Gratitude for Scarcity (?)

Since this post today is reflective of our current times, it may not make any sense. I picked an ironic title on purpose, however, these words contain a wealth of meaning. I profess to be a “wordsmith”, but I’m also occasionally a rhyming poet, and always a rambling one, so this is what I see:

Where does the wealth go?

Nature’s abundance in the world. I cannot see it, for the trees,

which are not there because the forests are bare… Shelves are bare in the stores, we can’t get any more…

I cannot go out until I spray paint my hair (to cover up those roots!), or put on a cap and it’s getting too warm for that!

I cannot go on with this silly rhyme, but can’t help myself – do it all the time! (Anyone who knows me, swears this is true!)

Getting serious now, even as I ramble I can see the irony… How can you have an attitude of gratitude when there’s lack and limitation?

Answer: Not only CAN you have that “attitude of gratitude”, but you MUST in order to survive!

WHY?  Because there’s so much Real Wealth in the Natural World, that we humans neglect or simply forget, so…

here’s a gentle reminder:

Roses or any glorious blooms remind us of our budding creativity!

As soon as you shift from the feelings of lack and limitation to abundance, you open up the gateways of your imagination. Better that, than allowing the walls to cave in on you! It’s human nature to appreciate beautiful things, so surround yourself in your home with potted plants, bouquets of flowers, your favorite artifacts or family heirlooms taken out of the mothballs, and proudly displayed wherever you want. Doesn’t matter that no one else will see your household decor. It’s enough that it makes you feel good just looking at your treasures! Oh boy, and if it’s a homemade item created by you or a loved one — a painting, sculpture, or clothing knitted or crocheted by hand, that’s even better. 🙂

In addition, some sage advice to remember: “Health Is Wealth”. Now more than ever, nobody can afford to take their health for granted. Whatever is touted as boosting the immune system is getting loads of press, lots of attention. But the old adage still applies: “Let your food be your medicine; let your medicine be your food.” In other words, we need to be proactive with our health, and not rely solely upon doctors, drugs or think the next “magic pill” will do the trick…

I was just talking to a dear friend of mine, of my parent’s generation, and I was really concerned about her health. She’s had a chronic condition for a long time and wears a neck brace because she fell and injured her head/ spinal column and damaged the Vagus nerve. Here is a definition: “The vagus nerve runs throughout the body and is responsible for the function and regulation of main bodily systems such as the heart and digestive tracts. The vagus nerve is used to regulate a variety of body functions including the heartbeat and the muscle movement necessary to keep you breathing.”  Her courage and stubborn resilience has kept her going, when others would have given up!

Even, being so debilitated, my friend managed to drive quite a distance to a specialist, a doctor highly recommended to her. However, when she mentioned the problem and her symptoms, this doctor said he didn’t know what the “vagus nerve” was – had never heard of that!  What?? How could that be??  After driving over 50 miles to see this so-called “specialist”, she finds out there’s nothing he can do for her! Well, needless to say, she doesn’t have much faith in doctors anymore!  Her faith is in God and His divine plan for her life. I believe that’s how it should be! “Let go and Let God” is one of my favorite mottos, and is very comforting and reassuring. 🙂

We must hold fast to Hope, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Be grateful for what you have. Reach out to others who have far less – the vulnerable members of our society. So this is my CALL TO ACTION:  Sign and Send your Petition for Pandemic Relief to include undocumented immigrants!

Thanks for your care and concern! Bless you, and keep you safe!!

St. Francis’s Blessing of the Animals

There is a beautiful tradition I observe every year on October 4th, with our household pets. It is a holy day in the Roman Catholic church — The Feast of St. Francis. Though I may not always get over to church for the formal ceremony, I do a “Pet Blessing” for each of our cats, and even sprinkle holy water on them (though they don’t like it!). St. Francis of Assisi is my patron saint, as I am a wildlife conservationist and promote a vegan lifestyle, which does not exploit animals for food or clothing. I love that Pope Francis models himself after the “poor man of Assisi” with his kindness, compassion, and humble manner. I highly recommend the following book written by the Holy Father, for anyone who loves God’s creations and desires to protect them, and preserve the sanctity of Mother Nature:

In addition, and in keeping with the Patron Saint of animals, ecology, nature and our ecosystem, here’s the statement from Pope Francis on “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” issued September 1st this year:

I’ve compiled some relevant images to share on this special day, in celebration of our fellow beings! Click on any image to learn more.

Spending more time in the natural world, away from technology, is incredibly healing and restorative. Praying Nature with St. Francis of Assisi shows us the way:

And here is the “Blessing of the Animals” for at-home observance with your beloved pets:

God of all creation, at the beginning of time you gave us beautiful creatures of the earth as our fellow beings. And in your wisdom, these animals, like all good things from you, became more than that. They became our friends and companions. Loving St. Francis considered animals of all species his brothers and sisters. We ask you, therefore, to bless them in the natural world, and our own beloved ___pet name(s)___, that they may have a long and joyful life. Keep them safe when we cannot be with them, protect them from sickness and harm and heal their wounds. And bless us too, their human companions, with your Holy Spirit that we may care for our pets well, and be wise, gentle stewards of every one of your creatures and the earth, Mother to all life.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, who is Lord of all forever and ever. Amen.

