Winter solstice. Dark skies. Cold temps. No wonder bears and other animals decide to hibernate! Some days that indeed feels like the perfect plan. Today is the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, we get only 9 hours and 4 mins of light here. That’s kind of a bummer until you flip it around and realize the positive, that TOMORROW it immediately starts getting better! The days start getting LONGER! Another positive about the long winter nights is, that if there is a clear night, it can be spectacular star gazing.
Polar vortex-and you could be under 7 feet of snow.
Emotional Vortex-and you could be under the covers.
The plurals of vortex are vortices and vortexes, those words even sounds like powerful forces. Extreme….Turbulent…The absence of external forces….That’s what makes a vortex. “Once formed, vortices can move, stretch, twist, and interact in complex ways. A moving vortex carries with it some angular and linear momentum, energy, and mass…” –http:// en.wikipedia.org/? title=Vortex
As the N. American world revs up for the beginnings of this “Holiday Season”-it feels as if a very large vortex is forming. Advertisements continually, the weather folks love to tell us how cold it is somewhere, money can seem to fly out the door, expectations (many unrealistic and many self imposed) and everything begins to feels like it’s spinning at warp speed…and yet it is all in slow motion simultaneously. How can that be? As winter approaches we should be slowing down, going inward, as I have said repeatedly before, by now our “internal” work should be close to compleat for this year – not accelerating up!
So where does this spinning vortex come from? External forces are strong! So much goes “extreme” this time of year – overindulging, over abundance, over whelming, over the river and through the woods…just where is it you want to go?
As this Thanksgiving week begins, and so “The Holiday Season” – I wish all my readers a holiday season of peace, safe passages, joy, love, happiness and whatever else you hope for your own self as these days stream through to the end of this year. Remember to try to be content, happy would be great, and keep those vortices at bay as best you can. Breath deep and keep on trucking.
Here in my little corner of New England the leaves are close to peak, and indeed it is beautiful to see. Fall is in full swing with all its transformations. I have been thinking about the change of seasons and all that entails, both externally in the natural world and internally to us as human beings. In the ancient Taoism/Daoism seasons, we are in the season of Gathering and these three months of autumn are about Containment and Balance. It’s the time to draw our energies inward. Now (not January 1st) is the time to start laying down the paths for a healthy and happy new/next year. “It is time to still our hearts and minds and to gather and collect the spirit and the qi 氣 (energy).” (further reading) … so, how does this fit into my mind, to our everyday lives?
Are you ready? Ready for change? Ready for a new season/year that is quickly approaching? Ready for an open mind? Ready for a new whatever it may that you might be seeking? Look around yourself NOW. Temps are falling. Light is dwindling. Flowers are fading. Trees are having one last glorious blast and then letting their grandeur drop to the ground. Nature is preparing to go dormant for a winters rest. It is a time of gathering nutrients and strength for a rejuvenation that pops in the spring. The ever so obvious natural message to us is: We too need to let go, drop our leaves, let go of what ever we have been carrying/holding that is no longer of use, or beneficial, to ourselves. (So we are back to one of my recurring themes of letting go.) In the above referenced article it reminds me that “BREATHING is a very powerful way to let go of our tension, whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. It is one of the primary cycles of yin and yang in the body. Having inhaled we must let go of it before we can take any more in.” I like that, it resonates with me. If your lungs, mind, bodies, heart, are filled with the “unneeded,” maybe its old dusty air, or “bad”/ugly/painful/sad thoughts, or maybe it’s just plain old unhealthy air/thoughts/actions/patterns, how can that possible be good to hold inside? Mind you, I am not saying it is a piece of cake and all you have to do is breath deep and exhale all the “crap” we all collect right out of our cells. If only it were that easy!
However, all this does tie into another topic I often think about these days that is called “mindfulness.” To me mindfulness is much like awareness but with an extra dose of consciousness. It seems that with awareness you notice, and hopefully make a note of whatever “it” is. With mindfulness you have awareness combined with additional thinking, and hopefully acting upon the thoughts, from your awareness. Make sense? The yin and yang of life….Let in (how about WELCOME IN) the good, breath out the unneeded, the painful parts that are holding you back. Gather yourself up, let go of the frenetic (although often full of fun) summer energies, unfortunately we lose that summer warmth as well (now we have to recreate that artificially.) Calm down those long list of “things I should do” that pop up so often in the fall. Start gathering that which nourishes you and strengthens you. Small moves in perceptions, actions, can make for enormous changes later. Do it now, while they are tiny, this keeps some of the drastic melodramatic changes away and so a smoother road ahead. And really, do you want those big rough bumps on your road? Most of us do not. “Chart the difficult when it is easy, act on the great when it is tiny.” … “Act when something has not yet come to be, regulate when it is not yet disordered.” (Laozi chapter 63 and Chapter 64.) Again, as I sit here writing, I think, if only all, or even part, of this all was easy!
