Seeming Contradictions –Journey of Beauty 02.09.40

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

The seeming contradictions with Nature are a bit glaring today, what with my hiking adventures of yesterday and the week long storms (thunderstorms, tornadoes, and torrential rain) hitting the central portion of our country. I have family in those parts, so my antenna is up.
I am hard pressed to find Peace and Beauty when challenged, and how do I find it there when I am either existentially or so incarnationally pressed? We live in an earthquake zone and the “They” tell us we are overdue for a big one soon.
My default for today is Wendell Berry’s, The Peace of Wild Things:

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

It is the pause button which seems to be my doorway or entry to the Peace which Nature offers, much like sitting on that bench I mentioned a while back. But sitting on the bench and lying down on the Earth offer two very different perspectives/lenses. Wendell Berry’s offering is that there is something to be said for the larger surface to surface contact our bodies make with the Earth. From time to time I still lie on the grass in my backyard and stay long enough, and wait for the hardness to dissolve and allow myself to be cradled by the Earth as well as take in a very different view of the trees and the sky. You could say it is the great equalizer, the Earth and me settling into each other, a cradling of sorts, perhaps coming into unison of breath. Weather permitting; I just may have to do this today.

And so here is the end, my 40 days of writing on Beauty – another type of pause will ensue. I suspect I will be marching back and forth on the bridge for the next several days (Day 19 reference). Who knows how the insights will percolate in me and then how they will emerge when I write again?

Thanks to those of you who read my posts.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for the next person to do a Journey here. Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20. If there is a nudge in you that says, “that might be me” or “I want to do this!” contact me: susan@withpearls.com

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)

Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20

 

When dis-illusion hits, it is a good slap in the face –Journey of Beauty 02.09.39

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 spent my day with illusion, dis-illusion, and Truth.
My family went on a hike and I agreed to go with them, although I whined at the “moderate” technical level which this hike is labeled. I get the effort part, and in most cases I am a trooper. But when the climb is steep and the trail is wet, wet, and there is a mix of slick big rocks, loose rocks, and tree roots on the path itself, I get a bit anxious. Well, a lot anxious, especially ¾ the way to the summit and I wonder how I will return to the parking lot in one piece.
I can handle the climbing part. It is the descent which scares me to pieces. I have very loose ankles and not the best of knees. The gravity of descent is dicey at best. Combine this with the potential for a jammed ankle on the step down, clipping a toe in a tree root, slipping on a wet rock, or twisting my ankle on a loose round rock. You get the picture.
It was ¾ on the way up that I was dab smack in illusion land. I was mad that I said yes to this venture. I was mad that my family picked out this moderate hike that challenged me inside and out. I wanted to stop right there and pout, which I did for a bit, and then continued the climb.
We were met at a small lake and spectacular views of a mountain with numerous waterfalls at the top of t. It was sunny. We had a nice lunch. I was able to sit for a bit and draw (something I haven’t done for a while). We were all pleasant with one another, and I forgave them for taking me on this adventure. With views like this, well, forgiveness comes easily. Cooperative weather helps too.
Then it was time to come down the hill. I will credit walking poles, good hiking boots, and a supportive family which gave me the courage to get down, especially trying to scale down a very large wet rocks with no footing for my feet; this, and intense concentration, of course with each step.
The dis-illusion piece came as a breakthrough in my thinking. Yes, I can get down this mountain safely, if I just take my time and utilize my poles and boots. I was successful at reaching the lot, with one minor hard landing on one ankle and a slight twist of the other one. My knees held up rather remarkably well. Whew!
For this brief piece of my day, I was able to break through the illusion that my body cannot handle challenge. But what I discovered was that in my decision to get to the Truth of my capabilities, it took concentration and effort, a lot of it.  I know enough from these family hiking adventures that it is on the descent that you are more likely to get injured as gravity pulls our bodies forward: we are tired, and get distracted.
My experience today offered an insight to me about Truth. It requires vigilant attention to break through the distractions illusion directs us toward. Illusion is static and noisy, taking me/us places we do not need to go.  Who knows what would have happened had I stayed in pouting mode. When dis-illusion hits, it is a good slap in the face. I got slapped today, for sure, and it was my only way down.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for the next person to do a Journey here. Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20. If there is a nudge in you that says, “that might be me” or “I want to do this!” contact me: susan@withpearls.com

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)

Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20

 

