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Poppies 2

                   Things Reveal Themselves  Passing Away ~ William Butler Yeats

The summer flowers have passed, the trees are shedding their leaves, and all now unclothed and intimately revealed without greenery or petals, gifts us with another layer of deep-seeing into the wondrous mystery of things. Change, which we often resist… and letting go, which is often accompanied by sadness if not grief especially when not of our own will, still have a magical way of surprising us with new and unexpected beauty in each stage of transformation.

At the end of summer it is time for new “bouquets” and decorations on our altars to honor the passage of time and capture the magic of what is NOW.

I love the fragile beauty of summer poppies, with their delicate fluttery petals. The bread poppy, a lovely heavenly blue flower, is a special treasure and much admired. Sometimes they are difficult to germinate and so at least in my garden when I used to plant them, there weren’t many so the ones who appeared were like a rare treasure. Once the flowering stage is finished, the “show” is not over and Poppiesneither is it devoid of purpose. Within the dried pod are thousands if not millions of tiny black poppy seeds the side of a period at the end of this sentence. Nature is not on austerity plan!  The potential for new life after a period of rest and solitude favors continuation of the creative impulse.

The seeds can be used in breads as a flavoring and it is true if one were to eat tablespoons of them, which is highly unlikely as gourmet fare, one might become sleepy enough to drift off into the land of deep and mysterious dreams. I never grew enough of the flowers to save seeds for cooking, but I am totally enchanted by the seed heads with their little wheel-like hats and the faint fairy music they make as tiny shaker rattles.

We cannot see the magic of these pods while they are clothed  and hidden by their blue tissue-like petals skirts…we must let go of the flower’s youthfulness .. accept its passing away…in order to access what was hidden and now available in the potential of the next phase.

Things reveal themselves passing away. Find and Celebrate the ever-present  beauty that IS right now. It’s all GIFT!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

red  You are invited to read more on my other blogs!

For piano and music teaching/memoirs: http://thepianoistress.wordpress.com

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Fukushima

Fukushima

“Now in the people that were mean to be green, there is no more life of kind. There is only shrivelled barrenness.

The winds are burdened by the utterly awful stink of evil, selfish goings on.

Thunderstorms menace.

The air belches out the filthy uncleanliness of the peoples.

There pours forth and unnatural loathesome darkness that withers the green and wizens the fruit that was to serve as food for the people.

Sometimes this layer of air is full… full of a fog that is the source of many destructive and barren creatures that destroy and damage the earth, rendering it incapable of sustaining humanity.

God desires that the world be pure in his sight.

The Earth should not be injured!   The Earth should not be destroyed!

As often as the elements of the world are violated by ill-treatment, they will be cleansed. They will be cleansed thru the sufferings, thru the hardships of humankind,

THE HIGH, THE LOW, ALL OF CREATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO HUMANKIND TO USE FOR WELL-BEING.

IF THIS PRIVILEGE IS MISUSED, GOD’S JUSTICE PERMITS CREATION TO PUNISH HUMANITY! .”      ~  Hildegarde of Bingen   (1098-1179)

 

Fukashima4It is not possible to write a blog whose intention is to present Beauty and uplifting thoughts, without periodically addressing the serious and devastating situations we find ourselves in on the planet today that threaten that focus. Issues of environmental pollution and abuse, war and weaponry, out of control power structures and self-serving greed sucking the life out of everything that is blessing and gift to us is running rampant on a scale unprecedented in human history.. unprecedented in fact in the natural ancient history of the earth itself.

Hildegarde of Bingen lived during what is referred to as “The Dark Ages” when myth, superstition, ignorance and power structures had no place for intelligent science. Things were indeed dark back then. There have been many Dark Ages in the earth’s natural evolutionary history, and in the history of human civilizations. Only HUBRIS and denial keep us from acknowledging that WE are in The Dark Ages now despite the assumed sophistication of modern technology and supposed higher intelligence.

People Many are waking up however to this truth of  our times of devastation and suffering, and finding the inspiration and courage to give Voice, like Hildegarde,  to their outrage, their prophetic visions and warnings about what is happening and calls for Justice….not just for people but for Earth itself as the source of our being.

Going online daily to social media sites such as Facebook, despite its irritations and glitches, connects us to those researchers amongst us who are reading and ferreting out true intelligent sources of news or reporting  the inspiring actions of heroic people who are standing up for aspects of Justice and Compassion that are personally important to them.

One of us alone can NOT take ALL of it on by ourselves, getting sick with grief and frustration. Going down with it in its weighty darkness does nothing to fix anything.. Awareness is urgently needed, choosing some area to focus on and speak for is necessary BUT while doing that, also speak and act in the name of Beauty, Art, Creativity, Imagination, and Love right where we are in our own community. Now. Today. This week.  Stand UP for something important and of Beauty.  (Part 2 in the next day or so)

 

***I am deeply and imaginatively inspired by music when I am writing. Jarrod Radnich’s  stunning arrangement of The Lord of the Rings Themes… powerfully dark, foreboding and finally moving towards hope.. accompanied  me as backround music during this writing of this essay. Listening with headphones is the way to appreciate this awesome performance.

LINK:     http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/13963410-lord-rings-virtuosic-piano-solo

****Please note! This is MY imagination upon listening to this music..and not necessarily the intention of Maestro Radnich as arranger/composer. 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Hilde

 

 

 

 

Hildegarde’s World View:

Mandala

My other blogs:

cooking and food memoirs       http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

piano and music teaching         http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

law of attraction/seminars   http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colores

We are having a glorious Autumn season where I live and the colors are becoming spectacular.

I have always found inspiration in this season..inspiration for how I would like to grow older colorfully, uniquely and artfully. It seems to me that in the height of summer when the sun is high and there are no shadows or dappled sideways light,  that the green …so much of it all the same…becomes rather flat, tedious and boring, everyone looking quite the same in the community, “marching to the same drummer” as it were. Not much originality or surprise.

Autumn, when the chlorophyll of uniformity and conformity drains from the leaves, the vegetation only then begins to reveal its true colors and personality: Oranges, reds, yellows, shades of coral and salmon, peach  ochres, rich burnt siennas and even purple! ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I hope to grow older like the trees, shedding the dominant color of Society and mainstream culture which has revealed itself to be illusion or cover-up according to agendas that are not mine. I hope to exhibit the true and authentic colors of my own life’s accumulation of wisdom and deep knowing, to fully use whatever gifts I have been commissioned to use before I welcome Winter or say goodnight or goodbye… I hope to live in the Autumn years as apallette of flaming colors of gold, orange, red, and yes purple as in “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple”..like a forest, before the Cold…..  colors ladies                                                           credit:  photo by Kleurrijke oude   (on flicker.com)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Yellow 3  You are invited to visit my other blogs!

