Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Karaoke Cancelled

Hi folks in Queensland,

Sorry to do this to you all at late notice (I know how much you all love to sing) but we are cancelling the Karaoke planned for tomorrow night.

AJ & I are snowed under getting ready for our next trip – so we will leave the singing to all of you. I heard a rumour that some of you are already getting together for group sing-a-longs!

Look forward to seeing those of you who will be at Book Group tomorrow,

Thanks and Love

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tips On Staying In Touch With Your Guides & Guardian

While we were in Greece earlier this year, I had the beautiful experience of being approached by the spirit guides of those who attended our group there. They wanted to provide everyone with some very practical tips on how to stay more connected to them, and to receive their guidance more readily.

I channeled a list of seven tips, they are listed in this post, dated 16th of February, 2012.

I'm sure these wise folk had much more to say but what I was able to receive I found to be very applicable and valuable in that its the kind of advice you can apply to everyday life, even if you don't consider yourself to be a medium.

You can also now watch the full talk on youtube. The first part is below.

Have a beautiful Monday everyone,

With love,


Friday, May 25, 2012

Note to Self - On Teaching

  1. Its about God, not me. Let God guide me, let myself forget how I look and instead be enveloped by passion for God and the Truths.

    In truth, all wisdom flows from Him and the acknowledgement and honour belongs with Him. I can never compete with God!

    If I try to look good or knowledgeable I am insulting God, I am proud (not humble). I cannot serve Him nor others. I only serve my own ego. In this space God and my guides are bound and gagged - they cannot lead or inspire me.

    Remember humility is the only doorway to Divine Love and Divine Truth.

  2. Be myself, but don't push my own barrow. i.e. offer my true self, my passion, my personality and my heart to the group, be fully present, but don't be invested in where we 'need to go' emotionally, intellectually or spiritually.

    Allow everyone to go at their own pace, be guided by people's curiosity, start where they are at.
  3. Champion Truth - both God's Truth and personal honesty.

    While I won't be invested in what people get out of the session/ group, I can ensure that our topics, themes and discussions remain focussed around principles of Divine Truth and Love.

    I can maintain an atmosphere of honesty (starting with my own) and challenge error if spoken, displayed or enacted in the group.
  4. If I begin to think I need to have all of the answers I have forgotten point number 1 (its about God, not me).

    I am the child, not the Parent/ Creator
    . There will always be more to learn. Remember how much I used to love that!
  5. When I model humility, I teach. I also have the most capacity to reach others at a heart level.

    This may be the only thing I do in a session.

    This is not insignificant.
  6. Remember to breathe. Trust that I don't have to share inspiration all in a rush.

    Lean on God in this place, rather than playing 'relay' with Him. i.e. stop connecting to God briefly, receiving inspiration, then rushing away from Him to share the Truth with the group. The reason I do this is because I am afraid to be emotional in front of others.

    Its OK to let grief or gratitude pass through me and be expressed as tears.

    People don't need to know every emotion I am going through. I need only share my emotional experience if it is an example that adds to the point of the lessons being currently taught.
  7. Encounter fear and embrace it. This is the only way it will leave me. Trust that truth will prevail when fear is not honoured nor believed.

    It is good to have structure and flow but beware of the desire for control. This is a flag for fear and endangers point 2 (don't push your own barrow).
  8. Remember I don't have to be perfect.
  9. When I am truly humble I won't need this list.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Living Bridge

I was writing notes for book group meeting.

In Chapter 6 of Through The Mists, as Fred and Cushna are drawn to the 'Home of Rest', they look upon the structure and landscape.

Fred describes the Home of Rest "Stately and grand in its unassuming magnificence as if its foundations were laid deep down within the eternal calm of God's omnipotence" 

He sees that even the walls themselves combine art and teaching and that nature is seamlessly woven into architecture.

"The wonderful appositeness of every feature of the scene to each other was again impressed upon me; art and nature being blended in such a manner to enrich the harmony”

I reflected that God always creates multiple purposes in his creations. Be it a tree, bird, a flower, or a storm, nothing provides just one service to other parts of creation. 

