My journey in a new direction

Posts Tagged ‘believing’

My Wish for 2014

Posted by BarbaraZ on December 27, 2013

Peac Image

A “Blue Marble” image of the Earth taken from the VIIRS instrument aboard NASA’s most recently launched Earth-observing satellite, Suomi NPP. This composite image uses a number of swaths of the Earth’s surface taken on Jan. 4, 2012.

It is a dream, I know, but within my years on this planet I have seen the damage that has been done. It is not just the wars and the hatred between people, but the neglect and disrespect that we have all had toward this magnificent planet. There are those who try to encourage better relationships between the extreme political and religious factions. They are ignored and even killed.

Polio was almost eradicated until those without understanding and filled with distrust actually killed the individuals who were trying to deliver this vaccination to those who did not have access to it. The envoys trying to get food and other needed commodities to those in the war-torn areas have been blocked and again killed so that the relief efforts had to be stopped. Why is it that the youngest among us are the targets for extremists? The young are the future of the planet. Do they see them as future competition?

Then there is the damage that we bring to the planet ourselves. Yes, chemicals were brought in to use to increase the growth of crops, but when the use of these chemicals was proven to be detrimental, their use was not stopped. Big crops mean more money. The throw away society that I have been apart of, sadly… is using up the trees, adding to the HUGE trash dumps. I am using my shopping bags, recycling and still so much has to be put in the trash! I get so upset when I see cigarettes tossed out the window of cars along with cups being dropped out the car windows too. Would these individuals do this in their own ‘physical’ home?  Don’t they realize that this planet is also their home? It should be treated with respect and not used as a dumping ground.

Then I see the news of those who try… in all different arenas, as with the CNN Heroes. Here are those for 20132012 and you can view past years here.  I know every one has read  or heard via the news of young children who pick a cause and get fantastic results. Here is a link to The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family’s home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.

It can be done, but it will mean that we all have to work together! We can wipe out war, famine and even illness. Unfortunately the needed effort to accomplish these goals are being expended in the opposite directions on all fronts. Power, money,  are the carrots that dangle in front of these individuals. Resentments that go back centuries fuel their efforts. Then there is distortion of true religion. To move forward, one has to let go of the past. This is needed not only on the individual level, but also on the universal level.

I know, it is just a dream…. but I believe it could actually happen, one step at a time. We just have to link hands across the planet… and dream together. Dreams can come true!

If you should happen to visit, please leave a comment on how you try to do your part to help our fragile world survive. It does not have to be a major act. Mine include remembering to always use my reusable shopping bags. I try to recycle all I can and yet I am amazed at how much is still put in the trash. I want positive posts, not ones filled with hatred. You are welcome to keep those to yourself. Maybe that will make my post here one-sided, but this post is about saving and not destroying…

Below is a bookmark I made. You are welcome to copy and share with others. Life is not always easy. It can bring difficulties. How we deal with what comes our way is what counts. Let us take the negatives of 2013 and turn them around, whether they are our own or ones that permeate out society. #Peace


Posted in Life & Nature, nature, Our Future... | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

The Time Has Come!

Posted by BarbaraZ on November 9, 2013

December 23, 2011 at 6:45 am

A New Day  ~~  A New Journey

Well. the ship has come in, or at least it is trying to. The start of a new beginning is on it way. The rest is up to me.

So why do I feel like a child facing its first day at school?  Why is my mind racing in circles?  Barb, time to take those deep breaths you have written about. You know, the ones you say to do in order to bring your mind to rest?  That’s right… breathe in now… hold it… now exhale slowly. Don’t forget to feel for that hint of a smile on your lips. My mind cannot feel rushed and scared when I am smiling, no matter how small the smile    Try it!

I am excited, I am nervous and yes, scared.  Me!!  Now to make a “Do Not Disturb, Genius at Work” sign to put on my ‘office’ door.  I finally made the decision to retire from teaching. It has been so much more than a job, it has been my passion. I have been a part of a team of teachers in an open classroom where students of all ages, all backgrounds, come to learn. Some need to learn how to enter the computer age. Others need to upgrade their Microsoft Office Program skills. We offer certificate programs for Office Administration, Medical and Legal Office programs also.

