heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 7 of 7: The Divine and the Sublime

(Image via Pixabay.com)

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals.
Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion.
We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man.
In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.
They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
– Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

I began the first of my 2018 New Year’s “revelations” with The solace of animals” and I will conclude this last (the seventh revelation) with “The Divine and the Sublime.”

For me, as I’m sure for many of you as well, animals are beautiful, divine creatures. I cannot imagine a world without them. I certainly cannot fathom my life without them. In truth, there have been many instances where I have preferred the company of animals to that of humans.

“Watch any plant or animal and let it teach you acceptance of what is, surrender to the Now.
Let it teach you Being.
Let it teach you integrity — which means to be one, to be yourself, to be real.
Let it teach you how to live and how to die, and how not to make living and dying into a problem.”
– Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

In ancient cultures (and still today), animals were worshiped as gods. Their mysticism is steeped in history and religion. In Native American culture, there is an intense respect for and kinship to nature – animals, plants and the environment. Animals are treated with equal respect to humans. Life is revered. One life form is not inferior or superior to the other.  But animals…. well, they can teach us quite a few things.

So I will end my 7 New Year’s Revelations on this note (with further comments below):

“God gave unto the Animals
A wisdom past our power to see:
Each knows innately how to live,
Which we must learn laboriously.”
Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
(Image via Maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com)

I’ve been writing these New Year’s Revelations for 7 years now and this one will be my last.

May 2018 bring each and every one of you much joy, good health and a renewed appreciation for the beauty of animals, nature and of those you hold dear.

Cheers,

– Heather

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heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 4 of 7: Celebrate life… every damn moment of it!

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“Serenity is the balance between good and bad, life and death, horrors and pleasures. Life is, as it were, defined by death. If there wasn’t death of things, then there wouldn’t be any life to celebrate.”
Norman Davies, British-Polish historian

Here today, gone tomorrow. I’m in the throes of an existential crisis at the moment… thinking about how fleeting and finite life truly is.  There are many questions (about life and death) that none of us can really answer – questions like, “Is there life after death” or “Is this all there is, and then there’s nothing?” I have these “crises” every now and then… and when they happen, I always reach the same conclusion: celebrate life… every damn moment of it. Don’t worry about the alternative.

It’s a great coping mechanism. For example, for decades, my husband and I have enjoyed candlelight dinners every single night – complete with music (usually jazz or blues). And we still do. Also, I take the time to dance – even when I’m alone in the house (although my cats find it quite disconcerting). I plant trees and flowers in my yard… it’s wonderful to see things grow and flourish. There are so many ways and reasons to celebrate life.

The rest will happen… at one time or another. No need to preempt it. Just seize the moment and savor it.

“Make the most of yourself for that is all there is of you.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist and journalist

 

In Memoriam 2017 – music, film and television

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

“Music is the ultimate medium for expressions of love, and those expressions find a beautiful backdrop in the environment. Music is also a popular rallying point — at its central core, it’s a way for people to get in touch with the best parts of themselves and to voice the love in their hearts. And the environment is one of the great loves of our lives — when we think of the best parts of ourselves, the environment is always there, informing us, as a backdrop.”

— Gord Downie, Canadian rock singer-songwriter, musician, writer and activist

“It would be hard for me now, at this age and stage, to leave a song without a glimmer of hope… I always like to have a glimmer of hopefulness, even in collapse.”

— Gord Downie

There are angels among us

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“I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with a light of love.

Helen Keller

There are angels among us. Of this I am certain. They look like you, they look like me. They are the people who lift us up when we need it most (and sometimes even when we don’t realize that we need uplifting). A smiling glance, a friendly wink, some sage words of advice, a random (or not so random) act of kindness…  these have the power to make someone’s day or month or maybe even change someone’s life.

So, as long as we are able to breathe, think, and feel … there is hope.  In this, the holy season of  love and kindness, most of us experience a heightened awareness of how truly precious our family and friends are to us.  It’s not that we take them for granted throughout the rest of the year.  But, in the spirit of the season, we stop and take pause … and give thanks.

As we count our blessings this holiday season, please remember that there are millions and millions of people – around the world – who are hungry, homeless, displaced, discouraged and lonely.

In this, the season of giving, please do what you can to help a neighbor, a stranger, a family in your community. Consider donating food, clothing, blankets and toys to your local missions. If you can, help out at your local food bank. Perhaps you could share your Christmas feast with someone less fortunate. If you dine in restaurants, think of giving your leftovers (that you would normally take home and maybe throw away a day later) to the homeless man or woman huddled on the sidewalk. Don’t pass them by, averting your face. Show them compassion and grace.

Be an angel.

Kindness… pass it on.

May the true spirit of the holiday season fill your hearts and homes with many blessings.

– heatherfromthegrove xo

(Photo via pixabay.com)

 

 

The best prayer is Thank You

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“‘Thank you‘ is the best prayer that anyone could say.  I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
~ Alice Walker 

As we begin the week of  Thanksgiving in America, it is important to remember, respect and show compassion to all those who do not have the luxury of a warm meal, a place they call home, or the safety net of a regular income stream. It’s a time to remember to be grateful for the blessings that we have. In many instances, what we take for granted are often luxuries to the less fortunate. 

It’s a time to reflect and think about how you could make a difference, a dent in this insidious epidemic that is Hunger.

Check out the Humanitarian Efforts page of my blog if you are interested in learning more about how you can help fight hunger in your community. And see what wonderful work is being done by three well-respected hunger relief organizations in the United States, Canada and around the world.

Gratitude (a prerequisite for happiness)

I, for one, bow my head in thanks for the sweetness and light of my family, friends and my beloved “children” (my pets). 

Humility (not always palatable for many)

There are those who are, by nature, humble. Then there are others who have learned how to be humble. I fall into this latter category.

I guess we are all a ‘Work in Progress’ …  

Thank you for stopping by.

 

Image via landypf.blogspot.com.

Churchill said it best

“Writing a book is an adventure. 
To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement.
Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant.
The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him to the public.”

~  Winston Churchill

(Image via pixabay.com)

The Divinity of Animals

“Animals are divine messengers of miracles that go far beyond emotional comfort and practical assistance. Talk to those who have been transported to a heavenly place by the gentle purring of a kitten or whose broken hearts, burdened by worry and pain, have been mended by a dog licking their hand. They will tell you that animals connect them with the River of Life in ways poets imagine and mystics contemplate. They will tell you that their deepest and most sincere relationships with animals are spiritual partnerships.”

–  Allen Anderson, Angel Animals: Divine Messengers of Miracles

The sanctuary of a tree

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”

Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter

Ode to the First Amendment

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“The test of democracy is freedom of criticism.”  – David Ben-Gurion

And lest we forget:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
– First Amendment, United States Constitution

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to speak openly – without government restraint. It guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly and the right to petition.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION:  It  forbids  Congress from promoting one religion over another and from restricting an individual’s religious practices. Regardless of the religion. Any and all religion.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION:  It  prohibits  Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  Censorship is therefore prohibited.

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY:  It  prohibits  Congress from  denying the rights of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.  The power of peaceful protest is our democratic right.

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Photo (of graffiti) via flickr.com.

Photo (of press) by Glenn Fawcett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons