Sunday, May 31, 2009

Silent Sermon Sunday

A view from my garden~

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Saturday, May 30, 2009

You Are The Best

I finally achieved what I desired when starting Your Mother Knows But Won't Tell You. I got the depth of feeling, reaction, conviction, discussion, and sharing that I hoped would benefit all of us. Who knew that it would be someone like Michael Vick who opened the gates for us to deepen our understanding and views of what it takes to be a Real Human Being?

Or, perhaps it was me being honest and sharing that I struggle with feeling judgmental and attempting to avoid it. The challenges of becoming more aware of myself and my thoughts. Being more on-guard as to what can happen when I leave my thoughts unattended and allow them to run about willy-nilly causing who knows what sort of chaos.

Perhaps it was the blend of both. Whatever the reason, thank you for spending so much time and thought on your comments about that last post. Truly. You have made a significant difference. I am positive that I am on the right path...which I'll share in a moment. I also believe, all of us are better for having shared our viewpoints on that complicated topic.

You are amazing. Really! I need to thank Caroline for suggesting the topic, because I have to admit, that entire post is not one that I would have tackled- it wouldn't have occurred to me to write it if Caroline hadn't asked what I felt about it. And, going forward, I hope that if you have a topic or an idea that you'd like me to weigh in on, you'll let me know.

Today, I find that I am much more at peace with this whole question of judging and judgment. And, what I say here may not be the answer for you, but I know that it is for me. I have been liberated. I'll still need to be vigilant, but I am more at peace and open to my own monkey-mind and my natural curiosity. I don't think those are things I'd want to change; I believe they may be one of my strongest gifts given by a loving Spirit.

Spotted Wolf asked if the insights readers shared were enough for me to go on, and Dear Wolf, I say, "Yes!" Here's where I sit with regard to judgment: If I am parsing and dissecting a situation to make sense of the facts and the issues, that is not judgment. But, if I am doing those things, to weigh how I feel another Human Being is behaving or operating within those facts and's getting close to, if not, judging.

Any situation where I end up feeling I know better than the people involved, is a slippery slope. If I find that I am comparing an individual to me and how I would do things, and finding them less-than or wanting...I'm certain that's judging. That's not my place.

If I walk away from a situation feeling smug, superior, or better-than another Human Being, I'm caught in the destructive cycle of judgment and need to call a halt as soon as I am aware of it.

If I am simply asking questions about an individual or situation out of curiosity or to learn more about myself or how others think, I believe that's fact finding and mind experience...and that's all right. Or, if I am asking these questions because there's a chance I can help or improve things...I believe that's a good thing, too. But, here again, I need to have caution; there's a huge difference between helping and interfering!

Michael used to tell Evan & Melissa, "They say that experience is the best teacher; but the truth is, someone else's experience is the best teacher!" I'm beginning to understand that there's a great deal of wisdom in his statement.

We're here to learn. To do. To Be. To expand. To grow. To become Real. Sometimes we learn through doing; other times we learn through observing and questioning. And, we'll make a great many missteps along the way. Most will have to do with how we treated, or perhaps mistreated another Human Being. Judging others, to my mind, is one of the most insidious ways of doing harm. To the other for certain, but more so, to ourselves. It's time to become more aware of how many ways we are harming ourselves by judging.

There are many points of Divine wisdom in your comments. And, I'll be re-reading them often. One in particular stands out, written by a young woman who must have an old and wise spirit. It was Stephanie who wrote, "You don't have to understand everything around you in order to accept it."

Why is this such an important thing for me to hear? Because I am a fact finder and a truth teller. And, I spend my life trying to boil things down to their essence in the hope of understanding and so, growing. I do it for myself, but also to try and help others as well.

The problem, I've come to learn, is that I often stall my own spiritual growth because I refuse to simply accept some things as they are said, done, or given. I'm always digging into things as though, if I understand it all, it'll make something hard easier to swallow.

It doesn't. It just stalls the process and I can stay stuck for a long time in a loop that is pretty sad. I know I'm not the only one who does it.

So, thank you Stephanie for reminding me that I don't have to know the whys of things or people like Michael Vick. I simply have to accept it, and that is not dependent on understanding it. As we often say, "It is what it is." Sometimes that's the only answer.

