Wednesday’s Wondrous World: The Moon

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“The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.” – Carl Sandburg

One of the constants of our world during the day is the sun.  And during the night, it is the moon.  Both have been praised and worshiped in fable and song many many times over.  It was only a matter of time until I had to write about one of them as a part of the Wednesday’s Wondrous World.

Sun_and_Moon_by_Zias

I have many times found myself spellbound by the moon.  Her incredible light (which yes, I recognize is nothing more than a reflection of the sun) has been a guide and inspiration to me on many a night.

The moon has been considered a part of signs and portents throughout all recorded time.  The rise and fall of the moon and all of her phases have been an instrument for the marking of time before history was tracked.

Some personify the moon as a female, others male.  And I have no doubt that some simply see it as a giant ball or rock and soil in the sky.

But there is something magical and wondrous about the moon.

The moon brightens what might be an otherwise dark night, providing comfort where there might otherwise be none.

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The size of the moon appears to be utterly inconstant.  Sometimes she’s just this speck in the sky.  Other times she fills the horizon.  It’s color can change due to clouds or atmospheric conditions or whatever.

“Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.”  – JRR Tolkien.

There are an infinite number of things I could write about our moon.  And even beyond our own moon, in fiction a moon or moons often gets a fairly expanded role.  Many angles, many things have been said about the moon.

Songs, stories, fables and tales throughout history have led us to strive for the moon.  The only body mankind has visited outside of the Earth.  And yet we still dream of paying her a visit again, establishing a colony on her surface, or mining the moon for minerals.  The moon represents endless possibilities.

Guide or star-blocking light, friend or foe, omen of good or bad, the moon is an undeniable wonder of our world.  Look up and see her for more than a sun-reflecting rock in the sky, and feel the inspiration she often gives off.

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, author of”Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Sleep

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This week’s topic, for me, strikes close to home.  I want to discuss the wonder of sleep.  Something that I personally am lacking in at this writing.

Sleep is an amazing time where we get to reset.  We pause, we stop our actions, and we re-energize ourselves.  For two to twelve hours at a time, we sleep.

“To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;” – William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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Many people spend their time in sleep dreaming of elaborate places and worlds.  Some people see visions of past, present and future in their dreams.  Some people have incredibly odd dreams about talking cows or worlds populated almost entirely by brine shrimp and such.  Some of us do not recall our dreams at all, thought medical science says that everybody dreams.

When you are tired, your eyes are drooping, and your focus is fading, there is nothing quite like that moment where your head hits the pillow, yours eyes close, your breathing slows, and the world around you fades into a warm, peaceful din.  Sleep allows the body to reset.  Sleep lets us recover from the actions of our day.

When we are ill, sleep is often prescribed to allow the body to recover.  When we feel down, sleep will sometimes allow us to escape, to awaken feeling better.

Sleep is the best meditation.”  – The Dalai Lama

psychic orb around head

Every night before I go to sleep, I pause, reflect, and meditate on my day.  I focus on the things I am grateful for, and I focus on the positive things I want for my life.  I let my day be cleared, and then I turn over and let Morpheus enfold me in his arms.

Sleep is necessary.  No matter how long we are able to stay awake, everybody needs to take the time to get some rest.  Some of us can function perfectly well on less than six hours of sleep.  Some need eight hours or better.  And some can sleep in dribs and drabs, twenty minutes here, and hour or two there, at various intervals in a given day.  But no matter how you sleep, sleep is a wonder of life we all experience.

Sleep is a necessity, but a wonder?  You might be thinking just that – and my explanation is simply that for everything a person does, all the thoughts, all the actions, all the feelings, emotions, senses experienced in a given day, it is wondrous that we have this ability to put that to rest in order to recharge.  When you think about it, it truly is an interesting notion, and a wonder that we have this opposite side to our regular activity.

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And unlike that which is often equated with sleep – I am now talking about Death – Sleep is NOT a permanent state.  We pause, we go inactive for a time – but wondrously, we come back to carry on.  Further evidence of the wonder of sleep.

“A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” -Leonardo da Vinci

What do you like best about sleep, and how much time do you spend on it?

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your sleepy, silly, sometimes serious “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” writer.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Pets

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Our domesticated animal companions are pretty amazing, aren’t they?