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For the Law of Attraction and seminars: http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

Surprise!    maggie

 

 

E Sept 10

Nature is very clear in how she assigns work to her beloved creatures. Beavers build dams, creating natural waterways in environments that sustain the life around its banks, wolves group themselves in dedicated family communities whose job is to cull weak and incapacitated herd animals insuring a healthy population that the land can sustain, squirrels busily bury acorns in late fall for future food but also to be the movers of oak trees further out into the environment insuring their continued survival.  What a glorious inter-connected web.

Bees have their assigned task as well, besides feeding and caring for the Queen and her baby bees. Daily they leave the nest commuting to work in beautiful fields of flowers, quite mobile and enjoying the change of scene full of color and fragrance within their workday, gathering golden nuggets of pollen to be transformed into the sweetness of honey. Yes, they work hard but they know what they are supposed to do according to their natural giftedness and talents, they labour in fields of Beauty, and the results of their labour is sweetness. They give Great Service to the larger Kin-dom of Creation, moving about the plants, fertilizing and cross-fertilizting herbs, vegetables, fruits, trees, shrubs and all that sustains all of us from the greening world. Their lives have clear instructions, PURPOSE and MEANING in the work they do to sustain themselves and the community of Creation.

What about humans? When it comes to the work we do in the world, we do not always know, when we are born into the Community of Creation, what our actual work is supposed to be. As an astrologer, I can say that when looking at a person’s birth chart, there ARE indications for the kinds of work possibilities and preferences that may unfold for us, but in our mainstream culture for the most part, we do not use this tool as a source of inquiry, wisdom and guidance. For the most part, the work of many ..tho not all..evolves through decision-making based on possible or hope-for economic security and rewards, or to achieve and maintain a certain culturally-celebrated lifestyle fed to us from the outside world as the supposed doorway to happiness and fulfillment. So many of us unwittingly forced to take work just to survive in a materially-focused consumeristic culture filled with knick-knacks, the latest “updated” techno- toys and products pronounced to be “must-haves” for a satisfying life. (not).

Where are these jobs carried out? In fields of flowers? In private studios for art, music, dance, theater, home based-crafts for sale or small and personal businesses?  In beautiful environments personally expressive and in service of gathering the sweetness and honey that sustain personal and communal well-being, beauty, and healing?  Does our work and work environments inspire the creation of a kind of  wealth that uplifts and inspires rather than for the mere purpose after “survival”  of gathering “stuff”..the kind of stuff that really is devoid of Soul and authentic honey that sweetens and nourishes our lives?

I have compassion for so many of us in  our common humanity who must toil and labor in ugly, sterile or hostile work environments just to survive. Many of us have had to live that out periodically and situationally and many must live it out for for a lifetime, not of their own choosing. It doesn’t have to be drastic servitude either to kill the soul and drain the sweetness… day after day in small corporate cubicles in a which a daily job perk is the good fortune of a window (besides the hoped for benefits accrued for retirement if the job lasts that long)  is not necessarily a sweetness.

I have respect and deep fondness for those who have chosen …and had the opportunity through Destiny and support or personal choice and determination…to use their own innate gifts and talents for work that is Soulful, meaningful to them and of true benefit and inspiration to community. I celebrate taking the  RISK of laboring in fields of flowers of their chosen careers based on their true interest, to gather the pollen of possibilities out there in the gardens of life, making honey and living lives that include copious amounts of sweetness in their experiences. They work hard, but they know what they have to give and what they have to do, often without assured financial security.

In truth, some of these people are especially gifted, perhaps having been assigned a particular Destiny by the gods, and in following that they in turn have gifted us  and society with their honey. We call them Cultural Creatives,  a title that names them as unique thinkers and do-ers who in following an a-cultural path in the midst of popular culture, potentially and eventually re-install Soul into the  real meaning of how we Live, Labor and Love. Because their choice to live amongst the flowers and create beauty from inside themselves and from the garden of possibilities, they have enriched our lives immensely and  we need to recognize them when they appear, supporting their unique labors that bring the quality of authentic BEE-ing  and meaning into our lives personally and communally.

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  You are invited to visit my other sites:

Food and Memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Music and Piano: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

Law of Attraction and Seminars: http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

 

Orange door

Synchronicities and “winks” are always such a part of my life when I focus on something… a touch of “magic” that is a regular part of my life, and probably yours as well if you really pay attention.

Recently in honor of the vibrant season of Autumn, I have been writing about about the color Orange  along with photos of orange flowers, orange monarch butterflies, vines and colored tendrils of that hue that catch my eye.

I wrote the first essay  in the middle of the night so eager to share the photos and the delight over that color which is such an important part of this magical season of turning.

Several hours later that morning, I left the house and got on the road to go into town for some shopping.  As SOON as I got out there, I was passed by bright ORANGE Volkswagon bug…NEVER have seen one of those before… a really weird color for a car, and quite funky for a Volkswagon which somehow could pull it off!

After shopping,  I went to visit a friend whose house I had not been at for maybe 20 years and when I pulled into her driveway, this is what greeted me before I knocked…! A bright ORANGE door decorated for Autumn. Inside her home, the color orange was repeated in her personal decorating.. charming home-made curtains, dishes, and more.  I could only laugh and say “thank you for the conversation and feedback from the Universe, which apparently loves the color orange too!

Sometimes we think we initiate ideas and projects, but actually I come to think that the Universe is in charge, inviting us to respond to and share its initial promptings and messages that need to get passed on through us.  I DO believe that!

It reminds me of something a very special spiritual director once told me.  “God always initiates prayer. When we stop to pray through something…we are really responding to the invitation to communicate with the larger loving forces”.

I rather like that idea.

So what’s next? Surprise me! (and I’ll share it…!)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit.

orange me 10
   Don’t forget to visit my other blogs!

Foodie recipe and memoirs blog:  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

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Enders Ruthanne orange

There is a retreat center on an island that I visit every couple of weeks to photograph the gardens,   intentionally disappearing from the “World” of artificial noise,  busy-ness, commercialism, laptop, and speed. Long walks through the grounds by the sea with the music of soft winds rustling through the trees, sitting on various stone benches and gazing out into the wonders of nature, flowers, water and rock feed the soul… and always with camera in hand ready to capture something of Beauty -close-up that is probably missed unless one is in reflective but deeply attentive  “mosey-mode”.

Walking quietly with a friend the other day, we headed for the walk bordered on each side by the stunning mounded wall of white mums in full bloom. BUT  then there it was in plain sight, though my friend missed it,  she walking right on by a  long tendril of vibrant orange climbing up the pointed stone fence, silently proclaiming “AUTUMN HERE!”.

I fall in love with this color each year when it bursts through the season of letting go, of drying out, of dying and leaving to drop back down to and under the earth.  Oddly enough, it is at this time of turning, a color of life, of energy, of richness, bounty, creativity and surprise.