I am not retiring totally, but starting a whole new career. Freelance writing has been a part of my life for a few years, but in a low key sort of way. Now I need to approach it in a more determined way. I have met some great individuals in my freelance writing learning quest and also am writing articles in two areas. I have mentioned both BlogMutt and Catch My Pain before. They were mentioned in my Emerging post. That hiatus I mentioned for BlogMutt has to come to an end. This is where I need to post that “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door!

I also need to do a major over haul to this blog and get it back to the original purpose and that is posting articles that can help you find that inner peace, balance in your lift. I also will include articles on alternative options for pain and other health issues. Chemotherapy saved my life, but it made me hypersensitive to most medications.

I cannot leave without a quote from my favorite book, Readings from the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School: 

The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.        Aldous Huxley

Now for a closing photo of one of my favorite birds, the Blue Heron. I enhanced this in Corel Painter.

Blue Heron

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, New Directions | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Emerging thoughts, creativity and discoveries

Posted by BarbaraZ on September 2, 2013

Emerging from within

Emerging from within

Life goes on. It often does not turn out the way we plan, but how we adapt to the surprises and the detours that are put in our path, makes all the difference.  We will succeed or overcome these events if we are able to react positively. For some reason, I pulled this board of redwood out of hiding and started to finish a project I had started over 10 years ago. Not quite sure what I had in mind for the finished carving back then and even now… I am ‘playing it by ear,’ deciding on the next move only after seeing how it progresses.  Ah, a mystery is emerging!

It has been so long since I last added a post, I have had to relearn the steps!  Not good. This blog has been on my mind quite a bit. It too, has been altered its journey. I moved away from the original “restoring your inner self” to basically a sharing format of blog. This will be changing. I have work to do, learning to take place and I am looking forward to each step as it happens.

blogmutt logo

Right now I am on a self-imposed hiatus from another emerging journey that I have enjoyed so much. I discovered a wonderful site to write for, BlogMutt. There is no stress such as deadlines, except those that are self-imposed. Sure the edits can rub the wrong way, but if you have a positive attitude, that is not a problem. Questions? Just ask… The camaraderie that is found on the forum is super. You move up within BlogMutt by earning points for each post you write and also the rating given each post. For an incentive, writers are able to set as a goal, the number of posts that they say they will write each month. This is totally voluntary. Considering the number of writers they have onboard, it is hard to believe that BlogMutt is also an emerging force in the world of freelance content writing.

I just made Level 6 and I am so excited about that accomplishment. I was not even aware that I would enjoy writing! When all is lined up again, I will start writing once more. It is a great place. Maybe you cannot make a living income from it, but it is one way stay-at-home moms can add to the household income. Freelance writers who write full-time, find BlogMutt to be great for filling in the cracks of their often uncertain income. Here is a link to their blog. They also have a Facebook Page. Explore the links and who knows, it may become an emerging journey for you too!


I came across an app called Catch My Pain. It has given me a tool for dealing with my neuropathy. It is an app that is also emerging as the team develops new features. More are going to be added on a regular basis. Below is a synopsis from their site.

Pain can be very complex: Over time, it can move or expand to different locations of your body, the intensity may vary, or there might be various influences which increase or ease your pain. Keeping a diary helps you to get to know your pain and you might notice a pattern which will help you to adapt your lifestyle accordingly. Keeping a pain diary also helps you to explain and describe your pain to any care provider or a family member: By using CatchMyPain you can finally make your pain visible to others and you won’t forget the course of your pain or any other important information.

In a small way, I have been able to be apart of this, by writing some articles for use with the app. Two have been #1.published and #2.published. The individuals involved, out of Switzerland, are a super group with some major emerging ideas. Eventually it will be possible to be linked up with others and able to share experiences and survival tips. The information gathered through the responses by those using the app, will be studied by experts in the field of pain management. This app is not only for those with intense debilitating pain, but it helps anyone who has to deal with chronic pain that interrupts their daily life, their goals and dreams.

I use the app before and after certain activities, at the end of my work day, and it helps me to become aware of what brings on the severe pain that knocks my feet out from under me. It is my awareness tool. I use it to become more aware of my actions and how they affect my body. This practice of review helps me to have a sense of control over what is happening with my body and what I feel. I believe that now a more positive outlook is emerging in this area of my life.

