39/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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Day 39/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

Looking for the light is a practice, just like yoga, or violin.  We practice something (yoga, violin, pitching, kung fu) to develop our skills, to strengthen our muscles, to hone our focus.  When you do something repeatedly you get better, stronger, more comfortable doing it.  

And as with the practice of yoga, or meditation, the practice of looking for the light is less about an end result and more about the simple act of doing it.  Of course, when you do something day after day it is ultimately transformative, but in this case doing it day after day is also the POINT.  

Doing it is enough.

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38/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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Day 38/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

Maybe each of us already has a garden. (See yesterday’s post if you have no idea what I’m talking about.)

Maybe each of us already has a garden in our mind or in our heart - or in our minds AND in our hearts. Maybe our own personal gardens are already growing flowers and herbs - and weeds. Because don’t we all have weeds? ✨
And maybe the thing I ought to be saying is that we need to water the seeds and not the weeds. ✨
We can talk about pulling the weeds another time, but if you’ve done any gardening you know that the more plants you have growing and thriving, the less actual space there IS for the weeds. And the more plants you have growing and thriving, the more time and energy you will give to those plants, further crowding out the space for weeds. We might not need to talk about pulling weeds at all, actually, if we focus our energy on planting seeds and tending them and growing flowers and herbs and fruits and vegetables in the gardens we all have in our minds and in our hearts.

Or maybe I’ve taken this metaphor too far. ✨
(But I don’t think so.)

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37/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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How does one plant seeds of light, you ask?

Oh that’s a good question.  :)

Step one, Prepare the soil and find the seed:  Open your eyes, your mind, your heart, your *attention* to the possibility of goodness.  Look for little things - buds on the trees, the feeling of the sun on your skin, a favorite shirt - start small.

Step two, Place the seed in the ground:  Pause - for just a moment - to give your attention to the seed you’ve found, no matter how small.  You are making a space for the seed to settle in and start to grow.

Step three, Water the soil and let the sun shine in:  Speak about the goodness.  Tell a friend or a co-worker or a stranger on the street.  Or send an email.  Tweet it or take a picture.  Or simply write it down or say it out loud to yourself, for yourself.  Giving words to the goodness gives the seed the water and sunlight it needs to begin to grow.

Do this every day.  As many times each day as you’d like, though once is fine.  Pretty soon you’ll have a garden.

36/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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Day 37/100 Days of Seeds of Light

Every apple - every peach, cucumber, avocado, every fruit or vegetable with a seed or a pit - has potential to grow another apple or peach, cucumber, avocado.  But how often do we plant those seeds?  We mostly don’t.  We compost them or throw them into the trash or wash them down the drain and that’s the end of that.

So it is with the good things in the world around us.  We encounter countless good things every day - little things and big things and lots and lots of in-between things - and we mostly walk right by without stopping to notice, and that’s the end of that.

And yet.

Seeds are meant to be planted.  To grow and flourish, and to perpetuate the species.  

Let’s do that, then, with the goodness we encounter in the world and in our daily lives.  Let’s stop to notice it, let’s hold it up to admire it, let’s share it with each other as a way of planting it; each bit of goodness a seed, to grow and flourish and perpetuate the species.

    35/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 35/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

    When I drop my kids off at school in the morning, as they get out of the car, I say to them, “Make it a great day!”

    As opposed to “Have a great day!” And this is the reason why. ✨
    One phrase suggests that we have a hand in creating the outcome we desire. The other suggests that we are passive as the events of the day are happening to us. ✨
    Of course, I want my kids to have good days; I hope that things go smoothly for them and that they feel strong and confident walking through the world. And I know that what any of us can control is our attitude, our perspective, our way of being in the world. Yes, I want my kids to experience goodness in their days, and I want them to learn to MAKE goodness in their days, in the way that they see and respond to the world unfolding around them.

    #100daysofseedsoflight

    34/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 34/100 #100daysofseedsoflight 


    It’s not that rotten things don’t happen, because they do. Little rotten things and big rotten things, and tragic things happen - and we can’t control a lot of those rotten and tragic things, but we can control the way we respond to them. ✨

    First, of course, feel the feelings. Be present. Feel the frustration or the sadness or the anger - feel all of it. ✨

    And then look for the light. ✨

    Sure, we can ask “why me,” but there are no answers to be found there, and dwelling in this question is a fast track to suffering. ✨

    Instead, ask - what can I learn from this rotten thing? From this tragedy? Ask where is there a tiny bit of light in this difficult moment? Ask where are the helpers? Ask what is comforting right now? What is healing? What is helpful? ✨
    The answers to these questions are pinpoints of light. Focus there and watch them grow.

