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Category: Simple bliss (page 2 of 3)

are you right? or wrong?

Years ago, I was very concerned about being “right”. Now I am not remotely concerned about being wrong, feeling wrong or people thinking I am wrong. Or being right.

I still remember the shock of listening to what John Gray said years ago about letting go of a need to be ‘right’. Have you done his clenched fists exercise? I love that. I just tried to find it online for you to no avail.

I think I saw him do it on Oprah about 15 years ago. The idea is you think about something that’s bothering you and clench your fists rigidly while repeating “I am right” – then attempt to unclench your fists. Have a go now. It’s weirdly difficult to uncurl your control-freaky, angry/frustrated-filled fingers.

Maybe it’s a hangover from school days or a spin on trying to control an unpredictable world but adults seem to have a perverted yearning to be “right”. Children don’t have it so much.

Who cares if you’re “right” or “wrong”? You’re not at school. There is no exam. You will not be punished for being ‘wrong’. Nor get a prize for being ‘right’. {And it’s only you who is defining.}

Maybe you don’t even know you have a need to be right…? Check in with your body and release any muscular tension you find, just quietly.

With your hands relaxed and not clenched in a furious fist, (you’ll notice a surprising number of people walking about with at least one fist clenched) it is so much easier to be flexible, content and be fine with being wrong {but bear in mind, I am often wrong…}.

 

Image of gorgeousness, “Creative Life” borrowed from Amanda Cherie of hellocherie – buy a print here.

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Bring happiness and hope to hundreds of strangers


Today we are on a mission to create happy moments for strangers which will last right through summer.

We will be planting sunflower seeds all down the wire fence of two city wasteland areas near our home. And in several weeks time, there will appear seedlings and shoots followed by giant sunflowers smiling at everyone who passes and thinks, “how did those sunflowers get there?”.

And this simple thing will bring smiles to hundreds of people and perhaps the wildly surprising sight of giant sunflowers, heavy with yellow petals and seeds will bring unexpected hope to fatigued minds.

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere get yourself a pack of Sunflower seeds for mere cents / pence, find a piece of twig to use as a dibbet (thing to make a hole in the ground for your seed) and plant your seeds in forgotten, abandoned or neglected areas. Plant either in the rain or after the rain when the soil is still wet. You will be surprised at the *thrill* guerilla gardening brings.

Sunflowers, flower of children and simplicity, bees and butterflies, are easy to grow. Of course you might want to check the tiny plants now and again so you can feel your heart swell with the growing seedhead. If you plant your seed next to a wasteland fence you can tie the growing stems to the fence to secure them to stand tall.

I’m sure you can see that quite apart from the simple joy you will bring to others, you are making a soulful statement about bringing simple joy to the world and actively planting seeds of happiness in those forgotten, abandoned or neglected areas of your heart.

Guerilla gardening for the soul, planting seeds of boldness, you watching your happiness grow in the sunshine, giant sunflowers staked against wasteland fences,. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

Image “enjoy the simple things” borrowed from Parada Creations. Available to buy.

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Are you simple?!

It strikes me as ironic that the adjective “simple” is used by the less loving among us to insult a person. In Scotland, “Are you simple?!” means are you dumb, stupid, intellectually-retarded?

It’s ironic because so many of us actively pursue a sense of simplicity, a stillness of mind, a simple way of being. As a complex individual I even think that a state of genuine simple-mindedness might be a form of self-actualization.

And this leads me to the glory of our indulgence in simple Autumnal bliss the other day (and yes, I do believe we did look ‘simple’ while we enjoyed it).

We had a woven basket and into this basket went Autumn leaves of every shade of green, yellow, gold, brown and red you can imagine. It’s so lovely to have an excuse to study the intricacies and minutae of our local neighbourhood – this day it was leaf collecting.

Huge sycamores in reds and brown, little beech leaves with serrated edges, birch leaves in shining buttery yellow and gigantic horse chestnut leaves – and oh! heaven – round, smooth, rich brown shiny conkers nestled in their perfect spiky green cases all velvety soft and yielding inside. We press them to our noses to smell as if their luscious looks weren’t enough for us.

And now, perhaps dropped by a fairy, a tiny acorn cup. Maybe this Leaf Fairy spilled her honey nectar drink when she dropped her acorn cup? Maybe a pixie stole it?

