Posted in Nature, Photography, Quotes

#FOTD – Passion Flower

Image Credit: Passion Fruit by Elena Belokrinitski watercolor pattern on Behance

#FOTD – Cee’s Zinnia

There has fallen a splendid tear from the passion-flower at the gate. She is coming, my dove, my dear; She is coming, my life, my fate; The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;” And the white rose weeps, “She is late;” The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;” And the lily whispers, “I wait.

Alfred Tennyson

I was walking in the park one beautiful morning and came across these passion flowers!

Posted in Awards, Concepts, Culture, Nature, Quotes, Social Justice

Spreading Peace with the GREAT ACHIEVER “महासिद्धी” BLOGGER AWARD I (GAMBA I)

Kamal’s Blogging Café: To learn more about the award and its rules, here is the link. https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com/2020/08/08/great-achiever-mahasiddhi-blogger-award-gamba/

Hello everyone!

A few weeks ago, I met a new blogger named Kamal who has introduced a new initiative with her new Great Achiever Blogger Award to spread peace among the blogging community. She is an ambitious visionary, and the award itself has such a beautiful origin story!

It has given me an extreme happiness and immense pleasure that I am here to introduce a ‘GREAT ACHIEVER “महासिद्धी” BLOGGER AWARD‘ to expand peace in our global village- WordPress. This award goes to a real achiever and successor who has been giving their creative feelings and thoughts exquisitely presenting a good perfection of work of art in WordPress Writing.

I am from a birthplace of Gautam Buddha who enlightened many parts of the world in his lifetime by his wisdom and knowledge of equanimity, or peace of mind which is achieved by detaching oneself from the cycle of craving that produces trouble. And, from a lap of Mount Everest, giving an adventurous taste of mountain climbing to the people around the world. The most important thing is purity from the Himalayas, everyone get tastes of pure water flowing from mountain to the hills and then Terai region spreading tranquility in spring.

“महासिद्धी” is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the “Siddhi of perfection”. A Siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers.

We are a member of a global village “WordPress” to help shape the world peacefully through our continuous effort to dedicate and invest our valuable time for writing giving a perfection, i.e. “महासिद्धी”.

What an introduction! Thank you, Kamal. ❤ I’m truly honored and humbled by such serendipity. Throughout my journey in blogging, earning a badge for reaching particular criteria is a fascinating concept. I apologize for replying sooner as I have many other obligations outside of my blog.

However, spreading peace is a wonderful cause I can easily rally behind during these times. Unlike a peacekeeper, a peacemaker is neither passive nor fearful. Throughout history, society has a myriad of approaches for maintaining peace. The complexities of human nature, being what it is, has demonstrated conflicting ideas of how peace will transpire.

It takes diligence to remain calm within your heart in the midst of chaos. I have known many bloggers who have done this well but are award-free. Thus, I will open this nomination to any of my readers who would like to contemplate and explore these ideas.

Rules & Regulations

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, with a link to their blog.
  2. Make a Post of the Award with a Statement of PEACE & SAVE ENVIRONMENT as above. Tag your post with the #greatachiever.
  3. Mention the rules and regulations.
  4. Ask 7 questions of your choice. One of the questions must include “PEACE” and one for “SAVE Environment”.
  5. Nominate at least 7 fellow bloggers or more to 21 bloggers and notify them.
  6. Follow @kamalsbloggingcafe (https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com) to secure certification as a badge to get a chance of collecting badge of GAMBA WORDPRESS SHINING STAR AWARD for PEACE & SAVE ENVIRONMENT. For more details, visit https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com/award/.

Musings

I like to imagine climbing Mount Everest one day, but I think I’m content watching the incredible views in a documentary while I condition myself. 😉 If you are not familiar with the Terai region, these flatlands stretch along the border between Nepal and India. They can be quite beautiful in the spring time.

Image Credit: Knowledge @ Wharton

With such sweeping, natural beauty, it’s unfortunate to know that the country is struggling with many challenges such as natural disasters, cycles of extreme poverty, and political instability, to name a few.

Image Credit: Sagarmatha Dispatch-Gazette
http://sceenius.com/2015/07/27/flatlands-of-nepal-the-terai/

Some of my readers are aware that I was raised with mixed religious traditions. Sometimes, my hybrid, eclectic upbringing has led to some friendly tension with my “pure” friends, but c’est la vie! (That’s life!) 🙂

Years ago, one of my classmates once called me a “Bodhisattva“. I had no clue what that was, so I looked it up.

