There is a story I read uncounted times before I was ten years old. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.
I loved not only the words. I loved the drawings by William Nicholson as well. I would trace my finger along the lines of the words and images. I wasn’t consciously imagining I was writing or drawing. No. But there was something compelling, some feeling that filled me as my finger touched the shapes on the pages. Two dimensions becoming three dimensions in my imagination.
In Margery’s story, love and belief change the velveteen rabbit from stuffed toy to Real.
Isn’t this what I am doing, every time I write and draw? Love and belief becoming the words on the page and the lines in the drawing. Words becoming story. Lines becoming image. Real.
I hear people say believing is seeing. They are right.
Belief changes everything.
So does love.
When I write and draw, I can’t see the end of what I am creating. I don’t know how the story will close. I can’t see the image that will be there after I place the last mark on the paper.
My studio work table has been invaded by Minions. Well, one Minion, to be precise. His name is Kevin. He is eating a banana and smiling, his yellow cheeks bulged out on one side. Evidently it’s a good banana.
Kevin is only two inches tall, but his effect on me is in the exponential multiples. You know, ten to the millionth power plus.
This is why.
Kevin makes me smile. Makes my insides laugh. He gives me joy, every time I look at him, standing there on my projects pile.
His smile is pure smile. There’s nothing behind it and nothing attached to it. No agenda. Very simply, he’s happy and he’s letting me know that.
I love it when I meet someone who is pure smile. Not only their mouth smiles. It’s all over their face and all over their body. They are unabashedly happy and they are radiating that happiness like an August morning sun. Brilliant. Blazing. You can’t not feel it.
Smiles like this, full body smiles, are contagious. I meet someone who is smiling full-on, and next thing I know, I am beaming back at them. No matter how I feel before I meet them, they change me by the time we part.
We don’t even need to stop and talk. I can pass them on the sidewalk, share smiles, and be changed in seconds.
That’s how powerful we are, when we are in full-on, pure smile. We can change the world. Just by smiling.
Go for it, Kevin. Show me your smile. Invade my world.
It is 4:38 a.m. The sky is daylight, enough to see by. Our resident crow family is awake. Baby Crow is singing. Feed me, mama. His needs and wants begin at daybreak. I hear him all day. He is big enough to feed himself, but he loves the attention that mom and dad and older sibling offer. Connection. Care.
Today, and every day, I am Baby Crow. Feed me, I call to Source. Words. Ideas. My writer’s heart is hungry.
I am always wanting to make something. The creative heart that is me is always eager, excited, anticipating. ‘’Yes!’’ is her answer to the ideas and the words that Source offers.
It is more than want. It is the need to create, each day bring something new into being. Feel energy and promise. Feel idea that whispers ‘’I am love, let me play. Let me be born. I choose you, I choose your creative heart to receive and cradle me, give me form, give me beauty, and let me fly.’’
This is creation energy meeting and matching the energy in my heart. This is potential felt, accepted and loved, formed through attention and grace to become alive here in this world.
You might say I am writing this. I am the artist, writer, creator. True. But I do this in always-partnership with Source who is also Artist, Writer, Creator. We meet and match each other, and spark life.
This is my gift on this day. To hear Source whisper to me, ‘’Let’s play. I choose you.’’ And my creative heart shouts back, ‘’Yes!’’ A gift to me. A gift to you who reads this, and feels the words and the love that moves within them.
I had errands to do yesterday morning. Insurance renewed for the car. Property tax paid for the year. Books and dvds returned to the library. A Monday morning beginning-of-the-week list.
What I did not know. Source had a Monday morning list for me as well.
Five gifts. Unexpected. All ease and joy.
No line-up at the insurance office. Amazing. Not the usual. In. Done. Out. Easy.
A line-up at the municipal hall, eleven people deep. Everyone waiting to pay their taxes before the Thursday deadline. I settle to wait. Except. Wow. The staff are zipping people through. Zip. Zoom. I’m done. Four minutes including waiting in line. I’m impressed. I do this every year. Usually it’s twenty minutes, at least. I tell the woman at the counter. She laughs, says thank you. She is smiling and so am I.
Return the books and dvds to the library. Unexpectedly meet a friend who has been raiding the art book section. We go to one of our favourite cafes. Talk art and life for an hour. Leave feeling inspired, and with a date for next Monday too.
Real, brewed, iced tea with fresh lemon slices, at the café. Two tall glassfuls for each of us. Mmmmm.
Back at the library, in the kids section. On the discard-books-for-sale cart, Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Tolling Bell. The same edition I received as an eleventh birthday gift during summer vacation. I loved this book. My first introduction to mystery stories. Read it several times that summer. I pick up this copy that has appeared in front of me. Pay the librarian her dollar. Take the book home. My birthday is next week. Happy early Birthday, Cat, with love from Source.
Mentioned in this post:
Carolyn Keene, Nancy Drew #23 Mystery of the Tolling Bell, Grosset and Dunlap Publishers
Edgar, my cat, is teaching me Extreme Happiness. He’s been on the job for three years, and I am finally getting it. Yes, I’ve been a slow learner, but that doesn’t bother Edgar. He keeps showing me the same thing, every day. Love. Trust. Play. Practice Extreme Happiness.
Our previous cat, Einstein, was a fuzzy grey Buddhist master who channelled Yoda. He and Edgar spent two summers together. Einstein passed all his secrets, and the job of caring for our family, to Edgar. Then he let go of life. Edgar is doing an excellent job. I am sure Einstein is proud.
