To All My Relations

By: Joanne Stepania

Peace is the outcome of Love.

Love is the fruit of Compassion.

Compassion is reliant on Caring.

Caring is born of Understanding.

Understanding is contingent on Knowledge.

Knowledge is gained through Perceiving.

Perceiving is based on Observance.

Observance necessitates Awareness.

Awareness requires the ability

to see without eyes, 

to hear without ears,

to sense with the heart

and recognize suffering as suffering

regardless of color, culture, language or form.

There is but one sky, one land, one wind, one sea. 

We breath the same air, 

sip the same ocean, 

share the same portion of time

as we pass through this moment together.

We are children of the Earth,

no less sisters and brothers.

Gather the spurious boundaries that separate our sibling spirits,

for we are family.

Come into my arms, my limbs, my leaves,

and let me stroke your shapeless self.

Let me know your pain.

Let me feel your truth.

Let me embrace our differences, 

ours sameness,

our uniqueness.

We blend seamlessly, imperceptibly,

distinctions dissolved. 

I recognize you now.

Unmasked.

Relieved of our earthly robes,

we are One.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Dark Green

Camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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This past summer my ex-girlfriend and I went camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the way home from Florida. From Venice Florida to Toledo Ohio it was about 1,200 miles and an 18 hour drive so camping half way was an evident option. We found a completely secluded spot about 15 miles deep into the Cherokee National Forest. There was a complete sense of solitude driving on the rocky roads surrounded by pure forestry. I was really worried that my tires wouldn’t be able to handle the rough terrain but thankfully my car got us in and out safely. Driving with the windows down the inside of my car filled with fresh prana provided by the trees and it was absolutely vitalizing. Our cell service went out about a mile into the forest so we were deprived of all social media and contact with the world for the rest of the night, but our connection with nature had just started.

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Here is the campsite we set up at around 6 o’clock so we had some daylight before the sun set around 8. It was amazing that not one car went by the entire night we were there. Surrounded by nothing but pure forestry and the beautiful sounds of nature. After we set up camp we poured a glass of wine and decided to go on a mini walk to see what was around us.

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We only walked about a mile because it was starting to get dark but here was a little creek we visited. After we got back to our camp sight we set up a fire and just hung out and listened to music. It was a delightful night and the sky was clear so we could see all the stars and the moon. Something we weren’t used to seeing because of all the pollution living downtown.

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The next morning we were woken up at sunrise with a light sprinkle, but not enough rain to be angry about. The tent kept us dry throughout the night, even though it was really humid! It is the BEST feeling waking up in nature and feeling completely refreshed. After having a peaceful morning we packed up camp and hit the road. I didn’t want to leave but I know I will be back again sometime in the near future.

 

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Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

 

 

 

A Photo a Week Challenge: White

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I really wanted to take a nice picture with my camera for this contest but sense it was snowing all day yesterday I went on a walk without it and took this one with my iPhone. This was the first snow fall of the year and didn’t come until December 11. It is kind of crazy how global warming is offsetting the weather so much.. This was taken at a park called Middlegrounds along the Maumee river in downtown Toledo that was just opened this year. The park runs along the riverfront the entire time and everywhere you walk you have a breath-taking view. When I came here yesterday I enjoyed the silence of winter and just sat on the swing and watched the water flow by. With this picture and the theme of the week being “white” I’d like to share a profound lesson by Alan Watts on the game of Black and White:

“The general habit of conscious attention is, in various ways, to ignore intervals.

We do not play the Game of Black-and-White — the universal game of up/down, on/off, solid/space, and each/all. Instead, we play the game of Black-versus-White or, more usually, White-versus-Black. But the game “White must win” is no longer a game. It is a fight — a fight haunted by a sense of chronic frustration, because we are doing something as crazy as trying to keep the mountains and get rid of the valleys.

The principal form of this fight is Life-versus-Death, the so-called battle for survival, which is supposed to be the real, serious task of all living creatures.

Thus for thousands of years human history has been a magnificently futile conflict, a wonderfully staged panorama of triumphs and tragedies based on the resolute taboo against admitting that black goes with white. Nothing, perhaps, ever got nowhere with so much fascinating ado. As when Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed to have a battle, the essential trick of the Game of Black-and-White is a most tacit conspiracy for the partners to conceal their unity, and to look as different as possible. It is like a stage fight so well acted that the audience is ready to believe it a real fight. Hidden behind their explicit differences is the implicit unity of what Vedanta calls the Self, the One-without-a-second, the what there is and the all that there is which conceals itself in the form of you.

If, then, there is this basic unity between self and other, individual and universe, how have our minds become so narrow that we don’t know it?”

 

This goes to show how you cannot have winter without summer, spring without fall, precipitation without dryness, sunny days without cloudy ones, etc. You must learn to appreciate the duality of nature instead of clinging to one side. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Farnsworth MetroPark/Thoughts on life

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Today I checked out Farnsworth metro park and I had a great time. This park is located along the Maumee River in Waterville Ohio. It was about a 25 minute drive from where I live but well worth it, although I do admit I didn’t prepare for how cold it was. That’s usually my problem when I go on walks in the winter I always forget to bring gloves. My hands usually go numb but I never let that ruin my experience. I never associate the weather as too “cold”. I realized that cold and warm are just different degrees of the same thing. There are always two sides of polarity and although they may be separate they are mutually interdependent. The entire universe works upon rhythm and harmony. After I realized this it has made it easy to appreciate everything in life by applying the Yin and Yang to all principles, including weather.

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I love the peace of mind I get when going out into nature. Listening is a lost art and when you truly learn to listen you can hear your own intuition. I appreciate and listen closely to the subtle ambience everywhere I go. Everything happens for a reason and you can run from it or take it as a lesson.

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I admire Luna as the organism who continually lives in the moment. I learn how to live in the moment by paying close attention to the way she see’s the world. She may get cold but doesn’t put a judgement on that feeling and continues to be content. Humans are organisms just like dogs and I think there are lessons to be learned from them, as well as all other forms of life. The only difference is that we have a brain which produces the ego feeling of an individualized self. This makes us forget our fundamental nature and is why we continually try to dominate over nature. We have as much right to be here as everything else on the planet. We have become so unintelligent though and are continuing to go down the wrong path. We are the only species who has to pay to live, while all other forms of life live in abundance. Think about that one for a minute.

 

Thanks for reading I hope you took something from this post and felt what I was trying to express. Check out the post I re-blogged right below this one on Non-Duality and have a wonderful day!

Psychology of non-duality: What are the qualities of a whole person? — Too much Too soon

I’d like to expand my own perspectives on the subject of this article, to understand what I mean by this new psychology and to define some of its features. What are the qualities of a whole person? Of a sane mind? What makes a good life? How do we live free from conditional and conditioned […]

via Psychology of non-duality: What are the qualities of a whole person? — Too much Too soon