Here's the final bit of understanding that I have about judging- if I stay in the moment, I can ask all the questions I want about the current moment...I can wonder about it...I can compare my life experiences against it...I can be curious and probing about the Human Beings involved. All these lead us to what Arcta Firebringer said about it being our job while on earth to learn Good Judgment. That's how we learn it.

The most important learning is that this assessment must stay in the moment. You can't carry it over. Once it's past, you must let go and move on. None of that pondering becomes the ill of judgment unless, after the moment has past, you hold people in a negative, or less-than state. So long as you move on, even when you don't agree, and wish those individuals will have learned without the weight of judgment. I hope you'll take me up on that possibility.

Pete and Neil said, "There's a difference between forgiveness and redemption." And, I couldn't agree more. One is given. While the other is earned by right living after living wrongly. A person can seek redemption without forgiveness, but I believe it is more likely that an individual will wish to do the hard work of redeeming their Self, once they've felt the healing grace of forgiveness wash over them.

I believe that people can't be handled as simple facts that are right or wrong, yes/no, saint or villain. We are combination of any and all. So, we can't be accurately and authentically viewed from the narrow margin of our life perspective. Anything that complicated probably has to be viewed with faith. Which can be difficult.

As it says in the bible, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So much of any Human Being remains hidden from our frail vision.

To that end, I pray that for every Human Being I matter how bad, or smelly, or vile, or bad behaving, I always find it in me to hold hope for them and have faith that there is more to them than I realize. Hope that they begin to understand that they have worth, value, and a role to play in Spirit's plan. And, I hope that I have the faith and wisdom to recognize that it is the 'worst' among us who have the potential to teach us the best about being Real Human Beings.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Am Conflicted

I'll get to this guy in a minute. First, let me tell you that I've reached a point in my life where I realize that there's no way to question some things without sounding terribly judgmental. AND, I hate being judgmental. Have worked diligently and hard to stop that trait. I don't like it; not in others, but certainly not in me...and 'me' is all I can control. So I stand guard against this natural, Human tendency.

Case in point, the other day Michael and I were driving past a home in our area. It's a very modest home. Very. It's not well kept. There's generally a dog tied at the front door and it actually sits, butt on one step, legs hanging down and touching the next step, very much like a person. The dog sits and watches the traffic go by. It doesn't look hungry or abused. To me, it seems sad. But, I digress...

This is about the house. Nanny, the World's Meanest Woman used to say, "It costs nothing to be clean. Soap and water are almost free." Her point was, that no matter who you are, how much you own or have, how poor you might be, there was no reason to NOT take care of what you have. No reason to be anything other than clean, neat, tidy. She should know, she grew up in a town in Italy that was made of dirt and not much more. She was one of the cleanest women I know.

I'm still digressing, but hang with me...because my grandmother's words have always stuck. And, it became a value of mine that resonates through how I see myself, my home, my possessions. They will fall into disarray at times, but I always find the urge to pull them back into order. Eventually. If I'm lucky enough to own it, I must be willing to take care of it.

So getting back to that house, I've often wondered why people want to own something but don't want to take care of it. At least, keep it looking neat. Just idle curiosity on my part. But, the other day, we go by the house and see a huge trailer in front of it behind a pickup truck...and out of it they are unloading three, count them three, equally huge ATV's all muddy and caked with crud. They're laughing and having a great time; dog watching wagging his tail. And, a question immediately flashed in my mind so I asked Michael what he thought....

And I was conflicted the entire time because I knew there was no way to simply wonder about what I was seeing without sounding incredibly judgmental...but I just had to ask..."I know this is going to sound like I'm judging them, but honestly I'm not, I'm simply curious- Don't you wonder about some people's values? I mean, those things are incredibly expensive and they have those, the rig to haul them around in, and the truck to pull it, all the while living in what appears to be a shit-box? Why do people do that??!"

My Lion answered, "I have no idea. I guess different people like different things and expect different things from their lives. And, you're right, it does sound very judgmental." God love him, I know he's right. I'm conflicted...

Is there a way, do you suppose, to have basic curiosity about something or someone without sounding like you feel you're in the superior position of knowledge and the bastion of good taste? I think there must be a way, but honest to god, I don't know what it is.

