Well Thanksgiving Day is behind us…Hunukka (or Chanukah if you prefer ends 12/5) is still with us…Christmas and New Years are around the corner… Then there is also Boxing Day (12/26) for the English in you… Kwanza (12/26-1/1) for those that honor African heritage, and the Winter Solstice (12/21 at 17:11) for ALL OF US. In fact if you look up Winter Holidays on Wikipedia there are 28 listed for December! Many of these holidays revolve originally around lights. Winter is dark! Winter is for a storing of energy! Look at the hibernating bears, dormant plants and trees in nature, they are all using stored fuel. When the sun is out in the winter, and it’s a crisp clear cold day, it is exhilarating. It’s as if you can feel the energy stored in the earth and sky too! Store up those feelings, wrap up that energy, and take hold of the good. Reflect, restore, renew…its sort of like recycling.
A few days ago I was at my ‘other job’ and I want to share what I think is a fabulous reminder of holidays and meaning. The morning started out as usual with a good morning and ‘how are you’ conversation with my first lesson of the day. The man said something to the likes of ”I’m good we are getting ready to celebrate one of my 2 favorite holidays.” I have met this gentleman at work a few times, and I knew he was a ‘good guy’ but his answer was so great that it has prompted this blog post. I said “I too like Thanksgiving, it is actually one of my favorite holidays, no big pressures, the hype is low (all that stuff seems to go to that other very big winter holiday that the world seems to love so much and the retailers can’t get enough of.) This one is about family/friends, some good food, and hopefully a nice day.” Well my answer pales to his. He said, simply and elegantly …”Yes that’s all true, but my two favorite holidays in N. America are July 4th and Thanksgiving… because on July 4th we celebrate freedom here in the USA and on Thanksgiving, everyone hopefully has something to be thankful for.” I couldn’t agree more and thought it was a wonderful answer and reminder of the true reasons for many holidays. I add a tiny bit more , and they get to stop and think about it for a moment. So the obvious question of the day…. just what are you thankful for? No need to tell me or the world…just always a good question to think about. Happy Thanksgiving… and for those that celebrate it- Happy Hanukkah as well!
Thanks for so much to so many of you.
There are Jello molds, mold spores, molds for objects, and molds for just about everything. This post is about how we have molded, and continue to mold ourselves. The ‘self’ mold has to posses both rigid strength as well as ultimate flexibility and flow. Pretty tough to do at times. I state the obvious-we are entering the winter months. A time we often ‘hunker down’ and take stock of ourselves inside and out. According to Taoism, the winter is the season of the Water Element. (This is why todays illustration of Breaking out of your mold is featuring Moe, Minister of Clean Water.) At first the concept of winter as the water season was puzzling to me, but as I have pondered it for about a year now it is making more sense. The quote below is from The 5 Elements in Taoism.
“ Water is the energy phase associated with winter, when the Yin force is prevalent. The winter is a time of rest and quiet, when energy is saved, gathered, condensed, conserved and stored. Water is a very concentrated element containing great potential, a great power waiting to be liberated. In the human body water is associated with essential fluids like hormones, lymphatic liquids, marrow, enzymes, all with great energetic potential. Its color is black or midnight blue. It is the color that contains all the other colors in concentrated form. In nature, water evaporates under excess heat; in human beings water’s energy disperses because of excess stress and strong emotions. The way to conserve water’s energy is with quiet and rest, by staying “cold”. http://www.healing-tao.com.br/en/alchemy/elements.htm
As we approach the winter, the cold, the still, the frozen water, our personal work should be well in progress. Our personal mold may indeed need some shaping, that’s where the flexibility and flow comes in. We may need to change a piece of the mold, we may need to remix and/or reshape a chunk of the mold, or maybe the mold is broken and needs some repair. Only you know. It’s all ok, it’s all part of our every changing lives, your story. One of the great things I learned in yoga this week, where this mold idea was planted for me, is that no matter what has chipped, eroded or weakened in/on your personal mold, at the core of your mold is your spirit and no one can hopefully ever take that away. So get out those chisels, those picks and reshapers and have a go at it! Nothing is static and really, neither are you.
In Chinese philosophy (Taoism, Daoism) ”Nothing in the Universe is fixed, static or non moving; per se everything is transforming all the time…” http://www.nationsonline.org
PS: Remember, the next season is Spring- it is explosive with energy and potential! Enjoy the rest of winter, you are realize you are just getting ready for the Spring! It is called The Wood phase and is all about expansion, happiness and is explosive!