Infiltration/Refinement –Journey of Beauty 02.09.38

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

Ah, time for another reveal: Journals. Journals attend to Beauty and my embodiment with much the same importance as cups, rocks, pens and inks. It could be the physical container they offer with the cover, the quality of paper, lined or unlined, and which pen is best suited for its filling (and what type of filling) which attend to my notions of Beauty. I have the same conversation with journals as I do with pens (and inks), especially when presented with them in a bookstore, art store, paper store. Do I need another journal, or not?  I have a collection of empty journals on a bookshelf, each waiting for what passion next stirs me. You get the picture.
But then there is the Beauty with what a journal is filled. So, I have my day to day journal, one for dream-work, gratitude, mantras, meditations, plans, etc. I even carry a small one in my purse. I do not want to lose an idea or thought which comes my way.
Beauty has its own journal now. It has been a container of my thoughts these last few weeks with my attempts at showing up for Beauty. How much of this Beauty project is passive, I am not sure. The journal does not even begin to contain how much of my day is infiltrated with thoughts of Beauty as well as the guiding thoughts for the day. Nor do much of those thoughts in my head as well as my journal even make it to this page.
I am inclined to think of my Beauty journal as a cauldron, a container of alchemy of sorts. Ideas in me get stirred and my hope is that the refinements of my ideas make the page. Actually, coherency is more apt approach than refinement. It is the refinement piece which is the living part of Beauty.
All I can say with clarity at the moment is that I am getting a good dusting or cleaning with all of the memories of experiences and insights which pop up, as I write, have conversations, and move throughout my day. The cycle of visiting each of these guiding thoughts invites a deeper reordering with each round: how Beauty weaves its way around and through Big Mind and Big Love

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for the next person to do a Journey here. Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20. If there is a nudge in you that says, “that might be me” or “I want to do this!” contact me: susan@withpearls.com

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)

Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20

 

Light of My Own God Being –Journey of Beauty 02.09.37

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 am feeling the urgency of particular words and thoughts today because this 40 day process is quickly coming to a close and I will be angry with myself if I don’t say what I really need to say. Did I not commit to staying honest with this process? It is one thing to harbor thoughts, but to actually say them presents a different kind of ownership and exposure.
It is funny, when I think of where singing anchored itself in my being. No, it wasn’t with music lessons and choirs. My childhood exposure to music was spotty at best; we didn’t even listen to the radio much, that I can recall. My childhood was spent in chores, athletics, and the outside. Let me back up to the chores: Saturday afternoon ironing, this after the dusting, vacuuming, and bathroom cleaning. I sang my way through ironing with what else, church songs. I think that is where mantra must have taken hold. Into my teens I thankfully graduated to some Broadway show tunes and popular music.
But that was about it, my fleeting relationship with music: I participated in a choir in middle school and then not again till my senior year in college with an elective credit, and then not till graduate school where I participated in a choir singing the music of Hildegard of Bingen. I dabbled in teaching myself the recorder, listened to varieties of music, and even attended concerts.
There was something about the potency of the human voice, even more so than a musical instrument that hooked me though, my particular entrainment to the frequency of Beauty. Chants somehow worked their way into my life with some Feminist Spirituality groups. Where singing really took hold was when I became a parent: a bigger, deeper switch got flipped on. I think I drove my husband nuts because I sang so much to our two children. I sang lullabies and nursery rhymes of course, but I even created ditties while I was changing diapers. Mantra somehow returned.
When the opportunity for me to join a Kirtan group presented itself some years ago, I readily jumped in. I started chanting more, especially making use of the privacy of my car as I made out-calls to hospice patients. It was interesting feedback when I was receiving body work with tuning forks that the therapist asked me if I played a musical instrument or sang. She could tell. Wow, this singing stuff really works. Surprise, surprise…our bodies are 60% water, and frequency is amplified in water.
I am wordy today, but it is the intention piece that I am finally getting to. I have done 40 day mantra practices. This writing on Beauty is a mantra practice of its own. But I have also taken on a longer practice of mantra, daily recitation of one mantra for one whole year. Last year it was a traditional Sanskrit mantra.
This year I am working musically with a phrase inspired by Patricia Cota-Robles (Era of Peace). She is another of the Big Mind people I hang out with. While she can be a bit wordy, there are some phrases of hers that pop out for me: “I AM the doorway for the Light of God” and “I AM the Light of my own God Being”. She has even updated some of the wording of the Catholic Rosary that allows me some re-entry into this mantra.
I am discovering that this longer practice of mantra/chanting uncovers layers of smallness I hold in my unconscious. I get to use sound and intention to nudge me towards my own bigness…the light of my own God Being. I have been applying an overlay (intention) of Beauty to my practice of mantra in this period of 40 days of writing. There is a bold questioning in today’s guiding thoughts, and that is, “How do we stay big?” Nudge. Nudge.

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for the next person to do a Journey here. Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20. If there is a nudge in you that says, “that might be me” or “I want to do this!” contact me: susan@withpearls.com

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)

Unitive Beauty –Journey of Beauty 02.09.36

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

I am moving towards a unitive place where Beauty is concerned, and just not so sure how important it is to make distinctions between Beauty of mind, Beauty of heart, Beauty of soul and Beauty of emotion. I have been reading that at some point, even the chakras (energy centers in the body) dissolve.
But then there is something to be said for the efforts we spend in our attempts at mastery or success in any given arena. Contrast, of course, allows for the uniqueness of expression to shine and be juicy. Not everyone wants to hang out with philosophers, or get up at 3 am in attempts to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. My children do not swoon over mushrooms like I do. The big bites of Beauty experience or the desire to have more of them are as varied as the stars. This is what incarnation is all about: this body which is rich in diversity of drives and expression.
I suspect that where Beauty is concerned, there is a starting place whether it is in the mind, heart, or soul and somehow the rest come along for the ride. There is a dance going on inside of us each day about who gets to the lead for the day.
I live my life in growing orbits which move out over this wondrous world, I am circling around God, around ancient towers and i have been circling for a thousand years. And I still don’t know if I am an eagle or a storm or a great song.”

