Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hurry A Little Slower

There are so many thoughts proclaimed and advice given to folks in search of a better life, prosperity, and happiness in a busy, entangled world.
This world we live in - is it stressful? More than in earlier days? More than for someone who lives on a deserted island or in a hermit's cave? More so for a city dweller than a farmer in a picturesque valley?

No matter where we live or what we do for a living, stress can be more or less what we make it.
Everyone needs food on the table and an orderly life where laws are obeyed and daily chores fulfilled. But how can we make our days better? Happier? More fulfilling?

I would not put all my chores in a box and dig them down in the ground only to be open by curiosity like a time capsule in the distant future. Some chores are actually fun to do. But there are ways to help make a busy day less stressful. Here are some tips:

Do less
A wise friend said that in order to do more, she needed to do less. With that she meant that in order to have the opportunity to be available to give aid, help, and comfort to others, she needed to do less of the things that are unnecessary.

What makes you happy? I have lists of things to do every day. I like lists. Silly me! But I often choose the fun things on my list. Life should be enjoyable. Make sure you add fun things on your to-do-list.

Enjoy the moment
Savor a hug, a few minutes to talk with someone you love, watch the view and feel grateful for its beauty, or grab fifteen minutes to put your feet up and do nothing. When my kids were little and I felt like I could topple over with exhaustion at any moment, I would now and then lie on the floor, close my eyes, and just "be" for a little while. It gave me the strength to continue.

Don't let time pass you by
Sometimes putting chores aside to listen, to share, to help, can save your own day. It will give you a feeling of gladness that will energize your being and make you better equipped to face your own challenges. Why? Because in being kind, you will gain strength and confidence to get through your own everyday life. Blessings come to those who try their best.

Slow down
I am still working on this one, but it is good advice. And by this, I mean that it's important to learn to slow down without feeling that you are doing anything wrong and without having pangs of conscience attacking you. Maybe easier said than done, but it can mean saving a moment - or a day.

Today's water color is called "Walking the dog".

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Confusing Confusius

Are Confusius and the word confused related?
They should be. The ancient Chinese philosopher, editor, politician, and teacher, who was born 551 BC, was  not always easy to understand. He confuses me with his way of speaking, but I admire the principles he champions; strong family royalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders, and the well known do not do unto others what you do not want done to yourself.

Whether he is the source of a religion - Confusianism - is a question in itself. But although it is sometimes discussed as a religion, it is a based on an ethical and philosophical system. Confusius shared many pearls of wisdom, but is also known for believing in astrology.

But being confused is something I know a lot more about than the philospohies of a old-time Chinese thinker. It seems to be a natural trait or talent I have.

The Uncyclopedia has some interesting thoughts about the confusing Confusius:

The idea of confusing was first discovered by a confused Confucian philosopher Confucius in the confounding era of confusion while he was confirming the creationof corn compounds in complimentary condiments. During that time, Confucius's son, Confusedconfused the concept of confusion with the considerably moreconfusing concept of confusing the confused into confusing other confused concepts with connivingly confident cunning conmen until it eventually carried back and confused Confused's career and created confusion in the already confused Confused's confounded father Confucius which caused him to condemn Confusedconsiderably. The confused son of Confused's grandfather's grandson, Confusing, attempted to un-confuse the Confucius family's confusing confusion by re-confusing the yet un-confused by asking Confused to confuse Confusing into confusing Confucius into confusion by further confusing his cousinConfusion, intoconfusion by confusing Confucius with Confused's confused confusion Confusing confused with Confusion's confusion to confuse Confuse's confusion by them allconfusing Confucius into confusion and so consolidating Confused’s confusion into one confidential confederacy through contemporary nuclear fusion but confusesConfused Confucius not into Confusion - since that was his cousin.
And the rest is history.
The page also says that the best method to instill confusion is to constantly contradict yourself. Interesting. I am probably guilty of that.

The etymology of the word confusing is also, well, a bit confusing. Most common is the belief that it originates from the Latinconfundere (to confound).

Similar words:

to bewilder
to mix up
to make unclear
to make higgledy-piggledy
and many more

It is obviously a well used word, having the need of many synonyms.

Confused bird . . .

Goal-oriented bird

Back to Confusius. Here are some of his thoughts:

  • Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
  • The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.
  • Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
  • Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
  • To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.
  • You cannot open a book without learning something.
  • To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness.
  • The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.
  • When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
  • He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.

Smart man, that Confusius.

Comforting to know, many of us are confused - every day. It happens to the best of us. Especially when it comes to love. Just listen to this 1963 version starring the fabulous Barbra Streisand of the song, Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered. She makes it sound glamorous to be confused.

Pictures today:
Confusius from Wikimedia
Two photographs of bird footprints. For some reason, bird footprints always make me happy.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Feng Shui Who?

For some reason, I am into cleaning up and going through piles of papers, notes, and newspaper clippings lately. And I actually enjoy it.

And I have many piles. Notes for stories, book ideas, and thoughts for talks. Small photos torn out of magazines and newspapers that grabbed my attention when I first saw them. Do I feel I need them? Yes, because I am hoping to paint this or that image one day, or simply be inspired by the picture, enough to trigger ideas for a story.

There is a certain order in my mess. Archiving is actually something I enjoy doing. Although I am aware, that my treasures are someone else's garbage. My pretty baskets filled with ideas and inspiration, may look like clutter that should be thrown away to someone else.

I read an article about Feng Shui this morning. Even before I learned about this Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment, I knew for a fact that I needed to do the dishes and tidy the room before starting a new water color or write a story passage. A clean and tidy room makes my juices flow better and helps me feel more creative when my surroundings are harmonious. No kidding.

"Clutter robs us of peace, harmony, motive, concentration and energy."

Feng Shui goes even further than my Broom Closet. It involves where on your property your house is built, the shape and structure of your home, the surroundings, interior design, placement of furniture, colors, shapes. All these things subconsciously work into our beings.

There's no need to replace your house or redo every room. Small changes may have a great effect. Little things like picking up small messes here and there,cleaning, dusting.

Why? Because it's positive. It brings harmony. It breeds good energy.
This is not hocus pocus, but simply common sense. Clutter and uncleanliness may act as blockages.

Am I good at this? My house is often messy and unorganized. I am not a great example. But I know that I feel great when it's clean, tidy and harmonious. Simple life.

Today's art is a drawing I did for an article I wrote a few years ago about "Spring Cleaning My Genealogy".

Source: "Feng Shui i huset gir balanse i livet" by Trond Folckersahm