Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stop and Smell the Milkweed

Take time to stop and smell the roses.

You know what that means. Slow down. Take time to appreciate the sights and sounds (and smells) around you. Stop rushing around and go with the flow. Stop, bend over and smell a flower for goodness sake!

We all rush around so much trying to DO that we forget, no, we won't ALLOW ourselves to stop for anything. Not our food, not our sleep, not our health, not our kids, and certainly not for a flower. Have you ever not taken a break just to go use the bathroom because you were urgently trying to finish something? How bad is it when we can't even stop to use the toilet??

Maybe you do take care of yourself. Maybe you do use the restroom, eat good food, play with your kids and smell the roses.

Do you stop to smell the Milkweed??

As hard as it may seem sometimes to stop for the things we know are really great (the smell of roses), it may seem crazy to think we should stop to check out things that at first glance don't look so hot (a milkweed).

For those of you who don't know, a milkweed is, well, a weed. It's a wild plant that in it's common form is found in the northeastern and north central areas of the U.S. and adjacent areas of Canada. It's called the milkweed because if broken it leaks a sap that looks like milk.
It can grow to between 4 to 6 feet tall. It is poisonous.

At first glance (and with no help from it's name) the milkweed is nothing special. If you found it in your yard or garden you would probably pluck it out. But if you looked closer you'd find an extraordinary plant. It may not have the conventional beauty of a rose, but it has it's own beauty and a whole host of surprises awaiting anyone willing to stop and smell the milkweed.
  • The milkweed has over 140 known species and it's flowers range from white to orange and a wide spectrum of pinks.
  • It's filaments (that carry the seeds once the milkweed pods open) have been used as insulation and some say are better than down feathers.
  • The milkweed sap is a natural remedy for warts and poison ivy.
  • Milkweed nectar was used as a natural sweetener by Native Americans and Voyageurs
  • The Genus for milkweed, Asclepius, is named after the Greek god of healing, because of the many folk-medicinal uses for the milkweed plants.
  • Milkweed plants and nectar are beneficial for many insects, including bees and the most well known milkweed feeding insect - the Monarch Butterfly.
When you do slow down in life, don't just stop for the beautiful things, the things that everyone else says you should enjoy, stop for the unusual, the different, the undervalued, the seemingly insignificant. Because the best part about taking the time to stop and check out something that we overlook and undervalue, the weed, is that...

...the flowers smell better than roses!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Your View, My View

I posted this awhile ago on a blog for my e-course, Awaken to Joy, around the subject of Communication. Laura and I are discussing this topic on our Awaken to Joy radio show today. Enjoy!

Your View, My View
It's important to remember that in every situation there really isn't a truth or reality, it is only your perception or view or evaluation of what is happening. Even so-called objective bystanders are only speaking from their viewpoint.
In any given situation one person may feel angry, indignant, laughed at or criticized. While the other person may be feeling the exact opposite! So which one is right? Is there a right?
Try watching a conversation between two people and see if you can observe without taking sides or forming your own opinion. Notice how each person has their own viewpoint and it becomes their own reality. Then can you do it in a conversation you are participating in?