REVEALED BY LIGHT


INSIGHT: A CALL TO BE REVEALED

By Marisol B.

Given that the prime characteristic of the beautiful; is light or radiance, I would like to reflect on some of the ways in which our own beauty might be revealed.

I would like to ponder upon the manner in which the inner intelligibility of a being is made visible, and the moments when one realizes and recognizes the great beauty of one's own existence.

A GIFT BESTOWED UPON US

I would like to start off with the thought that beauty is vested upon a being; it is gifted and perfectly given - ready to be revealed. As described by Michael Angelo; his masterpieces were already in existence, and all he had to do was to take away the excess marble in order to reveal their perfection.

The above places us at a point of identifying what parts of our own life and existence are in need of sculpting, building, and revealing. What parts need to be hit by radiance, order, and integrity; as to appear more beautiful and inviting.

Pondering upon these things, the following three points come to mind:

01. We are beautiful and complete; yet not fully revealed.

As we journey about life, it is important to remain mindful of our worth and individual gifts. We are all filled with great potential and perfection. There are times when we will be tempted to forget this simple truth and become clouded by doubt, fear, and a false sense of unworthiness. Let us remember the gift we have been given in existence, and the great endowment that entails the fact of being (versus doing or having).

02. Virtue brings light into our being and existence.

As we grow and work towards constant self-actualization, the beautiful and perfect parts of our being are more visible to others and ourselves. Having a clear vision of the virtues we wish to cultivate within our own lives; and acting upon these, bring a coherence of life that is both, attractive and appealing.

03. Magnanimity (i.e. a generous spirit) reveals much light upon itself and others'.

The greatest way in which our own beautiful identity and growth is truly revealed, is through the concrete means in which we give of ourselves. Having a constant desire to add value to specific causes and people, enables a spirit of service and collaboration.

As we move forward with our lives, let us be ever mindful of these principles and apply them consistently; lest we forget our inherent and perfect beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONGING FOR THE SEA


We long to sail on the sea of life and yet we are afraid of leaving our safe harbor

WISE WORDS FOUND VIA NEW YORK ENCOUNTER:

Longing for the Sea and yet <<not>> Afraid

We embark on the journey of life spurred by a promise of happiness in our heart. But then, fear of the unknown makes us hesitant, especially if the destination is not certain. Desire chocked by fear appears to be the common experience of our time.

We strive to build relationships and overcome divisions, and yet we end up stifling true dialogue, due to preconceptions or conformity to the demands of political correctness. We dream of achieving greatness in some dimension of our lives, and yet we settle for a comfortable life. We ache for something new (and constantly check our smartphones in expectation), and yet we abhor events that are out of our control. We crave stability, but we are unsure that what is true today will still be true tomorrow. We strive to be more "mindful" in the present, and yet our mind is always fleeing from the here and now. We desire belonging, and yet we dread relinquishing our freedom. We long to encounter a lover, a friend, a father who will break through our radical solitude, and yet we are afraid of losing ourselves.

We long to sail on the sea of life and yet we are afraid of leaving our safe harbor.

 

A LESSON IN HUMILITY


LOVELY IMAGE VIA SIGNORA E MARE

LOVELY IMAGE VIA SIGNORA E MARE

The title of this particular entry was written on 11 October, 2014 as a draft. I have no idea what was on my mind that day, nor what impulse drove me to write it, but as I encounter the words today, I find myself in need of so much of that very virtue; in need of so much humility...

It is so easy to get caught up in a world of busy tasks and little whims. It is easy to forget where one stands in relation to the entire universe, and the smallness; yet greatness of our ever searching soul.

Oh how do I need to be reminded of the simple beauty in life; even as I share this little project, which promotes that very ideology. I am grateful for the great community I have come to know; one who shares the same longing for what is true, good, and beautiful. Let us remind one another; lest we lose sight...

A CALL TO BE AWAKE


IMAGE: ELEANOR HARDWICK

IMAGE: ELEANOR HARDWICK

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.
— Roald Dahl

BY: MARISOL B.

