Meow is Cat for Peace

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With everything that is going on in the world, it is sometimes tempting to go on a rant about politics and intolerance, beliefs and violence.

Not that there is anything wrong with a good rant. It is a way to try to make sense of everything, and it is a way to nudge those who listen to share their thoughts so that we may sort things out together. It may even be a way to open eyes and hearts.

I don’t know. Sometimes it feels like our opinions run circles around events, but then again if you run circles long enough you get momentum, and as you get momentum the centrifuge forces are bound to catapult some person or ideas out of the loop and a fresh out-of-the-box perspective is born. Ya never know.

As for me, my fears and opinions usually boil down to silence. In that place I find peace. In that moment I remember that individual actions and attitudes have much power as well. One person in my entourage comes to mind and I hope she won’t mind if I name names.

Any day of the week, no matter what crazy insane thing is going on in the world, you can be certain of one thing: if you bump into Ellen Bethea, your entire world will brighten up instantly. She is joy incarnate. She makes everyone feel welcome, not just by her, but in the entire world. I have not mastered that sort of love, but every time I see her she reminds me I need to work on this. You can find her at our local library, reading to children or gently presiding over a poetry group.

Enduring peace. Those are the words that come to mind. My cat gets it. I feel and hope I come close when I see peace in the things I make. I hope those who purchase them feel that peace too, and that it spreads. Something new in this live of thought… The Peace Cat.

Thank you, Ellen.

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2 Flags, 3 Shrines, 4 Mice and a Word About Sin

The last two weeks have been extremely busy. I even skipped my morning workout several days in a row in order to give my inventory a much-needed boost. I have also forced myself to learn to respectfully decline every new demand that would lead me to sin.

This tiny, yet hugely powerful world takes on precise significance the older I get. Since I love etymology, I will pause here briefly to observe how incredibly suitable it is that spiritual masters would invite us to avoid sin at all cost. Indeed, our general understanding of the word “sin” does not begin to scratch the surface. It means far more than the images that first come to mind. To sin means, “To stray from the target.” It is an archery term.

Perhaps it would be easier for us to learn to focus on the target, rather than to aspire to avoid sin. With only one target in sight, the rest takes care of itself. With only one target in sight, there is no doubt about the course to take and whether the course is good or bad, or sinful. If we choose to do good, then good it is in a layers of life, and most of all in becoming the very best expression of what it is to be human. The cost of not doing this is high indeed.

The masters might as well have said, “Do your best,” but such common sense words clearly do not have the same striking impact as “Do not sin.” The masters knew they needed to use wording that would somehow endure through the ages. It was meant as a loving warning; we sometimes take it as a dare, and resist. Our loss.

As you can see, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder these things lately while I spend hour upon hour doing my best to give shape to my creative ideas. Doing this is inevitable, after all. There is one powerful lesson I am learning over and over as I continue on this course. That lesson blows my mind every time I put it into practice. In fact, I believe it is the key to peace of mind: Live without unfinished business. 

This means: No procrastination. But more than this, it must shape every moment. I have come to understand that every single time I feel impatient or uncertain or unable to focus, I must ask this question: What is unfinished? What was left undone? Then, the only logical response is to always act in a manner that resolves the question, one little mundane or creative task at a time. The progress I have made by applying this simple personal rule is astonishing. Target in sight. Target in sight. Target in sight.

I love that the fruit of my labor and efforts took me on the road for a second trip to Grand Isle Art Works, yesterday, to deliver new creations. Driving is one of my guilty pleasures, and a perfect reward to conclude new steps forward and pause before continuing the journey.

The shrine is a prototype; a starting point. I had postponed making this because I worried it would not be perfect, yet it is in making these first three that I was able to see what else it could become. So these are perfect after all.

The flags were a wonderful nudge to explore new ideas. They were provided by Grand Isle Art Works with an invitation to design according to whim. They will be displayed through the summer as part of their Sweet Harmony by the Lake Art Show, beginning July 10th. The guidelines were simple and fun. Each color has a theme. Mine were red for fire and green for water. The mice are a recent creation and a must-have addition to the Grand Isle collection. I think there are more critters about to come out of my mind in the days to come.

Gotta get back to work.