A person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.

Oxford Dictionary
Image Credit: Stephen Lucas
Kuan Yin (also known as Avalokitesvara), Bodhisattva of compassion

My father’s brother was a Buddhist monk. When I was a young girl, I attended various beautiful temples with some lovely gardens and fountains. My dad said Buddha’s birthday was near my own which I thought was a fun piece of trivia. There I spent time with and learned from other monks and more devout Buddhists.

Image Credit: Dan Pancamo
This photo contains an example of some of the colorful, architectural elements that I remember most

Kamal’s Questions

  • How can you be a good blogger as a member of WordPress Global Village?

If by “good”, you mean integrity: I pay it forward and recognize other bloggers whenever I can or when time permits. I help others enjoy the blogging process and encourage them to keep growing in their craft if they’re new. If they’re veterans, I participate in their challenges. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers, and I learn new things everyday.

  • Could you please define a word “PEACE” from your point of view?

I’ve experienced many peaceful moments singing with groups of people in harmony. I also enjoy digging my toes in the sand and feel the ocean wash over my feet as I see the sun rise.

Image Credit: Wallpaper Cave

A picture is worth a thousand words.

American adage coined by Henrik Ibsen

For the past few years I’ve been following photography entries for the Global Peace Photo Award inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Alfred Hermann Fried and Tobias Michael Carel Asser. The photos are quite compelling. Here’s one I absolutely love!

Image Credit: Maria Turchanova, Russia
The World as a Manifestation of Love
  • How can we save a tree?

Sadly, I’m trying to save a weak crepe myrtle tree that has developed some lichens. It’s been fighting to stay alive for a very long time. I need to apply some herbicidal soaps and add more mulch. I feel like I have to accept the inevitability of the cycle of life on this one, but I will keep trying so long that it’s showing signs of life and sprouting new leaves.

  • Do you think human trafficking is still a crosscutting issue? 

Yes, human trafficking is one of the largest crimes in the world and intersects with a variety of studies. “This Power and Control wheel outlines the different types of abuse that can occur in labor and sex trafficking situations.” -Polaris Project

Image Credit: Polaris Project
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project’s Duluth Model

It’s even in my own backyard! A few years ago, the store where I worked at made national headline news. A trucker was smuggling illegal immigrants across the border in a large 18-wheeler truck. One of my coworkers reported suspicious activity in the parking lot and heard yelling inside the truck. The individuals in the truck bed were suffocating in summer weather, had no water, and no restrooms. Some died due to asphyxiation, and many were treated at the hospital.

Infographic Credit: Department of Homeland Security (Blue Campaign)
  • What thing do you sacrifice to make a happy family environment?

One thing we sacrifice is our pride and need to be right. We apologize when situations warrant it.

Pride is the longest distance between two people.

Kushandwizoom
  • Which animal do you like most? Why? 
Image Credit: Pixabay

The panda is one of my favorite animals. The symbolism behind the panda as a spirit animal really resonates with me.

  • What do you think about the journalist or Youtubers? 

Youtubers and journalists have a platform to share news, photographs, and information that they have gathered and researched with the public. They share their opinions, their truths, and sometimes deliver a new angle on an existing topic. Journalists expose themselves to potentially dangerous situations everyday. Youtubers also deal with their particular trolls. I feel that those who move forward in such situations are courageous and resolute.

Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy.

MSNBC
  • Is a movie-star play a vital role to aware most of the people around the world or just they present their performance to earn money?

There is a wide spectrum of the type of movie stars out there. Some movie stars try to raise awareness about many pressing issues. They play a role in the movie to enact change or shift the public’s mindset about a topic. Sometimes, they raise money to donate to a charitable cause. Audrey Hepburn danced in underground concerts to raise money for the Dutch resistance during World War II for instance.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

There are also movie stars who have done a movie purely for the money. I feel that there is no shame in this sort of honesty as money is a necessity. Acting is a profession, and they don’t call it “show business” for nothing. Do I feel that some are overly paid exorbitant amounts of money? Sometimes, but it’s peanuts in relation to an underground network of elite individuals who the public doesn’t see or know about.

