I just took down over 100 wonderful T-shirts

Why would I do that?!

The ones I removed were beautiful, some of the most creative T-shirt designs to be found among the thousands that Amazon sells.

I had already located them, added them to my store, and linked them up to my tags and categories. Having them in my “stock” definitely improved the look of my website. And that is why they had to go.

They were beautiful, skilled, accomplished graphics, well beyond the level of my skill. The designs were primarily graphics, some with very clever or funny images. The T-shirts I removed were pleasant, to be sure. But they did not have a uniform message. Certainly not my message.

I am trying to create Seize the Spark as a brand

Here’s what I mean by Seize the Spark 

The shirts taken down were never part of my brand since they were created by others. The T-shirts themselves had interesting visuals and slogans. But they did not convey the insights that I want to get out into the world.

My desigsn are admittedly rather plain because most of them are only slogans. The fonts might be interesting, but almost all are rendered in black printing.

But I don’t consider myself merely a brand, but a point of view. One that is tied to upbeat energy and creative insights. They are not simply MY Sayings, but sayings taken from what I’ve written to encourage others to seize the sparks of insight that flash brightly for someone from tme to time.

Delivering a message, a binkle

Part of me wishes my designs could be pretter. And one of these days, I hope to gussy the collection up a bit with professional assistance. But I also know that the words are strong enough not to need to be pretty to be meaningful.They have the truth and energy of Binkles – that gives them power.

See more about the Binkle here. BINKLES

And what they convey is too pressing to have to await me getting that degree of polish. A favorite saying of mine is, “Half-assed is better than no ass at all.” (And I doubt it will ever appear on one of my T-shirts.) The meaning is: get into the game, and work on the refinements as you go along. Not being fully ready is not an excuse for inaction.

What I’ve come to see is that my T-shirts and mugs (or any other form they’re printed on) are about identity. Claiming who you are. Standing tall because something within yourself is strong and animating your every move. You are willing to be in the Binkle Movement, letting binkles have a presence in your life. That is the animating core of this website. And as I said on this mug, strange things are afoot, and my priority is to be in synch with these emerging energies.

It took me a while to catch on

When I set up this website, I wanted it to be offering upbeat shirts, and I figured mine would blend in with the others. And I  still had a lot to learn about making T-shirts and getting them out into the world. This website was to be only one prong of that. But it soon became apparent that I was trying to ride two horses – a T-shirt store plus having a home base for designs of my own. And that was not a singular goal.

I’m a little guy and am not a writer or celebrity who people are eager to quote. There’s a lot of competition out there. But once I saw my ambivalence, there was no choice but to change the emphasis of this site.

If it were only about me and my ideas, I would not be so gutsy as to take down everything that wasn’t designed or written by me. But I have a trust in Binkle Power. I have a trust in the power that upbeat energy to make remarkable things happen.

A new promise to you

Now that I’m clearer about what my designs and Seize the Spark Shirts are for, I also understand in a much more relevant way how important its mission is. So I will be blogging more faithfully about certain shirts and the meaning of their messages.

I hope you’ll come back, see how this new commitment takes root. But for now, I’m treating this smaller, tighter store as a sign of being a sign of my own evolution. Every T-shirt can be a soapbox, and thank you for visiting mine.

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Bring on the Love – and the Cherishing

posted in: Enthusiasms, Faith Lynella, Wise Quotes | 0
love, romance, dating
Love is in the air – and the water

With Valentine’s Day coming…

LOVE is in the air. It started in grade school, when we exchanged cheesy valentines with classmates on February 14. Now that day cannot come and go without us wanting to feel tangible signs of affection from those we care about. The heart insists on being front and center – whether we’re saying I love you in words or in other personal ways.

Valentine’s Day is not just for endearments, but for the EXCHANGE OF ENDEARMENTS. I love you too… I love you back… I love you more. Of course, it’s ideal when it can be a two-way street. It’s even more wonderful if those feelings form a basis for relating all along.

love, romance, cherishMake a Declaration

This design captures a favorite saying of mine: Let the Cherishing Begin. This blog post describes how that phrase was a turning point in my life, the basis on which I live each day.. It has remarkable power, and sets the tone for finding, and sharing, the joy which can be found when we have the will to look for it.

True, cherishing speaks of love. But it need not be the romantic kind alone. Think of those closest to your heart: children, closest relatives, or dearest friends. They’re the ones we cherish the most. But we also cherish special memories and objects that are reminders of specialness. Hold them close.