Oh, ORANGE!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

orange me 10   Savor deliciousness on my foodie blog: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers/wordpress,com

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Enders Ruthanne Butterfly

The color ORANGE! Full of joy and positive energy…and a signature color of Autumn.  Pumpkins, flowers, leaves, dried fronds of ferns…orange is the token color of sociability, creativity and enthusiasm. A happy color, it is probably one of the reasons we take such delight in fall, even though we know we are headed into the next season of cold and dark.

I often visit a nearby retreat center with beautiful gardens and landscaping. This year, the dahlias have been exceptionally stunning, and this afternoon monarch butterflies were fluttering and dancing everywhere amongst the flowers…a rather rare sight since in the northeast, these butterflies are endangered having lost so much of the habitats of their flight paths paved over for civilization, parking lots and shopping malls. How appropriate their sanctuary at St. Edmund’s Retreat Center on the coast, with their stained-glass-like wings…

orangeOrange is also the color of laughter and compassion, as in the traditional robes of the Buddhist monks…   a color of prayer and centeredness.

Bring some ORANGE into your life, mindfully, and enjoy it’s radiant life-force and happiness!!

 

 

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

orange me

 

 

 

Heirloom “Glass Gem” Corn

Americans love corn….fields of it, on drives through the countryside, fat husks of it promising exquisite crunch and sweetness in personal preferences of white, yellow or a mix of both at roadside farm stands summer until early fall, large festive tied stalks of it to purchase and decorate lawns and light posts at home in the spirit of Autumn. At farms with mazes to get lost in, a favorite addition is now the corn box, in which adults and children alike lay down in the abundance of golden kernels to make “corn angels” rather than “snow angels in the medium, or with which to pretend they are sifting endless bounty of golden wealth like fine gems.

 

Indeed, corn is a symbol of bounty in today’s modern world…but it is a very old cereal grain dating back thousand and thousands of years. Data varies but archeological research puts corn’s ancestor…a grass called teosite..as being present on the planet for 80,000 years and cultivated by humans in its ancient to modern forms for at least 7,000 years.

Over that span of time..vast experiments with and improvement in that a-maiz-ing plant has made it one of the most well-known and useful crops on the planet today, used for a variety of food and commercial products.

There are SO many kinds of corn grown for different purposes. The most well known varieties grown today are Flint Corn (sometime called Indian Corn) used for decorative purposes with its many colors of red, gold, orange, brownish and white kernels. Dent Corn (“field corn”)  is what we see mostly along road-side fields and in huge tracks of plantings (and I suspect in the corn mazes), it’s main uses as livestock feed, bio-fuel, and commercial food additives and industrial products. Sweet corn is the one we use as food, bringing us delicious flavor and brightness during our warm summers and early fall. Varieties of sweet corn have their champions…some love the yellow sweet corn, or the Silver Queen white sweet corn, or..my favorite… butter and sugar sweet corn  with it’s combination of pearly white and pale yellow kernels.

I think one of the reasons we so love corn is because it is an old food, with stories and myths around it that connect us to our common ancient roots as humans inter-facing with the natural world. It is a REAL food that is sacred to indigenous peoples of both North and South America (it’s first natural home). It is NOT a Pringle. It is FOOD…and food is what sustains all of us no matter where we live, or what political party or religion we belong to.

For this reason, corn is a symbol of the playfulness and imagination of the natural world, its evolving co-creation process with humanity, and the blessings of the gods, Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. It is a Holy/Whole-ly Plant. And we do give thanks for its a-MAIZING-gifts to us.

Let’s now celebrate its goodness to us with a big pot of corn chowder, prepared with gratitude and love!

The Greening Spirit’s  Favorite Corn Chowder

Recipe from Red Rooster Chef Norman J. LeClair in his wonderful book of foodie memoirs “Culinary Expressions” (Dome Publishing, 2002) Italics are my own adjustments. Preparation is my own way of doing it, apologies to Norman LeClair.

INGREDIENTS: 1 teaspoon olive oil, 4 oz.salt pork sliced (I substute bacon when necessary) 2 cups chopped onions, 4 cups chicken broth, 1 lb potatoes, pealed and diced, 1 bay leaf  (and pinch lemon thyme or sweet marjoram), 1 15-oz. can of cream corn (avoid that sweetened with corn-syrup), 2 cups of corn kernels, canned, frozen or fresh, 1 cup of evaporated milk or half-n-half.

Preparation:

1. Saute pork or bacon in olive oil until crisp..don’t burn. Add chopped onions, saute untiol onions start to turn color. Add chicken stock, potatoes, bay leaf and marjoram. Bring to a light boil, cook about 20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf and salt pork (leave bacon if you used that.) Add cream of corn and corn kernels. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add evaporated mile or cream. Ladle into bowls…top with oyster crackers. Serves 6-8

***Note: if you enjoyed this essay,  might you click the “LIKE” button so WordPress takes notice?? Thank you!

I had been away from my Greening Spirit Blog  for quite some time during a year or two of intense inner change and necessary re-evaluation about how to gracefully change course, life direction and purpose.

During this time apart and for several years previously, my familiar path and way of being in the world of work as a music/piano teacher for over 30 years had shifted. The popular culture of technology as “amusement”, and  cultural economic uncertainties have moved people (adults and children) away from making the investment, financially or time wise, for the study of art and music with the fervor and interest of previous years.

A kind of real life crisis in the way of “challenge/opportunity” had made my daily experience of work and the security and peace of mind that steady work provides, confusing, and somewhat disorientating…rather like being in a corn maze in which we cannot easily find the right and sure path leading us to the Center of things where there are goodies to enjoy, or a platform to climb allowing a view of where we have come from and where we may be going.  In other words, experiencing the corn maze was an experiential metaphor for the challenge to clarity and sense of direction as well as an invitation to enter the unknown in search of a treasure and then returning to our origins, but renewed and with a new focus.

How to earn a living in a new way when the old way no longer works  (especially for those of us who have always been self-employed or creators of our personal livelihood ) can suddenly seem like a maze of confusion about which way to proceed, where to turn, which path to take. Questions like “how did I get in here?”, and ” how do I now find my way to the new?” are the first two questions requiring inner work, honing a sense of  discernment and direction in finding the right path to our Heart’s desire in the center of uncertainty,  and claiming it in the Greening Spirit way. That is to say, surrendering to an organic sense of knowing that we are ever evolving through many cycles and seasons of our life in which there are natural times for letting go of what no longer works, and natural times for being open to what new seedling in us is waiting to sprout.

A secret then, when in the Corn Maze, is to open our eyes and KEEP MOVING, allowing the Center to draw us closer to the place of Heart where we can see the overview. Linger there for a bit and then get back on the path of return. If we got in, we can surely, with patience and discernment, find the proper continuing Path that will spill us back out into the World with a new and fresh perspective, new gifts to offer, new work and purpose. (this is a repost, editied, from 2012)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Selfie

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Follow the Leader! (Mom? Dad? Auntie?)

 

Some of us who are of poetic spirit, see things in more than one way, in layers of experience and meaning. In the poetic soul, there is a “surface” message or experience as it is, and then the “deeper” meanings of perception and  metaphor. One of my daughters will sometimes sigh and say “Mom, can’t a thing be just what it is?”.  And I must sigh in return ” Well, yes…… and no…it is so often MORE than just what it is.”  The poetic mind works differently, admittedly making more complex meanings out of the seemingly simplest event or object. We can’t help it…the gods installed that program into us, and every person with even a spark of greeningspirit or star-struck magic in them knows we must honor the gods who have such wonderful imaginations and want us to carry their message forward!

And so our family experience through the corn maze set me thinking about life in general when we have been moving along on our familiar path, and then either by choice, or without warning, we seem to enter a new phase,   propelling us on a new journey. And that new situation, despite a few hints, markers, or even a well-marked map, suddenly is filled with a multitude of choices, some which keep us moving forward, some that just circle around back to the same old place, or some that lead nowhere at all, to a dead-end.

These situations are all part of life.. as in becoming a parent (all of a sudden you have to be a leader),  becoming partnered (learning to compromise..”let’s go THIS way!”  “No, let’s go THAT way!”),  losing your job or health  (what do I do, where do I go, which path that will get me back on track???),  or being drawn towards a spiritual/creative quest (how do I get to the CENTER so I can see clearly and live from the HEART?), family relationship challenges (we have a problem here…how do we all pull together as a family to stick together and figure this out?).

As my daughters and grandkids and I adventured through the maze, we elders had to often move VERY fast to stay in formation..an elder in front leading, kids in-between, and an elder in the rear,  as it should be in a healthy family system. Our little guy, Aiden, at 3,  has a spirit of mischief and is VERY swift of foot. Suddenly running ahead and disappearing from sight around one or another bend (or as well, leaving the path and cutting though and disappearing altogether into the corn itself like a fearless pioneer) and he could be lost forever, giving us a severe fright, as we kicked into third gear to overtake and intercept his youthful adventure. It was a parental/Noni challenge…sometimes we  elders were properly in formation leading and forming up the rear, and sometimes the speed and curiosity or impatience of the kids rushed them forward into lead position, requiring a different kind of vigilance on our part.

This was a very thick corn maze this year and we almost gave up before we reached the center from which we could take a break and get an over-view of the whole journey which we had been making as a family team. From our perch on top of the platform, one could see the whole of the maze, but not the individual paths hidden within this jungle of corn, so in spite of having a maze map in hand, we had no idea of what might be the way back into the world, which by the way, we could see beyond the maze itself: the pumpkins, the slide, the snack bar, the hay-ride, the cars in the parking lot and people..small tho they looked from a distance. You know, “Life as we Knew it” aka “The REAL world”.

Grandson Owey was getting tired and a little impatient. Giana was still up for adventure and eager to get a promised candy apple when we returned to civilization. Aiden the Adventurer dropped his cap under the platform which was irretreavable (until his Mom broke the rules for the first time in her life (?) when he wasn’t looking to  sneak under the orange lines cutting through the corn maze and under the deck and rescue it). Lisa, my daughter who is a scientist decided that enough was enough and whipped out her i-phone with the map on it to pinpoint where we were, and holding it forward so we could follow it out to the world.      

Down off of the Center platform, with a feeling that at least we had accomplished a new perspective, we moved forward.

However no matter which path we took, we kept doubling back to where we had just come from, or came up against a dead end.

We agreed that next year we would enter the corn maze with a GPS as a back-up. We were startled and amused when suddenly we heard a thrashing through the corn and a renegade family..a Mom, Dad, and 2 kids..appeared n front of us, fresh out of the jungle, frustrated but laughing and desperate to just get out and back to the refreshment stand. It did give us an idea as a possible future option. ( Sometimes we just have to break a few rules, and go beyond perceived boundaries, becoming a pioneer off of the beaten path to express our creativity)

But we persisted…Owey  who was really tired,  Big Brave Boy that he is,  asked, lamented “WHEN are we gonna get there….!!!!” and  was comforted by Mom as we sought the Exit in vain,  we adults keeping up a positive attitude for the kids..

   Well, time was getting short and we assessed what was now.necessary. We had entered life with a spirit of adventure and curiosity, we had many side trips on the way to the Center, finding a treasure and perspective away from our familiar daily way of life, we had traveled to and through new and foreign territory, sometimes leading the young ones, sometimes following them as they fearlessly charged into life with fresh and youthful abandon, we had stuck together as a Family in a challenge as well as fun and adventure, we had problem-solved together and rescued a baseball cap, we had met a creative-thinking other family on the journey, and we had been amazed by the beauty and imagination of the corn plants..a gift from the gods themselves. And we had to move on, as life was calling us.

We could not find the path to the exit.

And so, taking a cue from the other family we had met along the way (humans do learn  skills and resourceful problem-solving from each other) we communally assessed and aligned ourselves with the outer border of the maze by the sound of traffic on the highway, and the sound of activity at the farm….ducked under the orange boundaries strips, cut through the corn unceremoniously and spilled out..a “together family”…over to the refreshment stand and the hayride.

We DID IT!

Unfortunately, the farm had no candy apples that day and so Giana was very disappointed…another one of life’s teachings…how to move on. And so in a moment’s flash we did..onto the hayride, archery, the slides, and the animals. And all was well. Very Very Well….

The Corn Maze was A-MAIZE-ing!

         **Repost from 2011

From Christine, The Greening Spirit   

E Sept 16

“So much depends on how we see things. More often than not the style of gaze determines what we see. There are many things near us that we never notice simply because of the way we see. The way we look at things has a huge influence  on what becomes visible for us …. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we see determines what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act: the heart of vision is shaped by the state of soul.” ~ John O’Donohue ( Beauty )

Dare to be Beautiful! In a time when media images are so often dark, filled with pain, destruction, hostilities and disasters both natural and man-made,  we need to consciously step back and make a  choice to seek out and gaze upon images of Beauty that soothe, inspire, delight and amaze us, even filling us with awe.

There is, for instance,  a “game” going on right now on Face Book to post pictures of beautiful flowers and to “gift”  them to others in order to fill our pages with loveliness, color and elegance, overriding images of disaster, rubble, violence and pain. This is not denial…this is a practice to call forth and  install Beauty and Hope in the midst of chaos and uncertainty while we deal with the effort to live in compassion, hope and vision in drastically changing times.

Constantly posting, gazing upon and circulating pictures of destruction, doom, war, suffering and pain may awaken us to injustices and darkness, but psychologically and emotionally often fills us 1622242_10151838046686653_1756644152_nwith such grief as to make us ineffective as we curl up into a ball of fear, hopelessness and inaction.

Continuous draining of hope in the spirit eventually drains the body of vital energy and thus we often find that those whose primary gaze and focus on what lacks Beauty, become ill in their bodies as well as their spirits. If called to activism it is absolutely necessary to balance the grief and despair with Beauty.

 

There is a spirituality to cultivating BEAUTY in all forms.  Gazing upon the beauty in nature, in art, in the written and spoken word, in good manners and behaviours with and to others stimulates the desire to have it, create it, treasure it, live surrounded by it and BEING it. This is not the false and commercial beauty of the consumer or entertainment industries! This is the beauty of the inner light radiating through all things, people, creatures and the natural world whose imaginative creativity constantly stuns us with originality and depth. To see this, we must be calm, and clear and somewhat slow…look to see and look to see “beyond” or “deeper” for everything is what it is….and something more.

DARE  to circulate Beauty when others chide you for not being “real” to all the disasters of the world. You KNOW the disasters already…that is why you are choosing to bless and heal the world with the inspiration of Beauty.

DARE to be beautiful yourself! Dare to be colorful, flamboyant, original, and soulfully expressive in ways that only YOU can be in your attitudes, your actions, your personal presentation of style and dress, your words and your speech, your graciousness and gratitude, your blessings towards others and your generosity.

DARE to be beautiful in laughter, and DARE to be beautiful in the authentic shedding of tears.

DARE to choose Beauty………..

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

 

 

 

IMG_2228 (3).jpg Spirit of Autumn Melissa

A re-post. And a little early in the season as the oak leaves here are still firmly attached to their trees and rustling their dry leafy music in today’s winds. But we’ve not had much rain and trees are coloring up early, and other varieties have let go of their “clothes” leaving them on the floors of my deck and walkways The “Oak Maiden” is the guardian of the doorway to the next season…..

Usually at this time of the year, I am overwhelmed with the carpet of oak leaves that completely blankets my “yarden” since my little cottage is situated underneath a the overhanging canopy of a forest of oak. I must admit, because the weather and my daily schedule do not always co-operate, I am probably the only one in my neighborhood who does not rake and bag and neaten things up. I admit, I submit to the wildness outside while I give reign to the  imaginative wildness within that flows through me into my writing, photography or cooking.

They are EVERYWHERE, these leaves,  and they crackle and crinkle under boots as I come in and out, they come into my living room stuck to the shoes of my piano students upon entry, the blow in fierce winds and stick to the screen glass door as if to say hi.

I have come to think of the oak that surrounds me as a sign of the part of me that is magical while living in a mundane world, knowing the history of this tree in the worlds of the Druids, the old herbalists and other magical folk. I come to realize that often, the places, the happenings, the land, the home and surroundings that are unique to our own particular individual life are a hint of our own inner life and thoughts, in manifested form. If this be so, that I might be a woman of the wild, sheltered by a magical forest full of power and mystery which I love and respect.

And there IS mystery here as I gaze out into the woods from my writer’s alcove here. Throughout the year, and in yarden and woods, faces in nature reveal themselves to me, in the trees, the rocks, the sky, the flowers, the reflections in water. So it is no surprise to see the emerging mirage of the Oak Maiden appear through the dream of leaves and autumn’s powerful transformation from green to brown.

She is lovely, this mysterious Deva..quiet and calm, as she prepares us in the northern hemisphere to, like Persephone, enter the dark and stillness of winter for rest, reflection, recycling, and renewal. She is a reminder that this season is not meant to be a secular one, running here and there to shop and consume, but rather to pull back and let GO of what no longer serves us, to dive deeply to the underground of Soul to dream, journal, process, renew and quietly plan for what could be new in time.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

****************************************************************************

Note: The Oak Maiden is my daughter Melissa.                                                                                           Note: Photograph by Canadian Artist David Hickey @ http://www.davidhickeyartist.com/

Note: Be sure to check the Greening Spirit’s recipes on my foodie  blog: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Note: The Greening Spirit loves to cook and EAT! Check out my latest recipe on Sensuous Soups and Suppers: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/simply-sensuous-spicy-indian-stew-cold-weather-heat/

Garden old (2)

Repost from Summer 2009/gathering past essays for a book.  Stories from our garden “weedwalk” !

The June 7th workshop on the wild weeds/herbs–Your Magic Garden: From Muggles to Mugwort– was a success! There were 9 of us which is great for a personally sponsored event such as this and everyone was very excited, going home to scout out the wild weeds on their own property, after we went on a weed walk right here identifying and learning about 28 healing plants. Everyone was amused and somewhat intrigued by the greeningspirit notion and practice of sitting and listening/talking to the plants in an inter-species dialogue, a semi-shamanic skill.

This will be an ongoing series each month, everyone inspired in between to further investigate in their own way, in their own yards and neighborhoods.

Margie, a research Librarian, called yesterday to tell me she found a book at her library that she took out immediately . It is called The Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities. I will install Margie as our “dark arts” reference Mistress. (Margie has always been a forager, eating violet leaves, red clover blossoms, wood sorrel etc for her vitamins.) She really is a woman of good intent and a faithful Episcopalian but it’s good to be well-rounded.

Amidst a stand of lily-of-the-valley in her yard,Leyla discovered mugwort and is planning to make a tea from this herb of dreamers and wisewomen. Altho we do not use lily-of-the-valley in this country’s folkloric herbal tradition,  it is a premier cardiac ally, used by skilled practitioners in Europe. I suggest she honour this plant in spirit, for good-heartedness and kindness. Mugwort, however, is an herb of the wise elder woman and the herb of dreamers, as well as a digestive aid.

Julie who is once again set back and in pain with fibromyalgia is given over today to the simplest of tasks to mindfully and respectfully gather nettles for a tea, paying attention especially to the plant’s message to set up proper personal boundaries, even “stinging” when necessary to defend and preserve the sacred “time out” needed when you are depleted and in need of silence and stillness for healing.

Carolyn who is NOT a gardener but came along for the ride said the experience confirmed for her that she hates tromping through the woods and being outside where it’s buggy but that she really wants a puppy.

We don’t seem to be able to find Elaine, assuming that she is still out in her wild fields singing to the blackberry vines from whose berries she makes her famous blackberry cordial.

Helen, emerging Wildwoman, lives with a husband who is an engineer by profession. I am told that engineers love straight lines and linear thinking. Helen, who went right home with excitement to meet and greet her very own wild plant allies, is very frustrated to realize that her whole yard is “way too cultivated” and there is not a corner of wildness there having been put to order by her partner’s dedicated use of chemically engineered products of wild-weed eradication. She alerted me that she will be sneaking around my place after dark to dig up some wildness from here to bring over there and tuck in to un-obtrusive corners.

Martha has reported in:  She says that she found herself smiling throughout the whole weedwalk with great delight and excitement because she kept thinking “THIS is what I have been looking for! ” Having gone through a very major health crisis a number of years back, she has been concerned about keeping her body healthy and whole, yet still cautious about invasive medical techniques or relentless drug therapies that don’t allow much personal involvement and participation in keeping oneself healthy. She is looking forward to learning more about the nourishing and healing gifts of the plantword and the wild weeds.

Ruthanne, who herself has a magical mystique about her in every way, was very intrigued by the idea that there are plant “spirits” in the garden just waiting for communication with us, if we learn how to slow down and listen. I think she found it a very comforting concept that these faeries, devas or “friends” are here, with a very old wisdom to teach us new things.

I myself am re-reading The Medicine-Maker’s Handbook, an enchanting guide by an enchanting premier herbalist/educator, James Green. I am delighted by his warmth and humour and wealth of knowledge which is down-to-earth, accessible and full of love for both the plants and people.

Our second class in the series will be in July…and we hope to have some new attendees to share with! The theme for this class will be  on  “Communicating with 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit


Mugowrt

In any garden, the early morning is a magical and misty time. Especially if you live by the sea, the morning often emerges slowly from a mysterious and echo-y blanket of fog, under which the sounds of birds drift in and out as if from a far and distant land, even though they are just in the woods behind the garden.

In special preparation  for a “Magical Garden” class, I have been sitting with the Wild Weeds throughout the day and especially in the early primeval hours just before the Sun breaks through to burn off the mists. With notebook and portable chair, I have been sitting in the middle of the Mugwort patch, at the edges of the Stinging Nettles  and Milkweed, under the budding white pine tree, side-by-side with the renegade blackberry vines, in front of the yellow dock, meadowsweet and elecampane, over the dandelions, and near the wild lettuce and baby poke, waiting in silence and stillness for them to “speak” to me as to why they are there, especially in MY yard, and what they want to communicate. And, trust me…they DO.

MUGWORT this year is especially vibrant…and unless you are a Wild Weed yourself, or a Greening Spirit..you might be one of those Muggles (NO relation to the plant!) who think that you better call Chem-Lawn to help clean up the edges of your lawn. NO! NO!

Mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris) is a wonderfully magical and medicinal herb that has come to the aid of those of us who need a digestive remedy, or to help with a woman’s monthly cycle, or as an ally to stimulate your dreams and intuition (and much more). Tho this herb provides nourishing help to both men and women, it is one of the “magical” herbs for the especially powerful “deep seeing” gifts of the elder woman, who often recognizes what is amiss within the family, the tribe, or the society and is called to speak in behalf of balance and right relationship. For that “straight talk,” stimulated by the visions and dreams unlocked by this magical plant, the assistance of Stinging Nettle, which stands tall and commands respect if you do not treat her respectfully, can give courage to voice….but, that is another story..to be shared in another post, forthcoming (or at the workshop..)

NOTE: This is a re-post from 2011. When I check on what posts are searched for, I find that “mugwort/and herbs” are often clicked on here…sharing again. But perhaps more to follow. I LOVE mugwort!

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise

 

 

For many years, and many years ago, I studied at a beautiful Catholic retreat center on the southern coast of Rhode Island – Our Lady of Peace Spiritual Life Center. The program mixed art, creation spirituality, prayer, psychology/Jungian dreamwork, ritual and the inspiration of the Rhineland Mystics. OLP, as we came to call it, was a refuge, a haven, a healing sanctuary and learning center for many of us who journeyed through the program and fanned out into the community to use what we had learned in a variety of creative ways.
 
 But that is not actually what I want to focus on here. What I am remembering are the grounds on which the retreat house and castle (yes, castle) lived, and a particular connection with nature that happened one morning on a meditative walk after breakfast.
Like many such centers, the grounds were private, spacious and magical: a pond with bullfrogs, snapping turtle and large goldfish, paths between holly trees, male and female (with and without berries for those of you who know holly biology) leading deep into the hidden woods, a sacred sheltering grove of ancient beech trees , always about 10 degrees cooler under the thick canopy of leaves on a sweltering humid summer day, a wetland with horsetail for knowledgeable herbal collectors. The grounds, even tho part of a Catholic retreat center, were deliciously Pagan in that way familiar to Celtic Spirituality.
 
 And so, that one morning very early, walking under the canopy of ancient wrinkled and grey-trunked beech trees, I was lost in thought, or meditation, or both, when I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by the call of my totem bird. A Crow. (Other people had swans and cardinals as a totem bird..you know, beautiful birds. I had/have…a Crow, The Truthteller.)
 
 I stopped and had a strange and almost disconcerting feeling of being watched…of being not alone in the woods as I had perceived. It was a very definite sense…a palpable sense of a Presence, and of being observed, or as I said, “watched”.
 
 Looking all around me I saw no movement, no people, no animals, at least not at ground level. Another loud “caw” from my Crow at the top of a giant old gnarled beech drew my attention upward along the trunk to stop with surprise at an amazing nest of leaves and a hole in the tree about 25 feet above, out of which was peering, RIGHT DOWN AT ME with a most direct gaze, a squirrel with a gaze that locked eyes with mine for several very intense minutes. Not once did he blink. Nor did I, I don’t think. But the silent communication that passed between us was filled with amused curiosity and the mutual unspoken thought-formed words upon each others presence, “Well now, just look at YOU. Aren’t you interesting, whatever it is you’re up to”.
 
 I did laugh right then, and again when I recorded this in my journal later that day to have been made aware of how limited our vision can be sometimes as we humans tromp and crash noisily in our busy-ness and through our hurried lives, so “in our heads“, or self-centered that we are completely un-awares of other, perhaps even older life forms somewhat hidden all around us… Oblivious of our creaturely brothers and sisters in the natural world who are right near us, and from their high up perches, peer with wonder and amusement, if not exasperation or bewilderment, at our speed and noise, our incessant comings and goings.
 
 And so it is in this season when the trees have shed their clothes, and sway bare to the elements, the winds and the forces of nature, that I am reminded to look UP and find the amazing tree houses where the squirrels hunker down and make community AND babies…and for sure, from where they keep an eye on us, knowing more about us than we can possibly imagine.
 
 

Little Brother is watching you!

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
Christine Phoenix-Green (January 2011)     
 

 

Boots on the Ground

We live in awesome but perilous times. As the Greening Spirit, the desire of my heart in life and on this site is to celebrate and inspire hope, creativity, reverence, humor and Beauty. But the times we live in and the bigger stories of global unrest, fighting and war, weapons and destruction can be so disheartening. The thought forms and greed-propelled interests of governments and Men in Power, and of enraged disenfranchised, sectarian or fundamnetalist peoples have created limited responses that bring destruction rather than life as solutions. Weapons, bombs, drones, poisons of fear, psychopathic-driven power plays are destroying all that should be green on the earth and green in our souls.

Last night, I happened to have the nightly news on which is quite unusual for me as I seldom watch t.v. News  of all our “Wars” in the world ie the War on Drugs, the War against Cancer and Diabetes, the War on Poverty, The War on Ebola, the War Against Terrorists… it goes on and on. Our language is very limited, creatively.  But the use of the word “WAR” shows a mindset that is unquestioned, deeply engrained in our perspectives and very deadly…

Now we have a new common phrase about how we participate in” War” and I mean real war invoving men in uniforms carrying weapons and not physically defending our own coastlines and homeland but in faraway places. Do we send drones? Send bombs? OR do we put “Boots on the Ground”?

Boots on the Ground“.  The Greening Spirit found herself yelling out loud in the living room last night, shouting at the t.v.   “NO! NO BOOTS ON THE GROUND! WE’VE HAD ENOUGH!” And then hearing that 3000 “boots on the ground” (Miltary) going into Africa to “fight in the war against Ebola” made me shout louder. I don’t believe that is, if our history proves us right, a humanitarian effort or the way to solve the problem. Government contractors will follow.

The Greening Spirit prays for Veriditas  “in the people that were meant to be green” as called by Hildegard of Bingen.  For clean air, and flowing clear waters, for forests and plants that are food and medicine, for communities that create beautiful habitats and sanctuaries for people in which to love, and raise families, and sit in circles telling stories and who grow gardens and share food and solace and celebrations.

The Boots on the Ground in this desired world that cherishes life are the boots in the Garden of Life right where we live..the Gardens of Life that nurture, create instead of destroy, that bring merriment instead of fear, that dance in the green rather than struggle through the mud and fields of destruction and death.

Boots on the Ground ………

Veriditas~ Hildegard (1098-1179)

From Christine, The Greening Spirit 

ps. You are invite to share your thoughts by commenting, making Community and learning together.

Me Turqoise

If you have an appetite after this please check my Food Blog, Sensuous Soups and Suppers. Sit around the table in community…eat and talk together. http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Make music too . Music heals the soul : http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

**** As many of my friends and students know, I have been powerfully inspired by the music of composer Jarrod Radnich.  Jarrod R 2  I was, with headphones listening to this composition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” while writing this post.  (Not just for Christmas…… for NOW! I t was a prayer for me..and for you too)

http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/10186764-god-rest-ye-merry-gentlemen-advanced

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Run

This past spring, while out on a walk on the bike path that cuts through our little town and swings around the back of the buildings, a friend and I suddenly became aware of the roar of rushing water as we approached the usually silent little river that goes under the road and eventually and probably out to sea.

NOT that day! Spring melt after a snowy winter had swollen the waterways and the waters rushed and tumbled over the boulders and rocks like a miniature Niagara Falls. LOUDLY and furiously rushing towards ocean waters, it was no longer a stream for dipping your toes in. It looked wild and it looked dangerous.Alewife Run 3

There were many curious bystanders along the banks of the river and leaning over the railings of the bridge across the waters. But IN and over the waters there were people of generous and heroic action. It was the yearly alewives run, when the little silver fish come in from the big waters to swim upriver to their breeding grounds. For new life,for the dream..for the next generation to continue. But to get there, they must have a focus and a target and they must go against the current, a most arduous journey. If the river is gentle and flows freely without too many obstacles in the path, the fish can get there in record time. But many times it is not an easy journey, with more than one uphill battle as they attempt to fulfill their destiny, alewife style. They can get tired, they can turn around and go back , they could die…OR…..or they can attempt to jump the hurdle. Some can. Many can’t.

Humans are so surprising in their gift of and capability for compassion and support of each other and  the world around them. During these several days of the alewive run, graduate students and their professors from the Marine Fisheries Department at the University came to the river to assist in the urgent and difficult journey of these tiny fish to get where their destiny lay…UP! and OVER! the rapids.Alewife Run 2 Standing in swift, deep and rushing waters on slippery rocks is dangerous and requires balance and clear thinking and a team of companions who can watch out for each other’s safety as well as that of the fish.

But then there was  the one who was the most courageous of all, literally going out on a limb..requiring the  most steady balance and focus of all…that young (athletic) woman seated on a thin wooden rail right over the raging falls, long-handled net dipping into and out of the water, scooping up whole communities of wiggling determined fishlings, and swinging it over her shoulder to the other side of the falls  where they were shaken free to rush towards wherever nature’s compelling urge for new life was pulling them.River Run It was difficult work and amazing to watch that young lady up to the task, tirelessly and gently but firmly tossing that net back over herself over and over and over again.

In a way, watching the whole team working together was like watching a symphony of compassion, courage and grace, all against the passionate music of raging water. WE CAN’T DO IT ALONE!

LIFE! …..moving through it towards our Destiny, not to mention just getting through our days sometimes staying hopeful, staying on task, staying ALIVE till we get “there”…whatever out “There” it is that matters for us personally and makes us whole and a unique and creative part of the Community. Sometimes we rescue, and sometimes we are rescued. Both take Risk, require going out on a limb or swimming upstream when what we have to do goes against the tide of cultural myths of what has value or meaning.

We ask and pray for the COURAGE to face the challenges and boulders in our paths, we ask that the path and the flow take us where we need to go, we give blessings and thanks for those who lovingly assist us in our efforts and trials and cheer for our succeses,  and we generously give back when we can, to keep all in nature and in ourselves in harmony and balance.

May it be so.

Alewives and the Great Journey

Alewives and the Great Journey

 

******As I wrote this essay the music of composer Jarrod Radnich inspired me on…headphones on, this Carol written in very creative and HEROIC style, helped me tell this story of a task filled with courage, generosity and strength.  Please click and use this music when you need to be brave yourself and reach for a big goal…(or even a smaller one that’s still difficult) YOU CAN GET OVER THE FALLS! YOU REALLY CAN!  ***  Headphones or good speakers are necessary to use this music as therapy or serious support.

(http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/10186595-czech-drumming-carol-little-drummer

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlighting:

Jarrod R 2I always listen to particular selections of music when writing, for inspiration. This post was inspired by the music of  the gifted  Cultural Creative/composer,/piano virtuoso/symphonic conductor and music educator  Jarrod Radnich (youtube/Pirates of the Caribbean, Theme from Harry Potter) and this heroic arrangement of “The Czech Drumming Carol”.  Jarrod composes music for film as well so I hope if he knew, he wouldn’t mind my imaginatively using this song and its courageus sound as inspiration for writing about the Big Run of the Alewives…

 

***If you are hungry after reading this entry, please check out my food blog : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/tasty-tuscan-kale-and-potato-supper/:

***Music is LIFE! Please check out evolving music/piano blog: http://pianomistress,wordpress.com

 *** It’s important to have the right attitude in life for your dreams to manifest…check out some hints on the Law of Attraction on my Lunch and Learn Seminars blog: http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/what-about-the-art-of-allowinglaw-of-attraction/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bleeding heart 4

As a writer, I am very active on FB and I love all the friends I come in contact with who are creative,  articulate, compassionate, awake, concerned,  and Visionary.  Some are social activists and warriors for Justice, some are advocates for Beauty and those things that inspire and uplift  (music and the arts), some are humorists and do it well with irony about all that is crazy and falling apart (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert have this craft perfected) and some are asleep and clueless or in denial, preferring to stay light and happy at all costs, so as not to feel emotionally disturbed in any way.

