Metaphors

One of my readers hoped that the reason I hadn’t been blogging recently was because I was off drawing with my new-found pastel chalks. I wish I could say that was my excuse for being absent this last month, but the truth is that I have been doing my best to lift the spring semester off the ground.

One of my favorite courses to teach is “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” Not only do they learn how to use the expressive arts (writing, painting, clay, dance, music and more) in doing counseling, but to use the arts to re-discover the creativity within.

This past week I gave my students an assignment to write about one of the metaphors in their lives.

Metaphors are all around us, and I offered suggestions for my students to find them in unexpected places.

One of my personal favorites is the metaphor of sailing. I’ve used it so many times in the past that it’s almost become a cliché, and yet it is a strong metaphor for me. Those of you who have been reading my posts fairly regularly will remember that I lived on my 37’ sloop for five years.

I moved off my sailboat to the Phoenix area when I was assigned to be a pastor there. About six months into that appointment, one of the men in the church came to me and said, “This is the first Sunday you haven’t mentioned sailing.” He went ahead to say that he wasn’t tired of it, but that it emphasized the fact of how many ways sailing was a rich metaphor for our lives.

We’ve seen many sailing metaphors illustrated on posters or key chains and the like. I am reminded of one metaphor in particular that continually comes into my life, and that is the way we have to maneuver the boat in order to get to our destination.

You know that a sailboat cannot go directly into the wind without being stalled. The sailor must tack back and forth, sailing just off the wind, yet never losing sight of our goal.

The same thing is true of my life. When I am not able to sail directly toward my goal without getting stalled, I don’t need to let that stop me. I can veer off course a little as long as I keep in mind where I ultimately want to go.

This has been true so many times – with education, career, home, relationships. How easy it would have been to give up, rather than to let the wind carry me in a different direction!

A hui hou!

Day of Enlightenment

There are thousands of lights decorating homes, yards, and businesses at this time of year. There is one light that doesn’t get unplugged or taken down after the holidays and that is the light that shines from inside each of us.

December 8 is Bodhi Day, celebrated in Japan as the day when Siddhartha Gautauma, the historical Buddha, experienced enlightenment. “Buddha” means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”

In the strictest sense, I suppose, we are all striving toward enlightenment as our ultimate goal. I like to think of enlightenment more as the path itself, the journey or quest, simply living with light shining from within, rather than an end point we might never reach.

In Nicaragua, there is a combination of festivals that start on the night of December 7 called “la gritería.” People run through the streets shouting in Spanish, “Who causes so much happiness?”

This boisterous evening leads up to the following day, December 8, to “La Purísima” or the “purest conception of Virgin Mary.”

But I like to think the notion of “la gritería” is pushing us to recognize our inner light as the source of our happiness. May we all celebrate our own enlightenment!

A hui hou!

A Season of Changes

It has been a summer of emptying old boxes full of junk, planting seeds, watering because of (or perhaps in spite of) the drought, reading delicious murder mysteries, writing a little here and there, and even spending some time being totally slothful.

Now on this sixteenth day of August, 2010, I am officially back to work as a full-time instructor in a community college. A week from now, classes will begin, each class full of students eager to learn. Well, I think most of them are.

At one point, I was working so hard to catch up with chores here at home that I was ready to go back to teaching so I could relax. By the end of summer, those chores were (mostly) completed and I had more opportunity to kick back, have a little fun.

So while I’m looking forward to the first day of classes, some new faces, some familiar faces, several students looking toward graduation so they can either go off to a four year school or get into a depressed job market.

Summer isn’t officially over, first day of autumn is still a month away, and winter is practically nonexistent here in Hawai`i, although there are seasonal changes. In the area where I live, the plumeria (frangipani) loses its leaves, there is a bit of briskness in the morning breeze coming down from the mountain, the hens are not laying as profusely, and I am delayed by school buses that manage to get ahead of me.

All of this rambling leads me to say that I’m a mixture of reluctance, anticipation, joy, relief, sadness. Through all the changes that happen in life, I hope I will continue to inspire even a handful of students to become who they are meant to be. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

A hui hou!

Comfort Zones

One of the weather announcers this week talked about the seasonal climates and how people react to them. On the mainland, almost every area is experiencing some horrendous heat, and people wish it would cool down. This person showed pictures of the same geographic area complaining about the extremely cold weather and snow conditions earlier in the year.

A statement was flashed across the screen that said the comfort zone for most people was between 68 and 78 degrees, and that anything on either side of that was outside our comfort zone. My own physical comfort zone fits into what the television suggested, which is one of the main reasons I live in Hawai`i (big smile).

We have other comfort zones, of course. Many people find a comfort zone in the way they eat, and become uncomfortable about trying new cuisine, even when they are traveling in a foreign country. That has never been one of my dis-comfort zones. I love to eat too much not to try almost anything in the way of food.

For others, the comfort zone might be the clothes they wear, or hair styles, never trying anything new or outrageous. I think it’s fun to step out of the box in these and many other areas once in a while.

I do know about comfort zones, however. Typically, I am a painfully shy person whenever I am not in a familiar setting. People who know me, have problems thinking of me as being such a social recluse and introverted person. If I am with a group of people I know well, or if I am standing in front of a classroom of students where I am “in charge,” I am fine. Mostly I tend to avoid situations where I won’t know anyone, or if I am not sure what is going to be happening.

This past Saturday, I posted about my cheesemaking experience. At least once a day after I signed up for the class, I wanted to back out, then forced myself not to. (I’m not even very visible in the picture at the top!) Once I got to the class, met the others who had come to make cheese, and got started in a process that was so much fun, I completely forgot to feel shy.