I wrote "if we have an open heart we can learn from just about everything God has created...  and if we search we will find so many more purposes and gifts inherent in what he has made than those we currently see and take for granted"

"all of our constructions, our man-made items can be built to complement and enrich natural beauty – not to compete with it, exclude it or destroy it as so often occurs now"

About an hour later I opened my inbox and found that Lizzi had sent me this beautiful link

I thought - yes - it seems such a small example of what may be possible.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Not Drowning, Waving

 “The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else's imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!"   Thomas Merton - The Seven Storey Mountain

I struggle with feeling insignificant. You wouldn’t know it to look at me because most of my life I’ve been fighting that feeling like crazy. And, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m also apt to get tetchy at anyone who doesn’t help me avoid my gaping lack of self worth. Thus I end up looking stroppy rather than meekly shy and unworthy.

But underneath all the bluster and brashness I feel about the size of a pea. A tiny green pea.

I also care deeply about how you view me. I want to avoid you knowing about my 'green pea-ness' at almost any cost. I’d prefer you think of me as worldly, knowledgeable and, if we could arrange it, attractive, kind and considerate too. Underneath I feel I am none of those things. But, did I mention? I don’t want you to find me out.

I firmly believe that to teach well we must honour only that which we wish to teach and not our own part in it. I can’t be full of Truth if I am full of my own self-importance or concerned with my image. Hence when we truly love and want to give the gift of learning to others there is a place we find – where only the Truth and not ourselves matters.

Sometime I strike that balance, a rare magic where I forget all about what you think of me, or how silly my passionate proclamations must look. Instead I am caught up in the beauty of Truth and Gods wonder in everything.

Saturday was not one of those days for me.

On days like Saturday I find myself in a sea of inadequacy. Book group starts I’m floundering in feeling less-than-you and my brain goes to mush.

I don’t want you to know it though. I want rescue... although I haven’t quite figured out how that might work.

AJ arrives – ready to rescue the teaching – and all I can think is how dumb I must seem and how little point there is to me being there…

And that’s where it all goes wrong. I’m still waving, vying for attention, not drowning, and submitting to my feelings. I’m struggling for façade. I still won’t crumble to those emotions so I project out. I want control back.

I want control so that somehow I might prevent the world knowing how insufficient I really am. 

I’m spluttering away in half sentences, trying to keep from drowning, trying to hold back the landslide that really needs to overwhelm me if I’m ever going to be free. I’m looking cranky and cross with AJ.

AJ – who loves me more than almost everything, who values me even when I think we shouldn’t, who involves me in decisions and discussions that I joke are way beyond my pay grade – meaning I have no clue about what we should do since I’m still trying to ward of personal landslides and grappling with humility daily - AJ is there, quietly rescuing truth, aware that I just need to drown, giving me space to do that. He is calm and kind - in the magic place – of loving truth and giving to you.

All the while I’m caught up in my own private melodrama suspecting that you see right through me, but still valiantly attempting to stop you (and the world) from knowing that I really am a tiny pea person, who has no business here.

Its tough and its emotional. And reading my own words I know I see the world through my own error (e.g. perhaps its not entirely true that I’m a tiny pea – but the point is that this is what I feel).

Truthfully I find it hard to share about this stuff, because of the aforementioned dread of you, reader, knowing how small I really am, but also because so many people seem to relish the belief that these feelings are in me because AJ has me in some kind of self-depreciating cycle. If only I could show you all the truth. That I am loved by him so much more than I have ever been by anyone and this is healing me in the tenderest way, in a way I didn’t know was possible.

Since I met AJ my care and respect for myself has grown enormously. Have I told you that I used to drink and smoke and go home with men who didn’t care to know me let alone care to love me? I have wandered around for years trying my best to cover up how desperately bad I feel though addictions and anger. Despite my ‘drowning/landslide private/ public melodrama event’ on Saturday things are actually better inside me than they have been my entire life.

