Monday, January 15, 2018

Movement

English is such a funny language. One word can mean diverse things. Or one word can be pronounced differently and mean similar things, such as I read (red) vs. I will read (reed) the book. Or words spelled differently but sounding the same thing can mean different things, such as reed and read. Yet, grammatically it is often much simpler than other languages. There is only one "the" in English. I believe that are at least 4 in German, and which one you use depends on gender.

So, what is movement. It is derived both from French and Latin according to Wiktionary. Wiktionary lists 9 meanings as a noun. Looking up the definition generally on the Internet, I came across this: 


move·ment
ˈmo͞ovmənt/
noun
noun: movement; plural noun: movements
  1. 1.
    an act of changing physical location or position or of having this changed.

    "a slight movement of the upper body"
    synonyms:motionmoveMore
    • an arrival or departure of an aircraft.
    • an act of defecation.
      noun: bowel movement; plural noun: bowel movements
    • the activities and whereabouts of someone, especially during a particular period of time.

      "your movements and telephone conversations are recorded"
    • the general activity or bustle of people or things in a particular place.

      "the scene was almost devoid of movement"
    • the progressive development of a poem or story.

      "the novel shows minimal concern for narrative movement"
    • a change or development in something.

      "movements in the underlying financial markets"
      synonyms:developmentchangefluctuationvariation More
  2. 2.
    a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas.

    "the labor movement"
    synonyms:political group, partyfactionwinglobbycamp
    "the labor movement"
    • a campaign undertaken by a group of people working together.

      "a movement to declare war on poverty"
      synonyms:campaigncrusadedrivepush
      "a movement to declare war on poverty"
  3. 3.
    MUSIC
    a principal division of a longer musical work, self-sufficient in terms of key, tempo, and structure.

    "the slow movement of his violin concerto"
    synonyms:partsectiondivision
    "a symphony in three movements"
  4. 4.
    the moving parts of a mechanism, especially a clock or watch.

Merriam-Webster defines things similarly. 

Movement, to me, also implies (or rather should I say that I infer from the word) shift, change, transition. Some of which can be movement in the heart, mind and soul. Movement does not necessarily mean to me that it is only a physical shift, change or transition. And, when we change ourselves, can we change the world around us, just as a stone thrown in a pond creates a ripple effect?  

There are at least several mediation images in my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here) that address, at least obliquely, movement, both physical and non-physical. I'm including the first one as action is movement. You act, something moves or changes.






Next is this one, which says to me, on at least one level, the if you are living in your blood and bones that you are moving. After all, you blood and bones support you in moving your body through your day and your life.









Singing is the action of the mouth, teeth, tongue, lungs, and diaphragm. It is the movement of air. Singing can change our mood. 







Well, dancing is purely and simply movement on one level. But, can dancing bring about not just physical change but also a change of heart, soul and mind? It certainly can lift spirits.







Being playful is having fun, finding joy. Being playful is shifting from the serious to the not serious. Children, puppies and kittens learn through play. They grow and change through play. Maybe we as adults should play more so that we can keep learning. 






My body is no longer happy to move with the abandon of the dancer in the first picture, but I keep exploring how to move my body so that it and I stay active and healthy. Moving helps my mind and brain as well. It's most likely not so good for me to spend the time I do in front of this computer. 

Shall we all move?

The first photograph is by Ahmad Odeh and was found on unsplash.com. All the other images are from my book, cited above. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fierce Opposition Rather than Anger

I was struck by something one of Krista Tippet's guests on On Being said. The guest said something to the effect that anger just gets in the way while fierce opposition can help us accomplish things. At least that's the import of what I remember being said. 

Yes, I can remember at times being so angry that I couldn't speak, couldn't act. It was as if a fog had moved in and seized my brain, my mind. And, if I could act, it wasn't what I would call good action, good speech. I can remember making things worse. Staying calm and focused, however, allows me to be thoughtful in action and speech. I can make better decisions about what to do and what to say. Or, in some cases, the best thing might be to say nothing and do nothing because it's not my place. 

We may feel, by standing firm, that we are the sole person facing off the mountain. But facing the mountain begins with one person who may very well soon be joined by others. The story that's told is that people say why vote, one vote won't make a difference. My question for them is, if everyone who thinks this actually voted wouldn't it make a collective difference? Isn't standing firm in fierce opposition a way to show love for your country? For the world? 