(Image at story end) Each and everyone one of us goes about our moments, days, tasks, and events every day. These small and large journeys make up the stories of our lives. These stories have definitive beginnings (our births) as well as the obvious definitive end. One of the amazing things is that “end” is partly a fuzzy ending to those of us that march on after the passing of a person. The stories obviously continue in memories but also happen in new events. What? How? Is she out her mind? No, I am not.
I recently attended a wonderful life event. A Wedding. All the hopeful and expected trimmings were present, the guest from near and far, happiness was everywhere, and love was clearly in the air! Two people, each with their own stories, now are lucky enough to start a marvelous new joint story. One of the really cool things is that the two independent stories continue, and now we have three stories. This is a case were the math is a little askew and 1+1=3! I believe a good union means each person is still their single story, but the joined/couple story is equally important, and so becomes a shared third story. The journeys, the paths, and the stories will unfold as the years roll by, and we all wish them only the best and the happiest of stories! My personal journeys, and so my stories, are unique to myself, as is every one of us. So back to the fuzzy part… I was “sans one” instead of “plus one” at this life event – but my “one” knew, and loved, the wedding family of the groom, it’s the grooms mum who is our original connection to this wonderful wedding. My “one” had heard all the stories, he knew the characters, and we would often, in the more recent years, spend holidays and special times together. I am sure that he too was wishing the new bride and groom only the best and all the love. So, although he was not part of the physical wedding story, he will never not be part of my story, past, present and even future. For me, he too, was indeed at the wedding, clearly not in the usual way, he didn’t have to worry about what to wear and we didn’t get to dance together, but he was positively there in my heart and in the love that was in the air. He is part of the reason I am who I am today. The people who come into our lives, and make imprints on us, are all part of our stories.
The fabric of the story continues to get woven each day, each path, each journey, each awareness, you get the idea… It’s a good thing. The woven fabric may get tattered at times, may even get a few holes, but other times it seems to have gold threads woven into it, sometimes it just grows calmly, slowly and steadily – all are part of the story. As hard at times as it seems to understand “the story,” all the threads, the weaving, the tatters, the gold, are what they are supposed to be. They are our individual stories.
It is now mid to late fall…and it’s time to let go of 2013 “garbage and badness.” Baffled? What Ollie and I are talking about are the parts of the year you don’t need anymore. The ones that no longer serve a purpose, they may be bad times, they may even be good times but with parts that need to go, or maybe you are just done with them. Maybe you NEED to be done with them, and you have been resisting? With the ever looming holiday season quickly upon us, the time to do the work is NOW. Clean out your mind, your life, get set up for a fresh 2014. We all know that this doesn’t happen overnight, making it another good reason to start now. Sure, you can do the obvious like a deep clean of your physical house and that’s a good start. But lets be real, clutter is clutter, and mind clutter is even worse than house clutter. Mind clutter keeps you from doing things you may need to do, want to do, dream of doing, but are too “cluttered up,” therefore stuffed and stifled stopped you. It happens to all of us, so try not to feel too bad about it. There are many parts to this mind/life cleaning. It’s much harder than house cleaning…it often takes more courage. You most defiantly will need to discard some things, and you still have to take responsibility for them. Pay attention. Sit down and do the needed work. You will then be able to start the new season with a freshness. Winter is the time where we tend to slow down and regroup. Just like the earth, we rejuvenate our roots…. Why would you possibly want to wait until Jan 1, to do this? How about having a truly fresh start at the calendar new year. That means, no more hemming and hawing. THIS is the time. Act like a tree, drop off those old leaves and get ready, make room, for new ones. It seems fitting that Ollie – Minister of Truth delivers this message with me….
I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “home.” What, where, and how does that translate into our modern world and lives? This conversation has been prevalent my mind/head for I have been “here, there, and all about” of late. I have found it to be a bit disturbing, and disorienting. The very last leg of my multi part ”journey” was a drive back from my childhood home, and the place where my family predominately still is-but me. I was exhausted and as I drove the 6+ hours I was sad. Was I leaving my home? But I was headed to my home…so, where and what is home?
There is a saying that goes, “there are no coincidences” …It was Sunday, a great radio day for driving. I was listening to the TED Radio Hour on NPRNow and I heard the most interesting piece featuring Pico Iyer. It was actually in an Hour that was titled Identities - with tagged text of “My home is where I find my identity, where I create my identity which is an ongoing phenomenon. — Pico Iyer” It was just what I needed!
I have gone back and listened again, so I could give you all a glimpse of what resonated with me. Here we go.
