A Virtual Garden Tour

 


A walk in a garden always helps to lift my spirits. Not so easy to travel to some of the world's best public gardens these days. More and more gardens are offering virtual tours. Here is one from Claude Monet's garden at Giverny.

I Will Not Lose Hope


"The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof."
Barbara Kindsolver


 

Book Review - Notorious RBG

 

When John Lewis died I wanted to read more about his life's work. I felt the same about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I thought I knew a lot about RBG. 

This book gave me a lot more information about her legal fights, so many of which took place when I was a young woman in the 1970s. 

 Her court cases brought back so many memories of what women were not able to do before Judge Ginsburg. We couldn't have a credit card in our own names. We were denied jobs because we were pregnant or just of pregnant age. I remember being asked my the mortgage loan officer what kind of bird control I used, when my husband and I were buying our first home. 

 So much was at stake then and is at stake once again. 

Authors Irin Carmon and Shan Knizhnik describe their book... "If you want to understand how an underestimated woman changed the world and is still out there doing the work, we got you. If you picked up this book only to learn how to get buff like an octogenarian who can do twenty push-ups, there's a chapter for you too. We even were lucky enough to wrangle some of the most brilliant legal minds out there to help us annotate key passages from RBG's legal writing.

RBG has been extraordinary all her life, but she never wanted to be a solo performer. She is committed to bringing up other women and underrepresented people, and to working together with her colleagues even when it seems impossible. We are frankly in awe of what we've learned about her, and we're pretty excited to share it with you."



Today's Song

 Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down - Eric Bibb


 


One day - pre COVID 19, I was walking down the street, in Ajijic Mexico, when I saw this wonderful dog with sunglasses, sitting by himself in front of a mural. 

I so needed him that day. I had just received the news that my dear friend Leslie had died. I was feeling so sad and then I turned the corner and there was this great dog. I knew Leslie would have loved him. He made me smile.
 
Magic happens. 

I created this image using my iPhone XS Max Camera and edited it in the Hipstamatic app.

A Ted Talk To Give You Hope

 How a Team of Chefs Fed Puerto Rico
After Hurricane Maria



A Quote from Maya Angelou

 

"You should be angry. You must not be bitter. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. It doesn't do anything to the object of its displeasure. So use that anger. You write it. You paint it. You dance it. You march it. You vote it." Maya Angelou

Hope in Action

 


I recently read someplace (I don't remember the source) about a woman who decided to plant a shrub, vine, tree or flower every time Trump does something that irritates her.

I am going to be very busy in my garden.

Active Hope - Book Review

 


When we usually think of hope, we think of it as something passive, like wishing. I was searching for a different vision of hope and when I googled "active hope," I discovered Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone's book.

Although written in 2012, this book is meant for this time. The authors say... "Active hope is a practice. Like tai chi or gardening, it is something we do rather than something we have."


Ask Yourself, What Could Be the Positive Effects of Sheltering at Home? From S. Timothy Glasscock

 


I’ve been thinking. . . 

• We were sent home in the middle of March. This gives us the opportunity to begin gardening activities early and to ignite interest in spending more time at leisure and getting away on weekends.
 
• The increase of virtual teaching and removal from our usual work environment has forced us to make clear delineation between home life and work life. We are becoming experts at putting aside one to preserve the other. 

• Restaurants are closed or limited and grocery stores are complicated—so we are forced to cook and eat at home, using more garden produce and farmers market produce and meat. We’ve been experimenting w new techniques and ingredients & the outcomes are very rewarding. When we plan carefully, the opportunity to eat more healthily and control calories is enhanced. 

• We are locked behind masks and consequently separated by an imaginary barrier that squelches our usual sense of intimacy and human connection. The lack of comforting feedback we experience by observing facial responses and smiles in return for our interaction make us uncertain of how we are being received. Faced with this lack of the body language we are intimately accustomed to, we have been forced to look within ourselves for reassurance. . . What a novel concept.

Home / work balance. . . Time for ourselves and our family. . . Gardening. . . Cooking at home. . . And. . . Looking within for gauging our self worth.
Things we needed to do so badly all along.

Thanking Firefighters


The one thing I have learned from my friend Saoirse is to write thank you notes. It lifts you up as you write them and lifts the receiver up as well. 

My friend shared this video of the firefighters receiving thank you letters after the fires in Santa Cruz California. 
 

Gardenia Abundance

 

My Gardenias are blooming like crazy this year. Their beauty and smell remind me to be grateful every time I pass them sitting on the table. 

I tried for many years to get gardenia plants to bloom and they never would. I had lush green leaves but the buds would turn brown and drop off. I moved my three plants so they would get a bit more sun last year and I have had an abundance of blossoms ever since.

