These are the darkest days of the year, at least in the part of the world where I live. Days are short, nights are long and cold.
How I long for the light!
Do you long for the light as well? Do you know what to do about it?
Do you know how to bring more light into your life right now?
One thing is easy – switch on lamps, light candles. They bring brightness.
If you want more light and brightness – shine you own light!
You have so much light in your heart. You have so much to give. Enrich us with your gentle smile. Warm our life with your kindness, your understanding, your forgiveness.
Inspire us with your stories. Nurture us with your caring. Be the wonderful YOU that you truly are.
Let your light shine
and walk with joy and respect
upon our earth
who nurtures us all
and gives us shelter.
Let your light shine
and honor the dog at your side,
the lizard on the stone,
the falcon in the air,
the whale in the ocean,
for they are all our companions
in our life’s journey.
Honor and love yourself
and the people you meet.
Let your light shine in the darkness
and become what you truly are:
children of light.
– Brigitte Novalis
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanuka!
Even if there are storm clouds above you – there is still the possibility of sunshine. Why? Because you have choices how to experience life. These choices are not only about what you choose for the future – and that is good. Your choices are also about what has happened already or is just happening.
Even if you think that today is a lousy day, because “something bad” happened, it can still be a good day.
“You are kidding, Brigitte!” No, I am not. When you think something is bad – what makes it bad? Your thinking about it, your judgment.
Let’s say you are in downtown Boston and walk down Newbury Street (or one of the main shopping streets in your town) to have a cup of coffee in one of the coffee shops there and you meet a friend. There’s nothing bad about meeting your friend! In fact, you are happily surprised to see your friend. But as it happens, your friend does not seem pleased to see you. She looks at you distractedly, says that she is in a hurry, then walks away without a smile or a “bye bye”.
You are disappointed and feel thunder clouds above your head. “What have I done wrong?” you might think, “Did I not greet her sufficiently friendly?” Or maybe you think, “Did I annoy her when last we met?”
As you think these thoughts, the thunder clouds above your head seem to get darker. Thoughts come to your mind like, “She already acted a little weird towards me last Monday”, or “Maybe I’m mistaken and she never really cared about me.”
If you go down this path of negativity, the thunder clouds become even darker. “Maybe there is no real friendship. People only care about themselves.”
However, you don’t have to think this way. You are in luck: you have choices. You can make the choice to let the sun shine on the landscape of your life.
As you deliberately reach for thoughts that feel lighter, happier, you might think, “She seemed to be stressed. Many people are. Next time we meet she will be friendly again.” Another thought may come to mind, “Sometimes I am stressed and strained myself. Who knows how I might behave in her situation.”
As you continue to let the sun shine on the landscape of your life, you might think, “She is still my friend and I care about her, regardless of how she behaved today. I will call her tomorrow and ask her if she wants to have dinner next week.”
And as your thoughts turn to peace and contentment with the world, you find that this is the perfect time to just sip your coffee and watch people, flirt with an interesting stranger, or dive into the book you brought. What a delightful afternoon!
As you choose these friendly thoughts, you feel good again. You enjoy the coffee in one of the coffee shops in Newbury Street. Life is good.
It’s good to have choices, right? You are in luck!
When I was a little girl, about five years old, I liked to play the piano. Not that it sounded impressive! I just pressed some piano keys to find out what they sounded like, and then I pressed some more keys and listened to their sounds and memorized where to find them. It took me several days before I could play a simple tune that I heard on the radio.
Nevertheless, I was thrilled with this dear piano, which let me put these sounds together for a melody. I played the piano more often, especially when it rained and I could not play outside. Two years later, I had piano lessons.
Now, I no longer listened to the sound of the keys to memorize them, but learned that each key had a symbol called a note, and when I read these notes in the book and pressed the according keys, I could play the tunes without making mistakes.
At first, this note reading took away from the pleasure of playing. It felt so lame, because at times I enjoyed pressing different keys at the same time with both hands as I had watched my grandfather do when he played the piano for family and friends. Although the gestures were similar, the result was so different! It simply sounded terrible. Nevertheless, I had fun with it.
At the beginning of my piano playing adventure, I played simple tunes, using the white keys. However, when I moved on to richer and more complex compositions, I practiced playing different scales which include the black keys as well. I also learned about note values and expanded my piano playing abilities to using more octaves. The richer the compositions are, the finer are their expressions.
As you go through life, you press the white keys for simple melodies at the beginning. And simple melodies are fine. As you advance, however, as you learn and grow, laugh and weep, love and forgive, as you learn to look at life from different angles and a broader perspective, you are able to use diverse scales and a broader range of octaves to play the melody of your life. Do it! Live with passion!
If you are willing to express the uniqueness of your life with gusto, your life becomes a masterpiece. The greatest masterpiece of all is a life well lived – with white keys, black keys, octaves, all.
