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 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

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 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 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 It was taken by Kyle Glenn.