The Benefits of Silence



Strangely enough it is something we must set aside time for in this fast paced, modern world. Yet it is not only the audible form of silence I speak of, it is the silencing of one’s mind.

Long ago I befriended silence. During my solitary walks along beaches or in the woods where few people roamed, I would sink into the stillness of my mind. This would take little time as a girl, but as my life was filled with the duties that come with age, the raising of children, part time jobs or serious careers, the support of  others in times of need and  the caring of parents, I have found it takes more time to still the constant chatter of my mind.

Meditation, time spent in a place of worship and in nature will bring one to silence. Yet silence sprinkled throughout each day is very beneficial as well.  Making the effort to spend fifteen minutes several times a day in silence, by turning off the TV, the phone and radio, whether you are in your car, at work or at home, can be so beneficial for ones overall health and mental clarity. Indeed I often work in silence. Should I choose to listen to music, it is most often calming, classical music. This is very beneficial to my creativity and focus.

Perhaps more importantly, it is in silence that we “hear” the voice on God. I believe this inner voice is the same as intuition or a direct communication from Universal Consciousness. Call it what you may, this invisible reality exists every bit as much as our physical world.

Access to this spiritual reality is reached in silence and what wonders one can find there!

Morning Light

Margaret-Biggs-Morning Light-Web

“Morning Light” 36 x 60″ Oil on Canvas

The vibrancy of a morning sunrise reflecting off calm water, is used in this painting as a metaphor for a still mind. It has been said that “Still waters run deep” and I will agree. In learning to quiet the restless mind, we can access an unlimited supply of grace. With grace, I believe, comes the depth of wisdom.

The bright color of the reflected sky, symbolizes the bright light each of us can be when we quiet our minds enough to consciously appreciate the blessings in our lives, the goodness inherent in others and the healing which takes place when we do.

So many people seem content to “swim on the surface of life” as Ruzica, my yoga and spiritual teacher of 30 years would say. Materialism and travel, addictions and the thoughtless pursuit of pleasure are all excellent distractions from the healing and inner peace which comes from facing oneself and doing the inner work necessary to mend a broken heart.

There are those of us who want to dive deep below the surface of life and oh what treasures we have found there!

“You’re too deep,” I have been told. So be it. I am an introspective artist and with this comes a desire to create art which expresses my inner life. The challenge is to be as the surface of still water is at all times, reflecting the Divine, no matter what may befall me.

“Be still and know that I am God” Psalms, 46:10

“Happiness or sorrow, whatever befalls you, walk untouched, unattached.”  Buddha

“A Passing”

A Passing

“A Passing” 30×30″ Oil on Canvas

The passing of a summer storm at sunset represents to me, the transient nature of life.  People come into our lives and often move on, loved ones die, there are times in our lives where we enjoy financial abundance and at other times we have so little. We are healthy and we succumb to illness. Yet even the bad times can be a blessing should we choose to open our hearts, look within, learn and grow.

 Acceptance of our lives as it is, along with forgiveness of ourselves and of others, can lead us to the present moment. It is then that our hearts are opened. Beauty and an inner peace remain.

 How fortunate we are to have this access to inner peace.

 “Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”  Marcus Aurelius

The Queen

Margaret-Biggs-The Queen-Web



The Queen  

The mature conch is now a warm white. The crusty brown of its earlier years has been worn away with time, revealing the smooth, glossy surface that lies beneath. A gash at her crown is evidence of the meat that has been extracted, leaving only the shell, which represents life,but is not life itself.

In the same way, our bodies are simply shells of who we truly are, a piece of clothing to be discarded at the point of our physical death. Thus the meat, having been extracted has left a void in its core, leaving room for a higher level of existence.

The shell rises above the sea, with it’s constantly changing moods. A storm is far off in the distance. Its coming or going is of no matter, for just as we can depend on the weather to change, so too can we depend on our earthly existence to be in a constant state of flux.

Yet far beyond earthly pleasure and pain there exists an eternal peace. Watching our minds and learning to witness the constant stream of thought, the temporary pleasures, the anxieties and fears, the sorrows of the past and hopes of the future, we realize we are not our thoughts any more than we are our bodies. In dis-identifying with our physical form and our minds, we leave a void where we are able to come in contact with our true essence. “Deny Thyself” as Jesus once said. In letting go of the illusions of who we think we are, the labels and goals, our hopes for the future and the bemoaning of the past; we find ourselves living in a timeless present and it is there, in this “void,” that we come in contact with the essence of who we truly are. For we are far more than what our minds tell us we are and we must realize the world can never truly fulfill us.

We are timeless Beings participating in an infinite universe, where there exists a Divine Consciousness of which we are a part. It is there we find fulfillment and peace. The joy that “surpasses all understanding.”

Yet access to this Universal Consciousness can only be found in the present. In learning to dis-identify with our thoughts and use our minds only as the valuable tools for which they were designed, we can quiet our minds enough to remain in the only true reality, the here and now.