Many of us have ran across individuals and situations filled with a je ne sais quois; something out of the ordinary. We have all been around people that seem to be in a state of grace which helps them navigate through circumstances in an almost seamless manner.

We wonder how they may reach such a state of peace and we leave their presence wanting a bit more of that for our own lives. During an interview, writer Dan Millman elaborated on the topic of interior peace and mentioned a story of inquiry; where a soul who wondered the identity of another; so distinct, received the answer, "I am awake."

What exactly does it mean to be awake? A shot or two of espresso every morning might make our brains more alert, but it is our ability to intentionally notice life in its fullness, that brings about a wider readiness to conquer each part of the day.

OUR THOUGHT PROCESS

During a recent research, UCLA professor Alan Castel found interesting data surrounding the way we filter information, pay attention to certain details, or assume how things should be, based on accumulated knowledge.

Our brains filter information which we think might not be relevant to our most important needs or wants, and miss valuable details on the periphery that would at times allow for great insight.

When we are children, we are fortunate to constantly explore the world around us, and as we grow older, the accumulation of information demands a different thought process; therefore, the option to maintain a sense of wonder becomes available through intentional behavior.

NOTICING PERIPHERIES

To be awake, is to step outside of our busy brains for a bit and to allow ourselves to take notice. It is to raise our conscious thought process during moments of our day, so that we may give space to otherwise missed possibilities.

We are called to focus and prioritize, but also to avoid tunnel vision and awaken to the details around us.

Let us navigate through either tempest or calm waters with ease, awareness, and great joy.

THROUGH A RED DOOR


Photo Credit: Michael McKann

Photo Credit: Michael McKann

By Marisol B.

These days have been filled with news about life and death, and as I searched through my files to find words of comfort, I ran across a piece titled Through a Red Door; written many years ago. I thought it would be good to share, along with the above image; which sits on my desk as a reminder of what lies behind this mysterious and beautiful door:

THROUGH A RED DOOR

Look at that door, where does it lead?

Should I ring the bell, or do you hold the key?

A tall red door, whose other side is completely unknown,

but whose crimson color is so attractive; so mysterious.

I have knocked a couple of times,

and I have overheard laughter on the other side.

It is red as the blood it was tinted with;

symbolic of the love it portrays.

It is the door to heaven, the door to eternity.

But if I ring the bell, or if I find the key, and if I am invited in...

and my laughter is heard from the other side one day...

A PLACE TO CALL HOME

By Marisol B.

MMXV | PAGE 3 of 365

As we begin a new year, I pause to ponder about additional ways in  which I may become my best self. This is something I tend to do year-round, but given the occasion of a brand new year, I wished to give it a bit more thought.

As I kept pondering, I remembered about a TED talk by Elizabet Gilbert that had inspired me in the past, so I decided to search for it to listen anew; and it was then, that I was once again reminded of the importance of recognizing home. That little happy place where I am called to wholeheartedly devote myself for the duration of my life.

I would like to share the talk below, as I hope that it provides just as much inspiration:


MAKING SENSE OF LIFE


Image by Sauerbruch Hutton

Image by Sauerbruch Hutton

This past weekend, we paid a visit to the library and as I perused a few shelves, I came across a few Philosophy periodicals. One of them had an intriguing fictitious conversation between philosophy professors and Socrates in the midst of Elysian Fields. As they exchanged a few ideas regarding Secondary Qualities; they each provided insight around the long asked question - If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it still make a sound?

Reading this made me ponder for a while and  allowed me the great opportunity to remember the wonder around the very fact that we are given life. It is through this very quality that we are able to sense our surroundings. Our very existence provides a myriad of possibilities; that would otherwise be soundless, tasteless, or colorless.

I could not help but be grateful for my senses. I was glad to be given the opportunity to perceive the world and its beauty through touch, sight, hear, taste, and smell. It reminded me to stop and be a lot more conscious and aware about this gift on a daily basis.

Image by Mabry Campbell

Image by Mabry Campbell

Our library visit was followed by beautiful prayer within one of my favorite chapels. Captivating light, heavenly music, the smell of incense, and the taste of the eternal. I was then inspired by our intuitive and spiritual ability to sense, not in a temporal manner, but in a more transcendent way, I was reminded of the possibility of life eternal...

 

 

REACHING THE SHORE

This month has come to an end, but #thesea remains; waiting to be rediscovered. Whether we watch, as it continues to kiss the shore, or explore its depths; there is much to be grasped about this beautiful body of water...

For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.
— Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Those who have explored it; have been greatly touched, and therefore invested themselves in protecting its beauty. THE BEAUTY OF EXPLORATION, reveals the wonders of #thesea and inspires us to ponder deeper, about our own place within its vastness. 

Some choose to create beautiful works of art, to express a side of the ocean that words can seldom describe. ZARIA FORMAN is a beautiful example of this, and is able to touch the soul with her large scale pastel drawings.

Music has been composed, words have been written, the sky has reflected its beauty, and throughout it all, the sea continues to touch the shore, as if calling us back, to go deeper into its mystery...


Feel free to share any stories about the ocean, using the hashtag #thesea

POWERFUL BEAUTY


IMAGE: KEVIN GILGAN - VSCO GRID

IMAGE: KEVIN GILGAN - VSCO GRID

I am inspired by the words of great traveler Alan Estrada, as he describes the ocean's powerful beauty:

"The sea inspires in me; so much respect and admiration, it sometimes makes me fearful. Nonetheless; there is so much beauty in it, that it is difficult not to enjoy it.

Witnessing its immensity; home of so many living beings, I cannot help but to make an exercise of humility, and remember how minute we truly are; despite believing otherwise."


"El mar me genera tanto respeto y admiracion, que a veces me da miedo; sin embargo, hay tanta belleza en el, que es dificil no disfrutarlo.

Al ver algo tan inmenso; hogar de tantos y tantos seres vivos; no puedo mas que hacer un ejercicio de humildad y recordar lo diminutos e insignificantes que somos; aunque a veces creemos todo lo contrario."

OCEANI


Words curated by contributor M. Matranga

Ho la sensazione che la mia nave
abbia sbattuto, giù negli abissi
contro un grande ostacolo.

E non succede niente!
Niente ...
Silenzio ... Onde ...

Non succede Niente?
O è che tutto è avvenuto,
e siamo ora, tranquilli, nel nuovo ...


I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths, against a great thing.

And nothing happens! Nothing . . . Silence . . . Waves . . .

Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

-Juan Ramòn Jiménez

THE BEAUTY OF EXPLORATION


The more we know, the more we realize there is to know.
— Silvia Earle

Lately, I have been pondering a lot about the vast outer space, and the depths of the ocean; whether through an eloquent talk by Physicist, Bryan Cox, or an interview of Oceanographer, Silvia Earle. I had began drafting a story on this very topic, and one night; as I resolved to continue the task, a movie began playing on the nearby screen which I found quite fitting.

It was Chasing Mavericks; which I had watched a couple of years ago. The beautiful message and photography captured my heart anew, and I was left thoroughly inspired. As the movie finished, I refocused on the task of writing; only to realize, that the next movie to play would be; Alfonso Cuaron's, Gravity.

There is no coincidence in this beautiful sequence. Both of these touch on the value of life and our vulnerability within two environments; where oxygen is scarce, and survival becomes an act of the will. Both teach us that fear is to be conquered as we forge ahead. The deep ocean and the vast outer space...

 

Our place within this vastness

As Sylvia Earle (Oceanographer, Aquanaut, and Conservationist) describes; since the middle of the 20th century, we have learned more about the ocean, our place in the universe, and other people. Only about 5% of the ocean has been seen; let alone explored. We don't really understand how it works; yet, we must allow each new discovery to bring us closer to our identity as humanity, and grow in our desire to do what is right and just.

At the same time outer space was being discovered, Sylvia was exploring the depths of the ocean, and I cannot help but marvel at the fact that both of these hold a mysterious character; yet, every time we reach out farther into its vastness, we find out more about ourselves. This in turn increases our appreciation for life, as we remember our own dignity and the value of our own planet.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPLORATION

Exploration and research hold an important and beautiful place within our economy. Silvia Earle shares, that the ocean drives the way the world works. It drives climate, oxygen replenishment, and food change. The ocean is critical to our lives, health and economy.

