1321. Sense your Being, your own presence. That’s a source of joy. That’s the ultimate gratitude. ~Eckhart Tolle

presence

noun pres·ence \ˈpre-zən(t)s\
:  the fact or condition of being present
:  the bearing, carriage, or air of a person;
: the state of being closely focused on the here and now, not distracted by irrelevant thoughts

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A fellow blogger posted the above quote by Tolle yesterday, and since then I’ve been thinking about it and what it means. For me it begs the question as to whether it’s just a matter of being visible and tangible or more than that a matter of reflecting the sacred Image in which we are made. And if it is the latter, what does that reflection look like. I believe it is one where goodness and light are as apparent as physical attributes and personality particulars. For example light can be so prevalent in some, as was so with my father, that there’s a perceivable twinkle in the eyes that warms and begets a very real presence even in photographs. And as for goodness, when present it is like an aura that surrounds and defines a person.

To quote Tolle again, “The answer is, who you are cannot be defined through thinking or mental labels or definitions, because it’s beyond that. It is the very sense of being, or presence, that is there when you become conscious of the present moment.” In the first quote Tolle implores us to be aware of our Being as a source of joy and gratitude. That should occur in every moment if we remain aware of the fact that life is gift and express our gratitude to the Maker of all life for that gift. According to Alan Cohen, “appreciation is the highest from of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”

So presence it seems to me is an awareness of the sacred ground on which we stand at every moment of our lives, an awareness of the sanctity of all living things, an awareness of the holy air we breathe, an awareness of the holy light that shines on and in everyone, an awareness of intentional and divine creation, and an awareness that He who brought us here saw that all He did and made was good. So when we are asked to sense our own presence we should realize that first and foremost it is “purely and completely evidence of God’s grace” in our lives. Walt Whitman once penned, “we convince by our presence,” and so it is not our face nor our hair nor our size nor any such thing that matters when we talk of presence. It must always be the goodness and light we bring to our “state of being closely focused on the here and now” which is “not distracted by irrelevant thoughts” as Webster so aptly defined it in his dictionary notation above.

God intended Earth.
God intended the waters.
God intended you and me.
We were created in the image 
and
the likeness of God; 
we are holograms, if you will.
So the power, the presence, the energy
is within you and me.
The energy of God, as life,
 is within each of us.
~Mary Manin Morrissey

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. ~Excerpt from Genesis 1:31  ✝

**Image via Pinterest; text on image added by Natalie; special effects on image done on iPiccy

560. Every moment of light and dark is a miracle. ~Walt Whitman

When you rise in the morning
give thanks for the light,
for your life,
for your strength.
Give thanks for your food
and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.
~Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee

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Under the sun’s flares on a fairly warm, late November day, fierce winds yielded at last to gentle breezes. And then at day’s end, the setting sun generated dazzling drama in the west while moonrise began eastward with a waxing crescent moon. Up and up and up it ascended through the branches of the willow until its light shined over the tree’s top as night dropped its dark shade. Changing slowly from the sinuous sliver of a crescent moon like this one to the rounded fullness of a sphere, the great white orb of the heavens has been an endless source of wonder, charming and bewitching mortals throughout the ages as well as affecting tides, fishing activities, and the planting of crops. Its varying phases and mystical beauty have also inspired legends, myths, and romance by those who’ve lived below and gazed up at its recurrent and divine evanescence. But then any kind of light–sunlight, moonlight, candlelight, firelight, spiritual light–has always fascinated and drawn humanity into its mystery. Perhaps it’s because humans as well as and earth’s creatures sense sanctity within it. I know I do, and I’ve always wondered if wolves howl at the moon as an act of thanksgiving for their Creator or at least as a way of loving Him which makes me think that howling at the moon is not such a bad idea.

Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. ~John 1:5   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

538. The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach. ~Henry Beston

Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head
with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
~Langston Hughes

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At dawn today the yard was steeped in a still grayness awaiting the fulfilled promise of rain. Hours later the grayness darkened as if it were twilight and the outside lights came on again. With the darkness fierce winds rushed in against the backdrop of rumbling thunder in the distance, and huge tree limbs like those found in a primeval wood bowed to forces bigger and stronger than they. It was a day when early November was slipping deeper into autumn with ominous overtones. Sensing stormy peril the yard cats sought shelter early on instead of enjoying their usual playful antics, and as the rain drew nigh they were already slipping into the “arms of Morpheus” in which to sleep, perchance to dream of better times. Then drop by drop by drop, drip, drip, drip the rain began to fall, and as it kissed the ground, I too began to doze off in my chair but not before I smelled its fragrance and heard the sound of sanctity in it, the holy sound of Him who faithfully makes the rain fall.

…rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful… ~Joel 2:23   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

528. Behold congenial autumn comes, the Sabbath of the year. ~John Logan

There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.
~Lord Byron

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Year after year I fall in love again with autumn, and this one is no different than all the others. Even though few leaves have changed colors, there are tangible signs of Keats “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” Samples of such manifest themselves daily in the form of ripening seeds, nuts, hips, berries, fruits, and acorns. As well several crisp mornings have filled autumn’s cup with its quintessential sanctity, and some shrouded in foggy mists have revealed squirrels scurrying about with greater urgency while birds, soon to pull out on migratory treks, feast on seeds and berries like the ones in the photo. These are American beautyberries, and they first appeared months ago in shades of pretty, pale greens, but as autumn drew near they deepened into their stunning shade of magenta and began issuing forth tunes in this, the next series of earth’s delightful melodies.

Passages in Scripture indicate that music originated with God and accompanied Creation, and there are those who yet hear the continuing echoes of Yahweh’s “Divine symphony” as made evident in the lines I quoted from Lord Byron. The American evangelist, Beth Moore, says that a song is “the fluent language of the soul,” and I couldn’t agree more because it is my soul that “hears” the myriads of earth’s melodic voices. I think perhaps the hymns of nature are more discernible in spring and autumn after they’ve been weighed down by winter’s oppression or nearly snuffed out by the intensity of summer’s fires, but earth’s music never fails to play on. And whenever the “echo of the spheres” and “the music in all things” of which Baron Byron spoke is heard, it is a privilege to “listen” to the “songs of the morning stars and the angels shout for joy” (Job 38:7). And how blessed are we, the peoples of the earth, that God “takes delight” in us, that “He quiets” us “with His love,” and that “He rejoices” over us “with singing.”

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”   ~Zephaniah 3:17   ✝

469. The ripest peach is highest on the tree. ~James Whitcomb Riley

This is the blessing for a ripe peach:
This is luck made round. Frost can nip
the blossom, kill the bee. It can drop,
a hard green useless nut. Brown fungus,
the burrowing worm that coils in rot can
blemish it and wind crush it on the ground.
Yet this peach fills my mouth with juicy sun.
~A verse from a poem by Marge Piercy

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Abracadrabra! Hinkety, pinkety! Jiggity, jog! Poof! Oh wouldn’t it be lovely if with such a simple incantation we could go back in time to a place where one of our life’s greatest treasures lie! For me it would be a place filled with the sights and sounds of the sea, the fragrances of beautiful flowers, the tastes of luscious fruits, and the magic of innocence. That place would always be my childhood home in southern California where sanctity fell from on high and oozed up from the ground, and the air was charged and ripe with God’s goodness.

It was when I read this verse today that the poet’s words actually took me back for the briefest of moments to that time and place. For you see in our backyard we had a large peach tree, and I remember so well reaching up, grabbing one, though it might not have been the highest, and eating it with joyful abandon, letting the “juicy sun” drip right down from my mouth. And then there were my mama’s peach pies!!! My oh my oh my but they were the best I have ever eaten!

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:12   ✝

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. With all Creation I sing: Praise to the King of Kings. You are my everything, and I will adore you!” (From Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean)

318. Water is the driver of nature. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Be praised, My Lord,
through Sister Water;
she is very useful,
and humble,
and precious,
and pure.
~St. Francis of Assisi

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The sight of water, be it in a pond, a river, the sea, a fountain, or even a drop from a spigot touches something deep in “the temple of my inner being.” I love to sit quietly and watch water fall or splash or ripple or break like the waves on a seashore. And if I peer down long enough into the mysterious depths of a body of water, my mind conjures up images of earth’s origins, and subsequently the Garden of Eden comes alive in my soul’s eye. Even gauzy reflections which quiver and quake in a puddle or body of water seem to possess a captivating life, a compelling story, a gripping sanctity of their own.

Although I know not where it rests in the human psyche, I believe somewhere therein mortals recognize familiar things not necessarily of this world, things they appear to know without human tutelage or logic’s reason. In the same way a child instinctively recognizes its biological mother even after the umbilical cord is severed, I believe we, who are temporarily separated from the Holy Source of our being, retain a sense of the Father’s parenting presence because we belong to the Lord and are inextricably a part of Him. It could be that’s why earth and its waters not only call to me but also comfort me.

…by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. ~2 Peter 3:5  ✝

Thank you, Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us!

**Photo via Pinterest

273. The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the whole world. ~Vita Sackville-West

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners
is that they are optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied.
They always look forward to doing something better
than they have ever done before.
~Vita Sackville-West

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During World War I and World War II, victory gardens were planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.  Vegetables, fruits, and herbs were grown to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war efforts.  Not only did these gardens indirectly aid in the war efforts, but they were also considered civil “morale boosters.”  By planting them, gardeners felt empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce they grew.  As a result victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.

Amos Bronson Alcott said, “Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvests reaps.”  Can you imagine what it must have been like to stand in Eden? And to listen for the Lord as He walked in the cool of the day?  There are times when I’m in my garden that I get a sense of the incredible thrill that must have been.  The perennial pleasures of my garden plant a rightness in my days and a comfortable feeling of harmony in my spirit.  And the wholesome harvests I reap are not just the fruits, the flowers, and the beauty all around me but also the peace it brings and the times when the deep sanctity of it touches my soul where the Lord is planting and digging for harvests of His own.

There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment.  ~Ecclesiastes 2:24-25  ✝