Perfection and Creation

We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations. When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough. Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art. Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work. Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction? Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that the true meaning of the word only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are. Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

It may seem as if I am advocating the acceptance of ‘mediocrity’. I am not. By all means, aim for the moon, you may at least hit the stars! But also realize that everyone probably has a different idea of ‘perfection’, and, barring editors, publishers and the like, you have to be able to stop at a point in the creation and decide when it’s done, or when it’s “good enough”.

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe in many cases, “good enough” IS perfect.  😉

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

* * * * * * * * *

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Tropical thoughts

It’s summertime here in the South, and the weather puts one in mind of the tropics; the steamy humidity, warm summer sun combine to promise that you’ll need another shower as soon as you dare to step foot outside. Many years ago (2006), I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Big Island of Kona, Hawaii for a couple of weeks. You hear stories, of course, of the beauty, but nothing compares to the reality. It truly is a tropical paradise. The native people are very eco-conscious and generally helpful, friendly people. They have a deep respect for the Earth and their simple ways of life were incredibly appealing to me. It’s terribly expensive to live there, since the economy is tourist-driven, but if I ever had the money, this is where I would retire and happily spend the rest of my life.

I got to snorkel with Green Sea Turtles…

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006
Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

and see plenty of Yellow Tangs and Needle-nosed Knifefish (which floated right below the surface of the water in schools) — Both are types of reef fish.

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006
Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

 

 

Needle-nosed Knife Fish
Needle-nosed Knife Fish

I also got to see some amazing waterfalls (although it was raining like a monsoon when I went to see them) This is Akaka Falls…

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006
Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

One of my favorite pictures from the trip is from Pololu Valley. You could see the mountains, the coast and the rainforest vegetation all in one shot…

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006
Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

There were some wonderful examples of island art, from hammered tin gates…

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali'i Drive
Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali’i Drive

to the carved, wooden Ki’i statues in various places all over the island. These statues are usually meant as guardians to protect and watch over certain sites. This one is from “Place of Refuge”…

One of the Ki'i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge
One of the Ki’i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

To my great delight, there were even dragons!

Between Two Dragons at the Hilton

And Buddha was there, too!

Buddha and Me

It was such an inspiring trip, I couldn’t help but write a poem to help me remember the experience. If you ever have the chance, I hope you will go! It was an enriching journey for the artistic spirit and the soul of anyone who appreciates nature. 🙂

~ Kona ~


 

Muted moonbeams drift through vaporous clouds,

While gecko songs mesh with the soft click of palms.

Awash in the gentle susurration of waves’ persuasion,

The island breezes encourage me to let go…relax.

No pressure here, no hustle and hurry,

No scamper and scurry,

On “island time”.

Simply hang loose and flow.

The scent of exotic, tropical orchids,

Mixed with the lush green of giant, verdant ferns.

The bright flicker of numerous birds in the brush,

Calls from long-forgotten conchs and steady drums…

All convince me that I,

Have finally found my way home,

To Eden.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2006

((Someday, I’ll get back there and once more find that kind of peace and serenity.))

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

May 28th is Amnesty International Day

If you’re reading this right now, chances are good that you have heard the phrase, “First-World Problem”. I find myself thinking this phrase more than I would like, but I count myself damned lucky that I’m even aware of what it means.

When you live in a country as rich as America, it’s easy to take things for granted and forget that so many other places in the world lack basic, human rights. When you read the words “human rights” what comes to mind? Food? Shelter? Clean water? Freedom? Living life without fear for one’s safety? It can be difficult to empathize with those who do not have these things, if you, yourself, have always had them.

May 28th is “Amnesty International Day” and it’s a chance for you to help those in other places throughout the world who are being starved, tortured, oppressed, or who may have no shelter, no access to clean water, no one to speak up for them, and worst of all, no hope.

Image borrowed from amnesty.org
Image borrowed from amnesty.org

“Amnesty International Day recognizes the need to protect human rights around the world. The Amnesty International organization strives to accomplish these goals by providing awareness and recognition of the issues. They work to publicize local and regional problems, and to arouse citizens, governments and politicians to action.

Celebrate Amnesty International Day by:

  • Learning more about human rights issues

  • Becoming active in human rights causes

  • Writing your politician on human rights issues

  • Making a donation” ~ Source

This post isn’t meant to guilt trip you into donating anything, be it time, money or effort. It’s not a late-night infomercial showing you pitiful images of children who are little more than walking skeletons due to malnourishment. (As a side note: isn’t it telling that such infomercials are not on prime time television where so many more people would/could see them, but instead they are in late night spots where they won’t get the attention they need? Why do you suppose that is?)

Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org
Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org

I simply would like you to take a moment to think about what human rights you cherish the most and then find a way to help bring that right to a complete stranger. There are, unfortunately, countless human rights violations happening all over the globe. On the bright side, that means that there are countless opportunities to help. You can sign petitions, write letters, make phone calls, get involved in your local community. Or you can join movements like Amnesty International, and while the day is “Amnesty International Day”, nothing says you can’t join other worthwhile organizations who also strive to speak up for human rights. In fact, here is a quite comprehensive list of Human Rights Organizations, all in one place.

“Many organizations around the world dedicate their efforts to protecting human rights and ending human rights abuses. Major human rights organizations maintain extensive websites documenting violations and calling for remedial action, both at a governmental and grass-roots level. Public support and condemnation of abuses is important to their success, as human rights organizations are most effective when their calls for reform are backed by strong public advocacy.” ~ http://www.humanrights.com

Remember this:

“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church or synagogue meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder … you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Image from http://dailywordsofencouragement.com
Image from http://dailywordsofencouragement.com

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

A Poem In Your Pocket Day

Is that a poem in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? 😉

Image borrowed from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net
Image borrowed from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

All month, we have been celebrating International Poetry Month. Today, we’re celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day here at The Bardo. This event truly is a neat way to introduce and share poetry with just about anyone. One of the best things about pocket-sized poems, is of course, that they’re portable! No matter where you are, if you have a pocket, you can share, too. This page even has pre-made, down-loadable ‘pocket-sized’ poems in .PDF formats, so all you have to do is download them and print! Or here is another template from Scholastic.com that you can use on which to put your own poem. How easy is THAT? 😀

Image borrowed from http://jimmie.squidoo.com/hspoetry
Image borrowed from http://jimmie.squidoo.com/hspoetry

Probably the hardest part of participating in this celebration is deciding what poem to share. If it’s too long, it might not fit on a smallish, pocket-sized piece of paper. (Although, you can always print it out and then fold it up). It should be a poem that means something to you, whether it’s one that you’ve written and want to share, or one by a favorite author. The point is to get out there and share what you love about poetry! I combined this day with a couple of the other ideas I suggested back at the beginning of the month, to post poetry in unexpected places and take a poem to lunch. I utilized Post-It notes for the first one (both because of their stick-to-it-ness properties and because they could fit in lots of unusual places). I even recruited some friends to help me place the poems all around campus. I decided to use Haikus, because they are short and easy to write on Post-Its, and I don’t think they (Haikus) are properly appreciated these days. 🙂 Post-It Haikus As you can see, I printed the haikus with the authors’ names on them and taped a small note to the bottom which said, “Celebrate National Poetry Month all April!” I chose orange because it’s a high-contrast, noticeable color. I only actually witnessed the result of one of the poems I had placed…on the inside door of a restroom stall where I work…(captive audience and all that…hahaha). The young woman came out of the restroom holding the post-it in her hand with a big smile on her face. One of my friends posted one on the inside of the elevator door, so that you didn’t see it until the doors closed and you were in the elevator on the way to your floor. “Unexpected places”, indeed. When I “took a poem to lunch” I invited my mother to go to lunch and asked her to bring a poem, too. I chose Emily Brontë’s poem, “No coward soul is mine” (which had to be folded up to fit into my pocket, by the way) and my mother brought “If” by Rudyard Kipling. It was a wonderful addition to our delicious lunch. In fact, we enjoyed it so well that I think we may even do it next month, too. 😉 Have fun today sharing the poems in YOUR pockets. You never know, you may just inspire someone else to do the same! And please join us by sharing your poem with all of us here, in the online world, by using Mister Linky. © 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft All rights reserved

PLEASE USE MISTER LINKY BELOW TO CONNECT

THE URL TO A POEM OF YOURS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE

OR TO ANY POEM THAT YOU FIND ESPECIALLY MEANINGFUL

YOU MAY ALSO POP A FAVORITE POEM INTO THE COMMENT SECTION FOR THIS POST

IF YOU’D PREFER. Thank you! 

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

April is Poetry Month!