Which finally brings me to that smiling guy up there at the top of this rant. You know who he's Michael Vick. Look at that face would you? He is a handsome Human Being. What a smile! And, how blessed is he to have landed in pro ball! Imagine throwing that charmed life right down the crapper by turning out to be a heartless, gutless, effin' cruel bastard. Ruining your good name! Now, that wasn't a judgment; that's pretty much a fact. Michael Vick- Dog fighting King Pin, supporter of cruelty, illegal betting, making money off of the death and destruction of innocent animals. Animals who don't know what more to do, than do what they're made to do. THAT GUY! That Michael Vick...

Who wanted more because his pro football salary wasn't enough?! Did that sort of trash? Yes. Look at him. You really need to see him. I need to look closely. Because I don't know him. Neither do you. We only know what we learned about him. We only know that slice of him. We DON'T know him. But, we want to hold onto what we do know; or think we know.

Now, look at the face of the dog...isn't it wonderful? Even if Pit Bulls scare the crap out of you...look at the animal and think of that face in a pit with another dog. With men standing around yelling and betting and watching one get destroyed. Hoping it's the other guy's dog and not yours...but even if it is yours, what the hell, you can always get another one. Feed it gun powder, keep it chained, make it mean, can always get another one.

So, here's where I get conflicted- even more conflicted. Michael Vick has served two years in prison and was released recently to finish out his sentence under house arrest. By all accounts he was a model prisoner. He did his time. He made his apologies. He's served his sentence. And, I believe that once a debt to society is paid, one should be allowed to move on with a life. But, I'm a bit apprehensive that this guy might just end up back in the gold mine of playing pro ball. Should he be able to do that? Should he get those sorts of rewards? Perhaps. Especially if playing ball is all that he knows; if being an athlete is his only means to effectively make a living.

Here's the thing: I believe that when you have that sort of prestige and celebrity, whether you like it or not, you are signing on to be a role model. You sit in a place of being able to influence society for the better. You have a responsibility to teach through example. The whole, "To whom much is given, much is expected," notion. And, I'm wondering if a dog killing thug like that guy should be allowed to return to such a public position and make that sort of money. I JUST DON'T KNOW what to think...

So let's add to the confusion further...take a look at this guy. This is the president and CEO of the Humane Society of The United States.

This is, Wayne Pacelle, and not too long ago he was contacted by Michael Vick who says he wants to begin working with them to campaign against dog fighting. And, this national organization is going to take him up on the offer. Confusing, isn't it? Michael Vick going to become the poster child against the crime of Dog Fighting...

Now, I have been an excellent Public Relations professional for a lot of years and I can tell you that part of me thinks this is an absolutely brilliant idea in terms of garnering attention and buzz. But, I'm not certain that everyone will be a supporter of the HSUS's notion. Especially animal rights activists, who in my opinion, have a tendency to see things in black and white absolutes. Also, these sorts of people self-righteously believe they hold the truth. And once a mind gets locked like that, it can become pretty deadly in terms of thinking new thoughts. Yes, there's another judgment, but so be it.

So, Wayne here, is taking quite a risk in joining forces with Mr. Vick. And as a Human Being, I'm conflicted further in that, I have no trust that Vick isn't doing this as a grand PR stunt. I have no way of confirming that he now sees what he did as a life changing mistake. Or if he's doing it just to weasel his way back into society's good graces...I have no way of knowing.

And, I am conflicted.

Does he really understand that what he was involved in was wrong and cruel? Even if he was raised around it and didn't know better before he got busted...does he know better now? Does he even care that it was wrong, or does he simply care that it cost him his goods, his life, his freedom for a time? How do we know?

We don't know. Can't know. We can only sit back and judge for ourselves. But, I don't want to judge this guy. I don't know him. He's not going to come to my house and eat a sandwich with me. He's not going to meet Rory & Fiona and pet them. He's just some guy in the public eye who did some truly shitty things.

So, if I don't know why he'd think that was all right in the first place, I surely can't say that he's genuinely sorry that he did them. Or, if he's simply sorry he got caught. I don't know. Neither do you.

I've known one Pit Bull in my life. I miss her. She is my former neighbor's dog...her name is Samantha. We called her Sammy. A shelter rescue dog. Sam, would trot soundlessly through the pines bordering our properties anytime she was out and heard a car come down my driveway. She'd wiggle up to the car, tale wagging, big Pit Bull grin on her massive face. Very slowly strolling toward the car. I found that this turned out to be generally disconcerting to the visitor until they got to know her.

It took me a bit to understand me she was Sweet Sam, and I'd never once seen her be aggressive to anything or anyone. Just wasn't in her. But, she was a victim of some really bad all of her kind. One time a visitor asked in a whisper, hoping I guess that Sam wouldn't hear, with a note of fear whisper, "Umm, Holly isn't that a Pit Bull?!!" And, as I laid my hand on her broad black head while she smiled up at them, I whispered back, "Umm, yeah, but she doesn't know she's a Pit Bull and we haven't told her, so you're safe."

She was just our Sweet Sam. I really liked her and wanted them to like her, too. I didn't want her judged because of mass hysteria caused by things people read or thought they knew about the breed. And, if I didn't want that for Samantha, don't I owe the very same, if not more, to a Human Being? Don't I owe that to Michael Vick? Even if I don't like it? Even if it's really hard?

I only have questions, no answers today. I told you, I'm very, very conflicted.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Samantha's Former Neighbor
All images in today's posting are courtesy of the Internet...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

So another Hump Day has rolled around and it's back to making sure that I've manifested magic into my daily world by joining in Jamie's Wishcasting Wednesday. I have to admit, I really missed being part of this powerful circle while I was away.

This Wednesday, the prompt asks, "What frivolous treat do you wish for yourself?" And, I thought it might take me a few moments of consideration, because Jamie's picture with the prompt is a killer pair of sparkly pumps. But, I'm not much for shoes. Now, niece Laura? Oh, yeah, so all about the shoes.

She lived with me for about a half a year when she was in college. And, it took hours to move her bags, let me repeat, BAGS of shoes. In my lifetime, I've never had that many shoes. I'm wondering if Livy is going to get the shoe gene?

I'm not much for clothes, or girlie things like purses or accessories. I am all about the jewelry, but Michael surprised me with quite a lovely piece while we were on the cruise, so that is not on my list currently.

So frivolous? I think girls who were raised Catholic don't know how to behave frivolously at least not out loud and not where people can see us! I'm fairly certain the Frivolity Police show up and drag you it's really going to be wishing joined by the collective to get me to stop being jittery and just ask...just wish!

Why does this make me nervous? Can't I want something and manifest it into my life just because I want it? Where's all this guilt coming from? The internal static? It's just an exercise...

Okay, here goes...I wish to have a gorgeous and expensive teak wood bench for my new back garden. A place where I can sit and watch my gardens from a different angle. Commune with the garden sprites that tend the new plants. A new bench made of expensive wood that will withstand the elements and grow to the beautiful gray patina of grand garden furniture. One that will last years. One that looks like it came from an established and stately English garden!

I can see me, book in hand, a pillow, a glass of sweet tea, under the trees lounging about. Or, holding hands with Michael as we watch the evening shadows grow toward dusk. Or, if you come for a visit, you can join me as we talk about this and that and sip something refreshing.

Yeah, that's it. That's my frivolous wish. I wish for a teak wood garden bench. A Teak Wood Garden Bench. A fabulous, sturdy, beautifully crafted, bench. Frivolous it may be, but oh, wouldn't it look divine, just there? Can you see it, too?

So mote it be!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The Garden Gnome

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Really? No Way!

Since coming back from our trip, I've really been under assault by what started as an ear infection and ended up taking my sinuses hostage. Then it decided that my lungs, which are always the weakest part of Holly Land, were fair game. The good news here is that since my ears are fairly slammed down, I can't hear myself hacking up a lung. There's always a silver lining...

So this will be short because it's hard to type with my head flopped over to the side. I told you I was sick...

But, if you take a moment as you're reading this to look over at the right side of this page, yeah over there, by the adorable picture of moi, you'll see a new'll see that over the weekend, when I wasn't looking because I was busy being ill....

Someone in blog land decided to nominate this blog of mine for 2009's Blogger Choice Awards!

At first, I didn't understand; I got a comment from an individual who is not a regular here at Your Mother Knows who said something about liking the blog and was happy to vote for me...

"Vote for me," I pondered, "What the heck is she talking about?!" And, with some further investigation, I get to the Blogger's Choice site to learn more about all of this. Of course, I had to set up an account to get on to find out anything, but that took, what? For me, about an hour...I'm sure it won't for you. But me? Sick + Computer Challenged = Delayed Gratification.

Turns out that a blogging buddy of mine, Neil, who I think is one of the funniest and most clever of us bloggers out there, (well it's not really him that's so funny- it's his dogs Nigel, Sola, and Truffles who run his world and write the blog, he simply takes dictation,) gets a great deal of pleasure and things to ponder from his visits with Your Mother Knows. And I have to say, I'm completely caught off-guard.