Where are your comfort zones? How would you describe them to someone? At least once a month I try to push myself into a situation where I am out of my comfort zone. What do you do to get outside your box?

Mahalo!

The Magic of A Book

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B003FVOAHA&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
There is one book I have read over and over ever since its first publishing date in 1959, and that is The Magic of Thinking Big (Paperback) by Dr. David Swartz. No other book has had quite the impact on my life as this one.

In the early months of 1973, when I was a newly single woman and mother of four, I needed something to keep me from going over the edge. As I started absorbing the messages in this book, I found a few short key phrases from each chapter that struck a deep personal note.

Then I wrote those out with a felt marker in big lettering on a piece of paper that I taped to the dashboard of my car. No matter where I went, those words were right there in front of me. Only when I felt the message had penetrated, would I put up words and phrases from the next chapter.

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply those phrases stuck with me, even to this day. In spite of my degrees in theology and psychology, I find it too easy to forget how to apply what I know to my own life. This book helps me do that.

My original copy is held together with rubber bands, and the pages are torn, smudged, tear-streaked, and almost unreadable. This past year, I finally bought a new copy. I suspect I’ll end up buying yet another copy before my life is over.

There have been over 4 million copies sold at this point, so I’m not the only person to find direction in The Magic of Thinking Big. I can almost guarantee that you will find something in this ageless book by Dr. Swartz that will improve your life, even if you don’t think you need it.

I haven’t told you which phrases I used to strengthen my life. In reading, you’ll discover the ones that apply to you alone.

Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I am obligated to tell you that if you click on the book and order it from my website, I will receive a few cents from your purchase, but please don’t let that stop you. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Mahalo!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Our Little Battles

 

July 4 is our day to party. We grill out, drink and eat too much, then look for the best place to watch the excitement in the sky. Even our National Anthem glorifies the “rockets’ red glare.”

Our view of war is that of Major Battles, usually taking place “out there.” Yet we have battles “in here” as well. Those Little Battles consume most of our time and energy.

How do we handle differences, diversity and conflicts? We can say we are for peace, but not live in it! When my daily actions are made up of anger, or when I view my life in terms of winning or losing, as a victor or a victim, I will have war.

What Little Battles do you and I overcome?

Mahalo!

Aloha!
Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Thank you!

Old Recipes

 

From time to time, for as long as my emotional stamina can handle it, I go through boxes of stuff left over from my parents, primarily my mother. Such was the case this morning.

I found an old Sunset cookbook I’d given her years ago when I first moved to California. She had transformed a hardback book one-inch thick to an eight-inch thick scrapbook of old recipes from people from churches where my dad had been the pastor, from other relatives and especially from my grandmother, who had also gleaned recipes from parishioners in my grandfather’s churches. They were scribbled on the back of old bulletins, on the side of business cards, on napkins, on whatever was at hand.

In this cook/scrapbook I found love notes from my father to her, handmade cards to them from my brother and me when we were children, clippings from newspapers telling about all of our accomplishments, and so much more.

I was surprised at the number of recipes for making your own sweetened condensed milk, for example, or making your own sour cream to stretch dollars at the store. On reflection, I realize these ideas came from World War II and before that, the Great Depression. She also kept labels from products that she used regularly, but that may no longer be in existence today.

Mother and Daddy were in the process of trying to put together a cookbook, using many of these recipes. I started thinking what fun they would have had writing a blog if they’d had access to something like the internet.

I may try a few of these recipes and let you know how they turn out.

A hui hou!

Glimpses of Arizona

 

During my career as a pastor, I spent 14 years living in Arizona. Someday, in future posts, I will focus on different areas and aspects of that diverse state. With all the negative press around Arizona right now, I began to remember the Arizona I loved. Today’s post shows only a few of my favorite scenes.

I took the above photo on the ranch of a dear friend in Elgin, AZ. Here she is with the big guys – their draft horses. I do miss my own horses!

 

Other friends in Tucson sent this shot of the mountains in winter.

 

For a few of those years, I lived in the old barrio section of Tucson. My home was one of those that had been renovated, still keeping to the flavor of old Mexico. At the corner of my street was this wonderful remembrance of a time past. My dream was to buy it and bring it back to life.

 

When I can dig out other photos of my beautiful Arizona and convert them to .jpg files, I will share them with you.

Hasta la vista!

It’s Time to Relax!

 

It’s been a long week! I needed to get grades completed and posted. Then yesterday was graduation, and you’ll hear more about that later this week.

One spot where I love to sit with a cup of coffee or tea is this old ohia log my kids placed here a few years ago. It’s at a good height for a bench and there’s a little table nearby.

This next week will be spent in finally planting seeds and trying to get my vegetable gardening in some sort of repair.

Today, the ohio is in bloom, the bees are buzzing, my agapanthus is starting to open up, all the geraniums are in full brilliance. Do I really need an excuse to sit, relax and catch up with myself before the work begins?

A hui hou!

Lake Powell Sunset

 

Another meaning for “look up” comes to mind with the beauty around us. I took this particular picture of a sunset on Lake Powell in Arizona several years ago when I led a group of high school students on a “boating camp.”

No radios, cell phones, no blow dryers – nothing that would distract from the beauty of nature was allowed. Oh, they complained, but when we watched the beautiful sunsets and sunrises from our camping spot, they didn’t seem to miss the artificial noises.

When I lived in other beautiful states, I would get so caught up in my daily activities that too often, I forgot to “look up” at the mountains around me. Then sometimes I would make myself deliberately pull over and admire the sun setting behind a mountain, or watch the lightning flare in canyons, or watch the snow fall on a distant hill.

Don’t forget to “look up” at what is around you every day! What do you see there today?

A hui hou!