Since 1996 in the United States and 1998 in Canada, April has been deemed by poets, librarians, booksellers and teachers as the best month to celebrate poetry, as it has been recorded as the time of year when it can garner the most participation. Although the celebration of poetry in April started as national events in US and Canada, the Bardo Group is celebrating the month as International Poetry Month, since we are a multi-country, multicultural collaborative. Here is some history on how and why poetry month started and some ideas for ways in which you might celebrate with your friends and family.

image borrowed from http://thelivepoetsociety.wordpress.com
image borrowed from http://thelivepoetsociety.wordpress.com

It was started by the Academy of American Poets as “an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.”Source HERE is a great page and resource for what it’s all about. You can even receive daily poems by e-mail, if you like! THIS page has a list of thirty ways to celebrate. My three favorites among these suggestions are: * Put poetry in an unexpected place. I love this idea because the surprise element adds something extra – the very fact of it being unexpected may make more of an impact upon the person who sees/reads the poem, and perhaps will leave more of a lasting impression. 🙂 I’m already scouting out unexpected places to leave a poem or two! Post-it * Play the Exquisite Corpse game. (Rules can be found here) Simply put, it’s a game where the participants agree beforehand on what sentence structure to use, then provide one word and pass it along to the next person who has no idea what the word before is…and then that person passes along their word, and so on. It could be just a simple line of poetry or an entire poem, depending on how many people participate and/or how many times each person submits a word. What a fantastic idea to get people to have fun and collaborate, creating a unique poem in the process. I need to find some people willing to play, and if it turns out to be a success, I’ll post the results. 😀

Image borrowed from http://diaryofasmartchick.com
Image borrowed from http://diaryofasmartchick.com

* Take a poem out to lunch. My “lunch-time” normally falls between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. because I work the night shift, so I don’t often have company with me. However, this is the perfect excuse to take someone to lunch with me on one of my days off and bring a poem! Maybe the person I take can bring one, too, for twice the enjoyment and twice the discussion. 🙂

Image borrowed from http://blogs.thenews.com.pk
Image borrowed from http://blogs.thenews.com.pk

However you decide to celebrate, I hope you DO decide to at least read or write one new poem and help spread the appreciation to others. One of my favorite ways to enjoy poetry is by searching and finding the perfect picture for a poetic verse or quote. It can be a lot more challenging than you might think, and the image/poetry combination is often times far more striking and memorable to the reader/viewer than a simple line of type. Of course, always be sure to give proper credit for both picture and poem.

Though on The Bardo Group blog we won’t exclusively post poems everyday this month, we’ll certainly celebrate with many poems and poets from different times and many places. Along with the Academy of American Poets, we’ll celebrate A Poem in Your Pocket on Thursday, April 24, when everyone is invited to share a poem here and/or a piece about a favorite poet no matter the poet’s time or place. Mister Linky will go up and you can link in your own work or share a URL to work you admire. Or, if you prefer, you can share a poem or comment on a poet in the comment section of that day’s post. Mister Linky will open at 12:01 a.m. on the 24th. We look forward to seeing what you have to share then.

Image borrowed from http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com
Image borrowed from http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com

In closing, here are a few of my favorite quotes about poetry from some of my favorite poets. How about you? Any celebration ideas? Favorite poems or poets to share?

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”Khalil Gibran

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”Robert Frost

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” T.S. Eliot

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Purple Crocus ~

(( I think we’re all more than ready for Spring, with the Polar Vortex and the frozen hell that has swept across so much of the country this winter. One of the first signs of Spring for me, that I look forward to every year, are the Crocuses. Side note: wonder why the plural of Crocus isn’t Crocusi? 😉 In any case, this is a poem I wrote many years ago upon seeing the first Crocus of the season. I really needed to see something wonderful that particular day, and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint.))