I receive lots of emails every day asking me to sign petitions, to send money. I chose which ones to respond to, and frankly, more often sign petitions than send money. I sign the petitions with the hope that a lot of people signing them might very well make a difference. If no one signs, then no hope that a petition might make a difference. 

So, in my own way, I want to stand in fierce opposition, to do what I feel I can do. Which is not the way that you may choose to stand in fierce opposition. I just hope that we can all act together to create the world that we want to come into being.  

The first photograph is by Paul Gilmore and the third is by Mpumelelo Macu. Both were found on unsplash.com. The second image is from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here).


Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Resolutions


My massage therapist recently asked me if I had any New Year's Resolutions. I told her that that last one I made, which was a number of years ago, was to be nice to cashier's, clerks, wait staff. You know, all those people who are in the service industry and have to put up cranky if not downright rude people. 

I try to keep this up. I try to be at least polite and understanding if I'm not feeling in the friendliest of moods.

An interesting thing that I've noticed is that it makes my life nicer as well. By staying calm and being friendly, I can laugh with people, smile at their stories, and, best of all, not spend my mental, emotional, and yes psychic, energy being irate or angry. 

Other than that, I try not to make New Year's resolutions. They are sooooo easy to break which, of course, can make me feel soooo bad about not keeping them. And that's not very compassionate to myself. Who knows, maybe breaking them might make me grumpy which would spill over to other people.

And, why is the start of a calendar year so special for making resolutions or trying to create new disciplines in our lives? Isn't this something that can be done at any time? Maybe it is because it is the start of a new calendar year with all the hope that that can bring us. It will be different this year. I will do ____ this year - fill in the blank for yourself.


Does waiting to the start of a new year just put off doing something that maybe we should be doing now? Does waiting make it harder to do? I wish I had the answers to these questions, as well as the answer on how to actually follow through on my good intentions. 

What is actually the most compassionate thing I can do for myself? What do you think?

The first photograph by Annie Pratt was found on unsplash.com. The other two images are from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be (here).

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Beauty of Where I Live

I was driving home from my chiropractor appointment in the nearby community of Woodstock (no, not that Woodstock). I turned off the radio so that I could pay more attention to the beauty of the scenery that I was driving through. We had quite a bit of snow on Christmas Day. The sky was blue. The snow had "iced" everything. So much snow was on the ground that I couldn't tell where the Ottauquechee River was except by knowing that it was at the bottom of a somewhat shallow valley.

Times may be chaotic and changing. My financial situation may not be quite where I want it to be, but I have a home that keeps me safe and warm. I have enough money to pay my bills and the growing wisdom not to buy things I don't need. Plus family and good friends. I have much beauty that surrounds me in the physical sense and in the figurative sense.

Spring will bring the greening of the area. Come summer I will be surrounded by the flowering of nature. One of my favorite places is a park located next to the Connecticut River with a view of New Hampshire on the other side of the river. Then comes the fall which can be quite spectacular here if the temperature and rain fall cooperate.

Much of the beauty of where I live is in my choosing to see the beauty that is here rather than to only focus on the chaos of the human world. 

I hope to keep my focus, at least at times, on the beauty that surrounds me. I hope that same for you.

The first photograph is by Patrick Bald and was found on unsplash.com. I took the second photograph at a local park.  

Monday, December 18, 2017

Where to Look at This Time of Solstice

I was wondering what to blog about today and decided to open up my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be, to find inspiration. I flipped to a page with my eyes closed and thought right for the right side page. 

This is the image that I found. It seems appropriate to me as we move towards the winter solstice and the darkest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. We can see this as a time of reflection as the world settles further into hibernation for the winter months. And, where better to seek it, whatever it is, in our hearts rather than in our egos or minds. 


It might seem as if we are seeking in darkness, in the void, but I have had the experience of the door in my heart opening and being able to see what lies inside. It might happen like that, it might be whispers in the heart or mind. Sometimes it might just be knowing. 

I wrote a poem inspired by this meditation. This is it: 


It Resides in You


It, whatever it is
to you, exits in you.
It, whatever it is,
waits on you
to seek it, to find the
seed, the germ of it;
the seed that is
buried in your heart.
Imagine it, breathe into it.
Your breath,
your dreaming
is how you find it
and nurture it—as
you would plant
and water a seed.