You may be thinking, wondering why the title of this posting? Falling leaves—it’s about letting go. Slippery Leaves—that one makes me smile. It’s a phrase that came to be a gazillion moons ago with a group of very good friends. We were doing our usual hanging out. It was in the fall season with indeed slippery wet leaves all around us. Someone stating the obvious said, “Watch out for the slippery leaves” (I think we were walking?) The response was something like, “Hmm, think so? I think I had figured that out all by myself!” It was not snide, mean, or an unfriendly response. I think we all burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of stating the ever so clear fact. It has become a phrase in my personal lexicon that has transpired a bit and come to mean generically, watch out for the obvious. It can be physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, it doesn’t matter, we often do see, and know the obvious BUT, we also sometimes MISS the obvious—and occasionally our friends do have to help…mindfulness is key.
So, in this season of transformations, let go of what you don’t need and be mindful of all those slippery leaves!
Wellie is all about health, mental and physical health….it therefor seems right that he is the “featured” Botanical Beautie this week, with the letter 4, and ready to take off! He’s off to reach some new potential! Least not forget- HAPPY EARTH DAY!
The number 4:
- Earth, Air, Fire, Water
- Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
- Native Americans Medicinal Wheel embodies 4 directions
- Stages of our lives – birth, youth, adult and elder
- East, West, North, South
- 4 Phases of the Moon (new, half-moon waxing, full, half-moon waning)
- …And a few more I just taught myself in doing a little reading for this post.
The Four Noble Truths epitomize Buddhism. ***
- To the Pythagoreans 4 was the source of the tetractys 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10, the most perfect number. ***
- In medieval times there were thought to be four humours (phlegm, blood, choler, and black bile—hence the adjectives phlegmatic, sanguine, choleric, and melancholic), and the body was bled at various places to bring these humours into balance. ***
- Four types of animal (ground movers, flyers, four-legged, and two-legged.)***http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1086220/number-symbolism/248161/4
Four is todays topic, the 4 seasons, and specifically SPRING! The season that’s full of potential. The ground is exploding with new grass, flowers and multitudes of all sorts of “burst” of life. For many of us we have been less energetic for the past season, the skies have often been grey, and the temps were cold. All that is gently and beautifully changing. I love the spring-that amazing willow light green on the trees as the buds and leaves appear, the wonderful joyous visions of flowers peeping out and blooming again, the SUN with the longer days and warmer temps. It’s all so yummy! A friend, in the last year or so, made me aware of the Taoist Seasons and it fascinates me. Spring is the season of WOOD. OK, makes sense on some logical levels to me, wood, trees, branches become covered again, roots coming alive, and all those other woodland flora and fauna coming to life with wood involved in so many ways…. But here’s closer to what it really means.
The Wood Elements: The power of Wood is gentle, persistent, and filled with creative potential. It has the power of both being and becoming—of being true to your own nature and becoming more yourself by clearly expressing your inner needs and desires. Wood gently penetrates the earth to bring forth water, the source of all life. Drawing from our roots, we find the energy to push forward with strength and firmness of purpose, always remaining supple, yielding, and true to our nature.
The Wood element’s climate is windy; its direction is East (“Beginning and creation arise in the East”); and its power is experienced most intensely between 11:00 pm and 3:00 am.
The color associated with Wood is green; its odor is rancid; and its sound is shouting.
It’s often said, Spring is a time of new beginnings, or maybe of renewals. April also brings us EARTH DAY tomorrow, so, lets combine to two. Reclaim, Reduce, Recycle, ReThink, if needed-ReDo.
Reclaim – in this case your muscles! Get out and up and MOVE. It’s bad enough to be a slug in the winter, but it’s worse in the spring!
ReDuce– ever heard of Spring Cleaning…ha ha; of course you have. Now, the trick is to sort and reduce not just move the stuff around. That would be in your home. In your Mind. And don’t forget, in your Body too!
ReUse/Recycle: repurpose what you can – toss the rest…again- literal and psychologically. (Remember all those posting about “letting go“- practice! )
Rethink: Grudges and resentments are indigestible and cause stress. Practice forgiveness.
ReDO. Take a risk, rethink and do something new! Remember a small seed can turn into a mighty tree! Go of it! Feel the potential and RUN with it (not walk but RUN, well at least skip!)
Every day is made up of our stories…some days are more mundane, some are wildly exciting- but all are parts of the weave of the day/week/month/year/life. What makes up the stories? Well there are the obvious things like your work, immediate family, and the daily task of your path. That’s all good stuff. To me, the really fascinating threads are the human interactions, the unexpected words, and experiences that fly all around us continually. I heard a great line recently that goes something like this – “You never know whom you will meet, and what influence/imprint they will have on your life and you on theirs.” Powerful. Amazing. Wonderful. Do you ever wonder why you meet (or met) someone? I have been examining some of the personal relationships in my life lately. Thinking about what is the give and take of these interactions, these friendships, and sometimes these brief and fleeting “moments in time.” (Moments in time are a whole other subject! The big question being how is time really marked and measured – why does it creep at points and fly at others?) Anyhow…..back to connections…Why are some of your friends, I say friends for they are chosen into your life, there? What do you add to their life and they to yours? Some may come and go, but I am pretty sure the ones that are here right NOW are for a reason, big or small.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the awareness of a human encounter designated “Wow-now I get it.” You may select any other two world members, but it is essential that the first member of your team is yourself! It is also essential that the third member of your team is Yum (Yes, you have to imagine and pretend here! I’m sure you remember how! If you don’t then that too is part of your mission! Yum is the “fairy of goodness,” she makes sure everyone is “behaving” as we would hope intelligent and kind humans should in the world.) She is a magical force as well as masquerading as a civilian, and she is a highly capable professional maker of self awareness. You have forty-eight hours to recruit Yum and meet me in the comments section to report on your mission. As always, should any member of your team be caught or become extra grumpy, the Secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions. This message will self-destruct in five seconds. (Thanks to Mission Impossible for the inspiration of format!)
Today is finally warm again…alas the sun seems to have gone, and its raining, but at least the temps are 1/2 decent. Just asking– is this continuing of winter claws getting under your skin? It is mine! I could use some sun and warmth together! Just saying…Therefore, today we will chat about ways to try to help yourself get out of your own way. I am having a wee bit of trouble with this of late, it’s a tough one for many, at various times I am sure it is tough for everyone. Remember that’s it’s all about attitude, and if we are lucky maybe we can ‘adjust’ our own as needed ~ There are lots of great sayings about this…
- Show up…
- Park in front….
- Everyday starts with a blank canvas….
- Don’t give up. Normally it’s the last key on the ring which opens the door.
- You don’t need to change places, you just see where you are with new eyes.
…and on an on. I must take you back to my yoga class. As usual, I find inspiration from the words of my teacher, Suzie. On Tuesday night she was saying, put your consciences in the palm of your hands. Of course, since it was yoga class I thought, ok…good idea Suzie I will do that. As the week progressed I have thought about it. Just what indeed does that really mean-especially to me? I realized I really didn’t have clue, so I sat down and thought about. Since I like, to share my favorite things with you all, I will share my thoughts.
Remember the blog post(s) on open palm living? They are still some of my favorite thoughts. Well, if you are living your life open; i.e.,open to: new experiences, people, things, thoughts, and your heart is open to the world around you then you are living in an open palm way. That also means you are possibly less ‘protected’ and therefor probably more ‘venerable.’ This is where consciousness helps. This is also where ATTITUDE helps. It may mean you have a sort of “self directed” path, you have awareness, and although most of us don’t understand much what goes on in our daily paths we know it is OUR path, and hope with all our might, wishes, crossed fingers, and a birthday candle blows, that it is the path we are supposed to be on! (Can’t resist, another few sayings – Life is a journey not a destination, Your life is what you create in it). Now, lets take that one step further… Lets assume we are all trying to live our lives as ‘open beings’ with the added bonus of open palm consciousness. You are now alive, open, and aware. Pretty amazing in itself if we can do that. Now, imagine you can touch it with your hands, that you indeed have ‘the power’ of consciousness in your palms, you can touch it at will. What will that bring? Does it mean you can mold it/shape it as you desire? Can you adjust it with grace and ease for you can now touch it? Is it a burden or a pleasure to have this power? I hope you think it is a good thing, a pleaseure. Yes, I know I did not directly answer the question of “What it means to put your consciences in the palm of your hands?” Well, what do you think it means? I hope, at least, I got you to think about it over the course of the next few days. Would love to hear from you in comments!
Want a little more info on attitude? Click below. http://www.frenchbydesignblog.com/2013/12/wednesday-quote.html https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/267482-the-longer-i-live-the-more-i-realize-the-impact (I was a little surprised when I followed through and found out who the author was) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139.Charles_R_Swindoll
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“The people who are close to us bring untold meaning and value to our lives. When we are with the people who we care the most about, our social activities become something that is not only fun but also that contributes to our overall sense of interconnectedness and well being – for it is though our friends that we see just how rich and abundant our lives truly are. Inviting our friends to do things with us is one simple way to allow this feeling to infuse our lives with this sense of bounty. Being grateful for what your friends add to your life will let you recognize the gifts that the universe has given you today.” -Daily OM
“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.” – Buddha
“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joys, and dividing our grief”. – Marcus Tullius Cicero
“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” – Henry David Thoreau
“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” – Woodrow T. Wilson
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ― Linda Grayson”
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” – William Shakespeare
Got it? Get it? Enough said…
Thanks to all my friends and…
Thanks to all the friends of The Botanical Beauties Community.
…grayness…fog….haze…mist…and soggy steps. As I look out my window today there really no other word for the weather but GLUM and GLOOMY. It’s not cold, so it’s raining instead of snowing. As a matter of fact, it is 47 degrees at this very moment outside here! Very odd. Some folks are smiling, and others are frowning, about the warmth. I find it a mixed bag, it is pleasant not to have cold feet and cold sheets but it is also very odd, wrong, and there is nothing bright, reflective, and pretty about rain. (I know there are indeed beautiful rain days at other times of the year, and there are gorgeous photographs with rain reflections, but I hope you get what I am talking about here.) The reflective properties of snow add a brightness and clarity on a cold sunny winter day that really can’t be beaten. Rain does not.
It is the notion of ‘soggy steps’ I am really fascinated with right now. Clearly there is the literal of soggy steps walking outdoors. What about the figurative, what thoughts come to mind with those same words? To me, it brings forth that same old theme of “letting go” but now it’s letting go AND walk into/onto new paths. Soggy steps sound like your feet rise and with every step, muck, goop, and other ‘icky’ things we would rather not be carrying around come up with your foot. This goop can stick to our hands as well and even hover overhead! It makes for very heavy steps, hard slow movement and an overall malaise to the day! I’m as guilty as the next person of heavy steps in the winter. It seems very tough this time of year. For starters it’s often dark, less sun, early sunsets, and everyone is inside much of the time. It is very isolating, with much less human contact than a vibrant spring day. It seems to take more energy to find things to smile and laugh at, and that’s really horrid! Then, if the dark and isolation isn’t enough, there is often a bitting cold up here in the North! It’s a plain hard truth: it is harder to be happy when your face hurts because a bitter cold wind is blowing and you are out walking your very dear, loyal, and fabulous friends who happen to have 4 legs!
So again the question is- how to get rid of that sticky goop attached to our appendages and possibly even over our heads? Maybe it’s a simple as the Dao of winter states?
Winter – The Dao of Storage 藏之道
The three months of winter are called closing and storing.
Water freezes earth cracks. Do not disturb the yang at all.
Early to bed, late to rise. (One) must await the daylight.
Make that which is of the heart/mind as though hidden,
as though concealed, as though (one) has a secret intention,
already obtained. Leave the cold, seek warmth.
Do not leak the skin (sweat). Urgently hold onto the chi.
This is the winter compliance of chi
and the cultivation of the Dao of storage.
To oppose these principles injures the kidneys.
(Consequently) spring will bring paralysis and fainting
(and) there will be little to offer one’s sprouting.
(Nei Jing Chapter 2) http://www.energyarts.com/taoist-seasons-winter-water-element
Clearly some this is not really possible or do even agree with … such as “Early to bed, late to rise. (One) must await the daylight.” Most of us don’t really have that luxury most days. (And)” Do not leak the skin (sweat)” I think movement is very important, it’s all too easy to want to curl up and just sit, or lay, around, in the winter! Movement is good for the mind and body, we all know that!
Whatever it takes- Shake that booty, especially your feet and hands, and shake that goop off! Lighten your steps, hop though the soggy and maybe dance onto that new path! (…or at least try to!) Stomp out the goop and lets hope for a sunny tomorrow!
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.
(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.
This weekend means we will be in the sumptuous Tiverton RI. Stop by Grays Ice Cream and go on down the road another mile or so and find this lovely Arts Fair! Ice Cream and Art- how can you go wrong?! Directions/Map
“Tiverton Four Corners is once again proud to present their Annual Arts & Artisan Festival on July 20th from 10:00~4:00 (rain date July 21st.) Now in its 26thyear, this festival has seen some of the best local and regional artists display their works and this year will be no exception! A boutique Arts & Artisan festival set in the beautiful Mill Pond Area of the Historic Tiverton Four Corners Village; this festival should not be missed! Follow us on Facebook!
70 + vendors from apron and home good designer/makers to watercolorists, someone who makes dog accessories and snacks, a bird house maker and everything in between. Paintings, Jewelry, pottery, photography, doll clothes, assemblage boxes and all natural, hand made body care and much, much more! There will be food from Acacia Café of Little Compton and baked goods from MULTI award winning bakery Mad Hatter of Newport plus free, local musical entertainment provided by Gary Fish!” -http://bristol-warren.patch.com/