For a radiantly beautiful and inspiring picture of St. Francis blessing eight dogs, birds and other creatures:

Have a blessed day, with your special friends!

Total Eclipse of Heart, Mind and Spirit

I have been “outed” by this solar eclipse, spanning the United States. The intense thrill, joy, excitement and global connection of a cosmic event is my first experience, as the last eclipse was 38 years ago.

I was away and in hiding for the last several months. This has been such a “trial by fire” for a lot of Americans, so shocking and unexpected that it’s difficult to believe that’s it’s really happening. The easy thing to do is retreat, sink into avoidance mode. I did that for awhile, hoping I’d wake up from this nightmare. But then I open my eyes, and lo and behold the red-headed POTUS is still there!

All this time’s gone by, and I’ve been involved with the Resistance Movement and town hall meetings in my community. There is one coming up with Ro Khanna, who replaced Mike Honda as Representative from California. Because of what’s been going on in our country, I’ve seen people who are boldly expressing themselves and joining in solidarity. I envision this monumental event as a catalyst for moving forward in our determination to honor our country and the world. And like the Bonnie Tyler song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, the Great American Eclipse 2017 is a sensory experience of such huge proportions that you can’t help but be swept up by the grand ceremony, even if you’re just watching TV coverage. Commentary by astrophysicists, incredible views of the moon passing over the sun, throngs of delighted onlookers gazing upward – whoa! What a rush!!!  It really makes you feel humble and respectful of the Universe.

No matter what troubles are wrought in the name of “progress”, the forces of Nature will always prevail. This is what I take away from my own experience of this cosmic spectacle. And it has definitely registered in my heart, mind and spirit, as I’m sure it has in yours as well.


Wisdom Wednesday: A Humane Nation After All

Dearest All,
Now that it’s said and done, we can still lift our hearts and rejoice in some good that came of this election. What encouragement Wayne Pacelle provides here!! People coming together to support protection of animals.  He is president of HSUS, Humane Society of the United States:

These states voted against factory farming and wildlife trafficking — YEA! Massachusetts (78-22%!), Oregon (70%-30%), Oklahoma (60.3 percent “no” vote). I think it’s pretty neat this spells the acronym M.O.O.! – Thank you for your sensitivity to factory farm animals’ plight and commitment to protect wildlife. Your voices were heard, loud and clear!

We need to speak up for other sentient beings who cannot, at least not in a language we humans can understand!

I don’t mean to gloss over the injustice of an overly ambitious yet under qualified person being elected President of the United States, I simply want to focus on the compassionate outcome of a burgeoning Humane Nation. Yes, to be human is to be “humane”. Louie Schwartzberg said it best in his interview on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday”:
“ We are hard-wired to protect that which we love.” And the natural world has so much to offer us — incredible beauty and  miraculous transformations (like from caterpillar to butterfly). Here’s a video of this cinematographer’s highly-acclaimed TED talk, “Gratitude”. Indeed, his audience fell in love with what they saw. Enjoy watching in awe and wonder!

Peace & Love to All,


This just in — Breaking News!! — November 23, 2016 @ 11:32am


We have exceeded our $10,000 goal for Kiko’s Fund, and your generous support helped put us over the top.

Thank you!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, the Nonhuman Rights Project is thankful for your support for Kiko, Tommy, Hercules, Leo and all of our future nonhuman plaintiffs.

We have many significant, groundbreaking legal battles ahead. Thanks to you, we’re closer than ever to securing freedom for—and bringing unprecedented rights to—these great apes and other self-aware, autonomous nonhuman animals living in captivity all over the world.

On behalf of Kiko, Tommy, Hercules, Leo, and all of the NhRP’s future plaintiffs, thank you for making it all possible.

We’ll see you in court!

Steven M. Wise
The Nonhuman Rights Project

Serene Sunday: Awaken Your Senses to Nature’s Wonders!

I have just finished watching the DVD on Findhorn Retreat with Eckhart Tolle, which was recorded in 2004 in Scotland. Wish I had been there! A beautiful location in a serene environment that is the perfect setting for its theme: “Stillness Amidst The World”, and good reason for this encore presentation of one of my most popular posts, from November, 2014. Eckhart Tolle speaks of being in the present moment, and seeing the miracles inherent in Nature, without the filter of labeling or identifying what we see in front of us. It’s like merging with the formless (which is spirit), and recognizing that we are part of everything around us. The following quotes beautifully embrace the sacred within the ordinary… Enjoy!

“Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer.”
– Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden

“The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience.”
– Henryk Skolimowski

“Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides. I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature. Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation – that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different. However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple. When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth’s natural altar – Great Spirit’s real shrine. Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature – God, Goddess, and Great Spirit – was humanity’s most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization.”
– John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below

“In all things of Nature there is something marvellous.”
– Aristotle


“In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like. The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku. … Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment.”

– Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master, Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31

“Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the
gardener’s repertory and yet it is the most neglected and
least understood. The faintest waft is sometimes enough
to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport
you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment
in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply
tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and
evaporating almost the moment it is detected. Each fragrance,
whether sweet or spicy, light or heavy, comes upon you
in its own way and evokes its own emotional response.”
– Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991

“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”
– Beverly Nichols

“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
– John Burroughs

My lilac trees are old and tall;
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roof and streets, to find the bees.
– Lousie Driscoll, 1875 – 1957, My Garden Is a Pleasant Place

“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.”
– Heinrich Heine

And so it is, ever was and ever shall be. Praise God and all of Mother Nature! May you have a happy “Leap Year”, and be grateful for the extra day to love and appreciate all that the natural world has to offer. 🙂

Feel Good Friday :-)

I’m starting a regular column today on a simple topic: Feeling Good. I have experienced so many moments of joy and even bliss that I got to the point where I just have to share. Otherwise, I feel like I’m somehow being selfish! But I’ve been told that sharing is caring and each time we experience a good feeling, it’s natural and desirable to “spread it around”, like delicious homemade jam on freshly baked bread. 🙂

And while you’re basking in this yummy metaphor, keep in mind that enjoying food though really nice is but a temporary “high”. I believe that now more than ever we need – no I should say we “crave” – a real, a genuine connection to the natural world. Appreciating the beauty of God’s creations yields more “feel good” moments that have a lasting effect for me (and most people), and they’re blissfully therapeutic!!

Here’s an excerpt from Louie Schwartzberg’s “Moving Art” blog. He’s the filmmaker and photographer whose “Gratitude” documentary film went viral on YouTube this year:

“When you’ve felt depressed or stressed out, have you ever decided to go for a walk among the trees or visit a beach to watch the waves roll in? How did you feel after you spent time in Nature? Experience has shown us that Nature is one of the best natural healers we have available to us… Going on a long walk and taking time to experience the awe of Nature has shown that it can lower levels of cytokines; according to the article, “chronically high levels of cytokines have been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and autoimmune conditions.”

There’s a name for this kind of dis-ease, and it’s Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) and the worst example is our sedentary kids. Children used to run, laugh, play outdoors, skin their knees and jump in piles of leaves. These days, they spend most of their time with iPhones, iPads, and read e-books on Kindle or other devices. But that’s another angle of this story, and I want to continue feeling good and sharing moments of peace, love and happiness, so there!

Speaking of which, check out Louie’s time-lapse photography, which is what’s made him famous:

And while this app is only available now on Mac and all the Apple contingents, that is changing and they are in the process of creating a cross platform. I just got off the phone with Elise at the company, so no worries!

And here’s another feel good moment to leave with you, from one of my poet friends:

      View on Twitter       

Beauty opens our heart. . . Indeed, so very true!!

Please share with me your own “feel good” moments that you recall. Who knows? I may even make a movie about them! 🙂

Wisdom Wednesday: Humor in Nature’s Little Wonders :-)

Here is another 15 minute “free write”, just as I did 3 weeks ago. Pardon the time lapse, and I have no excuse! My intention is to post on my blog at least twice a week, and I have more than enough material, believe you me! 🙂

Sometimes we find wisdom in unusual places, or from unexpected situations that often go unnoticed. Witness the following, and bear in mind my writing here is free-flowing, unedited, no spell check, and uncensored!

“How doth the busy little bumble bee go about her daily spree? She is heavyweight, not at all lite enough for flight. Does it matter in the least, tho she be quite a tiny beast! Stories say the bumble bee is industrious as can possibly be. She defies the law of gravity by flying high and defty moving from blossum to blossum and fulfilling her dream… The busy little bumblebee is so coordinated and graceful. So why should it matter that she has a fat ass? When you watch this fair creature in action, you have to marvel at her ease and grace, despite her amply endowed midriff. Bees don’t care about that “Fol de Rol” and such a discriminatory frame of mind. Let’s bee more generous about all beings who are larger than “normal” and admire and appreciate their many attributes. There is much to admire about the bumblebee. I have to watch myself around her, lest I get stung. However, I am careful and I don’t bother her, as she goes about her buzzing business, and she probably doesn’t notice me. All bees are hardworkers in the aminal kingdom and always fulfill their purpose each day. They have an innate wisdom and built-in time clock, knowing they have to finish their work before dusk or sundown, and be back at the hive well before dark. That’s why you never see a bee at night. I have encountered them in and around swimming pools. One time, I had to rescue a bee in the water, and get her to safety just outside the pool. I set her down gently, said a prayer and blew on her — what I call the “breath of life”. It would be rather difficult to give mouth to mouth resuscitation to a honeybee, wouldn’t it? Anywho, the honeybee did recover and flew away.  I was happy and so relieved.  I had just saved a life~!”