Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

Sadie says she can't eat another bite. Happy Dog. She is our daily reminder of how much we have for which to be grateful. Breathing in the unconditional love freely and joyfully radiating from a dog is to know that the universe is truly a magical and loving place.

Happy Thanksgiving. Feel the love!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We are all Cracked Pots

An oldie, but goodie (the best always are) -

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." Why? asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

-- Author Unknown

The adorable picture is of two incredibly creative and loving cracked pots, Kristina and Lee.

Go and spread some joy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Here's looking at you, kid

"Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances, and it is the most toxic protein."
---Montecucco C, Molgó J (2005). "Botulinal neurotoxins: revival of an old killer".

The first time I heard about botulism poisoning was when I was a kid. In 1971, after a husband died, and his wife got seriously ill, there was a recall in the New York area on cans of "Bon Vivant" vichyssoise soup. Swollen cans had been discovered that were contaminated with the botulin toxin. Every since then my mother made sure to never buy a dented can at the grocery store.

Zoom forward thirty years. Now you can not pick up a magazine, or watch a television segment on Hollywood, and the rich and famous, and not see the tell tale signs of the proliferation of Botox. In just the last quarter, U.S. botox sales rose thirteen percent to three-hundred-sixteen million dollars. Allergan, the company who manufactures Botox, saw revenue jump 23 percent to $1.08 billion from $877 million last year. I just don't get why people feel the need to want to paralyze their faces in order to remove wrinkles. They are voluntarily injecting poison into their faces, again, and again. And, with the less than subtle inducement from greedy doctors, they are even having Botox parties! Whatever became of the physician's tenet to first do no harm?

Wrinkles are beautiful testaments to our life stories. It boggles my mind, and saddens me, to think people want to erase who they are. Crinkles around the eye, and "smile" wrinkles make someone so much more approachable and gentle. Smooth foreheads and motionless faces are for bodies who are no longer alive.

We are made in the perfect image that the universe (God, Goddess, the Divine Mother) had intended for us. Leave the botox for the dented soup cans.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Come as you are

On the left, His Holiness the XIVth DALAI LAMA -
"Dalai" means "Ocean" in Mongolian, and is a translation of the Tibetan name "Gyatso," while "Lama" is the Tibetan equivalent of the Sanskrit word "guru," and is commonly translated to mean "spiritual teacher." Putting the terms together, the full title is "Ocean Teacher" meaning a teacher who is spiritually as deep as the ocean.

On the right - a cute LLAMA -

1. A domesticated South American ruminant mammal (Lama glama) related to the camel, raised for its soft, fleecy wool and used as a beast of burden.
2. Any of various other mammals of the genus Lama, such as the alpaca and guanaca.

Friday will be the one year anniversary of the passing of my father. He was a sweet man. They say it takes a full year to experience the ebbs and flows of the grief process. Sometimes the grief just smacks ya right in the kisser. Other times it is a tiny pang in the gut when a memory surfaces and one is reminded of their absence.

My father had a marvelous sense of humor. He would have loved this image, and would have probably smiled, tipped a pretend top hat, and said, "Hellooo Dolly".

Monday, November 10, 2008

A State of Gracie

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.”
---Anatole France

Oh happy day! Sweet little Jackie (aka "Nails" in her role as catcher on her girl's softball team) is getting her first dog. Of course she knew she would be named Gracie. A "state of grace" is the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect. I like to think that the elect is decided by the Divine Dog High Council who chooses who is to be "graced" with the responsibility and privilege of having a dog teach them about life's lessons. Jackie has been blessed. Actually, twice blessed, as she has loving parents and older brothers who look out for her. With blessing comes great reward and even greater responsibility. Congrats, girlie. I know you will give Gracie a magical life, and in return she will steadfastly love you and cheer you on to great feats, and good works.

Reverend Martha's husband, and partner in crime, Bob, told me yesterday about a famous speech given by George Graham Vest (1830-1904) a U.S. Senator from Missouri. He began his career as a trial lawyer (always a good choice for future redemption!). This was his summation speech in a case where his client sued another man for killing his dog. As a member of that jury, George would have gotten my vote (though I would have been kicked off in voir dire by the defense for wanting the death penalty for the cretin who would kill a precious dog).

Gentlemen of the Jury: The best friend a man has in the world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us, may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its cloud upon our heads.

The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.

---George Graham Vest - c. 1855

P.S. Of course he won the case!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happiness is a warm puppy. - Charles Schulz

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace."
- Milan Kundera

"Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine," President-elect Barack Obama told his daughters in his election night address. "You have earned the puppy that is coming with us."

The Obamas are looking at finding a rescue dog at the pound. I cried when I read that news. To borrow a phrase, "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", there is no greater concentration of love and compassion than what comes bundled in a rescue dog. It is just one of the laws of the universe.

Thank you, Michelle Obama. Sadie, our eleven year old puppy, said you done good.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vi veri universum vivus vici

"By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe".

---A Latin phrase of unknown origin

Remember, remember the Fifth of November...this line is from the provocatively mindblowing Wachowski Brother's movie (and the original comic book series), V for Vendetta. Tomorrow is a powerful day. If our country is meant to move toward the light, then I think tomorrow will usher in a new era. This nation has been so focused on spewing anger and hate, forced to chase its tail to deal with the hemorrhaging that this hate has wrought. No wonder our actions in other countries are only causing enemies to sprout exponentially. Our planet, Mother Earth, has suffered under the increased destruction of her freely given precious resources, and irrevocably waning resources, if the destruction does not cease. What is oft forgotten is that loving one another, and being of service to others, actually takes much less effort than hate. In fact, true love for all sentient beings is effortless when one comes from a centered place of joy, compassion and forgiveness. Like breathing (though some even forget that simple step), this practice needs to be embraced daily. The rewards are priceless, and the joy is infectious, creating a paradigm of infinite abundance and happiness to the collective psyche. It goes without saying that magic happens with greater frequency!

After the upheaval of King Henry VIII's tumultuous and narcissistic reign, the reign of his daughter, Queen Elizabeth, proved to be a time of an unprecedented cultural renaissance and creative expression. Shakespeare, the bard of truth, took center stage, literally. This revival marked a transition from the medieval to the modern world.

The term "renaissance" means to be born again.

So, here is to praying for the light, and all that is beautiful and balanced in this world. It is 2008. I think this rebirth is upon us, and long overdue.