Who Will I Be Today?

Annies Who Will I be today quilt

Art Quilt by Anne Copeland

I know you cannot see the whole quilt, and I would like you to be able to do that. This was made some years ago as an exchange quilt.  We each send a package of fabrics we want to have in our quilt, and the other person does the same.  A middle person handles all the fabrics, sending them to different people, and the quilt we make for this unknown person will be returned to them when we are done and all the pieces have been collected by that middle person.

We all have a dual nature, and we generally take on one or the other each day.  Just as we have day and night, cold and warm, floods and droughts, love and hate, success and failure, so we can choose to be one personality or the other.

I always love this quote from the book, Advice from a Failure, by Jo Coudert.  “Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution.”

 

The Orange Praying Mantis Who Came to Visit

Reblogged in part from http://www.Sunsigns.org

About 4 days ago, I went out on my porch, and there was the most gorgeous orange praying mantis on the gate above the stairs.  I couldn’t stop looking at her (I was certain it was a female from the body shape and size).  I have always had a curiosity and love for almost every insect that comes to our garden or outside areas.  Last winter I rescued a hive of bees disguised as a birdhouse.  Some fellows had an ad in Craigslist asking someone to come and save the bees roosting in their birdhouse by their front door before they had to do something drastic to protect themselves.

I had joyfully read about bee keeping over the years, and had a good idea of at least some things I needed to do, so I called the gentlemen and told them I would be there and get the bees.  I waited until nightfall, for it makes sense as they are not buzzing around outside at night, so would be calm until I got them home.  My “beekeeping outfit consisted of a jeans shirt with long sleeves, jeans, boots, gloves and a hat with a “veil” I made from some netting I had.

Off I went to bring the bees’ location, and when I got there it was much larger than I anticipated, but I was not about to lose them.  I put a big plastic bag over the birdhouse and put it on the seat next to me to drive home.  When I got home safely with them, I uncovered the hive and put it on a stand I had in the back yard.  I was so happy.  I discovered that the reason that the beehive was so large was that it was made from a real beehive with slats in it, etc.  In the morning when I checked the bees, they were busy looking around for flowers, etc.  It was particularly hot that summer, so I needed to give them sugar water.  I went inside and prepared it in a low level long container.  I was used to making sugar water for the hummingbirds, so I measured it pretty much the same.  I brought it back to them, and did not get a single sting.  They knew I was feeding them and I did not represent any kind of threat.

So I kept my bees as long as I could, but I DO live in a mobile home park, so ultimately had to take them to another rescue place, which turned out to be two blocks from where I got them originally.  So I was sad for awhile, but it seems that every year, some insect or insects that become my “science project” come to visit or stay for awhile.

If you know anything about the praying mantis, it will come as no shock that this insect is the paramount spiritual symbol of stillness and patience. She stayed and stayed, and all day I returned to look for her and she was still there, so I named her Ginger. Even if she does not stay long, she has brought a wonderful message to me. I made sure she had something to eat the first day, catching a couple of bugs for her in a way that they were not dead when I put them near her one by one.  I saw her catch and eat the first one, and I am sure she ate the other one too.

The praying mantis takes its time in all that it does. It takes care to pay diligent attention to its surroundings, and moving through life at its own pace. It demonstrates the ultimate power of stillness. It serves as a reminder for humans to slow down in our chaotic, fast-paced lives.

The praying mantis animal totem also teaches us how to still our bodies and go within our own mind. By doing this, we can connect with ourselves, drawing up greater physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual power. This stillness and concentration is a form of meditation, a practice that the mantis places much importance in.

Ginger - Orange Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis Insect Associated Traits

Patience, Stability, Meditation, Peaceful, Quietness

Symbolic Meaning Of Praying Mantis

Wisdom emerges when we are still and quiet, sensing and feeling rather than thinking critically. It comes with experience, age, and being, rather than traditional schooling. It cannot be obtained through arrogance.