Sometimes, actors would just like the cash and openly admitted it like Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Paul Bettany, Richard Dreyfess, Eddie Murphy, Jackie Chan, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Michael Caine, Marlo Brando, Betsy Palmer.

Image Credit: Fanpop
Ben Affleck in the movie, “Paycheck”:

My Questions

  • What does peace mean to you?
  • How do you resolve conflict?
  • What is one thing you do to help the environment?
  • How does security play a role in maintaining peace?
  • What kind of food makes you feel at peace with the world?
  • If you won the Nobel Peace Prize, what would you want the award recognize you for?
  • If you were sign up for the Peace Corps, what kind of work would you consider?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time! 🙂

Featured Nighttime Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Posted in Culture, fiction, Music, Nature, poetry, Quotes

#Paint-Chip Poem: Think of Me Fondly

Image Credit: Telegraph, Why the Faroe Islands needs 37 words for fog

Far from the rolling hills of Denmark,
lies Aalborg’s famous House of Music.
Beyond the brushed aluminum exterior,
audience members gaze upon the stage

Opera enthusiasts wait for the singer
With shut eyes, she whispers “open sesame
as the invisible curtains part ways in her mind
Starry backdrop of lapis lazuli skies
gives way to her glowing presence

A brilliant spotlight shines upon her
Thousands of sparkles glitter across the stage
Her melodious voice flowed with honey
with no signs of rusty inflections

Image Credit: Think of Me (The Phantom of the Opera, 2004)

Think of me, think of me fondly 
When we’ve said goodbye 
Remember me, once in a while 
Please promise me you’ll try 
When you find that once again you long 
To take your heart back and be free 
If you ever find a moment 
Spare a thought for me

“Think of Me”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera

Image Credit: Musikkens Hus, Aalborg House of Music, Aalborg, Denmark

Posted in poetry

#Paint-Chip Poem: Her Wedding Day

Photo by Annie Timmons Photography

She applied some lipstick and smacked her lips
The soon-to-be bride was just peachy
She was going after the whole enchilada
After all, it was her wedding day!

Calligraphed sand dollars for the guests
A wonderful apricot nectar cake for dessert
Bridesmaids were happy with their coral dresses
She and her fiance helped decorate the beautiful venue

The Melrose Knitting Mill
A restored mill warehouse in downtown Raleigh
An elegant red brick space where fantasies comes true!

Image Credit: Etsy
Linda Kruschke’s Paint-Chip Poetry #32
The only difference I can see is that the all of these paint chips are gradients of a red pigment except for the sand dollar. It sure is a toughy! 🙂
Posted in Culture, Dreams, Quotes

#SoCS- Murmurings of Czech

If European cities were a necklace, Prague would be a diamond among the pearls

Anonymous

Czech Republic has been a country I’ve frequently heard about throughout my life. Whether it was my high school project on the Cold War, a Sabrina the Teenage Witch comedic sitcom episode, or one of my many places on my director’s travel wish list, Czech has always struck my curiosity with a peculiar fascination.

Though travel slow right now, I have a travel membership that allows me to daydream a bit in the meantime. They have categories which makes it difficult for me to choose:

  • Go Back In Time in Prague and Beyond
  • See Picturesque Prague by Land and Water
  • Relive Medieval Times in the Czech Countryside

Prague

Here are some snapshots of some areas in Prague I found on the website! The towering Gothic architecture is a sight to behold!

Walking around the Prague is comparable to being in a fairy tale: except for one minor detail: it’s real. 

Lust for the World (1 day in Prague)

Prague; the city so beautiful that it was spared by Hitler… or so the story goes. Prague is a living and breathing enigma; old and dirty but somehow unimaginably graceful.

World of Wanderlust

The ancient splendor and beauty of Prague, a city beyond compare, left an impression on my imagination that will never fade

Richard Wagner

It’s easy to fall in love among the winding cobblestone streets and snow-covered castles of Prague, but is it a good idea?

Dana Newman, Found in Prague


Detinice Castle, Kralovehradecky

Excerpt from Unusual Hotels of the World:

Medieval themed hotel providing magical middle ages experiences in an authentic setting

This property is a fantastic escape from the day to day boredom and way better than any chain hotel for stories to tell your friends about. Step back to a more rustic time and enjoy the authentic and imaginative attention to detail, the quality of entertainment, excellent food, wine and the whole atmosphere to make your trip memorable and truly MEDIEVAL!

