Parts of a Whole

It's the little things that count

It's the little things that count

We are all parts of a whole.  Like building blocks, one individual block is important but put together a lot of blocks can make amazing things.

Life is like that.  How many of us go through this existence feeling alone, separated from others, cut off and dispassionate?  We live in a world now where it’s possible to never stray outside.  We can order all our necessities online, have them delivered, do research with a click of a mouse, get an education, download music, connect with others on social networks, and self-diagnose our medical problems.  In one way this is very convenient, safe, practical, and for some, the only way to function.  We become mere bytes on a computer, ID numbers on an order form, and quirky handles on Twitter.

Yet how does that ultimately serve our true essence?  We are more than just ourselves as individual consumers, patients, researchers, students, or contributors to Facebook.  In fact, one could say that perhaps with the advent of social networking, even those of us least inclined to venture outside and deal with others ultimately end up doing so anyway whenever we update our status or upload a photo or video. 

Deep down, the human psyche needs to connect; to be more than an individual block, but rather a part of something.  Look at all the organizations out there, from charities, school alumnus groups, sports teams, political committees, and clubs as varied as the NRA and PETA.  Each of us, it seems, finds some way to connect; to make more of ourselves than a single imprint on society. 

As Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate for the UK once said, “I am a part of all that I have met,”  so too are we a conglomeration of all our connections in life.  We are parts of a whole;  individual, beautiful parts, powerful by ourselves, yet unconquerable in our collective soul.

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Goodwill Hunting

It's affecting us all

It's affecting us all

This economy has taken its toll on all of us, some more than others.  People are taking notice and at 9.7 percent unemployment, more people should take a second look at an area heretofore left to the “fringes” of society….thrift stores. 

Seems that people are having to cut corners everywhere in ways that even six months ago perhaps they would not have imagined.  One contributor to the “Speak up!” section on Goodwill.org says that she’s having to learn how to use her microwave a lot more.  Others must get creative in different ways in order to cope with the widespread financial mess that pervades our society these days. 

Even those of us fortunate enough to still be employed are seeing the proverbial forest for the trees and resorting to venues up to now not considered for our budgets.  In my trips to my local Goodwill, for example, it’s been in the past year or so that I have noticed many different customers coming through the doors for the first time; some out of curiosity and some more of necessity.  Bad economy or not, employment status questionable, it’s still a fact that kids need school clothes and that coffee won’t brew itself in thin air.  Gone is the heyday of cruising the malls and parting with hundreds of dollars on life’s essentials.  Now we’re all having to trim the fat and until this situation improves, I foresee many more folks coming to this previously dark corner of commerce. 

There’s no stigma in saving money; in fact one could say that it is wise to bargain hunt when possible as while there may be some leeway in clothing allowances, the gas bill or the car insurance won’t likely go down anytime soon.  Something’s gotta give.

Check out this interesting article from Goodwill Industries and perhaps you can contribute a story or two of your own.  It’s the only way we’re going to make it these days….by working together and sharing our life experiences.

Come along and try your luck at Goodwill Hunting one day!

http://tinyurl.com/goodwillspeakup

Published in: on 2009/08/14 at 5:48 pm  Comments (4)  
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Books books books

Look within the covers

Look within the covers

I just got back from Goodwill and found some fabulous additions to my home library. It’s amazing that for usually under two bucks a pop, I can stock my shelves with some of the greatest literature, the most informative digests, or the trashiest novels known to man. 

Other than borrowing books from the library, I can think of no finer source of reading material than my local thrift store.  How many hundreds of dollars have I saved over the years by merely taking the few extra moments to peruse the jumbled aisles for a treasure or two?  It staggers my mind. 

I am grateful for stores like Goodwill who see fit to lovingly set up shelves for those of us wanting to expand our minds, learn a new recipe, or just while away a few beachside hours.  Without the tireless work of these charities, I’d hazard a guess that many thousands of pounds of paper, not even mentioning the information written uponthem, would head to the landfills. 

And I am even more grateful to those folks going through their home bookshelves, sorting out what they no longer want, and making the effort to transport these books to their respective charity of choice.  Without them, so many others may not have the opportunity to be introduced to the likes of Huckleberry Finn, Jackie Collins, Sherlock Holmes, Julia Child, and even Maurice Sendak. 

So thanks to  you all, for today I decorated my life just a wee bit more, while parting with less than $10.00 for the whole lot.  I’ll brew up a cup of Darjeeling in honor of your altruism while I curl up in my bookreading chair. 

Now if I could just remember where I put my fuzzy bunny slippers….

Published in: on 2009/08/11 at 10:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Shadow Effect, Volume 2

Can you face it?

Can you face it?

 

Lurking in the Shadows

I’ve just finished watching The Shadow Effect by Debbie Ford. 