There are days when I do let myself drown in the grief of feeling less-than men and insufficient. I have a long stored up wealth of memories that bear out a painful history of being abused, hurt, overlooked and tortured by men, not to mention I live in a world that has acknowledged me only as ‘whore’ for 2000 years. There is pain to feel and slowly I am submitting more and more.

I’m only disappointed on days like Saturday because my façade, though shaky, still grapples for control. I push out instead of softening inwards. I want you to like me more than I want to love myself. I worry that others, particularly women, use my obvious struggle, to justify their own difficulties with men or with AJ.

I know that such things are beyond my control but truly it would be my hope to challenge you in my humility not offer you validation in my resistance. How can I have you know that crazy, courageous, humility is the only way to freedom and that my pains are my own, and not right to be blamed upon others who love me?

Its so easy to keep blaming men for the feelings already inside, to punish them for the lie that ‘I am less than men’ that I bought and now carry. Regardless of how men may treat me, I will believe this until I am brave enough to grieve it. The sad truth is that the men in my life now had nothing to do with creating these feelings in me. These errors came from men and women in my past.

I am so grateful that the man who God gave to me loves me. He honours me even when I struggle to do this for myself.

  “Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.”                               Thomas Merton - The Seven Storey Mountain

God, walk with me while I uncover those worthless, hurting parts of myself. Help me towards humility rather than façade and defence. Let my grieving open me to the truth about myself and to the love that already surrounds me. Let me strive to embrace the suffering of the past so that I may open my heart to a hopeful future, full of freedom.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


The Man Who Planted Trees

 Translation from french by Peter Doyle

     In order for the character of a human being to reveal truly exceptional qualities, we must have the good fortune to observe its action over a long period of years. If this action is devoid of all selfishness, if the idea that directs it is one of unqualified generosity, if it is absolutely certain that it has not sought recompense anywhere, and if moreover it has left visible marks on the world, then we are unquestionably dealing with an unforgettable character.

     About forty years ago I went on a long hike, through hills absolutely unknown to tourists, in that very old region where the Alps penetrate into Provence.
     This region is bounded to the south-east and south by the middle course of the Durance, between Sisteron and Mirabeau; to the north by the upper course of the Drôme, from its source down to Die; to the west by the plains of Comtat Venaissin and the outskirts of Mont Ventoux. It includes all the northern part of the Département of Basses-Alpes, the south of Drôme and a little enclave of Vaucluse.
     At the time I undertook my long walk through this deserted region, it consisted of barren and monotonous lands, at about 1200 to 1300 meters above sea level. Nothing grew there except wild lavender.
     I was crossing this country at its widest part, and after walking for three days, I found myself in the most complete desolation. I was camped next to the skeleton of an abandoned village. I had used the last of my water the day before and I needed to find more. Even though they were in ruins, these houses all huddled together and looking like an old wasps' nest made me think that there must at one time have been a spring or a well there. There was indeed a spring, but it was dry. The five or six roofless houses, ravaged by sun and wind, and the small chapel with its tumble-down belfry, were arrayed like the houses and chapels of living villages, but all life had disappeared.

     It was a beautiful June day with plenty of sun, but on these shelterless lands, high up in the sky, the wind whistled with an unendurable brutality. Its growling in the carcasses of the houses was like that of a wild beast disturbed during its meal.
     I had to move my camp. After five hours of walking, I still hadn't found water, and nothing gave me hope of finding any. Everywhere there was the same dryness, the same stiff, woody plants. I thought I saw in the distance a small black silhouette. On a chance I headed towards it. It was a shepherd. Thirty lambs or so were resting near him on the scorching ground.
     He gave me a drink from his gourd and a little later he led me to his shepherd's cottage, tucked down in an undulation of the plateau. He drew his water - excellent - from a natural hole, very deep, above which he had installed a rudimentary windlass.

     This man spoke little. This is common among those who live alone, but he seemed sure of himself, and confident in this assurance, which seemed remarkable in this land shorn of everything. He lived not in a cabin but in a real house of stone, from the looks of which it was clear that his own labor had restored the ruins he had found on his arrival. His roof was solid and water-tight. The wind struck against the roof tiles with the sound of the sea crashing on the beach.
     His household was in order, his dishes washed, his floor swept, his rifle greased; his soup boiled over the fire; I noticed then that he was also freshly shaven, that all his buttons were solidly sewn, and that his clothes were mended with such care as to make the patches invisible.
     He shared his soup with me, and when afterwards I offered him my tobacco pouch, he told me that he didn't smoke. His dog, as silent as he, was friendly without being fawning.

     It had been agreed immediately that I would pass the night there, the closest village being still more than a day and a half farther on. Furthermore, I understood perfectly well the character of the rare villages of that region. There are four or five of them dispersed far from one another on the flanks of the hills, in groves of white oaks at the very ends of roads passable by carriage. They are inhabited by woodcutters who make charcoal. They are places where the living is poor. The families, pressed together in close quarters by a climate that is exceedingly harsh, in summer as well as in winter, struggle ever more selfishly against each other. Irrational contention grows beyond all bounds, fueled by a continuous struggle to escape from that place. The men carry their charcoal to the cities in their trucks, and then return. The most solid qualities crack under this perpetual Scottish shower. The women stir up bitterness. There is competition over everything, from the sale of charcoal to the benches at church. The virtues fight amongst themselves, the vices fight amongst themselves, and there is a ceaseless general combat between the vices and the virtues. On top of all that, the equally ceaseless wind irritates the nerves. There are epidemics of suicides and numerous cases of insanity, almost always murderous.

     The shepherd, who did not smoke, took out a bag and poured a pile of acorns out onto the table. He began to examine them one after another with a great deal of attention, separating the good ones from the bad. I smoked my pipe. I offered to help him, but he told me it was his own business. Indeed, seeing the care that he devoted to this job, I did not insist. This was our whole conversation. When he had in the good pile a fair number of acorns, he counted them out into packets of ten. In doing this he eliminated some more of the acorns, discarding the smaller ones and those that that showed even the slightest crack, for he examined them very closely. When he had before him one hundred perfect acorns he stopped, and we went to bed.
     The company of this man brought me a feeling of peace. I asked him the next morning if I might stay and rest the whole day with him. He found that perfectly natural. Or more exactly, he gave me the impression that nothing could disturb him. This rest was not absolutely necessary to me, but I was intrigued and I wanted to find out more about this man. He let out his flock and took them to the pasture. Before leaving, he soaked in a bucket of water the little sack containing the acorns that he had so carefully chosen and counted.

     I noted that he carried as a sort of walking stick an iron rod as thick as his thumb and about one and a half meters long. I set off like someone out for a stroll, following a route parallel to his. His sheep pasture lay at the bottom of a small valley. He left his flock in the charge of his dog and climbed up towards the spot where I was standing. I was afraid that he was coming to reproach me for my indiscretion, but not at all : It was his own route and he invited me to come along with him if I had nothing better to do. He continued on another two hundred meters up the hill.
     Having arrived at the place he had been heading for, he begin to pound his iron rod into the ground. This made a hole in which he placed an acorn, whereupon he covered over the hole again. He was planting oak trees. I asked him if the land belonged to him. He answered no. Did he know whose land it was? He did not know. He supposed that it was communal land, or perhaps it belonged to someone who did not care about it. He himself did not care to know who the owners were. In this way he planted his one hundred acorns with great care.