Bryan Cox in turn, says exploration provides inspiration for engineering achievement, and driving innovation (quantum physics/mechanics). It also provides great perspective on our own identity. Just think of how beautiful it was to witness earth from outer space for the first time.

Two recent visits helped my own pondering in simple, but deeply human ways. The first one; at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, as I listened to a recording from an astronaut that witnessed the event from a space station. He added that despite it all, NYC still looked beautiful, that the entire earth still held much beauty. His words allowed me much perspective.

The second; when I found myself mesmerized by beautiful species, as I paid a visit to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. I never cease to be amazed at the perfection of all creation, and as I captured an image of medusozoa; gliding about the water, I was filled with wonder and a sense of exploration.

Apart from its beauty and inspiration, the sea plays a critical life-sustaining role. The more we realize this, the better our chances in building a beautiful future.

I invite you to ponder further on this topic and to explore the great beauty that surrounds us.

#THESEA

We will continue the conversation throughout the entire month of September. Join us via email, and social media, as we share about the ocean through writings, music, and art.

A DWELLING FOR PEACE


INSIGHT: A CALL TO PRAYER AND PEACE

By Marisol B.

This little project wants to focus on the beauty that this life reveals in so many ways (sometimes evidently, while others barely visible); yet, there is also the awareness of the reality that many things don't go well. Our senses get to witness tragic images of war, violence and destruction.

It is easy to be discouraged, or even attempt to come up with answers that give a glimpse of justice and resolution (some more objective than others).

Several years ago, I wrote a few words regarding our desire for peace, as we get to witness horrific images and injustices towards humanity. While I pondered about a specific event, I added:

"I believe that the most powerful action towards such situation is first and foremost prayer, because God is the only one with enough power to soften the callous hearts of those involved. We know; however, that apart from putting things in the hands of those who know best, a good part is within our own hands. I personally do not consider myself to be wonder woman; able to rescue the entire human race; therefore, I do my part greatly by being at peace with those who surround me. That is where everything begins; right at the nucleus.

It is interesting to witness how we suffer for the world and wish to attain peace, when we fail to get along with our own family, neighbors, or those who happen to cross our path. We have all fallen into this behavior every once in a while, and that is why I hope that we more deeply reflect upon this and do our part."

Given the fact that the above words were written after the 09/11 event in the US, I then wrote:

"We were asked to create a visual with one word that would describe what had happened, and the word I chose was SEARCH:

Because we are in SEARCH of whoever is responsible of such atrocity; we are in SEARCH of the people trapped inside what remains of the tall structures; in SEARCH of answers, solutions, our identity as humans, and an explanation.

We search for many things, and we will continue to do so; however, I diligently pray that we SEARCH in the right place; that we search within ourselves, and find the right answers; because, he who finds himself, finds something else. He finds peace and true happiness."

This weekend, I am reminded to do my part. To PRAY and to be filled with love, that I may understand suffering, spring into right action, be filled with compassion, and make a difference; no matter how small.

I invite you to join me in #prayer

A couple of years ago, I was getting ready in the morning as I listened to music. When Anna Nalick's song Breath (2AM) came on, I thought about how perfectly "Just Breathe" could be adapted to the words "Just Pray", and that is how a little song was born. If you would like to read the words and apply them to your own reflection, you can find them RIGHT HERE.

THE WONDER OF A SINGLE DAY

Every day has its set of gifts and is filled with wonder. Even when we cannot escape to a far away place within nature; apart from noise and distraction, we are capable of finding details that fill us with great wonder.

This short film by Louie Schwartzberg invites us to live the beauty of each day with open eyes and hearts. From the very introduction, wisdom and wonder make themselves present through the words of a young little girl, who knows just how to spot what she describes as "beautifuller things"

Spoken word and music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin. Narration written and spoken by Brother David Steindl-Rast.