The basket is full, leaves blowing out as the wind rises. We rush through the long grass coated in rustley leaves thinking of newly fallen snow. We meet one of our neighbours – another lovely everyday thing; the chatting with neighbours. She sees the basket of leaves and bursts to tell us that even though she is in her 60’s she still rushes through crispy leaves in the Fall – she conspiratorially tells us she seeks out big piles for crunchy, scrunching, runching ravaging!

We smile. The dog is walked. We are tired too. We are all very simple you see.

Home. Block wax crayons. White paper. Leaves. Rub.

At the table we make stupendous graphic art, homages to nature, in moments just by rubbing a crayon over paper over a leaf (see above).

A simple thing. Simple art from simple leaf beauty. We are the only people in the whole world to have seen the detail of these leaves, their veins, skin, breaking down fibres, fading colors and seeping moisture.

Yes, we are simple.

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In your own hand

Handwritten notes are exceptionally powerful. Do you write notes? Letters?

I received a Feng Shui card and tucked inside, a handwritten letter – the writing tiny, squeezed into tight lines on the page. I had to put my glasses on to read what it said. It was like secret script.

Handwriting and its language of cursive or plain letters, height of characters and slope of words were the foundation on which typography was based, of course.

And so now we speak in the language of typography and understand that capitals are boldness and italics being sloped give emphasis. And so we use curves and straight lines to indicate what comes from our heart and minds.

I haven’t received a handwritten letter for months and months and this one, (actual letter pictured above) from the mother of one of my dearest friends felt so loving and made me feel profoundly nurtured and supported.

There is an earnest civility in the handwritten letter. It was as though the ink was her life-force capturing her thoughts on paper through the lines and curves she made.

Writing by hand, perhaps with a favourite pen, is an act of simple bliss. And this simple bliss is shared since it’s also experienced by the recipient of our handwritten note.

Beautiful.

I must write more by hand. It is an absolute expression of individuality and creativity in one of its purest forms.  I must write letters in my hand, in my handwriting. For years I practised my handwriting so it was elegant and tall and I suppose I attempted to reflect in my handwriting the person I aspired to be. And so it has always been for people.

Let’s write more handwritten notes and letters and rejoice in the individuality that our writing demonstrates and the tiny things we give away about ourselves in the way we write, the whorls we add to consonants or the loops we like on ‘l’s” (do you know that smiley faces in ‘Y’ tails can indicate duplicity?).

Remember when you first learned your letters? The mastery of it all. I remember thinking it was utterly magical that lines and curves could be so very powerful in so many ways.

Look how beautifully Leah Dieterich uses her handwriting to create immediacy in her blog thx thx thx: a thank you note a day.

Image of Vintage French ephemera; newspapers, music sheets and postcards which are available from laPomme on Etsy.

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Being what you believe

You know how you can just be mooching about a website, aimless, (which is very nice) and something piques your interest and you have a closer look and next thing your mouth opens, you take a sharp intake of breath and suddenly the whole world is a more magnificent place?

This exquisite short film gorgeously directed by Pascal Perich with ‘Whispering Trees’ music composition by Marcy Hokama follows the beautiful gentle soul that is painter and sculptor, Jason Tennant who is such an inspirational example of being what you believe and aligning your life with your values that I wanted to share him with you.

Jason gathers vintage, sinewy remains of American Chestnut trees, cut in the 1930’s in an attempt to save the forest from blight, carries them in his arms back to his workshop cabin in the woods and then he honors these natural masterpieces with his potent artistic spirit, sculpting them into wildly majestic art.

“I look for really deep forests that look like they haven’t been tampered with for at least 50 years” says Jason. “I try to tell a story;  nature vignettes ….. I want to maintain a sense of wildness in my work.”

In this beautiful film, created for Etsy as part of its This Handmade Life series, Jason talks quietly about his ethos – in creating his “Nike of The Forest” series he says “the Greek Nike is one of my favorite gestures … it’s a hopeful choice, a triumph of the balance of humans and nature ….humans learning to respect nature so we can temper our greed, so we can maintain this beautiful planet for our children.”

Image, Nike of the Forest III, is borrowed from Jason’s Etsy shop – Available to buy! What a wonderful world we live in.

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