     After the noon meal, he began once more to pick over his acorns. I must have put enough insistence into my questions, because he answered them. For three years now he had been planting trees in this solitary way. He had planted one hundred thousand. Of these one hundred thousand, twenty thousand had come up. He counted on losing another half of them to rodents and to everything else that is unpredictable in the designs of Providence. That left ten thousand oaks that would grow in this place where before there was nothing.
     It was at this moment that I began to wonder about his age. He was clearly more than fifty. Fifty-five, he told me. His name was Elzéard Bouffier. He had owned a farm in the plains, where he lived most of his life. He had lost his only son, and then his wife. He had retired into this solitude, where he took pleasure in living slowly, with his flock of sheep and his dog. He had concluded that this country was dying for lack of trees. He added that, having nothing more important to do, he had resolved to remedy the situation.
     Leading as I did at the time a solitary life, despite my youth, I knew how to treat the souls of solitary people with delicacy. Still, I made a mistake. It was precisely my youth that forced me to imagine the future in my own terms, including a certain search for happiness. I told him that in thirty years these ten thousand trees would be magnificent. He replied very simply that, if God gave him life, in thirty years he would have planted so many other trees that these ten thousand would be like a drop of water in the ocean.
     He had also begun to study the propagation of beeches. and he had near his house a nursery filled with seedlings grown from beechnuts. His little wards, which he had protected from his sheep by a screen fence, were growing beautifully. He was also considering birches for the valley bottoms where, he told me, moisture lay slumbering just a few meters beneath the surface of the soil.
     We parted the next day.

     The next year the war of 14 came, in which I was engaged for five years. An infantryman could hardly think about trees. To tell the truth, the whole business hadn't made a very deep impression on me; I took it to be a hobby, like a stamp collection, and forgot about it.
     With the war behind me, I found myself with a small demobilization bonus and a great desire to breathe a little pure air. Without any preconceived notion beyond that, I struck out again along the trail through that deserted country.
     The land had not changed. Nonetheless, beyond that dead village I perceived in the distance a sort of gray fog that covered the hills like a carpet. Ever since the day before I had been thinking about the shepherd who planted trees. « Ten thousand oaks, I had said to myself, must really take up a lot of space. »
     I had seen too many people die during those five years not to be able to imagine easily the death of Elzéard Bouffier, especially since when a man is twenty he thinks of a man of fifty as an old codger for whom nothing remains but to die. He was not dead. In fact, he was very spry. He had changed his job. He only had four sheep now, but to make up for this he had about a hundred beehives. He had gotten rid of the sheep because they threatened his crop of trees. He told me (as indeed I could see for myself) that the war had not disturbed him at all. He had continued imperturbably with his planting.
     The oaks of 1910 were now ten years old and were taller than me and than him. The spectacle was impressive. I was literally speechless and, as he didn't speak himself, we passed the whole day in silence, walking through his forest. It was in three sections, eleven kilometers long overall and, at its widest point, three kilometers wide. When I considered that this had all sprung from the hands and from the soul of this one man - without technical aids - , it struck me that men could be as effective as God in domains other than destruction.
     He had followed his idea, and the beeches that reached up to my shoulders and extending as far as the eye could see bore witness to it. The oaks were now good and thick, and had passed the age where they were at the mercy of rodents; as for the designs of Providence, to destroy the work that had been created would henceforth require a cyclone. He showed me admirable stands of birches that dated from five years ago, that is to say from 1915, when I had been fighting at Verdun. He had planted them in the valley bottoms where he had suspected, correctly, that there was water close to the surface. They were as tender as young girls, and very determined.
     This creation had the air, moreover, of working by a chain reaction. He had not troubled about it; he went on obstinately with his simple task. But, in going back down to the village, I saw water running in streams that, within living memory, had always been dry. It was the most striking revival that he had shown me. These streams had borne water before, in ancient days. Certain of the sad villages that I spoke of at the beginning of my account had been built on the sites of ancient Gallo-Roman villages, of which there still remained traces; archeologists digging there had found fishhooks in places where in more recent times cisterns were required in order to have a little water.
     The wind had also been at work, dispersing certain seeds. As the water reappeared, so too did willows, osiers, meadows, gardens, flowers, and a certain reason to live.
     But the transformation had taken place so slowly that it had been taken for granted, without provoking surprise. The hunters who climbed the hills in search of hares or wild boars had noticed the spreading of the little trees, but they set it down to the natural spitefulness of the earth. That is why no one had touched the work of this man. If they had suspected him, they would have tried to thwart him. But he never came under suspicion : Who among the villagers or the administrators would ever have suspected that anyone could show such obstinacy in carrying out this magnificent act of generosity?

     Beginning in 1920 I never let more than a year go by without paying a visit to Elzéard Bouffier. I never saw him waver or doubt, though God alone can tell when God's own hand is in a thing! I have said nothing of his disappointments, but you can easily imagine that, for such an accomplishment, it was necessary to conquer adversity; that, to assure the victory of such a passion, it was necessary to fight against despair. One year he had planted ten thousand maples. They all died. The next year,he gave up on maples and went back to beeches, which did even better than the oaks.
     To get a true idea of this exceptional character, one must not forget that he worked in total solitude; so total that, toward the end of his life, he lost the habit of talking. Or maybe he just didn't see the need for it.

     In 1933 he received the visit of an astonished forest ranger. This functionary ordered him to cease building fires outdoors, for fear of endangering this natural forest. It was the first time, this naive man told him, that a forest had been observed to grow up entirely on its own. At the time of this incident, he was thinking of planting beeches at a spot twelve kilometers from his house. To avoid the coming and going - because at the time he was seventy-five years old - he planned to build a cabin of stone out where he was doing his planting. This he did the next year.

     In 1935, a veritable administrative delegation went to examine this « natural forest ». There was an important personage from Waters and Forests, a deputy, and some technicians. Many useless words were spoken. It was decided to do something, but luckily nothing was done, except for one truly useful thing : placing the forest under the protection of the State and forbidding anyone from coming there to make charcoal. For it was impossible not to be taken with the beauty of these young trees in full health. And the forest exercised its seductive powers even on the deputy himself.
     I had a friend among the chief foresters who were with the delegation. I explained the mystery to him. One day the next week, we went off together to look for Elzéard Bouffier, We found him hard at work, twenty kilometers away from the place where the inspection had taken place.
     This chief forester was not my friend for nothing. He understood the value of things. He knew how to remain silent. I offered up some eggs I had brought with me as a gift. We split our snack three ways, and then passed several hours in mute contemplation of the landscape.
     The hillside whence we had come was covered with trees six or seven meters high. I remembered the look of the place in 1913 : a desert... The peaceful and steady labor, the vibrant highland air, his frugality, and above all, the serenity of his soul had given the old man a kind of solemn good health. He was an athlete of God. I asked myself how many hectares he had yet to cover with trees.
     Before leaving, my friend made a simple suggestion concerning certain species of trees to which the terrain seemed to be particularly well suited. He was not insistent. « For the very good reason, » he told me afterwards, « that this fellow knows a lot more about this sort of thing than I do. » After another hour of walking, this thought having travelled along with him, he added : « He knows a lot more about this sort of thing than anybody - and he has found a jolly good way of being happy ! »
     It was thanks to the efforts of this chief forester that the forest was protected, and with it, the happiness of this man. He designated three forest rangers for their protection, and terrorized them to such an extent that they remained indifferent to any jugs of wine that the woodcutters might offer as bribes. 

     The forest did not run any grave risks except during the war of 1939. Then automobiles were being run on wood alcohol, and there was never enough wood. They began to cut some of the stands of the oaks of 1910, but the trees stood so far from any useful road that the enterprise turned out to be bad from a financial point of view, and was soon abandoned. The shepherd never knew anything about it. He was thirty kilometers away, peacefully continuing his task, as untroubled by the war of 39 as he had been of the war of 14.

     I saw Elzéard Bouffier for the last time in June of 1945. He was then eighty-seven years old. I had once more set off along my trail through the wilderness, only to find that now, in spite of the shambles in which the war had left the whole country, there was a motor coach running between the valley of the Durance and the mountain. I set down to this relatively rapid means of transportation the fact that I no longer recognized the landmarks I knew from my earlier visits. It also seemed that the route was taking me through entirely new places. I had to ask the name of a village to be sure that I was indeed passing through that same region, once so ruined and desolate. The coach set me down at Vergons. In 1913, this hamlet of ten or twelve houses had had three inhabitants. They were savages, hating each other, and earning their living by trapping : Physically and morally, they resembled prehistoric men . The nettles devoured the abandoned houses that surrounded them. Their lives were without hope, it was only a matter of waiting for death to come : a situation that hardly predisposes one to virtue.
     All that had changed, even to the air itself. In place of the dry, brutal gusts that had greeted me long ago, a gentle breeze whispered to me, bearing sweet odors. A sound like that of running water came from the heights above : It was the sound of the wind in the trees. And most astonishing of all, I heard the sound of real water running into a pool. I saw that they had built a fountain, that it was full of water, and what touched me most, that next to it they had planted a lime-tree that must be at least four years old, already grown thick, an incontestable symbol of resurrection.

     Furthermore, Vergons showed the signs of labors for which hope is a requirement : Hope must therefore have returned. They had cleared out the ruins, knocked down the broken walls, and rebuilt five houses. The hamlet now counted twenty-eight inhabitants, including four young families. The new houses, freshly plastered, were surrounded by gardens that bore, mixed in with each other but still carefully laid out, vegetables and flowers, cabbages and rosebushes, leeks and gueules-de-loup, celery and anemones. It was now a place where anyone would be glad to live.
     From there I continued on foot. The war from which we had just barely emerged had not permitted life to vanish completely, and now Lazarus was out of his tomb. On the lower flanks of the mountain, I saw small fields of barley and rye; in the bottoms of the narrow valleys, meadowlands were just turning green.
     It has taken only the eight years that now separate us from that time for the whole country around there to blossom with splendor and ease. On the site of the ruins I had seen in 1913 there are now well-kept farms, the sign of a happy and comfortable life. The old springs, fed by rain and snow now that are now retained by the forests, have once again begun to flow. The brooks have been channelled. Beside each farm, amid groves of maples, the pools of fountains are bordered by carpets of fresh mint. Little by little, the villages have been rebuilt. Yuppies have come from the plains, where land is expensive, bringing with them youth, movement, and a spirit of adventure. Walking along the roads you will meet men and women in full health, and boys and girls who know how to laugh, and who have regained the taste for the traditional rustic festivals. Counting both the previous inhabitants of the area, now unrecognizable from living in plenty, and the new arrivals, more than ten thousand persons owe their happiness to Elzéard Bouffier.

     When I consider that a single man, relying only on his own simple physical and moral resources, was able to transform a desert into this land of Canaan, I am convinced that despite everything, the human condition is truly admirable. But when I take into account the constancy, the greatness of soul, and the selfless dedication that was needed to bring about this transformation, I am filled with an immense respect for this old, uncultured peasant who knew how to bring about a work worthy of God.

     Elzéard Bouffier died peacefully in 1947 at the hospice in Banon. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Live From the Heart: The Power of Dreaming & Desire

Live From The Heart (LFTH) posts are all about things or people who share their hearts with passion and courage. They inspire me to be real, to live out loud and follow my own heart.

So far this year I've been focusing a lot on developing God Reliance. To me, we can never really realize a state of God Reliance unless we are first willing to act on our passions and desires in harmony with what we know is loving. This requires trust and faith in the Goodness of God and the reliability of His Laws. I've struggled with it for a long while. 

I've been shaking things up lately, taking some action, but I still know that there is a ways to go. There are fears that will only be proven unreal once I challenge them with actions that bear out their falsehood. I know it will take dissolving some more fear before I truly begin to live from the heart myself.

The people in the articles below inspired me. They are/ were young people who didn't allow fear, 'what-ifs' or 'not-good-enoughs' to mar their desire. They took action towards their dreams without money, resources or external help. They got busy creating - something I believe God designed each of us to do.

They also reminded me that when we are truly in our desire and passion we don't wait for others to join us, to be involved with what we dream, to make it right or to help us. We do it because it fascinates us, it excites us. When we are truly in our passion, our love for the thing we do is all we need to make it worthwhile. 

But usually - and it may take some time - that pure passion we display ends up attracting the hearts and attention of others. I just love that about passion. 

I firmly believe that God created each of us as unique individuals with unique personalities and passions, and when we discover and embody those things in harmony with love, whatever they may be - we end up serving the world - sometimes without even trying.

The story of Jadav “Molai” Payeng  (click on the name to view - thanks to Mon for sharing this one with us) and of Caine's Arcarde (below).