Sorrow can polish our crusty surface to reveal the purity, which is our true nature. Just as the outer crust of the shell has been worn away from the harshness of life revealing the glossy white that lies beneath, so too can we choose to liberate our minds from suffering and live a life united with this Consciousness, reflecting the white light of Love that is our true Being, through our every thought, word and deed.

We can rise above the changing nature of life, existing in a dual state of participation within the physical world and a life in complete union with The Divine.

Love, God, Universal Consciousness…Being.

A state glimpsed by many but sustained by very few.



Shadow of Light

Margaret Biggs_Shadow of Light_Web

“Shadow of Light”

Shadow of Light

Deep in the Self the Light persists.

We are but a Shadow of the Light that shines within. With all the troubles that inevitably come our way, the question remains, will we choose to shine again today?

Giving all we can, though it never seems to be enough, we continue. There exists so much pain, so many struggles; paranoia and fear, illness, loneliness, loss and so little love. We watch as a friend succumbs to the depths of depression and wonder if he will be with us another day. In sadness we witness the deterioration of a fine mind. A once vibrant, talented, intelligent woman falls into an abyss called dementia. The father who celebrated life with integrity and enthusiasm that is rarely seen, with age is robbed of the ability to do the things that once filled his days.

Unjustified resentment and anger is often thrown our way. The question remains, will we choose to absorb it again today?

We are advised to move on… to spend time only with those who are a positive influence. After all, how else will we grow to the heights of all we can be?

Abort the imperfect fetus, desert the depressed friend, move away from the aging parents and steer clear of the difficult people that are a part our world. Gather with only those that hold the same political and religious beliefs, so as to avoid the possibility of confrontation.  Ignore the ignorant and poor for they are only good for cleaning houses and sweeping streets. After all, we say, it is because of the choices they alone have made. Travel extensively in retirement though your children and grandchildren value your time. Keep one’s heart closed to those that threaten an idea that you hold, of who you are.

Yet it is in the shadows of our lives that we find the lessons.  It is in our darkest days, we learn to appreciate the light. It is through opening our minds to others that we learn and grow. How many times has the smile and the innocence of the mentally challenged brought you joy? Do the aged, disabled and ill not remind you of how very fortunate you are? What of the challenge to bring light into the world of an angry, depressed or difficult friend, to spend time with the lonely and elderly, to help a child in need? Do you not find these small acts fulfilling? Have not the ignorant and poor have something to teach even you?

Though the relative shuns you, the gifts that are uniquely theirs, still exists, no? Is it not simply a decision, as difficult as it may sometimes be, to continue to focus on their positive qualities?

It is so easy to avoid them all, the depressed, the negative, the mentally ill, the poor, the angry, the thoughtless and rude, the anxious and stressed out, the jealous, the liars, the fakes and fools. Yet that is what so many people, who have the time, choose to do. As important as it is to care for oneself, to recharge in whatever way may work, is it not also our moral duty to be there for those in need? Perhaps there are parties you may miss, or sporting events, or travel. Yet it is the challenges we face, the giving to those in need, that brings out the best in each one of us.

In connecting with the Divine we will find our strength to carry on. Perhaps it is through the practice of meditation and the practice of Presence. By living moment to moment, anxiety disappears, as all the sorrows of yesterday and anxiety over tomorrow do not exist in the Now. There is prayer. There is silence. One can hear the Eternal only when one’s mind is still. Perhaps one may benefit from spiritual readings, or attending a place of worship. One may have a need to spend time by the sea, in the forest, or on a mountaintop. There are many ways to connect with the Divine and it is there we will find an inner light and strength.

The Light of the Divine, ever present within our depths, waits patiently for us to surrender, to let go and to trust, that we may become instruments of peace.

We are but a Shadow of the Light that shines within.

With all the troubles that inevitably come our way, the question remains,

Will we choose to shine again today?





My Greatest Teachers

My Greatest Teachers

Who would have thought

My greatest teachers would be

the frailty of my parents and the strength of my sons?

The rejection of family,

And closed doors of “friends.”

The deception and lies of those I thought to be sincere,

And sharp criticism of those that hold faults of their own.

Through rejection I have learned acceptance.

Through closed doors I have opened mine.

Lies of others have shown me how rare the truly honest are.

Criticism has taught me the value of tolerance.

Right and wrong, your way and mine…

This creates division.

Out of Darkness

Recognizing each others differences

Frailties and weaknesses, imperfections and faults…

All the while keeping one’s heart open

and focusing on the beauty and strength that is there as well….

This is love.


Oil & acrylic on canvas 18x36"



Day breaks over the Gulf.
The white sand of the shore reflects so vividly the colors of the sky.
The small waves break with just enough height to catch the light.
A metaphor for hope.

The line, which divides the wet sand from the dry,
The violet from the green
Was a challenge for me to find.
After many tries I was satisfied and I stood back from the canvas
to find a profile there.
It is a profile of a person facing the rising sun.

I considered changing the line again, to eliminate any resemblance to a profile.
Then I realized this is part of “the magic” that takes place when one falls deeply into the creative process…
when time stops and my only thought is color and brush,
Composition and light.
The profile remains.

