green calm below, blue quietness above. John Greenleaf Whittier
Example of calm green landscape with blue sky to illustrate the Whittier quote.
Photo by Anne Barca on

Five More Green Quotes

  • If we were to imagine an orange on the blue side or green on the red side or violet on the yellow side, it would give us the same impression as a north wind coming from the southwest. Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • They’ll sell you thousands of greens. Veronese, emerald and cadmium and any sort of green you like; but that particular green, never. Pablo Picasso
  • When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, And the dimpling stream runs laughing by; When the air does laugh with our merry wit, And the green hill laughs with the noise of it. William Blake
  • The Mediterranean has the color of mackerel, changeable I mean. You don’t always know if it is green or violet, you can’t even say it’s blue, because the next moment the changing reflection has taken on a tint of rose or gray. Vincent Van Gogh
  • All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites. Marc Chagall

The wisdom of our color friends

Following my gathering of our gorgeous hue, I felt quite attracted by the wisdom in Marc Chagall’s quote. Allow me to elaborate! Initially in thinking of our special color, I noted that it is directly smack dab in the middle of the colors of the rainbow. All the colors blend in nicely with their neighbors without overstepping their bounds. When an artist pairs opposite colors (i.e. complementary colors), such as blue and orange, each brightens the other in their proximity. Kermit the Frog always says, “It isn’t easy being green.” Perhaps it isn’t always easy for our neighbors either? If we all treated our friends and neighbors around the world as colors do to one another, how beautiful it would be!

If you’d like to learn a bit more about famous artists, check out Vincent Van Gogh or Michelangelo – Reach and Look Up!. Here is another site regarding finding wisdom in the arts:

Ten Musings On Beauty

First of all, my artist and poet self longs to share my ten musings on beauty. Later on, you will have the opportunity to share what you find beautiful.

  • Beauty fluffs the artists’ brushes, sharpens the poets’ pencils and clears the singers’ throats.
  • The concept of beauty makes lovers’ hearts swoon.
  • We are drawn to inhale the colors of delicate spring flowers. Summer invites us to exhale gorgeous sunsets. Our breath quickens when we jump and laugh through crisp, crunchy autumn leaves. Leaping through fluffy piles of snow frees our breath to dance with the snow flakes.
shows the beauty of a winter landscape with fresh, fluffy snow
Fresh, Fluffy Snow
  • Nature’s bountiful beauty is the best out-of-house doctor. She deepens the breath, calms the heart and soothes the soul.
  • Beauty confirms the existence of our Creator.
  • The early morning chorus of robin chirps, mourning dove coos and starling chatters invite a beautiful start to the day.
shows the beauty of two mourning doves cuddled together with their bodies forming a heart shape
Morning Dove Love
  • This birthing and unfurling of tree leaves and fresh tufts of green grass cause beauty to echo through the valleys and across the hilltops.
  • Beautiful is the tickle of six butterfly legs tenderly treading upon our skin, reminding us of this miraculous life.
  • It is a beautiful sight to see baby calves frolic in fields while fawns tiptoe.
  • The breaking dawn, just as the first sprouts of a garden, offers the beautiful promise of new chances and opportunities.
shows the beauty of an early sunrise with deep reds, oranges and golds against a black landscape silhouette
Breaking Dawn

What are your musings on beauty?

Now, here is your chance to contemplate what beauty means to you! Acknowledging visual, auditory and spiritual beauty is a powerful and beneficial gratitude practice. I invite you to listen to this inspiring piece of music while you ponder your sense of beauty. I will let you know in the last paragraph what I’d like to know!

Here is a resource explaining the connection between beauty and happiness: Here are three of my other blogs with the theme of appreciating the beauty in nature: The Mirror Tree, WATCHING THE RIVER RUN and My Mother’s Day Guest.

Finally, I’d like you to share in the comments section what your thoughts are on beauty! Thank-you in advance for sharing!

How To Process Grief

Let’s learn how to process grief. It could be started by creating metaphors for grief. We will begin with a trio of comparisons. Here is one: grief is a collapsing house of cards. A second one could be: grief is riding a wild horse. Now, here is a third one: grief is wallowing in a mud puddle with a pig.

Perhaps you may identify with one of these metaphors. Grief could occur from losing a loved one, or from hearing an unwelcome medical diagnosis, or from any sort of loss that we as humans may experience.

