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

Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 6.57.46 PM.png

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

1205. Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name. ~Rabindranath Tagore

This time of the year is so terribly hot that I find myself grumbling morning, noon, and evening about the relentless, scorching rays of the sun, the same sun that in winter is quite a welcome presence! So here’s to the beautiful sun, bearer of light and life, and the sunflower that mimics its golden glory.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 9.25.30 PM.png

Beautiful Sun! with thy golden rays,
To God, the wise Creator, be all praise;
For thou nourisheth all the creation,
Wherever there is found to be animation.

Without thy heat we could not live,
Then praise to God we ought to give;
For thou makest the fruits and provisions to grow,
To nourish all creatures on earth below.

Thou makest the birds to sing on the tree,
Also by meadow, mountain, and lea;
And the lark high poised up in air,
Caroling its little song with its heart free from care.

While the bee from flower to flower does roam
To gather honey, and carry it home;
While it hums its little song in the beautiful sunshine,
And seemingly to thank the Creator divine —

For the honey it hath gathered during the day,
In the merry growing months of the year
When the flowers are in full bloom,
Also the sweet honeysuckle and the broom.

How beautiful thy appearance while setting in the west,
Whilst encircled with red and azure, ’tis then thou look’st best!
Then let us all thank God for thy golden light
In our prayers every morning and night!
~Edited poem by Max Plowman

…“May the Lord bless his land with the precious dew from heaven above and with the deep waters that lie below; with the best the sun brings forth and the finest the moon can yield…” ~Excerpted lines from Deuteronomy 33:13-14  ✝

**Photo taken by me in my yard

1057. When all is said and done, we exist only in relation to the world… ~Diane Ackerman

The more we exile ourselves from nature,
the more we crave its miracle waters.
~Diane Ackerman

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 8.51.37 PM.png

In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.
~Diane Ackerman

In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. ~Hebrews 1:10  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie

943. If you wish to know the Creator, come to know His creatures. ~Columbanus, Medieval Irish Monk

Out of the waters of God’s life
come the creatures of earth, sea, and sky.
With the birth of the creatures on the fifth day
there is the emergence of seeing, hearing,
smelling, tasting, and touching.
~J. Philip Newell

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 4.32.18 PM

One of the keys to listening needs to be simply an appreciative attentiveness to God’s creatures. The Book of Job says, “Ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you.” And to look to the animal world is not to look away from God; instead, it’s a way to look at a showing forth of the mystery of God. For it reveals something of the way of God’s seeing and sensing, and one can see as well that in Creation’s mysteries is part of the Christ mystery.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 4.36.47 PM

I’ve seen animals, such as the bird in the photo above, who seem to be bowing before the Creator in gratitude for life, for the day, for His continuing Presence here. There is also the unbroken song of the creatures. And in Revelation John envisaged an unending song of praise being sung by all that swims and flies and has motion. He said every creature on earth here below and in the ocean beneath and in the air above was giving glory to God, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. ~Both paragraphs contain directly quoted, paraphrased, and/or adapted random excerpts from THE BOOK OF CREATION by J. Philip Newell

Consider first the Canada Goose,
brown body, whitish breast
black head, long black neck…
Then there’s the Barnacle Goose…
flight note
a rapidly repeated gnuk
gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk gnuk
(like an ecstatic Eskimo)…
The snow goose
has a pure white plumage
with black-tipped wings…
In Europe you might take her for a swan
or maybe a gannet
till she lets you know abruptly
she’s all goose
so
there they go
through the wind, the rain, the snow
wild spirits knowing
what they know
~Kenneth White

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” ~Job 12:7-10  ✝

**Mike Bizeau posted the great photo of a bull elk on his blog, and I found the image of the bird with its head bowed on Pinterest

806. Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity. ~Lao Tzu


Whenever there is stillness
there is the still small voice,
God speaking from the whirlwind,
nature’s old song and dance…
~Annie Dillard

DSC_0104

“I have often wondered whether especially those days when we are forced to remain idle are not precisely the days spent in the most profound activity. Whether our actions themselves, even if they do not take place until later, are nothing more than the last reverberations of a vast movement that occurs within us during idle days. In any case, it is very important to be idle with confidence, with devotion, possibly even with joy. The days when even our hands do not stir are so exceptionally quiet that it is hardly possible to raise them without hearing a whole lot.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14  ✝

**The image in my photo is of still waters in a local pond.

723. Bee to blossom, moth to flame; each to his passion; what’s in a name? ~Helen Hunt Jackson

I wanted to know the name
of every stone and flower
and insect and bird and beast.
I wanted to know 
where it got its color,
where it got its life…
~George Washington Carver

DSC_0007

The real name of this beauty is Tradescantia, but it’s commonly called Spiderwort, a name not my favorite for two reasons. First, I’m not a big fan of spiders and secondly as a kid I had lots of warts. And so to put those two irksome things together for such a colorful and interesting bloom seems to me to do it a terrible injustice. But then it’s real name is a tad hard to spell and to remember for that matter too. So what’s one to do? Though it got its color and its life from the Lord, it was mortal men who gave it such a dreadful name; perhaps now it is time for a change, and one day I shall just have to come up with a name of my own for this lovely, small, but fetching flower.

Screen shot 2015-05-04 at 9.35.05 PM

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear much fruit with seed in it, according to the various kinds.” And it was so…And God said, “Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” ~Genesis1:11 and Genesis 1:20  ✝

**The top photo is one I took in my yard yesterday; the others I found on Pinterest.

688. No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ~Hal Borland

Let me arise and open the gate,
to breathe the wild warm air…
To let in Life,
and to let out Death.
~Violet Fane, British novelist, poet, and essayist

Screen shot 2015-03-31 at 5.57.03 PM

Blow, Breath of heaven, blow!  Blow through the land and over the waters.  Carry away death’s dark vapors and let life in.  Let the “wild warm air” of springtime spark life in every nook and cranny.  Let every mountain, plain, and valley break forth in gladness.  Let the ceaseless waves of the seas and the rushing currents of rivers roar with a renewed passion for life.  Let the clouds suckle earth’s waters and then send rain from heaven to moisten the earth and let loose her flowering.  Let life, whole and vibrant, dazzle us into a new awareness of You.

Blow, Breath of heaven, blow!  Blow through us and take us down to the bottom of our souls where You, O God, the Breath of all things, are present “deep within all that has life.”  We who have recently traversed winter’s dark domain yearn to feel your warmth and vitality course through our bodies and all that has life again.  We long for earth and sky’s vast array of bright colors to take away winter’s preponderance of grays and browns.  O Holy One, come; let us see You “in every emanation of Creation’s life.”  We give you glory and thanks for all that You are, for Your ever-lasting goodness and never-ending love, “for creatures stirring forth,” “for plant forms stretching and unfolding,” “for the stable earth and its solid rocks.”  O blessed Breath of heaven, arise and blow life afresh through Eden’s gates!

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.  ~Psalm 33:6   ✝

**Both images via Pinterest