Category: Power of Words

My First Featured Article on Beliefnet!

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I'm so Excited!  My article is featured!

  Screenshot

This is truly a first for me, and I was so excited, I had to share with everyone! 

I've been writing for a website called Beliefnet.com for the past few months — a milestone in itself because I've been wanting to write for them for years! 

Why? They feature ALL beliefs from the all major religions, and then some. 

But today is the first time I've been featured on their front page!  The very first of their 4 rotating banners, and with my name just there beneath it!  (Until Monday, July 21st anyway…) 

As someone who's been a ghostwriter for many years, I feel like I've finally stepped out into the sun.  Aaaaaah!  I am fairly certain it has something to do with my lovely friend, Trish Kusal Wilson, who allowed me to use her photographs.  The glory is all the sweeter when it's shared!

It's also a subject that I've never felt quite brave enough to write about, since it's such a touchy one for so many people: prayer — but I've attempted to translate it into something that intellectuals, naturalists and realists might be able to relate to.  See if you can, and let me know.  If nothing else, click to see Trish's glorious photos

I partly began writing for Beliefnet because I thought it would be a good way to connect with an audience that could understand and appreciate the podcast I co-host on Unity Online Radio, called "Pop Conscious: Where Pop Culture & Spirituality Unite!"  It is exactly my ministry style, actually, as I study to one day become a fully ordained Unity minister — rejecting no one and nothing in the world, just using it all to be more understanding, more positive and creative and help make the world a happier place.

Here are links to check it all out, if you wanna!  And if you know anyone who'd make a good radio guest or interview subject while talking about entertainment and enlightenment, please get in touch!

LINKS:

Learn more or contact me at MalaynaDawn.com!

 

Art and Fashion Enchant an English Palace

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Enchanted_palace_kensington Before embarking upon my recent trip to London with one of my best girlfriends, she told me she really wanted to visit a palace. Though Buckingham Palace does offer tours, it’s only during certain months, and it wasn’t available to us during our 3 days there, so I checked out what Kensington Palace had to offer.  I was so excited with what I found!

Not only do they offer tours through the State Apartments, but a theatre group called Wildworks  has been brought in to bring the rooms to life, not as it was, but an enchante d version that lets you get a *feel* for the lives of the seven princesses that once lived there. The Enchanted Palace is what Kensington Palace has become, through the fashion and art installation that tells their stories. 

(Image from http://ireallylikedaisies.blogspot.com/2010/10/enchanted-palace-seven-princesses-in.html)

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We started our visit with afternoon tea on the terrace of The Orangery, an 18th century building commissioned by Queen Anne (reign: 1702-14)  with French floor to ceiling windows overlooking a manicured garden.  “The building was supposed to serve as greenhouse for over-wintering exotic plant and citrus trees that ornamented the gardens in summer. Its accomplished interior decoration reflects the Orangery’s other uses as a ‘summer supper house’ and a place for entertainment.” 

The only hints toward the Enchanted Nature of what awaited were: 1) the design printed atop a chocolate tea cake and 2) the whimsical archway at the garden entrance.

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Issues with Success

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For some reason, people have been congratulating me on my success lately, and I find I don’t know how to respond. Mostly because I don’t feel like much of a success.

Then I found a book that I bought as gift for a friend. And it gave me a good slap.  Of course, I can’t find the entry that woke me up now as I look for it, but it basically said that “it only seems like failure because it doesn’t look the way you wanted it to look.”

Robin Sharma, the Indian man who wrote “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, offers little morsels of uplifting messages from the book in a Daily Inspiration format.  Some of the topics covered each month include:

Personal Greatness
Destiny and Life’s Purpose
Overcoming Adversity and Disappointment
Real Success
Humor and Strength of Character
Extraordinary Achievement
Building Remarkable Relationships
Enjoying Life’s Journey

Since I don’t feel like much of a success, it was the Overcoming Adversity and Disappointment chapter that got me. Here are a few faves, that I hope you will read at exactly the time YOU need them!

“You would not have the wisdom and knowledge you now possess if it were not for the setbacks you have faced, the mistakes you have made, and the suffering you have endured.  Once and for all, come to realize that pain is a teacher and failure is the highway to success. You cannot learn how to play the guitar without hitting a few wrong notes and you will never learn how to sail if you are not willing to tip the boat over a few times.  Begin to see your troubles as blessings.”

"Before a seeker reaches the final destination of her biggest self, she will be presented with a trial. Before she reaches the treasure she has longed for, she will be given a test. That’s just the way life works on the path. If you study any great book of wisdom that describes this voyage of personal awakening, you will see that the seeker—or the hero—always faces some trial or adversity just before he gets the prize: the life that has been desired.”

"Most people give up before they reach their dreams. Most people quit only steps away from getting everything they wanted. Don’t let that happen to you."

Why “Symbolic Themes”?

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A friend of mine once asked me “Why Symbolic Themes?”

I told him that it’s how my mind works. I see thematic patterns in the symbols around me, and I use it to guide me through life. But I’ve just found further justification for my choice of blog names in a book called “Man and His Symbols” edited by eminent psychologist, Carl Jung.

It’s a book that explains Jung’s philosophy in laypeople’s terms so that non-academics can play along at home. Basically, Jung believed that our subconscious communicates with us in the language of symbols and archetypes that have appealed to people throughout history. He also believed that by paying attention to our dreams, and our responses to the symbols we encounter around us, we can interpret the intuitive guidance we have within us.

Here’s the quote that made me think I was on the right track with the name for this blog that I had already chosen, years ago:

“…the great writers are able to transcend the differences of time and place and express themes that are universal. We respond because these themes are fundamentally symbolic.”

I love to talk about those universal similarities that transcend time and place! (And I aspire to be a great writer someday too). All great artists transcend time and place when their work touches something in their audience that resonates within them.

What led me to read "Man and His Symbols" was a quest to find where my work and chosen area of study fits in the world. I found some Masters Degree courses in Transpersonal Psychology, and though I can't take them the way I want to right now, I found that Jung is at the bottom of it all. So I decided to educate myself. Many of his ideas are already so familiar to me, but I learned them from people who built upon his work, like Joseph Campbell and Carolyn Myss

Here’s the description from the back of MY book, Echoes Across Time:

Backofbook

“Mara is a woman on a mission… to follow the unraveling trail of meaning behind her symbolic dreams while trying to save her best friend from self-destruction.

Part spiritual adventure, part feminist fairy tale, this modern-day myth takes you through a mystical series of events from America to India, and on to Sri Lanka spanning four generations.

Along the way it offers metaphorical explanations for simple mysteries of our lives that make up our identities. From seemingly inexplicable friendships to exotic mixed ancestry, Mara finds the purpose behind it all. Ultimately the tale offers insight into how each of our souls has at least one connection that echoes across time.”

So though I chose the name Symbolic Themes for my work years ago, and wrote a book based on the things that fascinate me, I’m feeling pretty good about myself because without really knowing it, I have fallen very nicely within the framework of Jungian thinking! I may even be channeling Carl Gustav Jung himself! 

Even Fashion Needs Words!

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CMBpageThis year I'm even more involved with the Colombo Fashion Week.

Last year I was a script consultant and compère (a fancy word for MC–mistress of ceremonies!) and this year I'm involved in the website as well.

Check out this page, which promotes Colombo for those visiting just for fashion week. There are actually three (3) pages with my personal choices to "Shop, Sup and Spa Stylishly" while in Colombo.

I originally had called myself the "Consulting Wordsmith", because it seems more appropriate, but "Communications Consultant" sounds more like a real job. Check out the full Colombo Fashion Week website too, for info on the designers from Sri Lanka and abroad who will be participating, as well as images from last year's amazing shows. It's gonna be so cool!

The Words of Inauguration Day – Poetry

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The power of words and of music, of culture, of prayer, and of history were felt today. President Obama's speech is available online, but I couldn't find Elizabeth Alexander's poem, or the Benediction Prayer, so here they are, transcribed by me, to the best of my ability!

Only the coolest presidents had poets…

Alexander will be only the fourth poet to read at a presidential swearing in. Robert Frost read for President John F. Kennedy, and Maya Angelou and Miller Williams read at President Clinton's inaugurations.”

(According to http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/20/DD0C14R9NL.DTL&feed=rss.entertainment)

Elizabeth Alexander’s

Praise song for the day

Each day we go about our business and pass each other

Catching each other’s eyes or not,

About to speak or speaking.

All about us is noise.

All about is noise and bramble, thorn and din.

Each one of our ancestors on our tongues.

 

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire,

Repairing the things in need of repair.

Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum, with cello, boombox, harmonica, voice.

 

A woman and her son wait for the bus.

A farmer considers the changing sky.

A teacher says “take out your pencils, begin”

We encounter each other in words, words spiny or smooth, whispered or declaimed

Words to consider, reconsider.

We cross dirt roads and highways that mark the will of someone

and then others who said "I need to see whats on the other side,"

"I know there’s something better down the road,"

"We need to find a place where we are safe"

We walk into that which we cannot yet see.

 

Say it plain, that many have died for this day.

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,

Who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,

Picked the cotton and the lettuce,

built brick by brick the glittering edifices

they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Praise song for struggle

Praise song for the day

Praise song for every hand-lettered sign

The figuring it out at the kitchen tables

Some live by "Love thy neighbor as thyself"

Others by "First do no harm" or

"Take no more than you need".

What if the mightiest word is "love"?
Love beyond marital, filial, national.

Love that casts a widening pool of light

Love with no need to pre-empt grievance.

 

In today’s sharp sparkle, this winter air

Anything can be made.

Any sentence begun.

On the brink, on the brim, on the cusp.

Praise song for walking forward in that light.

The Words of Inauguration Day – Benediction

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Dr. Joseph E Lawry’s Benediction

 

God of our weary years

God of our silent tears

God who has brought us thus far along the way

Thou who has by thy might led us into the light

Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, oh God, where we met thee.

Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand.

True to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we’ve shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant,

Barack Obama the 44th President, of these United States, his family, and his administration.

He has come to this high office in a low moment

in the national and indeed the global fiscal climate.

But because we know you ‘got the whole world in your hands’,

We pray for not only our nation but for the community of nations.

 

Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills,

For we know that Lord you’re able, and willing

to work through faithful leadership to restore stability,

mend our brokenness, heal our wounds,

and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, (or the least of these),

And from favoritism toward the rich, (the elite of these).

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th President,

to inspire our nation to believe that Yes We Can work together

to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed, (the wind of greed) and corruption,

and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption,

we seek forgiveness, and we come to spirit of unity and solidarity to commit

our support to our president

by our willingness to make sacrifices,

we respect your creation to turn to each other and not on each other.

 

And now Lord, in the complex arena of human relations,

help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate,

On the side of inclusion, not exclusion

Tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountaintop, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family.

Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosque, wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, first lady Michele, look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

 

We go now to walk together, children,

Pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficulties ahead.

We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power, and your heart of love.

 

Help us then now Lord to work for that day

when nations shall not lift sword against nation,

When tanks get beaten into tractors,

When every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree

and none shall be afraid

When justice will roll down like water and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labor rest

Joy of a new beginning,

we ask you to help us work for that day when:

Black will not be asked to get back

When brown can stick around

When yellow will be mellow

When the red man can get ahead, man

And white will embrace what is right

Will all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen, say Amen, and Amen.