Monday, June 1, 2009

What a Beautiful Day

I took some time, once again, to wander Midtown Manhattan and enjoy the day.

I do this daily, as I enjoy being out of doors and I love watching our visitors from other homesteads energizing this city with their wonder, excitement, and pace.

The weather has been somewhat of a challenge lately. The days have been warm, yet the evenings have brought concerns of frost to my little vegetable gardens in Mount Pocono ... surprisingly so, in this first week of June. Even in Manhattan, the weather is uncertainly unpredictable.

I like that term ... "uncertainly unpredictable" ... somewhat Willie Wonka-ish ... neither makes much sense.

In Times Square, Manhattan, our mayor has designated half of the "Times Square Bowtie" (the Crossroads of the World) for pedestrian use. Traffic has been diverted around this stretch, where the New Years Eve Ball drops, and lawn furniture, (which would otherwise be destined for a Trailer Park that I would just love to spend a few years living and learning in), has been placed for folks to sit and relax - right in the middle of it all.

Most New Yorkers scoff at this, which is typical. However, I find it fascinating to see people sit in inexpensive lawn furniture and relax for a moment or more in the midst of the madness which is Times Square


Last week, which was the first week of this project, offered fine weather. My lunch mate and I walked through Times Square and enjoyed the change between the warmth of the sun and the coolness of the shade while on my way to St. Mary's. It was a wondrous afternoon.

This week offered clouds, periods of rain, and bone-chilling coolness in the evening air. However, each day was a most beautiful day, and people continued to find their way to the lawn chairs of Times Square. The weather might not have been ideal, but the balance offered to these various seekers of respite via these tacky little lawn chairs made for a most beautiful day.

When we refer to a “beautiful day,” we are often describing a day that is sunny, clear, and without a cloud in sight to mar a sky that is a brilliant and perfectly blue. We find ourselves bouncing along, light in spirit, free from worries, and enjoying the moment.

Enjoying the moment, that is, until the clouds begin to form. The sky may turn grey, or perhaps a fog may roll in. Puffs of white take on whimsical, darker shades, and our beautiful day disappears along with the sunshine, encompassing us beyond any hope of ever navigating our way back to sensible reality … or so it seems.

A clear blue sky often inspires in us good cheer, bringing on a lighter, more carefree day. We may find ourselves spending time out of doors, breathing in the fresh air, and basking in the warmth of the sun. However, should clouds appear to mask the sky, or us, with shadows, we may allow this change of weather to decrease our energy and enthusiasm, pulling us into our own cloudy funk.

The darker days of reality in our own lives are just as much a part of life as are the days graced with sunshine. Sadness and concern show us a different perspective of our world, while helping us to appreciate the moments of illumination that inevitably follow.

A rainy day with clouds helps to clear the air, washing away stagnation. Still, it’s hard not to feel gloomy or think that the day has been ruined while there are clouds hanging over us.

However, if we remember that these shades of grey won’t last forever, and that hidden behind the clouds is the eternal blue sky, we will find that the beauty of each day is merely playing a game of peek-a-boo with us.

Perhaps it's more of a game of hide-and-go-seek.

It is up to us to seek and find the blue skies.

Much like the mishaps and interruptions that occasionally block the brilliance that is our own lives from shining through, clouds eventually clear away so we can open up to a brighter horizon.

So ... the next time you wake up to a cloudy day, celebrate it ... no rain, no rainbows.

Remember that the shades of grey in life are there just for a moment. No matter how hard the rain falls or how chilly the fog is, the clouds will go away, the sun will break through, and you will be able to see the sky that has always been, is now, and will be forever ... beautiful, brilliant, blue, and eternal.

You see?

There is always a little Heaven right here on Earth .... even through the clouds.

With love & light,


I'm Not Crazy

Most of us feel a little crazy from time to time.

Periods of high stress can make us feel as though we are losing it. This can also happen when we are around people whose values are very different from our own.

Losing a significant relationship or moving into a new life situation, be it financial or a physical change of location, are other events that can cause us to feel off balance and cloud our perception of life. Circumstances like these occur in our lives often, and they naturally affect our mental stability. The symptoms of our state of mind can range from having no recollection of putting our cellular phone or car keys where we eventually find them, such as in the refrigerator, to wondering if we’re seeing things clearly when everyone around us seems to be in denial of what’s going on right in front of their eyes.

For most of us, the key to survival at times like these is to step back, take a deep breath, and regain our composure. It is then that we can seek to see the blue skies beyond the clouds and decide what course of action to take.

Sometimes a "time-out" does the trick. We take a day off from whatever is making us feel crazy ... a "mental health day". Perhaps we spend it alone or perhaps at a leisurely lunch with a friend who is comfortable in our silence or provides a distraction. Magically, we feel right in our mind again and return to a sense of balance and well being.

Talking to an objective friend about the situation can also help. We begin to see what it is about the situation that destabilizes us, and we can make changes from there. At other times, if the situation is particularly challenging, we may need to seek professional help. Meeting with someone who understands the way the human mind reacts to stress, loss, and difficulty can make us feel less alone and more supported. A therapist or a spiritual counselor can give us techniques that help bring us back to a balanced and regular state of mind so that we can affect useful changes. They can also mirror our basic goodness, helping us to see that we are actually okay. The main purpose of the wake-up call that feeling "crazy" provides is to let us know that something in our life is out of balance, and allow us to seek an avenue which returns us to our center.

It is important that we confirm for ourselves that we are capable of creating our own balanced and peaceful reality. We need to remember that most people have felt, at one time or another, that they are losing it.

We each deserve a life that helps us to thrive. We owe it to our spiritual well being to take some steps each day to help us achieve more balance and focus on our spiritual growth. We also owe it to each other to share the roles of friendship as we endure the hardships of life, all the while celebrating the beauties of God's Creation in us.

With love & light,