Although it is already March, the nights are still long and dark in my part of the world. The wind is cold. The ground is frozen. Trees and bushes are still bare.
I long for spring – for birdsong, leaves, green grass, and flowers, for balmy air and warm rain. But I cannot deny it – winter is still here.
Winter or not – my house is still comfortable. My sofas are still soft. As I turn on more lamps, it is already brighter. As I drink hot tea and put on a warm jacket, I am already warmer.
When it is cold outside and you rather stay home in the evening, what a pleasure it is to read a book, curled up on the sofa, or to listen to good music, or to have a pleasant conversation with a family member or friend! Winter evenings can bring you the leisure you so often miss in life. It is so easy to find contentment when you look for it!
“Looking for it” – that’s the secret. Look for comfort and you will find it. Look for trouble and you will find that as well. It seems it is best to look for the things we really enjoy, right?
Winter is still here. Let’s make our peace with it. We cannot hasten the seasons or life itself. Life has its own rhythms, its own timing.
The trees are still bare, but their buds are protected against the chilly winds. When the timing is right, the buds will open and leaves and blossoms will come forth.
Raining in My Heart
It’s raining in my heart as it’s raining on the Earth. A friend has departed, walking through the veil to the other side of life. He is no longer part of my circle of friends here on Earth. I cannot visit him anymore, nor can I call him on the phone. He is gone.
How I wish I could wind time back for one more smile and for some more words of kindness! I would like to hold on to him – but we must let go. Whenever he goes, it is time for him to go. This departure is not imposed on him. No one leaves who truly wants to stay. Let’s make our peace with it.
And yet – it’s raining in my heart.
Why do I mourn? I know he still lives. This statement is not a child’s hope or a pious illusion. I know that life exists always. Life IS. Who lives, lives on. My friend lives. I admit, yes – in a different environment and no longer in a body composed of the elements of Earth, but all that matters about him – his mind and spirit – continue to exist, because consciousness cannot be destroyed. My friend lives on, and together we travel through space and time.
Still, it’s raining in my heart.
Let it rain! Let sadness wash over me! It’s part of being human.
Let the Night Embrace You & Nurture You
It is late. It is getting dark, at least in my part of the world. The night is approaching. This is the time of rest.
Put your worries aside. Dim the lights. Wind down your thoughts. Let the night embrace you.
The night embraces you with a transparent layer of life-giving air. Through it, you can see the stars shining down on you from far away. Maybe the moon shines through your window on its journey across the dark sky.
Now that the birds rest in their nests and the hares sleep in their burrows, you can rest as well. As you lie in your bed, getting ready for sleep, enjoy the darkness that surrounds you. The darkness is real. The comfort of your bed is real. Nature around you is real.
We are usually so much concerned with people and the affairs of people, as if nothing else mattered. As if only the things you heard about in the news were important. You could get the impression that you are insignificant, and that only the things you accomplish give you significance or value. Being busy seems important. Reaching goals seems important. Making a certain amount of money seems important. These pursuits are important to a certain degree, but there is more to life and there is more to you.
I think you already know that you are more than your body and more than your mind – even though they, too, matter. Your eternal, infinite spirit or soul is also part of you, here and now. Reach out with your thoughts and dreams and imagination. Dream into existence a wonderful life for yourself and for all of us. Enrich us with your creations.
Enjoy this night, which in the ebb and flow of days gives you the time to step away from the roles you play during the day. Now you can be truly you – the child you are, the dream you are, the soul you are. Simply you. Gloriously you.
Before you drift off into the exciting worlds of dreams, give thanks to the night.
Let the night nurture you. Let the night embrace you.
The smile you send out returns to you.
It is so simple – is it not? – to smile at someone. When you smile from your heart, not just with your lips, you feel good. When people smile at you, not just with their lips but from their hearts, you also feel good. Smiling makes you feel happier, because it releases endorphins which serve as neurotransmitters that relieve pain and increase your feeling of well-being.
When it is so easy to make yourself and others feel better with a genuine smile – why don’t you smile more?
The Smile You Send Out
Creative as people are, they have many excuses for NOT smiling – it rains, lots of stress at work, headaches, life is difficult, there is nothing to smile about, nobody cares about them anyway – the list goes on and on. So what?
Charlie Chaplin’s song* has the right of it:
“Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by.”
Even if life were to appear difficult for you at this moment – you could still smile. Smiling will make you feel better. Don’t you want to feel better?
“If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
If you are happy or not, if you are sad or not – you can still smile. And the smile you send out returns to you, most of the time from the person you smile at, sometimes from an unexpected direction. It’s all good.
“That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying.
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile –
If you just smile.”
*Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons
The Smile You Send Out
Smiling at me,
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see….
