On the Playing Field –Journey of Beauty 02.10.11

Guiding Thought

How do you act with Beauty? How do you bring Beauty to mundane tasks or actions? Is Beauty created, when you bring Beauty to a project? How do you embody Beauty?

Reflection / Contemplation

I am taken to a new place today with Beauty, that of agency.

By definition, at least from a philosophical perspective, agency is our ability to make choices. The term agency has been popping up in some of my recent readings over the last year or so.  It had been a very long time since I had heard this word, agency, and here it is.  I rather like it.

The last time around, with these particular Guiding Thoughts, I attended to the agency of mind with attention and intention. We make choices all the time as to where and how we direct our energies. Today’s guiding thoughts are all about getting off the sidelines of observing and receiving Beauty and into the game itself: act, bring, create, embody. All of these words are action words, words of doing.

The intersection of agency and Beauty was on my massage table today with a client. In the midst of my attention (focus) and intention (to relieve muscle tension) was my creative interaction with tissues that lay beneath my hands, but also in my engagement with another human being. For some short time within my work space I was able focus on what Beauty was in that space. I don’t think I can fully describe it just yet, but it was more than manual work, a client, payment, etc. I had a hand (literally and figuratively) in creating Beauty.

I must admit that it was only a momentary awareness of being on the playfield of Beauty today. Now, how to stay on this playfield of Beauty for a longer period, especially when there are the mundane tasks of laundry and dishes that call? I guess I will know more tonight, when I review my day.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

Full Meal Deal –Journey of Beauty 02.10.10

Guiding Thought

Nature is beauty, beauty is nature. Nature brings me to inner beauty, to True Beauty, to Beauty of All. Nature is Peace, Interconnectedness, and awe-inspiring. I exist within and alongside this expansive, earth and all her creatures, at One with All of Life!

Reflection / Contemplation

You’d think that with all of my writing so far, that nature is my primary entry into Beauty. Well, in part it is, because I have always had and have easy access to it in this part of the world.  But give a good book to me, the opportunity to go to an art gallery or a concert, a deep and meaningful conversation and I will readily take it.
It is the people around me who invite me into their world of Beauty, just as much as I invite them into mine.
My husband and I are in new territory of attending to our relationship. This is because both of our son and daughter are in college and beginning their own lives. Ken and I have also spent close to 20 years attending to aging parents, and more recently attending to their deaths, the last one and most recent was 5 months ago with the death of my mom.
We now have space in our lives that does not require the frenetic attention to schedules and waving as a form of communication. I am doing my part by showing up and participating in the activities which feed Ken’s sense of Beauty. This involves nature, plain and simple.
A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip up to the tulip fields, spent the night in a cabin and toured the local town with its stores and galleries. Ken was gracious enough to listen to a cd track of that sound healer I was writing about, a while back (see 02.09.05). As much as I have been attending to what lights him up, I want to give him access to what lights me up. That trip was the full meal deal in my book.
Yesterday, it was on another nature outing with Ken to a wild-life and bird preserve that I was reminded that each of us is on our own journey. The walk along a 2 mile boardwalk (4 miles round trip) I asked him what it was that draws him to nature and what is it that he notices and pays attention to.  I gave my answer to that question too. Each of us is hooked into the beauty of nature in different ways. He is restored by nature. I told him that I am drawn by the colors. We both appreciate the break from the noises of the modern world that nature provides.
To be honest, I have had enough experiences directly with nature, in conversation about it, and in contemplation, to get the interconnected and oneness bit. What I find surprising is this interconnectivity business is weaving its way through my primary relationship, inviting us to the deeper places within ourselves and with each other, and nature has everything to with it.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

Destruction of Beauty –Journey of Beauty 02.10.09

Guiding Thought

How do I distinguish fundamental beauty from fleeting, or superficial, beauty? What is True Beauty? What is the nature of illusion? What is the nature of dis-illusion? How do I get through illusion to Truth?

Reflection / Contemplation

I feel like I need to be back in a philosophy class to attend to these guiding thoughts today. Hmm. Plato’s allegory of the Cave comes to mind. Yikes.
I felt like I was attending to these questions a couple of weeks ago when the fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France was raging. I remember talking to one of my sisters during this time, as the world watched in both wonder and horror at the destruction of this magnificent site. My sister, who is not religious/spiritual by any means, was in tears. She had visited the site in her 20’s and I could hear in her voice the memory of awe at being in such a beautiful and magnificent place. I too, watched in horror and sadness, and I have never set foot there.
While all this was happening, my mind went to a different kind of destruction, the malevolent and willful destruction of beauty, heritage sites in the early 2000’s. What came to mind was the Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhist statues that had been carved into the mountain side in Afghanistan, the ones that had been in place for 1,700-1,800 years, as well as the destruction of artifacts in the museums in that region. The world watched in horror, including me. My heart hurt.
And then my mind went the next kind of destruction of beauty, the sand paintings of Tibetan Buddhists and Native Americans. These priests and shamans are engaged in both the creation and destruction of an object of beauty, infused with their prayers, and on an altogether different time-table, a ritualized time-table. The destruction of one’s own making, well, that is different, now isn’t it!
Three different objects altered or destroyed.  I have to ask myself, “Is the Beauty gone?” What about prior objects of Beauty that were destroyed or lost to time that I don’t even know of? The Ancient Wonders of the World come to mind. The mountain valley that I waxed upon yesterday is likely changed. Two significant forest fires raged through that region in the last 20 years, and so that site I hold so preciously will be very different when I next visit.
It is very clear to me that Beauty is both fleeting and enduring, anchored both in a neural pathway and some place in my soul.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

