Joanna: Contemplative Envelope
Everyday when I write your note I start with your name "Joanna." Then I think... "What day is it?" and think of yesterday's note and add one more. 3-4-96, 3-5-96, 3-6-96. The days pass, one by one. No matter where we are, or what we do, whether we're old or whether we're new, it's just the days of our lives we're passing through!
The world Joanna - you can't imagine how beautiful it really is. Think of the different places - tropical islands, snow-capped mountains, deserts of sand, miles and miles of green fields. It's awesome! Think of the kinds of weather - bitter cold - blinding sun - stormy wind and rain - cool breezes, warm winds. It's awesome! Think of the people in the world - black and brown, yellow and red and white - old, young and babies of each. It's awesome! And just think. You get to be here in the middle of it all. So what do you do? You smile - you say "thanks" and you live!
What is happiness after all? Is happiness getting what you want when you want it always? That sounds more like some kind of incredible lucky selfishness to me. Yet getting what you want sometimes could be part of being happy. What does "want" have to do with "need"? Sometimes things we need we don't think we want. Funny but true. Those are the needs we don't recognize yet. Later we realize that something we needed as missing. Maybe happiness has to do with recognizing what our particular needs are and understanding the difference (and accepting it too) between our needs and things that we want. Why am I talking like this this morning? I don't really know. I guess that struggling to separate my own needs from my wants is something I'm involved in and I hope you are too. The more you understand yourself the better you are!
One of the hardest yet most important things for anyone to do in their life is to see themselves - see and understand. Understanding yourself is a broad phrase and I mean it in a broad sense. Understanding just who you are, what you believe in. Understanding your limitations yet always trying to expand them and grow out of them. Recognizing that you're changing and attempting to direct that change. Make goals and then work to achieve them - doing what it takes even though it's hard. Shaping for yourself a vision for yourself. Recognizing that you will only have this one life, no second chances to start over, to accomplish those goals. So make the most of each day, each opportunity. Find the joy in growing and becoming Joanna!
Life can be so beautiful Joanna. Incredibly beautiful! A sunset, a beach, the mountains, the clouds, an "A" on a test, a smile from a boy you like, a hug from your best friend. So beautiful it almost hurts sometimes. Yet life can be full of pain too. War, murder, poverty, drug addiction, fatal car accidents, a "D" on a report card, a snub from someone you thought was a friend, the guy you like hooking up with someone else, missing the free throw that would have won the game. All different degrees of beauty and ugliness for sure, but all these things co-exist in our world, in our lives, and why? Why the ugliness and pain? Why in every sport does one person or team win and one loses? It just can't be any other way. I love you so much!
Good morning. It's funny how we act differently around different people. I know that I act different around the director of a museum than I do with my employees or with a stranger. Buddhists believe you treat all living things with the same respect regardless. Jesus taught that as well "Love thy neighbor as thy self." Are your parents your "neighbor"? Are your teachers and friends your "neighbor"? Are the homeless people on the street your "neighbor"? Are starving children here and all around the world your "neighbor"? I think so.
A silly cartoon of a very beautiful girl. Your pictures were sitting here when inspiration struck. We are who we are even though we do our best to make ourselves into who we want to be. At 50 I still struggle every day to be a better person - to be more like I want myself to be. Some days I succeed better than others. All the days of my struggles merge to form the picture of me. The good days and the bad days blend into a whole. At least that's the way I see it!
Good morning starshine! Reach with hope for the light. It's there in front of you, play catch with it. Watch it. Study it. Bask in it. Work for it. Try. Try. Try. Grow towards it like a flower towards the sun. It's the salt in your stew. It's the honey on your lips. It's always there, just out of reach, but calling you on. Run, swim, climb, hop, skip, jump, sing, smile, dream to it. Always reaching. Never arriving. Full of love.
Good morning! "Sink or swim" I was just thinking about what that phrase means. When you're in the water it's up to you if you stay above water and make it to shore. The water doesn't, can't "care" about you and what you do. It's all up to you. It's not so obvious a choice on dry land. You can sit back and do nothing and survive. What would the phrase be that catches the dry land choices? "Sit or run"? Maybe... To sit could be akin to death and to run could be achievements. I'll have to think about it some more...
It's all about being quiet and listening. Listening to the quiet voice inside your head. Listening to the sounds of the world around you and hearing yourself in it. Your thoughts... what do they sound like? Do they sound like dreams? Hopes? Wishes? Do they sound frustrated and angry? How about happy and full of love? Be silent sometimes and hear yourself think. It's good to listen to yourself, to listen to your ideas, dreams, goals. When you can hear yourself, only then will you be truly able to hear others (good advice for me too!). I love you so much!
What a dumping yesterday hunh? Everything is smoothed and rounded and waist-deep white. Now, in the morning light, the snow is gray blue with a hint of lavender - beautiful. People can dump on people sometimes, rounding out their features, burying their unique light in a glob of anger and frustration. People can be supportive and illuminating of other people as well, bringing their specialness out into focus with the light of love. We build up; we tear down; we do both. I guess one goal for ourselves could be that we try always to build up more than we tear down. To illuminate and support more than we bury and crush. A worthy goal.
To walk, to dream, to wonder about it all. To think big, to think small, to stand down or to stand tall. Who will hear us when we call?
To fly and fly and fly and fly yet be nowhere but high. To laugh and laugh and laugh yet cry. Go all day long and never see the sky. Impossible to speak without sounding a sigh.
Yet we walk and dream as time rolls past. We fly and laugh and hope to last. Sailing on tied to the mast. We see the time in our shadow cast!
The sun rises up in the eastern sky just like it's done millions and millions of times. Will it continue for millions and millions more days? Creation. The earth. Art. Life. Find the key to unlock your door and follow the path forever more. Experiment, learn what works, what feels right and what seems wrong. Put it in your mouth and taste it before you say no. Open your heart first to yourself, then to another. At 17 try everything you can and embrace or let go and live as you do. Discover not deny. What are your choices? Who says? Who are you? Where are you going? Why? These are not scary choices - this is the excitement of living. Celebrate yourself every day. I love you so much!