Gratitude and beauty go hand in hand.

Chris James, the master teacher of sound and voice, once encouraged his students to be attentive to every drop of rain falling on the roof.

The winter rains are falling here after a week of incredible, sunny, spring-like weather in this, July, ordinarily our coldest month. It’s coming down so forcefully I’d be hard-pressed to be attentive to every drop falling on our roof. But, after the exceptionally challenging drought of this past summer and my years spent in the deserts of the Middle East and the American Southwest, I refuse to complain about the life-giving waters currently falling from the sky. It sounds beautiful and powerful and I am grateful for it.

Don’t gratitude and beauty go hand in hand? We only truly see beauty while experiencing an earnest sense of gratitude. Perhaps we could say that gratitude opens the window to beauty’s radiance. This is the beauty that shines from within. It is that which transcends all outer blemishes and afflictions. It is that essence which serves as a bridge between the limited nature of the material world and the unlimited nature of the world of spirit.

Be grateful. See, feel and hear the beauty that is always present when you are. Be attentive to the rain falling on your roof. Be happy.

I am deeply grateful for the beauty in my life. I am bathing in beauty.

I wish you peace, John

 

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

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Cherry Tomatoes

We’ve had an extremely dry summer. The drought started in late November and we’re not finished yet. With so many of us in this part of the world relying on rainwater for our household use and in the garden, it has been a challenge. A couple of women attending Lucia’s yoga class yesterday said they’ve let go of watering their vegetable gardens. There simply isn’t enough water. I know these have been difficult decisions for each of them to make them because they love their gardens.

We’re lucky. We have one 5000 gallon tank supplied by the water collected on the roof of our large shed/garage. And we a have a huge rectangular concrete tank under the deck of our house, fed by the expansive roof area of this colonial bungalow. We still have water because we’re able to collect a lot from dew and from the very occasional light shower of the last months and because we practice frugality.

One of the bonuses of such a dry summer is that the water quality of the ocean is better than usual. This is because the rains are not washing pollutants from the soil to the sea. So we’ve been swimming a lot, often twice a day.

New Zealand Fairy Tern

Yesterday I was out about 150 metres from shore in the midst of a flock of Fairy Terns. I would have thought they’d find more private fishing grounds when I arrived but, no, they continued to dive all around me. I surmised my flailing was disturbing the fish, making it even easier for the terns to find a meal. I didn’t mind at all.

Night Blooming Jasmine

Our drought is a reminder of the dualistic nature of our world. Often in the winter we have so much rain that the earth becomes saturated, leading to flooding the next time a heavy drenching of rain occurs. Then, you could say we have too much rain and now you could say we don’t have enough. I prefer to focus on what we have and what we’ve gained in each circumstance.

There is a positive for every negative. And our job is not to change (or want to change) the outer. This would mean resistance and resistance leads to pain. Our job is to turn away from our attachment to the outer, to form, and to find the deep abiding peace that exists inside, behind the surface of form and duality. This peace is totally independent of what is happening outside.

Wild Ginger

In the midst of our drought there is great beauty. Peaches and cherry tomatoes are ripening beautifully in the sun. The cicadas and crickets add their magical cadence to the ethers. Queen of the Night (Night Blooming Jasmine) and wild ginger lend their sweet fragrance. All is well in our world.

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life

Crab Apple Blossoms

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

During an early walk in the mist this morning I ran into a friend; not literally, visibility was better than that! He lives in Auckland and owns a little seaside house here. He only visits from time to time. I hadn’t seen him for months. He said, “I heard you have to leave the house you’re in.”

“Yes,” I said. “The owners are returning from the Middle East in August next year.”

“That must be sad,” he commiserated.

“I’m grateful. This is already the longest we’ve ever been in one place, including the houses we’ve owned. There is only a twinge of regret because of all the trees I’ve planted and all the work I’ve done to improve the garden. But that’s what I do everywhere we live. I planted a thousand bulbs at our last rental house in Holland. We only lived there for a year and a half.”

Oak Sapling

My friend’s response: “That reminds me of the story of the elderly Taoist who was planting a little oak tree. A neighbour saw him as she passed and said, ‘Old man, do you know you won’t have a chance to see that tree grow?’

‘Yes,’ he replied with a contented smile. ‘I know.’”

Did you plant the crab apple tree that blooms every spring at the end of your lane? Does it matter who planted it? We each get to enjoy the beauty others create. Breathing in. Breathing out. Giving and receiving. It’s all a continuum. So plant a tree if you can. You never know how much joy that one simple act may later give others.

Enjoy this creation.
John

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

gem for Treasure blog 040909
The following story just arrived unbidden in my Inbox. We are each a treasure, sometimes cleverly disguised as a human being.

Enjoy,
John

Clay Balls:
A man was exploring caves by the Seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.. They didn’t look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock . Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.

Then it struck him. He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It’s like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It isn’t always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

I am so blessed by the gems of friendship I have with you.. Thank you for looking beyond my clay vessel.

APPRECIATE EVERY SINGLE
THING YOU HAVE, ESPECIALLY YOUR FRIENDS!
LIFE IS TOO SHORT AND FRIENDS ARE TOO FEW!

Pass this on to another Clay Ball, if the Spirit moves you.

Do not ask the Lord to Guide your Footsteps if you are not willing to MOVE your Feet’

brother Randje

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John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

 

Cape Gooseberries, Feijoas, Bananas and More from the Garden April 2009

Cape Gooseberries, Feijoas, Bananas and More from the Garden April 2009

 

 

To reach our beach we need only walk along a footpath between two neighbouring houses. These neighbours have turned this public esplanade into a garden of beauty.

 

At the end of many early morning walks I return to the garden with handfuls of seaweed, mostly kelp that has washed in with a north easterly swell; a gift from the sea. After a storm I may fill several 30 litre bags with seaweed. This then sits covered in the compost area until I have a place to dig it into the garden.

 

When we first arrived here more than three years ago, the clay soil was heavy when wet, and it dried out and cracked quickly in the hot summer sun. Now, after four years of added seaweed, compost, grass clippings and mulched leaves and twigs, the soil is loose, friable and holds water well without getting sticky.

 

I allow many of my favourite greens to go to seed – summer and winter lettuces, kale, orach, fat hen, chickweed, amaranth, bok choy, etc. Much of the garden is a year round self sown mesclun mix. Lucia and I eat salad every day of the year from this wild, rich, tender and tasty mix of greens. In addition there are often surprise self sown plants popping up in the garden – tomatoes, passionfruit, alpine strawberries, pineapple guavas….The list goes on and on.

 

You give nutrients and love to the soil and plants, and they give so much back. One feels incredibly grateful for the freely given abundance of nature.

 

The kiss of the sun for pardon,

The song of the birds for mirth,

One is nearer God’s heart in a garden

Than anywhere else on earth.

 

                                                                            Dorothy Gurney 1858 – 1952

 

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives, a startlingly poignant and inspiring real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

 

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I have transcribed below a set of affirmations I have used and enjoyed for many years. I received a copy of them from a friend, but I know not the source of the original words. I am posting these affirmations here because I trust that others will derive as much benefit from them as I have. If anyone knows the original source of these words please let me know. I would like to include them in a book on affirmations I am working on and I would like to get permission to use them in print and to acknowledge the source.

 

 

 

I am a clear and open channel for divine power and love.

 

I am perfect just as I am.

I now stop judging myself and others for what simply is.

 

Every individual is on their own particular path of self realization and our experience is a reflection of this.

 

I am relaxed, confident and efficient.

I am completely safe.

 

There is nothing to fear.

Therefore, I fear nothing or no one.

I accept and love everyone and everything as it is – and everyone accepts and loves me as I am.

 

I now stop holding back and stifling my feelings.

I now allow all my feelings to flow freely.

 

Everything works out exactly as it should for everyone concerned.

Therefore I need not worry about the past, the present or the future.

I trust implicitly the process of life.

 

The universe never lets me down.

My intuition never fails me.

I am always guided in my thoughts and actions.

Every moment I am fulfilling my destiny.

 

Life is for me a joyous – loving – exciting – learning – growing – forever journey.

And I am forever (I use ‘eternally’ instead of ‘forever’ here) grateful.

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I mentioned in a blog not long ago, Nature is My Balm, that my mother was dying. The service for her was today and I wrote the following words which were read out on my behalf by my brother-in-law. I know this is intensely personal, but I’ve decided to share this widely because ultimately we are all part of one big human family. The one certainty in life for each of us is that one day we will move on. I don’t see this as something to be saddened by. It is a time to celebrate the contribution each of us has made to this world and to wish each of us well on the next stage of the journey. May the following words have as much meaning to you as they’ve had for me and my family.

 

First, let me thank you all for being here to remember and to honour a beautiful woman, my mother, Audrey Haines. I know Mom would have appreciated…let me rephrase that. I know Mom appreciates the presence of each and every one of you. So do I.

 

What makes a woman like Audrey so special? It’s probably all the little things she did. Added up it becomes a big thing and a worthy contribution to creating a loving world.

 

I think my mother (and my father) gave a wonderful example of living out their dreams. After Dad’s early retirement from Bell Canada, they travelled each winter in their 5th wheel trailer, eventually finding a wonderful place outside of Tucson, Arizona to spend the colder months. They took up new crafts. Mom loved the connection she felt with Native American culture and she even made clay pots in the traditional way. She and Dad took over the reins of their hiking group, regularly leading people on diverse hikes in the stunning mountain scenery around their winter home. They were happy Snowbirds.

 

When Dad died in 2002, part of Mom died with him. The gap that she felt then was one none of us could adequately fill. Mom continued to live a good life and completed dreams including last year visiting the Panama Canal with Nancy. Mom had wanted to see this magnificent feat of human perseverance and engineering for a long, long time.

 

When I visited Mom in August and September last year, she was still quite healthy and she was still writing in her journal to Dad every night. He was her rock. She was his anchor. We might say she hadn’t let go and moved on. Mom had moved on—to a new way of being. love-for-mom1She had created a bridge through her belief and her writing with the other world and she continued to truly communicate with the man she loved despite their residing in different worlds. There is something quite special in this.

 

It has probably been mentioned already today but at the risk of repetition, on Mom’s last day in the Tillsonburg Hospital, she kept repeating, “Home, Jim.” I know she was met by Dad when she died and I am genuinely happy that they are truly reunited. There is no more powerful force in the universe than love and that force has brought these two special people together again. May you too realise that they are never further away than your next focused thought.

 

May we each honour my mother by doing as she did, by each day being a little more loving and by living out our dreams.

 

God bless.

 

John

John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives.

In Search of Simplicity is a startlingly poignant real-life endorsement of the power of thought, belief and synchronicity in one’s life.

 

 

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