Thalia

Dogs, cats, ferrets, rats, mice, fish, birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles…doesn’t matter.  These magnificent creatures, and more they way they make us feel, are truly a wonder of this world.

Take cats for example.  Yes, they can be utterly aloof, take off at high speed to chase who-knows-what at the drop of a hat, and utterly ignore you except when you are trying to sleep or they are hungry.  And of course, cats will always let you know that THEY are in charge, you will love them at THEIR convenience, and you are the thumb-monkey who opens that can of food (which they would TOTALLY do themselves if they had opposable thumbs!)

But when you are lying on the couch, feeling sick, or sad, or blue, they seem to know when to curl up on your chest, hunker down, and start purring.  They brush against your palm to get your attention, or they toss a toy on your direction.  There is nothing quite like a cat desiring your affection to lower the blood pressure and make you feel good when you have been feeling bad.

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Then there are dogs.  I personally prefer my dog in the range of 30 – 60 pounds, but even tiny little yappers and monstrous fluffballs can put a smile on my face.  There is nothing like that wagging tale, that whimper of recognition and happiness when they see you to bring about a warmed heart.

Dogs around the size I like are generally huge walkers.  And walking is pretty much always good exercise for us humans.  The joy most dogs show as they strut ahead of you on their leash is so playful to behold, it’s really pretty cool.  And dogs just love so unconditionally.  Nothing quite like a dog to make you feel better on a bad day.

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Now fish are a different matter.  Fish are not cuddly, not interactive with you.  But there is something mesmerizing about staring at a tank of fish, swimming around with all the colors of their scales, and the way they dive and rise again.  And watching fish eat flakes poured into their tank can be downright comical.  There is value in these companions, and they can brighten an otherwise cheerless room rather remarkably.

Interaction with other animals will of course vary.  Birds can sometimes talk, repeating simple terms and phrases in their amusingly pitched voices.  A chinchilla bathing in volcanic ash is a surprising sight to behold.  Watching a mouse on a treadmill can be pretty funny.  Snakes, lizards, turtles and frogs climbing and jumping about things can keep your mind distracted from troubles for a surprisingly long time.

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No matter the size or type of creature one chooses for an animal companion, despite the obligations of their care and feeding, they bring about love and joy and wonder in your life that is otherwise missing.   The animals we have over the centuries domesticated to be dependent upon us turn those tables on us frequently, and are a true wonder of this world.

Do you have any animal companions in your life?

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Please check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also available: Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Pain

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Though it is not something most of us want to spend a lot of time on, and often we view this as a negative, it is no less of a wonder.  And that wonder I want to explore today is pain.

Seriously?  Are you running out of wonders already?  In what way is pain a wonder?  Pain is a sensation, it is a part of our sense of feeling, and pain tells us information we need to know.

Pain sends very specific messages to your brain.  Often it is telling you to stop doing something, or to consider your action because it is hurting.  As I sit and write this, my lower back is unusually stiff and sore.  Did I sleep in a bad position?  Is the chair I am currently in uncomfortable to me?  Am I in pain due to a muscular issue, a nerve issue, a bone problem?  Why am I sore?

eyesOf course, pain can be bad.  This is why we have numerous drugs to numb, dull, and mask pain.  Pain can take on a lot of different forms, beyond the physical, it can be emotional, psychological, real and imagined.  Pain lets you know you cut your finger, pain tells you you have sprained your ankle, broken your arm, strained your neck, twinged your knee.  Pain tells you to stop, before you do even worse damage.

That is physical pain.  Emotional pain might keep you from entering into a relationship, give you pause before taking that job, cause you to reconsider your association with a person or persons.  Psychological pain is likely a phobia – that inexplicable, only semi-rational fear of heights, or spiders, or flying, or what-have-you.

Pain can be found in many forms, in many ways.  Pain can also be good.  Some people enhance their pleasure through pain.  The burn when you are stretching a tight muscle, that soreness after an intense weight lifting session at the gym.  The pain in an injured joint after long disuse in physical therapy.  The pain of a break-up of a bad relationship that still eases a burden from the mind.

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But I believe, most of all, pain is a wonder because without it, we would not know its opposite.  We cannot feel pleasure if we do not know pain.  We cannot appreciate the looseness and flexibility in our joints without pain and stiffness.  We cannot know that sense of satisfaction in a good relationship without the pain of a bad relationship.