Let me pause for a minute while I catch my breath. 

Okay, now I think I can, hopefully, give some semblance of a cohesive review.  First off, let me NOT recommend this powerful movie to the following people:

Those in denial

Those caught up in substance abuse

Those in difficult relationships

Those for whom “change” is a scary word

 

Okay, did we clear out the room?

 

Now let me invite in the following folks, as each would find something in this film of benefit.  These folks include:

Those in denial

Those caught up in substance abuse

Those in difficult relationships

Those for whom “change” is a scary word

 

What just happened?  It seems that this moving piece of art has something to offer to all of us; we are all on our unique life paths yet interconnected in so many ways and all of us are seeking one elusive thing.
Love.

 

For that’s what this film is ultimately about.  Love of those around you, whether they be good to you or bad.  Love of those whom you may never meet.  Love of those passed on.  Love of your family, biological faux pas as that may turn out to be.  Love for the policeman issuing you a ticket for speeding.  Love for the politicians who set policy and law whether or not you voted for them.  Love for the lost, the abandoned, the addicted, the frightened, the imprisoned, the diseased, the forgotten.  Love for yourself.

Why love when the title has to do with shadows? 

Because it’s only through facing these shadows; these demons haunting all of us as individuals and as a society that we can emerge into the light of beauty, transcendence, and love.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a woo-woo video that will make you run for your favorite  metaphysics books.  It has no pretty images of pastoral nature scenes.  Black and white, stark and dusky, this film strips it down to one thing and one thing only.

Do you love yourself enough to face your shadows?  It asks you, “What do you dislike most about yourself?” 

Wow.  Now for most of us that’s a hard thing to face.  Then Debbie Ford goes on to suggest that some of the worst characteristics you see in others is a case of one finger pointing at the offending person and THREE fingers pointing back at you.  Are you projecting your innermost failings onto others in order to make yourself feel better?  Do you find it much easier to condemn others rather than change yourself?

It’s that gnawing tiny voice in the back of our minds that keeps us up in the wee hours.  It’s true, as the film says, 

WHAT WE CAN’T BE WITH WON’T LET US BE.

What does that mean and how can we finally BE in the moment and accept and LOVE ourselves?  Debbie Ford and her incredible contributors remind us that it’s only when we face these shadows, drag them out into the light, accept them, and forgive them and ourselves that we can truly find love. 

How many of us are yearning to find closure, to finally conquer those beasts rising up within us, yet embrace them too and learn from them and use them as a tool to move on and improve our lives? 

In this incredible, beautiful, daunting picture, this question comes up again and again.  Can we face our shadow and instead of hiding from it, try to gain something instead?  This is an important tool for anyone seeking something better for themselves; to rise up and cleanse themselves of past errs and violations, to purge pain and instead clothe themselves in the arms of….

 

Love.

 To purchase the DVD
http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?ref=59&products_id=16

To buy the online version:
http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?ref=59&products_id=18

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/debbie_ford

Featuring as guests in The Shadow Effect
Deepak Chopra
Website:  http://deepakchopra.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/deepakchopra

Marianne Williamson
Website: http://www.marianne.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/marwilliamson

James Van Praagh

Website:  http://www.vanpraagh.com/
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/JamesVanPraagh

Mark Victor Hansen

Website: http://www.markvictorhansen.com

For the two disc set

 http://store.debbieford.com/product_info.php?ref=59&products_id=17

 

 

Radio Star

The Old Marconi

The Old Marconi

I’m going to be on the radio promoting my book, Second Hand Roses: Lessons from the Junktiquing Road on Blog Talk Radio with Michelle Vandepas of Divine Purpose Unleashed.com on 15 September at 3 PM Eastern.

 

 

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/LiveYourPurpose/2009/09/15/Life-Purpose-Budgeting-Abundance-and-Thrift-with-Dawn-of-2nd-Hand-Roses

 

I am so excited to share my stories of learning from my forays into the world of secondhand and hope you will tune in!

I have a favor to ask.  Can you email me and let me know about one thing you’ve found of special importance at a garage sale, yard sale, thrift store, antique store, or online?  We are all collectors; you, me, and the rest of us in society and while it’s true you can’t take it with you, it’s sure fun to play with stuff while we’re here! 

I truly believe that some of the most beautiful, meaningful items I have found via my junktiquing trips have in their own ways colored my life and enhanced my outlook.  I’d be lost without my precious china teacup found years ago at a flea market; it’s delicate faded paint around the rim only hinting of tea parties of years gone by.  A treasured book sits in a place of honor, having come by way of eBay to replace a childhood friend.  And how would I display my books were it not for the altrusim of others donating their unwanted bookshelves?