Blue Heron

Another form of help that I have discovered is John F. Barnes Myofascial Release. I was getting all tied up in knots as the result of various habits and injuries from the past and was always needing therapy. I found therapists who used Barnes’ form of treatment and decided to splurge on the DVD as it would end up being cheaper than having to go for therapy on a regular basis. By constantly exploring new ways, listening to my body, new methods of survival are emerging and allowing me to move into a better way of life.

By following the stretching routines that are on the second DVD, I am now able to undo that unbelievable neck spasm that activates when I am not careful. Do not ever, under any circumstances, get in the habit of holding the phone, cell phone between your neck and shoulder, on a regular basis. I did that for 10 years when I worked as a unit secretary in the ER and I have paid for it over and over. This tender spot can be activated by poor posture, stress, and the list goes on. I can control this!  That is what is so great about all I have learned.

I am also able to loosen up from head to toe by using the unwinding routine found at the end of the second DVD. I have a sensitive lumbar area (thanks to an L1 compression fracture). My posture during sleep is an ongoing project of various pillow placements!  The first DVD is aimed at practitioners. The price may seem a bit high, but after looking at my co-pay for therapy, I have paid it off several times already.

Side by Side We Can Change the World

One thing I discovered yesterday, is that standing does not have to be a major pain source. My carving set-up requires that I stand next to my home-made bench and carving vise. I thought, as I was getting ready, “What can I try to prevent what I know usually happens when I stand without walking?” I mentally reviewed stretches that have been given to me by podiatrists, physical therapists and more. First, I did bilateral heel stretches several times while carving. Another stretch was to put one foot up on a brick and drop from the waist downward between my legs. With each breath my torso dropped further, keeping my lumbar area flexible. I did this bilaterally. Then I did another stretch, known in yoga as Uttanasana I. Now, I am not in any way able to do it as it shows it done in my yoga book, but I can almost touch my toes and that is quite a bit better than it was a number of years ago.

Life is definitely a journey of constant emerging. If you let your life become stagnant, there is no room for growth, for adventure. Find your own form for emerging at what ever stage of life you find yourself now. Explore new skills, seek out new knowledge. With the technology of today, the options are amazing!

Posted in Challenges, Health, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Wish for Peace… I know, I am just dreaming out loud…

Posted by BarbaraZ on April 18, 2013

A new day for all of us

A new day for all of us

I know I should not let the events that have happened like that of the Boston marathon and Newtown get me down, but they do. I just cannot help but wonder about the world that my children and my grandchildren will live in down the road. It is so sad that we, as people cannot learn to live together in Peace. Can you imagine all that could be accomplished if the negative efforts were put toward positive efforts in science, agriculture, education and more.. the wonders that could happen?

I wish that I could see the day

when all the world was free.

When people of any race or creed

could be friends as friends should be.

words of a 14-year-old, written after the Hungarian invasion of 1956 (me)


Some day after mastering the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity,

we shall harness for God the energies of Love,

and then for the second time in the History of the World, 

Man will have discovered Fire.

Words of Teilhard de Chardin


Words have the power to destroy or heal,

When words are both true and kind,

they can change the world.

From Jack Kornfield’s,  Budda’s Little Instruction Book


On a lighter note, the words from the song Side by Side.

Oh! We ain’t got a barrel of money;
Maybe we’re ragged and funny.

But we travel along, singing a song,
Side by side.

Don’t know what’s comin’ tomorrow;
Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow,

But we’ll travel along, sharin’ our load,
Side by side.

Through all kinds of weather,
What if the sky should fall?

Just as long as we’re together,
It doesn’t matter at all.

When they’ve all had their quarrels and parted,
We’ll be just the same as we started,

Just traveling along, singin’ a song,
Side by side.