Wooden floors, wooden beds, simple and rustic furniture – original pieces, candle lit rooms, unique bathrooms – simple, rough but stylish, wooden faced flushing toilets, etc. Behind the decor, the facilities and service are modern.

Dinners are served in the next door Brewery Tavern – an extravaganza of banqueting, drinking and regular live entertainment medieval style.
Feast on food prepared on a traditional open fire and beer served by tough and tender wenches of the Inn. Be entertained by swordsmen, jugglers and dancers in the candle lit vaults.  But be prepared for medieval mannerisms – keep in check or fall foul of the Innkeeper!!

A part of the Dětenice resort – baroque Chateau, adjacent Medieval Tavern with Brewery and authentic style Medieval hotel.

Eastern Europe has been really trendy. Prague is the best-preserved city in the region … and the best beer in Europe lands on your table there for 50 cents.

Rick Steves

I will end my daydream with a quote unlike the ones shown above. I suppose I need a balanced perspective! 😉

How can you not love a city that has a pub with vinyl cushions on the wall above the gents’ urinal, so you can rest your head while you ‘go’? Where you can order a beer without speaking, simply by placing a beer mat on the table? And where that beer is probably the best in the world?

But it’s not just exquisite ale and a wonderfully relaxed drinking culture that keep bringing me back to Prague. There’s also wit and weirdness in equal measure: a public fountain where two figures pee in a puddle, spelling out literary quotations; a 1950s nuclear bunker hidden beneath a city centre hotel; and a cubist lamppost. Quirky doesn’t even begin to describe it.

-Neil Wilson (Lonely Planet)
Posted in Dreams, fiction, Nature, poetry

Painting Landscapes with Bob Ross

It’s the imperfections that make something beautiful. That’s what makes it different and unique from everything else.

– Bob Ross

Last night, I enjoyed digitally painting alongside Bob Ross for the first time. His soothing voice helped quell any anxiety as he takes you away to a fantasy world of luscious landscapes. Bob also said that as you’re painting, you can create a story along the way. So, I will link up to Denise, author of Girlie on the Edge’s Blog for her Six Sentence Story word prompt.

Invigorated by the fleeting, fresh smell of pine, Mirela admired the radiance rippling across the lake during her morning stroll in the fields while munching on her croissant breakfast egg and ham sandwich.

Mirela vanquished her fear of unknown and retreated to the mountains, a dream destination, away from the noise and bustle of the city life she’s been in the thick of for decades.

The care of her sanity was treated with high priority during a tumultuous time in history, so the guidance of her heart has led her and her husband to this peaceful place.

She enjoys the quiet moments of checking out the woodland creatures scurrying away to their homes holding food tightly to their chest while hiking her way through the woods.

As she came back from her brisk walk, her husband had just finished chopping wood to add to the crackling fire on the hearth of the fireplace.

They walk into the cabin together preparing to drink a glass of delicious wine and feast on some delicious pot pie.

Also in response to:

Posted in Crafts, Dance, Dreams, Events, exercise, Nature, Photography, Quotes

Gratitude During a Chaotic Time – Daily Quarantine Questions📌

He transformed into a tough security guard, and wherever I went, he was there….

Image by fsHH from Pixabay

Last night, I had an disturbing dream where a coworker’s omnipresence at a building’s every entrance unsettled me. With his steely gaze, he said firmly, “Sa, you can’t leave. You have been QUARANTINED.” I look behind me to find a packed auditorium surrendering to the shadows.

This morning, the city mayor and important officials imposed a shelter-in-place order on the residents for at least three weeks to help “flatten the curve“. Those who choose not to follow the rules can face a fine of $2000.

In the midst of the fearful masses, courageous people throughout the community have displayed admirable, selfless acts of service. A small alteration business has been donating their fabric to help make more masks for the medical professionals in the hospital. There has been an increase in volunteers at the homeless shelters and food banks helping those that are most vulnerable.

Fear and faith can’t occupy the same space.

A friend shared a post-it note and the above declaration with me. I thought to share this post-it with you and invite you to reflect on these questions in your own lives.

