” I admire how open your heart is to the happy and sad moments that life brings us,” – K.S
I am taken back by the clarity of those words. We all have those moments, those days, even months. But if we don’t try to take in BOTH the good, and the bad, it really does get a bit overwhelming at times. The good may feel like, or in reality be, only tiny snippets at times—and that does indeed stink and makes it more difficult, but the better, and the good, is there somewhere. It just has to be. It may be buried very deep, and it may be very simple, but it’s important to seek it out. Like all of us, I have experienced harsh realities and adversity at times. At certain points in my life I was amazed, and almost embarrassed, as horrible things were surrounding me that I could smile, or laugh at all. I could have tears instantly followed by laughter. I still can’t make sense of those extreme jumbles of highs and lows. Laughter and tears. However, I am glad it was, and is, still true.
I looked up Yin/Yang and this is what I found. Somehow, it all seems fitting and right to post this here, now, today….
Four Main Aspects of Yin and Yang Relationship
Yin-Yang are opposites
They are either on the opposite ends of a cycle, like the seasons of the year, or, opposites on a continuum of energy or matter. This opposition is relative, and can only be spoken of in relationships. For example: Water is Yin relative to steam but Yang relative to ice. Yin and Yang are never static but in a constantly changing balance.
Interdependent: Can not exist without each other
The Tai Ji (Supreme Ultimate) diagram shows the relationship of Yin & Yang and illustrates interdependence on Yin & Yang. Nothing is totally Yin or totally Yang. Just as a state of total Yin is reached, Yang begins to grow. Yin contains seed of Yang and vise versa. They constantly transform into each other. For Example: no energy without matter, no day without night. The classics state: “Yin creates Yang and Yang activates Yin”.
Mutual consumption of Yin and Yang
Relative levels of Yin Yang are continuously changing. Normally this is a harmonious change, but when Yin or Yang are out of balance they affect each other, and too much of one can eventually weaken (consume) the other.
Four (4) possible states of imbalance: Preponderance (Excess) of Yin
Preponderance (Excess) of Yang
Weakness (Deficiency) of Yin
Weakness (Deficiency) of Yang
Inter-transformation of Yin and Yang.
One can change into the other, but it is not a random event, happening only when the time is right. For example: Spring only comes when winter is finished.
…And to finish up this post, I found this some time ago on Facebook. There is no name with the image, so I have no idea who is supposed to get the credit for the image or the words…but I like it…and again…it seems to fit.
Your mission for the day — remember to laugh at least once.
Last year we tried to help out with the use of Heirloom Charlie. He was introduced to you all in May 2013, and with each sale of an Hieloom Charlie product I stated I (as The Botanical Beauties & Beasties) would donate 15% to Long Life Farm. The hope was to help out a family in need to be able to obtain a CSA farm share within the Long Life CSA program. This translates into the ability for a family to eat fresh organically grown vegetables that has been grown locally without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. Well, last weekend I am proud to say I did indeed write a check for the intended purpose. I was not able to raise enough to buy a whole share, but Laura (one of the owners and farmers of Long Life Farm) told me that the Botanical Beauties check brought the total up to the needed $ amount to indeed obtain a share for a lucky family. Other shareholders had also donated monies, and this check just happen to be that last part. I find that wonderful in a strange and magical way. I am thrilled to be able to help out in this small fashion.The website for Long Life Farm is http://www.longlifefarm.com. I find the site engaging and hope you take a minuet to check it out. It is filled with all sorts of good information!
Another cool piece of this story is that Heirloom Charlie is also a main character of our new book! The book is coming along nicely-I think we may do some test marketing at The Hopkinton Farmers Market this summer. (Sundays 1-5 Hopkinton, MA.) If you are interested, and particularly if you know anyone in publishing, please let me know! Heirloom Charlie now has a new nick name- the (working) title of the book is The Food Dude!
Now, on to one last piece of business for this post.
Our helping this summer will come as blog postings and a new character called Diggerfoot. Diggerfoots purpose is to help a friend of mine who’s name is Kirk. He, his wife (Cindy), and a daughter (Charissa) will start hiking the 2,666 mile Pacific Crest Trail in a few days. Cindy has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In his own words- from his website http://www.humanityhiker.com … “We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s. The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams. The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers. The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay. The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds.” To see, how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit his website. Kirk will naturally be writing about their hike, my postings will be an additional outlet to let more people follow their path, and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s. Naturally, my post will link to Kirks site which has a plethora of resources and a place where one can donate if you care to help the cause in that way. So get your hiking shoes tied and get ready for a long distance hike from Canada to the Mexico boarder! Next posting on the trip you will get to meet Diggrfoot and see how the trip is going. These post will be peppered into the “normal” Botanical postings, and DIggerfoot will be acting as an interviewer looking to share a bit of the adventure with you all!
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.
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’sname 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, TheBeekman 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 theAmerican 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.
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 sulfur, magnesium, and chalybeatemineral 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.
I have been thinking about water, waves, the sounds of the waves, the oceans roar, and then back to the stillness that water can have. The ebb and flow of it all. It’s almost magical how the water flows in and out of the sea onto the sand, continually restoring itself, and laps up on the shore again. Continual replenishment! If only it were that easy for us. Maybe it is? The other two big topics on my mind lately are happiness and friendships. The connection to all this is I actually got to go to the beach/ocean, and share three days with three wonderful friends. We laughed a lot, and a few tears were shed as well. Some were caused because we were laughing so hard, and some were of sadness – all were water! All good. All cleansing. All replenishing to the soul. It was truly a respite for us all- the ocean, the warmth, the love of such close friends, the good times, the sounds, the sunshine, even the rain, the whole “ball of wax.” It took us almost 2 years to finally make that weekend happen- it was worth the wait. (Thanks to- you know who you are! ) The above large Horseshoe Crab had washed up to the shore along with about 15 others- I have never seen anything quite like it? All within about 50 feet of each other, and only in that one spot? We were wondering if they were all coming ashore to lay eggs? Again, the cycles of the water, the ocean. How odd that these animals had to bump, jostle and wait for the next wave to make their way to the beach sand. I’m sure their is a life analogy in that somewhere!
Added to the top layer of the above image is another image- this one of a 17th century piece/fountain head- spouting water. The face made me smile for the expression of the eyes, and eyebrows are most amazing. And yet, it fits- it somehow all ties into the fluidity of life, the water that we all need to sustain ourselves. The flow, the rhythm, the cold, the hot, the ocean, the water glass, the shower, the cup of tea/coffee, the waves, the sounds-and back to the oceans roar. An amazing face, a spiky crab, and Moe (Minister of Clean Water in my magical land of Botaniumaus.) All beauties to me…but as we know-Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! I am pretty sure the same is true for sounds. Crashing, jumping, or gentle waves-sounds that truly soothe my soul. What’s your soul soothing sound?
Each season the earth, the plants, the sky and all its parts have to LET GO of some parts, and make room for change and whatever is next. We are part of the “parts!” The season of spring is full of expression, full of things popping and regaining a foothold in the earth. It can be hard for us to slow down, change gears, and realize that maybe that flower appears to “popping” out of the ground but to remember that same flower has spent the winter regaining its nutrients and replenishing as needed. Remember when we “chatted” about doing your work in the winter? We often feel as though we have a million things to do today, so much to do to “be ready” for whatever is next. Slow down. Breath. Maybe even re-evaluate. Next will happen no matter how fast you may be running to catch up with it, or away from it! The days will spin by whether you are watching or participating. Summer will be here before you know it-and that season always seems to zoom by (especially up here in NE.) How about we all try to Be Here Now, be here TODAY, and enjoy what we have right now. Not what we may have tomorrow. Not what we lost yesterday. Sounds as though it should be a cake walk…we all know it’s more easily said then done. Let go of what is dragging you down, lighten up the load, and be strong and present for the day you are in now. I just looked up the famous words of “Be Here Now” – (Wikipedia) – (Be Here Now (or Remember, Be Here Now) is a seminal 1971 book on spirituality, yoga, and meditation by the Western-born yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass.) …I didn’t remember, maybe never even knew (?) the book was divided into four sections. The first one is the journey (we all know it’s all about the journey) – the second one is the “Core Book” – the third one as called “Cookbook for a Sacred Life: A manual for Conscious Being” -and the fourth one is “Painted Cakes Do Not Satisfy Hunger.” I think I will be ordering, and reading- a little refresher course would be a good thing for me. How about you?
This is Boubolicious (Boubo for short) cutting the strings of some of the things that are holding him down. His role in the magical land of Botaniumas is a wise soul and knowing creature. He is Ambassador of Wisdom. (Just because he is wise doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to work at it at times — that is WHY he is the Ambassador of Wisdom!)
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!
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 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…
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!
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It’s been a huge month in our family. There are TWO wiggling additions (one baby girl and one baby boy, a very big congratulations to all!!!), one snow storm (which when in DC/Baltimore/Annapolis area is a complete show stopper,) one major surgery (went very well-allowing me to breath again,) one emergency room visit (all is fine, thanks goodness,) lots of driving, one special family celebration, and lots of readjusting to all these new paths/stories/of our family…. I count in this story our dear friends, those connections/their stories, some less easy and “good” than others….I wish ALL the above only good news. For the health side, I wish them recoveries and for the babies, clearly it’s health and happiness. Everyone, even the four-legged family members are pretty darn tired. That too shall hopefully pass, as we all get use to all these new paths and find our ways on these roads. Constant realignment… letting go the past, our yesterday, and welcoming our tomorrow with all the turns, the curves, the uphills, and the easy downhills, that tomorrow will bring.
A BIG Huge THANK YOU to our friends and family members …for all working together!
A BIG Huge Hurrah for us all!
Yes, at times, it does indeed take a small village, A.KA. a family and close friends.
and as the stories continue…
I hope and wish for all good outcomes.
That the fairies wands are all waving and working.
That the ill get well.
That the bones all heal and quickly.
That the babies all grow strong and well.
…and that our friends stay close!
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.)