Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year's End

Well, here we are again … the end of one year and the start of another … I once heard someone say, "And just one more trip around the sun," … Interesting way to look at it, don’t you think? Points out the cyclical nature of our lives to me ...
I've gotten into the habit of taking stock of what hasn’t worked in the past year and surrendering it for release and healing. So for many years now, every New Year’s Eve (I can’t remember how or when it started) I write a list of everything I want eliminated from my life and then burn it. 

I can remember on one particular night having gone to the movies with my friend John and we ended up burning our lists standing in a parking lot!and burned our papers!

New Year may be synonymous with Resolutions and Goals … But the real truth is that each and every new day can actually be seen and used as a new opportunity to begin fresh. As Allan Collins says, "You are literally reborn every time you wake up." 

The thing about making plans and setting goals is that they focus on what we need “To Do” ... to Achieve ... to Accomplish ... to Succeed … and while those aren't necessarily bad things, I have become acutely aware that much of the "Doing" of human beings is often an attempt to avoid the real Matter at Hand.

And that Matter is our heART … our Spirit … Our Essence ...our Authentic SELF

So, as we end what has been a very challenging year for many of us … and look forward to 365 fresh, new days ahead with the sense of the limitless Hope, Anticipation, Wonder they possess …

Think about this ... How you would like to BE in 2014? Who are you, really? What really matters to you?

How you would like to FEEL ... about yourself ... your loved ones ... your purpose?

Write about it ... paint, draw, collage about it. Begin to HONOR yourSELF in a whole new way ... a 2014 kind of way!

Wishing you all the happiest, healthiest, most prosperous and blessed year ahead!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 18

Winter Wonder - Land

I lived in South Florida for almost 28 years … and during that entire time I couldn’t help but think that it was a very weird place. Now don’t get me wrong … I didn’t miss the cold, snow, ice, slush, heavy coats, etc. etc. of northern winters … but at the same time it seemed totally unnatural to me to have summertime all year around. 

Having said that … every year as soon as the oppressive heat cycle ended … somewhere around October or November ... I was able to resume my daily ritual of getting up each morning and going out onto my patio to write, read, meditate, etc. 

One of the things I most enjoyed about living at one particular place in Ft. Lauderdale, was the variety of what I liked to call the “Usual Suspects” that made their home on the lake outside my window. 

Part of the usual crew were these strange little duck-type creatures called Coot … they were there all the time. Then there were the Seagulls who seemed to arrive sometime early in December and hang around until April or so (I guess they were the original Snow Birds, Ha-Ha!) 
The really curious thing about the Gulls was that they were never to be found during the daytime … then every day around 5 pm or so they would come back in droves … and I mean droves … hundreds and hundreds of them and for 15-20 minutes they would just fly around and around almost covering the sky … and then they would settle in for the “concert” of the evening … and melodious and harmonious, it wasn’t!! 

I actually had to learn to tune it out because when the windows were open all that cacophonous squawking actually got to be more than a bit annoying … 

By the next morning they would be gone again … only to return again at 5:00.
My son and I used to joke that they must go to work and come home at the end of the day … 

Anyway, I can remember one particular year there were several new additions … a group of 5 mallards … 2 males (the gorgeous ones) and 3 females … always together … And then there was the group of 5 pure Snow-White ducks. 

The curious thing about them was it always seemed like one minute they were there and the next minute they weren't. And what’s even more amazing is the on more than one occasion I might be praying or meditating and when I looked up there they were ... like some kind of sign from on high … 
One day I realized that I hadn’t seen the "White family" for a week or more … and Wondered why? Where did they go? Such are the mysteries of nature, I guess … 

I had been experiencing a rather intense emotional period … and was feeling “all shook up”… unsettled … uneasy … uncertain. And so on this one particular day, I had just finished my morning writing and was doing some reading and I looked up and there they were … the "White family" in all their splendor … 

They swam in front of my window heading west and then a few minutes later passed by again heading back east. By the time I got up to get a better look to see where they were going … they were gone … like “Now you see them … Now you don’t "

and a big smile broke out across my face … and a real sense of calm and reassurance came over me. I felt like I had received a sign telling me all was well … I could relax now and stop feeling afraid … everything was in it's Divine Right Order … 

But wait … there’s more … A short while later, two great blue heron flew right in front of my window … now that was a first … 
and if that wasn’t enough … I then saw something odd and colorful swimming under the surface of the water about 50 feet in front of my window … 
What creature could that possibly be? I had to put on my glasses and get up and move closer to the window and what I saw were three huge striped turtles clustered together moving thru the water … another first !!

So what do I conclude from all this?? There seem to be unlimited opportunities to Celebrate the Wonder of this magnificent universe ... and on that particular morning of that particular day, the things I saw and the things I felt had a most profound impact on me … 

and maybe the truth is that the signs are always there … if we are open and receptive … I certainly can’t say for sure … all I know was that for me … on that specific day … my heart opened … and my fears disappeared … 

and even if it were only for a few, brief moments … I had the experience of being part of some grand magical, mysterious, Wondrous Celebration of Nature … the Universe … and the Divine Spirit that connects us. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 17

In keeping with this month's theme ~ ~ Here are the 

 10 Most Awe-Inspiring Man-Made Wonders

Just a sampling of man's accomplishments throughout history.

What I found totally cool was that msn.com put Wonder in a category of it's own.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 16

I've never considered myself much of a fiction writer, but every now and then I get in a "flow" of sorts and out pops a story. The following is one such Wonder -Full example ...

The Littlest Christmas Tree

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful little tree that lived all alone on the top of a big hill. Now, he had not always lived there alone. There used to be lots of other trees just like him on the hill but from time to time big men would come along with big axes and chop down the bigger trees and take them away. 

So that now, the little tree was all by himself up on top of that hill and he was very lonely. 

He did have a beautiful view of the valley from his hilltop and from that position he could see lots of other trees of all kinds. There were so many trees in the valley that it seemed as if the valley were covered with a huge green blanket. 

It was really quite lovely to see, but it made the little tree feel very sad and even lonelier to see all of those other trees together and then to look around and see that he was all alone.

One day a big man came along and approached the little tree. The little tree did not know what to think. The man took his big ax and chopped the little tree down and then gently lifted him into the back of a big truck. 

They rode for a while and finally stopped. The little tree was again lifted gently and carried into the man’s house.

Inside the house, there was much activity and excitement. There were people running all around, especially little people not much different in size than the little tree himself. 

The big man set up the little tree in the middle of a big room and everyone gathered around him and began to put beautiful ornaments and trinkets all over his branches. They circled him ‘round and ‘round with tiny little lights but the very best part was the beautiful angel that they set on the top of his head. 
Then they started putting lots of gaily wrapped packages underneath his lowest branches. The little tree had become the most important part of the room. He felt very special. 

He realized that he had totally forgotten about his hill and feeling sad and lonely. He started to think that maybe this was what had happened to all of the other trees that had been taken away from the hilltop.

There was lots of music and laughter and merriment all around the tree now and he felt very happy ... a feeling he had never felt before. He began to realize that he was not like all of those other trees in the valley. 

He and the other trees from the hilltop were different. They all had a very special purpose. They were Christmas trees and it was their job to bring joy and happiness to families at Christmas time ... and to help families celebrate a very special feeling ... the special feeling of Wonder.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 15

Must See December 2013
For the past several months, I have been posting this collection of amazing photos from around the world. To me, they all inspire a Sense of Wonder. (Sept. - Nov. 2013 posts can be found at my other blog.) www.susanschanerman.com

Must-See December 2013 Must-See December 2013   "Dec. 2, 2013: These spectacular shots of an icy landscape bathed in shocking green rays from the northern lights are simply out of this world. Stunning waterfalls, chunks of floating ice & an imposing mountain top take on a supernatural glow under the aurora borealis."

There are a total of 21 photos. Do they inspire your Sense of Wonder? Which is your favorite? 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 14

                        SHINING STARS

                            Bright spots
                                              in the darkness
                            you light the way
                            out of the confusion
                                                  u n cer  tain  ty

                             that keeps the traveler
                                              lost and afraid

                             Steady streams of radiant energy
                                    your connection to the source
                                    is certain—Eternal

                             Chosen ones
                             to those who dare to open their eyes
                                   in the darkness of night


                             Ever-present reminders of Universal Truth

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 13

There's Something About Christmas ...

I'm very pleased and honored to tell you that the following article was chosen for publication in Unity Magazine in the December 1998 issue. It was the first time I had ever been paid for my writing !!

So, each Holiday Season I like to share it. For whatever reason, in the magazine the initial quote was removed and the title was changed to United by the Light. This year I decided to post the original article ... I hope you enjoy it !!

...The Christ spirit ever dwells within us awaiting our recognition and celebration. Every day can be Christmas, as we realize our full potential as children of God...

The Promise of Christmas
Thursday, Dec. 5, 1996 

Unity School of Christianity

Having been born and raised Jewish, I can remember as a child always feeling that I was missing out on something when the Christmas season arrived. The only acknowledgment of Christmas at my home was a family dinner on Christmas Day … And the only reason we did that was probably because everyone was off from work ... 

There was something so special about all those lights and decorations and gifts and special songs and Christmas trees … The excitement was so thick I could almost feel it … but around my house we had no part in any of it.

OK, we did celebrate Hanukkah and light the candles of the menorah and we even received some gifts … but there was no comparison to the magnitude of the Christmas celebrations. 

This year I seem to be in the midst of some kind of internal shift, because I am having a new and special awareness of both of these miraculous holidays of the winter season. Everywhere I look, I am finding stories and articles about Christmas and Hanukkah and the spiritual and metaphysical significance of each. It's amazing how many things they have in common.

I feel as if for the very first time I am seeing both of these celebrations as special and wonderful and I'm proud to have reached the point in my life where I can celebrate both, if I so choose.

Interestingly enough, a non-Jewish friend of mine went out and bought her first menorah this year, just because she wanted to have the opportunity to celebrate the Holiday of Lights. 

What I have found particularly significant is how both of these holidays center on Light … the Lights of the menorah and the Lights of the tree and other Christmas decorations.

Without even considering the more religious aspects, I find it interesting that at the darkest time of the year, when the days are the shortest, both of these holidays focus on Light as a beacon in the darkness. 

What that says to me is that both of these holidays are about a recognition and celebration of the Spiritual Light of Divinity which lies within each and every one of us.

Whether it’s the lights on the Christmas tree or the brilliant reflection created by the candles of the menorah, it's all about honoring God by letting the Light shine through us … honoring the quality of our Hearts … honoring our Divinity.

There's something about all these lights and the magical quality of the holiday season that fills children, in particular, with a sense of awe and Wonder

May we all remember to look at the world with those very same "childlike" eyes of Wonder … seeing things as if for the very first time … as beautiful and fresh and new. And not only at this time of year … but every day … and always.

Let us celebrate the true spirit of this season which brings us together, which Unites us in the Light. As James Dillet Freeman wrote …

the Christmas Spirit is …

"the spirit of faith in life,
a sense of the joy of living,
the Spirit of goodwill,
the faith that life and light will win the ultimate victory,
the love of God in the cradle of our hearts,
the heavenly light by which our mind is lit, and
the truth of our divinity."

May we live each day with that Spirit in our hearts. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Celebrations of Wonder 12

The Wonder of Wonder 2

I don't know about you, but whenever I see a rainbow, I break into a smile. This past Sunday was a perfect case in point ... it had been gray and overcast all day with intermittent bouts of rain and a cold front that had caused at least a 20+ degree drop in temperature. 

I was sitting at my desk and just happened to look out the window ... and there before my very eyes was a huge rainbow ... with a smaller one by its side ... and I couldn't help but smile. What is it about rainbows?
And for that matter, what is it about all of the incredible examples of nature's magic and mystery that strike such cords of Wonder? I certainly can't explain it but I do know I feel it ... how about you?

I think the whole point here is that if we do our best to remember to be as open and aware as possible ... as much of the time as possible ... we decrease the likelihood of missing so much of the magnificence of everyday life ... the Wonder that is just waiting for our recognition ...