Tag Archives: JOY!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Hands + Happiness

Happy Hand


Marge, over at Inside Out Cafe has offered several invitations and challenges this year, and her posts about happiness have been intriguing.
Moi, however, has been so busy being happy offline, I have been quickly scanning e-mail, blogs, and such.
The first thing that came to mind when I read her happy posts was this quote, which I keep on my computer:
“There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.” ~ The Buddah

Life is filled with happiness. I am filled with happiness – so much that I feel quite happily explosive – in a good way. As I travel new paths, I have been noticing the love and the gifts, not in each week, or day or holidays… which have been warm and wonderful, but in each moment. Each moment of being in a state of happiness, creates more and then more.
Appreciating what is in each moment is bringing more… surprises, gifts, opportunities, love, joy to my humble door.
Are there setbacks or barriers? Yes, and not really. Switching to DSL from satellite, sped up my life… and for a minute, slowed it down… LOL! New e-mail address as required made for a lot of change! No problem. I wanted faster manifestations for my work!
Someone I love shows up on my doorstep, 3 times in a week, while I am super happily busy working, coaxing me to the beach for a sunset. The first night we were late, the second night was cloudy, and the third – a charm! We laughed, we played like little kids ~ with light and reflections and color and love and respect and appreciation for each other’s values and differences – which on many subjects often seem to be in opposition.
150 photos of this sunset… and 50 exquisite, useable, memorable. This one is a bit sentimental, and yet a simple reminder:
We hold our happiness in our own hands, appreciating the loving gifts of beauty we are handed each day. Sharing them, in the moment, is dessert. It is available to everyone, every day. Open hands open hearts, giving and receiving. What has that to do with photography? Everything and nothing?

My happiness is in my hands and when we offer each other our happiness, our joy, it is a gift passed on, shared, generous, expecting nothing in return.
The giving is the gift, receiving is the opening… or is it the other way around?

I need not seek happiness. It lives in me and I get to share it!

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Sun + Earth Day Miracles

Earth Day Sun Crystals

Earth Day 2012 dawned bright, sunny cold – 24 F and frosty. As I got in the car, dressed in winter garb, the sun hit the windshield and I couldn’t resist marvelling at the beauty of the sun co-creating with water crystals. Once the sun hit the window fully, they vanished almost instantly, and not before I was able to catch them with 6 quick shots… Pine trees and ice crystals, lit by the sun at dawn took my breath away.
My plan was to go into the woods and to the beach, to celebrate Earth Day, to capture the beauty of the little piece of earth I dwell in – my “material” world. That goal became immaterial… and was still realized.

Later in the day, as I was returning from the beach, (where of course agates appeared at my feet, as they seem to miraculously and often) a doe and yearling approached me… from the shadows of the trees. I spoke with them awhile, coaxing them closer… The older doe stayed in the shadows, cautious, yet the yearling came out into the sun, curious, interested, long enough for one full body shot… deer on the move. I crossed paths with seven deer this day, they have returned to the north woods after wintering south. The yearlings will soon be run off by the does, when they are ready to birth new fawns.

Yearling in the Sun

Yearling in the Sun

Yes, I talk to the animals in the woods. Yes, miracles happen frequently. Deer – I saw many deer on Earth Day. They are a symbol of gentleness and fit my current life theme… being gentle, with myself, others and planet earth.
Kindness, gentleness go a long way. Part of that kindness to myself has been to live life offline less and in the material world more. Less pushing to blog, more being quiet, learning, teaching, loving. Spending time with people, new friends and old.

For me right now, less of some things is more and all is well. It is pleasing me greatly to only open e-mail every few days… to be creating, building, choosing gently, and mostly, allowing… allowing miracles, allowing clarity and joy.
Namaste ~ Star Bear

Postcard from My Dream – Farewell Post-a-day 2011

Building ~ one stone at a time. Living my life, one step at a time...

Stepping into a New Year...Building ~ one beautiful stone at a time. Living my life, one joyous step at a time...

Some days there is not much to say… I love, I am here, I am loved, I love being me. As the year comes to a close, all is well. It’s snowing, it’s morning, a new day. I am awake, alive and deeply happy. I always have been, and sometimes I forget that. Today, I remember what happiness feels like, deeply joyously deliciously happy. Too many words… and still they cannot truly say it for me. Ahhhh… Hoping your year closes with love and joy – and that 2012 is as joyous for you as you wish. Mine is going to be fabulously wonderFULL! Namaste ~ B

Postcard from the Woods ~ Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice – the coming of the Light and Retreat of the Dark ~ in the Northern Hemisphere. The day was bright and sunny, cold, with snow still on the ground. I have been preparing for this for months – storing some of the best firewood carefully to keep it dry. Preparations – cleansing, cleaning, clearing, and moving some snow. Once again, I had a ceremony here in the woods and it was fabulous, moving, touching, sacred, cleansing, funny, shared with friends in person and others in spirit. All day the fire burned brightly in the sacred space where regrets, mistakes, the dark stuff, are written down and burned in the fire. Forgiveness, gratitude, hopes, dreams, intentions expressed in all directions to people, friends, the universe, and of course, God, for blessings (even those in disguise), miracles, love…. written down, placed in the fire and carried into the universe by gentle breezes.
I hope at some point in the yesterday of Winter Solstice, you too, were able to take time to honor and acknowledge the passage of the seasons, the year, the return of light and retreat of the dark, your growth and expansion ~ and the people in your life who teach, guide, love and share. My lists were long and if you are reading this, you were on my list – of blessings in my life. ♥

This is where the fire burned – the contrast of light and dark before the fire was built and lit…

Ring of Fire - Before


Last year’s total lunar eclipse of the full moon on Winter Solstice was amazing – see When the Universe Aligns. This year, the Universe aligned perfectly once again.
Namaste ~ StarBear

Lake Superior 2 ~ Celebration, Inspiration, Collaboration

Lake Superior always waving...

...waving hello, waving good-bye, waving hello again...

Lake Superior draws me to it. It is where I am refreshed, nurtured, safe…
It is where I go to wander, to explore, to dance, to laugh, to sing, to pray. Superior is always waving hello, or good-bye, or dancing or laughing. Off to the Lake I go, to think and be inspired and work, to be in touch with the universe and myself. Superior is never boring! I may go with friends. I may go alone. I go for time-outs, for joy, to celebrate life.

Some may ask, what does this have to do with being an artist, making art? How to explain… that. It attunes my senses. I become attuned to the world. Sometimes “it” comes in experiencing the vastness, the seemingly endless horizons, in every direction. The horizon line is seen, the vertical lines are not, and yet I know there is great depth under these waters, life unseen, unheard – the mysteries.

Spending a lot of time with the Lake is like getting to know someone intimately. There is water, there are stones, sand, wind, color, shape, contrast, texture, perspective, sounds, smells. There are tiny drops of water jumping up and laughing. These same drops of water, shape the sand and the stones. The minerals in the water color the stones. The stones are billions of years older than we. These drops of water, in collaboration with each other, push and pull the stones, tumbling them repeatedly, rolling, tossing. Listening to the stones jostle and crack against one another, I can hear them laughing… and they have stories to tell, these ancient stones. Listening to the stones… This poem, just sent by a friend, written by Charles Simic says it so well:

Stone

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.
~ Charles Simic ~

Today, I teach an adult “art” class… or is that an “Art” class? It will be simple. Eyes closed, each person will choose a stone offered by the Lake. Sitting quietly, breathing, they will listen to the stone they chose. Whatever stone they choose, it will be the perfect stone for them. They will hold it in their hands and feel the shape, the weight, and the texture. They will open their eyes, then look and feel and discover. Notice color without judging, just noticing. Some will ask what is it made of, what minerals. Shhh… that is the mind wanting to name, classify, putting the stone in a hierarchy. It just wants to be a stone… and tell its ancient wisdom. Then we will travel into the stone and see, hear what it says, what story it wants to tell.

It may be a happy story, or a sad story, or a funny story. It may be a drawing or a poem or a dance or a song. It may even be scientific information.

Whatever the stone wants to share, when the student is ready the teacher appears… and the sharing will be shared without judgment. In this class, it may be shared as a drawing or a poem, or a story told to others. It may become a science lesson for some. Is there a line between science and art? What color is the line?

You can do this, too. Hold a stone, eyes closed. Feel it. Turn it over in your hand, run your finger over it. Is it rough or smooth, cold or warm? Does it have bumps or dents or cracks? Is it heavy or light? Then open your eyes and look at it.. What color is it? Is it all one color or many? Does it smell? What does it smell like? What does it sound like when you tap it with your fingernail or a stick? Does it offer music? Can you hear its music? Going inside the stone, yes, you can… holding the stone, just breathe yourself into it. You can leave anytime, you are not a prisoner of the stone. It wants you to know what it knows… where has it been? What has it seen? What does it want you to know… about its life, it’s travels, its journeys, its color, its music, is it laughing with you? It will tell you if it is old or young in spirit. All we need to do is listen, to the spirit of the stone… it only takes a minute, once you learn to listen.

Write, draw, paint, dance, sing your stone’s story. Then, if you choose, share it with a friend. They might like to hear the story of your stone! Some may want to simply draw the stone… that’s okay, too, making a portrait of a stone. The stone will love it!

Messages in stone....

Young or Old? A family holds a stone... together

Namaste ~ StarBear – who, today, is listening, learning, laughing, teaching, sharing, dancing… celebrating being alive! 🙂

Post-a-day 2011: ~ Full Moon

Full Moon #791... and counting!

Full Moon #791

“I see the moon, the moon sees ME.
God bless the moon, and God bless thee!”

…A poem I learned somewhere along the way between 1 and 791 full moons. Many moons ago, my children and I would sing-song this as they were being tucked into bed, covers pulled up with a kiss goodnight on the forehead.
In the witnessing of 791 full moons, I have learned much, about life and the moon… Men have visited it, and no women that I know… and yet this full circle of feminine energy shows up every month, year after year to illuminate the planet, the universe. Predictable, on schedule, radiant.
This simple image is a note to myself. It is not photogenius. It is the moon over the woods near home, a moon shared by all. How does one capture an image of moon energy? Is it possible? When I revisit this note, I will not remember the hordes of mosquitos and other biters attacking me as I waited patiently for moonrise. I will remember this moon, these wispy clouds, the muted colors of day turning to dusk turning to night, quietly. I will remember the beauty of a warm July night. I will remember loving friends who lift me up and who I lift up… along with those who are strangers. I will reflect this gentle beauty back to everyone I meet over the coming days. So with this imperfect, perfectly blurry image of tonight’s full moon, I offer you a simple note of reminder. This moon, this energy is ours to enjoy, to share, whether we can see it or not. Every person on the planet is a recipient of this marvelous energy. Isn’t that amazing?
Sometimes my kids and I would change the words and say:
“I see the moon, the moon sees ME.
God bless the moon, and God bless WE!”

I hope you count your full moons, count your blessings and have a good night and a beautifully illuminating day!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Postcard from My Dream to YOURS!

I have a secret – I love to share!
I love to share Laughter and Joy!… and Silliness and Play… (You probably already knew that LOL!)
I love to share my work, my ideas, my friends, my toys and “my” resources! SARK is my most favorite, lovable, welcoming friendly resource – and I cannot keep Susan (aka SARK) or her programs and books a secret any longer. She is a wonderful mentor and friend. I love learning in fun ways and have fun doing it – even the tuff stuff. I love having fun with people. Susan brings out the best in me and others!
So if you want to check out one of my “secrets” to success and have some fun, click on the image below to meet Susan to read and hear more.



For me, Dream Boogie produces prodigious results, deLIGHTFILLED Dancing, Daring dreaming, and Fiestas of Fun. Dream Boogie is an 8 week online course, including beautiful pages of OWNwork (not homework), weekly Teleseminars where connecting in small groups is serendipitously synchronistically magical, inspiring downloads, insightful excercises offering fabulous support and deep connections with other creative and productive creative beings… including yourself… like connecting your right brain with your left brain. LOL! and DUH!… and if you miss a call, you can re-listen anytime… I LOVE listening to the calls – (Sometimes I even get to hear my own voice being brilliant – reading a poem or inspiring others…LOLOLOL!)

Why haven’t I shared this before? Haven’t been able to figure out some of the technology for posting in this blog. I want to be able to post text in color. I want to be able to share stuff like this within this narrow box… Maybe the box is too small? I wanted to share it with artwork and colorful banners… balloons and music and celebrations – and technologically I still don’t know quite the best way to do that. So here it is – imperfectly perfect… LOL!
Maybe it’s time for a new theme? Maybe ask for some help from TNT?
Could be… Last week I got New Wings – so anything is possible!

May your day be filled with Magic and Miracles. Mine is and will continue to be…
Namaste ~ Star Bear

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Living in Context

What do you see?

What do you see?

Is this just another Butterfly…
A Yellow Swallowtail perhaps?
Or is it about left wing politics?
harvesting pollen?
growing chives?
seeing purple?
Gardening?
Do you see what I see?
…the beauty of nature
symbiotic relationships
of critters, color, shapes
I see Joy, Hope, Beauty
Creator at work…
I feel the warmth of the sun
A compliment in violet
A tiny spider
black and yellow shapes
I smell chives and blossoms
And I hear the buzz of bugs…
It is all of these, And more…
It depends on what you want to see,
Feel, hear, remember, filter
what sensibilities you bring to it…
What do you want to see today?
What is the context from which you live?

I started this blog to share the beauty of my world, and while off track at times, returning to my purpose feels good. This morning has fresh fluffy snow, so off I go… in search of more beauty to share… checking filters, checking sense and sensibilities.

Namaste ~ Starbear

P.S. (According to Microsoft’s grammar and spelling check this post has a reading ease score of 88.3 and the Flesh-Kincaid Grade Level is 4.2 – why do I think this is hilarious…? Oh, simple, because it confirms that I am a fourth grader at heart… amused and fascinated by butterflies and spiders and color…and beauty.)

Having fun in airport delays…

We sat on the plane for hours, hot, thirsty, waiting for take off…
Deplane…. Flight delayed due to a broken airplane part.
“Stuck” in an airport in a strange city for another 8 hours while a new part arrived and was installed. Traveling with my friend, Jackie, and a group of artists… on a 10 day trip and we were losing a whole day… 10% of our time in Peru.
Watching and listening as throngs verbally attacked the airline personnel with angry words and threats of dire consequences, we looked at each other and laughed. Life is always an adventure!
We expressed our gratitude, actually thanking the airline staff for finding the problem BEFORE we were in the air. Seemed like angels were watching over us. The airport? JFK International.

While others groused and complained, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity…
Eight hours in an airport with nothing to do, nowhere to go. The airline provided fruit juice. The airport provided art and lots of angry hostile people… And there we were, two 30 something Pollyanna’s in heaven!

Seizing the opportunity to have fun on our long awaited trip, NO MATTER WHAT, we decided to create an impromptu guided art history tour of the airport for ourselves. We walked and talked and shared our knowledge of the art and artists. At first we laughed about how many people wondered who those two wacky women were…lauhing, pointing, dancing around to get different views… People started following us, joining the “tour”…We laughed and talked with total strangers about what they saw in the paintings and sculpture. We were asked a lot of questions, by total strangers, about the art, if we were airport staff, why we were doing this, were we curators… We asked a lot of people where they were from, where they were going, did they visit museums where they lived?
We were excited to be in the presence of art, not in a museum. We were excited to be able to stand in front of a huge Ellsworth Kelly painting, under a Calder mobile (Flight), up close and personal, soaking up the calm of color and shapes and balance, it was soothing. Order in the midst of chaos.
Families with children stopped and listened, so we asked kids about colors and shapes, we played eye spy, using art as the focal point. People joioned in and went with us…We engaged people to participate. We, without knowing it, having too much fun, taught people how to look at and see what was around them. Adults had fun, Kids had fun. Jaqui and I? We had a ball.

We were just being ourselves, having fun, going with the flow. I wonder how many of those strangers looked at their surroundings in new ways after that? I wonder how many looked at art differently or how many visited museums after that? I wonder how many parents or kids picked up a brush or a pencil and drew or painted after that. We met wonderful people…. And spent hours having fun, teaching, laughing, meeting strangers in an airport.

It was then that I learned that “teaching” can happen anywhere, any time, about anything, if you love it and are willing to have fun with people.

If you are ever stuck in airport, look around, and see what you can do to have fun. Help a mother with her kids, offer to listen to a stranger, offer kindness. Turn off your cell phone. Be with people around you. After all, isn’t that why we get stuck sometimes? To be where we are, loving the moment and those we are with? Being kind, helping each other? No, Jaqui and I didn’t plan on doing any of those high minded things… we were just enjoying our trip and sharing what we loved.
The rest of the trip was just as amazing…

If you are stuck in an airport today, here is a list of 10 fun free things to do…
1. Look around and people watch. See who you can offer a kind word to.
2. Offer to help a mother with crabby children.
3. Ask an old person if you can get them anything, a drink of water or juice?
4. Make a list of all that you are grateful for today, like the plane NOT flying in dangerous conditions, like time to just be….
5. Meditate
6. Take a miracle walk
7. Hug a stranger.
8. Make faces at a baby… stick out your tongue, cross your eyes… play.
9. Talk to a stranger, they won’t be strange for long.
10. Start singing, even if it’s only Happy Birthday, and ask a few others to sing along… surely someone in the airport is having an otherwise miserable birthday! Find that person and sing to them!
11. Read my blog: http://www.starbear.wordpress.com and laugh. 🙂
When we are “stuck” someplace, it’s usually because it is time to have the time to reflect on stuckness. Have fun!

Blessings to all, Starbear
Copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis

Light Growing ~ Part 4

24 September 2010

Golden arches, pale yellows, blues

Grasses paint a wall of light...

Forest floor of shifting hues
Golden arches, pale yellows, blues
Grasses paint a wall of light
Dancing sparkles do delight…

Crystals twinkling in the air

Lead to jewels, gems galore
In nature’s gallery treasure store…
Necklace here, bracelet there,
Crystals twinkle in the air

At journey’s end, some breakfast fare
To break the fast, food to share
A single berry, wet with dew
To end this forest feast with you.

A single berry, wet with dew

The Last Blueberry - of course I ate it!

May your day be filled with dancing light and delight!

(To enjoy this walk in the woods from the beginning click here .)
~Starbear
copyright 2010 Betsy Lewis