Paula Swenson

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

In Art and Creativity, Time and Change, Travel on January 17, 2010 at 6:02 pm

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

The more I travel the more I adhere to the philosophy of Lao Tzu. I firmly believe that everyone should travel. For some, the biggest adventure they may be comfortable with is an afternoon in the next town or county, for others the further-flung the destination, the better. The distance isn’t important. The important thing is to free yourself from your everyday life, and grab a new vantage point.

Travel is very freeing; it takes us away from our routines and helps us recognize what we truly value, about ourselves, our lives and our world. It matters little if you grab your passport or just take a different route home from the store, if you do it with a traveler’s heart and with eyes wide open, something wonderful will occur, I guarantee it.

Where will you go?

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Giving and Receiving

In Abundance, The Natural World, Time and Change, Uncategorized on January 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm

From the time we are small we are told “It is better (or more blessed) to give than to receive”. I’m pretty sure those doing the telling mean well; they are trying to teach us to be generous, to share. But where, in fact, is the balance in this equation? If there are no receivers how can we give and to whom?

This question interests me as I listen to people who are struggling with the ideas of scarcity and abundance. We all have so much to share, be it skills or extra apples on our trees, and yet we are afraid both to offer and to accept help.

Often we are afraid to offer for fear of the offer being rejected, but why are we so afraid to accept what it is offered? Are we afraid of being pegged as inferior (because it is” better” to be a giver)? Do we, as a result of subliminal conditioning, feel somehow superior to those we give to? Does this make us fearful of accepting the goodwill of others? And does our own fear of accepting color our perceptions about giving as well? Can we break this cycle and start sharing again?

I don’t have any answers today, just questions. Think about it, and let me know what your heart tells you.

Palindromes and Other Patterns

In The Natural World, Uncategorized on January 2, 2010 at 10:21 am

01/02/2010 — Today is a palindrome — the date is the same written forward or backward– at least it is if you live in North America. (If you live in Europe keep an eye out for the first of February!)

There is something about palindromes that fascinates us. Perhaps it is the rare symmetry, or maybe the unexpected discovery? Whatever the reason, the human brain seems to love patterns. We seek them out in the tangled masses of information we receive every day. We are inexplicably pleased when we discover hidden patterns in nature, feeling an inescapable urge to share our observations with others.

Many animals count on patterns and pattern recognition for everything from finding food to finding family. Zebras and okapi are a good example, each individual has a unique stripe pattern, with the differences especially pronounced on the hindquarters. Biologists call this a ‘follow-me pattern’ because it allows baby animals to find their mothers even in a big fast-moving herd.

Humans are often less practical in their pattern recognition (does it really matter that today’s date reads the same forward and back?) but the skill is an innate one, and I can’t help wondering if we shouldn’t pay more attention to the patterns all around us.

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© Paula Swenson 2010