Memories of Rocks –Journey of Beauty 02.10.08

Guiding Thought

What memories do I have of beauty? Are beauty and freedom related? What am I learning passively, simply by showing up to think about beauty every day?

Reflection / Contemplation

I am trying to recall memories of Beauty from my childhood. In truth, I don’t even remember when it was that Beauty was anchored in my growing up. As best I can remember it was most likely rocks which caught my eye, a visual entry to Beauty. Truth be told, I hated hiking up the steep slopes (and still do) in the mountains around our family cabin in Idaho. I much preferred the stopping part to catch my breath and allowed me to immerse myself in the beauty of place: the warmth of the August sun, the brilliant blue sky, the smell of the pines, the wind, my attempts to identify plants, and the rocks (the dust and horseflies, not so much).

I was, and still am, attracted to the colors and striations, the overlay of time and pressure that rocks reveal.  I suspect it was around the 8th grade that I started my rock collection from those outings. I still have that collection: a variety of granites, quartz (clear and snowy varieties) crystals, and micas from that hillside.
Funny how my mind goes to this landscape for the memory of Beauty from my childhood. Close by is a valley through which flows the headwaters of the South Fork of the Salmon River. Again it was in my childhood that our family would go to these waters, a pilgrimage of sorts, to see the salmon, the river teeming with them on their annual migration home to spawn.
And on the other side of the valley is a ¾ mile hike into a hot springs, the trail more to my liking, not so steep.  This route presented itself to me as an opportunity to identify the variety of plants native to these parts.
It is to this valley I go, in my mind’s eye, when meditations invite me to a place where I can rest my body beneath a tree and let my imagination fly.
Beauty seems to me taking to all sorts of places these days, memories included.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

Fully Human –Journey of Beauty 02.10.07

Guiding Thought

How may I be aware of myself as Beauty? Not just as beautiful, but as Beauty Itself? How can I exist as Beauty–how can I be Beauty? How may I Know my Self as the Beauty I Am?

Reflection / Contemplation

I was in a continuing education course a number of years ago, as required by my massage profession to maintain my license. The instructor, an osteopathic physician, was presenting information on neural development and the brain. It was all very interesting and pertinent to the course, but there was one statement that he made, which caught my attention. “We do not fully become fully human until we are around 11 or 12 years of age.” What was really being said was that consciousness does not set in until then. I bet this concept and exact time of occurrence in our species continues to offer lively debate among philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, and mystics.  I want to be in on that conversation.
What strikes me about this statement is that I was about that age, perhaps a year or two older, when I truly knew something about myself. My memory is vivid. To this day I can recall with clarity where I was in the room, who all was in the room, the time of day, the lighting, even what I was thinking, etc. I made the choice to be a wise person, and I knew that it involved head and heart interaction. I “knew” that wisdom could not reside wholly in the head, by being book smart, head smart.
How is it that I knew? I was observant enough at that time to know that I was different from my siblings and as much as I tried, I could not be them. This coming into my humanity, my consciousness, my ability to be self-reflective was perhaps the starting point for the choices I have made in my life.
As I reflect on today’s guiding thoughts, my awareness, existence, knowing myself as: fill in the blank___________, requires engagement with my consciousness, in whatever way that grabs me. How may I be aware of myself as Beauty? There are lots of ways for sure, and ways that are truly reflective of who I am. But it all comes down to choice, doesn’t it? I choose to be engaged with my own self-awareness.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

Classifications of Beauty –Journey of Beauty 02.10.06

Guiding Thought

What is beauty of mind? What is beauty of heart? What is beauty of soul? What is beauty of emotion? How are these the same? Or are they different? Are they enacted, or expressed similarly, or differently? How do I discern the nuances of difference between beauty of mind-heart-soul-emotion? Is there a difference, or does all unite in Beauty, as it does in Love or Oneness?

