Virtual Green Healing

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I’ll get to explaining the title of this post in a minute, but first, a little preamble is called for.

While I’ve been laying low in the background for a few months, I’ve been silently enjoying reading my favorite blogs (Dogkisses) and Green Healing Notes, along with a ton of books. If you’re a regular reader here at IconDoIt, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve mentioned Dogkisses several times and that the author of those two blogs is also a frequent commenter here. So what’s that all about, you might ask?

One of the greatest serendipities of writing a blog and commenting on blogs other than your own, is that you have the opportunity to come to know people from around the globe with whom you already have something in common (an interest in the subject of a particular post commented on). Now, the odds are pretty dang slim of that happening as you go about your daily routine and encounter previously unknown people at work, at the grocery store, etc. even if you are one of the rare folks who actually speaks to strangers! And when you find yourself commenting and/or receiving comments on more than one posting from the same person, you start to get to know them a bit and after a while, may find yourself communicating with them “off blog” and developing a deep friendship. For someone like myself, who has extremely limited face-to-face contact with anyone in the world beyond my front door, such opportunities and friendships are valuable beyond compare. This is how I first met and became friends with “Lady Dogkisses” (whom I’ll refer to as LDK for the sake of brevity).

From the outside looking in, it might appear that LDK and I have very little in common. I’m close to 20 years older, live in an upscale suburb of a large city on the north coast of Ohio while she lives in the mountains of North Carolina and struggles just to get by. Our ethnic backgrounds and religious upbringing couldn’t be more different and we have entirely different work backgrounds, skills and hobbies. But what we DO have in common is how we have reacted to the tragedies, outrages, and challenges in our lives; the basic principles that guide our decisions and actions; a strong spiritual connection with the earth and sky; and a tendency to want (and make our best attempts to) bring comfort to everyone who hurts and cure the world’s ills. Of course, this latter trait – which is an impossible task to ever fully accomplish, thus we are always feeling badly for our “failures” – often gets played out at the expense of our own personal best interests. And that’s why we need each other to remind us to give ourselves permission every once in a while to escape from our self-appointed burdens to pamper ourselves with some free time to “play” or do nothing at all, get some uninterrupted sleep, and have a few relaxed good meals with enjoyable company. Now THAT’s my definition of a “real” friend!

So now back to the title of this post, “Virtual Green Healing”. For several months now, Dogkisses has been writing a series of posts centered around the concept of “Green Healing” which is a way of cleansing oneself from all of the chaos of the man-made world and getting back to the core of our spirit through working with the earth, planting and growing, and taking the time to breathe in and breathe out along with the land and the creatures who inhabit it and make it work. LDK has embarked on a project to facilitate this Green Healing through volunteering, along with her adult son, in a horticulture program for folks with special needs. Now, I love a beautiful flower garden and eating fruits and vegetables fresh picked each day but its’ been over a dozen years since I’ve been physically been able to participate in that process and more than 20 years since I actually had the time, and even then, I never did have much of a green thumb. But my lack of gardening skills and infirmities have never gotten in the way of my love of nature and, in fact, one of the strongest images in my mind when I engage in guided imagery exercises to deal with chemotherapy and pain, is of walking in the woods along the Skyline Drive in Virginia on a clear, cool autumn day. I can just smell that clean air and hear the crunching of dried leaves beneath my feet and the honking of flocks of geese and ducks soaring way above the trees. And it is with this same imagination that I am taken into the garden alongside my friend and her son, whenever I read the latest posts on her blog and I feel myself healing right along with them. (Thanks LDK for sharing your experiences and letting me tag along for the ride!)


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A Completely Blank Mind

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For the last few months I’ve been doing my darndest to avoid thinking – about anything! No, I’m not a Buddhist nor a Native American, but I admire the wisdom of both of those cultures about the nature of humanity and how we can rise above our inherent flaws by first and foremost, releasing ourselves from everything we think we know about the world – about ourselves – about how and why to live – about how and why to die – and about the nature of love, of peace, of wisdom, and of souls. And so, I’ve been trying to teach my brain to simply “Let Go” and think about absolutely nothing. If you’ve never tried this, it is not as easy as it may sound. And it’s even harder if you have spent the last 40 years of your life consciously trying to keep your mind active in order to prevent epileptic seizures! I’d like to share much more about these subjects and my personal experiences with them over the next few blog posts, and hope to start a dialog on these pages with you as I think we can learn a lot from each other. I know that tonight’s (early morning?) post is extremely brief and merely serves as a notice as to what I intend to write about over the next couple of weeks, but I do hope that you will check back here every few days and join (or start) a conversation!

In the meantime, I’d like to pass on to you a link to the latest post, Healing, Harleys & Horticulture of my dear friend, “Dogkisses”. She has a very unique and personal style of writing that draws you in and opens your mind and your heart, even if you come from a completely different background and think you face completely different hurdles.

Oh! I also wanted to let y’all know I just completed updating 4 more of my earlier blog posts tonight, a task that’s been necessary to ensure all the Freebies I’ve posted remain available to you to download. The way I have them set up now, should make my blog pages load a lot faster for you, too! You can check ’em out at the links at the end of this post.

See you in a day or two!