Never a good thing for experience something that leaves me wordless. Speechless. Without a means of expression. Me without words?! And, in the rare times like that, I've learned that all I can do, with everything in me, is simply say, "Thank you. Really. Just simply Thank You." And, hope that the individual understands that I'm touched beyond words.

So, now that I know that this blog of mine is the Best Blog About Stuff entry...which made me laugh since that's really what I do, yammer about odd stuff...I ask that if you agree, please click that button and see where it takes you.

Trust me when I tell you, absolutely I don't expect I could win since I don't have zillions of followers, I simply have the best followers! However, the notion that someone would find what happens here of interest so much that they nominated it...well that really is the prize isn't it?

Meantime, please know that I wear my blogging badges proudly. While it's true that I don't blog for you- I blog for my brain's peace, and my Muse's outlet- I'd be lying if I said that I don't fall back on my marketing training of doing quality work that keeps a customer satisfied. What you think of my work here, does matter very much.

Many of you are on your way to becoming friends of mine, but even for those who only pop by on occasion, I am keenly aware of the value of your time invested. And, I always do my best to make sure that the investment pays off with dividends and more.

It's time for me to go lay down again. I get dizzy if I sit or stand for's hoping I can 'hear' you better tomorrow. And, Neil, I hope you can hear me when I say, "Really. Thank you for the nomination. It means a lot coming from such a proficient and imaginative blogger such as yourself." Even if the dogs put you up to it and used you as a tool because your fingers fit the keys better than their paws do!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is Honored

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why Do We Have Days Like This?

"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream," said Vincent Van Gogh.

Isn't it true for all of us...we walk around life in a hope and wish with a prayer. Very few times do we know anything with an absolute certainty. We want, we wish, we hope. We pray. We craft. We design. We wait.

We encounter good people along the way. We encounter people who change our lives or help shape it. We encounter good experiences. We endure ones that we wouldn't pick for ourselves even if we had all the courage in the world. We wouldn't say with a certainty, "I want to have hardship in my life because the world will be better if I do..." How many of us have ever said that?

It turns out, there are thousands and thousands who did. Over the course of our country's history, there have been thousands of souls who have heard the call to do hard things for the ease and comfort of those of us who live here.

Thousands upon thousands. You know them. You may even be one of them. In this household alone...I have a spirit like this who is presently serving. I am partnered with one who served; he is a brother to four others who served as well. When the moment arises, I can easily recall them for you.

But, do I remember them? Do I think daily about the gift they gave when they said, "Yes!" Do I remember the Human nerves that were required? The bravery that is commanded? The lives that ended in guarding the gift of freedom?

Like you, most days, the answer is...."No."

Because each day brings me small battles of my own. And triumphs. And losses. And Wins. And draws. Each day demands its share of me...and I move along bumped on the road with My hopes. My dreams. My prayers.

So, that's why we have days like this...days carved out of a life that is constantly reaching forward. Days when we take a moment to look back at all who have helped pave the road. We have a few days in a year that we mark "in memory" of those warriors, peaceful and otherwise, who brought us so far and we stop...we stop...we stop...our doing for remembering.

We join with their spirits momentarily in the flowing river of the remember their whisper from our hearts, "Thank you!" And, for gather wool about who they were and what they saw and heard...and wonder...and hope for them that when their life ended, they were not afraid...not scared.

I prefer to remember them looking up in the night sky at the same stars I now see and thinking, "For my part I know nothing with a certainty, but the site of the stars makes me dream of a world of freedom and peace. And I am doing my part to see that it happens."

Here's wishing that this Memorial Day, the stars lead us all to the place of knowing and remembering. And, with absolute certainty, gratitude beyond easy expression.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Airman Frock's Step-Mom/Former Airman Frock's Wife

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Silent Sermon Sunday

Barbados ~ Spirit Smiles There

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gone Native

I'm just like you...there are times when I absolutely want to walk away from everything and everyone that makes up my life. Toss it. Walk on. Shake the dust from my heels and the clutter from my mind. Just. Be. Done. You think, there's got to be more. Even if not more, there certainly has to be different than this! I'm made of special stuff. My life should be exotic and different. I'm not made to be the same as everyone! I'm unique!!! I'm Going Native...

So you start your search. You journey. You take a leap of faith. Maybe travel further than you thought you might. Even if you never leave your chair, your thoughts start pushing you into uncharted territory like on ancient maps that were left unfinished because no one yet knew; considering things you may never have before considered. But, caution: Here Be Dragons! Stepping out into uncharted territories, Going Native, is not without risk.

Slowly you start to realize that your journey can't be done alone. Others most certainly will be necessary. Some you'll welcome on your path. Some you'll be happy to be shed of once their time with you is done. While some will go completely unnoticed by you. However, their role will not be...all have a vital role to play in this adventure.

For, you'll learn that even the greatest ships need the help of one small individual who waits patiently to tether you safely to your far shores. It can't be done by technology alone...the Human element is vital to your success.

And, you'll need to be partnered with others who love you and work tirelessly for your happiness and growth. Who share the trials with you. Who applaud your need to Go Native. Those who actually help you get there...

Like My Beloved, Michael, whose Trojan efforts this past year gained him the recognition of being the Number Two sales producer in the United States! I am so very proud of him. So. Very. Proud! Have you identified those in your life like him? They're there! Look closely.

You plot your course and start moving toward the place you're certain paradise awaits. You'll applaud your efforts and courage. But, even more you begin to realize that you can't get there from here without'll need a means of tender. You'll need someone to help, again...

You'll hear strange sounds, music and new won't know what to listen to first, there's so much to take in. And, the music is uplifting and happy. It reminds you that you were so right in your choice to Go someplace completely different.

But, as you listen, you'll begin to see the beads of sweat from the effort invested to create this music. From Human Beings who are willing to stand for hours in the heat playing on...all for your amusement and joy. They do it for your tips of recognition. As you Go Native, remember to say thank you, often, to those who bring color to your journey.

Further in your travels, you'll come to the spot where more choices need to be made. Where doors will open...and some will remain tightly shut. What will you do? Which one is the right one? Do you stay stuck insisting that the door you want opens, or do you stay flexible and consider the one that is ajar? Going Native is not without its challenges...

You'll eat new things. And sit in new spaces. You'll marvel at it all and wonder why you didn't drop your old life sooner for something this exotic and new. But, do you really have the courage to learn to eat Iguana and some of the other local fair?

We take so much for granted. We walk through life without wondering. Without considering. Take these little coca beans, for wonderfully comforting...intoxicating in their chocolate goodness. Hmmm, can you smell it? Taste it? Want it? Do you question it?

It's everywhere for your enjoyment. But, not so easy to come by... Like a lot of good things in life, it comes about only with a Human Being's effort and dedication. Like this woman who sits for hours and shells the husks off these wee dark bits of heaven. A Human Being makes this possible. Is she thanked, do you suppose?

Gone Native, living in paradise, where the average wage is $4600 a year. If you're lucky. Where you might spend your days on the road side waiting for more tourists to show up in vans. You hope that they find your work are polite and humble in your interactions... It would appear that Going Native may be much easier than being native. Still willing to try?

In all probability, the answer is YES! There are times when you must consider that something other than what you now know is out there waiting for you. A new way. A new life defined by your rules. A new thought. A new view. New, truer measures of success.

But, while you journey, remember to look for things that remind you of who you are. What you love. How you define yourself. The beauty of who you are. Look for colors that keep you grounded. That help you remember what's worth keeping while you stretch into a new way of being.

And, by all means, remember to thank the Natives you encounter who give you life altering moments. Those who completely blow your preconceptions away. Who glide through your limiting thoughts. Those individuals you never thought you would meet in a lifetime. Those exotic, strange ones that make you nervous and anxious to be close to...

...those who make you realize in a fleeting moment that your life will never, ever be the same for the gift of holding them close. Go! Get moving. Go Native. Love your life. And those spirits who help you craft it to its authentic perfection.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Swims With The Rays

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ports of Call

This is the ship that sailed away from Puerto Rico. Larger than three football fields...holding 3,000 passengers and 1,700 crew members...larger than many places some live on land.

It glided through the sea for a complete day and night, revealing vistas that I did not know existed in reality...only in my dreams. Perhaps our dreams really are snippets of places and things we have seen in our former lives? For certain, I can't say how I could stand and see something so vast and feel from deep inside, "Ah, now I remember! How wonderful to see you again!"