How to Process with Three Grief Metaphors

First of all, let’s take the house of cards metaphor: grief is a collapsing house of cards. I actually saw this in my mind’s eye when our son was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The cards comparison implies a fragile and unstable situation. Hearing his diagnosis certainly felt that way. It suddenly felt as if my 3-D life was now a mere 2-D, flat existence with the possibility of losing our son.

Secondly, grief is riding a wild horse. The horse has no name and knows no commands. One is on this dangerous ride with no safe way out. The choices seem to be to hang onto the mane for dear life or to jump off. Neither way seems safe.

Thirdly, grief is wallowing in a mud puddle with a pig. There is probably nothing so messy and slippery as wrestling with a porker in a muddy puddle. Neither you nor the pig could easily get a foot hold. Anything one would grab onto could simply slip right through one’s grasp, causing one to fall back into the yucky muck.

With any of these three metaphors, it is not good to linger in that scenario for too long. We do need to process our experiences. However, if we get to a point where we feel hopelessly stuck, it is advisable to seek out the services of a grief counselor.

Another Metaphor: Processing Grief

Here is another comparison for grief: a game show. I know, grief is certainly not a game, however, for the sake of visualizations, I feel it is appropriate.

In this game show, there are five doors from which one may choose. It does not matter at all which door one chooses first; neither does the order in which they are chosen. All five of the doors, however, must be explored. Door number one could be denial. Bargaining would be behind the second door. The third door may be concealing depression. Anger could be behind door number four. The fifth door would be acceptance.

These five elements: denial, bargaining, depression, anger and acceptance are the classic five elements of grief as coined by Elizabeth Kuhbler-Ross. According to her theory, grieving people need to experience all of these emotions in order to heal the grief. More current grief models do not adhere to the necessity of experiencing all five of these emotions. Here is a comprehensive resource comparing older and more current models of therapy as well as counseling:

Grief Processing Final Metaphor

My last metaphor stems from my having been in elementary school for thirty-seven years. Perhaps I should explain that I spent the usual seven years there as a K- 6th grade student. My other thirty years were as a teacher! This final metaphor is: grief healing is play. The reverse is also true: play is grief healing. At the very least, play at least softens grief. My inner teacher tells me play is valuable. This site validates that it can effectively be used by adults as well as children:

Think back to your childhood years. What did you enjoy during recess time? It could have been for outdoor or indoor recess times. How did you feel when running, romping and jumping through a field of grass? What about leisurely strolling down the sidewalk with a group of friends? Did you like to swing, climb the monkey bars or twirl on the merry-go-round? Perhaps you enjoyed organized team sports. Did you gather with your friends and chat? Maybe you were thrilled to sing or make up songs? Did you thrive by drawing or making or constructing things? If you’d like a little assistance in drawing on your inner creativity, check out Creativity 101 with 528 Hertz.

I propose play therapy for processing grief. This is how I process my grief. Think of what brought you joy as a child. Whatever attracted you then may still kindle a flame of attraction. Gift yourself time to reminisce, to roam, to play. Whenever we allow ourselves freewheeling time to explore, it calms the spirit and lessens grief. Finally, I leave you with a Rumi quote: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” May you find joy and comfort in your exploration!

How To Find Balance In Life

Sometimes in our lives, we realize it is necessary to find the balance point. Our bodies are markedly good at letting us know what we need to do to find that sweet spot of balance. How can the concept of time help us? Let’s see how to find balance in life.

Active Solutions To Find Balance

First of all, if our bodies are not feeling well, we need to delve into what the reason(s) could be. Not sleeping well or perhaps feeling aches and pains can be more common than we like. A regular aerobic exercise program can go a long way toward allowing our bodies to naturally counteract those issues. Being outside and getting fresh air while we exercise is the best!

Secondly, it is important to consider our living environments. Sometimes our environment may cause us to feel mentally unsettled. Perhaps our furniture could use a rearranging. Maybe you have started some small collections and wish to add a few to make them feel complete. There are many different ways our living spaces can be helped. Feng Shui is a Chinese philosophy of arranging one’s home:

Speaking of Feng Shui, quite a number of years ago, we had an unexpected visitor. I happened to be in the middle of making a chocolate dessert. After our visitor left, I passed a mirror and discovered I had chocolate on my face from taste testing! My thoughtful husband ended up installing a mirror above our stove. Following his action, we discovered that a mirror behind a stove is a good Feng Shui practice, because the stove represents wealth. The mirror image doubles it! I do know it certainly increases my wealth of knowledge regarding taste testing evidence! Altering our environment is just one way to explore how to find balance in life.

