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Tuesday
Oct242017

The Edge of the Earth

I walked to the edge of the Earth.

It was dark and chilly and I was alone in the vastness of space and shore.  The sea showered me with a cold mist, and its roaring was both alarming and comforting.  Slowly, slowly, the earth began to subtly light.

I was overcome with awe.  Golden light began to filter through black clouds.  The sky separated from the sea and began to show its deepest blue through salmon, jasmine, and vermilion streaks.  A fireball rose slowly from the edge of the vast ocean, and reflected back onto the waves.

Creation recurred.  Light came from darkness.  The sky separated from the sea.  The land separated from the water.  An awesome miracle took place, as it does every time our Earth turns round.

The sunrise out of the ocean is proof that there is no greater beauty than that which surrounds us day after day, month after month, year after year.  There is no such thing as a hackneyed, trite, tiresome sunrise out of the ocean.  The gift of natural beauty cannot get old.

The walk to the edge of the Earth in the chilly, dark morning was my birthday gift to myself.  In my mind, I will be untying its bow and gasping at its majesty, for the rest of my life.

© Margery Leveen Sher 2017

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes.  Read the reviews and purchase here.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U
 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Sunday
Oct152017

Do You Have a Chair?

I don’t mean a chair. Most people have a chair. You probably have lots – in the kitchen, in the family room, in the living room, in the dining room, in your office, maybe even in your bedroom.

I mean a Chair.

I love my Chair. My Chair is where I collapse at the end of the day. After dinner, after chores, after finishing work. When I am Done, I collapse into my Chair. I do not sit. I collapse. And to reiterate the obvious, I am DONE. My feet are up. My blankie is on. I am reading the newspaper or a book. I am watching something on TV. I have a cup of tea next to me. I have my phone to communicate with whoever contacts me. But if there is anything that must be done out of my Chair, it will have to wait until tomorrow. (Yes, ok, all that tea, yeah, I do have to get up to go to the bathroom. But that’s it. No more exceptions to the rule. I am DONE.)

Now as I said, I love my Chair, but like many loves, this one has been pushing it this week. My Chair has been totally overdoing it. It’s like I cannot go two steps without it calling me to come back.

I try to do some work, but there’s that Chair again whining for attention.

My home is going to be painted and I have to get everything packed up by Friday. I try packing, but after 5 minutes, I hear that Chair! Geez, now it’s whimpering for me.

Maybe I’d like to go outside for a walk, you know. But noooo. I tried but I didn’t even get to the door before that Chair started moaning: “Come back! Come baaaack!”

Really Chair. We need to have a talk. I love you but I can’t be with you 24/7!

Mark my words, as soon as I recover from this case of pneumonia, I am going to teach my Chair some discipline.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Sunday
Sep242017

It’s a Wonderful World (With Gratitude for Louis Armstrong)

“Harrumph, the world’s a mess!” you say? Yep. There is a lot of work for each of us to do to try to make it a little better each day. But to maintain our energy and positive focus, I believe it is also important to remember to foster our attitude of gratitude. And this ties in directly with Noticing.

What small and large things can you Notice to be grateful for within the space of one hour or even one minute? I promise you that whatever time you can devote to nurturing your attitude of gratitude through Noticing, is time well spent.

Here is my example. This is what I Noticed with gratitude today between 7am and 9am:

I am grateful for Sunday mornings when I can follow my regular Sunday routine.

I am grateful that I can work out in the fitness center and I have no pain.

I am grateful that I can walk outside on this absolutely beautiful morning.

I am grateful that I can crunch leaves that have fallen on the sidewalk from the just-beginning-to-turn trees.

I am grateful for the wonderful invention of the baseball cap which shields me from the bright sun.

I am grateful for the feeling of the warm sun on my back.

I am grateful that I can summit the mountain (my phrase for walking fast uphill in the city) and have no pulled muscles, stretched tendons, or aching back.

I am grateful that my huffing and puffing seems less than yesterday.

I am grateful for all the joggers, runners, walkers, and eaters of breakfast in outdoor cafes that make the city so vibrant.

I am grateful for the cheery good morning of the homeless man and I am grateful that I have money to give him.

I am grateful that I can end my walk at the huge, beautiful farmers market.

I am grateful for the variety of fruit, vegetables, breads, meat, dairy products, and flowers that I can admire, taste, and sniff at.

I am grateful that I am able to buy whatever strikes my fancy.

I am grateful for the street musicians that enormously enhance the vibe.

I am grateful to the dog chasing a Frisbee in the park because he makes me smile.

I am grateful to the babies in strollers who make me smile even more.

I am grateful that I can return to a home I love and have a delicious fresh breakfast from my purchases at the market.

So….Can you make a pledge to foster your attitude of gratitude? Can you agree that it is, indeed, a wonderful world?

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

Sunday
Sep172017

Bees, Turtles, and a Planet

I am totally blown away by the amazing universe. Do you know why these three things are grouped together in the title of this Noticing?

Yes!

It is the Awesome Hexagon! I have been urging people for quite some time now to Notice the Awesome Hexagon. Have you been paying homage to this most deserving shape?

There are lots of amazing shapes and patterns in nature. Consider the repeating patterns of cauliflower and broccoli. Consider the spirals of the nautilus and the ram’s horn. Consider the stripes of a tiger and the stripes of windblown sand in the desert.

But another totally mind-blowing shape in nature is the hexagon! A bee’s honeycomb is composed of hexagons. A turtle’s shell is composed of hexagons. And…about that planet…

Wow! Yowza! Holy Cow!

In 1980, the Voyager spacecraft discovered that over the north pole of Saturn is a giant hexagon! Now run immediately to the NASA website. The Cassini spacecraft just crashed into the planet after a 13 year run photographing the planet, its moons, and its rings. Did I say Yowza?! The movie on the NASA website shows this hexagon in action. We now know that the hexagon is a jetstream of air moving around the pole in a hexagonal path with a myriad of storms within. But why is it a hexagon?

Why indeed. Let’s ask the bees.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Sunday
Sep032017

The Nose and the Finish

I eat a lot of vegetables.

I heard that! Didn’t you just call me a goody-goody?!

Anyway, I am basically a salad girl, and I also eat frequently at a vegetarian fast-food place where they flash steam the veggies and then you choose all kinds of extras to add like avocado and various seeds. I am kind of a prehistoric forager, thankful to be able to forage at a counter.

Most of the time I just gobble up my salad or steamed veggie bowl, enjoying the melding of the flavors and textures. But today I realized: As a Noticer, I should do a much better job with my beloved veggies!

I decided to concentrate on each specimen in my steamed veggie bowl today, cleansing my palate in between with a bite of quinoa.

Ah. The sugar snap peas. The sugar snap peas have an obvious nose of green; fresh spring green arising amid Sting’s Fields of Gold.

The green beans. The green beans are reminiscent of crunchy water springing from the fertile fields of Maine, with a surprising finish of mossy forests.

Broccoli the beautiful. Broccoli the fractal. Broccoli the chameleon. Lightly steam the broccoli and it transforms into a subtle combination of textures with a bouquet of the forest primeval.

Zucchini with its quiet strength. Zucchini is the one you search for in the knowledge that its subtlety will stand up proudly to the green potency of the sugar snap peas.

And blanketing all this vegetarian transcendence from nose to finish is the astounding avocado. Buttery, rich, sophisticated, nothing compares with the avocado. It is the Chateau Margaux 2009 Balthazar of vegetables.

So that was a pretty good lunch to Notice, don’t ya think?

 

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

Friday
Aug252017

The Gestalt of the Eclipse

Imperceptibly, but seemingly abruptly, the sky darkened. I felt a shiver run down my back, partially from the lowered temperature and partially from the eeriness. Crickets burst into a cacophony of chirps. The breeze grew wilder. Then, with a silent clash of cymbals, a hole appeared in the darkened sky surrounded by a halo of fire!

Nothing felt like the everyday. Nothing looked like the everyday. Nothing sounded like the everyday. My eyes filled with tears. Gasps from the humans competed with the gasps of the crickets until the humans succumbed to a tremendous round of applause.

Applause for whom? Applause for what? Maybe applause of thankfulness for the gift of that breathtaking event.

I became acutely aware of the startling beauty of the cosmos and of its vastness. This was only one moon and one sun among countless in the multiverse. And we are only one planet among countless; a veritable spec in the cosmos. And each person sitting in this park in Missouri was just one person out of Earth’s 7.5 billion people, each one of us sitting on a square yard of this tiny spec at the edge of just one of a multitude of galaxies. And for a short time, each of us appreciated this fact and appreciated the vastness of being and our tiny place in it. 

And I realized yet again that we earthlings are not the center of the universe. And I thought, maybe we should work a little harder to earn our place in the cosmos, and maybe our work output should be measured in units of kindness spread.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

Thursday
Aug172017

The Bird and the Boy

I sat at the window of the café eating my salad. On the plaza outside, a boy of about 10 years was running around chasing himself while his dad was checking his phone. Suddenly there was something between a small bam and a large plonk as I saw a tiny baby bird fly into the window right between my eyes. It fell to the ground and lay still. But as I stared sadly, I saw that its body was moving slightly up and down as it breathed. One stick-leg moved slowly back and forth. The boy ran over to the bird with tears in his eyes. He looked over to his dad who came to the bird’s side as well. Boy and dad bent over the bird and watched solemnly. The dad said something, stood up and walked away. The boy wiped his eyes and spied a quarter bagel on the plaza. He ran to it, picked it up and brought it back to the bird. Ever so gently, he lay the bagel piece next to the bird’s beak. Then he stood up and walked slowly over to his dad. As they walked away, I too hoped the bird would find its second wind and peck at the bagel for strength. But I did not want to watch the bird die. I wiped my eyes too and moved away.

In these dark times for our country and for the world, I find great hope in this true story. If a 10 year old boy can feel such kindness toward a bird, there is hope for our species. I cannot imagine that a boy who tears up at a dying baby bird and gives him maybe his last possible peck of food, would grow up to be a terrorist or a racist. Let us hope.

©2017 Margery Leveen Sher

The Noticer’s Guide to Living and Laughing…..Change Your Life Without Changing Your Routine is available on Amazon, Nook, and iTunesRead the reviews and purchase here. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OZTM73U 

 

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk filled with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work

 

 

Tuesday
Apr182017

Ice Cream Cones

You have to be happy when you eat an ice cream cone.

If you were sad, angry, or just feeling lethargic, you wouldn’t want to eat an ice cream cone.  It simply wouldn’t appeal to you, would it?

Sometimes, if you’re feeling a little wistful, an ice cream cone can cheer you right up.  I often have a cone on the anniversary of my mother’s death.

Now I don’t often reveal my wild and crazy side to strangers… but I am ready to admit that I have a real chocolate cone once a year.  Just to have it!  Ha!

Ice cream cones define summer.  I love summer and firmly believe we must hang onto the warm sunny days by our fingernails, until the cold blast of fall air brings us to our senses.

Happy chocolate chip!  Happy rocky road!  Happy strawberry swirl!  In fact, happy plain old and still good, vanilla!

Oh, and by the way, there is absolutely no shame in biting off the cone’s bottom and sucking the ice cream out that way.  That’s right Noticers – the truth is out now on this one!

CONVERSATION-STARTER WITH ELEMENTARY SCHOOLERS

Ask the kids: Do ice cream cones make you feel happy?  What other foods make you happy?  Hot dogs?  Cupcakes?  What would you like to eat when you are cold?  Soup?  Oatmeal?  How about when you are sad?  Maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a smiley banana face on top?  Are there foods that are better in summer than winter? Did you know that people who live in cold climates often eat ice cream in winter!

You can have many conversations about foods and the feelings they evoke. Although you should talk about not substituting eating for dealing with problems, I personally believe that a nice cup of tea can do wonders for the mood.  And there is nothing wrong with celebrating a good grade by going out for ice cream!

Saturday
Apr082017

Is Tolstoy Right About Families?

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

This is how Anna Karenina begins.

I’m not sure I agree with Tolstoy, but let me think out loud. Since every family, and every person, is touched by happiness, sadness, worry, sickness, pride, satisfaction, anger, and delight - in short, every human emotion – I think the extent of our happiness depends on how we make peace with the negatives and are able to focus on the positives.

Some have more trouble making this peace than others, due to illnesses – both mental and physical – and extreme hardship, but nonetheless the extent that one can do that goes far to determine one’s level of happiness.

Happy families put up with the foibles of their relatives in a good-natured way. They don’t bear grudges and are helpful to one another.  Unhappy families are stuck in a negativity of the past.

So now that I’m thinking out loud, I’m beginning to believe that perhaps I do agree with Tolstoy.  Happy families are all alike – they have “short memories.” Unhappy families dwell on their particular “slings and arrows” of the past.

CONVERSATION-STARTER WITH FAMILY

I put this in the Human Idiosyn-Crazies™ section of the book rather than the Amazing First Lines of Books section for this reason: Since we all have our Human Idiosyn-Crazies™, doesn’t family harmony depend upon tolerance?  But at what point can’t we laugh these off or ignore them?  At what point must we deal with them?  And what is the point that we should just accept them, and move on? 

This kind of discussion can be geared to any age.  Ask the younger kids what should be done about the cousin who hoards all the toys at family gatherings.  Ask the older kids about gossipy or mean teens in the family.  There are surely lots of issues to discuss, but keep in mind the goal of family harmony.  After all, family feuds do not lead us to happiness.  But tolerance, forgiveness, and short memories surely lead to happier, more peaceful lives.

©2014 Margery Leveen Sher

Sunday
Mar122017

Shells and Stories for a Birthday

I often come to the edge of the earth to celebrate my birthday.  I know that some people don’t like to celebrate their birthdays, but I do!  After much soul-searching, I believe this birthday-celebrating need stems from the memory of years of ice cream cakes all mushed together into a cold and sweet mess in my mouth.

So, on my birthday, at six o’clock in the morning I walked down to the beach.  Having a birthday in October gives me almost an hour to watch the sun god slowly lift the bright orange ball out of the depths of the ocean, and raise it triumphantly into the blue sky.

It’s an awesome sight every single time. What a gift it is to start the day this way!

I believe strongly in the power of little things. Noticing little things brings meaning and happiness. 

As I walked along, I picked up many tiny pieces of shells.  No they weren’t traditionally beautiful like some of the larger, whole shells you could find, with the lovely coloring and markings and gradations, but these were more interesting.

Think of their history, the stories they could tell.  They have been broken apart by wild waves in a stormy ocean, but they have survived to tell the tale.  These shell pieces are stories; they are survivors from rough seas.  And today, they once again shine brightly in the sun, radiating light and happiness with the savvy understanding of life that only years can bring.

Time, we know, brings both scrapes to the shell and stories to the heart.  But as long as the sun god keeps raising up the orange ball, the sunlight will reflect that history and its inherent beauty.   

©2014 Margery Leveen Sher