Accordingly, the praying mantis symbol chooses to present itself to individuals when they have allowed their busy schedules to overrun their intuition, silencing their internal voice and throwing their equilibrium out of balance. The praying mantis always comes to us when we are internally craving peace, quiet, and calm in our lives.

The praying mantis meaning has a variety of traits: temperance, quietness, awareness, calmness, clairvoyance, patience, mindfulness and innovation. These insects are well known for their pre-strike pose, which is a popular symbol of balance and patience in and of itself.

In fact, the Chinese honor the praying mantis for its elegant, mindful, and contemplative movements. By reminding ourselves to have patience with ourselves in our own movement, we, like the mantis, can grow in our wisdom. They remind us to have patience in acquiring the things we want and to remain balanced throughout the duration of the wait.

If a praying mantis strikes too soon, its prey gets away. Because of this, it has evolved to be patient: so patient, in fact, that it will not budge unless it is 100% positive that it is the correct thing to do. This acts as a direct message to us, reminding us to contemplate our movements just as carefully and precisely.

When our timing is off, we may generate an unnecessary (and unpleasant) struggle or blow an opportunity entirely. Through stillness, awareness, and balance, we can hear and recognize the perfect moment. We must listen to the voice that speaks to us with openness, not fear. If we have patience and wait before striking, the right moment will come, and we will succeed.

The praying mantis will become your animal totem once you have learned to take your time and live your life at a silent and reflective pace. You should make all choices with a sincere commitment to careful thought and contemplation.

By being mindful of this, you will enable yourself to know exactly where you are going and when you will get there. Calmness and serenity are crucial to living like the praying mantis.

But you should also be capable of being decisive and ready to take action when opportunities present themselves. For example, healers often cite the mantis as their inspiration when channeling their healing power.

The praying mantis symbolism might also creep into your subconscious while you sleep. To dream of the praying mantis means that your intuition is actively trying to guide you at this very moment. Perhaps you have overlooked the the signs and symbols in your conscious day time hours and now the messages are speaking to your restful mind.

All of the instincts and gut feelings you have been experiencing lately are attempting to tell you something about the situation you are currently in. Do not allow your judgement to be clouded, your concentration to be broken, or yourself to be distracted from the end goal.

Trust the feelings that you have, both when awake and in slumber, and act on them appropriately. If you listen to yourself truly and honestly, you will succeed.

www.Sunsigns.org

Footnote:  The night before last, the orange Praying Mantis went off the porch and onto one of my rose bushes out front.  I presumed she was hungry and looking for a meal.  Later when I went to look before going off to bed, she was nowhere to be found.  I can only assume that she has moved on.  I am sad that she left, but at the same time, I am very grateful for the timely message.  Thank you my friend, and you are always welcome back to my home and my heart!

The Life of a Pencil

pencil-office-design-creative-159752

Photo courtesy Pexels.

I learned this little really interesting lesson many years ago from my amazing friend, Spencer Heath MacCallum.

Every time you purchase a pencil, do you know how many people you are employing?  Start with the wood of the pencil. There have to be loggers who cut the wood, and then truckers who haul it to some factory.  Then there are the factory workers who form the wood for the pencil into its familiar shape.

Then there are those who paint the outsides of the pencils, and those who imprint it with the type of lead (the size, and perhaps the brand name, etc.).  Then there is the little metal piece that holds the rubber eraser.  OK, it is some kind of metal that (likely tin) that has to be mined and then processed, perhaps through many processes to make that holder.  Then it too goes via trucks or perhaps trains to a factory where it is shaped and formed into the piece that will hold the eraser onto the pencil.  And then there is the machinery that performs all those magical tasks, and the people who run those machines.  And of course there is the rubber.

It is growing in the forests in some country where it then is gathered as a liquid, and again, it is processed, and then dyed, as I think rubber in its natural state would not be pink (or other contemporary eraser colors), and it is formed and shaped into those little erasers.  Then there is the lead, and again, lead must be mined, carried to trucks or trains (as are all of these parts) where it is then taken to be processed for formed into the lead that becomes the innermost part of the pencil.