Image borrowed from naturewallpapers.org

A little, purple crocus,
Was the first sign of Spring, for me.
It poked its head up through the ground
And waited for me to see.
It knew purple was my favorite color,
And just wanted me to know,
It was sweet, like me,
And gave me a smile
When I was feeling low.
Bright orange, fuzzy stamens
Cupped inside the velvet flower,
Whispered that all was not lost,
That I was alive another hour
So I’d better make the most of it
Before the sun had flown.
To think a little, purple flower,
Could remind me

Of this simple truth,
I’ve known.
~ C.L.R. ~ ©

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Seek Out the Four Leaf Clovers ~

(( March comes along and we’re usually reminded of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish. In keeping with that theme, here’s a poem that might make you think of four-leafed clovers a little differently the next time you see one. 😉 ))

Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons
Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons

I looked for luck today,
thinking I could use some.
My eyes, scanning, seeking,
green leaves of three.
Whole patches of clover,
beneath my soft shadow.
The masses huddled together,
covering, sheltering one another,
in a close-knit bunch.
Always only three leaves;
thousands of trinities, triads and trios.

Then I thought about you,
and there it was!
Magically appearing, as if summoned
by the image in my mind;
the perfect four-leaf clover!
It wasn’t obvious, like I expected.
Four, round, papery-thin leaves,
a dark Spring Green.
With creamy triangles
touching at the center.
All balanced on a slender, delicate stem.
Hidden in the midst of the ordinary.

And it reminded me of people:
Most are of the three-leaf variety,
but some,
some special ones,
grow differently,
with four leaves.
And sometimes, you have to search really hard to find them,
among the clusters of the mundane.

Like the symbols I compare them to,
they may bring you luck.
If you find them, cherish them;
press them in your memory book,
return to them when you need their magic.
Because sometimes, we all need a little luck.
~ © C.L.R. ~

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Soothsayer, You ~

((Shakespeare has had quite an influence on my life, from his poetry to his plays, to the point that not a March can come without me thinking of Caesar and the dreaded “Ides of March”. This came to me the other day as I was thinking about those Ides…I think all Muses must somehow be drawn to thoughts of The Bard…hahaha. Good, bad, I leave it up to the reader to decide. But the sentiment behind it is one I believe in 100%. Enjoy. 🙂 ))

Image borrowed from http://pkphotoshop.blogspot.com
Image borrowed from http://pkphotoshop.blogspot.com

Beware the Ides, and bitter tides of Life
That can catch you, drifting, unaware.
Beware whispered doubts and inner asides
That can make you feel
A restless need to compare.

“Energy flows where attention goes.”
I’ve heard it said, and choose to believe it.
You’re the only one who truly knows
What you want from life.
So go, my friend. Be bold, retrieve it.

Cast aside the toxic multitudes,
Stay clear of those who drag you down.
Beware of those with swiftly-shifting moods,
Like a riptide or current,
You can fall in, and drown.

Leave the negative Nellies to their nots.
Choose your path with purpose,
Sans rose-colored glasses.
Temper reality with positive thoughts;
Rise above the plastic, saccharine masses.

Know your strengths, believe in who you are.
Test limits, and accept that sometimes,
You’ll fail.
Self-confidence makes the journey less far,
Be your own soothsayer —
That’s how you’ll prevail.

~ © C.L.R. 2014 ~

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

National Shut-In Visitation Day

February is such a long, dreary month, don’t you think? It has grey skies and brown landscapes, cold and wet outside, seemingly endless. Many folks are getting “Spring Fever” already, so tired of being cooped up inside with nothing to do.

Image borrowed from http://www.aclutteredmind.org/the-blogging-blahs/
Image borrowed from http://www.aclutteredmind.org/the-blogging-blahs/

I was looking for a way to make a post for February that didn’t have anything to do with Valentine’s Day. It seems like when the middle of January hits, it becomes the Hallmark season for hearts and candy and flowers, etc. I have nothing against Love, per se, I just wish it weren’t so commercialized, is all.

Image borrowed from http://www.treehugger.com/culture/be-my-anti-valentine.html
Image borrowed from http://www.treehugger.com/culture/be-my-anti-valentine.html

Anyway, I did some digging, and I discovered that there is a holiday in February that probably not many people know about: February 11th is “National Shut-In Visitation Day”. 🙂 I rather like that, because it shows the true spirit of “love” when people can take the time out of their busy lives to spend an hour or two with someone who never or hardly ever gets to go outside and enjoy so many of the things that a lot of us take for granted.

Image borrowed from http://weighing-success.blogspot.com/2013/02/february-11-national-shut-in-visitation.html
Image borrowed from http://weighing-success.blogspot.com/2013/02/february-11-national-shut-in-visitation.html

What if you couldn’t just go outside and take a walk when you wanted? Or what if you couldn’t just jump in your car and drive to the store when you needed? For thousands of people, this is the case. They may be bound to a wheel-chair. They may be in a nursing home or place where they are not allowed to just “get up and go”. They may be elderly, or sick, or blind, too young, too old, or a hundred other things that make them a “shut-in”.