Reflection / Contemplation

This incarnation business is an interesting focus of my thoughts today.  A common phrase floating around spiritual circles these days is, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience”. I know that I am working my way out of the dualistic cultural and spiritual underpinnings which state that spirit holds a higher place than matter.
I am trying to figure out how a memory from a college theology course in Patristics (the early Fathers of the Church in Western Christendom, and in this course the first several hundred years) arose out of my contemplation on today’s guiding thoughts. I had never before seriously considered the theory of reincarnation and here in this class I learned that it was a commonly held belief in the early days of the church, but got nixed at one of the big gatherings of the hierarchy as they were establishing doctrine.
This one and you’re done business on this planet just doesn’t cut it for me. Thankfully, my experience of breaking with doctrine was not only developmentally appropriate, it confirmed that I don’t have to believe everything I am told. It set me on a course to question authority and do my own research so that I can have an intelligent conversation about any hot topic, including doctrine. It also helps to have a debating nature, and I can thank my family of origin for this.
The folks, who really know me, know how much I live in my head and how much time I actually spend there. How ironic it is that I am a body worker and have been so for over 25 years. My insights as to why and how I landed in this field have evolved over time, and will continue to do so. For the moment, I think it is my playground for resolving this matter/spirit dilemma which stems from my upbringing and living in a culture that has not fully owned its incarnation. The implications of this reach far and wide. Beauty of body, mind, and heart are incarnational – of the here and now.
Yesterday’s musings of how a Beauty experiment could be mapped were answered by my daughter. There are studies of brain mapping in the body related to Beauty, but not in the way I had imagined.  As we talked, she was telling me exactly where in the brain, visual and auditory stimuli get stored. There are some brain studies related to when someone is told they are beautiful, and others where people identify beauty in faces.
That is not quite what I was getting at. There does not seem to be one neural pathway of or for Beauty. It is just another way to confirm what I intuitively know, is that Beauty of body, mind, and heart are separate realities, and yet contained in the whole of my being.  
Beauty of Soul is what transcends the here and now.  As spiritual beings, we are having a human experience, and one that I hope is beautiful.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)

Beauty and Perception –Journey of Beauty 02.10.05

Guiding Thought

What do I perceive? What do I perceive as beautiful? What is beauty to me? How do I perceive beauty? How do people’s perceptions differ? How are they similar? What do perceptions say about people as individuals, as human beings, or as spiritual beings? Can I change how I perceive beauty?

Reflection / Contemplation

What is perception but a lens through which I/we navigate and categorize experience?
Synchronicity is at play for me here. I am in the midst of listening to a workshop recording by a sound healer who lives in the region here in the northwest.  This set of cd’s is on loan from a friend. We both admire the work of this person. My friend likes him for the sound experience he offers. Me? I like the sound experience too, but what I really, really like is his commentary and the writing he offers to provide context and the science behind his work.
Two things are at play here. One is that what commentary was on the disc this morning had to do with perception: inner and outer experiences of such and how repeated uses of our senses get mapped in the brain, whether it is through visual, kinesthetic, or auditory pathways, etc. I just eat this all up. On my walk this morning, my friend and I were wondering where Beauty gets mapped in the brain, given the multiple ways we can experience it.
Neuroscientists have mapped neural pathways of meditators. I’d like to see a Beauty experiment. I just may have to ask my daughter who is in college if her university, which offers a degree in Neuroscience, engages is such explorations.
Secondly, I am reminded how unique we all are and what motivates us is equally unique. This very much applies to Beauty. What is beautiful to me is not necessarily the same for others: case in point, my fixation with pottery and my cup collection. I can wax on about the form, color, hand feel, the turning of the foot and rim, etc., not to mention my appreciation when it comes to selecting which cup will use for my morning coffee.
To my husband, a cup is a cup. He is more utilitarian in that regard. And then there is my son whose musical interests are solidly classical and operatic. He doesn’t get my interest in chanting and toning. Each of us has our own tastes and sense of what is beautiful.
As I write, I am coming to a realization that we get hooked somehow, some experience lights us up. We want more…Beauty. A pathway is established.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Beauty is now available as a free book.
You no longer need to wait for the Guiding Thoughts to be posted here daily–you may move at your own pace. This link will take you to the document in Dropbox; you may download it from there.

I accept donations and gifts via paypal: paypal.me/SusanBillmaier Thank you for the energy exchange!

Here is the schedule:

Apr 18 Preliminary day Introduction: Why A Journey of Beauty (02.10.0)
Apr 19 Preliminary day Commitment and Dedication (02.10.00)
Apr 20 – 29 Days 01-10 Round One (02.10.01-10)
Apr 30 – May 9 Days 11-20 Round Two (02.10.11-20)
May 10 – 19 Days 21-30 Round Three (02.10.21-30)
May 20 – 29 Days 31-40 Round Four (02.10.31-40)
May 30 – June 8 Reflection days Gently care, de-fuse, and write one day of reflection on the Journey (02.10.41)