I am a very big proponent of this world being much less about the polar opposites, and more about the grey area between them.  Pain in its most pure form is one end of that spectrum.  But without it, and those aspects of the world in the great leaning towards it, we would not know and be able to experience the other side.  That is why pain is still a wonder.

Earth connected

We live in an imperfect world.  And that, to me, is one of the greatest wonders of it.  There are so many things that live in neutrality but can be taken one way or the other, from time to time it is worth exploring the wonder of something associated with the negative, and see that it can also be a positive.  A world in the great between the polar opposites, filled with wonders a lifetime may only just begin to explore.

What have you learned from pain in your world?

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” writer.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: The Internet

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How and where did you find this blog?  The internet, of course.

And that is the topic of this week’s Wednesday’s Wondrous World.  The amazing, incredible, uncontrolled network of binary code that we refer to as the internet.

Few things have changed the world quite like the internet has.  For all its follies and foibles, the internet is one of the most amazing wonders the world has to offer.

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Wait, stop, hold the phone, you might be thinking.  Shouldn’t “wondrous world” cover natural things?  Thus far, that’s been my angle, but all wonders of this world, natural and manmade, are to my mind open to this weekly exploration.

What makes the internet so wondrous?  Once you get past the porn and the LOLcats and other useless memes and games and such, the internet if full of information on pretty much every single topic you can possibly imagine.

Need to know how to convert centimeters to inches?  Want to translate a phrase from English to Latin?  Want a recipe for salted caramel chocolate chip cookies?  Want to put the name to the face of that actor on TV?  Want to understand how an internal combustion engine works?  All it takes is opening a web browser and exploring Google or Bing or other search engine to find these.  In seconds.

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Certainly some of the information out there is a total crock.  As one of my favorite TV commercials likes to joke, “They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.”  “Where did you hear that?”  “The internet.”  And certainly you can find far more speculation and opinion than fact across the web.

That’s not the part that makes the internet so wondrous.  It is the instant ability it gives us to find information.  Whether you are on your computer, mobile phone, iPad, tablet or any other portable device, in a matter of seconds you can look up directions, maps, history, recipes, fiction, ,music, games, and almost anything else you can think of.

You no longer need to find a book, make a trip to a library or a municipality to research information, it is instantly available to you.  Almost anything you could want is found somewhere in “the cloud”, waiting to be accessed.

You can keep a journal online, rather than carry a paper book for it.  You can share your thoughts with friends or even see them across the world using the internet.  And I am pretty certain we have only just scratched the surface thus far of all the capabilities of this wondrous tool.

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Don’t get me wrong, I am an enormous fan of books and libraries and museums and less-evolved means of record keeping.  I am also a fan of the arte of conversation, rather than just texting and messaging and e mailing the world.  There is still great value in these things, and they should not be replaced by the internet.  But it can surely augment and supplement them.

While arguably the internet has taken away human interaction in many ways, it has also found new ways to bring us together.  Where in the world are you, dear reader?  Somehow you found your way to this Chakra Center blog, and not only my posts, but all the other authors and contributors offerings here.  I know we come from all around the world, different backgrounds and perspectives.  Yet we have much in common, shared on this blog, and I would hazard a guess that you share those commonalities with us, too.

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The internet.  A unique, still-evolving wonder of our world that is closing the gaps across nations and cultures, and bringing us together in ever-increasing ways.

What were you doing online that led YOU to this blog?

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” wordsmith.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Senses

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Among the most amazing wonders of our world are our own senses.

There are the five primary senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound.  The sixth, which some argue does not exist, I will simply classify as psychic.  Whether you want to look at ESP, telepathy, telekinesis, energy healing or what-have-you, in this instance let’s consider it part of the psychic sense.

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Along the way, given how amazing each of these senses are, I want to devote a week of the wondrous world to each.  But this week I want to take a wide view of them all.

Our senses are how we perceive the world in all its details.  We see the sunrise, we hear the birds chirping, we smell the flowers, we taste salted chocolate caramels, we feel the wind upon our face, and we sense energies around us.

It is through our senses that the wonders of the world can be observed.  These six ways in which we perceive every aspect of the world can be used separately, together, and in a myriad of situations.  But it is through our senses that we come to know this amazing world.

Some things we can experience with every one of the senses.  A lover, for example.  You know how they feel to the touch, you know how they taste on the tongue, the smell of their skin, see the curves of the body, you hear them breathing, and you can sense their aura.

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These are the six most intense means with which we experience our world.  Our senses let us truly feel all the aspects of the world around us.  Every wonder can be explored in every way through our senses.  But the wonder of the senses themselves, and how they allow us to explore our world, are just too easily taken for granted.

They say if any one of these senses are missing, the rest become heightened.  Certainly during a really bad headcold the sense of taste and smell is massively impaired, but I highly doubt it is the same.  I for one am deeply grateful to have the chance to know all of my senses, and to be capable of employing them to explore and experience this wondrous world.

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There is always something new to see.  There is an unusual aroma to be smelled.  There is an exotic food from an unusual locale to taste.  There is that musical instrument you’ve never heard before.  There is a fabric you have never rubbed between your fingers.  There is that person you have a telepathic connection with unlike any other.  New wonders, every day, and we can only know them through our senses.

What wonder have you seen, heard, tasted, touched, smelled or sensed lately?

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” contributor.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.

Also available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Sunshine

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I know it’s terribly cliché, but given the topic, that’s wholly unavoidable.

When you talk about a wondrous world, certain themes are going to crop up.  And repeat themselves.  There are an immeasurable number of things that are wondrous that we take for granted, and in my explorations of the wondrous world, I am going to point out the obvious from time to time.

But an obvious and cliché wonder is a wonder no less.  And today I am going to talk about sunshine.

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I considered sunrise or sunset specifically, but then thought, no, as a solar powered being, I am going to cut to the chase and get right to sunshine itself.  I’ll save the rising and setting sun for another time.

Why is sunshine a wonder?  Well sunshine supports life.  Scientifically, we know that plants need sunshine and we need vitamin D from sunlight, as well as other nutrients for our skin (of course in moderation.  Too much unprotected exposure to the sun is unhealthy).  Sunlight is a known cure for certain issues like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression.  The sun sets the cycles of the animals of this planet, and gives us warmth.

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I know that during a long winter of too many grey skies and colder days, there is NOTHING quite like that first Spring day when the temperature is comfortable, the wind is calm, the sky is blue and the sun is shining down.  I love that sensation of standing outside, face turned towards the sun, feeling its true warmth for the first time in months.

I know that some people are huge fans of winter and the grey and the cloudy skies.  To each their own.  But sunshine is a wonder, even if you are not as big a fan of it as I am.

It is easy to take for granted the way the light peeks through a hole in the clouds, that shaft you see in the distance as though aliens are beaming someone up or down.  It is wondrous how the light shifts across buildings and fields and casts such intriguing shadows about.  Sunshine lights up the world.

Our world is able to sustain life because of the sun, and our distance from it.  Sunshine grows our food, sunshine gives us the distinction between day and night.

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The next time you have a clear sunny day, take a moment and step outside.  Turn your face to the sun, and feel its warm caress on your skin.  Consider how many odes, poems, stories, sonnets, plays and more have been inspired by sunshine.  There every day, even when hidden by clouds, lighting our world and watching over us.

The ancient civilizations treated the sun as a god or goddess.  Cultures across the globe have given the sun well-known personifications.  Ra in Egypt, Apollo in Rome, Sunna in Norse, Surya in Hindu, Amaterasu in Japan are just a few examples of gods and goddesses of the sun.  So powerful and wondrous is sunlight that ancient cultures personified our star.

Readily taken for granted, but always present, sunshine is truly a wondrous part of our world.

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, your “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” witty wordsmith.  Every week I share a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Trees

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“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.” – William Blake

Unless you live in the industrial section of a major city, trees are everywhere. And they are wondrous to behold.

What we see when we look at a tree is pretty impressive. Trunks of various shapes and sizes, bark of different hues and textures, twisted and curved and straight branches, leaves of various sizes, shapes and colors define each tree out there. No two trees look alike.

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Beneath the surface is the greatest measure of many a tree. Root systems of incredible proportions, spreading out for yards around the trunk below the earth. These roots pull moisture and nourishment from the soil, giving life to the tree reaching towards the sky.

Scientifically, trees are very important to us. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, while themselves releasing oxygen essential to our lives. Trees play an important role in preventing soil erosion, habitats for numerous animals, shade from the sun, and play a major role in the capability the Earth to sustain life overall.