Guest Contributor Lita Artis

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking for the next person to do a Journey here. Journey of Creation, June 9 – July 20. If there is a nudge in you that says, “that might be me” or “I want to do this!” contact me: susan@withpearls.com

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)

The Little Cracks Where Light Gets In –Journey of Beauty 02.09.35

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

Ring the bells
that can still ring
Forget your
perfect offering
There is a crack
in everything
that’s how
the light
gets in
~Leonard Cohen
My point of reference with perception and Beauty today is family. You would think that an intact and cohesive unit, so to speak, results in similar outlook and perceptions of reality. Gender, order of birth, socio-economic status, physical and mental health, landscape, etc., all have a play into who we are and how we perceive.  Given all the exponential permutations that factor into families, communities, towns, states, governments, etc., it is a wonder that I am even here attempting to have cogent and cohesive thoughts with today’s guiding thoughts.
Tara Westover, in interviews related to her book, “Educated” (published in 2018) says that her memoir is less about the Mormon cult in which she was raised in southeastern Idaho, than it is a statement that all families are cults of a sort. Getting educated, I suppose helps us break free of the cult of family.
My family has one last ritual to complete with the passing of our mom. She is the last of our parents to go, and soon we will have her ashes buried alongside our dad. We will have a good party to boot, celebrating the legacy of their Beauty. As part of our individual and collective grief process each of us is reviewing the legacy and memories of what our parents gave us.  We are now bearers of their collective Beauty.
There is a mix of similarities in our stories, but let me tell you, the lenses of our experiences are mighty different. On some level, this gives a good challenge to the definition of family as cult. My siblings and I are now reworking our relationships, moving beyond the identities imposed on us as the result of our raising and the lenses we used looking at each other. Maybe we are breaking out of the cult with an opportunity to explore new ways to create Beauty.
I am reading that vision is the most dominant of our senses that we use to perceive the world around us. That said, I am told that the brain cannot discriminate between external and internal stimuli when it comes to processing experience. Thus, our imaginations are just as potent as what is out there in the world.
I wasn’t quite expecting to go here today in response to the guiding thoughts, but here it is.  And where Beauty is concerned, I know with that little crack where the light gets in, everything changes, inside and out.

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)

Breathe It All In –Journey of Beauty 02.09.34

Guiding Thought

How does Beauty feel? What is the energy or vibration of Beauty? How do I bring Beauty to all my movements? Can I breathe in Beauty? What is the mental attitude of doing with Beauty?

Reflection / Contemplation

I want to begin today’s writing with the last question of the guiding thoughts for the day, “What is the mental attitude of doing with Beauty?” I suspect the doing is intention-related. There is certainly a dance between being and doing. It is hard going when I am in the habit of doing all the time. But here are the ways I see the commonality in the energy of Beauty, the Breath and Feel of Beauty, and the vibration of Beauty.
Masaru Emoto, the Japanese scientist whose books (Hidden Messages in Water and The True Power of Water) document the results of intention when directed at water. His pictures demonstrate what happens when we direct Love and appreciation to water. Hmm. Our bodies are composed of 60% water, with percentage variations within each of our organs. What happens when we direct love and appreciation towards others or ourselves?
The Heart Math folks utilize the breath along with the emotions (intentional expression) of appreciation or gratitude. They have quite a bit of research data confirming the health benefits of what is called a “coherent heart state” (an electromagnetic alignment between the heart and brain), as well as how group coherency can change the electromagnetic fields on the planet (check out the Global Coherency Project).
Here’s an aside. I used to work with 8th graders on developing some meditation skills. My teaching partner and I utilized the Heart Math material. Our selling point was that there is documented research on middle schoolers that this practice resulted in higher test scores – they were more relaxed and their thought process was more global.
I saw a recent posting from the Editors of Outside Magazine with the title that “Feeling Awe is More Than Inspiring, It Can Re-wire Your Brain”. Interesting, the frequency of awe! I know I mentioned awe as a component of Beauty for me early on in these postings.
So there you go. Enough of my didactics; there are many ways to tap into Beauty. These just happen to be ones that catch my fancy.
I am posting a few pictures of benches I took on a recent trip to some Japanese gardens. I just know I need to pause so that I can feel Beauty, sense its vibration, and breath it all in. Ah, the doing is in the sitting.

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)