“Never saw the sun shining so bright.
Never saw things going so right.”
Blue Skies above Boston
Blue skies above Boston today. I could not help singing this song. In fact, what I was singing was “Blue skies, da da da daa”, and then I looked up the lyrics by Irving Berlin for you and me.
What is it about blue skies that makes us happy? Sunshine, brightness, or just the color blue?
Is the air above us, the atmosphere, really blue? At night it looks black. At sunset or sunrise it has different colors – from turquoise to blue, from orange to purple. And then there are wet days when the sky is just gray.
Does air have a color? When I look across the room – the air is transparent. Even when I look out of the window at houses and trees – the air is still transparent. But when I look up – blue skies.
The miracle of blue skies happens when the sun shines on Earth’s atmosphere. The light coming from the sun includes all colors, but when it enters our atmosphere, it interacts with the particles in the air and is bent as in a prism. Red light scatters the least. Blue and violet light scatter the most and are seen the most. And because our eyes are less sensitive to violet, we see – blue skies.
If you could look from outer space at our planet Earth, you would see a blue haze surrounding our planet – the air we breathe; the air that sustains our lives.
It seems that blue skies are just beautiful reflections of light.
Maybe who you are is also a beautiful reflection of light, of the infinite eternal light.
What a reason to celebrate! So, sing and smile at the blue skies above Boston or wherever you live.
Blue Skies above Boston
I love my computer. When I turned it on this bright, sunny Sunday morning, it greeted me with its nice fanfare. Then the monitor woke up and showed me my beautiful titmouse, sitting on a branch so comfortably. I love birds, too.
If you ever wrote books with a typewriter, you will understand why I love computers so much.
If you never wrote a book with a typewriter, imagine this: You type your page, double spaced. Then you read what you have written. You like it, but there is room for improvement. Then you write the improved words or the new idea with a pen into the space between the typed lines. If writing is your art, you want to express the world of your inner perception with as much clarity as possible.
And maybe inspiration hits you – like it does me – in intervals. Then a new idea blossoms in your mind, and you scribble it on the border of your manuscript, maybe with an arrow pointing to where it belongs. After a while, you can hardly make out what all the scribbled additions mean, and you type the page again. And again. I wonder how Shakespeare managed.
Now you understand why I love computers, right?
Of course, there is more to computers. They connect us with the internet. I can hardly imagine how my life was before the internet. Can you? Some people say there was no life before the internet. I wouldn’t go quite so far.
I love this vast space we share with all the people on earth who have computers and access to the internet. This electro-magnetic field that surrounds earth, is filled with millions and billions of connections to people, businesses, libraries, websites, movie theaters, cities, countries, and TV stations. It seems endless. If you have a question, google for an answer.
Of course, there is an even larger field that surrounds us on planet Earth. The energy field of all our thoughts, emotions, dreams, wishes, fears, and hopes. If you have a question beyond the ordinary, you can tap into the data base of what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. Or you can raise your mind and heart to the higher realms which are also part of your life. Then, as you listen carefully, you will find the answers.
This sunny Sunday morning, I write my thoughts down with my computer and share them with you. I’m glad that I can reach out to you because you matter. I love my world – which includes you.
I also love my computer.
Ice wine is a precious jewel among wines. If you are fortunate enough to hold a glass with ice wine in your hand, appreciate its brilliant golden color and savor its bouquet. Then honor this extraordinary desert wine by sipping it with your senses open to enjoy its taste – sweetness combined with a vibrant acidity.
Ice wine is rare. There are only small quantities available each year. It is produced from grapes that freeze over lightly while they are still on the vine, leaving a small amount of unfrozen, sweet grape juice at the center of each grape. These concentrated frozen grapes are then pressed and subsequently transformed into the golden ice wine through fermentation.
Only the best grapes keep in good shape long enough for an opportunity for an ice wine harvest, and only a few regions in the world have climate conditions that allow for the delicate balance of light frost and good harvest conditions.
Ice wine production is risky. When the wine-grower waits and no frost comes, the grapes rot and are lost. When the harvest takes too long or the frost is too severe, the grapes are lost as well. It’s quite an adventure! On the first morning, when it is cold enough, the wine-grower has to act immediately and he needs a large enough labor force to pick the whole crop within a few hours.
Some of the finest people are like ice wine. When the last grapes are touched by light frost, they become sweeter and richer than before. When people are touched by severe hardship and loss, they can become wiser and more compassionate.
On the other hand, if the grapes get too much frost and freeze to the core, no sweet juice can be extracted from them anymore. If people suffer too much – without hope, without connecting to the light and love within themselves and around them – they too may freeze to the core and no longer share their compassion and sweetness.
However, if people experience hardship and overcome it, holding on to kindness, compassion, and integrity, they can become rare treasures.