©2017 Kathryn L. Samuelson 

Then there is the allowing it to flower. I have much work to do on the letting things flower, nurturing them and bringing them into being. Work to do on bringing things into being without being desperate, the kind of emotion that gets in the way and makes things not happen.

The first image is from my book (here). The second is by Chen YiChun and was found on unsplash.com


Monday, December 11, 2017

My Hopes for You During this Season

My hopes for you during this season (and all year) revolve around growth, transformation and love. I hope that all of you, to paraphrase the loving kindness meditation, will be safe and secure, will be happy, will be well, and will live with ease. 

I hope for abundance of love, community and work that you love. May you have all that you need to sustain yourself and your family. May you be rich with friends and laughter. 

May you feel that you are more than enough and that you have enough, that you have no voids that need filling.

May you have the kind of connection to yourself, others, the world and the divine that sustains and fulfills. 

May you have clarity of vision. May you have inner peace and compassion for yourself that leads to creating peace and compassion with others. 

I hope that you learn to leave fear behind along with the anger and hate that it generates. 

And, may I have all these things as well. 

May we all come through to the light.

All 3 photographs are from unsplash.com. The 1st is by Andrik Langield. The 2nd is by Brigitte Tohm. The 3rd is from Aperture Vintage.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What I Think I Know

I finally picked up a book that I have had for some time to start reading it. This is a book called The New New Testament edited by Hal Tussig. I even started reading the forward to the book by the biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan, although I often skip the Forwards, Prefaces, etc. I learned something new. Well, I knew that not all the letters that were attributed to St. Paul were written by St. Paul, however, I had come to believe that St. Paul was a misogynist. It turns out that the misogynist writing were in letters written at least 50 years after St. Paul died but attributed to him. Crossan says on p. xiii in the forward that: 


"There is a massive scholarly consensus--based not externally on political correctness but internally on linguistic differences--that the three letters, 1-2 Timothy and Titus, were written well over a half century after Paul's death. They were reacting flatly to his radical views on equality for all those in the Christian community--whether they entered as Jews or gentiles, females or males, slaves or freeborns (Galatians 3:26-29)." Crossan then talks about what caused this reaction. Patriarchal dominance in his view. It was also because his radical call for celibacy and for women to choose violated what was considered normal in the Roman world.

So, what else do I assume I know? What does everyone, in fact, assume that they know. I heard a woman caller to the On Point program on National Public Radio make a comment during the discussion about the possible move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. She said that the Muslims lost the battle 3000 years ago, so they should give it up. 3000 years ago? Really? Lost Jerusalem? Really? She clearly was convinced of this as fact. (I suppose I could take a side track here and write a longish lament on the sorry state of history education in the US, but won't.)

Many people blindly believe what they read on Facebook or other social media sites. They pass it on. I'm sure that I have been guilty of this, but I do try to check something out before I pass it on. I now also check things out on snopes.com and politely (hopefully) ask the person posting it or messaging it to please check before passing things on. A recent message I received on Facebook claimed that women were dying by smelling poisoned perfume samples. Snopes said it was a hoax which was my first reaction as it didn't seem likely to me. But, clearly the woman who had sent a mass message out believed it and thought she was being helpful. 

I think it is good to question things, to look things up myself. Years ago it was circulating that the there was a bill in Congress that would ban home gardens. Then it circulated that this same bill would force home gardeners to use pesticides and herbicides. This is where that law background becomes useful. I looked it up. Nope. It was a bill to give the appropriate federal agency more authority over the manufacturing and the importation of food. Nothing anywhere in the bill about home gardens. 

Another time it was circulating around the the Federal Drug Administration was going to make it so that only doctors could practice acupuncture, and I think reiki as well. I looked at the guidelines. It was merely issued to clarify things, and, in fact, the regulations being explained had been in place for about 10 years. The guidelines clearly said that the FDA doesn't regulate the practice of anything. 

The people circulating these rumors clearly believed they were true and didn't question the source or look into this themselves. 

And, what do we truly know about others? I know that what I know is my perception of others, how I read what they do or say. So, I suppose it is not unreasonable to assume that the same is true of those that I know: that what they perceive or think they know about me is from the outside.

So, I hope I continue to read, question and think about what I think I know. 




The first 2 images are images from my book, Opening the Heart: Meditations on How to Be. I found the 3rd image on unsplash.com. It was taken by Kyle Glenn.