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Trees have featured prominently in mythology across the world. There are Biblical references to trees, Greek myths about Dryads and trees, Native Americans saw the sacred in numerous trees, and the Norse mythology of the World Tree are but a few examples of this. Trees are important in fiction, too, such as the Heart Trees in George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, or the children’s story The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

Trees can live for hundreds of years, reach impressive heights and girths, and support life in places where this might be otherwise impossible. They provide us with fruits and nuts and sap for sustenance.

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Like you or me, trees are alive. They are covered in skin (bark) and have limbs and stand upright. They certainly do not think as we do, but who’s to say they do not have thoughts? Trees see the world around them grow and change over decades beyond our lifespans.

Years ago, in Ithaca, New York, there was a tree in Stewart Park beside Lake Cayuga. This particular tree leaned out over the water of the lake at a good 25-30 degree angle. I cannot tell you how many times, while I lived in Ithaca, I climbed that tree’s trunk, and sat on one of its thick branches over the lake. It was there I would eat my lunch, read a book, write in my journal, or simply meditate. For years after I moved away, whenever I returned I would take a moment to visit my tree beside the lake. I spoke to it. It was like the most stalwart of companions. I do not know when it was removed, but I was saddened by its absence when one day I visited and it stood there no more (and I could not find a picture of it to share here!)

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Trees are abundant, and yet we readily take them for granted. Forests are decimated without a thought as to the impact this might have on our climate and our future. Trees provide so very many things, and ask only for rain, sunlight, and nutrients from the earth.

Trees are an incredible wonder of our world. No matter the region you live in, no matter if its tropics or a temperate zone, there are trees. Palms, pines, oaks, elms, poplars, fig, cedar, yew, and many many many more types around the world, trees are wondrous.

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Whether you acknowledge them or no, climb up their branches, seek shade from the sun, lean against their trunks for rest, or anything else you can think of, trees are amazing.

“A tree is an incomprehensible mystery.” – Jim Woodring.

 

 

Me 3-25-13 smallerI am MJ Blehart, author of “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Voice

Wednesday’s Wondrous World

Another amazing wonder of the world easily taken for granted is voices.

If I had a wish, or even a choice; I’d wake up to the sound of your voice; How I miss waking up to the sound of your voice.” – Barenaked Ladies, Sound of your Voice.

Voices come in all kinds of different shapes, volumes, tones, timbres, inflections and intent.  Voices can be the ultimate expression of emotion between us.

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Infants and animals respond to voices.  Dogs come when called, babies smile when a familiar voice speaks to them.

We don’t think about how incredibly unique voices are.  Even voices that are fairly similar are still different (for example, Jim and Brian Henson.  Kermit never sounded quite the same when Jim Henson left us.)

Voices are also incredibly changeable.  We can alter volume, tone, inflection for different people and situations.  We can show our “professional” tone, our “caring” inflections, our “emotional” timbre.  We can mix and match for any given situation or experience.

We speak softly and reverently in certain circumstances.  We are boisterous and loud in others.  We can raise the pitch of our voice, alter the volume, and convey an incredible amount of emotion.

Heart world vibration

How do you speak to babies?  Do you soften your tone, coo at them?  What about when someone gets you steamed?  Do you get loud and angry?  Your voice will change to suit the moment and the emotion.

Voice can convey a sense of calm, a sense of urgency.  Voice can be used to express so many emotions, so many thoughts, in so many ways.

We speak, and we simply let the words and thoughts carry us.  The tone and pitch are often changed utterly subconsciously.  We seldom stop to consider how we will be heard, and how we are speaking will come across.

And yet the tone of voice we use has quite the effect on the person we are speaking to.  We make people feel good, feel bad, feel happy, feel angry, all but altering our voice.

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Our own voice sounds quite different from in our heads than when we hear them recorded.  They have a greater depth, a deeper, richer tone than how the rest of the world hears us.  But we still can control them in so very many ways, for many different outcomes and effects.

Something to think about when you speak to someone – how is your voice being heard and processed?

MJ Blehart (Titaniumdon)

I am MJ Blehart, your whimsical wordsmith for “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Rain

Wednesday’s Wondrous World

Let us get back to nature this week.

The natural wonders of this world are so varied, and so many, this topic alone could keep me in posts all year long.  But to me, one of the most amazing aspects of these wonders is how easily we take them for granted.

