I am made for Autumn

Yes. The colors, the atmosphere, the way the light slant through the trees and on everything. The sky mix of hues, lavender orange pink purples and blues… The chilly breeze and evening fires, the rain, the smell of earth, late-blooming perennials shorter days and early nights. All of those makes me feel peaceful and warm.

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Self-Portrait

”She was broken but never hopeless; alone but never lonely. Her eyes reflected pain but projected courage. She was a beautiful paradox.”

If I’m going to paint my self-portrait, I want the end result to evoke these kinds of thoughts from the viewers. I want the image to radiate strength, complexity of character, vulnerability, compassion, and life experience. Beauty for me is more than looks alone but what can you see behind it, what the eyes tell you, how the overall picture affects you. Does it make you feel something? I believe that even inanimate objects have souls. Good art for me is if it has the power to make people lose themselves and imagine other worlds, different lives, a good art are the ones that tell stories.

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People Pleaser

“You can’t let people scare you. You can’t go your whole life trying to please everyone else. You can’t go through life worried about what everyone else is going to think. Whether it’s your hair, clothes, what you have to say, how you feel, what you believe and what you have. You can’t let the judgment of others stop you from being you. Because if you do, you’re no longer you. You’re someone everyone else wants you to be.”

—Steve Maraboli

I was born swimming against the current without being aware I was doing so and continued to be ignorant of my course for more than four decades before somewhere along the way I developed somehow a soft spot and all of a sudden I find myself -caring is not the right word but I will use it for the lack of a better one- caring what people might think of me. It’s addictive. Once you start concerning yourself with such things, it is difficult to stop. That’s about the time I started wearing lipstick and wear more appropriate clothes. I don’t go about wearing jogging suits anymore and ditched rapper/skater attires. I still don’t do girly-girl stuff but there is definitely an improvement. I acquired bags as well. Pricey designer ones mind you. I still don’t use them unless necessary but I have them. I miss the time when I don’t even have a wallet and my cellphone fits in my shorts pocket and I don’t even have to comb my hair. Those were the days. Now, I learned about loose powder and highlighter but I draw the line on fond de teint and concealer. I refused to treat my face like a wall, plastering them to look presentable. No eleven makeup brushes for me to dip in eleven different jars and bottles. Maintenance is more important to me than makeup anyway. I rather feel clean than looking pseudo-beautiful I don’t even recognize my own face in the mirror. But yeah, to each his own.

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Deep Down Below The Surface

I have a different idea of elegance. I don’t dress like a fop, it’s true, but my moral grooming is impeccable. I never appear in public with a soiled conscience, a tarnished honor, threadbare scruples, or an insult that I haven’t washed away. I’m always immaculately clean, adorned with independence and frankness. I may not cut a stylish figure, but I hold my soul erect. I wear my deeds as ribbons, my wit is sharper and when I walk among men I make truths ring like spurs.” 

― Edmond Rostand

Untangling My Chopsticks

“As my grandmother discovered long ago, the Japanese excel in cultivating nature. Their gardens come in numerous styles, including paradise gardens, dry-landscape gardens, stroll gardens, and tea gardens. Although each type has its own goal, tray all share the same principle: nature is manipulated to create a miniature symbolic landscape.
A paradise garden is meant to evoke the Buddhist paradise through the use of water dotted with stone “islands.” Dry-landscape gardens, usually tucked away in Zen temples, use dry pebbles and stones to create minimalist views for quiet contemplation. Stroll gardens offer changing scenes with every step, a pool of carp here, a mossy trail there, and a small bridge to link them both, while a tea garden provides a serene path to take you from the external world to the spiritual one of the teahouse.”

― Victoria Abbott Riccardi

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Eating Light

“There is a bench in the back of my garden shaded by Virginia creeper, climbing roses, and a white pine where I sit early in the morning and watch the action. Light blue bells of a dwarf campanula drift over the rock garden just before my eyes. Behind it, a three-foot stand of aconite is flowering now, each dark blue cowl-like corolla bowed for worship or intrigue: thus its common name, monkshood. Next to the aconite, black madonna lilies with their seductive Easter scent are just coming into bloom. At the back of the garden, a hollow log, used in its glory days for a base to split kindling, now spills white cascade petunias and lobelia. 

I can’t get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue campanula blossom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fiber of being immersed in the flower. …

Last night, after a day in the garden, I asked Robin to explain (again) photosynthesis to me. I can’t take in this business of _eating light_ and turning it into stem and thorn and flower…

I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light.

I’m going to sit here every day the sun shines and eat this light. Hung in the bell of desire.” 

― Mary Rose O’Reilley

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Peacock Pie

A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs —
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.

― Walter de la Mare

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A Garden Is Its Own Universe

Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

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A Privileged Space

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” ― Michael Pollan

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If You’re Trying to “Get your Body Back”—Stop.

By Bailey Gehrke

We’ve all heard it before: comparison is the thief of joy.

A simple concept that is so easily forgotten. When we fall into comparison, we tend to compare our current bloopers to another’s highlight reel. We compare the aspects that we deem “Need Improvement” to something that “Exceeds Expectations.” When we base our actions and thoughts off of what something looks like, we are always setting ourselves up for disappointment. Comparison truly is a thief of joy, contentment, and self-love.

Think of a time in your life when you felt your best in your body; felt the most comfortable in your skin. More likely than not, whether it was six months ago or 15 years ago, that time is associated with a number. The number that showed when you stepped on the scale, however, many years ago, and you felt the best about it.

And now, as we look in the mirror or see a photo we deem as “unflattering,” a little voice in our head says, “If you could just get back to that number on the scale again, you’d be happier.” Or, “If you could get back to that body again things would be better.” We then set off, using whatever means necessary, envisioning the moment when we look in the mirror and see our 15-year-old body, or our 22-year-old body, or our 35-year-old body.