“Side by Side” is a popular song with lyrics by Gus Kahn and music by Harry M. Woods written in 1927, now considered a standard. “Wikipedia

The song has such simple lyrics, but if we applied the principle to how we lived our lives… working together, through all the troubles that come our way, this world could be such a better place. Unfortunately there is this need for power, dominance, greed that permeates the thoughts of some individuals that prevents it all from happening.  Remember, Peace begins with each of us, as individuals

Side by Side We Can Change the World

Side by Side We Can Change the World

Posted in Challenges, Our Future..., Thoughts and Quotes | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Ray Bradbury and His Joy of writing

Posted by BarbaraZ on January 20, 2013

I had the opportunity to hear him speak many years ago as a part of a class I was taking. His message to us was to ‘believe’, to never lose sight of the child that exists in all of us. His joy of writing came through his words, expression and manner of speaking. He spoke of taking flight within one’s life, exploring new ‘worlds’, not letting your life to become stagnant. He left a strong impression on me, not just about writing, but about living life.

His main points during the talk included:

  • Keeping Joy of life alive.
  • Never losing sight of the child within you.
  • Believing in yourself
  • Look always to the future
  •  Be free, not bound by others beliefs and thoughts

I did two drawings. One was the quick non-stop pen drawing below. It was done at the end of the lecture, as we were in line to go up and meet him. Along the side of the drawing I wrote the words he spoke that touched me the most.  I couldn’t afford to purchase a book for him to autograph, so when I reached him, I nervously handed him the quick sketch. He looked up at me… he looked at the sketch… then proceeded to give me an A+ as well as his autograph.

My sketch that was done as I was waiting in line to meet him.

My sketch that was done in line while waiting to meet him.

My art, drawing and photography, has been of the visual mode. I have done woodcarving, clay sculpture, and photography. The method of expression is different. With the carving and clay sculpture, it took many steps to reach an expression presented through a single form. With photography, one click creates a single image. Of course, with digital software of today, more manipulation can be done, but it is still a single image that speaks for the artist.

With writing, it is the combining of many words in a unique manner that becomes a special expression. A mood, personalities, plot, environment and circumstances are combined to take the reader on a journey.

“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation. So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”

For Bradbury, writing was something he had to do daily. For him, an hour of writing was like a tonic. “Not to write, for many of us, is to die.” “Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me.” “After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together. Now it’s your turn. Jump!” He said he wrote at least a thousand words a day ‘from the age of 12 on.’

He started to make lists. He first made lists of his loves and hates. Later he began to make lists of titles and nouns. He called these lists the provocations that make it possible for his better work to surface. Down the road came lists that dealt with the night, nightmares, darkness and objects in attics. He states:

Where am I leading you? Well, if you are a writer, or would hope to be one, similar lists, dredged out of the lopside of your brain, might well help you discover you, even as I flopped around and finally found me.

He would choose a noun and start a prosy poem and it would eventually turn into a story! Characters would appear and he would let them finish the rest of the tale for him. He explored the attics of his grandparents as well as their basements. Death, fear, fantasy, graveyards all attracted him. Nouns relating to these subjects started him rapidly writing. Carnivals and his experiences with them were another source of great inspiration for him.

There is so much that I read in the Zen in the Art of Writing that I could go on and on. If you have a chance, pick it up. His vocabulary is so full of description, his thoughts run from one subject to another… showing the relation of thought and feelings. Most of all is the excitement he felt when putting words together to create his vision from within.

I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it.

Afterwards we all had to write a report on his lecture, using any format we wished. I did mine through a colored pencil drawing on plain newsprint, the image shown here. Again you can see the words that reached out to me.

The words I wrote at the bottom say:

In order to motivate your listeners, you the teacher must renew yourself. You must stay in touch with that inner you– the child.  Believe in yourself and enjoy what you do.  Be Free, open to change. Be Joyous!

This was my final report after attending the lecture by Ray Bradbury

This was my final report after attending the lecture by Ray Bradbury

Posted in Joy of Life, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Let Us All Try Something New… Peace

Posted by BarbaraZ on December 18, 2012

Let Us All Give Peace a Chance

Let Us All Give Peace a Chance

For how many centuries has the world tried war, hatred, dominance and more to gain or prove superiority.

Now it is becoming acceptable to show the extent of our inner demons.

When it comes to the first,  just is not working! Those who end up on the bottom layer of oppression will always seek their freedom from those holding them down. This has been going on for centuries, between religions, cultures and races. In my own country there are those who are still fighting the Civil War. We were once called a melting pot… no more.

