Imagine that

Three Shaker prints that showed up on Friday

I was cleaning off a bookshelf and  picked up the little book, Gentle Manners, that I bought at the Shaker Village in Canterbury NH years ago. I periodically clean house and give things away and wondered if I should put it in the donation basket, but decided to keep it. I bought it when I was a chaperone on one of my son’s field trips and it was a good memory.

The next day, I stopped by a local thrift store, and these three prints were there. They were all done by a Shaker artist in the mid 1800’s. That same afternoon, I got an email that the next Netflix DVD in my queue was Ken Burns America: The Shakers. And believe it or not, that very day, I opened a chest, to put some candle sticks away, and noticed a magazine at the bottom with the feature story on …you guessed it, the Shakers, (with a photograph that had the same design as the middle print (the Tree of Life) that I had just brought home).

This would be sort of a “so what” story if there wasn’t anything deeper within it, but for me, it is”evidence” that my thoughts are creating my world, and that one thought attracts another after its own kind. It also reminds me to pay attention to what is showing up in my life, and if it is not to my liking, then I can do something about that; I can change my thought/feeling about it. It is the going back to “What do I want? instead of “What do I fear?” over and over again. This is no easy task; to train our minds to stay on the course that will bring more happiness, prosperity, comfort, and peace when all the evidence seems to be the opposite. Our minds can be like wild animals running all over the place, and dragging us along for the ride, but as difficult as it might seem, focusing our minds is something we can all do and just a little change will make a big difference in what comes into our lives.

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives“. Henry David Thoreau

22 thoughts on “Imagine that

  1. Thank you for providing a task for this week. I’m going to work on focusing on the kinds of thoughts I want to dominate my life! It truly is exhausting being dragged along for the ride with those wild animals that are running around in my mind! Maybe I can make a deep mental path with some new, positive thoughts. It’s worth a try!

    Thanks Mary,
    From Fran

  2. So glad you posted this, Mary. I have never seen this quote from Thoreau, and it’s going to be posted in the book I keep for such things. When I was in college, I had a wonderful Literature teacher who introduced me to Thoreau. I was immediately taken with his writings and they lterally turned my world-view around.

    Anything by Thoreau starts my day off right…..and you are the conduit today! Many thanks!

    • P.S. I can see your pictures again without having to scroll up and across. They are a normal size once more.

  3. Hannah Cohoon painted those pictures from a vision of drawings that she said were brought the her by an angel. Actually Mary, she lived not far from here – she was born in Williamstown, MA in the late 1700’s and joined the Hancock Shaker community when she was 29 years old. Her story has always haunted me a bit….
    Thanks for this post today as it supports me in my quest to reshape my perception of my place in the world, and yes, I have been having success with it – trending upward! Thanks! ox

    • Thank you for this information Lynne..it makes the pictures even more meaningful to me..sending you good thoughts across the river!

  4. Wonderful Thoreau quote, thanks Mary …
    for any one near the Portland Museum of Art (Maine)
    Gather Up the Fragments: The Andrews Shaker Collection
    October 27, 2011 – February 5, 2012… an amazing collection….
    ’tis a gift to be simple…

    • That sounds like a very interesting exhibit Sue…thanks so much for letting us know about it.

  5. First I was struck by the photo of the prints. They looked sooooo familiar to me. My home town is Shaker Heights, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland) and our city was founded by Shakers. Note middle photo on bottom of this link http://shakerhistory.org/ I knew that print of yours resonated with me. I have lived in Shaker Heights since kindergarten and my mother went through the Shaker school system also. (I am 71). Our Shaker Historical Society has such wonderful exhibits and things for sale about our history. Sounds like another link to you and your area.

    I also LOVED your following comments – so resonated with me and what I am concentrating on for myself:

    “It also reminds me to pay attention to what is showing up in my life, and if it is not to my liking, then I can do something about that; I can change my thought/feeling about it. It is the going back to “What do I want? instead of “What do I fear?” over and over again. This is no easy task; to train our minds to stay on the course that will bring more happiness, prosperity, comfort, and peace when all the evidence seems to be the opposite. Our minds can be like wild animals running all over the place, and dragging us along for the ride, but as difficult as it might seem, focusing our minds is something we can all do and just a little change will make a big difference in what comes into our lives.”

    • Mary, I’ve just spent a delightful half hour exploring the Shaker website you shared above. There was a very interesting 10 minute video – and I loved the ‘now and then’ pictures of some of the beautiful old homes. How wonderful that the history is being preserved. Thank you!

      • Well, now I see that I better take the tour also. I am eager to see what you saw. I live in an older home – built 1930 – lots of charm. Great area in which to walk or ride one’s bike. Historical society has some bike routes now (haven’t checked them out yet). Time for me to go take the tour and watch the video. Thanks for the tip!

  6. Ahhhh Mary,

    Once again, a most beautiful way to start my day with one of your thought-provoking and loving messages. Thank you for your insights and your willingness to dig deep into the spiritual magic for all of us!

    Debra

  7. What treasures here! I’m with Suzanne, – the quote is going in my White Feather Farm folder – and thanks also to Lynne for sparking my curiosity to learn more about Hannah Cohoon, and Sue V, as I type this I am hearing that beautiful Shaker song in my head, ’tis a gift to be simple. To imagine ourselves as magnets, attracting only what is good and pure, elements that can make our spirit sing, our soul at peace, our heart content. Loving thoughts I send to you all this morning.

    • The Shaker song has been replaying itself in my head all morning….and I’m glad of it! Sometimes when you don’t hear or think of a song for a long time, it’s a real treat to remember it and sing it out.

      Another gift from today’s post!

  8. A while back I read an exchange between a reporter and a brain scientist. The reporter said something like “I think it’s all in my mind.” The brain scientist replied, “We live our entire lives in our minds.”

    That’s when it first really, truly dawned on me that I create my own reality — which, for me, is of course the only reality that matters. Change your mind, change your life. (Coincidentally, that’s also when I began to be able to remember my dreams, which I have come to think of as “my sleeping life.”)

  9. Thank you, Mary,

    Last night I had a nightmare about a huge wave coming toward me. This often happens when I feel overwhelmed. Too many forms need to be filled out and phone calls made for people for whom I am the caregiver.

    Before I moved to Maine, I lived near Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire. I knew that last three sisters there and was always at peace when visiting. I have a picture book that pulls out with the words to “Tis a Gift to Be Simple.” I always put it out at Christmastime. I haven’t yet brought the decorations up from the basement. Its still Advent. But, I will go find this little book to remind of that peace. One step on this path at a time is all I can do.

    I’m also keeping the Thoreau quote. I, too, missed this one along the way.

    • Shaker Heights is a beautiful community. So glad you took the time to do a virtual tour. Made me feel good.

    • If you click on the item (it becomes larger) and then do a File Print – it will show something weird for the first few pages – With my computer, it is Page 5 that is the document I am trying to share.

  10. Oh oh oh…….perfect message for me today. I so truly believe this and yet sometimes daily living just slogs (is that a word? If not, it should be!) it out of me. Then I find unhappy things, unhappy people, showing up repeatedly. I have the power to change that just by my thoughts and attitude. Thanks for the reminder of that truth for all of us.

    • slogs is the perfect word Martha! …that is just what it feels like to me too.

  11. Such a wonderful reminder, Mary. I’m reminded now and then how my thoughts also create my world. And it truly does! Or as I like to say, living “my truth.” When you do, you get so much more and it blossoms from there- it can be quite extraordinary.

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