And then all of this must be assembled. Now a great part of the process might be to do these things automatically via machines, but then someone had to make the machines, and someone had to maintain them, and someone else has to run them.  And of course there are the quality control people.  And then the packaging people.  And then the people who take the orders and know where the pencils will go.  And then the pencils are loaded onto trucks and delivered to the places.  Of course, people have to build these trucks and they have to be maintained, and they have to have gas and oil.

Once delivered, the stocking people have to note them into the inventory, and then they get put onto the shelves, where the sales people might just help you to find them, and even if not, you will take them to the cash register to pay for them, so this is the end step that I can think of in the life of the pencil.

Doesn’t this make you feel good to know how many people you are helping to keep employed every time you buy that simple little pencil?  All of this for less than $1.00.

 

Five Roses and How They Grew (or Not)

rose-blossom-bloom-red-rose-87469Photo courtesy Pixels.

I have five rose bushes in pots in my yard. It is interesting to watch the way they grow (or dont). These were rescue rose bushes – I got them in one of those very cheap waytoolateforbarerootroses sales and they were literally bare root – no sawdust or other wrapping to protect them.  It looked as though the grower simply plowed up their fields, threw the survivors into a box and brought them to the storeI looked carefully through all the ones that were available and picked the ones that had some signs of growing or trying to grow.

Watching the five rose bushes grow is a good analogy for life and how people choose to live itOf the five rose bushesdespite great care and lovewatering and fertilizerone of them didnt even try to make it and died within daysIt just plain gave upfor it had plenty of greenand it could have chosen to growbut for whatever reasonsit didnt even give it a tryI took it back and the store let me pick out another oneso againI brought the new one home and gave it the same treatment.

This one didnt look THAT promising – it had two spindly little greenishwhite twisted branches coming outbut somehow I felt good about itI wasnt wrong either because it took in all the waterthe fertilizerand everything it could get and it put out the largest leaves and healthy redgreen leavesand lots of them tooIt was really pumping to grow with everything it hasThe leaves and stems quickly reached up as if to catch every drop of available sunThis rose bush is not only was going to make itit was going to outpace all the other ones as if in a race to be the biggest and strongest.

One of the rose bushes had green on the trunks and it looked healthybut it is as though it hasnt made up its mind whether to grow or notIt just sat there with its green trunk but it hadnt even tried to put out any branches or leavesIt almost felt as though it was waiting for someone else to do its work.

Still another of the rose bushes was greenand it sort of sat there for awhileand then finally decided to growIt took a longer timemalingering day by dayseeming a little hopeful as it held onto its green for a long timebut then it finally just gave up without any little fight to survive.

The fourth rose bush tried toobut it was a such a timid little thingIt too had the greenish white branchesand it it put out little sweet leavesbut kept them close to the trunk as if needing to protect them from everythingIt grew slowlyas if not quite sure of each step it took like a baby that tries to take its first steps but has to hold onto the wall for security, not knowing how to trust its own self to make it .

The fifth rose was taller than the rest in its trunkbut it just put out one spindly branch and it had leavesbut only a couple and it grew so slowly that I often forgot to look at it to see how it is doing because my eyes were drawn to the most robust of all of them and how truly hard that one was trying.

I always think about these roses when I think about the challenges I hear that people are having in their lives and the ways they handle themI think about the ways they chose or chose not to go on and live fully no matter what the circumstances.

Like that robust rose bush with its huge leaves reaching out to grab everything it could to live fullyit was a trash rose to start out with as all of these werebut it was determined to go forward and it will make it in life and to be a rose that would cause people to admire it for trying so hardEven if this rose didnt get regular watering and fertilizer and a lot of good sunI have this feeling that it would be the kind of rose that would grow between cracks in pavementIt really wants to live and nothing will stop it as long as there is even just a little trunk and roots leftWhat kind of rose bush would you be in this life?