Friend checks up on me and sends me a thoughtful post-it🗿 💌👆💡

1. What are you GRATEFUL for today?

Good morning from my end! 🌻🌅

  • Emojis! Regardless of how Rory Gilmore feels about them!
  • Stress-relief balls of all shapes and sizes!
  • Yarn for crocheting Harry Potter House scarves for everyone!
  • Adult coloring books, comic books, and magazines to create collages!
  • Business and work that allows me to work from home!

But seriously…. Most of all… Dare I say it? 😆 YOU’RE da bomb! 💣💥

Today, I celebrate having 600 followers on my blog! 🍹💝 THANK YOU! You guys are all rock stars in my eyes! 🙌 Shining bright like diamonds in the sky creating beautiful constellations.

Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I, we’re like diamonds in the sky
You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy
….
At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays
I saw the life inside your eyes

Rihanna

Each of you has impacted my world one way or another. Words cannot express how deeply appreciative I am for your presence. You have brought a full spectrum of emotions from jubilation, sadness, humor, and companionship into my life by sharing pockets of your life through a variety of mediums: film, poetry, story, & photos.

Truly, you’ve made my life richer. You’ve even inspired me to take my first virtual poetry workshop (Sharpened Visions) hosted by California Institute of the Arts on Coursera which I never thought I would do.

2. Who am I CHECKING IN or CONNECTING WITH today?

Unable to visit anyone due to new laws enacted in my city, I’ve checked in family, friends, coworkers, former coworkers, and other acquaintance-friends in my phone book. A friend who worked on the front lines as a medical worker passed away recently.

Today I’m checking in with you! How are you? Are you relishing the homebody lifestyle? Or…are you itching go somewhere?

3. What expectations of “NORMAL” am I LETTING GO OF today?

Such a timely question considering how the purpose of my blog explores just that! Lately, I’ve noticed that there is a deeper spiritual hunger which wants to be quenched perhaps not just in myself but around the world. I came across this story below.

Image Credit: Radhanath Swami Quotes

Finally, after over an hour, a beautiful sight rose before my eyes. The Yamuna River, descended from the Himalayas, having flowed through the plains of North India, was embracing Mother Ganges—Yamuna with her complexion of deep blue, Ganges with hers of white, and the transparent Saraswati joined them from below.Sitting on the sandy bank, I gazed into the cloudless blue sky.

Image by avalok sastri from Pixabay

There, a hawk, wings extended, soared the airways. His reddish-brown feathers shone in the sun as he hovered lower and lower, till he was just a few yards above my head, his glistening yellow eyes intently scanning the river. Suddenly he plunged headlong into the Ganges.

Image by VIT DUCKEN from Pixabay

There, a frantic underwater skirmish ensued until he emerged with a flapping fish, about a foot long, pierced in the grip of his talons. Squirming desperately, the fish was carried overhead and into a nearby forest. Looking on I reflected:

The unsuspecting fish, who knew nothing but a life in the river, went about its routine like any other day, but in an instant was ripped out of its reality to meet with death.

Like that fish, we routinely live our lives hardly aware that, at the least expected moment, the yellow-eyed hawk of fate in the form of crises, tragedy, or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment.

We regularly hear of it in the news or see it around us but rarely take seriously that it could happen to us. Perhaps the lesson here is to guard against complacency and give higher priority to our spiritual needs.

If the fish swam deeper, the hawk would not be able reach it. Similarly, if we go deeper into our connection to God, we will find an inner reality so deep and so satisfying that it lifts the consciousness to a place where we could deal with the effects of unforeseeable fate with a stable, detached mind.

– Radhanath Swami (Excerpt from The Journey Home Book)
Dwarf Gourami Fish

4. How am I GETTING OUTSIDE today?

There’s a grassy field behind my place that’s absolutely deserted now. I’ll just sneak out there for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine!

5. How am I MOVING MY BODY today?

Today I’m finding inspiration in these absolutely adorable dancers! I will attempt to dance many styles along with them! They make it look like so much fun! 😀

Also, I need a rhythmic cardio-in-place workout like jump roping. Inspired by this talented Hungarian jumper, Adrienn Banhegyi.

6. What BEAUTY am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?

CREATING a beautiful desk work space!

CULTIVATING zucchini indoors!

INVITING a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers!