Archives for posts with tag: Beauty


Interestingly, this Earth Day’s post is about beauty. Take a look around. Beauty is everywhere – in trees, in dirt, in animals, in the sky, and in reflections in the water. It can sometimes be easy to overlook natural beauty when we are caught up in the stresses of everyday life. Leaves on the trees are miraculous things each with its own shape and color. Even evergreen needles are interesting to look at when viewed up-close. Lately, the spring weeds dominate the yard, yet the colors of their flowers are spectacular. It’s lovely to find these in the desert. Our yard has a lot of wild life as well – jack rabbits, cottontails, squirrels, wild horses, and plenty of birds. Our sky never disappoints for its crisp blue color and lenticular clouds. As far as I am concerned, all bodies of water are beautiful; when was the last time you explored a puddle? All this talk of beauty reminds me of an earlier post regarding beauty.

While it is wonderful to see the external beauty of nature in our surroundings, how often do we think of internal beauty? Outward appearances aren’t everything – especially when all we see is the surface. Today, I am also grateful for the the inner beauty of my friends and family. I challenge you to look beyond the surface. Authenticity is pure beauty, often expressed in laughter, or outwardly through caring and giving. This is where we find the depth within a person’s heart.

Let us all aim to express love in our spirits with our inner beauty.

Joy,
Cheryl

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. ~Anton Chekhov

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There’s nothing like panning for gold. Last month, I was in a river bed in California with a gold pan in my hands as did many generations of miners before me, each seeking his or her fortune. On a whim, a friend and I decided to try our luck and have some fun. The day was bright and sunny as we waded through the glistening water. The ore flakes float as the sun rays reflect on them as we swished the stones in full anticipation.

When I think about it today, I recall the fun we had; but I also think about the immense concentration and focus gold panning takes. We barely spoke to each other during those few hours. Each stone needed examining. Each deliberate swish of water was needed to clear away the unworthy stones. We looked for the heaviest of all, gold.
At the end of the day, we both had to be pulled, no, yanked from our meditations because we had lost all track of time.

You see, it’s like that. When we meditate and focus on the self, that same type of concentration should be used not just to pull a metal from the waters but to discover the gold within ourselves.

So the next time you want to find the treasure that is within yourself, sit quietly in nature to help you achieve this mental attentiveness. It will not only refresh you, but you’ll look forward another moment to be with yourself. Priceless.

Joy,
Cheryl

Artistic expression is the epitome of a thriving community. Whenever ancient artifacts are found, a glimpse into the past presents itself. Visions of prosperous individuals, imaginings of communal events, and evidence of the past help the modern person understand the importance of expression. After all, any artistic expression indicates the value of human events, the struggles of mankind, and perhaps the desire to demonstrate the beauty in everyday things. Sophocles’ plays are indicative of the time they were created for a certain purpose in his society. Acting out the order of events often helped the people around him see, feel, and maybe even change their minds about controversial issues. Petroglyphs, and the like, leave impressions for the viewer to ponder the thoughts and realities of a past culture. The pictures, while primitive, display man’s early need to create. Proof of this desire is demonstrative in music formed to prepare or educate those around the performers. Musical patterns are fascinating to the human ear. Our nursery rhymes are based on repeated patterns that stimulate the brain and help people learn. A past discovery of musical vibrations enabled many deaf students tremendous opportunity for growth. Recently, taking theater, art, and music out of schools has been a heated debate. Educators of these genres fight to continue these programs while others see less significance. What is troubling is a possible future without the modes of self-expression established early in life. Individuals in these fields currently bring delight to many and fulfill basic needs, especially through catharsis, an emotional cleansing. Solid cultures rely on human expression and emphasis must be made to help developing students by teaching them the basics of theater, art, and music in school all three of which enable students to learn efficiently, serve as an invest in people, and establish a sense of pride in individuality that transcends into the future.
Proficiency in any area of the current curriculum is brought forth when the style learning and application suits the students. At an early age, the brain is attracted to patterns, rhythms, and geometrical shapes engaging attention. As people grow older, established patterns of language in stories or in music trigger what is known as anticipatory skills. When one hears a pattern in either story-telling or in music, one anticipates what comes next. If what is predicted follows, the brain is further encouraged. The same happens for students who are involved in dance or performing arts. They tend to learn anatomy much quicker because they associate the movement with function. Younger students learn motor skills integral for early development. The math classroom engages a student more when she can learn time signatures when playing the drums. One of the fundamental truths about music beats and rhythms is that makes people move. “It is as important to have music in the school as it is to have clean windows, adequate ventilation, and sanitation. A half-day in school without music is like a face without a smile, or a desert landscape” (Winship 508). When something is as essential to the early development of the brain, it makes better sense to endow its abilities to continue. If schools understand and utilize the concepts here, learning becomes natural and less of a chore.
Engaged students express their individuality as they learn to become self-directed. The usual banking based education is less a problem when valuable skills are learned through discovery and not just on facts. While details of the past and present are needed to fully grow, autonomous students gain meaning when they seek out the answers on their own. A study at the Chicago High School for the Arts indicated that students became individuals during their four years: “A key part of an artist’s development comes from an acceptance of oneself and one’s point of view” (Brown 18). Maturity is useful in any situation because it prepares the student for life. It is not to say those who “embrace an artistic identity” are less likely to be team players (Brown 18). Collaboration is taught within performance, whether that performance be in the orchestra, or a single singer on a stage. The painter, sculptor, or photographer builds community as well. She understands the human condition, feels her own completeness, and aims to demonstrate her views: “Esthetic perception of art is associated with the development of personality and disposition” (Lese 184). Art in schools enables students to embrace and grown into their individual natures. The world outside the classroom needs people who are confident in their abilities and who know which temperaments they possess. A common complaint among employers is the lack of team players who can bring new approaches to difficult situations. The foundation built by allowing students creative outlets aids within the work-a-day world even if the individual does pursue a career in the arts: “Special relations of friendship were established among the students […], which in turn lead to a better collaboration between the departments” (Lese 184). The Lese study also indicates that no matter which medium a student is familiar, lessons learned in the arts establishes adaptability. Those who enter the workforce with this background are able to direct individual skills and function well across any discipline.
Empowering students should be the main focus of any school’s curriculum. Students who are allowed to express themselves creatively attain the well-rounded attributes often looked for by colleges and society. A high school transcript that reflects the grades is helpful, but it does not assess a person’s capability after receiving a diploma. True investment in students builds self esteem and establishes certain coping mechanisms. A student taught to have integrity, along with humility and balance is more likely to adapt to the ever-changing situations in life. Art allows students to learn self-calming techniques because it “brings a chance to talk, relax, get out any blocking social dramas, or forget their doubts” (Brown 16). When students unlock and focus on the task at hand, art becomes constructive, similar to the means of therapy. Concentration becomes an outlet while the student builds on his talents and confidence. Often the appropriate allotted time immersed in artistic activities, whether through movement or creative thinking, allows for stretching and attempting new things. Because disparity is rarely seen within the arts, students are free to partake in the beneficial aspects of self-expression without artistic or societal boundaries. Remember, society receives what it puts out: “A work of art triggers emotion, admiration and appreciation in the onlooker, thus revealing the author’s comprehensive view as he moves through various stages in knowing and comprehending art” (Lese 183). Schools that allow art programs authorize students to take ownership of the contributions they will make to the world.
Society needs people who are not afraid to express themselves through art. Artists and onlookers appreciate the role education plays in the world. Without the values placed on former and newly built cultures, life would seem dull. Seeing a play, watching or listening to a musical performance, or entering a gallery are some the many pleasures of the human experience. The foundation built in schools enables the new artist a position in a circle of expertise. It fulfills a human need that spans all backgrounds. Art education in the school unlocks unique abilities in all students whether or not they choose to pursue a path of artist expression as form of income. It must be emphasized again that those abilities are established because the art of learning is individual. When the schools can teach that individuality is recognized and praised, students are given the chance to learn specifically what they need to flourish. It is when the students’ ideas and talents are invested and groomed that society gains its most useful resources.

Joy,
Cheryl

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Without the arts, we would not have Harper Lee’s latest publication. Get it here:

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If you’re into Georgia O’Keefe, take a look here:

Works Cited
Brown, Tina Boyer. “A High School for the Arts.” Journal of Education 195.1 (2015): 15-19. Education Research Complete. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Lese, Ana-Cristina. “The Importance of Artistic Creation Resulting from the Collaboration/Interaction of Arts.” Review of Artistic Education 9 (2015): 182-5. ProQuest. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.

