Let it Be a Dance, performed by Manchester Hazard and the OVUUC Dancers!
Sunday, February 15, 2009
For a long time, I thought I had a pretty good grip on reality...as I defined it, anyway. I've believed that there are only two choices...love or fear. I still believe that, though I've really had to accept the fact that a simple choice...isn't always easy. Somehow, this year, I really lost my way and I don't think I'm alone. From our personal challenges, to our community challenges to the challenges our government now faces to pull our economy out of the dumpster, not to mention their pursuit of peace in the Middle East, the challenges of 2008 have produced a bumper crop of frightened, disillusioned people...including me.
Recently, there has been a shift in my consciousness and I'm wondering if anyone else feels it. A new president certainly helped to lift my spirits. Having a new computer is working wonders, but I realize, as I look behind me, that it was me who had to choose to alter my perspective, first.
Every time I tell someone "Nothing happens that isn't for your greater good", I always end up having to prove that, in some way. Every time that happens, I tell myself "I'm just going to shut up, now". But even now...even during the most difficult period of my life to date, I can honestly say that I still believe that. For the past year, I have been "raked over the coals" emotionally, spiritually, physically (though not literally).
Maintaining my "Pollyanna" attitude has felt impossible, at times. I have come to understand that choosing love, peace and joy does not mean suppressing your hurt feelings. I just had too many, to pretend they weren't there. It's been one of my most difficult lessons, because my brain says "choosing joy (when I feel like crap) is the best medicine," but how does one do that without suppressing feelings? Well...the trick, for me, is to go ahead and feel the things I feel, when I feel them. I mean, if I feel like crying, I cry without attaching judgement (there's a time and a place, etc.). Emotions need to be expressed, hopefully in constructive ways, but I have to let them out. It's in the "in-between" times that I can, consciously, choose love, joy, peace and if I do that, the hard times seem to shrink. They don't go away, altogether. We need them for our growth, but they shrink in my perception and fear of them. This ALWAYS ends up altering my reality, for the better.
So in the in-between times I meditate, dance, sing, breathing in joy, peace, love and especially gratitude. When I'm hurt I cry, rant, rave (being careful not to harm anyone), scream into a pillow, create art, write a song...whatever it takes to express it. Then I surrender the hard times. For me, it's to the Universe, but just the use of the words "oh well" can be a powerful surrender. The important thing is to keep from getting stuck in worry and fear.
I think that's where I have been, for the last year. Choosing love became a lot more difficult, at times and I was forgetting to make the effort, during the times I might have had the strength. Once I remembered to do that, things started getting better. Looking back, through all the hardships I can see that I still have food, a roof and an abundance of loving and supportive friends. I survived 2008 and I think I may have even prospered, spiritually speaking. I do know I've learned a lot. Things are looking way up for 2009 and I'm looking forward to a year full of happy "in-between" times.
Anyway, it's good to be back on line! Let's get this blog moving, again!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
I am a birder.
Who knew? I mean, I have always been a forest child. When I was little, my Mother would take us on long walks in the woods and teach us about all the wild things she knew. My father handed down a love of natural beauty...the colors in the sunset...fall leaves. They taught me the names of the more common creatures and to recognize the songs and sounds. Dad always had a bird feeder. He taught me how to use binoculars to get a very close look at Cardinals and Blue jays, Mocking Birds and Sparrows. When I grew up, life crept in and though I always enjoyed nature walks ("Wood's Tromping", we would call it), it wasn't until the late 1990's that I really began to pay serious attention to birds.
I lived in a sweet, little cabin in Yellow Sulphur Springs, VA. Our kitchen window looked out on to a, truly, magical place. Surrounded by forest, the buildings that were visible were very few, very old and fit the scene like a Norman Rockwell painting. I'd sit at that window for hours, watching our feeder, as I looked through various bird books for the names of all of our visitors. I learned a lot that year, but nothing compared to what I learned in a single day at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area in Oak Harbor, Ohio on May 10th, 2008; International Migratory Bird Day.
I am a birder.
It's a new label for me. Like when I first called myself an artist, though I had been one, all my life. Today I feel just a bit more real, if you know what I mean. I've started my list...and now I'm hooked. I'm real. I've enlisted. I'm a birder.
As evidence of my "officialness", I submit the following list:
1. American Bald Eagle
2. American Redstart
3. Baltimore Oriole
4. Barn Swallow
5. Black Throated Green
6. Blackburnian Warbler
7. Brown-headed Cowbird
9. Catbird (Oh...and ya gotta see this...Cat bird...lol...found it while surfing)
11. Great Blue Heron
12. Green Heron
14. Lincoln Sparrow
15. Nashville Warbler
16. Northern Parula
17. Northern Waterthrush
18. Prothonotary Warbler
19. Redbreasted Nuthatch
20. Red-winged Blackbird
21. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
22. Screech Owl
23. Swamp Sparrow
24. Tree Swallow
25. Warbling Vireo
26. White-crowned Sparrow
27. Wood Thrush
28. Yellow-rumped Warbler
29. Yellow Warbler
30. Yellow-throat Warbler
Not bad, for a single day of birding!
There was much more going on that day, than just looking at birds (as if that weren't enough). We were witness to a banding demonstration, which gave us a close-up view of many of the birds on my list. We had a lovely picnic on the beach (Lake Erie) and I bought a couple of souvenirs from the Friends of Magee Marsh. We stopped at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and also visited the Sportsman’s Migratory Bird Center, near by, where we were able to view a wide variety of raptors, up close, including an American Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Redtail Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon and a Barn owl. These were on perches, as they were all rescue animals. So sad for them to need humans so, but educational for us and, at least, they were being loved and cared for. Under a tent, next to them, were a variety of Owls including, Barn Owl, Barred Owl, Great Horned Owl and Screech Owl. There was also a special telescope set up inside the building where we could view a Bald Eagle on her nest!
All in all a magical weekend with great friends, good food, a little music and memories to last a lifetime!
Cool. I'm a birder.
© 2008 Bettina Makley
UPDATE! Click HERE for additional photos!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Thank you all, in advance, for your understanding.