Time, a precious commodity.

Ollie and time
Time and Ollie, The Minister of truth holding time.

 ~ The greatest gift we can give is time. ~

It happens to be Daylight Savings time this weekend. However, that is not really why I am writing about time. It just coincided perfectly.

It’s natural as we get older to think of time with more respect than in our younger days. The real difference now is that I am very aware of the use of my time and how it is divvied up. I am careful, and conscious, of whom, what, when and where gets my very precious time. There are surely many things, and actions, which are “have to’s” and some even overlap into the “want to’s” that must occur and use up some of my time. The top of my personal list, for my desire of how I want to use my time these days, is to spend time with the people I really want to. I sqeeze in the other “good stuff” I love to do as well…and then I squeeze some more into the mix with the “have to’s”..Right now, I am of the belief system that my inner circle, i.e. the friends/family that truly matter in the long run, are amongst the more important uses of large chunks of my time.  No, if you are wondering, or worried, that something awful has happened to my health, the answer is thankfully no. However, I am acutly aware of how tenuous that can be, as dear friends, and extended family, are not all so lucky. So—spend time with those your love, those you want to be with, and those that make you happy. While your there, let them know that they are important. Time can indeed slip away in the blink of an eye…

Live in the Today.  Be present.  If not now-when?
and of course  “Be here now”-Ram Dass

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.“- Carl Sandburg

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us”. – Max Frisch

Falling leaves, Slippery leaves.

Ollie in the fall
Image from the BBB3 archives

 

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!

Growing, people and our business

A few weekends ago we (that would be I and the gang of Botanical Beauties) were off again to a pretty special little town called Sharon Springs NY.

First, a heartfelt thanks and a nod to Cobbler & Co. located on Historic Main Street in Sharon Springs. They are now on the list of places you can walk into a brick and mortar store and buy Botanical Beauties & Beasties cards! It is a delightful store filled with wonderful treasures. Straight from their website- “Cobbler & Co. is a twelve-room eclectic gift shop. We offer an ever-changing array of gifts for you, your family, your friends, your home and garden and all of your entertaining needs...Take a look around our store and remember, we can ship anywhere!” (www.cobblerandcompany.com/index.html If you find yourself in that neck of the country I highly recommend a visit. For that matter, there are quiet a few stops worthy in Sharon Springs and the nearby environs.

Botanical Cards in the store.
Our cards displayed in the Cobbler & Co. card room. Hurrah!

Which brings me to Sharon Springs generally. The 2,000 census counted the population  as 547!  Sharon Springs NY is up in the Mohawk Valley, not too far from Cooperstown for you baseball fans. The countryside is beautiful, the wonderful Adirondack Park and Catskill Mountains are close by borders giving you some idea of its beauty. The ride is about 3 hours for me, the people I meet are always warm and friendly, meaning both the town folks and the fair attendees. Although I am lucky to even get close to breaking even when I am done with gas, lodging, fees etc I find myself returning each time. Why? What draws me to these shows 2x a year? The annual Garden Party (as the spring show is called) and the Harvest Festival (as the Fall show is named)- it seems like a crazy idea to keep going? So, why do I keep returning?

All this brings me to the words of hope, fascination, and charm. I think these may be the hidden charms of Sharon Springs?  There is something a bit intangible about it all, but it is contagious. I never know whom I will meet, but they are inevitably interesting people at these festivals. Some of it is plan old small town living, some of it is who these festivals draw in, and some of it Sharon Springs and its community. Granted, The Beekman Boy’s name is behind these fairs, it was fairly predominate, now it is a bit obscured. (Their FB page.) As a matter of fact, ETSY will be running the fair in the fall, so well see how that plays out. Regardless, The Beekman Boys are still a “draw” and fans come out to play!  There is a tour their home (a separate but planned extra if you so wish) and a fun array of other scheduled events happening on these weekends. For sure, it is a fun “weekend get-away” for many. I have decided to add to my weekend routine…after the arts fair is over on Saturday, I walk over (about 500 steps) and have a lovely cool cocktail on the amazing front porch of the American Hotel. Totally relaxing after a long day.  One never knows who might turn up there to chat with, and I like that! It is what I consider a quintessential front porch, and I met the nicest folks last time.

The American Hotel

Part of what is fascinating about Sharon Springs NY is its history. Here is a brief glimpse.  At one point, about 1836-1860, Sharon Springs was well know for its mineral water spa, with multiple large grand hotels and boardinghouses. By 1841, the village had become world-famous as the social elite came to take the waters. Magnificent large hotels and forest-like parks graced the village landscape. During the second half of the 19th Century, Sharon Springs was home to over sixty hotels and rooming houses accommodating over 10,000 visitors each summer. By the early 1900s… the summer clientele with the influx of European visitors (had become) primarily from Judaic tradition.” (more info.)  “Thanks to its sulfurmagnesium, and chalybeate mineral springs, Sharon Springs grew into a bustling spa during the 19th century. At the peak of its popularity, Sharon Springs hosted 10,000 visitors each summer, including members of theVanderbilt family and Oscar Wilde (who gave a lecture at the now-demolished Pavilion Hotel on 11 August 1882).” (more info) Sharon Springs also had a great location – in the 1800s two major paths (turnpikes and canals)  were constructed and Sharon was connected to Albany as well as larger cities like NYC easily. Farmers with cash crops of wheat and hops were now well positioned to thrive. To add to the good fortune of Sharon, the Delaware and Hudson Railroad open a spur thru Sharon, and the age of the spa was pretty well golden! Eventually, as family (and so spa and hotel proprietors) aged, fires, a hops blight, Prohibition, plus a few more national factors, Sharon Springs thriving success was brought to a halt. Here’s an interesting tidbit According to a NYT article (26 August 2000) “After World War II, Sharon Springs got a second wind from the West German government, which paid medical care reparations to Holocaust survivors, holding that therapeutic spa vacations.” More info.) In 1994 Sharon Springs, and its Spa-related structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places and Sharon Springs became a Historic District. The walking tour and the accompanying plaques were created to guide visitors through our history. The plaques showcase the many buildings, some still remaining, some long gone and put them in their historical context.” (Here is  a link to a brief, but complete  story of the fascinating history of Sharon Springs. More info. 

In todays, world Sharon Springs is again picking its self up and seems to be a story of revitalization.  There are charming stores and delicious restaurants to peruse and enjoy.  It appears that growing communities of artisans (both material and culinary) are living, and moving to the area…and don’t forget-I always seem to meet nice people there! Need a break? Try out a visit during the Fall Festival Sept. 20 & 21, 2014: Arts, countryside, amazing food, fun, frolic, and pretty much guaranteed a pleasant time.

Sharon Springs Collage

Thanksgiving….

Gordy w/Pumpkins and Leaves
©BotanicalBeautiesbeasties…Thanks and Thankful…

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.

It’s time to let go.

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…. Ollie and falling leaves

Transformations

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. 

Ron, Fall Equinox
Ron, A Master Gardener, and cause of Climate Change…holds the sun at 4:44!

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?

Boots and hatsOh, 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!

The Wonderful, Fabulous, Beekman Boys and BEEKMAN 1802

http://beekman1802.com/heirloom-charlie/
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!

2013-Harvest-Festival

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.”

http://beekman1802.com/heirloom-charlie/

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!

 

 

Intent

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.”)

Rosie and Intent
Rosie in Anjali Mudra.

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.

Benefits

 

Chilly air, it’s here!

Well… it’s hat,coats and sweater time again….Cool Days

Bellingham MA, Octoberfest

Thinking about Halloween – maybe Thanksgiving and even Xmas? We will have our booth set up and ready to help you with your “holiday” shopping – Gift card sets, Holiday cards, Mini Arts cards, and the all new, “The Easy Peasy,  Ready To GOMarvelous Mug” gift set!

We will be there and you? Whole Foods Market Bellingham MA.
Where can you go in Bellingham and ride a camel for only $2.00 these days???
Where can you go in Bellingham and find Pumpkins for all kids to pick and paint for FREE?
Sunday; 12-4 Harvest Fest 2012
Harvest Fest 2012..that’s where!
Bellingham Harvest Fest 2012

Like Pie? Like Art? Like Fairs?… how about gifts?

The weather forecast is glorious and we hope to see you there! This is a 2 part post… check the second half for a preview of our new Holiday Product line! You can click on the images to see them larger.

Pies
mug gift sets
This is a preview of our NEW READY TO GO GIFT SETS.
One more theme will be coming…but here is 3 out of 4!It’s a “pick and pay” easy peasy gift solution.There will be 4 themes:
3 are ready and will be available this weekend!

  • Jolie with a “Love to you” mug set.
  • Ron with a Garden mug set.
  • Vaboom with a Desk mug Set.
  • The 4th and final one is a DOG set- stay tuned!

♥ Jolie: Our Herbalist who creates, makes, produces, and shares her products of Herbs and natural oils for both Beauty and medical remedies. Her image is featured on her set, and the mug holds:
Delightful Body products made from all organic materials made by Garden Gate Herbals right here in Franklin MA : Lip Balm to pamper your fall and winter lips- either Lavender or Wintergreen / Comfrey Salve – for reliving minor rashes, insect bites wounds – like those paper cuts from gift wrapping! Rosehip or Lavender Glycerite: Rosehips are high in Vit. C and tasty too! Both are Calming for all ages. (Take a few drops on your tong or right down the hatch!) …Topping off  this set is 3 bookmarks,  a flower and gift box adornment.

♥ Ron: Our Master Garden and Climate change guy: His mug contains 3 packs of Burpee Garden seeds that all have long shelf lives-have fun and plant inside now or you can wait. They all have a small Garden Sick/Marker with a butterfly attached for Garden Dreaming all winter long! They too have a Body product, made by another woman who’s business is called: Aromatherapy for the 2 legged & the 4 legged,  this time so local it’s down the street! Enclosed is a Garden Lavender Salve  for soothing and calming yourself as needed! …Topping off  this set is 3 bookmarks and a gift box adornment.

♥ Vaboom: She is the Keeper of New Words, kindness and Eco words are her thing and she is champion of the Desk Set Gift. Her mug holds: 3 Bic Pens, 3 fun Pencils, 1 Ruler, 1 fun chunky roundish Pretty Pen, and a bottle of Mental Clarity  Spray. This spray helps keep the “muddle” at bay! This one is also by Aromatherapy for the 2 legged and 4 legged and is essential oils – you spray this very yummy warm and comforting spray in your “personal area” and you indeed feel better and “clearer in the head!” Amazing!! ..Topping off  this set is 3 bookmarks and a gift box adornment.

All are wrapped and ready to go! All include a small according folded pamphlet with a story about Collaboration, Community, woman helping woman in business and in life, and why that Botanical is champion of that gift set. Each package has a cushion on the base of eco friendly shredded paper, a clear bag, a ribbon and even a GIFT TAG… but you may still want to purchase a special Botanical Beauty Card as well!