Here’s an unpopular opinion—an idea we may not like: we will never have the same body twice. We will never look in the mirror and see our 15, 23, or 35-year-old body. Ever again. That’s not to say that we can’t reach that particular number on the scale, but it is to say that even if we do see that number on the scale, and we look in the mirror, our bodies will not look as they did then.

Here’s what I know: I have gained weight, then lost it. Gained a little, then lost a little. Gained a little more, then lost a little more. Through all that time and through all those transitions, I’ve never looked in the mirror and saw the same body twice, regardless of what the scale was telling me. I’ve seen the same number on the scale at least five times in the last five years, and it’s visually looked different every single time.

Here’s why this happens: our bodies have a certain percentage of lean body mass or muscle. On top of the muscle is fat. The amount of lean body mass we have, plus the amount of fat we have, plus some organs and important water stuff, equals our scale weight. The visual composition of our body is dependent on how much muscle we have and where the fat is distributed within the body. If weight is gained or lost, the amount of lean muscle mass is going to change as well, which means the fat that we have gets redistributed. When the fat is redistributed, it will visually look different, because the amount of lean muscle mass is different.

Basically, all that science-y crap means is that one specific time you saw that particular number on the scale, that scale weight was made up of a very specific amount of muscle and fat. It is very unlikely you will ever see that very specific composition again. Meaning, you will never look in the mirror and see the same exact body composition twice. Meaning, you should stop comparing your “today” body to your “then” body.

Men chasing after their “18-year-old self” six-pack, stop. A six-pack can be obtained, but the process to get there and the end result will look different. Using what worked then is negatively impacting your results now.

Mamas trying to “bounce back” from your last baby, stop. Your internal organs literally shifted, and you grew a tiny human inside of you. That’s rad. Your body can’t go back to the way it was because you’ve not only made space for a new little person, but your personal growth has filled in those spaces.

Anyone trying to “get your body back” after many years of “letting yourself go,” stop. You’ve learned so much in this time, you shouldn’t be “going back,” there is nothing for you back there.

Instead of focusing on what was or how something looked in the past, let’s change the narrative. How can we become the best versions of our current selves? Not the second edition of an outdated self. Going one step further, let’s ask ourselves, “What would the best current version of me feel like?” Notice how I didn’t ask, “What would the best current version of me look like?”

We are always changing, always learning, always becoming better. We wouldn’t trade what we know now for what we knew then. We are always moving forward, and so should our bodies

– via Relephant

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Mental Health VS Physical Health

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” ― Herophilus

In the recently concluded Miss Universe Pageant in my country of origin, a candidate who many thought would be a very strong contender for the crown and at the night of the event bagged most of the major awards struggled to answer this question from one of the judges: “Why is mental health as important as physical health?”  Not only she struggled to find the right words despite starting confidently, but she also ran out of time which many assumed cost her the coveted crown.

“Why is mental health as important as physical health?” 

I think most of us can answer why.

Without one of both life could be difficult. Though I rather lost physical than mental. I beautifully preserved healthy body is nothing but a useless shell without mental health. But vice versa is livable. Think of Stephen Hawking for instance. The mind is the matter because its the engine of our very own being, it is our command center and the editor of our deeds. Without it, we’re nothing but a living dead.

That’s why I can’t understand why in our current society they put the emphasis on beauty and less on mindful living. Outward appearance becomes our utmost priority instead of nourishing the soul.

I know why.

Because being beautiful is a privilege and pays off a great deal. Fairy tales taught us that from a very young age. Anything can happen but as long as you are beautiful you will be alright in the end. Beautiful people are being treated well, loved and adored. You can go far on beauty alone. Of course in every rule… but exception is seldom, in general, beautiful people have an advantage in every which way wherever, however.

It is sad but true. We can protest, philosophize, deny but it’s true. We can argue, hope wish but the fact will remain true. Unless we sort out our priorities. Aim and work for a healthy mind and body and concentrate less on beauty.

  Agree?

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Why Life gets Better After 50

Oldsters are the new black. 

Anyone over 50 is of rare value and in a league of their own.

Money can’t buy history or authenticity or experience, not all the money in the world.

There is no other way to get to be old than to live yourself there. It just can’t be faked—it is the very essence of what writers and filmmakers and influencers around the globe are always seeking—it is the real deal.

Far from becoming obsolete, older people are more relevant than ever, more emotionally complex, with better stories, and smarter jokes. Which is pure, commercial gold, if you care about that sort of thing.

Haven’t accomplished all your dreams yet? Don’t panic—our later years are the time to shine in a way that young stars just can’t. How could they? They don’t have the wisdom, the experience, or—let’s face it—the pocketbook to shine like a 50-something can.

To think that a person is washed-up or has nothing to give after mid-life is ridiculous. There are so many stories you can tell only after that age! It’s the only time in life when you are both interesting and have the wits and know-how to get things done properly.

Also, with age comes a new awareness of mortality which really tends to kick things into high gear. History is full of famous late bloomers, and we should all take inspiration from them. Some shaped the world we know today but would never have had a chance if they’d given up too soon. Charles Darwin, for instance—the first scholar of biology, the man who illuminated the concept of evolution—didn’t even get started until age 50.

So, if you haven’t made all or any of those goals or milestones yet, don’t fret and don’t give up!

Dreams can lie dormant for years, but they will come to life if you tend to them.

Dreams are like seeds, waiting in the soil for water. Water them. Start wherever you are—just start!

And remember, the older you get, the more you have to give. At 52-years-old, I’m proof it’s never too late.

Late bloomers really do rock!

~Excerpt from Diane Rios’ article in Elephant Journal

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