The Value of Contrast in Your Life

Our bodies resist the value of contrast through its desire for the status quo or sameness, also known as homeostasis.

What do our minds think about the value of contrast? Do we want to listen to our mind, aka monkey mind, or inner critic?  When I have questions, I often research online. However, over the years I’ve collected a lot of books, most found in the self-help or new age section.

A Book on Contrast

As I was looking through my bookshelf in my office, one title caught my eye. As I pulled it out, the colorful page markers reminded me how influential it was in my spiritual growth.

Six years ago I read The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford. I resisted the idea of reading the book at first. The title sounded too bizarre. However, within a few pages, I was hooked. How freeing to embrace our darkness, or shadow side, by changing our point of view.

And it gets extra credit for the author and reader – Ms. Ford includes exercises throughout the book. You might also enjoy The Shadow Side written more recently in collaboration with Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. This book is organized as a six-week program, walking you through deep self-exploration.

Two Examples of Contrast

Judgement has long been a life lesson for me. Members of my family showed me how to manifest judgement in many ways, ranging from gossip to the simple act of reading the newspaper.

How can there be a positive in judgement? Quite simply, if I had  no judgement, I would step off the curb into the path of oncoming traffic.

Alternatively, think about this scenario.  We had a goal to buy groceries every Saturday morning. But this Saturday, we felt it was a good day to stay home with the kids and watch silly cartoons. Most of us would call that procrastination disguised as good parenting. What if our intuition led us to change our plans and we avoided a car crash on the corner near the grocery store? Procrastination is now good luck!

In Conclusion

This simple article has a deep meaning, like so much of life. Perhaps you can see the value of contrast in everyday life; the ivory and ebony piano keys, night vs. day, a word spoken in anger and the same loved one’s healing embrace.

May today show you the value of contrast.

With warmth and encouragement,

Dawn

Enjoying the Gift of Tranquility

Enjoying the gifts of tranquility by living in the moment is sometimes easier than others.

I planned my day thinking about enjoying the gift of tranquility. Formally turning in my volunteer materials at Bok Tower Gardens was my Monday declutter priority.

As I pulled into their parking lot, I thought, “Why not enjoy a nice lunch first, then a walk in the garden before handing over my notebooks and name tag.”

A Place Created for Tranquility

Approaching the visitor center, I stopped to read the Edward W. Bok quote, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” I breathed out a calming sigh.

Then I saw evidence that a bus load of active seniors was eminent. My focus changed. Quickly, I walked to the Blue Palmetto Cafe and placed my order. As I made my way toward my favorite table for two by the window,  I saw the volunteer leading the first walking tour along the ‘river of stone’, the participants clearly engaged in a story about Spanish moss. This was my primary volunteer job. I felt both sadness and relief to see someone else performing this service.

My sense of tranquility, looking out onto the pollinator garden, intensified during my meal. Normally, I quickly finished my two-piece sandwich wrap and wolfed down the bag of chips. However, my behavior has slowly changed. Last lunch here, I saved the bag of chips for over a week in my car.

Today, I started feeling full before even finishing the first half of the sandwich. In addition to tranquility, I felt a sense of accomplishment as I walked to the cashier for a takeaway box. For convenience, I returned to my car with my half-wrap and bag of chips. By the time I again reached the cafe area, the active seniors had finished lunch and  gathered for their special walking tour.

My Frame of Mind Had Changed

My feeling during this visit to the gardens was like any other member or guest who enjoyed the beauty and tranquility. I took the path less traveled toward a bird blind, “Window by the Pond”. I hadn’t ventured there during the three years I’ve been a member. Volunteering, I was too busy leading tours.

As I pulled open the heavy door, all my senses heightened. I stopped just inside the entrance, closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of the rough hewn benches and the earth beneath my feet. I heard the bird sounds from the trees above the roof of the blind before gently opening my eyes.