Get the T-shirt – or a pair of them, from Amazon HERE. Checkout will be from the shopping cart on Amazon.

Other Cherishing Stuff

Mugs and jewelry speak up for love too. PLEASE NOTE – These items cannot be purchased through the Amazon shopping cart above. But checkout at this link: https://www.spreesy.com/SeizetheSpark

Heart Necklace
Sweatshirt
Bracelet
The necklace
Mug

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Zero Tolerance Policies Lack Judgment – The story behind

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Zero Tolerance is Not Something to be Proud of

Each time I hear an official speak proudly of how they support Zero Tolerance Policies I cringe. Something in me knows that behind the self-important posturing they are dropping the ball. What can we do to stop the madness, the unintended consequences that are committed under that banner? They otta be ashamed…

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Here is an excerpt from my book, Naked Visionary. Such official policies are totally at odds with non-conformists or visionary thinking. But they are also intolerant of common sense.

Paperback and Kindle versions

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Zero Tolerance Equals Zero Sense

I have an intense aversion to a type of thinking that is quite popular these days—Zero Tolerance Policies. Proponents treat them as so objective, so fair and reasonable, so unbiased and evenhanded. They are none of those things! Such policies should be called “Zero Judgment Policies or “Cover Your Ass and Avoid the Hard Choices Policies.”

There is no proportionality in their enforcement, and any hair-trigger event could bring down the full force of retribution without warning. Rather than “one size fits all,” it gives us “one size fits nobody.” Not only is the punishment unlikely to fit the offense, it can easily deliver a penalty without there being an actual offense. Authorities wedded to such policies are not showing leadership, but an abuse of their authority, along with an abdication of judgment or responsibility.

How else could anyone account for the absurd consequences such policies deliver? They lead to “consequences” that almost never suit the circumstances. In what universe does it make sense to arrest a preschooler as a sexual predator because he kissed a classmate? In my opinion, anyone in a position of power who endorses, or hides behind, Zero Tolerance Policies deserves to be tarred and feathered.

Besides, these inflexible approaches do not work. They produce too many negative results and unintended consequences. The American Psychological Association reviewed the data about the impact of zero tolerance policies in education. Quoting from the final report of the task force:

Concern has been raised in the literature that zero tolerance policies may create, enhance, or accelerate negative mental health outcomes for youth by creating increases in student alienation, anxiety, rejection, and breaking of healthy adult bonds.… The overwhelming majority of findings from the available research on zero tolerance and exclusionary discipline tend to contradict the assumptions of that philosophy.[1]

Some confusion about the value of unbending objectives arises because virtues themselves are absolutes. Ideals like Truth, Honesty, and Integrity are non-relative. They transcend the everyday world. However, for the world we live in, everything is relative. And it is our responsibility to do the best job we can to make our behavior and ideals correspond.

Human judgment is the tool that makes discernment and adjustment possible. It permits us to respond appropriately to each specific circumstance. Nothing good can come from official policies that insist our best judgment has no place.

end of excerpt from Naked Visionary, Off the Page Press, © 2012

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Let’s Point the Finger

Stand up to those who hide behind this misguided policy. I’d like to think some clear-sighted individuals will be able to turn this official stance into “the emperor has no clothes” moments. Then others will be emboldened to say “Zero Tolerance Policies are not a good thing.”

But even for those not prepared to object too loudly, let’s at least stop applauding. Let’s insist on finding solutions (or even punishments) that really do fit the circumstances. Let’s hold out for insightful and workable solutions, rather than “tolerate” such pig-headed ones.
– – –

[1] American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force, “Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?” American Psychologist, December, 2008.

If you want to wear this T-shirt

Get it here or Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JH4TB4A

Sacred cows graze in your comfort zone – The story behind

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Down with Sacred Cows

This T-shirt comes from my book, How to Survive a Spiritual Hangover © 2007, Off the Page Press.

Each of us needs to become aware of the number of Sacred Cows that wander around without inhibition in our comfort zones. They are a primary reason why growth and change are so difficult to achieve.

First you have to recognize their presence, then take note of how you defer to them (worship them). Only then will you be prepared to restrain them. The shock of seeing the extent to which they hold you back should be the motivation you need to get free of them at last.

Warning: They keep wandering back if you are not vigilant. And don’t go replacing your familiar Sacred Cows with newer ones.

