Flowers

Flowers

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Flowers are Nature’s way of smiling and laughing ~

How close are the nearest flowers to you right now?
Are there flowers in your home, your office, your garden?
It is hard to imagine a world without flowers.
 
From the moment we are born to the day we die, flowers adorn our lives.
As we take our first breath, flowers greet us, and when we are laid to rest, flowers bid us farewell.
When we graduate or are promoted, flowers cheer on our achievements, and when we get married or have children, flowers rejoice in the promise of our love.
 
Isn’t it amazing that flowers are suited to every occasion?
A romantic dinner is incomplete without a red rose for company, and a carnation corsage is the perfect partner for an evening of dance.
Flowers help us to celebrate our joys and mourn our losses, to let someone know we care, and to brighten an otherwise cheerless day.
 
Flowers are a reminder of spring’s eternal hope and life’s unconditional beauty.
Even in the most unlikely places – in parched deserts and frozen tundra, on skyscraper roofs and ghetto streets, in muddy swamps and refuse dumps, clinging to cliff ledges and squeezing through pavement cracks – flowers bloom.
It’s as if they are saying that there is no condition too harsh or too difficult, no circumstance too dire or too oppressive, that a glimmer of light cannot reach and a splash of colour cannot redeem.
 
When our world is dark and grey, flowers bring the sun and the rainbow.
And when our world is bright and iridescent, flowers echo with smiles and laughter.
 
Flowers are the blooming of our emotions.
They express how we feel when words fail us or are not enough.
They reflect our inner landscape in every season, whatever the weather.
 
Do you have a favourite flower?
When you close your eyes and imagine being in paradise, what flowers grace the scene?
Are there fields of purple heather, or patchwork carpets of tulips?
Perhaps intoxicating cascades of jasmine, or sweet smelling frangipanis?
Do you picture a perfectly formed rose, or an exuberant sunflower?
Maybe there are flaming lilies or pure-white snowdrops?
Whichever flowers we adore, we know that our lives would be poorer without them.
 
Flowers are symbols of emerging promise, of unfolding beauty, of budding progress.
They remind us that becoming is a natural process.
 
Buddhists use the lotus as a sacred representation of the flowering of consciousness, the dawning of enlightenment.
For like the lotus blossom, we too open as we reach for the light, and close when darkness engulfs us.
We too need to be coaxed to develop our potential, encouraged to discover our abilities, nurtured to expose our hearts.
 
Flowers connect us together.
The Japanese cherry blossom, the Welsh daffodil, the South African protea and the Chinese orchid – all remind us that civilization flowers as many diverse cultures, but we remain one humanity.
 
And like flowers, it is cross-pollination – of ideas and values, art and science, visions and solutions – which ensures our survival.
We should not hesitate to freely share the very best of what we have to offer the world, for prosperity thrives on exchange.
Communication technologies are the birds and bees, the ladybirds and butterflies of our new global consciousness.
And as we spread our knowledge and learning, we have the unique opportunity to blossom as the human race.
 
Flowers inspire us to celebrate our relationships – to honour those we love, to admire the exquisite qualities in our friends, to cherish the aesthetic connections with our families.
 
We should never be without flowers in our lives, whether it is to brighten our spirits, or console our sorrows, to cheer our mood, or to calm our nerves.
Flowers are life’s natural tonic, a pep-me-up for all ailments and a gift for all occasions.
 
What flowers will you choose today?
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Flight

Flight

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Flight is the journey beyond our limitations ~

What does flight mean to you?
Are you afraid of flying, or are you exhilarated by idea of escaping gravity?
Are you captivated by flights of fantasy, or terrorised by flights into danger?
 
For centuries, we dreamed of flying, marvelling at the freedom of birds and longing to touch the clouds.
Since ancient times, we were lured by the magic of flight, yet wary of its strange secrets.
Always it was the gods and goddesses who possessed the power of flight, while we humans remained earthbound.
The legend of Icarus echoed down the passages of time to warn us of the fate of those who dared to fly.
 
And yet, today, we live in an age of flight.
We have taken to the skies and ridden with the wind.
We have conquered our fears and opened the aperture of space.
 
Flight is an act of faith.
When we lift off from the ground, we put our trust in forces we scarcely comprehend.
Somehow, we know that we are entering the realm of the gods, defying the limitations of our humanness and embracing the possibilities of our divinity.
 
When we see the earth from above, it is different from the world we know.
It is larger, yet strangely smaller; more dislocated, yet somehow more connected.
 
Flight gives us the gift of perspective, of seeing a bigger whole, when we thought the parts were all there was.
Flight gives us the experience of transformation, of existing in a different state of being, soaring like a bird when our feet should be firmly on the ground.
 
Every time we overcome barriers and transcend thresholds, we are flying.
Every time we dare to dream and believe in the impossible, we are flying.
Every time we let our imagination float and our creativity glide, we are flying.
 
We fear flying because it takes us out of our comfort zone, beyond the certainty of what we know.
Flight challenges the gravity of our rationality, questions the integrity of our senses, muddles the neat structure of our moribund beliefs.
 
It takes courage to learn to fly – courage enough to see the world differently, even when we are ridiculed; courage enough to pick ourselves up and try again, even after we crash and burn; courage enough to hold steadfast to our vision, even when we are passing through clouds of uncertainty; courage enough to keep believing, even when we are buffeted by storms of doubt.
 
In our wakefulness, which is a kind of slumber, we are terrestrial creatures, destined to walk the earth.
Yet in our sleep, which is a kind of awakening, we are aerial beings, free to traverse the skies.
Therefore, flying in our waking lives seems difficult, while flying in our dreams is easy; flying during the day seems miraculous, while flying at night is natural.
 
Flying is a skill we can learn to master, but first we need sky – we need to create the space in our lives, the boundless horizons of our crazy wishes and audacious dreams, the vaulted heavens of our bold faith and tenacious belief.
Then we need wings – the elegant mechanisms which give us lift, like nature and science, and the aesthetic designs which give us levity, like art and poetry.
And finally, it helps to have the wind beneath our wings – the people who help us to rise up above the clouds of everyday trials and tribulations, those who see our amazing potential and never lose faith in our incredible abilities.
 
Flight is a dance of collaboration, between nature and engineering; a song of harmony, between will and intuition; a stanza of rhythm, between ourselves and those who believe that we can fly.
 
Like Disney’s Dumbo, flight defies the odds, scorns the probabilities.
And the magic feather we cling to is the optimism that lifts us above the morass of life’s pessimism, the hope that dispels the shadow of life’s despair, the faith that affirms the vitality of life’s soul.
 
Flight is fuelled by desire, powered by vision, and navigated by the heavens.
 
If you want to fly, you need to look up from the ground and see the sky.
If you want to jet off to other worlds, you need to set a course for the stars.
 
Where will your destination be?
 
Welcome on board the wings of your dreams.
We trust you will have a pleasant flight.
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Epiphanies

Epiphanies

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ An epiphany is seeing the same world again, but differently this time ~

What was your last epiphany?
It could have been a life changing Damascus experience, or simply a refreshing “a-ha” moment.
Either way, your world was suddenly different, you saw things in a changed light, your perspective was profoundly shifted.
Looking back, you realise that you were not seeing new lands, but seeing with new eyes. Epiphanies are like that.
 
Our paradigm – the basic pattern which structures our thinking – changes.
We spot the underlying assumptions that shape our world view and we begin to question our most cherished beliefs.
We start to entertain the possibility, perhaps for the first time, that our way is not the only way, that what seemed self-evident and factual is really value-laden and subjective.
 
All the greatest discoveries in history have been made this way.
The scientific breakthroughs and technological inventions that changed the world can call be traced back to an epiphany.
The earth was unquestionably flat until Copernicus had the courage to imagine it round.
Time and space were undoubtedly fixed until Einstein had the insight that they are relative.
 
In retrospect, some epiphanies seem blindingly obvious.
And not just with the benefit of hindsight – something more powerful is at work.
So why did they take so long to occur?
Because as humans, we are prone to a kind of mass hypnosis.
We are creatures of habit, vulnerable to suggestion.
We believe because others believe, accept the truth because there is general consensus about its validity.
 
Epiphanies are the ultimate habit-breakers.
They are often dramatic because they have to be, to break the mould we are trapped in, to shatter the house of mirrors we think is reality.
They feel like earthquakes because they shake up our neat picture of the world, forcing us to put it back together again in a different arrangement.
Because, like Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall, once an epiphany has occurred, there is no going back to the way it was before.
 
This may all sound rather intimidating, and indeed, epiphanies are not for the faint hearted.
But they should be welcomed, not be feared, anticipated, not avoided.
 
Epiphanies are the true force behind evolution.
Progress is never straight forward and the learning curve is never smooth.
Evolution occurs in great leaps, step changes.
These discontinuities are the way we break with the past, free ourselves from the limitations of our old modes of thinking, take the game to a higher level.
 
The question then becomes: are epiphanies beyond our control?
Do we have to simply wait and hope that one day inspiration will strike?
The answer is no.
Although epiphanies are never predictable, we can make their visitation more likely.
 
How?
By learning to be open to change, by constantly questioning our assumptions, by not clinging so tightly to our beliefs, by deliberately exposing ourselves to diversity, by engaging with those we disagree with.
 
We also need to cultivate our imagination.
Grand epiphanies are the cumulative effect of numerous humble insights.
Before the Big Bang, there were lots of little sparks.
 
Admittedly this kind of shapeshifting can be frightening.
Every caterpillar makes its first flight as a butterfly with trepidation.
But look at the result – the newfound freedom, seeing the world from a totally different vantage point.
 
Can you recall how liberating your last epiphany made you feel?
How that unexpected realisation reinvigorated your lust for life?
 
The Christian tradition reminds us that epiphanies are a manifestation of something numinous – a higher power, a greater wisdom.
 
Are you ready to touch the sky?
Today may just be your day for an epiphany to strike.
Eureka!
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Enchantment

Enchantment

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Suspending disbelief is not nearly as powerful as believing ~

How often do you allow yourself to be enchanted?
When last were you captivated by a story, a piece of music, or a movie?
Can you think of a recent nature scene, or idea, or person who left you spellbound?
 
We all long for enchantment, for a world of magic.
But most of us learned to stop believing a long time ago.
Fairies and elves, princes and princesses, talking animals and friendly trees – all these were safely packed away in a box called ‘childhood fantasies’, along with Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.
Only occasionally do we allow ourselves to peek back into the box through the eyes of our children, or perhaps through the flickering lens of a cinema projector.
The rest of the time, our world is somewhat dull and grey, predictable and rational.
 
We draw a sharp line between fact and fiction, between reality and illusion.
And yet we trick ourselves into only believing what we can see, instead of trusting what we can feel.
We are victims of our own self-deception, conjuring evidence for drudgery when our intuition is whispering wondrous secrets in our ear.
 
So why the disenchantment?
Why have we allowed the technicolour to drain from our lives, leaving a facsimile in black and white?
Could it be that our parents left us in the shadow of well-meaning protection, that our schools taught us from the book of fear, that our religions forgot to tell us that the kingdom is within?
 
Or perhaps it was an innocent misunderstanding.
Our parents, our teachers, our religious leaders and ultimately, we ourselves, failed to understand that believing in fairies means believing in the art of the possible, that we are all knights in shining armour on the hero’s journey of our lives, and that tales of true love are not idealistic nonsense but the very reason for our being.
 
Somewhere in the process of growing up, we became confused and we threw out the message with the medium, the magic with the fairytales.
Nevertheless, we still all have a natural affinity for enchantment.
 
We can start believing again.
How?
By allowing ourselves to be delighted, by loosening the suffocating grip we have on our emotions, by being alive to the beauty of the moment, by letting our imaginations fly.
 
Enchantment does not mean turning our back on reality, but rather immersing ourselves in reality, with all our senses.
It means being fully present in our lives, and not denying the incredible experience of being on this earth.
We don’t have to struggle to be amazed, we simply have to open our eyes.
 
We are all practicing magic all the time, whether we know it or not.
The spells we cast are little affirmations we constantly chant in our heads – about whether life is fair, whether we believe in ourselves, and what is really important in our lives.
Take care, therefore, that you are not invocating bad spells, against yourself and others.
 
Enchantment comes from consciously inviting the light of love to shine through in every facet of life.
And expecting to see magic happen.
So, today, expect miracles, be amazed, weave good spells – in a word, let yourself be enchanted.
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Dreams

Dreams

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Dreams are the swirling smoke of our spirit’s fire ~

Do you dream often?
What do they mean, these wispy, incoherent images that drift like clouds across the moon of our nightscape?
Should we just dismiss our dreams as the daily unwinding of our clockwork minds, the inevitable uncoiling of our highly sprung emotions?
Or are they vital messages from our unconscious depths, waiting to be deciphered?
 
There are many kinds of dreams – nocturnal dreams and waking dreams, dream of the shadow and dreams of the light.
 
Dreaming takes us into a world of transience.
Nothing is fixed, everything is dynamic; nothing is solid, everything is fluid; nothing is predictable, everything is volatile.
Maybe that is why dreams sometimes appear as nightmares.
We fear the unknown.
Uncertainty makes us anxious.
It is also why we often discard dreams as nonsense.
They don’t conform to our neat boxes of rationality.
They are the genie which refuses to stay inside the lamp of logic.
 
Dreaming is our more honest way of being – an uncensored state, where thoughts manifest as actions and emotions flare as colour.
When we dream, we glimpse inside a compressed time capsule – intention instantly translates into motion and the gap between cause and effect is closed.
This too can be frightening.
 
Are we prepared to accept responsibility for our wishes if they come true?
Will we like what we see in a world where we reap what we sow – in thought, word and deed – instantly?
 
Another reason for the sometimes ominous quality of our dreams is that they represent our shadow.
Everything we suppress or ignore or deny in ourselves – whatever we push below the surface of our consciousness – ends up in the subterranean caverns of our dreaming.
It is our psyche’s way of encouraging us to embrace our shadow, to restore the balance between light and dark, seen and unseen.
 
Have you ever noticed what happens to the monsters in your dreams when you respond with love rather than react with fear, when you offer acceptance rather than rejection, when you seek to understand rather than judge?
They mutate – the monsters are transformed into something less sinister, or they may disappear completely.
 
But not all dreams are nightmares.
What of ecstatic dreams – transcendent dreams of flying and connective dreams of love?
Could these dreams of light be a form of communication with our higher selves, an encounter with our angels and spirit guides, a discarnate meeting place for friends and loved ones?
 
Sometimes the power and authenticity of such dreams lead us to wonder whether they do in fact represent a larger reality.
Perhaps our waking world is the real dream-state, the more limited manifestation of our potential as spiritual beings.
 
Whatever our beliefs, dreams are sources of great energy, which we can tap into and channel in our lives.
 
Dreams remind us that anything is possible.
They give us the courage to think big, to pursue our visions.
 
Dreams are wormholes in time, allowing us to slip into parallel dimensions of reality, to glimpse how our lives might be different, to imagine what spectacular secrets the universe may contain.
 
Daydreaming sneaks us past the soldiers that guard the fortress of our three-dimensional rational world and lead us through the tunnels and catacombs of possibility into a lush landscape of sagacious knowledge.
And when we return – when we snap back into our normal waking consciousness – we still carry the gems from our otherworldly travels in our pockets.
 
Don’t fret if you don’t know what your dream-acquired treasures mean.
When the lock appears, the key will present itself.
In the meantime, dream on.
Follow your dreams today and see where they take you.
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Doubt

Doubt

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Doubt is the shield we carry through the battlefields of life ~

What is the place of doubt in your life?
Do you question your abilities or potential?
Do you nurture insecurities about your desirability?
Are there lingering doubts about your relationships?
Or perhaps some niggling uncertainties about your beliefs?
 
Many see doubt as a disease, an unfortunate affliction that is best avoided, or if infection has already set in, a condition to be cured.
But doubt is a prerequisite for good health.
Like the friendly bacteria in yoghurt, doubt helps us to fight off life’s more serious threats.
 
We all have doubts, because they are the by-products of living and learning.
When a child burns itself on the stove, it has doubts about what is safe to touch – and that is a good thing.
When we have been let down by friends, we think twice about relying completely on others again – and that is a worthwhile lesson.
When we have been hurt in love, we are more cautious in our choice of future partners – and that is a sensible approach.
When our religious beliefs have failed us, we question their infallibility – and that is a wise perspective.
 
Doubt is the path to awareness, while certainty is the road to naivety.
Doubt is like a mountaineer with a walking stick, which she uses to test the ground ahead before stepping into the unknown.
Certainty is like a blind man without a stick, stumbling forward in the misguided belief that all obstacles will be cleared from his path.
 
Without doubt, there can be no questioning.
And without questioning, there can be no discovery.
Without discovery, there can be no true knowledge.
And without true knowledge, there can be no progress.
 
And yet, when doubt turns to despair, it becomes our prison, rather than our sky.
When doubt overwhelms us, it keeps us in shackles, rather than giving us wings.
For the purpose of doubt is not to paralyse, but to catalyse.
Doubt should encourage us to test the water, not scare into a fear drowning.
 
Doubt and trust are partners in time.
To have trust without any doubt is to be foolish and to court disaster.
To have doubt without any trust is to be paranoid and to invite madness.
And yet, each moves opposite to the other, like tango dancers.
As trust increases, doubt recedes into the shadows.
But break the trust, and doubt returns stronger than before.
 
Doubt is not an absence of hope
And faith is not an absence of doubt.
In the same way as bravery is not an absence of fear
Hope is seeing the light in spite of the shadows
And faith is trusting the unknown despite the dangers.
 
So let us be bold in our hopes, but not foolish in our footsteps.
Let us be brave in our faith, but not blind in our beliefs.
Let us listen to our doubts, but not be deafened by their cries.
Let us be healthy doubters
Not stuck in the mire of fear and disbelief
But en route to the horizon of living and learning and loving
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Dignity

Dignity

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Dignity is the saving grace of humanity ~ 

Which leaders do you admire for their dignity?
What is it about their attitude, or their behaviour, that distinguishes them?
What does it mean to live, and to die, with dignity?
 
Dignity implies being able to hold your head up high, to be proud of your actions, to be unashamed of the way in which you carry yourself in the world.
Not because you are better than others, or holier than thou; on the contrary, because you are the same as others, equally worthy.
 
Dignity is the worth we bestow on ourselves and others when we affirm our common humanity.
Dignity draws on what is good in human beings – our generosity, our compassion, our selflessness – not because it wishes to deny what is bad, but because it believes that we have the choice.
Our higher nature can transcend our baser selves, if we cultivate the strength of our principles.
 
We respect the world’s great moral leaders, past and present, because of the difficult choices they made.
They chose forgiveness over revenge, love over hate, service over success.
 
The worst embodiments of evil in the history of the world – whether people, or political regimes or religious doctrines – were all attempts to strip people of their basic human dignity, their inherent worth as people, their intrinsic value as citizens.
 
Prejudice is the destroyer of dignity.
When we are prejudiced against someone because of their colour or creed, their nationality or sexual preference, their looks or weight, we are denigrating them, devaluing their personality, degrading their humanity.
We are judging them on artificial scales and sentencing them on superficial grounds.
 
We all have prejudices.
They are drummed into us by our parents, taught by our schools, and ritualised by our religions.
We are blinded by our cultures, brainwashed by the media and seduced by our hubris.
Dignity is the ability to recognise prejudice for the false god that it is, and choose instead to affirm each person’s inherent value as a human being.
 
Ironically, it is often those whose dignity is most assaulted who find it within themselves to respond to their persecutors in a dignified manner.
Many of our most admired icons are those who refused to treat others in the same dehumanising way in which they themselves were treated.
Mahatma Ghandi responded to active violence with passive resistance, Martin Luther King responded to racism with a dream of harmony between black and white, and Nelson Mandela forgave his captors and sought to unify those whom apartheid had rent apart.
 
At the heart of dignity is the unshakeable belief that no one person is better, or worse, than another.
Delusions of superiority, even under the guise of self-righteousness, are a poison in the blood of dignity.
Likewise, feelings of inferiority are a malignant cancer which eats away at the body of dignity.
 
We should not think that dignity is only a task for the heroic amidst the melodrama of historical injustice.
Every moment of the day, in small yet significant ways, we affirm or deny dignity in our lives.
 
Dignity is all in the way we regard others.
Do we judge them superficially, or do we look beyond surface appearances?
Do we see them through the tainted lens of prejudice, or do we treat them as equals?
Do we build them up based on their strengths and potential, or do we break them down based on their weaknesses and failings?
 
Treating others with dignity, however, is impossible unless we have discovered our own sense of self-worth.
Do we believe in our own fundamental value as human beings?
Do we have faith in our own ability to make a contribution in this world?
Do we feel connected to a source of inspiration that guides us in the realisation of our divine potential?
 
Dignity is not a free inheritance, but something we have to work at.
It is not a miraculous gift of the saints, but a habit which we have to nurture with intent.
Yet, unlike prejudice which is learned, dignity is an act of remembrance.
For our original state as humans is one of dignity.
 
We all share the same dream on this day, and throughout our lives, and that is to be treated with dignity and respect, to be valued for who we are as human beings.
So let us give as we hope to receive – because you’re worth it, and so am I.
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Dancing

Dancing

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Dancing is allowing ourselves to be moved by music ~ 

Why does dancing feel so good?
Could it be that we were all born to dance?
 
Dancing is as natural as breathing and no less vital.
It is not something we have to be taught when we are young.
Yet we learn to stop doing it as we get older.
 
Dancing is music in motion.
It is what happens when we hear the beat and feel the rhythm.
 
What is your favourite dance music?
What gets your finger tapping and your head bobbing, your hips shaking and your feet stamping?
When can you no longer resist the urge to get up and dance?
 
Dance works as a universal language because it is so diverse.
One size never fits all.
But dance comes in infinite shapes and sizes.
There are cultural dances and national dances, traditional dances and modern dances.
You can choose jazz or cabaret, Latin or ballroom.
Do you love ballet, or are you a disco diva?
Maybe you can break-dance or whirl like a dervish?
 
Each tide of music makes its own waves of dance.
Like the gravitational pull of the moon, we feel the tug of dance on the sea of our emotions.
We move to the music not because we think we should, but because we feel we must.
 
Dancing is not an instruction of the mind, but an expression of the heart.
We dance because it allows us to let go of something inside, to give vent to our inner wildness.
Dancing lets us be a child again, footloose and carefree.
It gives us permission to connect with that part of ourselves which does not question, which acts rather than thinks, which moves because it feels right, not because there is a good reason to do so.
 
Dance is the quintessence of harmony – harmony between time and space, music and movement, beat and step.
Dance is an exhibition of beauty, the perfect choreography of resonance – motion is in tune with emotion, sway echoes sound, pattern weaves design.
 
Dancers are the living expression of Tao, the way of flow – they swirl to the eddies of song, glide to trickle of composition and churn to the whitewater rapids of the beat.
 
When music plays and we stand still, we are out of kilter.
Sound demands motion.
Music without dance is dissonance, an unnatural stemming of the tide, a dam wall cutting off the river from its source.
 
Why then do we so often ignore the call to dance?
Have we become deaf to the music?
Perhaps we have forgotten what moves us?
Or are we simply afraid of what others might think?
 
We have been tricked into believing that there is a right and a wrong way to dance, a better and a worse way.
How tragic.
We should be celebrating our own unique style of dancing, making our footprint on the sands of time, like all those before us since time immemorial.
 
Just as no one can tell us what kind of music moves us, so no one can judge the way we dance.
Dance in a crowd, dance with a partner, or dance alone – whatever makes you feel good.
And if others think we can not dance, it is only because they do not understand what moves us.
 
Dancing, when it happens spontaneously, is a match made in heaven.
It is a state of pure being, of oneness with the universe.
When we dance, we hear the echo of the primordial drum beat, we dip our oar into the river of rhythm through the ages, and we throb to the very pulse of life itself.
 
Do you know what music moves you?
Play it now, even if just in your head, and watch yourself dance through the day.
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Books

Books

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Books are the ongoing conversation of the ages ~ 

Do you have a soft spot for books, a weakness for their charms?
Do you think of books with fondness, regard them with affection?
Perhaps you would even go so far as to say that you have a love affair with books?
 
Books are such sweet seduction.
Who can resist the coy enticement of an enigmatic title, the alluring perfume of virginal pages, or the beckoning gesture of a back cover synopsis?
Dressed in shining leather, laced with gold trim, trailing a teasing ribbon, who can fail to be bewitched?
Or are you beguiled by the more rugged, travel-savvy type, whose rough looks hint at adventures barely survived?
 
Whatever your preference, books have a way of grabbing our attention, revealing just enough to pique our interest and then string us along, toying with our emotions, keeping us guessing.
With each successive chapter, another button is undone, another layer shed, another feature unveiled.
 
Some books are a sun-kissed afternoon spent in pleasant idle chatter.
Others are a romantic-laden dinner full of suggestive glances.
And still others are a pace-quickening ride ending in a breathless climax.
 
What are your favourite books?
Can you remember the first book that made a real impact on you?
 
When we learn to read, we forge a magical key to a vault of unimaginable hoarded wealth.
When we enter in, the vast cavern is stacked from floor to ceiling with treasure chests, just waiting for us to open them and find out what is inside.
 
Every book is a mystery trapped between two covers.
And we are the only ones who can release the riddle from bondage.
We are the only ones who can undertake the fairytale quest to discover its secrets.
 
When we start reading a book, we are blind to the journey we are about to undertake, of the magical places we will visit and the mortal dangers we will encounter.
We have no idea how the story will end, not least the tale of our own transformation.
For every book is a philosopher’s stone, a rite of alchemy which changes us.
 
Books are a meeting place – between author and reader, between expressed intent and receptive imagination, between past and present.
 
Whoever said that time travel has yet to be invented has never read a book.
Books transport us back in history, to exotic places and strange times.
For all books are a child of their time.
We see old worlds through new eyes, and new worlds through old eyes.
There are no limits to where the enchanted time-machine we call books can take us.
 
And yet, no matter how far we travel, in time and space, in creativity and imagination, we end up back at the same place we started – the place where people connect.
Books are always about relationships, about the interaction between characters.
 
Books are the dialogue which never ends, the eternal human conversation.
We can choose how much of the dialogue to listen to, how much of the conversation to participate in.
We can voice our agreement or register our dissent.
And every word will add to the evolving story of humankind.
 
Books are power in our hands and wisdom in our heads.
Books are passion in our hearts and levity in our souls.
They are all these things and more.
 
Yet their ready accessibility keeps books out of the reach of many.
Their common appearance disguises their unbelievable worth.
Do not let yourself be fooled.
Claim your prize today.
Set off on a journey into the unknown.
Allow yourself to be seduced.
 
What book will you choose?
And more tellingly, what book will choose you?
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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Beginnings

Beginnings

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Every new beginning is just a first step away ~ 

Do you have hopes, dreams and wishes for the future?
Or even just something you have been meaning to do, or longing to achieve?
Why not make a start today towards making it happen?
 
Nothing grand, nothing onerous, just take one small action to set you on your way.
Cathedrals are built one stone at a time, and although they may take generations to complete, they would not exist at all if someone hadn’t been bold enough to lay the first cornerstone.
Lao Tzu was right:
The journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step.
 
But why is that first step often so difficult to take?
Perhaps it is because we are intimidated by the size of the task before us, the length of the journey ahead?
But remember the old question of how to eat an elephant.
Answer: one bite at a time.
An inspiring vision is important, but it helps to focus on down-to-earth practicalities to get started.
 
Another reason we hesitate to begin afresh is because we have tried and failed before.
Cynicism is the root of all inertia.
If you are dismissive or scornful of New Year’s resolutions, it is probably because you’ve been burned before;
You’ve had your own or others’ hopes dashed as idealistic goals fizzle like damp squibs in the cold light of daily pressures.
Sound familiar?
 
One way to cure cynicism is to change the way we think about beginnings.
Every big ending is the result of countless small beginnings.
We should not expect to achieve our goals the first time we try.
You are saved from failure not by being born again, but by being born again and again and again, as many times as it takes to succeed.
 
The only thing more difficult than beginning is beginning again.
And yet beginning again is the easiest way, indeed the only way, to succeed.
The willingness to pick ourselves up when we fall and to try again is what makes the difference between success and failure, between moving forwards and standing still, or going backwards.
 
Or maybe it is not failure that you fear, but success itself.
What would happen if your wildest dream, your most cherished hope, your secret wish, really did come true?
You would have to change.
You would have to take responsibility for all those things you said would be possible “if only”.
So sometimes we shy away from new beginnings because we are afraid of where they might take us.
But unless we set our foot upon the path, we will never really know where it leads.
 
It is true that not all beginnings are bright and cheery.
Starting an unpleasant chore, or beginning a life without a loved one is hardly cause for celebration.
Yet even these tough beginnings will bring their share of rewards for effort and reprieves from suffering.
 
Indeed, in dark times, it is often the chance to begin again which helps us to make it through.
We take each day, each step, each breath, one at a time, in order to survive.
Remembering that each new beginning holds the potential to change things for the better:
To lighten the darkness;
To ease the load
To heal the wound
To forgive and love again.
 
We can take our cues from nature – each sunrise, the new moon, spring time.
Or we can invent our own reminders – morning prayers, the start of a week, the first of the month, or celebrating a new year.
Or perhaps our beginnings will be inspired by the Resurrection, Ramadan, Passover, or Diwali.
 
We are constantly on the cusp of new beginnings, amidst the cycles of our lives.
And there is no better time to begin anew than now …
And now, and now and …
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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