As many of you know, I was visiting my oldest daughter over the holiday. We went to the beach on Sunday and the weather was forecasted to be a mixed bag of sun and rain. Sunday morning it was raining at the beach and that rain was then moving inland.
We went to the beach while the storm came inland. We went to Holden Beach and it was sunny and beautiful except there were hardly any waves, something Stephanie and I had never seen before. Over the course of a few hours, we had the most interesting sky, which I photographed. It was really a special day at the beach and then we went and ate crab. Here are some of my pictures. I hope you like them.
There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell,
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine. —Jane Kenyon
I have recently found many rumors circulating concerning the possibility that spring is sneaking in on the down low. There has been no head-on rush but signs and symptoms that spring is coming. The daffodils are up and teasing us with buds forming. The landscapers have edged my garden and we have uncovered the furniture on the porch. There has still been a chill in the air. No warm breezes but the suggestion of more to come. The trees are hinting to us. They are beginning to show the variety of soft light greens which spell ‘spring’. Bulb catalogs have arrived and have been perused. Robins have been spotted sneaking about looking for worms and the mourning doves no longer try to hide from the biting cold by huddling on my front porch.
So I write today to shake spring up and encourage a full frontal assault. Warm sun on the face, gentle warm breezes, the heavy fragrance of spring. Bring on the sound of basketballs being dribbled on the playground. Bicycles zoom by the windows and scooters soar down the street. Hail Spring! We are ready for you and all of the richness you will bring with you. It is sixty degrees now, just get on with it and embrace all of us.
It was 54 degrees today and tomorrow it will be 60 degrees. I am so excited. You can almost feel Ole Man Winter losing his grip on the Earth and on our souls. We are tired of the cold and the gray days. We are tired of the ache in our bones. So we look, we look for every sign that spring in nearing. The geese have returned and I heard birds singing today. I though I would show you some photos of the beginning of Winter losing its grip.
All Photography copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2013
“The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things.”
History has given us a parade of saints, seers, poets and philosophers who have instructed us to embrace “bliss” here in this life and not to wait until heaven. In America, Joseph Campbell began to teach us about bliss. He was followed by Bill Moyer’s, The Power of Myth. “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of tract that has been there the whole while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.”
We experience happiness when something outside of the regular dreary, repetitive routine of our everyday lives. Something external from us happens to shake us up and brings a feeling of gladness or happiness. It could be buying a new house, free tickets to a play, an invitation to a major league baseball game. If something happens to change the event we are upset and not happy any longer. The happiness came from an external source.
Bliss is not external. It comes from within and it doesn’t involve other people or events or times in our lives. You can recognize it when you experience joy, unusual sustained happiness or the awareness of the sensuous in the ordinary.
An ordinary life is something that conjures up images of drudgery and boredom and repetitive endless actions. As a child, I knew I didn’t just want to exist or survive. This was my concept of ordinary. But you can find the extraordinary in life with simple things. One very important aspect is to live in the moment. Allow yourself the pleasures of life. Smell the fragrance in the flowers even if they still need weeding. Stand for two minutes and find the dragon in the clouds. Put a pot of water on to boil filled with your favorite spices and allow yourself to enjoy the aroma all day long.
Set the table with special china once in a while to make the roast beef and steamed vegetables feel like you are enjoying Beef Wellington in an expensive restaurant.
Following your bliss can take you to a new job that you never expected to get or to finding a new friend who really “gets you.” Your bliss can be something that you can’t even imagine right now but the inner voice takes you to a place that just leaves you joyful.Your bliss can also take you to your backyard where you can have the most restful, relaxing day you have had in months. An afternoon lying on a chaise lounge in the sun, sipping lemonade and reading the book you have been trying to find time for, This can bring you sheer bliss and contentment.
Life can be filled with bliss especially when we listen to our inner selves. It is the incandescent in your life. It is the bandage which covers the wounds we receive in life and heals the wounds more quickly.
Bliss is personal and private like prayer. Women have bliss triggers and blockers. Mine is walking on a beach in the sunset. Yours might be mint chocolate ice cream. I feel bliss eating fresh veggies and fruit from a farmer’s market. Your bliss can be just taking a day trip and visiting your childhood home. That feeling you get when it feels as if you can’t stop smiling and are filled with sunshine.
This bliss is what can turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary one. Blogging is one of the things that makes my life extraordinary. Visiting an art museum to see a new visiting exhibit thrills me and I am experiencing bliss. I challenge you to start to take the ordinary in your life and make it extraordinary. And know that Divinity is well pleased. We are here to experience this gift called life.
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