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All you have to do is step outside, and some wonder of nature will greet you.  Whether we are talking about clouds or snow or just the smell of the air, wondrous elements surround us all the time.

This week I want to explore another extremely common wonder.   From clouds I examined snow.  As spring descends upon us, I want to explore the wonder of rain.

Rain brings nutrients to the plants, refreshes the reservoirs, and often provides a cleansing of the Earth.  Roads have winter salt washed away, cars get their bodies cleaned, and the world takes a shower.

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Certainly rain can be a nuisance.  Wet roads can be dangerous to drive upon.  Too much rainfall can cause flooding.  When you want to go out for a walk on the first day above freezing in three months (but the rain is falling practically sideways) this does not make for going outside (unless, of course, you enjoy being soaked to the bone in chilly water).

The actual falling of rain, though, is a healthy part of the Earth’s lifecycle.  It promotes growth, it helps streams and rivers to flow and carry sediment to needed fields, in summer it reduces the bug population and stickiness of humidity from the air.

Rainfall takes so many forms.  The general dampness of a misting; the few droplets of a sprinkle; a soaking, sunkissed sunshower; the steady fall from a grey cloud; the deluge seemingly coming at you sideways from a cloud nearly black in hue.  All called rain, all evolving from the same origins.

Beyond the science and nature of rain, however, there is an intricacy and a beauty that is often hard to see.  Each drop of rain, though certainly not as unique as a snowflake, has its own shape, its own reflectivity, its own size.  A single drop of rain can be viewed to almost possess within it a whole world.

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The amazing multi-color prism of a raindrop can be stunning to behold.  Every color you can imagine can be found at the right angle, in the right light with a raindrop.

We are so used to simply noting that the sky is crying, and the ground is damp.  We easily neglect the wonder and amazement that is the rain.

And thus, I ask this – next rainy day, stop a moment and wonder at the rain.

MJ Blehart (Titaniumdon)

I am MJ Blehart, your wordsmith for “Wednesday’s Wondrous World”.  Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!

Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Also now available, Pathwalking: A 21st Century Philosophy in Book and Kindle form!

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Words

Wednesday’s Wondrous World

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”  – Rudyard Kipling

Unlike the other animals of this world, we alone have developed words.  Words have some of the most incredible, immense power anyone can possibly imagine.

As you read the words I put to the screen here, they may or may not evoke emotions.  Certain words stand out, grab our attention.  Some words speak to you.  And the same word can produce a different emotion in one person than in another.

treacherous stone inside

Take Power, for example.  Some people see the word power, and they think about the literal notion – electricity, batteries, petroleum.  Some people see Power, and their thoughts turn to images Amazons shooting arrows, or Atlas holding up the globe.  Some people see Power, and they feel stronger, they feel energized.

Power means a lot of different things.  It can stir positive emotions, when we think about power letting us read these lines on the screen, or when we think about a powerful individual like Gandhi doing good in this world.  Of course, on the opposite side of the same coin, it can stir negative emotions, like when we think of power corrupting, or people in power abusing that power like any given despot exploiting his or her people.

Power – a very simple, five letter word, capable of stirring emotions, creating ideas, inspiring happiness or anger.  Just a word, but a word that can take on numerous shapes, forms, and places in the heart and mind.

words

Words are incredible.  “There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure, ‘cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.”  – Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven.  Words have far more than two meanings, but they can be so powerful they can bring about the rise of a star, or topple the great from their lofty places.

Sometimes words can take extremely different meanings.  For example, in Chinese, the word for Crisis is the same as the word for Opportunity.

The definition of a given word can be expanded FAR beyond its original intent.  Occasionally we can take a word and give to it a depth and character that can be playful and unexpected.  “Wash:  This landing could get pretty interesting.  Mal: Define ‘interesting’?  Wash: Oh god, oh god, we’re all gonna die?” – Joss Whedon, Serenity.

Words are quite the wonder.  They can make us see images in our head, they can spawn ideas great and small, they can spark emotions good and bad.  Words can make and break relationships.  Words direct and misdirect our world in hard-to-imagine ways.

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We wrapped our dreams in words and patterned the words so that they would live forever, unforgettable.” – Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things.

We seldom pause to give this much thought.  Words are something we use every day, whether we speak them, think them, read them – here they are.  Words are everywhere in our lives, and far more wonderful and terrible than we usually acknowledge.