Now, if you are upset, angry at another, or feel threatened it seems to be acceptable to grab a gun and ‘take out’ the source of your problem. Why are assault weapons needed by individuals within the regular population? I am not against guns… but the type of guns that are available.

There is also the need for help to be given to those who need mental counseling. In a country as wealthy as ours, programs that give this help are being shut down. There is also a stigma involved. It is no different then when the mentally ill were locked away… now we do it to ourselves rather then admit that we, ourselves, or our child needs help.

First we have to believe that Peace is a real option! It does not have to be perfect as nothing in life is perfect. It will take real effort by all involved. Much will require each individual looking at life, events, feelings with a new perception or outlook. Sometimes when we look at a feeling or event from the opposite viewpoint or a different angle, our own perception changes. Most importantly we need to learn to listen and get to know each other… as individuals not as generalizations.

Next, we need to be persistence in this quest for Peace. It will not come overnight.

I will hand my belief and love of Peace to you… now it is your turn to believe and hand your belief to another. This needs to be done over and over, until it reaches all areas of the world. It does not have to start with just me!  You can start handing off your love of Peace wherever you are and maybe we will accomplish our goal quicker.    As my signature says, “Peace begins with each of us, as individuals”  Pass it on!

Posted in Challenges, Helping our youth, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Gotta Get Going!!

Posted by BarbaraZ on July 25, 2012

Life can leave us tattered at times, it is how we respond to this that matters

Summers always get me down. Florida is hot and HUMID. It is the latter that intensifies the heat. This summer we have been lucky compared to our northern neighbors, but that did not make it any easier for me when it came to dealing with our Florida summer.

The seagulls had no problem adjusting to the semi-destruction of their favorite resting spot. This is what I need to learn. What I have figured out is that it is my frame of mind that makes the difference. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the thoughts we have about pain have a strong effect on how we react to the physical sensation that we label as ‘pain.’ It is so easy to moan and groan “This pain is killing me!”   I am not saying the ‘pain’ is not real… it is. The dwelling on the pain just does not make it easier to deal with. The ‘removal’ of the dwelling that is the trick, or I should say skill that is the key.  I am trying to adapt, make this a regular part of my life. So far it has been a more ‘off and on’ action than a steady action in my life.

It is not easy!  I still find myself saying… “OMG, why won’t it leave me alone!”  My pain does not begin to touch the level of pain I know others have to deal with, but any dwelling on it can make it appear to be just unbearable, to me!  Mind over matter, or in this case, physical sensations. Finding acceptance and peace with changes of any kind, whether they are within you or surrounding you, is the goal. Constant fighting against something magnifies it, makes it seem worse than it really is.

In his Mindfulness Meditation for Pain you explore the use of your breath to overcome the locked in thoughts regarding your pain. Your breath surrounds the pain and releases it. OK… it is not a 100% cure, but it is a thought process that can break your frame of mind at that moment. You can do it at any time and any place. What is great is that breathing in a mindful manner, works in so many circumstances; taking a test, getting ready for that job interview, your first date with someone special.

I also have his book Full Catastrophe Living and I need to get back on it. Any practice, whether it is to lose weight, finding release from stress, starting an exercise routine, or stopping smoking, has to be forever in motion. Stopping it, even though it is for a short time, does not mean the good that was happening will automatically continue. The positive action will be lost quickly. Little breaks in practice, unfortunately, often lead to longer ones and often to the complete cessation of the practice… no matter what you tell yourself.

Quotes from the book:

Cultivating mindfulness means learning to tap and focus our own wasted energies. In doing so, we learn to calm down enough to enter and dwell in states of deep relaxation. This nourishes and restores body and mind….
This energy comes from inside us and is therefore always within our reach and potential control.

He states that his first impression of meditation was incorrect. He thought change just happened without planning.

But time has taught me that some kind of personal vision is also necessary…
This image or ideal will help carry you through the inevitable periods of low motivation and give continuity to your practice.

This is what I have neglected to do. I was practicing without a goal or vision of what I wanted to accomplish.  This has got to be changed. One goal coming up… in vivid color!