Other Active Balance Solutions

Another variable to consider is our social lives. Especially during the pandemic, many people have felt different social concerns, depending upon their situations: What can you actively (and safely) do to expand your social horizons? Could joining any organizations fulfill your needs? Perhaps going to the gym could help you meet people as well as exercise! Getting together with others may be just what you need! Even sending cards or letters to others would be a fun way to be more connected. If you feel you need a bit of assistance with relationships, try HEALING AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: 639 HERTZ.

Equally important, we humans are meant to be creative. If we don’t allow ourselves sufficient time for this, sometimes we may feel as if we could burst! It is so fulfilling when we make music, create art, move into dance, paint a picture or write an essay or a poem. All these things can help us to find our balance! EMPOWERED LIVING may be just the thing to inspire you. If you need a little extra boost to turn on your creativity, try this: Creativity 101 with 528 Hertz.

Passive Solutions to Find Balance

Accordingly, there are passive solutions for finding balance!

Perhaps you are one who has been over exercising or doing too much heavy labor. In this case, balance would lie in rest. Perhaps meditation would also be beneficial for you. Another idea could be slow, meditative movement such as in some forms of yoga or qigong.

If your living environment already has plenty (or too many) things, maybe tidying and purging could be in your future: While this method is not initially very passive, once one begins the tidying process, it will eventually serve to reduce not only the work load of so many things to clean as well as to ease the mental burden.

Maybe your sense of life balance is affected by feeling socially burnt out. For your situation, you may want to hold back from so many social commitments. Get to know yourself better!

Are you one who needs to creatively recharge? Sometimes if we feel our inspiration drying out, we need to meditate on what moves us. Listen to music, observe other artists’ works, read other writers’ offerings.

A Time for Balance

There is a time for everything.

  • a time to move and a time to be still
  • a time to collect and a time to purge
  • a time to join and a time to be alone
  • a time to create and a time to observe

Finally, I hope you enjoy this closing song. May you find the life balance you so richly deserve!

ARTS A Bridge To Life

All the arts are a bridge to life. Whether appreciating or expressing the arts, one is the inhale while the other is the exhale!

Following a three decade career in teaching K-8 visual art, I definitely feel a connection to the arts. Musically, the clarinet has been my companion instrument in bands through the college level. My fingers play the piano ivories for personal enjoyment. I adore my Native American hoop drum and wooden flute. Surprisingly though, my current favorite art is writing. However, I feel my expertise lies in the title, “arts aficionado”. I just love all the arts! The fine arts are certainly a bridge to life!

The arts link us to our humanity. By virtue of the arts, all our lives are immeasurably enriched. I do know that thanks to the arts many students choose to remain in school. It is their joy of life, their personal way of making sense of the world.

The arts encourage an imaginative, creative mindset. No matter whether we are speaking of theater, music, visual, dance, or literary arts, each art requires a measure of the artist’s heart and personality to shine through. Yes, the arts do certainly have standards to which we adhere, but the products and productions of the artists are each as unique as the person who created it!

Creative Problem Solving is possible with an Native American flute, and the traditional instruments: flute, clarinet and trumpet as well as sketch pads and drawing supplies are pictured.
Musical Instruments and Art Supplies: Potential Materials for Creating a Bridge to Life

Bridge to a Sense of Awe

Our fifth grade art students would annually go to a large art museum a distance from our small rural school. Prior to our trip, we would study various artists, including Dale Chihuly. One year as our bus pulled into the museum lot, our students spied a spectacular glass sculpture by Mr. Chihuly. A chorus of student voices sounded like a fourth of July fireworks audience, complete with oooooos and aaaahhhhs!

Another year, our elementary students were viewing a movie in our high school auditorium. Unfortunately, I do not recall the title. I do, however, have a vivid memory of a scene with a lovely waterfall. In unison, the students exclaimed, “Aahhhhh!” Next, the camera panned to a higher, larger waterfall. This time, the “Aaaaahhhhhh” from our students was even more emphatic! Last of all was an even more dramatic and beautiful shot of the most grand waterfall. Of course, our students uttered the most amazingly appreciative “AAAAHHHHH” of all! I love to call this the triple awe moment. This spectacular reaction could be inspired by any type of art as well as nature, created by the ultimate Creator.

When such appreciative reactions occur, the exuberant participants will forever be looking for awe inducing moments in their lives!

Bridge to Rhythmic Arts

Typically, we think of dance and music when it comes to rhythm. A dance’s twists, twirls and taps bridges into a hypnotic rhythm for an audience. Likewise, an orchestra of staccato woodwind notes, kettle drum beats and quick plucky strings satisfies our rhythmic sense. What about a little boy who learns about new artists? A former student going upstairs to bed one night chanted, “Renoir, Degas, Seurat, Renoir, Degas, Seurat”, taking one step with each name. When his parents questioned what he was doing, he responded that those were the artists we learned that day. Of course paintings may have visual rhythm, but the aural rhythm of the artist’s names was what spoke to him! Then in poetry, there is the bridge of the iambic pentameter matching the rhythm of a heart beat inherent within the sonnet. The arts are a dynamic, rhythmic bridge to life!

Hand holding a brush to Paint the Sky Blue - showing how the ARTS can be a bridge to life.
Painting the Sky Blue – An Act to Bridge to Life

Artistic Link to Healing

Sometimes art just speaks to a person. I had an Albert Bierstadt painting beg me to sit on the bench before one of his breathtakingly relaxing landscapes. I’m certain my respiration and heart rate instantly reduced.

Dr. Bernie Siegel recognizes the bridge to healing that the arts provide.

  • When you behave as if you are a different person, you change on a very basic level – even your physiology changes. When actors and actresses perform, their body chemistry is altered by the roles they play. Bernie Siegel
  • Bernie also uses music in the operating room to help create a healing environment for patients and staff.

Therapeutic Bridges

So many of the arts are perfect therapy for whatever seems to emotionally ail us. Here is an illustrated article on visual art therapy. It pairs various emotions with directed actions to help a person work through issues.

What can visual arts in particular do for a person? Check out this post to see what my elementary art students gleaned from several years of art: EMPOWERED LIVING.

An amazing NPR article on a NeuroArts initiative reveals testing results of the arts while in an MRI scanner. “They had me singing, imagining singing and speaking, ” she says. “They would probably have guessed that singing would have the largest effect on my brain, but it didn’t. It was imagining singing.” A related link on NeuroArts gives evidence for the use of arts as medicine!

Bridge Over Troubling Grief and Truth

If you have been coping with grief, you may benefit from ERASE GRIEF, a study of a few works of art to process through your emotions. I know especially when our son was coping with pancreatic cancer, as well as after his passing, the arts have been a huge bridge to healing for me.

In today’s world of seeking for the truth, you may be interested in studying a few art works which could be interpreted quite differently according to the viewer’s perspective. It seems that our mind finds what we expect to see. Art: Reality, Grief and Truth as well as SALVADOR DALI PERSPECTIVES examine a number of works in search of truth!

Pay attention to your body while exploring various arts. Notice how you feel, read your emotions for clues. May you find the arts which speak to you as you search what brings your most monumental sense of awe. The arts, particularly coupled with imagination, can be your bridge to life as well! Just imagine!

Spring Cleaning Your Words

Every year when spring rolls around, thoughts of spring cleaning may arise. It is a time to clean, de-clutter and freshen our surroundings. Let’s think of clearing and cleansing our words. Being human, we all slip up now and then. What if we were to practice spring cleaning our words? Would you be interested if you knew it could produce health and relationship benefits? I’d like to introduce you to my HOG Technique (Humor-Optimism-Gratitude). Much as pigs root through dirt, we will root through the unpleasant dirt and replace it with HOG!

Let’s start by opening your windows and allowing yourself to be bathed and brightened with light. Contemplate starting this new season by sweeping out complaints. Place grumbling and growling in the garbage disposal. Worrisome talk goes out with the trash. Every speck of negativity is dusted off your surfaces. Permit all the pessimistic dross to be dissolved. Once all is cleared, it is time to refill. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and see how we can put a positive spin on our stories!