Beyond the obvious,
who or what do you see?

Thoughts on a Feather




Thoughts on a Feather


The tiny plant holds the feather tight, the wind off the Gulf blows hard,

yet the feather remains tied down, though it is meant to fly.

How often we allow others to do the same to us.

The negativity, criticism and controlling nature of those close to us,

is often difficult to rise above.

We are held down.

We give and they turn our gifts away.

We create and they criticize our creation.

We dress up and they suggest we wear a different color.

Though we are kind, we are shunned.

We open our hearts and they slam the door.

In reality, is it so difficult to let go?

There are days when my heart is filled with joy.

Though the challenges I face seem insurmountable,

I am filled with love.

I Am love.

It is then that I know the meaning of true Joy.

Yet in this time and place that I find myself

I am confronted each and every day with people who do not want me.

Yet out of a sense of duty and love, I remain.

The benefits are there too, I readily admit, yet is it worth the pain?



 This too will pass.

I watched that feather for a very long time.

The feather, the wind, the sun and sand…

And me.

When will I choose to let go?

When will that last thread that grips me

Finally break?

When will I be free to fly?

Is it…

 simply a choice?

I think


The Shark Eye Shell



Shark Eye Shell Detail


Blues and grays, browns, oranges and gold, the “pupil” stares up at me from the center of the shell. There is no blinking. It seems completely aware. It is focused and still.

The Shark Eye Shell beckons one to go inward in order to clearly see.

“Margaret, you look at the world through rose colored glasses!” she said with irritation and scorn. It was the last time I would see Cora, yet she left me something to contemplate for years to come.

A tendency to look for the best in others and to look at the world with eyes of wonder, is a gift which has served me well. Having been raised where I knew so many, I had always felt safe.Life was full of magic and beauty. My childhood was full of joy.

A career would take me far away from my home for many years to come. Adventures would abound and I was never physically hurt, though there were many situations I put myself in where I am surprised I was not.

Before the days of cell phones I drove joyfully with a friend through the desert and over the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in a dilapidated rental. God knows what would have happened to the beautiful young woman that was me, should we have broken down in that remote area of the Arab world back in 1981.

The modeling career that took me to New York, Paris and Milan was full of the scum that prey upon beautiful girls. Cocaine and Studio 54, flamboyant parties and decadence, it was the epitome of materialism, self-centeredness and greed. Yet with all the compromising situations I found myself in, I came out of that career unharmed and with my integrity intact.

I have often wondered why.

Could it be that my looking at the world with eyes of wonder kept me safe? Coming from the sheltered world of my childhood, surrounded by people with the priorities of honestly and love, somehow developed in me an inability, or perhaps an unwillingness, to see all the darkness that is a part of this world.

The pain and heartache would come later.

Twenty years of giving love with so little of it returned. Rejection, loneliness and neglect were the norm. Having been taught to stick it out, make it work and take the high road, the years went by. My spirit was fading away. I remember a lifelong friend of mine crying out “The Margaret we love is fading away!” It was time to let go. I had to love myself enough to move on.

Returning to my home in the Deep South after 30 years away was a dream come true. Yet even here I was not always welcome. Family and lifelong friends I found were not necessarily the flawless people I had idealized them to be, in my mind. They have their weaknesses too.

In a variety of ways we all exhibit our own version of unkindness and self-centeredness. It was time to take off the rose colored glasses. It was time to clearly see.

The Shark Eye Shell beckons me to view people with love and to focus on their gifts, all the while understanding their weaknesses, just as I hope they will do for me.  To understand and accept the shame, drudgery, pain and weaknesses that make up this world and to still see the beauty. To be a part of the world, to be involved, to give while seeing clearly who and what people are.

People are selfish and unkind at times, just as I am.

Yet we are all at our core, inherently good. We are all loving, infinite souls.

To see clearly, and to still live in a state of loving-kindness; this is the challenge.

One day at a time.






Sunlight and Shadow

"Sunlight & Shadow"  30x50" Oil on Canvas

“Sunlight & Shadow” 30×50″ Oil on Canvas

The older I get, the more deeply I understand how complex life is. Hence the greater need to simplify one’s life, from daily activities and duties, to the thoughts and moments that fill our days.

In so doing, an inner stillness and trust in life develops.

If one chooses to look at a “loss” or a “failure” as nothing more than a part of the journey…with little to no interruption in one’s inner serenity; loss and failure become blessings.

How willing am I to gracefully let go of that which was not meant for me? Unfulfilled dreams and many times a broken heart… Losing hope is easy.

How much of the inner light am I allowing to shine through? How much am I allowing the universal light of love, to reflect outward from my core, to those around me?

Like the light and shadows in the sand, life is a series of sunlit days and sorrow. Through faith, hope and the grace of God, the shadows of sorrow fade allowing the magic and light of life to fill more and more of our days.

The days in shadow then begin to blend smoothly with the sunlit days of joy.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: