Skip to main content


Claude Monet, Haystacks at Sunset, 1890-91, Oil on Canvas

When it came to the letter "U" the word understated immediately popped into my mind, in relation to my theme. Utilizing understated writing is a big challenge these days. Our world is noisy--cluttered even. We all want to be heard. When ego comes to the fore the tendency to go big infiltrates many aspects of writing. Nowhere is it bigger than book cover copy and blurbs...well actually there's quite a list.

Being a yogi, I prefer the understated. In yoga there is plenty of time for enjoying quiet and cultivating stillness. People desiring a big bang for their buck, will be sorely disappointed with yoga. The benefits are subtle but powerful if you park your ego at the door.

One of the more subtle thinkers that has attracted my attention is Eckhart Tolle. He is well known for his book The Power of Now. Within its pages, Tolle leads us towards truth and light, through deeply-heartfelt spirituality. If you listen to Tolle, and watch some of the footage of him doing his work, immediately you'll discover how understated he is in his life and work. Here is a video of him teaching a young seeker:

Notice how quietly and gently he speaks. There is much talk and celebration around the breakthroughs possible through understanding The Power of Now but I remain very partial to A New Earth, which attempts to help us transcend the loud chatter presented by a busy ego-centered life.

Another understated thinker, spiritual guide and writer is don Miguel Ruiz. His thin book, The Four Agreements shows that we don't have to write massive tomes to touch the lives of many. His book is massive in its Toltec Wisdom but spare and understated in style and form. Its contents reverberate and resonate rather than resorting to shouting. I wrote about the transformative impact his and other works were having on me last fall in the post Welcoming Change.

Going to art museums or if worse comes to worse, looking through art books, is also a peaceful endeavor, particularly when looking at older work. There are some understated paintings that I have gone to repeatedly for contemplation dispersed through this post. Relax and enjoy!

                                          Andrew Wyeth, Braids, 1977, Tempera c. Andrew Wyeth

Portrait of a Lady, Rogier van der Weyden 1460, oil. Photo credit: Google Art Project

Notes on my Theme:

This post is written for the 2015 A to Z Challenge. During this challenge, participating bloggers post once a day, in alphabetical order. This is done 6 days per week. Sundays are off. My theme presents words that are exciting. These words serve as thematic motifs in my writing. My theme also revolves around exclamation points. The words I've chosen to explore can replace or stand alone from the dreaded exclamation point, which writers are urged to avoid.


  1. You've brought up a couple of things that appeal to me: Monet's pointillism and Eckhart Tolle's philosophy. Have you encountered Daisy Hickman? I think you'd enjoy connecting with her. She's a frequent poster on fb, but she also has a beautiful blog. Namaste.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I don't know Daisy, though I grew up around a lot of Hickman's. I will check her out. Namaste.

  2. Hi Stephanie - I loved the art works you promoted ... Wyeth I came across when I was searching for Narducci .. I waited, inadvertently, 7 years for that to come to fruition ..

    That quietude we need ... and the more I find out the more I enjoy a few moments here and there contemplating what I'm seeing or learning about. And some people just have that knack of talking quietly in an understated way ..

    Great post - thanks so much - Hilary

    1. Thanks Hilary. Narducci? A new one for me. Hmm. I want to know more.

  3. People normally use 'understated' as a negative, but you've pointed out it can be a positive too :-)

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

  4. We are all worry worts and let fears take control. I find meditation really helps calm the mind. I love art! When I can visit a museum I am in heaven and everything else disappears

    1. Yes, doesn't it? Art creates an unusual, difficult to explain inner experience.

  5. I particularly loved the Monet. That is a painting which I would find very restful contemplating.

    1. Indeed. I was lucky to work at the Art Institute. They hold 6 of this series in their collection.

  6. I love every part of this posting and how you've tied it all together. Thank you!


  7. Beautifully written and inspiring post. The power of now is an amazing book:)

  8. Thanks for the list of works - I have read Tolle but I am not familiar with the others. I love that Monet painting, it's so peaceful. :)

  9. Hi Stephanie, thanks for the list of resources. I am familiar with Tolle but not the others. I love that Monet painting, it's so peaceful. :)


Post a Comment

Go ahead. Make my day by leaving a comment.

Popular posts from this blog

Autumn Equinox Gardening Reflection Part 2

We planted, and the little seedlings took.
They fluttered in the wind, and were visited by bees and butterflies.
The seedlings and plants seemed to enjoy the composted earth and worms, by all indications.

Gran Bwa

Gran Bwais a lwa that helps you connect to ancestral roots or the spiritual home of Vodou. A friend of mine, who is an expert on Haitian Vodou, who has spent a lot of time in Haiti with the artists there, told me I had painted Gran Bwa when I made this spontaneous work out of walnut ink and sumi-ink on handmade paper. I had considered this painting a self-portrait. She now holds this piece in her private collection:

Quite a few people are afraid of Vodou but it is an awe-inspiring tradition of bringing together plant energy with divinity, spiritual and personal energy. My friend who is very involved with Vodou, especially the art that surrounds it, is from European ancestry. She is light in spirit and bubbly, with a close relationship to nature and her garden.  Vodou affirms the relationships between cycles of life, trees of knowledge and spirit.  The Vodou vision of lwa, understands them as the intelligence of energy present in humans, nature and thoughts.  Mysteries can be understo…

Autumn Equinox Gardening Reflection Part 1

I've been waiting for this post for a long time. It shares the growing journey of my urban garden.