Winship, A. E. “The Vision of Public School Music.” The Journal of Education 77. 19 (1913): 507-508. Jstor. Web. 16 Aug. 2015.

Lagomarsino Petroglyphs July 2015

Lagomarsino Petroglyphs July 2015

These are the engravings of ancient peoples. Lagomarsino Canyon, NV

These are the engravings of ancient peoples. Lagomarsino Canyon, NV


On the day we decided to head to the Lagomarsino Canyon Petrogylph site, we really didn’t know what to expect or exactly where we’d find them. Our journey was filled with a bit of rocky terrain and a couple of washed out roads. Yes, even in the Nevada desert which looked more like a lush forest in this area. Flooded road
When we arrived, we were met by a gate – the kind you’d see that allows someone into a typical high school playground – big enough for one at a time. As you can see from the two photos, the carvings were done by ancient people who lived thousands of years before us. We were shocked by the simplicity of each one. We spent some time there taking various pictures of the engravings and the beautiful surroundings. It was a picture perfect weather day – the sky intensely blue. Which road do we take?

As I reflect on the observation of these and the location, I questioned the purpose of the engravings. While we do not yet know what each means, we can gain a sense of why people choose to create art that speaks to a possible future that our bodily remains cannot. It seems these petroglyphs are speakers, the recordings of a life or many lives.

Digging into rock is an incredible feat. Ever try it? It’s darn near impossible unless you have the correct tools. Imagine how long it took to engrave such intricacies into this material. Speaking of material, anyone would have to use what is readily available to make his mark on the world – to leave behind a legacy or story. Do you leave behind your own form of depictions? Do you speak from your chosen medium, say poetry, story-telling, music, writing, or do you communicate in hieroglyphics which need interpretation? Are your signs so encrypted no one understands them? Perhaps the answer is the same for the very primitive shapes made upon the rocks. Too intricate, and the image is spoiled due to a lack of space and possibly unreliable carving tools. Too simple, and your idea may be better explained in words. I’ve thought of the process of these particular carvings and wondered if in fact these were done with an accompanied tale of their reality or just something made up. One of the pictographs is clearly an old man, but just underneath is a more rounded humanoid figure possibly holding a laser gun.

So next time you’re thinking of leaving a legacy, think of impact you would like to have on those in the future. Do you want your story to be clear, or one that has future beings pondering the possible meanings?

Joy,
Cheryl

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2015-03-10 13.16.18Remember the old saying about judging the content of a book by its cover? People often judge a person’s appearance in the same way. More and more, initial judgments have resulted in murder because what is represented is not exactly reality.

It’s interesting, I’ve had this post in draft form for a long time. But today I dragged it up because it occurred to me that both this post regarding appearances and one of my last posts called Emotional Intelligence are a bit related.

Let’s see how. Take a person dressed in shabby clothing, one in fashionable street clothes, and one in a tuxedo or fine dress. The majority of people assume that the social status or caste of each of these individuals is demonstrated by the clothes each wears. Do we know these people? Perhaps you know someone like them. So what of clothing? It covers the body because, by golly, it’s illegal not to wear something. And note, that people can change what they wear to suit different situations in life. Heck, it is socially unacceptable to show up at a special occasion, say at a fine wedding, wearing a pair of overalls and nothing else. We dress for those occasions. And on a daily basis, we conform to different styles to suggest who we are before we meet others. The initial judgment, then, is what one hopes for, especially on a first date or interview when impressions seem to mean even more than usual. Can we suggest that people use the initial judgment as a sort of selfish act? The whole idea of dressing to impress is a facade which may or may not accurately represent the person presenting it. I suppose some people like the attention. It’s a shame people cannot wear something without others guessing who is inside. To utilize our emotional intelligence, we should aim to find out who the person is before we make our final judgments. The same applies to celebrities. Are we star struck? Are we impressed by those who flaunt money in the form of clothing or vehicles? Why does it matter?

If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you will have noticed that police officers have gunned down or beaten people to death by appearances. I imagine the academy teaches that certain looks should trigger certain responses while on duty. Body language is one thing that officers will pick up on. Emotional intelligence does help us identify with rowdy behavior and the like. We are human. If we understand ourselves, certainly, we can have a better guess at another’s behavior. Again, it’s a guess. Better to ask questions to learn about another before jumping to conclusions.

How does that apply to the color of one’s skin? If you haven’t noticed, skin color cannot be changed like clothing. Nevertheless it is also used to categorize people. Again, we need to use our Emotional intelligence when it comes to differences of appearances. The next time you are in a situation when you begin to judge someone based on appearances, take a second to remind yourself that even you are not the clothes you wear or the car you drive, so the person you wish to judge isn’t likely to fit your initial judgement either. Take time to get to know people. Decide that individuality and diversity is beautiful. And since I mentioned old sayings at the start of this blog, Luke 6:31 ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’

Joy,
Cheryl

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On the flight from Phoenix to Nevada, a smaller plane makes a quick left to get itself out of our way. From my angle, I can see it coming toward our plane; it then make its turn so I could see it move away from us. I had not seen engine trails from this angle before. I could see the side view, the back, and the opposite side as we zip right by in the air. All around the plane the clouds had formed different layers in the sky. Notably, the clouds form the various shapes that we’ve grown accustomed; however, I was able to see them from a perspective never noticed before this particular trip. Their form and layers allowed me to decipher the stratus clouds from the cumulous clouds and I found myself wondering which clouds I liked best. Here’s the thing… Who cares? Right? I allowed that thought to complete itself before really getting to the real perspective of viewing them at this height. What I noticed about these seemly ordinary clouds and my first reaction to choose a preference, is that these clouds demonstrated levels or tiers. On further thought, my analysis moved into thinking of the levels or tiers of society. The upper clouds resembled the posh, fluffy, and exotic shapes that formed mountain peaks only visible as we gained height and looked down upon them. Just under the sun are prime clouds accumulating to either keep heat in the atmosphere or to cause rain, an interesting job. As we descended, the stratus became more visible. There were many of these, and I could sense that the function of these types seemed less important. I would imagine that many of us see society in very much the same way. However, at the moment I was on the ground, these clouds were no less important than any of them. Clouds are clouds. Clouds hold water. That’s their job. So, why would the level of suspension determine any importance at all? It doesn’t. What matters is each has its own beauty and mystique. Clouds are all the same. Shape does not determine anything, including levels of status. Just like people. We are all the same. Our shape does not determine our importance. Having had this thought reminded me of a moment in Jane Austen’s book, Emma. Emma and others visit Box Hill known for strawberries and their varieties, Hautboy, chili, and whitewood. The ladies engage in rising chatter while picking and enjoying before seeking shelter from the immense heat of the sun. During this moment, it is difficult to follow the conversation; however, it is a telling conversation not just of strawberries, but of levels in society. Each of the strawberries has its unique quality, yet none is superior. The novel’s ending is just as charming as its beginning. To see a film adaptation of this classic, view Clueless 1995, written and directed by Amy Heckerling.

(All these thoughts of strawberries may be the reason for picking up a giant carton of them from Costco before the 5-hour road trip to California.)

Flying over the Sierras to Reno is a treat. The mountains are so close, they seem as though you could reach out and touch them; quite a sight to behold. They are as majestic as promised, and humbling. The snow caps are intricately defined. The vast and imposing crags could envelope giants. Surely, aesthetic distance helps us to realize just how tiny we are, and equally diminishes our seemingly huge issues. It is also interesting to note that while the earth gives form to these anomalies, we aim to live in and construct our buildings with geometrical shapes. As we pass over a very circular lake with the mountain’s reflection in them, it can be noticed that the lake formed here at the base has receded over the years as if the levels of water had lowered and washed away the rock further creating the caverns along the sides as the mountains pushed their way upward providing this mirror for the heavens. My window seat pictures do no justice to the beauty of this lake.

Circular Lake at Bottom of Sierras

Circular Lake at Bottom of Sierras

I hope you seek daily adventures and see the true beauty in life. It will help you minimize your fears, anxieties, and problems when you realize the vast and limitless possibilities awaiting you.

Joy,
Cheryl

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