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    33/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 33/100 #100daysofseedsoflight 


    Let’s face it, it’s easy to be the victim. When you’re the victim, you’re not responsible - everything happens TO you, circumstances and events are outside of your control. ✨

    And yet. ✨

    When you’re the victim, everything happens to you, and circumstances are outside of your control. Which isn’t actually so easy at all. ✨
    So when you feel like the victim, when you feel that everything is happening to you, consider your perspective - that’s the one thing you can always control. And once you control it you might find you have more power than you realized. ✨
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    31/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 31/100 #100daysofseedsoflight 


    Seeds:

    1. Help. Several people helped me today, with (big) tasks I could have done on my own that were made so much easier and better with help. 
    2. My friend Lindsay gave me a @pranarom_usa essential oil called “Mental Clarity” for my birthday, and I love it. I used it today while I worked on a big writing project. 
    3. Two new to me dinner recipes that were delicious and gobbled up tonight. ✨
    Now you? Will you share something good with me?

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    29/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 29/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

    Every single good thing you think or say or do is a drop of light, a seed planted in the fiber of the universe, with the ability to grow and flower and pollinate and cross pollinate and seed and spread.  Every single tiny thing - every compliment, every smile at a stranger, every moment of delight, every kindness, every act of generosity - each one is a seed of light, each one of us a gardner. Let’s plant the world full of goodness, shall we?

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    28/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 28/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

    Words have power.  I’m relentless about this - you can ask Lucy and she will tell you that when she says things like “I hate my hair,” (Things all teenagers say.  She has the best hair, by the way.) I will make her say three things she loves about herself.

    We all have moments when we hate our hair/handwriting/whatever and when we say those things out loud, we give them power.  When we say the good things out loud (I love my eyelashes/fingernails/whatever) we give power to the good things. ✨
    Wouldn’t we rather give power to the positive?  Wouldn’t we rather focus on the things we love about ourselves instead of bemoaning the things we don’t love?  Wouldn’t we rather celebrate? ✨
    Sometimes, when the negative thoughts are coming more easily than the positive thoughts, I ask myself what would I tell Lucy?  What would I say to her about her hair/handwriting/eyelashes/fingernails? And what would I want her to say to herself? I know I want my daughter to focus on the positive (and there is so much to choose from), and I remind myself to do the same.

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    27/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 27/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

    A few recent thoughts about the paintings. ✨
    I’m liking them much more lately. I think it’s part attitude and part process and part materials. I’m liking them much more, AND I’m still looking for a groove-y feeling, a place where I feel like they all hang together, a place where I have a sense of where I’m going when I pick up the brush, and a place where I can still let myself be surprised.

    Some of the seed paintings have been made in the studio lately, vertical, on the easel, with the fluid acrylics, and they’re all deep and saturated and drippy. Some have been made at home (like this one) flat, on the dining room table, with acrylic inks, also deep and saturated though not drippy. Some have been more messy, spontaneous, unrestrained - I call them a certain word followed by “up” and I mean it in the most loving way. And some have been more simple color studies in pleasing palettes. I love elements of all of all of them, and I continue to feel like I’m still figuring out where I’m going with this. I keep painting.

    Also, The last few days I’ve been thinking about sticking to a repetitive set of seeds (size, shape, order of things) - maybe I need some additional structure as I wiggle my way through the figuring it out. And at the same time, I like playing with the shapes. I know I do well with parameters, maybe I need more of them here? Maybe I don’t? Something else I’m considering. I keep painting.

    Does anyone but me have an opinion on the subject? Do some of the paintings resonate with you more than others? What do you like or not like? Which day is your favorite? I’m curious to know how they are resonating in the world. ✨
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    26/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 26/100 #100daysofseedsoflight 

    Seeds:

    1. The trees are in full bloom. This makes me feel like the earth has come alive and (maybe because Spring is the season of my birth?) it makes ME feel more alive. 
    2. The robin seems to have found a place to nest, and she has stopped trying to get into the imaginary tree she sees in the reflection in my living room window. I am relieved for her.
    3. The peonies in my yard have started to grow tall. This is the third year for these plants, the deer really seem to not eat them, and I feel so much joy knowing that in a few weeks there will be beautiful flowers blooming outside my bedroom window. ✨
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    25/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 25/100 #100daysofseedsoflight ✨

    A bunch of things went not according to plans and expectations today. I started to list them here, by way of saying that not everything goes right all of the time, and that these are opportunities to reframe - thank goodness for the reframe.

    And then I stopped myself. Because why put the energy into typing the details of what went wrong? And why put the frustrated energy out into the world? Why invite you to read it and share the frustration with me from afar? Even though I’m reframing. Even though I’m saying it’s ok that things didn’t go according to plan. Even though we all have frustrations and that is part of life, it is life. Things happen. (Still resisting the urge to type the annoying things that happened today, by the way.)

    But I don’t want to dwell in annoyance. And I don’t want to spread annoyance. And I don’t want to invite you into annoyance. ✨
    So much more is good and right in my world than any of the minor frustrations I experienced today all added together and multiplied by 100. And I am grateful for knowing it. ✨
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    24/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 24/100 #100daysofseedsoflight ✨

    Seeds:

    1. The tree outside my kids’ bedroom windows is about to burst into bloom. I look forward to watching this happen every Spring. 
    2. I received nice compliments on a presentation I gave at a meeting this morning. It is so kind and appreciated when people take the time to say something positive. This reminds me to be the complimenter at every opportunity. 
    3. Tonight was the Spring concert at school and watching my children sing is a great joy.

    23/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    Day 23/100 #100daysofseedsoflight

    Reframing, a story.

    Once upon a time in mid-February, we had a flood in our basement.  The sewer line between our house and the septic tank underneath the yard became clogged and the water from the showers, toilets, sinks and the washing machine couldn’t flow through the pipe into the tank so it backed up into the basement through the base of the toilet down there, the lowest point in the house.

    As you can imagine, this was surprising and unpleasant.  And I am going to tell you all of the good things about it.

    The water that poured into the basement was from the inside of the house, NOT backing up from the septic tank, which would have been a whole lot worse.  We caught the flood pretty early, the only thing that was ruined was the carpet. There was a lot of water (we had run the showers and the washing machine before we knew about the clog) but there was nothing smelly or brown involved.  We found a plumber to come out that same snowy Saturday night, he was able to resolve the problem in under two hours (the minimum fee), and our plumbing was up and running before it was time for bed. Our neighbors had fans and dehumidifiers to lend us.  Our basement has a door to the outside so Dave was able to remove all of the old carpet without hauling it upstairs and through the house.

    These are really good things.

    I share this story to illustrate the point that we get to choose our perspective on a given situation, and on the world.  We get to choose our stories. We get to choose where we place our attention. Not everything is a good thing – we certainly know that to be true – but there is almost always a point of light to be found in the darkness, if we are looking.

    Yes, the flood was aggravating and unfortunate.  It would have been super easy to focus my attention on the frustration – the inconvenience, the expense, the hassle – of the whole episode. But if I had let myself sink into those feelings, I would have been in the exact same situation – wet basement, lacking the ability to flush or wash dishes, big plumbing bill, having to replace the carpet – and I would have been mad and sad to boot.

    Instead, by looking for - and giving my attention to - the bright spots in the midst, I was able to focus on how lucky we really were.  How lucky we are.

    22/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    A coda to yesterday’s thoughts. ✨
    Sorrow and despair, frustration and comparison, disappointment and loneliness - these emotions have tremendous gravitational pull. ✨
    The practice of looking for light, the practice of paying attention to gratitude, the practice of noticing and honoring the good things in our lives is a counter weight, bringing us back toward joy. ✨
    It’s not instantaneous. It is a practice, slow and steady. ✨
    Just keep swimming. ✨

    21/100 Days of Seeds of Light

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    It is so easy to sink into darkness. Anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness, loneliness, comparison - these emotions are seductive. They call out to us with their siren song, pulling us slowly under under under the surface of the water so that we don’t even know we’ve been seduced until we full on can no longer breathe and we are drowning. ✨


    As a matter of fact, looking for the light is a little like swimming. Staying afloat requires effort - sometimes it requires full on breast stroke and other times it’s treading water, but we know we have to remain in an active state in order to stay above the surface of the water. ✨

    So it is with goodness, gratitude and joy. So it is with the light. Keeping focused on our blessings requires effort - sometimes it’s full on breast stroke and other times it’s treading water. ✨

    Just keep looking for the light, and when you can’t swim anymore flip onto your back and float for awhile. Catch your breath, and keep on swimming.