And, early the following morning, slowly pulling into a world far from one I know. Where things rust, or run down, or break, or become useless, but are kept around anyway. For, really, why not let sleeping dogs lie? Leave it. In the land of constant sun and breeze, time runs slow. And, no one much cares if you come or go...

Still, there is energy here of a different sort. The kind that is brought by happy souls thrilled to have the experience of seeing it all. To soak up the rays of the yellow glaring sun. To stand at the edge of where the turquoise meets the tan. To feel the salt air dry on your face and leave the wonderful gritty reminder that we are a tiny part of something so vast...yet made of the same elements. There's a spirit to island life that we don't really understand being so landlocked as we are here.

Barbados, our first port of call. Where I snorkeled and attempted to swim with the sea turtles. Which I did see, but only with a great deal of trepidation of being in 40 feet of water and snorkeling for the first time. Even so, I have to say I'd do it all over again.

And the place where my eyes welled over with salty tears at seeing all the shades of the blue marble we see another of Mother's expressions. Stunning in all ways.

Through another long night, the ship sails on till we arrive in the morning to a place made by the angry explosion of a volcano. To a tropical world with which I am not completely comfortable. Where the heat and humidity grow plants that tower over the heads of men. And, the animals and people live perched on steep slopes. A volcanic hissy fit that created vistas to make your breath catch in your throat.

Where genteel plantations were wrangled from the ground, to farm the fruits and vegetables that we take for granted. The cocoa for your cakes and hot chocolate that you snatch off grocery shelves without considering how it came to be. People, brave, left worlds known to settle on these small dots of land. To make their fortunes and names. And live lives that are hard but worth it.

Because life in paradise is worth everything, yes? To stand on your veranda with coffee cup in hand and look out over something that is so much more compelling than anything you could imagine. Even if you see it every day...could you ever grow tired of seeing San Lucia?

And, through the night once more, the ship sales on till we dock at Antiqua. Where the people were kind and welcoming. And the natives are brightly colored and curious to meet you.

Where I swam with the sting rays which was a life changing moment for me. And, I giggled as they brushed against me and pushed on me like puppies in their excitement. Antiqua that had Caribbean colors that made it possible for me to imagine my very own Corona commercial as I jetted along the surface of the water. Colors that I'll have to hold close in my memory now that I am home again, for I won't see them here...but realize I don't want to live without them now that I know they are there.

Sleeping with the gentle rolling of the ship as it makes way to San Marteen/St. Martin depending on whether you live on the French or Dutch side of the island. Where the butterfly farm was not so great as was billed. Not a farm at all, in fact, but more of a sanctuary. Not thousands of flying jewels as I had been told, but still, some that made me say, "Whoa!" And a few, like the silk moth which is almost 12 inches across more than commands respect.

San Marteen where a stroll through the French capital proved that somehow, they all knew I was coming. We are most pleased with the citizens for their tribute. So say All of Us!

On through one balmy night to our last island hop. Destination...St. Croix. More appropriately, St. Joy? For me, saving the best for last because I felt joy here. I felt happy. I understood why so many chance the hurricanes and other difficulties to remain on these tiny points of paradise.

Where colors on the buildings and the walls, no matter how bright, still seem to pale in comparison to some of the personalities you encounter. The island folk who live life by their rules and on their time. There truly is a difference between time and Island Time. I believe I'm naturally geared to the latter...but now at home, I'll have to comply with the former. Sigh.

For the briefest of time, I lived where pink houses aren't out of place or thought of as being in poor taste by a neighborhood association. Where the houses are small but loved. Many tired looking and often poor. With yards that appear unkempt and untidy. Where chickens scratch about. Goats stay tied. And, dogs dig holes under scrubby growth to find a few moments of cool out of the sun.

The ship has sailed me back again. And, I am home once more. But, not the same as I was before I left. For now I know that such colors exist.

And having seen water like this, how can one ever feel the same about life?

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka World Traveler

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oh, The Colors!

It's been said that God's favorite color is green since there are so many varied shades and hues of this beautiful color. But, I've just come from a part of our world that challenges the notion. And, from what I have seen, he/she doesn't really play favorites. I saw blinding examples of most and all. However, I will say that I believe Spirit might actually prefer blue...

No, it's pink...Spirit must adore the zippy shade for making you stop short and exclaim, "Wow, you've got to be kidding me!"

But, a few short seconds later, you're back to considering, "Nope, it's definitely blue. Spirit must love the soothing quality of it all and the depth of calm it brings when you unfocus your eyes, soften your gaze and sit quietly breathing it all in...and out.

Later you have the chance to see how well green and blue play together. Throw in a bit of tan to make it all come together quite nicely. But, there's that blue again...showing off with all its shades.

Even the houses seem to understand that there's no reason to be shy when it comes to color. Put them all together and see what comes of it. Mostly, it makes you happy when you see it. Who doesn't love purple? And who doesn't believe it plays nicely with all colors? See, I'm not the only one...

Still, just like any group, there's always one who insists on calling attention to themselves. Shameless self promoters. Who stand out and declare, "I'm proud to be seen. Admire me. See me. Am I not beautiful?"

And, after it's all said and done... The luggage put away. The laundry calling. Back in your own element with memories of the vast beauty you come back to your own space, perhaps a bit blue now that it's over.

Only to discover....

...that the world just outside your own front door can be pretty spectacular as well. And, that it's good to tramp around the world, take in the color. But even better to come home to the beauty that lives at your own address.

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

On Vacation- Leave A Message

For those of you who don't know, this Hubby of mine is one of the hardest working men I know. He is a Funeral Director. He also has an insurance license as he is a specialist in the important world of advance funeral planning. He's the guy who works with families and individuals smart enough to take care of their plans so their loved ones aren't burdened during a very emotional time. It is sensitive and good work he does. I'm very proud of him.

The past couple of years, he's worked so hard that he's written over a million dollars in business each year! A million dollars!! And, that's made him part of the top per cent of agents in the country who do this work. Even better this past year, he may be the number one guy in the country! Or, perhaps, number 2. Either position is quite an amazing accomplishment.

As a way to thank the agents for their continued effort to keep the company strong and viable, they're taken on an annual trip. It's a way of acknowledging the yeoman effort. And, a bit of business is also conducted. I get to come with. It's our vacation. Because My Beloved is self-employed, and I'm not at all employed, (annoying!) it's the only vacation we get, so we're very grateful. Very grateful.

Sunday we fly to Puerto Rico, where we embark on a new adventure for us. We set sail on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of The Seas. Michael has cruised several times and loves it. Even so, he's never been on a boat this size. It can hold about 3,000 passengers! I've only cruised once and I really didn't love it. So, there's a bit of trepidation on my part. However, Michael? He's really stoked!

We set sail to Barbados to spend the week sailing to various islands. I'm thinking this could be really, really interesting. We'll do things I've not done before, like snorkeling. One time we'll visit with the turtles. On another island I'll be swimming with the rays. (Note To Self: Try not to think of the Crocodile Hunter, I'm sure our rays will be much better behaved...) I know I'm going to have my heart skip a beat more than once over some exquisite sites.

One that I'm really looking forward to is a visit to a butterfly farm! I can't wait to see what that's like. (Who knew butterflies could farm?)

Now, I can't promise that I and my new red camera will capture anything near as beautiful as this image I found long ago, but I promise I'll do my best. And, if I get anything worth sharing, you know I'll do it here.

So, I will be gone a week and I'll miss talking with you. I was thinking...when we start blogging, it's like we drop out of the sky into the stream of another blogger's life. We know them from that first site visit and move forward with them. But there's a whole slew of stuff they wrote prior to our meeting up; they actually had lives before we found them. Imagine!

And, I wonder how many of us ever take the time to go riffling through back postings to see what is waiting that we'd find fascinating. I know I go looking at the older stuff and I'm glad that I do because there's generally a great back story going on. So, that's what I'd like to invite you to do while I'm away. How about, if it turns out you are missing the QoftheU, you go back and look at my other stuff. Leave me a comment, or let me know if you find anything that really pleases you.

I'd blog while cruising, but when I found out how expensive it is to buy Internet time, I started to think, "Holy Crow, I don't have any thought worth writing for those prices!! And hell, I've been going at this pretty much non-stop since I started Your Mother Knows last October." Perhaps it's time for me to take a bit of time off. What do you think? Will you all still be here when I get back? (If a blogger wanders off for a week and there's no one reading her blog, does she cease to exist?)

You and I both know that my favorite color is purple. But, I have to admit, that with what I'll be seeing, the myriad of blues in the world are going to more than capture my fancy and esteem. And, I'll be holding you all close while I'm experiencing them! I can't wait to share it all when I come home. Ciao!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka The World Traveler
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