Remember a Dose of Humor

While doing your spring cleaning, you will want to leave room for humor to enter your cleansed spaces! It feels great to season your messages with humor! Laughter can help to ease any tension within us as well as to build stronger bonds with others. Additionally, this Mayo Clinic resource informs us of what humor can do for us:

Words of Optimism

Next, spring cleaning our words can make room for what we truly wish to express. Just think if we cultivated optimism, what it could do for our lives! Let’s think about the talk which spills from our lips. If you have two buckets, which of yours would you fill first, the one labeled pessimism or optimism? Let’s allow this positive thinking to penetrate our being! Think about how contagious our attitudes can be. Here is an article on the benefits of optimism:

Spring Cleaning for Gratitude

Who would you rather help, someone who exhibits greed or one who oozes gratitude? That attitude of gratitude goes a long way with paving good relationships. Plus, when we are grateful, we realize how richly blessed we truly are! Being thankful actually has benefits for our health and is easy to do! Sometimes it may feel challenging to have Gratitude for Hard Times, but this post will illustrate the possibilities. You may enjoy this resource to get you started:

If the doors of perception were cleansed then everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.

William Blake

If we approach life with laughter, the world laughs with us. When we look for the good in life, we are more likely to find it. If we practice the art of thankfulness, more will be provided.

Last of all, I bet all this spring cleaning will have you squealing like a happy little piggy! Practicing my HOG Technique (or Humor, Optimism and Gratitude Technique) is a great way to enrich everyone’s lives. Just imagine all this light within you making you feel sparkly! Cleansing your “doors of perception” will change your life. Finally, remember to look for the silver thread, the silver lining in everything. May that flash of silver follow you always!

Creating Order From Chaos

Let’s think about this concept: creating order from chaos. This lovely afghan my mom crocheted is a prime example to study. Just look at this beautiful creation! Perhaps you may have difficulty in imagining this as ever being in a state of chaos. Take a look at all the colors. There are some colors repeated and of course there are families of those colors throughout the design. Now, I’ve wondered, how many different colors did she use? Each varying color came from a separate skein of yarn. Do you think it possible that before she started, all these small bits of yarn resembled chaos?

Now, I don’t crochet, but I have speculated that perhaps each individual hexagon was completed as a stand alone. Now imagine having each of these hexagons completed. Do you think it is within the realm of possibility that all these multi-colored sections were ever in a state of disorder? I would guess she would have had to arrange and rearrange numerous times to achieve a cohesive arrangement pleasing to the eye.

Even though there are no identical hexagons , the entire afghan still goes together. If there was no contrasting off white surrounding each piece to unify the whole, it would be more difficult to appreciate the bright sparkle of all the other colors. If the afghan lacked the light colored classic honeycomb layout, all the deep, bright color could feel lost in a disarray. This afghan transformed from chaos to an ordered creation!

Creating Other Order

Each and everything that we as humans may create is likely born from a state of chaos. It generally originates as a problem to be solved. It could involve any of the arts, of course. A spark of inspiration may start the process. Then a whirl of ideas rolls in the midst of the mind and spirit until we will our bodies to act upon it.

If it is an unanswered math problem, there is certainly a lack of balance while awaiting the ending answer. Figuring out how to solve it may feel a bit chaotic until the equation is complete.

It could actually be any kind of problem, because the presence of a problem indicates an unsettling or a lack of balance.

Creating Peace From Chaos of Grief

When one is trying to fathom grief, it is easy to feel oneself to be in a low slump of chaos. It simply takes time for people to process grief. As with any kind of problem, solutions must be explored to see what answers may bring us back to a state of balance. Much as a math equation, we must feel in a state of balance in order to be functional.

Here is a list of ways people have found to move out of the chaos and heal their grief.

  • play with art materials, dabble in learning a musical instrument, act in a play
  • keep a journal to express your feelings and emotions
  • reminisce old photos of your loved one
  • talk to your loved one through thoughts or out loud – they can hear us
  • be outside in nature, appreciating the beauty
  • go for long walks, take up any kind of exercise
  • bond with other grieving people who are open to sharing
  • immerse yourself in physical labor or your work
  • take up knitting or crochet
  • visit an art museum; attend a concert or a play
  • connect with religion or spirituality
  • work with a grief counselor

I’ve included an informative site on grief and gender. Here is one of my most comprehensive posts with many resources, especially for parents who have lost a child: What is a Vilomah?. Perhaps these resources could be the start of crawling out of chaos or even appreciating chaos as you invite order back into your life. Now, wrap yourself in a cozy afghan to contemplate what you may create!

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