We really are all connected

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson


My son Lukas sent me a video link to an amazing video: The Most Astounding Fact.  He saw it and said that he immediately thought of me and knew it would fit well in my blog.  Thank you once again Lukas!
The video is an excerpt from an interview of Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson.  He was asked: What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe? And who better to answer this question than this inspirational man. He shares his information in a concise and easy to understand way, that is both inspirational and educational. To me, his explanation is unity explained. We really are all connected.

“The atoms that comprise life on Earth, the atoms that make up the human body are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements . . .  stars collapsed and then exploded scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy, guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. So that when I look up at the night sky and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us.”

We may look different and sound different, but in fact our make up is the same. To me, this is a call for cooperation, for collaboration, for compassion, for love.

As Dr. DeGrasse Tyson puts it:  After all, what nobler thought can one cherish than that the universe lives within us all?
Please take the time to watch this wonderful video, not only is the message timely, but the pictures of space are incredibly beautiful.

I’d love to hear what you thought of this video. And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

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Keep on Keeping on!

“Don’t give up before the miracle happens.”

– Fannie Flagg


Today I have a short post.  Short but oh so very Sweet!

I have just signed a contract with a literary agent to represent me!  This is a huge step toward getting my book, A Woman’s Guide to Transformation, published.

This has been a huge process.  I started looking for a literary agent well over a year ago.  Let me assure you that writing the book was a piece of cake compared to finding an agent in this new, hugely competitive publishing environment.  The process requires an incredibly thick skin and tenacity beyond words.

There were many times that I considered giving up my dream and going the “easier” route of a digital book.  But my dream, top of my bucket list was to be published in the traditonal sense, with a hard copy of my book in my hand.  It is a long process, and I’m not published yet, but having a supportive agent is a massive step in that direction.

Thank you Owen Burnham!  (My new wonderful, supportive enthusiastic agent!) Please visit him at his website. And if you are an author looking for an enthusiastic agent, please take the time to send Owen a note.

I’m going to close with an appropriate song by an artist I have always liked.  Curtis Mayfield encouraging us to Keep on Keeping on!

 

 

Please write and let me know how you keep on keeping on.  And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

The Spark of Creativity

 

Devin Clark-Memler


 

Maya Angelou tells us that: You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

So what sparks creativity?  Where does it come from?  Where does it hide? Why do some people seem to have such an abundance of creativity, while others claim they have none?  Are we born with it?  Or does it come from some unseen source?

My son, Devin, is probably the most creative person I know.  Honestly, he continuously amazes me.  He can play beautiful music, he can draw phenomenally well, and his photography is absolutely mind-blowing!  (Visit his website DCM Photography to see for yourself.)

Devin Clark-Memer

Devin seems to see more and hear more than most other people I know, and he seems to see things differently than most too.

For example, In the picture below, I only saw a teacup, but Devin saw beyond the cup:

Devin Clark-Memler

I’m left wondering – where does this creativity come from?

Amy Tan poses a few ideas of where creativity hides:

In the nature area, we look at whether or not we are innately equipped with something, perhaps in our brains, some abnormal chromosome that causes this muse-like effect. And some people would say that we’re born with it in some other means. And others, like my mother, would say that I get my material from past lives. Some people would also say that creativitymay be a function of some other neurological quirk –van Gogh syndrome — that you have a little bit of, you know, psychosis, or depression.

Devin isn’t psychotic or depressed, and doesn’t seem to be overally abnormal (but that begs the question, what is normal?)

So these ideas that Ms. Tan offers don’t satisfy me.  It seems so much bigger than that to me. She comes a lot closer when she continues:

“. . . quantum mechanics, which I really don’t understand, but I’m still gonna use it as the process for explaining . . .  there’s a lot of unknown, and you often don’t know what it is . . .  but things come together in a kind of synergy . . . and ambiguity . . . and I would link that to something called the cosmological constant . . . you don’t know what is operating, but something is operating there.”

That’s much more satisfying to me.  Indescribable, ambiguous, an uncertainty of what exactly is behind it all.  Because to me, creativity is a bit like magic, unknown and huge and exciting.  And I truly believe we can all access our own creativity, we just have to get out of our own way and pay attention to things, to the space between things, sort of let go, listen quietly to the very small voice within, let things get out of focus for a minute so we can allow the fuzzy bits to come into focus.  Hard to put into words, ambiguous and hard to describe.  Perhaps beyond description.

 

 

I’d love to hear about your sparks of creativity. Please let me know what inspires you to create.

And as always, thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

If today were your last day . . .

“Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last.”

– Marcus Aurelius


Live every day as if it were your last – so easy to say, but honestly, how plausible is it?

My son Lukas came upon this quote by Nietzsche and thought it would fit nicely in my blog. (He’s got my back!)

“What if, some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sight and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence…’
If this thought were to gain possession of you it would change you as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and everything – ‘Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?’ would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight.”

Upon pondering that quote, Lukas mused:  “Yeah, so it refers to living your life, judging an action by which you might have to repeat it again and again . . . this idea of eternal re-occurrence can guide your life path – help you out of banality and suffering.” (That’s my boy!)