The act of breathing…

Our very bodies are joined with the planet in a continual rhythmic exchange as matter and energy flow back and forth between our bodies and what we call “the environment.”

The breath has a very important partner in its work, namely the heart. Think of it: This amazing muscle never tops pumping during our entire lifetime.

Breathing is an incredible powerful ally and teacher in the work of meditation, although people who have no training in meditation think nothing of it and find it uninteresting.

As long as we are alive, it is always with us. We can’t leave home without it…. Tuning in to it brings us right into the here and now.

I  have CDs for both Qigong and Tai Chi that are being neglected at this moment. What is it in me, that lets me stop or ignore those things that I know can help me. I have used these practices in the past and have benefited greatly. It was that ‘little’ break I took… that “I’ll do it tomorrow instead” that messed me up. What this comes down to is self-discipline. Guess what I am lacking!!  When I have things that I have to do for others, I get it done without fail, but when it comes to myself… I fall flat on my face. I know I am not alone in this.

OK, Barb, what will it be like this time? Can you stick to it? Are you able to really make these practices a real part of your life? You know the benefits you achieve from them, so what the ‘heck’ is the problem? Don’t stay ‘broken down’ like the dock in the photo. The county did get around to fixing it up, eventually. Now it is your turn to ‘get around’ to doing what you know you have to do.

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, Health, Life & Nature, Mindfulness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

It always amazes me…

Posted by BarbaraZ on March 3, 2012

Closed, forgotten... now I must reopen it...

Here I am, wondering how to get myself in gear. I have started on this new journey and I am faltering… in several ways. It is like I closed the door or ‘gate’ when it comes to forward movement. I opened my email this morning and guess what I found… three emails with wisdom that should help me, if I put it all to work.

First Leo Babauta talks about the need to “Build the Muscle of Change.” He compares changing the ‘muscle’ of mental change with actual building up of real muscle… it takes time and persistence! He has some great pointers to follow. Check them out.

I started training my change muscle in 2005, when it was weak and I could never make any lasting changes. I felt helpless, and didn’t know what to do. I felt like I couldn’t ever make changes.

But I’ve learned in the years since that the change muscle is like other muscles: you might be weak at first, but you get stronger with regular training.

Then the next email up is from Linda Hewett. She is sharing her post about Starting your Confidence Transformation. I definitely need this as mine is dragging a bit. So much at work, stress involved there and facing the unknown within my new direction. Again, it is all spelled out in simple steps, just like Leo’s advice.

Step 1.  Start your Confidence Journal.

Nothing fancy, just a notebook to record your ideas about confidence as we go along.

You know you want to be confident, but what exactly do you mean?

What does confidence mean to you?

Think about this, and then write down…

‘If I was more confident I’d be able to…’

Write down as many answers as you can, building a picture of how you’d like to be.  Think of as many as you can!

As I am in the process of reading Linda’s link… another drops in my mailbox. This one is from Galen Pearl. While she talks about finding Happiness despite the Obstacles, she includes points that fit me… at this moment when I am dealing with self-doubt.

The problem, of course, is that self-doubt often leads to immobility. We stop and hesitate and stutter in our steps toward the life we dream of.

But we can give ourselves permission to act in the face of our doubts. We can grant ourselves the right to be human. We can grant ourselves permission to doubt, and then rise above those doubts, letting doubt have its say, then ignoring its plea to remain in the spot we’ve stayed in for too long.

And yet self-doubt seems to keep finding its way back home despite the actions we take and the growth we experience.

I learned from Galen that this was a guest post by Ken Wert… who has a great blog Meant to be Happy

OK… that is it, Barb. You have lots to do and some great advice to follow. Get to it!!  Thanks everyone!!

Posted in Challenges, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

Side by Side

Posted by BarbaraZ on February 10, 2012

Side by Side

Life is amazing. There are times, in the midst of a crowd, you can feel all alone. Then, when you are starting out on a journey, seemingly alone, you are not. There are others there with you, supporting you, cheering you on. As I study, experiment with words and subject matter, I feel the presence of these friends. What is really amazing, is some I have never met!  They are my online friends. These friends I have only communicated with only through words, comments on blogs or on Facebook.

