Real Peace on A New Spring Morning

© Jack Clutter Photography

A soft, fresh, cool breeze coming through the open window next to me brushes my face as I begin writing this morning. The sun is up and the cloud cover is perfect for keeping it’s rays subtle. The scene outside is so peaceful and beautiful its making it difficult to focus on my subject. What subject? I haven’t decided yet. The first buds of new green growth are forming on big old oak trees and distracting me. Pink and yellow flowers are blooming on large bushes sporadically placed years ago by some long forgotten someone. Chirping is the only clear sound to be heard as the myriad of wild birds communicate while beginning their morning nesting ritual. The only reminder that a vibrant, hectic, world still exists out there is a low rumble in the distance of cars driving on the road along the river to cross the bridge into town as the workday begins. Only a miracle of Grace could have granted me this perfect day. I treasure this life and want to show gratitude through efforts to help others find this peaceful way of living.

There is no set formula for finding peace, no two people are the same. But the path to peace and contentment is available to all. Many years of living, several years of searching, lots of research and some very rocky roads have shown, in hindsight, results that bring me an understanding of the necessity of life’s struggle and those difficult times. I’m not saying that challenges come to an end. I’m saying that to find peace one must understand that growth comes from struggle and how we handle the next challenge determines how much peace we will live with in the future.

These are only my observations, of course, but I believe my journey is not unique. It is the same as all human beings. Only the setting is different. Getting out of our own way is the start on the road to contentment.

I discovered along the road that I am who I am today, not who I was in my past or even yesterday. Not the person I would describe if telling my life history. I don’t look the same, sound the same or behave in the same way I did as a younger person. Each day I’m a new chunk of wet clay. I have choices in my wet form. I don’t have to dwell on anything that occurred yesterday. I can go about my business today in a fresh, optimistic, way that sees everything around me as raw material, too.

I can be kind, first and foremost. I can break with routine and see adventure in a walk up the street. I can say good morning with a smile to anyone I meet, without considering the response I’ll receive. I can look at my work with fresh eyes, what can I do with this task that will bring something special to the valuable time I will spend with it? I can wait patiently in line till it’s my turn knowing that any frustration my ego could conjure is only going to take away from my feeling of peace and not get me through the line any faster. I can truly enjoy friends and family and not get caught up on our histories or concerns for the future. I can see everyone in their fresh new today images. I can create adventures by deciding to try something new, see who might be waiting to make friends with me in an unexpected place at a serendipitous time. I wonder what doors might open on the chance that I make this choice instead of another. It’s all an adventure.

As a caregiver it’s extremely important to stay present and focus on the task at hand. Give that your loving touch and watch what happens to your mood.

The view from my window with the new growth on the branches of ancient trees, the inevitable nesting of the birds in Spring and the sound of people going about their daily lives is proof that life will go on no matter how we handle our current situation. Can we find beauty in the moment, no matter how difficult the task? This moment will never come again. It’s a gift for the growth of our souls and it’s up to us to see it that way.

I guess I’ve found my topic for this post. I hope you can find peace and contentment in your world today. The beauty of your life is within your reach and waiting to express itself to you. All you have to do is see everything with new eyes each day. Then sit back and watch your world blossom.

With much love, I wish you peace and contentment.


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Trees, the Caregivers of the Underground

The privilege of being alive is exciting and amazing when we observe, from a distance, what is going on in our own little Shakespearean play and all around us in nature. What we need to function well always comes to our attention when we’re ready for it. We just need to be on the lookout for what is sent our way and appreciate it by following its lead.

As I was thinking about this, I was suddenly thirsty and could only think about a nice cold glass of water. Ah ha, a metaphor for what I was about to write (and right on time!). My body must be needing hydration so it’s telling my mind I need water. The desire for the water is the force of life at work. I don’t have to tell the interconnected cells of my body how to function 24 hours a day, it knows what each needs to do in its magnificent dance of life. And when it needs participation from my awareness, it causes, through inspiration, the thought of what it needs. And so the dance goes on.

Right on time, having just read “The Overstory” by Richard Powers, a TED TALK came to my attention that might as well have been an addendum to the book. Coincidence? The woman giving the talk could have been the model for one of the characters. I share this talk with you, hoping to inspire thought as readers connect the dots in their own way, from their own perspective. From my perspective, awareness of the teeming drama of life below ground that is interwoven through the dance of the mediator, Trees (and I say that word with reverence), with all life above ground, could only lead to thoughts of love and kindness for all of Creation.

How could it have taken so long for me to become aware of the magnificent beauty of life itself? Sadly, I guess I just wasn’t ready, yet.

With love from me to you, please enjoy this video:

The Magnificence of It All



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A Winter of Contentment


The sun is beginning to rise just now and it’s difficult to keep my eyes on the screen as I begin writing. I have deadlines… But the sunrise will never be the same again.  The beauty of that little bit of orange just above the horizon is so promising, behind the night black of the mountains in the distance outside my window.  The orange is growing and getting brighter. Gray-blue sky and clouds above it are starting to appear.  It’s 17 degrees outside.  You’d never know it by how warm with anticipation the sunrise makes me feel.  This from inside my little ashram in The Ozarks.  I wish for everyone the space to reflect and to appreciate what is right in front of us.  To be content.

Some days are gems. If you can step back and see from the perspective of eternity, life can be so humorous.  Like the man who called the Shoppe yesterday and left a message in a gruff voice.  “This is Don, my number is… I want to buy something NOW.”  I couldn’t wait to see what it was we could possibly do for this man.  Turned out, he wanted the impossible and by noon tomorrow.  We both started to laugh, he said thanks anyway and hung up.  Wish it had happened in person.  I would love to have known the face and eyes that went with the voice.

Another man came in and ordered an engraving of his wife’s sons picture on a wooden heart attached to a key chain. It was a surprise for her. Her son was going off to college in Europe and he knew she would miss him terribly. Can you imagine how wonderful a husband he must be if he is that caring and sensitive?  He stole a piece of my heart as he walked out of the shoppe.  That was the beauty of grace walking before my eyes.

It’s from the soul that we see the humor and beauty in everyday life, that we love without judgment and have compassion for those souls who are struggling to find peace in their worldly existence.  There really is no peace in the world if we take it too seriously if we take ourselves too seriously.  Only by stepping back, away from it and ourselves to a place of observation, a slowing of time almost, can we recharge our energy and keep our minds and bodies healthy.  We’ll need our energy for the Spring ahead. Spring being a metaphor for the next challenge life presents.

It’s Winter, a natural time to kick back and curl up with a good book on a cold blustery day.  Have a cup of spicy tea and dream a little.  How fortunate you are if you can do this.

No matter what your circumstances present at the moment, surrendering to it, fully, is the best way to get the most out of life. If you’re in a lovely place, enjoy it fully, your happiness will bring more good to you.  If it’s difficult, maybe the most challenging time you’ve ever been through, walk through it.  Get up every day and put one foot in front of the other, flowing with whatever is happening at the moment, whatever occurs to you to do next.  Nothing lasts forever.  When you least expect it, things suddenly change. Everything has its season.

If it’s an extremely painful time, surrender with all your heart and admit that you don’t have the answers. That you need help from the powers that are greater than yourself.  It’s that simple, though you will feel like it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done.  It’s worth the pain. Answers will come.  They’re waiting in the wings for you to break your pattern of direction.  Let the answers breakthrough.

This Winter of contentment is fleeting, I know.  The pause before the next step in growth that life requires of me.  That’s good, bring it on!  Surrendering, knowing that I don’t need to know what’s ahead, that I will always have what I need, is preparation enough.  The challenge is to not forget that when the road gets bumpy, again.  To have no fear of what appears to be scary.  To take responsibility for everything in my life.  Accept it all with gratitude.  Another chance to grow.  Contentment comes faster when you’re in constant surrender.

“Keep your eye on the horizon!” a good friend once told me.  I’m still not sure what I’m watching for there.  But, a sunrise on the horizon is very clear.  It’s the promise of a new day.  A gift to cherish.

I wish you contentment and the gift of a Sunrise.


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Winter in the Ozarks

The perfect place to BE

As I write, it’s New Years Eve, the last day of 2018.  I cherish this last year, half of which I’ve spent far away from the world I’ve known for the first seven decades of my life.  It’s been like being Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz (hmm, Oz- Ozarks?), tornados and all, seeing places as if in a dream and meeting new people along the way who steal your heart just by being who they are.

Em came into the shoppe this week, a young woman who, frankly, grabbed my interest and my heart from the moment I noticed her. She is a walking statement of a generous sole who has experienced much in her young life that has prepared her for the work she does.  She coaches young people struggling for a place in society.  It appears she’s found her niche and I wish her all the best for the kind and sensitive human being she is.  Loved her red shoes.  Brava, Em!

BEING, not DOING.  BEING not doing.  My mantra that reminds me, when I’m lost in the machinations of the day, to step back mentally, observe from afar and find the beauty of the drama being played out before my eyes.  No matter where life has placed us physically, there are always interesting things going on.

When you detach from your thoughts that center around yourself and your own story, a calmness takes over. Emotion is not part of the equation.  Therefore, you’re relaxed.  Observing without judgement.

If you’re just sitting next to a loved one who is sleeping, for instance, you can envision the whole of that person’s life and the courage it takes to be a human being in this world.  It will create respect for the one you’re observing and compassion for mankind in your heart.  In fact, think of a person you know, whose life you see as the most tragic and difficult.  Think of them as courageous and beautiful soles to have taken on such a challenge.  Does your life require that much courage?

BEING, not DOING, takes us out of ourselves, out of this world of doing for brief moments.  It’s all we need to see the world in a more compassionate light; to respect another, even if we don’t understand their ways and whys.  To look into their eyes if possible, with a heart that starts at kindness.  A connection from kindness brings forth a whole other ball game.

BEING, not DOING.  BEING, not DOING.  A lovely way to start the New Year.

I wish you many moments of BEING,



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I Have Half An Hour and All The Time in the World


Actually, all the time in eternity.

Peace in my life came when the concept of living eternally finally sunk in, just a few years ago.  Slowly, very slowly, once it occurred to me that my life had to have more significance than I had given it for so many years, I started to feel something powerful within, my own energy.  Words are inadequate, it is a force.  It’s the energy of life and its eternal. It’s been there all along and is not to be taken for-granted.  It’s to be used to create the best we know how for ourselves and everything and everyone around us.

Sometimes creating means stepping back, observing, stepping out of our usual patterns.  When you least have time and it seems the world is against you that day, try purposely letting someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store or in traffic.  Observe that you have just done something for someone else, but mostly for yourself. You’ve set a whole different string of events in place than might have been. You’ve shifted your mood to being relaxed, the mood of the person you were courteous to is now grateful and the events that will follow for each of you are different because you arrived at the next scene moments later than you might have and with a better attitude.  Who knows what disaster you may have found yourself in if you had remained in that hectic mode.

You can extrapolate this one seemingly insignificant choice out to something well down the road in your life, a shape shift.  Your life is completely different because of a conscious choice you made way-back-when.  Isn’t your life right now the result of all those choices you made in the past?  Were they conscious, purposeful choices that created a meaningful life for your future?  Did you create something wonderful?

Somehow, seeing my personal energy, my soul, as eternal helped me view this life with much more significance than previously.  With more patience, also.  It became important to make choices, no matter how small, that would be a sound foundation for whatever lies in my future.  Be it in this life or in eternity.

We all know that the Holiday Season can be hectic.  May I suggest that it is the perfect time to reflect, practice patience and do a little shape-shifting.  If you think you’ve got merely half an hour to do something, think again.  Is it the pressure making the choices or is it your best self choosing what is best for you and everyone around you?

Your power is tremendous. Can you feel it? It’s the root of life and we’re in it together.  What affects one affects the whole.

I wish you a peaceful and lovely Holiday Season. May you experience JOY in your heart and LOVE for your life.


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