I had almost lost hope.

I shot this multi-exposure image with my iPhone XS Max Camera, using the Hipstamatic app.




Today's Song - I Am Light by India Arie


 


My gardenias are in bloom and they always lift me up.

Another Favorite YouTube Video from Joe

I watched this video in my science class in 1968. I can honestly say it changed my view of the world. I have never forgotten it. It was a huge influence on my beliefs. Cynthia



I liked to show Cosmic Zoom in my film classes for several reasons. Cosmic Zoom was released by the National Film Board of Canada in 1968. Many of my favorites were produced by NFB and several are on my whyilikeyoutube.com website. I am especially interested in the work of Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren and some of his work is on my website.


As I look at the film in 2020 I am drawn to several quotes from Albert Einstein that helps me gain some new appreciation for the film.


“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

“It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”


Joe

Walking a Labyrinth


Land's End Labyrinth and the Golden Gate Bridge

People have been walking labyrinths for over 3500 years. Today people use labyrinths for inspiration. They walk to help with stress, to deal with an illness, to help heal anger, grief and to quiet the internal and external noise of our lives. 

You can find labyrinths in churches, gardens, national forests, schools, hospitals, beaches, prisons and in many private spaces. 

People often confuse a maze and a labyrinth. Mazes have many routes in and out. They have tricks and dead ends. Labyrinths have one way into the center and one way out. Where mazes are more of a game, labyrinths are a spiritual journey. You never lose sight of the center while walking a labyrinth.

My Mother Walking the Outdoor Labyrinth, Grace Cathedral

The first time I walked a labyrinth was with my mother. She had always wanted to visit the two labyrinths at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. My mother was a long time meditator and knew how to consciously walk. 

At first I watched her walk from outside the labyrinth and was so very touched by her focus as she walked the eleven concentric paths while carrying her purse. 

Then I joined her. First we walked the garden labyrinth and then the one embedded in the Cathedral’s floor. I was quietly aware of her calm movements as we passed each other.

Not long after, my mom became quite frail and died. The following year I retired and moved to Mexico. One day walking along Lake Chapala’s malecon in Ajijic, I stopped to watch a man build a labyrinth. It was shaped like a heart and was dedicated to his wife who had recently passed away. In the center was a vase where he regularly places fresh flowers. 

So I now have a lakeside labyrinth to walk where I can find my center and remember my mom. 

There are so many labyrinths in the world today. You can find them in public spaces by visiting the website Labyrinth Locator

I recommend three books about labyrinths. 

Walking the Sacred Path by Dr. Lauren Artress  
Exploring the Labyrinth by Melissa Gayle West 

And if you are interested in building a labyrinth you might want to read... 
Classical Labyrinths: Construction Manual by Robert D. Ferre.

Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down

 


Trump and Republicans want us to be downhearted so we won't vote. I'm with Keb Mo and Maria Muldaur. Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down.

Book Review of Across That Bridge by John Lewis



I have defined myself as a nonviolent person since reading Gandhi in college. That view of who I am has been challenged many times in my life, but never as much as since trump took up residence in the white house.

I struggle daily, asking myself... what am I capable of to protect my family, friends, strangers and the U.S. from fascism. My thoughts and words have often not been very comforting nor nonviolent.

I picked up John Lewis' book Across That Bridge after he died. I knew he was a great congressman from Georgia, had marched with Martin Luther King and had received the medal of honor from President Obama.


I wish I had paid closer attention while he was alive. I did not know the depth of his spirituality, strength and commitment to nonviolence.

Lewis describes  struggle as "the act of making things right," both personally and in society. He goes on to say...

"And it is an expression of the inner dissonance a person experiences within his or her own mind and heart,  a continuing disturbance that will not cease until the circumstances have been corrected."

My copy of Across That Bridge bleeds with yellow highlighter. His chapters are broken down into...

Faith
Patience
Study
Truth
Act
Peace
Love
Reconciliation

My favorite quote from his chapter on Peace is "Sometimes you have to be willing to turn things upside down to make them right side up."

I needed this book. I needed it now. It inspired me, it challenged me to be better, it encouraged me to study.


What Makes Us Come Alive Theme Song



I decided that What Makes Us Come Alive needed a theme song. This little light of mine is perfect. The purpose of WMUCA is to lift ourselves and our readers up so that all of us can let our light shine.

There are many versions of this song and it is often quoted, Most recently I saw it mentioned in John Lewis' book Across the Bridge. It is my absolute go to song for hard times. Although many singers have recorded it, Sam Cooke's version remains my favorite.

So get up, dance and let your light shine. The world needs it.