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a.k.a. “Rip Van Winkle”

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Geezus Frog! Is it 2011 already? I seem to have overslept a bit… 🙂

For those of you wondering where the heck I’ve been for the last month or so, or those who were worrying whether I had gotten too big for my britches and abandoned this blog in favor of fame and fortune in the world of commerce: I thank y’all for caring so much, for the many private e-mails, for your patience and forgiveness, and assure you that my feet are still squarely planted on the ground (or at least metaphorically as they are actually at a right angle to the ground and hiding beneath several layers of quilts and blankets).

As the subtitle of this blog declares, the theme here is “The Art of Survival”, and that is what I’ve been doing: Just trying to survive. If you’ve ever been pregnant or observed it from afar, there is an odd phenomenon where a few days before the babe makes his grand entrance, Mom2Be gets a splurge of energy and accomplishes incredible feats of creative and physical effort. It could be anything from chopping enough firewood to keep the kid warm through kindergarten, wallpapering the entire house as well as the neighbor’s, or stripping and finishing an ancient grand piano. Well, my body, for some weird reason, adopts that routine whenever I’m just about to suffer a relapse, and that’s just what happened this time after enjoying a flurry of creative activity from Sept.-Nov. I’m still having a hard time of it and really have no way to predict how often I’ll be able to post but I’m hoping to get back here at least once a week for as long as I can.

In any case, while I’ve been “away”, if I hadn’t known before, I was reminded once again of the riches I’ve been blessed with in friends. Janie, Mi’chele, Art & Enid, Steve & Sue, Barry & Sharon, and Michelle B. too, are each the jewels I shall always cherish. In goodtimes or bad, in silence or song, these are friends who linger long, whether close or far away. What I’ve done to deserve you I have no idea but pray I can live up to your example.

“But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

”There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends.” Hillaire Belloc

”Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.“ C. S. Lewis

”If you think that the world means nothing, think again. You might mean the world to someone else.“ Unknown (fun link but I doubt this quote was his)

“One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.” Euripides (408 B.C.)

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Halloween Folk-Art Avatars

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Halloween has always had a special place in my heart: from the “Peter Pan” costume my Mom made for me, to sneaking out to go trick-or-treating on “Beggar’s Night” with my best friend, Janie; to meeting the man who I eventually married at a party given by a bunch of art school students who came into the drug store I worked at and on the spur of the moment, invited me (a total stranger); to making all kinds of fun costumes for our son when he was little. In our previous home, we used to get a hundred or more kids coming to the door. The 4-to-10 year old kids were always the most fun as they were just so enthusiastic. The last ten years we’ve lived on a street where only one family has school-aged children and there are no street lamps, so no one comes around. Costume parties with adults can be okay but it’s just not the same or as much fun as dressing up and dishing out goodies to a new generation of little ghosts, superheros, princesses and the like.

For your own Trick-or-Treat pleasure, I’ve created a new batch of spooky, fun avatars inspired by the folk-art styling popular in Mexico for their “Day of the Dead” celebrations, Kachina Dolls that are an important part of the Zuni and Hopi tribes; and West African tatoos. I arrived on these subjects in a very round-about way that is an interesting story in itself and what I learned was really fascinating and in many ways, quite unexpected. I’m not up to going into it now but promise to follow-up and share some of the highlights with you in a day or two. In the meantime, Enjoy!

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Avatars March for Sylvan Rights!

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I don’t know if my attempts at diversity are exactly politically correct, but this assortment of avatar/icons that I dug out of my digital toy bin tonight are each proud of their heritage and hope to bring a smile to your face. If you choose to adopt them for your own, take them out for a walk in the woods once in a while and you’ll have a friend for life…

Hey, I’m sick and retired. I don’t gotta make sense all the time, do I? 😉

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Who’s yer Avatar see in the mirror?

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When you go to an online forum, chatroom, or read comments on blogs, you’ve probably noticed that some people use what appears to be their real name or perhaps the nickname they’re called by friends and family while many more use a screen name they reserve just for use online. Screen Names allow a person to have some level of anonymity which can offer a sense of emotional security, if not real security, and it’s that subtle sense of separateness from one’s “real world” self that often allows people to explore new sides of their personality, to speak their minds, to share their emotions without fear of retaliation, rejection, being laughed at, or ignored. The ways in which people go about selecting a screen name I’m sure varies a great deal and I’ve often found myself wondering where some of the names come from and why they were selected – did the user simply just like the sound of the syllables? Had they selected the name of a favorite character from a book, movie, or game? Were they trying to project a specific image of themselves that they believe will be attractive to certain people they’d like more attention from? Does the name reflect how they think of themselves – or how they’d like to think of themselves? Certainly, some people just randomly select a screen name because they are required to but I have a hunch that most people actually put some thought into it.

If I were a sociologist, I think it’d make a very interesting study, the choice of screen names, and of course along with that would be the Avatar that people select for themselves, as well. And does it say anything about the person who doesn’t have a personalized avatar? Does it mean they’re just not technically savvy enough to know how to go about it (whether in creating their own or finding one they like online and either registering it to a website like Gravatar so it gets automatically associated with their name when responding to blog posts or uploading it to their account at a specific forum) – or does it mean they’re anti-social or snobs – or just have no personality to begin with? Could be any or all of those reasons or some other reason entirely. Maybe I’m just nosy or have too much time on my hands, but I’m curious and think about things like this. It kinda goes along with my idea about creating as a new scientific field, forensic desktop reading. 😉

If you’d like to have your own custom avatar but just haven’t found one you like yet, perhaps one of these will tickle your fancy.

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Assistant 7….Ms. Assistant

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Donnell….Julioa

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Bouncer….Dudley

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