Olympics…and the gold medal goes to…

Zoie Figure Skating Zoie, surprising no one that knows her, wins the Olympic Gold in the enchanted land of Botaniumaus for Kindness to the Earth! Her specialties are Toe Picks of Woodlands (above), Swizzles of river streams, and Double Axel Jumps of land and air! Her favorite short program is the Free Dance. To see a complete Bio of Zoie click here…(bottom of page.)

Connections

CONNECT

This topic seems to be all around me recently. If you Google the word “connections” all sorts of connections appear… books, TV shows, films, schools, computers, Linkedin, a MIT museum exhibit, and that’s just the first page. The connections I am interesting in chatting about here are personal connections. People to People, and the connections we all encounter daily.

I follow a blog by John Paul Caponigro, a contemporary photographer whose works I admire and enjoy.  He apparently is having some similar thoughts, for on the 13 of Jan, his posting was of 28 of his favorite quotes on being connected. Here are two of my favorite ones from his listing…(all of them are here) 

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it is attached to the rest of the world” – John Muir
“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”  — Herman Melville

So here is a connection, chance (?), coincidence? I was chatting with a friend about (coincidentally (!)) coincidences. Pondering the questions of this post – i.e connections, verses chance verses coincidence. He brought up Moby Dick and some thoughts from that. I thought, hmm, I never read that and I would like too. Now a quote I happen to pick is from Herman Melville – which I had to think about whom he even was…and the list goes on and one each week. It happens to us all, it’s just if you happen to notice.

Back to human connections. You smile to a stranger, you nod to a passerby, you kiss your spouse and children goodnight, you laugh with a friend(s)…you cry with a friend(s), you help a friend, you help a stranger;  those are all unquestionably connections. But, did you call your friend at just the right time they needed you? Maybe your smile made a big difference to a lonely strangers day? You get the point. Remember the saying – Every action has a reaction – all those actions connect the threads of our days, years, “beings” – therefore, all things we do have connections of one kind or another.  A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. Our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” – Herman Melville (again)

Granted, some connections are strong, some are positive, and some are not. It’s all about balance. You breathe in the good ones, and with some thought and luck, you can breathe out and spread/share the good. Try to let go of the lesser and negative ones. Maybe you can breathe them out as well, but without the intent of sharing. The power of intent is the difference here. I suppose the point here is – just what do you do with the gazillions of connections over a day, a week, a year, a lifetime?

Lets agree, at least for the time it takes you to read this post, that we ARE all connected.  Remember from above – “A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. Even if it is just by some minuscule air molecules, or maybe by some “energy,” or maybe from some spiritual “force” that you can call/name whatever makes you comfortable and happy, lets agree we all are indeed connected in some way, shape, or form. Therefore, since we are all connected here is my challenge to you. If you tried just a little harder to “make a connection” that was a little out of comfort zone, what would that be?  What ripple effect would like to create out there?

I am not talking about “World peace” – obviously we all would like that…but something much closer to home.  I have had a few really spectacular connections of late, the two that  first come to mind are – 1) meeting a stranger whom I was able to help in ways beyond words, and 2) a random meeting up with an neighbor (that I have not seen since Oct.) that has information that is potentially very helpful to me. My own “out of comfort zone” challenge is – to stop thinking about writing my book(s) and get writing- for the ripple(s) of the good messages the books can disseminate are exciting!  I can potentially connect to so many more people! Another is … well really now, don’t you think it’s your turn to tell me?

Ron, Reading

The hope of my writings!

 

Friends

Friends

“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.

 

Winter rains….

Izzy and Soggy steps

Goop and ick sticking all over you?

…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!

 

Stomp down that goop

Quiet days…or not?

Jolie, relaxing

Flowers, flowers, flowers- always help me relax, restore and renew.

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.

Is your Self Mold intact?

Breaking out of the mold

Breaking out of the mold

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!

The stories of our lives

(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.

Wedding pair, groom in his Kilt

Yes, the groom, all the groomsmen, and many of the other “Scotts” at this wedding donned their finest and wore the Scottish Heritage proud with their  kilts. It was SPECTACULAR!

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