Is home the address on your tax form? Well yes, that is clearly one definition, but is that where your heart and identity is? “Home” begs the question of “Where do you come from?” It’s a simple question but as we age and grow, and have life experiences it is an incredibly complicated answer. Where have you been raised, and educated? Is that home? Where do you do the mundane task of Dr, dentist, the local stores you like, the local grocery etc.- is that home? Where are your closest friends? Which place is the “deepest” inside you? Which is HOME? I tend to think they are ALL home. Home is where your loved ones are, where your sweetheart is, where your friends are, where to want to be, dream of being, the place that resonates for/with you. It may change over time, and that’s ok too. Iyer said home has “less to do with the soil and more with a piece of soul.” … The TED talk goes on to ask “Is home where you find your identity, or your identity where you find your home?” Again in Iyer’s words he says “Home is where you find/create your ID- an ongoing phenomenon… a new place may affect my life, thinking, imagination and that will become part of the collage that is my home.” I love the use of the word collage here, I feel like that is the near perfect word for the modern-day home. Home is my past, my family, my childhood, my friends, and my late husband: It’s my solid ground around me at the present time. When that ground is less stable it’s a bit tougher, I need a “place of an inner home.”.. and interestingly that is exactly how the TED piece ends. They said ” Home is something INSIDE you, something that always guides you to the next phase of life… and that you must step back, stop the motion/commotion, and “it’s only by stepping out of your life, and the world, that you can see what you must deeply care about, and find a home. And home in the end is of course not just the place where sleep, it’s the place where you stand.”
I hope you enjoyed this piece, I know it fascinated me to hear the show. If you want to listen to it in its entirety click here. I hope that it makes you think about what, where and who, is your true home?
Wondering about Pico Iyer. I know I was…
Pico Iyer (born 1957) is a British-born essayist and novelist. He is the author of numerous books on travel including Video Night in Kathmandu. His shorter pieces have appeared in Time, Harper’s, NYRB and many other reputed publications.
Pico Iyer is one of the most revered and respected travel writers today. He was born in England, grew up in California, and studied at Eton, Oxford, and Harvard. His essays, reviews, and other writings have appeared in Time, Conde Nast Traveler, Harper’s, the New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, and Salon.com. His books, include Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk, Cuba and the Night, Falling off the Map, Tropical Classical, and The Global Soul. They have been translated into several languages and published in Europe, Asia, South America, and North America.
Life and career Iyer is the son of Raghavan N. Iyer, an Oxford philosopher and Theosophist, and the religious scholar Nandini Nanak Mehta…. more“
Sunday was the earths transformation from summer to fall….The fall 2013 season officially began at 4:44 pm EDT (I just love that love that time,- 4:44, something is wonderful sounding about 4:44, its magical and mystical sounding.) The autumnal equinox is when the sun crosses directly over the Earth’s equator and both day and night are about equal. The word itself, equinox, comes from the Latin words for equal night.
I’ve been thinking a lot about transformations. As the earth makes this very pronounced transformation what does that do to us as humans? Does it encourage us to think about changes? Does it intimidate us to think about changes? Do we “hunker down” pre winter, or do we scurry about because there isn’t much time left before winter? As the abundance of earth’s harvest is dying down, the earth itself is bringing it back into the ground to rejuvenate and re-charge itself for next spring and summer…We tend to want to slow down a bit now too…to “bring it all in” a bit too, we wrap our selves literally and figuratively in sweaters and blankets, but mostly we don’t think of it as a “re-charge.” I don’t like the less daylight, less sun shine,and there is no doubt about it, it feels more serious than summer frolics…but the changes of the Fall Season here in New England can indeed be glorious. It’s a wonderful time to be outside and soak in the air, the crispness, the colors and the last of the warmer sun rays. To come in after a fall walk and have a cup of hot tea, a fire in the fireplace, a warm blanket and a good book, these are all the luxuries of fall. All that said, many folks often seem to have more of a mini-panic as they feel the pressure of all the “shoulds” they feel that need to happen before winter…perhaps it may be better to slow down, to rethink, have to have positive INTENT and then move forward. Transformations are often really good things…but lets do them in a balanced and self purposeful way, not resolutions we must do, but a dedication to things we want to change, to balance, to reshape our lives with positivity. Like the seasons change, so do our lives, there is no stopping that. It is all transformational. Is there a transformation you are working on?
Oh, and I almost forgot… another great thing about fall – we get to take out our fun boots and fun hats! Not our winter stuff, but all those fun boots and hats that are too hot to wear in the warmer months and now its cool again! Hallelujah -(happens to be a great song playing on my iRadio right now too! ) Birdelini and I love our boots and hats!
Wahoo!!!!!! Check out the link!
It starts out saying..
At Beekman 1802, we are always inspired by the artisans we work with to create our products, but we also get inspired by people we meet “along the way”. We met artist Liz Carren at an event earlier this year and were inspired by her “starting life over” story. She’ll be one of the 150 vendors at this year’s Sharon Springs Harvest Festival. Find her booth and say ‘hi’.
The Beekman Boys are true to their words, they said they would do it and they did! A
little, make that A LOT, of PR for Heirloom Charlie and so The Botanical Beauties & Beasties too!!!!! Heirloom Charlie IS UP and On the Beekman Boys – 1802 Beekman Website ( http://beekman1802.com/heirloom-charlie/) and FB page (https://www.facebook.com/FabulousBeekmanBoys) …ahem, they have 94,852 Likes on their FB page- it’s got to help our PR and help get us to our goal of helping feed some families that need a bit of help!
Join us at The Harvest Fest this weekend!
and from The Beekman Website as well…
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.–T. Roosevelt
When we started the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival 5 years ago, we dreamed it to be an occasion to celebrate the harvest from our local farmers and a day to bring the community together. The first year we were thrilled when 500 people showed up to the one day event. Last year, imagine our surprise when over 8000 people over two days came to visit our little village. Why? No other reason than it’s a weekend to acknowledge what is good about small town America. We want you to come by and say ‘hi’ to everyone.”
Perseverance pays off- hopefully in spades!
• And More big news. Every time We, The Botanical Beauties & Beasties and myself, are out and about in public, at shows or wherever, many folks ask, “Where’s the book?” “Do you have a book out yet?” Or, I hear them say, “You know, you ought to write a book” and on and on it goes, Well, 2 years later, I am finally “on it” – I am actually writing a book. I have about 1/2 of it drawn and the first draft of the words are also about 1/2 down on paper, well actually in the computer so digital paper. I plan it to be a series, starting with Heirloom Charlie, and for small children. Each book will feature one character, introduce another (which will naturally be the next in the series) and gently tell about the characters story/cause. The last part of each book will be about community and helping one another in the small and big details. I am hoping to be able to keep all the cost down, and be able to “package” 3 or 4 of the books together with ribbon, much like a “card packs” I do now. I’m excited, and working away over here in my land of BBB3! If anyone has any great ideas, or knowledge that can help- please, bring it on!
After a summer of “busy” we finally got back to yoga class this week!
Naturally Birdelini was there and this evening Rosie went too. Our teacher started the class out, as she always does, with asking to think about and set our intent for the class. Intent takes away expectations – the “shoulds” of the day, the “shoulds” of our minds. Intent is what you want/need to work with on FOR YOURSELF. You bring yourself to the yoga mat to calm your mind and body, to help manage the stress and the turns of the day – to stretch your body and mind. Intent is not a goal, it’s a process …Intent does NOT equal expectations. Intent is actually to help erase those expectations, to be a little easier on yourself, to not think it all has to happen, especially not all at one time, season, even year.
Rosie settled right into class and enjoyed it throughly. I am starting my second series of yoga prints with poses that help open the heart, open palm living. This drawing is the first of that series (Series #2. Series #1 is “Grounding Poses.”)
“Anjali Mudra is an excellent way to induce a meditative state of awareness. Start your practice sitting in meditation in Anjali Mudra for 5 minutes. You can also use this hand position in Tadasana prior to beginning the Sun Salutation sequence, contemplating the “sun” or light of awareness the yogis say is resident in your heart.
We all usually feel Labor day Weekend is the end of summer, however the true fall equinox is not until September 22, 4:44 P.M. EDT, 2013. That said, other than the very sticky, humid, summer like day here, it really does emotionally feel like the end of summer!
“On the first day of Equinox fall—the autumnal equinox—day and night are each about 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days after the autumnal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going southward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. The four seasons are determined by shifting sunlight (not heat!)—which is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis. ” - http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-seasons
We are 23 days away from that as of this date. We lose approximately 2 minuets of daylight every day until the Winter Solstice. OMG , that means we lose an hour of daylight in Sept alone! (30 days x 2 mins a day) … and that’s the part I DONT like about fall. We here in Botaniumaus love the longer days of summer, but oh well, what’s a girl to do – roll with the earth is about all we can do. Instead of “go with the flow” this is go with the spin.