Three Questions

Three Questions

Three questions …
– What is knowledge?
– What is wisdom?
– What is philosophy?

How about this …

– Knowledge is
knowing a tomato
is a fruit.

– Wisdom is
not putting the tomato
in a fruit salad.

– And philosophy is
wondering if having a tomato in a fruit salad
means ketchup
is a smoothie.

A sense of humour can be such a wonderful survival tool.  :-)

© june maffin  SOULartISTRY




The tulips in our kitchen window won’t last long.
Their silent beauty, gentle reflective presence, and oh-so-inviting colour
move me to a place of pensive thought
each time I am at the kitchen sink and
once again I am grateful and humbled
by the gifts of Mother Nature
that often seem so easy to overlook, ignore, pass by.
May we always have eyes to see.

© june maffin   SOULartISTRY




In many parts of the world, it’s springtime – a Season when nature wonderfully presents symbols of life, birth, beginnings.  In spite of that, too many dear ones have died, are dying, been institutionalized, diagnosed with major illness and we too face our own mortality in new ways.

And yet, in the midst of death, there are wonderful reminders of life this month … birthdays of loved ones (son Tod; husband Hans; brother in law Marcel; great niece and nephew Brechje and Bram) … and today, word from granddaughter Vanessa of the birth of son Caleb – a healthy, happy contented little tyke.   :-)

May we never forget the cycle of the Seasons – never become so entrenched in ‘deaths’ that we forget the wonder of the ‘births.’

The Seasons are a gentle reminder of the continuity of life which bring wonder and awe, for even as death approaches, life begins again … in a new way.

Congratulations to Vanessa, Jonathan, big brother Cohen and Great-Opa (eight times over!) my dear husband, Hans.  Welcome to this world, Caleb!   We are delighted to welcome you to our family, and look forward to meeting you, your big brother, Mom and Dad in person, soon!   :-)

© june maffin   SOULartISTRY
{photo is of my son, Tod, when he was a baby – a happy baby, even when he was teething!   Just wish it weren’t such a blurry photo <g>}




It’s a name that suits my friend well.
Her easy, friendly manner
encourages smiling responses in those she meets.
Her patient, open acceptance of others,
her loving nature and grace
blesses those who encounter her.
She brings sunshine in her every step.
Yes, Sunny is well named.

Each time I encounter Sunny, I find myself learning something.
Sunny is a gifted teacher who by example, teaches a simple lesson:
“Take each day as it comes.  Appreciate it as gift. Play a little!”

Sunny embodies the saying of the Jewish Rabbi, Joshua Heschel, who wrote:
“Just to be is a blessing.  Just to live is holy.”
Sunny points to the truth that
Yesterday was the past.  Tomorrow is the future.
Today is a gift, and that is why it is called the present.”
(author unknown)

Sunny is right.
Each day is a gift, a new beginning,
an opportunity to look at the world with new eyes
and an opportunity for one’s spirituality to be enriched
through playful artistic expression.

When I meet Sunny, I can’t help but look at the world in a new way
for she reminds me to slow down, relax,
be aware of the sacredness of all that is around me,
feel joy at an indescribable part of my spirit,
appreciate all of life and play!

One day, Sunny came to visit.
She seemed curious about the garden
so I invited her to have a look.

When she returned,
her attention remained focused on something that was outdoors.
She watched, and seemed to be at peace.
In that moment, once again, Sunny was my teacher.

She taught me to remember to look and “see”
… see beauty in the familiar
… see wonder in the everyday things of life
… see joy in simply be-ing, not always do-ing.

Sunny reminded me that mortals are called ‘human beings’
not ‘human doings.’

I remember the day of Sunny’s visit – and will never forget it.
In spite of the day being very long
a day that began very early, before the light came through my curtains
a day that ended very late,
with physical fatigue my companion
I was spiritually renewed because of Sunny’s gentle reminder
I realized it was a day where I had touched the face of Creator God
in many humbling ways.
… ways of peace, spontaneity, patience, compassion, mercy, love, thoughtfulness, kindness,
humility, joy, goodness, solitude and grace in so many ways.

In the joyous laughter of children at play in the nearby schoolyard
… I met the Creator’s gift of spontaneity.

In the busyness of the office where phones rang, people dropped by unexpectedly,
emails / phone messages needed replying,letters needed writing
… I met the Holy One’s gift of patience.

In the sanctity of morning quiet time and quickly-offered arrow-prayers during the day
… I met God’s gift of peace.

In the tears shed by a woman whose marriage was tenuous and cried for solace and comfort in our time together
… I met the Creator’s gift of mercy.

In the phone call from my son who walked me through the repair of a computer problem that was delaying completion of the design of a special project
… I met Spirit’s gift of thoughtfulness.

In the wonder of the baby born at the hospital after a protracted labour and unexpected live and healthy birth
… I met the Holy One’s gift of love.

In the youth holding open a door for another
… I met God’s gift of kindness.

In the delight of the child who gleefully shouted to her mother “Look!  It’s a butterfly – on my hand!
… I met God’s gift of joy.

In the unsolicited smile by a stranger on the street
… I met Spirit’s gift of goodness.

In the quiet of my home which shelters me from the elements at day’s end
… I met Holy Other’s gift of solitude.

And in the gentle lesson from Sunny
that no matter how busy each day may seem,
spiritual renewal comes in taking each moment as it comes
… I met and continue to meet, the gift of grace.

Sunny’s visit was a gentle reminder
… spiritual renewal doesn’t come in dreading the future.
… piritual renewal doesn’t come in regretting the past.
… piritual renewal comes in accepting, entering into and being grateful for the gift of the moment
be that a moment of struggle
a moment of accomplishment
a time of bereavement or loneliness or fear or frustration or anger or anxiety or laughter
or joy or wonder
or whatever!

Spiritual renewal comes in ‘simply being.’

In case you were thinking that Sunny is a human being, she’s not.
Sunny is a delightful four legged creature – a pomeraniapoo
(is that what you call a cross between a Pomeranian and Poodle?)
who was used by the Creator that day in a very profound way.
May we all encounter and welcome the Sunny’s into our lives.

© june maffin   SOULartISTRY




… when darkness comes
and fear of the unknown reigns
… when pain persists
and fear of the unknown reigns
… when sleepless nights are commonplace
and fear of the unknown reigns
… i invite and welcome release
… i invite and welcome relief
… i invite and welcome friends
to pray and help me rise above
for one more moment, one more hour
one more day

… when darkness comes
and hope seems distant
…. when pain persists
and hope seems distant
… when sleepless nights are commonplace
and hope seems distant
… i invite and welcome release
… i invite and welcome relief
… i invite and welcome friends
to pray and help me rise above
for one more moment
one more hour
one more day

when darkness comes
when pain persists
when sleepless nights are commonplace
… i concentrate
on the love that surrounds
… i concentrate
on the hope that sustains
… i concentrate
on the healing that is coming
as friends, family, doctors, nurses
do what they can
with their loving thoughts, prayers, professional care, kind actions
and help me rise above
for one more moment
one more hour
one more day

©  june maffin    SOULartISRY




Ever have a day when memories of someone special, who is no longer alive, surfaced in your heart and mind? It’s not their birthday or any particular occasion that would bring them to mind – yet you feel their loving presence and find yourself grateful for the ways, lessons, times they touched your life.

That’s been me, today … remembering my dad, Albert Edward (Eddie) Mack.  Born in England in 1903, he died in Canada in 1981. He had little formal education as he had to work to help support his family when he was only eight.  Yet, in spite of only having a grade three education, he became a voracious reader, an art historian, stock broker, owner of an antiquities store and consultant to the National Art Gallery in Ottawa.

Dad was a gentle man (and gentleman!), a loving man, a kind man, a romantic (ohhhh, the love letters he wrote my mother!), a wonderful ballroom dancer.   When he would turn on the radio and take my mom into his arms in our living room, they were magic together.

Dad was a polymath … his expertise spanned a significant number of different subject areas.  At the same time, he was a humble man, whose love of his wife, children and grandchildren (as can be seen by this photo of Dad and my son Tod when he was a toddler), was foremost in his life.  Dad wasn’t always home as he often traveled for work but he was always “with us.”  His wisdom, lifestyle, mentoring (even when we weren’t aware of it), have contributed to make us the people we now are.

We often had serious discussions in our home at dinner.
“Is there ‘life after death’?” Dad would ask.
Some religions state there is. Some cultures believe there is.
Many people hope there is. No living person knows for certain.
But, if experiences of the presence of loved ones, long after they have died
is any indication, then life after death does exist.
I don’t know.
Yet I choose to believe that when our mortal life on this planet earth ends,
our spirit continues to live
and life-after-death
becomes our reality.
© june maffin  SOULartISTRY



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