The true spirit of LOVE, in my mind, is the one that connects ALL of us. It’s the one that reaches out with compassion to say, “I’m here. I care.” Even when…no, make that especially when…it’s to a stranger. So perhaps if you have an hour or so to spare, you could visit a nursing home, a children’s hospital, or someone you may even know personally who isn’t able to get out and enjoy life the way you do. Your visit might very well be the only bright spot in their day! 🙂 Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring some happiness and cheer, some sunshine to someone who would really appreciate it? I guarantee you that if you do, you will BOTH be much better for it!

And maybe next year when February rolls around again, you’ll remember how nice it was to celebrate “National Shut-In Visitation Day”. Or heck, who says you have to wait until February? 😉

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

Editor’s note: This was supposed to post on February 11, which is National Shut-in Visitation Day. We apologize for the delay. It was the editor’s bad, not the writer’s.  

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

The Packrat Gene and the Clutter Queen

((With the new year upon us, many will be thinking about “de-cluttering” their lives for a fresh, new start. Buddhism and Taoism teach us that all that “stuff” we acquire and become attached to is actually detrimental to our lives and our spiritual well-being. With that in mind, this is a piece I wrote a while ago regarding clutter and “stuff”. I find myself looking around my house and having the itch to ‘purge’ some more material belongings. I imagine others do, too…))
Packrat by Ursula Vernon

I’ve often wondered in life if there really is such a thing as a “Pack-Rat Gene”? Is a tendency toward hoarding or clutter an inherited trait? I have to wonder, because there are so many members of my family who seem to exhibit this tendency. Some are worse than others, and I am determined NOT to fall victim to it in my lifetime. I think part of it stemmed from the generation who survived the Great Depression, where consumer goods like aluminum foil were re-used and re-cycled because it saved money. I can still remember my grandmother washing out plastic sandwich bags (yes, and reusing foil, too, we’ve all heard about that) and hanging them on the faucet upside down to dry. In that sense, it could be considered “frugal” or “thrifty” and so if I do it, too, it’s partially because of that, but also a small attempt at being environmentally conscious regarding plastic, etc.

I know that another part of it has to do with “creativity”. I think it was Einstein who said “Clutter is a sign of genius.” (*pauses to look that up*) Yup. It was him. I’ve also heard that it’s a sign of creativity, and I have close family members who take this to heart. But there’s a difference between the “clutter” of someone who is actively working on something, and “clutter” of someone who is storing anything and everything which might be useful “at some nebulous, unknown point in the future, for some just as unclear and unknown project in the future”. There’s a difference, and therein lies the secret, I think.

There is a point, and I think it’s different for everyone, where it becomes “hoarding” behavior. Like going to the store and stocking up on something you like because it’s on sale…but then going back again for the limit when it’s on sale again, even though you may already have enough to last you and your future generations through WWIII. I think there is a fear of “running out” or not having enough. I don’t do this, but I’m related to people who have and do. And I don’t WANT all that “stuff”. Perishable or not, I don’t want to clutter my living environment with “stuff”.

And it’s really ALL just “stuff”, you know. We can’t take ANY of it with us when we check out. Empty space has a tendency to fill. It’s like a Natural Law or something, and if it’s not, then it should be, because you know it’s true! The question is, is it “stuff” you’ll be using now or soon? We may not even BE here to use it tomorrow, so why keep it if you’re not using it? My dad always taught me it’s “better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it,” and to some extent, that’s a wise philosophy. It speaks of being prepared and anticipating future problems and solutions ahead of time.

BUT…there IS something very true about Feng Shui and the “less is more”, minimalist viewpoint. Clutter and hoarding speak volumes about what’s going on inside of a person – a person’s living environment can be very telling about their inner emotional and mental states. The two are tied together, and I think that cleaning up one can affect and help clean up the other (inside vs. outside or vice versa). Balance and order in one area can guide a person to both in the other area.

In an attempt to keep from becoming a “Clutter Queen”, I try to keep in mind a few things:

1) Can I or will I (realistically and actually) use something today or tomorrow? If so, how and for what? Unfortunately, my ‘skinny clothes’ probably fall into this category – I MAY end up at that smaller size again, but I sure can’t fit into them now, and they are taking up a lot of space in the closet and chest. Hmmm….