Words – an incredible, immensely powerful wonder of our world.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napoleon Hill.

MJ Blehart (Titaniumdon)

I am MJ Blehart, your wise, weird, wandering, wily, wacky, wistful “Wednesday’s Wondrous World” wordsmith.  Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!  And (please indulge my shameless self promotion) check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Wonder

Wednesday’s Wondrous World

In exploring the wonders of this world, this can go in a huge number of directions.  There are physical wonders, emotional wonders, grand and small things that are incredible and amazing.  The world we occupy is so diverse and varied it boggles the mind.

Some wonders are more obvious to most than others.  The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, for example.  These seven constructs – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis as Ephesus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Colossus at Rhodes, the Lighthouse at Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the still standing Pyramids of Giza inspired awe at their beauty and grandeur.  Other familiar works like the Easter Island heads or Angkor Wat or the Statue of Liberty take on a similar role for modern man.

Grand Canyon Sunrise

Some wonders are natural.  The Grand Canyon, the Vortices at Sedona, the Cliffs of Dover, the Alps, Mount Fuji for example.  Wonders come in so many variations, and make up so many things, it is both hard to choose one to write about, and yet it is a topic one can spend a lifetime in study of.

What IS wonder?  Perhaps this is worth exploring further.  Visiting dictionary.com, we get multiple definitions.  But those relevant to our topic here include:

won·der

verb (used without object)

2. to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel (often followed by at): He wondered at her composure in such a crisis.

wave

verb (used with object)

5. to feel wonder at: I wonder that you went

noun

6. something strange and surprising; a cause of surprise, astonishment or admiration:  That building is a wonder.

7. the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration:  He felt wonder at seeing the Grand Canyon.

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Wonder is an amazing concept, whether verb or noun.  Its rather amazing how many places this can be applied to our wondrous world, as such.

It is presumed that we are the only animals capable of feeling wonder.  Sure, we have seen curiosity from apes and dogs and cats and such…but wonder is a much more complex, hard-to-define notion.  Given the above definitions, wonder covers an immense amount of territory.

I consider it a privilege to explore our wondrous world on a weekly basis.  Partially because I get to look at and talk about expansive, well-known marvels, and in part because I get to explore with you everyday wonders we readily take for granted.

That we can have this sense of wonder, that we can see this world for so much endless possibility is so easy to forget.  We get caught up in mundane concerns that make us neglect the need to FEEL wonder for the world.  Like our need for food and air and companionship, it cannot be entirely ignored. We thrive on our ability to feel and use complex emotions such as wonder.

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Children are constantly seeing wonder as they are exposed to new things.  It is a part of our growth and experience.  As we get older, and our responsibilities change, we start to find less time to wonder and be excited by the new.  We do our daily routine, and often forget that there is always something new and wondrous to discover, or old and wondrous to RE-discover.

As we explore the wondrous world in these weekly posts, I want to help you recapture your sense of wonder, as I re-explore my own.  I want to conclude with a simple question – what was the last thing to make you feel a sense of wonder?

MJ Blehart (Titaniumdon)

I am MJ Blehart, your Wednesday’s Wondrous World wordsmith.  Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!  And (please indulge this moment of shameless self promotion) check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Opportunity

Wednesday’s Wondrous World

The past two posts I have explored physical wonders of this wondrous world.  This week I want to approach a different sort of wonder in this world.

I want to explore the wonder of opportunity.

Molecular ThoughtsHumans are unique animals in this world.  We have an ability to do more than most of our mammalian counterparts.  We can make use of tools that no other can, and we can create and think and do things in a manner no other creature on this planet is capable of.

With this ability comes opportunity.  We have more than choices to simply survive or not, we have the ability to strive for individual goals that are completely unique to any given individual.

Dictionary.com defines opportunity thusly:

op·por·tu·ni·ty (noun)

1.an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: Their meeting afforded an opportunity to exchange views.

2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.

3. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success

I think pretty much everyone I have ever encountered in this life had at least some sort of goal or other.  And finding a position for advancement or success is very much something we often consider part of the human condition.

spiral-galaxyThe other animals of this world have similar goals to one another.  They seek food, shelter, mates, and means to survive and thrive.  While humans do the same, we can go beyond these simple things, and choose any of a multitude of options, most of which are created by us.

