Paula Swenson

Archive for the ‘The Natural World’ Category

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.

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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

The Month of Blooming Flowers

In The Natural World, Travel on May 31, 2009 at 5:10 pm

May, Květen in Czech, is the month of blooming flowers, and indeed everything seems to be blooming simultaneously, in this warmer than usual spring of 2009. Cherry and apple trees have already lost their blossoms, lilacs are in full bloom and the chestnuts are full of flower “torches” and spirea bushes are white as snow. Meadows are dotted with the blue of forget-me-nots, white fleabane daisies and yellow buttercups and dandelions. Trees are in full leaf now and it feels like summer half the days with temperatures soaring above 23C (73F) and the rest of the days are chilly, windy and rainy, more in keeping with Spring. A profusion of tulips are giving way to stately iris, and lush peonies are already nodding colorfully in local gardens.

This month our adopted town of Litomyšl is celebrating 750 years of existence, there have been sword fights in the square, pageantry with horses, kings and armoured knights and a lot of beer and sausages! Recently some modern interactive sculptures have been temporarily added to our public places and last night we had moci noci (powerful night) with museum, castle and monuments open until, midnight free of charge, a fire juggler in the monastery gardens and a festive fireworks display to end the evening. So our modern fairy tale continues.

© Paula Swenson 2008
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