I can’t wait to share my experiences in living life fully through thriftiness and I wonder if you’d do me the honor of listening in and perhaps contributing a memory or two or your own?

Thanks and as they say, “stay tuned!”

Junk Collectors

Junk Collectors School

Junk Collectors School

 

We are all junk collectors.  Even those who don’t outright admit it will testify to their ubiquitous junk drawer choc-a-bloc with rubber bands, pencils, straws, outdated coupons, Chinese takeout sauce packages, matches, candles, or any one of another million of modern society’s objects.  Some, like Jake, in the book above, are experts. And his junktiquing protege, Andy, wants to be just like him.  There’s so much in this world that others have cast off, and oftentimes it takes a special set of eyes to see the beauty in things left unloved and unwanted.  Repurposing and recycling happens to all of us ultimately, whether it starts off as an intended activity or the reusing of an item happens simply by chance.  How many of us have truly bought a new car? Most of us in this economy can only afford used, or as the dealers prefer to call them, “preowned.” 

Isn’t much of what we touch preowned?  Was the first house we bought a pre-fab McMansion in a nice suburb?  I think not.  Life evolves for us in Western society, and we are in a continual state of upgrading and improving our lot in life, sometimes to please ourselves, sometimes to impress others, and sometimes for reasons we don’t yet truly comprehend.  Aren’t the nicest  homes we’ve visited filled not with beautiful new drapes, priceless rugs, or costly fixtures but rather possessing instead the qualities of what we value inherently as a human being? I am talking about basic niceties like a warm hearth, a handknitted shawl, a steaming mug of cocoa, a careworn sofa, familiar books or vintage LPs, a collection of old cards and photographs, comfy slippers, and the quiet familiarity of our oldest friends and closest family.  I daresay most of these things’ value lie not in the pricetag but rather in the warmth and attachment we all feel when sharing them? 

If I am a junk collector because I save some pennies and display an antique photograph of my great-great grandmother, within a thrift-store frame, then so be it.  If I am a purveyor of secondhand and have no compunction in scouring the yards and garages of my neighbors looking for the perfect jelly jar, then I guess I am guilty as charged. 

But like Andy, I would be honored to graduate from Junk Collector School, to share in the wit and wisdom of those traveling life’s path before me, and hopefully gather some beauty along the way.

Published in: on 2009/08/06 at 12:49 am  Comments (1)  
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Come to the Fairgrounds

My little home in the country!

My little home in the country!

I have always been proud of my little town and marvelled at how fortunate I was to set down roots mere steps from one of the more popular antique markets in the country.  Now it seems that the big publishers are finding us as well and agree that secondhand is the way to go!

Check out this great photoshoot in my Fair City.

http://tinyurl.com/sandwichantiques

Maybe I’ll see you at a booksigning there!

Go to the Library

Celebrating Banned Books Week

Celebrating Banned Books Week

You! Yes, I mean you! It’s time to visit an old friend. Get off the couch, unplug the phone, put down the remote, step away from the net, and take a walk down to your local library. It’s time to reconnect with some old pals.

http://www.loc.gov/index.html

Raptors in my neighborhood

The Eyes See Everything

The Eyes See Everything

I have been blessed to have as neighbors now for the past two years a triplet set of Cooper’s hawks setting up a nest just across the street from my house. Their amazing calls and magnificent acrobatics in flight have humbled me and made me step back for at least a few moments a day to truly appreciate Nature’s beauty at its best. They’ve been a joy to watch as they go about their lives just meters from my window, soaring and plunging, hopping in branches, and even playing tag with a squirrel when they were youngsters. I don’t think that the squirrel knew he was in danger, and he and the hawk just chased each other around and around some bushes and up and down tree branches. This was last year, and while the baby hawks may have been having more fun than truly intending on eating little Rocky, my suspicion is that this year it’d be more of a case of “playing with their dinner,” as my fellow birder, Donna, remarked.

How often in our busy lives do we stop even for a second or two to listen to the wind rustling through the trees, the call of a happy robin, or look beyond our perimeter of interest to truly see the magnificence around us? I am honored and touched to share my little world with these gorgeous creatures and am grateful to them for reopening my hawk eyes.

If you ever should be so fortunate to have these raptors as aerial companions, you may be interested in hearing their recorded cries to help identify them.

http://tinyurl.com/coohawk

Published in: on 2009/07/26 at 2:41 pm  Comments (4)  
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Thrift Store Newbie

Your Treasures Await

Your Treasures Await

You need to read this article. As more and more folks venture into thrift stores for the first time, this sense of “shock and awe,” will only spread. It is possible, even logical, to travel down roads previously hidden to discover ways to improve one’s life and preserve the income!

http://tinyurl.com/thriftstorehaunt

Published in: on 2009/07/21 at 9:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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