Nietzsche’s quote reminded both of us of Steve Jobs’ incredible 2005 Stanford Commencement Address:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

These ideas seem even more relevant to me today, than they normally would.  Last night, my husband Jeff accepted a year-long position with The British Council doing teacher training in Borneo.  My sons and I will be staying in New Zealand.  It’s the fulfillment of a dream that’s been on hold for a while for Jeff, and a big part of me is really happy for him. But if I’m honest, my feelings are much more convoluted that just happy for him.  So no, neither of us found out that today would be our last day, however, Jeff is leaving for a year in only three short weeks.  And well, anything can happen . . . Borneo feels pretty far away.

So this topic feels even bigger than it normally would. And for the next three weeks anyway, I’m going to seriously try to remember what Jobs advised, at least with Jeff .  I plan to ask myself:  If today were the last day of my life with Jeff, would I want to do (or say) what I am about to do (or say) today?”

The video I’m attaching is a bit cheesy (sorry Lukas) but it made me cry and it seemed to fit, so here it is:

 

 

Please write and let me know what you would do if today were your last day.  As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

More on Creative Visualization

“I do believe, and I have seen in my own life, that Creative Visualization works!”

– Oprah Winfrey


I can’t say it any better than Oprah!  – I do believe and I have seen it in my own life, that Creative Visualization works!

In a previous post – “Who was your teacher” – I talked about the first time I read Shakti Gawain’s wonderful book Creative Visualization.  But even before  I read that book, before I did my work and moved beyond my Woundologybefore all of that, I was using Creative Visualization unconsciously.  Gawain explains that:

“Creative visualization is the technique of using your imagination to create what you want in your life.  There is nothing new, strange or unusual about creative visualization. You are already using it every day, every minute in fact . . . whether or not you are aware of it.”

I remember the first time that I was actually aware that I had used visualization. It was at my 10 year high school reunion.  As I mentioned above, this was way before I did any of the work around personal growth.  The reason I became aware of it is that before the reunion, I thought to myself, it would be really cool to get ready with a group or my friends, have a few drinks around a pool somewhere and laugh and get dressed and put on make up together.  I saw the picture really clearly in my mind, I could picture a group of us laughing and having fun prior to the actual reunion – all sitting in the sun around a pool.  The problem was, I was picturing this from Japan where I was working at the time, and I had lost contact with most of my friends from high school.  When I went home for the reunion, I called my old high school friend Carol (whom I had not seen in almost 10 years) and she offered – how about if we all get ready over at my house, and we made a plan.  I had never been to the house that she now shared with her partner.  Carol called a few old friends and we met at her house in the afternoon before the reunion.  And when I walked through her house and get to the back yard, there in front of me was the vision I had pictured – four other friends from HS, all sitting around the pool, drinking cocktails and laughing.  It was exactly as I had pictured it from Japan!  It was eerie! But it was incredibly powerful, and luckily, I paid attention.  Several years later when I first read Gawain’s book, I got chills and thought – yes!  That’s what happened!  And again luckily, I paid attention.  That’s an important piece – paying attention.

It happens so frequently to me now that I have come to expect it and it doesn’t have as chilling effect on me as when I first saw the scene around the pool.  But I still pay attention, I still acknowledge the process and express gratitude when it does happen. Gratitude is another important piece. I am very conscious of the advice in Gawain’s book:

“When you achieve a goal, be sure to acknowledge consciously to yourself that it has been completed.  Often we achieve things which we have been desiring and visualizing and we forget to even notice that we have succeeded. So give yourself some appreciation . . . and be sure to thank the universe.”

In her book, Gawain describes the four basic steps for effective Creative Visualizaion:

  1. Set Your Goal
  2. Create a Clear Picture or Idea of the Goal
  3. Focus on it Often
  4. Give it Positive Energy

I have added a fun, light video to illustrate these four steps.  Visualizing is not hard, but it does require making a concerted effort and paying attention.  And the really cool thing is, the more it works in your life, the more you expect it to work, so the more it works!

 

Please write and let me know some of your experiences with Creative Visualization.  I love hearing stories about how it has worked in people’s lives.

As always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

Using Creative Visualization to Improve Learning

“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we . . . learn to allow our natural channel to open.”

– Shakti Gawain


Creative Visualization is the scientifically based process of forming a detailed image in your mind of something that you want to achieve.

How does it work? Well, the results are based on several factors. First you must determine what you want, your goal – as Shakti Gawain puts it:

You create your opportunities by asking for them

Next, you get your brain into a relaxed state – any relaxation techniqe will work.  I offer one in the recording below.

And finally you create the pictures or images of what you want to achieve in your head. Ultimately, your actions are based on the images you create.

Creative visualization works!  It helps you succeed in all areas of your life –school, home, work, health, relationship – every single one.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I think of Shakti Gawain as my first teacher.  I honestly know that reading the book Creative Visualization transformed my life.  It is one of the key tools for transformation in my book A Woman’s Guide to Transformation.

In the following visualization, I focus on helping students improve their learning and thus their grades. The visualization is included on this site in Amazing Grades!  If you are a student, or if you know someone who is a student, I offer this visualization to you.

 

 

Please let me know what you thought of this visualization.  And as always, thank you for visiting my blog, I appreciate it.