Imagination a key to another level of thought

Bird Droppings August 7, 2011
Imagination a key to another level of thought

“You can take a course in child development and think you’re prepared for parenthood, but until you have a child of your own, what you’ve been taught doesn’t mean a thing to you. So it come to our old teaching: Never claim to know anything until you have experienced it yourself.” Bear Heart, last trained medicine man of Muskgogee Creek Nation

When I left the house and drove to school to open for anyone who might be cleaning in their rooms today getting ready for school to start I recalled many memories of a long while back. I recall being asked or I should say invited to participate in the Green Corn dance and medicine of the Muskgogee in 1972 or so. I was very skeptical in those days and as I drove the the five miles or so to school my thoughts shifted to my own evolution of thought and imagination that has taken place over the years. I wondered for a second and what if I could just have gone in a straight line to where I am instead of all the crooked lines and scribbles that have occurred. What if I could imagine myself there and I was there. Sort of slipping in the deep end here today but it is interesting what elicits imagination.

“You have read a lot of books. But it is someone else’s thoughts and experiences in those books. To you it is hearsay, because you haven’t experienced it. You don’t know it; you only know something about it.” Bear Heart, last trained medicine man of Muskgogee Creek Nation

“I like to let my thoughts come to me each morning before I get up. I meditate for a few hours and that is like recharging.” Dalai Lama

I was asked more than once about writing Bird Droppings at 2:30 in the morning and my response was similar it is a time to reflect to rethink to ponder to recharge for the day. As I look out at where I am to go that day I can in my own way through writing meditate stabilize and go forth. Even today as I am a bit lazier getting sorted out from a summer routine of staying up later and getting up later I still am up and moving in the dark of the morning.

”Add magic to ordinary moments, because our society works to educate the wonder out of children.” Mimi Doe

“Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.” Anna Freud

“Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies.” Erich Fromm

A number of years ago my youngest son was tested for creativity. The test was given and scored and he was off the charts. I might contest that score with his escapade of his a few years back. Out of the blue he decided to walk from our house to meet me at school. He chose a back route with no stores or stops of any sort. The record for heat was broken for our county about the time he was walking at over 103 degrees. Needless to say he called for a ride from a cousin about half way along wringing wet from sweat.
I have always watched for sparks of imagination in people not because it intrigues me but because then you can truly tell a person is alive. Within a high school the students have a term used extensively to describe some people POSERS. They want to be like a particular group yet are not so they pose. I am always attracted to the fringe people who are original and creative and use their imagination posers let others do it for them.
I recall an incident several years ago with a wagon. It was a red child’s wagon and two high school girls who were taking turns pulling each other around from class to class. Something about one or the other was hurt; anyhow administration after laughing heartily said no more wagons. But the sight of two high school girls pulling each other in a wagon was hilarious and creative. A few weeks later one of the girls colored her hair normal and cut off extensions and whatever else was involved and she didn’t like being normal it only lasted a few days. I quickly took a picture knowing it would not last, and I have that one on my wall of fame in my room still nearly nine years later.

“Because of their courage, their lack of fear, they (creative people) are willing to make silly mistakes. The truly creative person is one who can think crazy; such a person knows full well that many of his great ideas will prove to be worthless. The creative person is flexible — he is able to change as the situation changes, to break habits, to face indecision and changes in conditions without undue stress. He is not threatened by the unexpected as rigid, inflexible people are.” Frank Goble

“The things we fear most in organizations — fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — are the primary sources of creativity.” Margaret J. Wheatley

Going against the flow rising above the waves that is where creative people float along sometimes an idea swill change the flow of a stream of thought or stem the tide. Sometimes it will simply wash away with so many other imaginative thoughts. Thomas Edison spent a lifetime being creative it has been said over 10,000 light bulbs lay in a pile in his lab that did not work. Most men would have quit at 99 or a much less smaller number.

“The person who can combine frames of reference and draw connections between ostensibly unrelated points of view is likely to be the one who makes the creative breakthrough.” Denise Shekerjam

I sit here thinking back to the second quote and how in education we want standardization for ease of testing and measurement for the sake of the general good. We tend to eliminate and subjugate creativity in children and place it away for the consistency needed to teach a room full of children. My youngest son was working on a poetry paper many nights ago and on interpreting the poems of a poet. Many times he seemed close as he dug into the poem. We so often see creativity as an exercise in creating. It can take form in art or writing and as in the wagon and the girls dress and ideas even humor.

“An original is a creation motivated by desire. Any reproduction of an originals motivated be necessity. It is marvelous that we are the only species that creates gratuitous forms. To create is divine, to reproduce is human.” Man Ray

Mankind creates gratuitously, I like that thought. The difference between man and animals is creativity. Simply copying another act is not enough it is the unique act that is creativity, and in there as well spontaneity. Interestingly enough animals do have some creativity it is within recorded time and actually a specific date that the snow monkeys in Japan started swimming in the heated pools around their mountain home. Monkeys are traditionally afraid of water. Until one day a young monkey took a spill into the heated water and found it was significantly warmer than the freezing air around and stayed in. Very soon momma monkey came in after and soon generations later all the snow monkeys now swim in the heated pools. Creativity is like one day unique and common place and copied, but it was once special.

“Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy-the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence.” Norman Podhoretz

Watch a child play with Lego and their imagination will run wild several blocks become nearly anything but when many adults pick up a Lego block it is simply a block. We need to be so careful to not shut down creativity, to nourish it, embrace it, and let it grow. Each moment we are taking away ideas by suppressing creative thought. So share ideas and seek ideas and be creative as you go out today. Sharing some herbs with a friend today some Sweet basil, Purple ruffles basil, English thyme, Common Sage, St. John’s Wort and Purple cone flowers all plants I started from seeds or cuttings along the way. It is a great feeling to pass along to others. Recharge and get fired up to face this weekend ahead. Please however keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.

Is it really adversity?

Bird Droppings July 11, 2011
Is it really adversity?

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” Robert Fulghum

I was working in the yard most of the day yesterday when I was not at a reptile show with my son, weeding our front shrub beds and working on edging the beds as well and all during the day various birds flew by chirping and calling sort of keeping me company as I toiled. In the late morning a red tailed hawk swooped across the yard over into some pines to add to a rather interesting morning. As I thought today and much early saw this quote from Fulghum it seemed to be a good way to look at life. But it is also too how we deal with the problems we face.

“We have no right to ask when sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every moment of happiness that comes our way.’ ’A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.’” Authors Unknown

So often we get absorbed in the issues, the problems and do not see what lies ahead or that something can lie ahead around the turn. It must be that compulsive obsessive behavior that seems inborn in so many of us myself included.

“The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.” William Shakespeare, Othello

Life continually throws curve balls and learning to hit a curve ball is the secret and not succumbing to the psychological ploys of the pitcher. Of course when you learn to hit curves the pitcher may throw a slider.

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa

There is a bit of humor in Mother Theresa’s stoicism as she wondered about her place in the circle of life and questioned.

“We acquire the strength we have overcome.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

A simple thought but adversity does bring strength. Thinking back to yesterday and Dr. Garrett and the rule of opposites there needs to be weakness for the strength as we struggle through life.

“You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far.” Uncle Remus

I recall Uncle Remus from Disney’s cartoons based on the characters and many trips through Madison Georgia that is the home of the Uncle Remus’ characters. Even in Madison you see the Disney art work portraying the various characters. In life far too often we run away trying to avoid dealing with issues and there is no place far enough eventually it does catch up.

“Enduring habits I hate…. Yes, at the very bottom of my soul I feel grateful to all my misery and bouts of sickness and everything about me that is imperfect, because this sort of thing leaves me with a hundred backdoors through which I can escape from enduring habits.” Friedrich Nietzsche

A day or so ago a comment was made about over achievers as I read various educational materials. In dotting every I and crossing every T and each capital letter exactly correct as I read I was thinking obsessive compulsive. Understanding our frailties and weaknesses can make us strong.

“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Perhaps it is in acknowledgement of trouble that we can overcome it. It is true we learn and we grow, we develop a capacity to overcome adversity as life experiences are gained.

“The healthy and strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it, whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.” Rona Barrett

“Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known.” Garrison Keillor

So often we fret over things that in truth are simply a part of life and fretting will not take it away it is in knowing how to deal with and live with them.

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm

You have to get through the trials before you can savor the victory is what most coached will tell their teams.

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.” Jewish Proverb

As I think and ponder perhaps this is the most powerful quote of today. If we all looked at life this way what a world we would have, no more whiners.