Food?  We have innumerable choices.  Shelter?  We can live in an apartment, a house, a boat, a city, the country, the suburbs, or out of a car – again, a multitude of options.  Mates?  We have a far more complex manner of finding and choosing a mate than other animals.  But different situations with potential mates provide us with different opportunities, and that is what this post is all about.

Let’s take a closer look at this.  Different places to live will provide us with different opportunities.  Urban versus rural will offer unique options for the life you may choose to live.  Different types of food, Chinese versus Italian versus savory versus sweet will provide not just sustenance, but a level of satisfaction on an emotional level.  And while we may seek a mate to settle down with and start a family, the exploration of opportunities in this realm can be thoroughly exciting (let’s be blunt, shall we – without getting inappropriate, no two people kiss the same, for example).

Dragonfly2Certainly you can argue other animals seek opportunities for favorable conditions for tangible things for themselves, but only humans (at least as far as we know) seek out complex opportunities to attain things tangible AND intangible.  Science has never proven any other animal, for example, has a concept of spirituality.  But that could be a totally different topic.

Opportunity is an amazing wonder, and full of endless possibility.  Opportunity is what makes us go to school, learn everything we can, take risks to expand our world, and strive to improve our lot in life.  Opportunity is truly a wonder.

This is not something we give a lot of thought to.  It’s not just a part of our wondrous world, it is arguably a part of the human condition we all-too-readily take for granted.  Opportunity takes on a much deeper, grander meaning for us than the rest of the animal kingdom.

That is why I have chosen this topic.  The multi-faceted concept of opportunity can profoundly influence our present and our future, and even our past (at least in regards to opportunities missed).  It’s an amazing concept.

When opportunity knocks – do you answer?

MJ Blehart (Titaniumdon)

I am MJ Blehart, your weird, wandering, wily, wacky Wednesday’s Wondrous World wordsmith.  Every week I will be sharing a wonder of this amazing world, and I hope you will enjoy the journey with me!  And (please indulge this moment of shameless self promotion) check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my philosophical and topical opinions.

Wednesday’s Wondrous World: Snow

Wednesday’s Wondrous World

Since I live in the Northeastern portion of the United States, the end of last week featured a fairly common wintertime event – snow!

Snow is an amazing form of precipitation.  It’s a frozen liquid, with very cool crystalline structure to it.  Snowflakes take on numerous forms, varying sizes and shapes, and can feel both dry and wet.

snowy hill

 

Granted, snow can be a major pain.  It can get very heavy, especially after a plow comes by and piles it up at the end of your driveway.  It can be a hazard on the road as it falls, reducing visibility to dangerously low levels.  It is cold, can soak right through your shoes when you stand in it too long, and if you are not a fan, can be quite unpleasant overall.

Whether you see snow as a beauty or a nuisance, there is no denying it is a part of the wondrous world around us.

snowy

Have you ever noticed how snow is like a downy blanket covering the top of a mountain, or stretching across a field?  And when you stop and look at the individual flakes, isn’t the crystalline structure intricate and inspiring?

Another very cool aspect of snow is how it opens up imagination, in especial in children.  Where you might see a snowbank left from plowing, a child sees a potential snow fort!  Snow can be molded into pretty amazing forms, from snowballs to snowmen to sculptures and fantastical creatures.

As a child, I grew up in the upper Midwest of the Unites States, and we spent pretty much December through March with constant snow coverage.  I remember endless hours sledding down snowy hills, snowball fights, building snowforts and snowcastles.  I had one of those block kits, where you could scoop snow into a rectangular plastic bucket, and make snow bricks!  When I got older, I took up skiing, both downhill and cross country, taking advantage of snow covered hills and fields.

snowball

Then there is that really cool effect when the snow is coming down, and you are driving along it.  And as the flakes fly past the windshield, it feels as though you are in hyperspace or traveling at warp speed, stars flying past you faster than light.  It’s not hard to imagine that all that’s missing is Chewbacca sitting beside you growling about outrunning the Imperials.

Stand outside during a snowfall, and you can feel this incredible stillness, as though Gaia herself is holding her breath.  You can hear the gentle crackling of snow landing upon the ground, and feel the flakes on your skin dry and cold, turning damp as your body heat melts them.

Snow is just another part of the wondrous world in which we live.  For all its hazards and negative connotations, I defy you to not wonder at its amazing structure and multi-faceted forms.

Snow bottom