Tag Archives: lifestyle

Smoke in Our Eyes

As the familiar expression goes, “hindsight is 20/20”. We now see how fear has reshaped our society in the past year…

These words are from my blog post dated March 29, 2020:

Do you remember the wizard in Wizard of Oz? He used the classic “smoke and mirrors” magic act props to create the illusion of an all-powerful, omnipresent ruler of Oz.

What was his most powerful tool to manage people? FEAR. But when Dorothy’s dog Toto pulled back the curtain, a single little old (but power hungry) man was revealed, frantically pulling the levers to create the giant illusion in the great hall of Oz.

Right now our greatest fear, DEATH, has permeated every day existence with its grim presence. That fear has become tangible in the form of a daily burgeoning number. The monster is growing from a mouse to a roaring dragon right before our very eyes, its yawning mouth ready to swallow us in flames.

Strangely we are putting complete faith in those numbers, even though every country admits there is no consistent testing method and way of reporting the numbers worldwide. It is literally and figuratively “all over the map” globally. (For those not familiar with this expression, the definition from the dictionary: (All over the map, North American informal: in a disorganized or confused state.)

Consider that we are being consumed by something much more dangerous than any biological threat. Fear of death is expanding in the consensual collective mind.

We have the power to vanquish this dragon. We may not have control over the virus, but we do have the choice about our fear. We own it. We have the right to question. As Virginia Woolf said, “Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” 

When we allow ourselves to be ruled by fear, we become paralyzed, we do not see clearly, and our perception and judgement are clouded. In the final analysis, what you believe and I believe about the viral numbers, our own mortality, and the fate of humanity, could make all the difference in the outcome of this.

Smoke and numbers.


Smoke in Our Eyes © Susan L Hart 2020-2021 Photos courtesy Craig Adderly, Pexels and Kellepics and DeSa81, Pixabay


It’s Only Skin-Deep

Are you aware of deeper positive character attributes we automatically apply to an attractive face?

Here’s a great Psychology Today article on beauty and its effect on our psyche: The Surprising Power of a Beautiful Face. A short quote: “[what psychologists call] the halo effect causes one trait (e.g., beauty) to drastically color your perception of all other traits. If you think someone is beautiful, you are also likely to assume they’re smart, ambitious, interesting, etc. We’ve all made these assumptions before, for good or ill.”

We are hard-wired to judge based on appearances

The assumptions we make are evidently hard-wired labels in our brains. So we can be forgiven – at least a little bit. As an interesting exercise, the next time you see a beautiful or handsome face, observe your thought process. Do you quickly assume the person is also intelligent, educated, polite, nice, etc? Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and love, is laughing in her heaven. She knows, beauty has exerted power for eons.

Beauty is a big subject, with many facets (faces?) to be explored. For example, historically physically attractive politicians in public office seem to be more easily trusted by the population. Particularly in these cases, it behooves us to look deeper. These are people who are steering public policies and our future.

Inspirational Quote:

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

© Susan L Hart 2021 |  Friendly comments welcome | Photo courtesy 1643606, Pixabay


Where is The Joy?

Where did the joy of life go? Joy gives us a feeling of lightness of being. It’s an expression, I believe, of our true natural state, but even in “normal times” it gets buried beneath the problems of life. Joy is relief from those heavy feelings that we inevitably must deal with in our daily lives, and lately those have multiplied exponentially.

How do we reclaim our joy, right here, right now? (We must actively do this, while we still remember what that state feels like.) If you are currently restricted from those activities that bring you joy, then carve out a bit of quiet time in your day to close your eyes and play them like short movies in your mind. As you watch the pictures roll through your mind, tune into the happy and joyful feeling(s) within you as you observe. Let the movie flow throughout your body.

Further, rather than treating it just as a replay of the past (which keeps us stuck in the past), imagine yourself doing those things (as well as new things you desire to experience) again in future. Strong feelings and images are very powerful when combined with intention to manifest what we desire.

This is extremely important! If we constantly focus on the negative narrative in the news, we are actually helping with our minds to manifest it. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting pretty sick of the doomsdayers trying to create my future!