Water spread out before me, the surface reflected the blue sky and puffy white clouds. I slowly walked toward the large glass window and scanned the water’s edge for signs of nature. Next I stepped closer to the edge of the glass. My fingers ran across the words on the smooth surface of the plaque, which dedicated the structure as a place to view the natural Florida residents.

A Shared Moment

When I exited the blind, a male northern cardinal was perched on the back of a bench, transfixed on the squirrels enjoying the birdseed spilled beneath the feeder suspended from a large tree. I stopped in my tracks. Warning a visiting couple just entering the area across from me, I mouthed “Bird” and tilted my head toward the edge of the clearing. They had seen the squirrels, and now saw the bright red cardinal. We stood still,  a moment shared by strangers. Eventually we needed to move on. The couple stepped toward the pond, I moved past the squirrels and the cardinal flew back into the safety of the native wild coffee shrubs.

My Tranquility Continues

I made my way to the wetland, always eager to see the carnivorous pitcher plants. There are at least three different types; one tall and lanky, another short and squat, and finally a yellow hue marked the third.

Wanting to wander a bit more, I let my heart lead me along the mulch trails by the edge of the older garden plantings. There I saw the beginnings of the azalea display. Once again I closed my eyes. A slow, deep inhale and the faint scent of flowers filled me as I stood beneath the filtered shade of 90-yr-old live oak trees.

My uplifted mood continued as I walked back toward my car, my mind at rest. As I opened the door, I remembered to stretch my legs, loosening the muscles. Slowly, I eased onto the driver’s seat. Before turning the key, I took a moment in gratitude.

“Thank you for showing me the wonder of nature and slowing my mind toward enjoying the gift of tranquility,” I whisper.

Continuing my day, I felt the stress of others tone down a notch as they reacted to my calmness.

That’s the best part of enjoying the gift of tranquility, sharing it.

~ Dawn

Do Birthdays Really Have Special Meaning

I’ve always considered birthdays to be special. If you’re a parent, I think you know what I mean. I’ll never forget the joy of the birth of my two sons. But do birthdays really have special meaning?

Astronomy vs. Astrology

Stars have always given me a special fascination. Yet I never studied astronomy in college or even seriously on my own. But what is the difference between astronomy and astrology? Astronomy studies the placement of the stars and planets while astrology attempts to correlate how the heavenly bodies affect our lives. Check out Sky and Telescope for a great blog article on this question.

Is This Even Real?

Astrology was ever present in the daily newspaper and magazines I read in my young adult years. I’d always turned to my sun sign’s blurb for the week or the month, but my logical mind asked, “How can the same thing be true for everyone born during a 3-week period.”

The funny thing is it usually had a grain of truth in it.

Finding a Qualified Astrologer

Through a mutual friend, I found astrologer Michele Adler. I originally had my natal chart report in mid-2014 with C.A. Brooks, a talented astrologer in Denver, CO. Since then I’ve used three different gifted astrologers, but it seemed something was missing. Ms. Adler is retired, but if she has time, and you want to have your natal chart, she’s very qualified. Yes, friends, I recommend Michele Adler. And isn’t that how we get the best referrals, through friends?

A Peek Into My Chart

How the alignment of the stars and planets affects us is a personal story. Sometimes it is quite revealing or even startling. Here are some connections between my natal chart and -> my personality.

  • My natal moon was in Gemini, ruled by Mercury -> a lifelong learner
  • The element earth is missing in my chart -> scattered at times
  • The star Pollux -> seeking truth, however painful

Anyone who knows me, either personally or through my writing, is nodding their head while reading this list of connections. True?

Some Final Words

Astrology can have far-reaching effects. The biggest media blitz about astrology during my lifetime, occurred during a certain American President’s term when it was revealed the First Lady consulted an Astrologer. If you are know the answer, comment below. Are you curious? Use the popup on this page to signup for my newsletter where I reveal the answer to this bit of history.

If you ask yourself, “Do birthdays really have special meaning,” I invite you to search for an astrologer or ask your friends for a recommendation. Each of us has a path and I believe the Universe brings us the connections we need to walk our path. We only need to ask.