Unfortunately, I am getting a fluttering butterfly feeling in my stomach when it comes to applying for an online writing gig. Who, me?  Aren’t I the one who has been writing here, on Helium, and now on Ezine? Writing for someone specific, other than myself is a different story. I feel like a 5-year-old child, wondering,  “Will they really like me!!!”

OK, Barb… enough of this. Get yourself going. Get that portfolio together and charge straight ahead. All they can say is ‘no.’ You have the knowledge of what you need to do. You are not 5 years old, you know! You have plenty of  experience under your belt. In other words, you have all you need.

Also, Barb, read a few of your own back posts on believing in yourself, mindfulness meditation, the need for persistence. Remember all those things you tell your students day after day. You need to concentrate and not waste energy worrying. You are very good at that as you know only too well. Worry is a big energy drain.

Breathe.. that’s right. Stop and take a few deep breaths. Calm that racing mind. Let your fingers do the racing… over the keyboard. Another deep breath if needed and then move forward again.  Type a bit, take a few breaths, type a bit more, breath deeply again.  Yes, you are getting the feel of it!

Posted in Challenges, Concentration, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Finding That Glass Half Full

Posted by BarbaraZ on January 29, 2012

Finding Peace with Nature

Using Nature When Seeking Peace

The need for finding peace within is critical in this day and age. I know as I reach my senior years, that life brings me many challenges. I have to find the means not only to accept these challenges, but also keep on moving forward. I have new things to do, new directions in life to follow.  I am not ready to stop now. Inner conflicts regarding the physical obstacles that enter my life can make things most difficult indeed. Getting beyond that mental as well as physical struggle is my goal. Using the mind and our thoughts has long been a recognized as an important tool for people of all ages.

I am by my heritage and early training, a Catholic. While I do no belong to a specific church today, my way of thinking is built heavily on the tradition of meditation as expressed by the Catholic thinkers of the past. There is Henri Nouwen, a Dutch diocesan priest who studied psychology and went on to teach at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard.

Thomas Merton is my favorite. I have posted a number of posts on my blog highlighting quotes by Merton. It was through Merton’s journey into the monastic forms of meditation of the eastern religions, that I found Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.

I mention his book ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ’, not only because it shows the parallel of thinking between the two religions, but for the similar lessons taught in both. He did not try to prove one way of thought was wrong, and the other right, but how the teachings of both promoted a similar approach for finding a sense of community, inner peace, stronger faith and how important it was to be true to your faith’s teachings. Follow the rules and do not make up your own to make life easier. It is this last part I found to be the critical belief. There will always be rules, and to try and make your own rules will forever cause strife.

He is also one of the main supporters of Mindfulness Living.

Then there is the unusual book on faith and meditation by Louis Evely that I recently re-discovered when going through my many books. This book, translated by Edmond Bonin, was ‘That Man is You’. It was written in and translated in a most poetic format.

There is one excerpt I will present here. While this was written in regard to an individual’s personal relationship with God, it can be applied to us all as we try to find an inner peace in the middle of the present chaos of our world today. WordPress would not let me keep the original formatting, so I just centered it.  It still kept a bit of the uniqueness  about it!


A Trappist friend of mine used to say,

            “It is not enough to apply the brakes on your car;
you must also cut the motor that’s racing inside.”

The engine of our solicitudes is still whirring at top speed.

            It has to slacken,
and turn at an easier pace.

            We have to move in time with another rhythm,
gear our will to another will,
learn to connect with the slow-paced,
and steady motor
of God’s will.

As long as we’re in a turmoil,
taken up with our problems and our interests,
we’re safely sheltered from God
and out of His reach.

            We need several days of recollection
before we can begin to live in Him
and on Him.

            We have to stay there in a kind of stupor
and let our motor idle
till we’ve adjusted to a new tempo
we’ve never experienced before.


These thoughts and actions can be applied by anyone no matter what their beliefs. Some of us have never been able to find that inner tempo that leads to a sense of peace. At times it has been a deliberate move to remain in the fast lane, for others, it has been out of the need of forever having to ‘catch up.’

Finding an inner sense of peace, a quiet mode, is a gift we can all give ourselves, for it is here we can refuel and gather the strength to move on.


Posted in Challenges, Concentration, Mindfulness, New Directions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »


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