We can also help each other to do this. For example, I have a good friend who started a social media group, and she shares beautiful pictures of the Alps in Europe – the gorgeous scenery, the activities, the famous spots to visit in a cluster of countries – and together the members of the group protect and keep alive the beauty of life.

Only you can decide what may bring you some relief from this current feeling of oppression. This is very subjective and personal. This is a memory that brings me great joy and makes me feel light of heart, without fail.

The Magic of Dragonfly

The magical dragonfly is a fond girlhood memory of summer for me. Paddling around the lake on sultry afternoons, I loved to watch their iridescent colors flitting among the graceful lily pads. They captivated me. There was a purity and magic about these tiny gossamer creatures. They seemed to occupy a mysterious, unseen world, to which for a few moments I was privy.

Peace and a feeling of the goodness in the world were mine, and they still are when I close my eyes and revisit this memory. I also strongly connect to a feeling of freedom.

There is extensive symbology attributed to the dragonfly in various cultures. For such a tiny creature, it sure has made a big impression on us. More reading on dragonfly symbology here: The Meaning of a Dragonfly: What Does a Dragonfly Symbolize?

Whatever brings you joy and however you would like to envision your future, commit to fiercely protecting this vision in your mind. Work on manifesting the future you want, rather than letting someone else create your future for you. In this time of great change, it is absolutely essential.

Inspirational quote:

“…What if the point is to stop, then,… and listen to the birdsong, to watch the dragonflies hover, to look at your lover’s face, then up at the undersides of leaves moving together in the breeze? What if the point is to invite these others into your movement, to bring trees, wind, grass, dragonflies into your family and in so doing abandon any attempt to control them? What if the point all along has been to get along, to relate, to experience things on their own terms? What if the point is to feel joy when joyous, love when loving, anger when angry, thoughtful when full of thought? What if the point from the beginning has been to simply be?”  ~ Derrick Jensen, A Language Older than Words

© Susan L Hart 2021 |  Friendly comments welcome



Dissonance in Our Minds

We live in a time of extreme cognitive dissonance. Some days I feel like I’ve walked through a portal into a twilight zone. How about you?

Cognitive dissonance occurs when two or more ideas or beliefs being held in our minds at the same time are in conflict. From the dictionary:

“Cognitive dissonance (noun) Psychology: The state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.

Right now the world we believed in and many of our value systems are coming into acute question. Our inward belief systems no longer match the outward reality. Our minds are frantically scrambling to resolve the dissonance.

This can be extremely unsettling and stressful to process. There are articles out there on the Internet about how to resolve cognitive dissonance, this is just one, by Verwell Mind: Cognitive Dissonance and How to Resolve It

On a positive note, consider that cognitive dissonance may be a very important process that we need to experience right now. It can lead to questioning beliefs and systems that have not been serving us well.

Consider also that the resolution for this dissonance may well be found not only in our heads, but also within our hearts. This is a crisis of not only physical reality, but also of spirit.

And as an important end note: If ever there was a time to not block our personal discomfort with external events, this is it. Our world is a mess, and our cognitive dissonance demands acknowledgement and processing. It’s time to be really observant, think for ourselves, and practice critical thinking.

© Susan L Hart 2021 |  Friendly comments welcome | Photos courtesy Activedia, Pixabay


Lotus Wisdom

Spiritual enlightenment, rebirth, the divine. For centuries the lotus flower has symbolized all of these, particularly in Buddhist and Egyptian cultures. It also represents good old grit and determination, the will to endure. A lotus seed can survive without water for thousands of years, and is still able to germinate. And when it does, it grows out of the murky mud beneath the water, gracing our world with exquisite beauty.

Whether you choose to embrace the pragmatic earthbound or the ethereal symbolism, they in fact go hand-in-hand. During our lifetimes our souls accumulate wisdom through our experiences, our willingness to learn, and our strength to endure.

Envision your soul as a beautiful lotus flower ~ growing your wisdom, unfolding and blossoming, petal by petal.

Inspirational Quotes:

“Doubt everything. Find your own light.” ~ Buddha

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.” ~ Osho

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames” ~ Rumi

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.” ~ Buddha

“Our own life has to be our message.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.” ~ Buddha

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” ~ Rumi


© Susan L Hart 2021 |  Friendly comments welcome | Photos courtesy thatsilverlining and pieonane, Pixabay