“Sometimes the littlest things in life are the hardest to take. You can sit on a mountain more comfortably than on a tack.” Author Unknown

This is such a good illustration picturing a tack and a mountain and trying in turn to sit on each. The big issues we seem to deal with but those sharp tiny ones sneak in there and cause the trouble.

“How can something bother you if you won’t let it?” Terri Guillemets

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Frank A. Clark

“As long as you keep getting born, it’s alright to die some times.” Orson Scott Card

“Bad is never good until worse happens.” Danish Proverb

Even though the smooth pavement is so much easier to travel on I do prefer a bump now and again to keep me awake. I was thinking of the ripples alongside the interstate highways before bridges they really do wake you up quick. Sometimes we need a ripple or two to keep us going.

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney

Walt Disney was one of the great optimists of our time. Back in the day he had the vision to see pine flats, orange groves and swamp and envision a city, an amusement park unlike anything ever built before. As I look back all from drawing of a little mouse.

“Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.” Arthur Golden

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” Lou Reed

Again the rule of opposites falls into play and from Eastern thought the yin and yan opposites that need each other so you can truly see what each is often depicted as black and white which h is for many the contrast of life.

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Mary Engelbreit

So much of life is how we see it and then what we do about it. It is a new week so as always please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.

Doc Bird’s Herb Garden note:

Soothing tea – This is from Kathleen Brown’s book Herbal Teas. I tried it last evening and not bad although I added a little lime juice and blue agave nectar.

1 part catnip leaves
1 part lemon balm leaves
1 part linden blossoms (Basswood tree and no blossoms to be found yesterday)
1 part oat straw
1 part passiflora leaves (passion flower)
1 part St. John’s wort blossoms

Combine herbs in a pot cover with boiling water steep 15 – 20 minutes

Clearing the pathway

Bird Droppings May 10, 2011
Clearing a pathway
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Elwyn Brooks White
Often I reflect on the journey of life and the many directions I myself have traveled. I watch others step by step along the way and I Listen as some stumbled and are lifted up when pebbles and or boulders are in the way. There are choices at times about which pathway to take as a fork approaches and we have to choose.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it.” Christopher Morley, Thunder on the Left
“Life is a cement trampoline.” Howard Nordberg
I was wondering why so many of us each day think perhaps too much obsessing over reasons and rationale eventually tripping over our own inadequacies and imperfections. Are we truly desperate or is this a façade to cover up are lack of enthusiasm and desire. I wonder when I see a young person acting as a mime standing still facing an empty wall and unable to move forward or back simply immobile dressed in funeral attire waiting for an end. What has slowed their journey to this point? What is it they have missed along their own pathway as we cross?
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” Erich Fromm
“To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.” Havelock Ellis
There really is no road map and no specific travel itinerary as we journey along with each day being unique for me and for you. Nietzsche offers a why as a reason to live and Fromm simplifies further only a happy moment or a bright morning is all that is needed. Ellis states that life is an art form. Life is an art form and perhaps it is the wielding of the brushes and what colors we use as wield we paint. Several years ago a movie starring Robin Williams was out “What Dreams may come”. The author of the book researched extensively on the afterlife there are nearly six pages of references in the back of the book. But a scene that caught my attention was as Robin Williams realized that he was painting the world around him and that his attitudes and concerns altered the surrounding colors as they would change and the hues fluctuated as he walked about.
“You cannot discover the purpose of life by asking someone else – the only way you’ll ever get the right answer is by asking yourself.” Terri Guillemets
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Albert Camus
“Following straight lines shortens distances, and also life.” Antonio Porchia, Voices, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
We set the boulders in our own pathway and we throw out the pebbles that force us to stumble. We end up creating the forks in the road that force us to choose. But I would not have it any other way as I step along the path. As well we need to be aware that we must make an effort to also clear the pathway. We also must make the choices as to which road to follow. I see my life’s map as a series of zig zags an easy journey constantly side tracked. Where once a straight line between A and B now the page is covered in this way or that in back tracking and circumventing in over stepping and under stepping and in climbing boulders and in pushing some out of the way. It has been a few months since I have used at the end of Bird Droppings a saying by a Native American Orator from back in the day.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
For many this may not mean anything. It has been years now since I could hear a buffalo snort and walk across the pasture and see the breath blown in the cool of winter. It has been years since I have seen fireflies dance across my front field now covered in houses and roads. But I still see the little shadow as the sun sets and I still hear the breeze in the morning. Our scenery changes but life does go on and please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.