2) How does having something enhance who I am or benefit my life NOW, TODAY? Do I need it? <—Important note: there are sometimes when just having the peace of mind knowing I have something in case of an emergency (like extra oil for the car, for example) is worth having to store it.

3) Do I have the space for it? Keeping in mind that empty space will fill, do I really want to fill that empty space with this particular thing?

4) How does it affect my environment? Does it clutter or add to my ‘living space’ in a positive way?

5) If I bring in something ‘new’, I have to get rid of something ‘old’ to make room for it – it’s about keeping the balance/flow of what I want around me. If I REALLY WANT or NEED that ‘new’ thing, then there should be something ‘old’ that I can move out to make room for it.

So what about you? How do you handle the clutter in your life? Is it true that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”? Do you think there’s a Pack Rat gene? Or is it more nurture instead of nature (i.e. environmental upbringing instead of inherited traits)?

Thanks for reading. 🙂 Comments are welcome and appreciated!

– Corina Ravenscraft

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

A few bits of Soul Sustenance – A story, a quote and a poem

One of the things I like about parables or fables is that they have seeds of truth and wisdom condensed into “bite-sized” amounts of reading. I enjoy looking for new ones which I haven’t read and sometimes come across old favorites. For those of you seeking “Truth” (and all that the word with a capital “T” entails) I offer the following story:

The seeker of truth

“After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. ‘Ask the well what is truth’, he was advised, ‘and the well will reveal it to you’. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, ‘Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking’.

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, ‘You will understand in the future.’ When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of – or so he thought at the time – the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.” ~ Author Unknown Source

For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful sounds of a Sitar (the instrument mentioned in the story above), I offer the following beautiful example from one of the greatest players of our time, Ravi Shankar:

In addition to truth, one also needs moments of stillness and meditation to keep balance in life. The photo below is mine, but the quote is Lao Tzu’s:

Be stillAnd lastly, a poem written a while ago about something I rarely get to witness, since I’m a night-owl by nature:

~ Sunrise Sighs ~

Today, for the first time in a small while, I was awake to witness a fresh sunrise.

The purpled-pink fingers crept up like a smile,

gently waking the crisp air of still-sleepy skies.

Vaporous flames of bright orange hues, licking the velvet of dew-kissed dawn,

Sleep promised me a solid, deep, dreamless snooze,

But rapt in my awe, I stayed awake and gazed on.

I love the quiet, hushed hours of Night; they keep me content in a solitary peace,

But the rare, glimpsed glory of Morning’s soft light

Makes me ache with a sweetness that begs for release.

~ C.L.R. ~ ©

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Epic Every Day ~

Image borrowed from graffitizen.com

Image borrowed from graffitizen.com

Of all the heroes and heroines,
The ones unsung,
Are the ones I like best.
Of all the super-heroes’ skins,
Quiet humility cloaks the best-dressed.
They give the rest of the world a smile,
Those “little people” all over the planet,
Selflessly making our lives worthwhile,
Whose sacrifices we take for granted.
If you can read this,
Thank a teacher.
Free to speak your thoughts?
Thank a soldier.
The “value” of the jobs of each were,
In the minds of each beholder.
My superheroes are the common men,
And women who “practice random acts
Of kindness and senseless beauty”, and,
Whose inner radiance attracts.
This goes out to all of you, who,
Give of yourselves each and every day,
Practice compassion, speak kindly to
Those who need YOU to guide their way.
All of you, who sing and dance with light,
All of you, who speak for the voiceless masses.
All of you, who make the world’s wrongs right,
All you Clark Kents with your taped-up glasses…
You may not wear capes,
Or an “S” on your chest,
But YOU’RE the superheroes that I like best!
You have my thanks,
And admiration, too.
The world is so much better
Because of people like YOU!

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2011

Corina-1CORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is an old friend of The Bardo Group and a new member of the Core Team. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community.  In her engaging “about” on her blog HERE, Corina says, “I’m not a materialistic person, because I’ve learned that it’s not the “things” in life which really count, but the people you connect with, whose lives you touch or who touch yours. I don’t take anyone or anything for granted because I know from experience that it can all disappear in the blink of a cosmic eye.  People and animals are so much more important (and interesting!) to me than any kind of material possessions.”