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Excerpt

Sacred Cows Graze in Your Comfort Zone

In India sacred cows wander unimpeded through the streets. They serve as a reminder to respect the holiness of all living creatures. In Western culture, we too have our sacred cows. But they are not acknowledged or public. Ours are more private and personal. But they still roam unimpeded through our lives.

At some time in the past you’ve had sacred experiences, where you knew the divine had touched you personally and profoundly. There’s nothing finer! Such a transcendent flash temporarily removes you from your everyday mindset and reminds you that your spiritual awareness is intact. Those experiences deserve to be cherished and remembered fondly. But they don’t deserve to be worshipped.

While it occurred, you experienced a Now moment—out of linear time and normal limitations. That was an integral part of its impact on you. But you’re no longer in that altered state. It has been consigned to memory—a memory that gets special treatment. Remembering the awe of it resembles a trophy that’s proudly displayed on the mantle. You fondle it during moments of despair and meditation.

There’s a temptation to build a monument to authentic encounters with the divine. And like any symbolic structure, it’s no longer free to change and grow. You cast it in concrete (or marble). Your infinite God experience is now reduced to bronzed baby shoes, rather than the bona fide event.

Those symbols become your personal “sacred cows.” They tie you to the past (which is locked in time), as you try to sustain something that has already passed. Being too attached to such authentic-at-the-time experiences prevents a person from growing beyond them—as though they could be desecrated by anything that could happen later.

“Sacred cows” are mere symbols of an authentic experience. It’s a false idol posing as “your best stuff.” You’re not being unfaithful to the original experience by stepping back from it. Many more divine experiences (Now moments) are to be had all the time. Look around for more and stay open to them.

Resistance you feel about big T truth might indicate the presence of a “sacred cow.” The “sacred cow” might indeed be true, but it’s a lesser truth which keeps you from recognizing a greater one.

Once you name some of your “sacred cows,” you remove an inhibiting attachment to the past. That creates a vacuum wherein your awareness is permitted to grow.

Truth and God are already bigger than humans can grasp. To discover the truly profound and unfathomable, you must be ready to release the ways whereby you’ve held them captive.

[end of section]

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Naked Visionary – Paperback and Kindle versions

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How a Binkle is Different than Just Plain “Happy” – The story behind

posted in: Binkle Energy, BonBons, Faith Lynella | 0

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How a Binkle is Different than Plain Just Plain “Happy”
A BonBon

Lots of things can make us happy—for a moment.

• We’re pleased to get what we want—or something even better
• We really love being liked or appreciated
• We can’t wait for things to turn out the way we want them to be
• We live for the days when we know that our life has a meaningful purpose
• And more…

But some ways we make ourselves feel good aren’t good for us—or anyone else,
like:
• Using power tricks or manipulation of others to make things go our way
• Undermining those around us in petty or self-dealing ways
• Enjoying addictive habits and practices that let us escape our responsibilities or what we agreed to do
• Blaming the world for our problems and mistakes
• And the list goes on…

So a person can feel happy without the joy of your heart bubbling up. But then there’s a sense of something missing.

Binkles are always accompanied by joy in some form or another

You feel a zizz of energy rippling through you—whether a slight tremor or a full-fledged Wow! Of course, happy and binkles usually appear together. But when you feel negative feeling about somebody (or yourself) there’s no place for joy. No binkles. How sad.

Take a closer look at what makes you happy. If there’s there no upbeat energy present, no binkle, some sort of deception is going on. Maybe it’s a half-truth or fudge about what’s happening. Or it could be from a self-deception you’ve lived with so long you no longer doubt its erroneous message.

It’s your job to tell the difference between what you call happy and the joyful energy of a binkle. If they’re the same, wonderful! Otherwise, look for the “worm in the apple.” To find the offending distortion brings an unacknowledged “lie” to light. It’s replaced by a truth that can set you free. You’ll know you’ve found it because of feeling the binkles and a blast of joy.

Remember, there’s no such thing as a negative binkle. Your heart can always tell the difference between a real one and a fake, even if your mind gets fooled sometimes. Your body knows as well—by the energetic zizz it feels. (A fake binkle is draining and takes you down a notch.)

Don’t settle for less than happy and binkles—now that’s a happy thought!

*Binkle – The smallest particle of affectionate energy that’s created between two people. You can feel it.

More about Binkles

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Put Civil Back into Civilization – The story behind

Put CIVIL back into civilization
Put CIVIL back into civilization
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Putting Civil Back into Civilization

A BonBon

It started with a riddle. Someone I greatly respect was given this conundrum by her spiritual teacher many years ago. And she would bring it up for discussion from time to time.

Like a Zen koan, it does not have a simple answer. The question is designed to be pondered until the intellect throws up its hands and steps aside. That capitulation could yield an aha! moment.

Why did Jesus go to the lowest?

There are lots of answers, and you can surely add your own:
• Compassion
• To teach by example
• To show charity toward the unfortunate
• To prove he was a good person
• He saw their need and was moved to take action
• They were willing to believe in him
• To save their souls
• It was the loving thing to do

But to me the real and paradoxical reason Jesus went to them was, he did not see them as any different than himself. He recognized those less fortunate as one with him—the child of the same God. Instead of noting their differences, he focused on their sameness to him.

Jesus didn’t treat people according to their status or economic condition. Their needs and desires were (and are) no different from everyone else’s. And they’re no less deserving of love and kindness. He acknowledged them sharing a common humanity.

Jesus refused to accept society’s view that certain people, or groups, or beliefs, were lesser or flawed for some reason. By going to them, he ignored sanctions against socializing with them. Doubtless, Jesus knew that seeking out social rejects would provoke puzzlement or antagonism about himself. But he didn’t explain his motives.

Jesus spoke often about being motivated by love—it’s the essence of the Christian message. Love cherishes what each of us has in common, no matter what form it takes—and the rest doesn’t matter as much. Seeking out those whom others dismissed as not good enough demonstrated his love of them.

Why don’t we give it a try? That would put civil back into civilization—certainly it’s a step in the right direction.

From Bonbons to Sweeten Your Daily Life or BonBons and Treats (to be released in 2016)

The T-shirt itself

Opportunity Knocks – The story behind

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Opportunity Knocks

A BonBon

Opportunity knocks—but not the way you expect. It doesn’t come up to your door like a well-bred guest, asking for admittance. Opportunity knocks you down. As you lie there, feeling beaten, you have several choices:

  • Fume and grumble—maybe even get angry
  • Move on as quickly as possible and dismiss the whole thing
  • Feel really bad about how this could have happened to you
  • Try to figure out if it might be an opportunity being offered (actually, shoved at you)

When ambushed by adversity and disappointment, you are forced to see yourself and everything around you a little bit differently than usual. You get a chance to make a fresh start, set off in a new direction—coupled with the motivation to try it.

By knocking you down, something is trying very hard to get your attention. And the harder the whack, the more urgent is the message. Pay attention! You’ve been stopped, derailed, disconnected from your familiar routine.

So pause a moment before moving on again. Take a good look at the people involved, the less-than-welcome situation, and the way it all relates to you. Notice intensely, giving attention to all the pieces. It just might be opportunity knocking.

From More BonBons and Treats by Faith Lynella

The T-shirt – Opportunity Knocks

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Build a Better Mousetrap Maker – The story behind

posted in: BonBons, Faith Lynella | 0

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Build a Better Mousetrap Maker

Ralph Waldo Emerson  sounded the rallying cry for innovators: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” To the sorrow of many who developed their own form of a better mousetrap, it usually does not work out that way—certainly not as smoothly as they expected. The world shrugs, and those eager to launch “the next big thing” feel misled.

Emerson’s essays encourage us to act on our flickers of genius, and many on the visionary path attest to his motivating influence on them. His abiding gift is urging us to roll up our sleeves and do something about our inspired visions. If Emerson’s advice is to serve as more than glib rhetoric, however, there better be a mousetrap produced sooner or later.

At a point in my life when I was launching an invention of my own, I had a friend who was a venture capitalist (though not an investor). He told me that before moneymen like him decide whether to back a new product or project, they are especially concerned about the quality of the person behind it.

An invention or untried idea cannot stand on its own without the driving force of a committed and capable champion. Investors are placing their money bet on the person as much as their idea.

They will not risk their money without considering the advocate’s track record: Does the person have the needed skills? Are they capable of working out the nuts and bolts of the endeavor all the way to the payoff? Is this their first mousetrap? As with first love, an upstart creator cannot imagine the world won’t want and embrace what they have done—once the word gets out about how great it is.

Has he or she survived the disappointments of that naïve phase (sadder but wiser), then taken an idea through the stages to follow? In sum, how likely is the person to pull it off?

But there is a larger view to notice as well, beyond the practical outcome of the undertaking. While the innovator developed and launched what they assumed was the next eagerly awaited “mousetrap,” they had also been remaking the mousetrap maker (himself or herself).

They were becoming more vision-focused than before. What the person went through in devoted service to their over-riding mission refined their discernment and proficiency. It also expanded their perceptual lens, to bring more kinds of know-how and judgment to bear in any future undertaking.

Less apparent, the person was not simply more capable but was a step removed from their prior frame of reference. They had disengaged from where they started, to some extent, and thereby changed their long-term trajectory.

To paraphrase Emerson, “Build a better mousetrap maker, and the world will beat a pathway to your door.” The world desires and needs better mousetrap makers much more than a larger selection of mousetraps. Anyone who can find original and ingenious solutions to what people want, as well as reinvent who they are in the bargain, is sure to make waves.

This  was first published in Naked Visionary © 2012 by Faith Lynella. It has also been reissued as a BonBon in More BonBons

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Let the Cherishing Begin – The story behind

love, romance, cherish, caring
Let the cherishing begin

This one changed my life

Back in the early 1940’s, my mother purchased a homestead in Homer, Alaska from the original homesteaders. Although we lived in Anchorage, that rural community and primitive cabin evoke a timelessness which is the essence of the frontier for me.

That is where I feel the most at home, the most expansive and inspired, the most connected to nature, the most at peace, and the most in touch with my core self.

In January, 2002 I was diagnosed with cancer and only mention it here because getting back “home to Homer” was so important to my recovery. It took me five years dealing with the illness, chemotherapy, and their aftermath. The physical trauma was brutal, leaving me a shadow of the person I was before.

While recuperating, an urge to live in the homestead cabin grew stronger and stronger in me. I dreamed about being close to nature, back to my roots, and living simply by “chopping wood and drawing water.”

Despite its charm, I knew such a back-to-nature lifestyle, without the basic comforts of civilization, would be physically demanding. I resolved to become healthy enough to live alone in that log cabin, without plumbing or electricity. Becoming hardy enough to live there (summer only; wintering over would be way too difficult) was the carrot that kept me pushing myself to get stronger.

I got home to Alaska in July, 2006. Not for a minute did I doubt the symbolic importance of returning to where I came from. Since I had just changed my name the prior week, it was a new me, a new sense of myself coming back. [from Lynella Faith Grant to Faith Lynella]

Heart Necklace

The day I returned to the cabin, I hung up three signs:

  • Welcome home, Faith Lynella —since I decided to change my name only the week before
  • A picture of a salmon swimming upstream—me getting back despite long odds and great difficulties
  • Let the Cherishing Begin—a motto that gives me chills every time I say it. It feels like my slogan for the rest of my life

The clarity and joy from that combination of messages marks the transition to the next phase of my life. I feel I was reborn and energized in a way that permits me to finally write about matters of spirit.

In the cabin that summer the words that had been held back so long flowed. I completed the manuscript for How to Survive a Spiritual Hangover. While it has not all been smooth sailing since then, something has unblocked, allowing me to sing the song I’m alive to sing.

NOTE – This story is from my autobiography, 50 Years to Build the Butterfly Net, which will be published in the fall of 2017.

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Be the Kind Kind – The story behind

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Be the Kind Kind

 A BonBon

Life need not be complicated:

   When in doubt—Be kind.

   When not in doubt—Be kind.

When difficulties abound like a swarm of gnats, taking your frustration out on those around you won’t make your situation better. Only worse—less caring.

When life seems like a mucky muddle—devoid of purpose—there’s no good that comes from blaming or complaining. From dropping the ball.

All the philosophies and religious principles in the world are mere lip service if they don’t make us more caring people. Just because it’s tough to do… or rejected… or misunderstood… or seems to be futile…

That’s no excuse. No excuse at all! It’s still what needs doing—all the more so.

Kindness rebuilds the whole, indifferent world—one thoughtful gesture at a time. Challenge by challenge. Person by person. Moment by moment. Isn’t that enough?!

Stick with it—Or you’ll be AWOL  –   Absent Without Love.

– From BonBons and Treats © 2016 by Faith Lynella

The T-shirt – Be the Kind Kind   more