Einstein the Cat was all about being and acting in the present moment. Einstein knew how to choose his moment. Edgar is showing me that Extreme Happiness happens in the moment, and it is a choice.
Extreme Happiness has always been part of me. It is love, trust, joy, play, and it lives in my heart all the time. Until now, I never knew it existed and didn’t understand I could have it. I could choose it. I could give myself permission.
I didn’t know. So what changed for me?
I learned what Einstein the Cat knew, and what Edgar shows. I can choose how I react to my life. More than this, I can create my life. Find what I love and choose that. Here. Now.
Choosing changes everything.
Edgar chooses to love. He chooses love first. He shows love and gives love. Right here. Right now. He doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t stop and think, should I, shouldn’t I, maybe it won’t work, maybe it’s too scary. No. Edgar doesn’t try to figure it out by thinking. He figures it out by acting. He walks right up, and loves. This is what I am learning to do.
Edgar is a good teacher. He shows everyone he meets Extreme Happiness, whether he knows them or not. This is trust in himself and them. This is playing joyfully in the Universe. This is knowing love is always the action and the answer.
Love. Trust. Play. Practice Extreme Happiness. I choose this. Edgar approves. Prrrrrrrrr.
‘Edgar is extremely happy.’ This is what my son tells me in our phone conversation yesterday.
Edgar is our family cat. He is living with our son Bryan right now. Edgar thinks he belongs not only with our family, but with everyone. We call him the Love Kitty.
This is why.
Edgar loves everyone he meets, and he is sure that everyone loves him. He is so certain of this that it becomes true. He walks up to people he does not know, stares at them, unblinking, and purrs. It works. They stop, bend down, pet him. The Love Kitty in action. This is his job in the world. Spread Love and Extreme Happiness.
I have had seven cats in my life, beginning when I was a teenager. We have shared love back and forth. Each love has been unique, and each of my cats has taught me something about life.
This big, white-and-black fuzz muffin teaches Love and Extreme Happiness. He radiates it, all the time.
I have never had a cat quite like Edgar. Each time I pick him up, he goes boneless. Limp. A floppy feather pillow that purrs, loud. He looks up at me. Round, pale, jade green eyes. He is telling me in this moment I am the love of his life, and there is nothing better than my arms holding him against my heart.
This is Edgar’s Extreme Happiness: know my arms always support him; know I always love him; know that home and care and kindness are always my gifts to him.
His trust is complete. Edgar knows the Universe is a friendly place. His open heart calls to mine. Come and play with me and the Universe. Play. Trust in Extreme Happiness. Relax into Love.
Relax into Love. Edgar is a master at this. He gifts his Extreme Happiness to all who hold him. It is true that emotions are contagious. Edgar’s Extreme Happiness always rubs off on me. My body relaxes. My heart opens. I am happy, extremely. I know the Universe always supports and loves me. I know home and care and kindness are always mine.
Thank you Edgar, for teaching me Extreme Happiness. You are a treasure.
I began my life as a busy joyful wild thing, all play and curiosity and imagination. We all start this way. Then I began learning about the world I was living in. This is what I was told:
Be careful. Don’t be so noisy. You’re too loud. Stop yelling. Watch where you’re going. Don’t fall. Be quiet. Don’t cry. Stop that. Don’t touch. Stop running. Slow down. That’s too big for you. That’s too much. Give it back, it’s not yours. Leave it alone. Wait for your turn. Let them go first. Be a good girl.
Now, I get that most of these messages are good advice in their immediate context. ‘Be careful’ is vital if I am crossing a street. I do need to look both directions before I step out, and I do need to pay attention until I am on the opposite side. ‘Don’t touch’ is wisdom if the object is a wasp nest or a burning match.
The problem is, as a child I heard something else under the spoken words.
This world is dangerous. Bad things happen. If I make myself careful, quiet, small, invisible, I might get through safely.
I was hearing I am supposed to be afraid.
Albert Einstein had a big question that requires a big decision. Do we live in a friendly universe? I hear the unspoken part of that question—or do we live in an unfriendly universe? What he was talking about is a choice between love and fear. Which way do I wish to live?
I know, without even thinking, that my choice is love and a friendly universe. What I was taught and what I learned as a child, though, was fear and a hostile universe.
Everything I am learning now, and everything I write, has Einstein’s big question at its base.
Am I choosing love or fear?
I didn’t like living in a world of fear when I was a child, but I didn’t know how to be different. Everyone I knew lived like this. I was sort of okay with it, until I discovered I had a choice.
Acting on my choice of love and a friendly universe is not always comfortable. I have to be paying attention to myself all the time, my thoughts and beliefs and expectations and actions. I have to keep myself from falling into the ruts, the old habits that fear cut into me. I have to be willing to notice when I am afraid, open to it, and see-feel what I am afraid of. When I know, I can choose differently and change my reaction around what is happening. Create rather than react. This is choosing. When I choose like this, I am walking in the friendly universe.
The good thing is, choosing love and the friendly universe is a habit. The more I pay attention and make the choice for love, the wider and smoother I make my path. Eventually those old fear ruts will be flattened out, disappear underneath the paths of love I am creating across them. The choice and change get easier and faster every time I do it.
So ask. Am I choosing to live in a friendly universe or an unfriendly universe? Love or fear?