Yet in reality, so many of us are conflicted between the grief and heartfelt pain  (if not rage) of a world in chaos,  and at the same time, hopeful about the emerging consciousness of new possibilities for a saner world of inter-connectedness and creative solutions for humans and the Earth so stretched and traumatized by greed and violence. On what shall we focus?

Our hearts bleed for so many reasons, both globally and personally in our own lives. (The saying “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle” is so true!)  How do we deal with all of it and stay sane..?  How do we not pull in and close the shutters of our hearts to protect our emotional vulnerability and carry on? Fighting AGAINST everything only hardens us and adds to the chaos and it is not good for out physical heart either

We each have to find a way that makes our life worth living and for me it is what feeds and nourishes my heart. For myself that nourishment comes from a conscious decision, if not a natural tendency,  to focus on and talk about what is beautiful and uplifting to the spirit….to focus and somehow express that which  allows honest tears to flow from the heart, that fills my heart with COURAGE  to share when challenged to hide my gifts and talents out of fear of non-acceptance or jjudgement  and to give outwardly what I have to share hopefully inspiring the same in others.

We take a risk when we are vulnerable,  expressing in words or creativity what is in our hearts that is tender, gentle, passionate or especially, wounded.  Will others think us strange, odd, too sensitive, out of touch with “reality” if we do not carry angry signs in big groups, but choose a different focus of expression through the celebration of beauty and creative solutions?

There comes a time for tears and tenderness, and for creative self expression that takes the stories, struggles, successes and visions in our HEARTS and puts them fearlessly out intto the world.  The artists, musicians, poets, mythic storytellers, theater people, and mystics know this already. Their offerings flow from the heart which in a society that celebrates “the head” for supposed wise decision-making often leading us towards disaster,  might ignite in society the desire to change course toward LIFE and celebration instead.

Thank you to all those whose hearts are vulnerable but open allowing Beauty to flow through them and into us and the world! They are the Cultural Creatives, who will be highlighted in future essays.

 

*** One such powerful Cultural Creative who is out there expressing fearlessly from the heart is the  composer,/piano virtuoso/symphonic conductor and music educator  Jarrod Radnich (youtube/Pirates of the Caribbean, Theme from Harry Potter).Jarrod R 2 I share the link for a special piece of music  (Hativkah) he has arranged that for me was an inspiration for this particular essay. For full appreciation and healing please use headphones as the piano’s fullness, depth and vibrations are essential as a healing modality.

http://www.reverbnation.com/jarrodradnich/song/9818535-hatikvah-la-mantovana-virtuosic

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Tigress

 

****** You are invited to visit my other sites:

  Cooking and Memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

  Piano and Music Memoirs: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/role-reversal-pianoteacher-in-the-hot-seat/

 Law of Attraction/Lunch and Learn Seminars:  http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Innermost Kiss

 

The SOUL is kissed by God in its innermost regions.  With interior yearning, grace and blessing are bestowed. ~ Hildegard of Bingen

 

I have always loved Hildegarde of Bingen  (1098-1179.  Benedictine Abbess, mystic, herbalist, musician, writer, Visionary) and her vibrant spirituality so radiantly full of earthliness, grounded-ness and sensuality. I have also always been amazed that she was not burned at the stake for her feminine expressions of the sacred in words, phrases and sentences not taken from ecclesiastical writings or scripture, but rather out of the lived experience of nature, earthly life and her personal depths of soul.

How lovely to be “known” so intimately by the Source of Life, which in the language and times of her experience is “God”,  and the Greening Power, Veriditas,  that moistens us spiritually and physically in our incarnation here transforming everything in exquisite beauty.

And how blessed are we to have a friend, lover or companion with whom we are safe enough to unfurl our petals and skirts, emotionally, psychologically and physically to be known, cherished and kissed in the secret heart of our being, allowing for the complete revelation of our own personal blossoming.

We ALL have a secret Center, often hidden from a harsh world. It can be dangerous to be vulnerable for there are those who do not see Beauty, who move at a rapid pace by with eyes focused on other less exquisite things, who trample and violate sacred space on the earth and in the hearts and minds of people.

I think of the wars all around the globe right now, and the violence, bombs, guns, weapons, artillery  and the weapons of mind, thoughts and words that ravage rather than kiss everything in their path. Hildegarde wrote plays complete with music and script for her monastery of nuns to perform, keeping art alive as spiritual expression and nourishment. She once said of the assigned characters in her play that the role of the devil was spoken, not sung because “The Devil is the only one who does not/cannot sing”  For Hildegarde,  beauty, art and music were like the “Kiss of God in our innermost regions” eliciting and calling forth Beauty and Wholeness in all things.

Those who kill, maim, and move forth in political, fundamentalist or sectarian violence in the wars everywhere with “toys” of destruction have NO MUSIC in them, cannot sing or dance and have no opening within themselves to the innermost region of Beauty where they may be kissed and moistened into connectedness and the preservation of precious Life. It is sad for us, and it is sad for them to be so devoid of true openness to the exquisite Sacred known by the mystics and poets.

These are challenging times. We choose to allow ourselves to be kissed in our innermost regions by Beauty which requires vulnerability and the moist Greening Power of Possibilities. As Hildegarde suggests, the YEARNING for Beauty and Harmony is necessary for the blessings of Peace to be restored and renewed.

May it be so.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

*** This site is Food for the Soul.

For Food for the Body and Cooking Memoirs you are invited to visit my cooking blog  http://sensuoussoupsandsupper.wordpress.com

For reflections on the importance of and Memoirs on teaching music please check my blog  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com


 

 

 

                                                      

Circle 2

The world is in such turmoil. So many petitions to sign trying to stop the chaos, so many rallies for and against things that are so seemingly larger than us in the sweep of history. How do we deal with it, often feeling powerless? There are many ways of giving Voice and  effect change, and one of them is by going local and “grassroots” starting where we are in our own Community…AT the grassroots. Circle 5

 

Last week the Women’s Creativity Group from our Unitarian Church held a fire circle at the home of one of our members. There really was no agenda except to be there in Community, to build the fire and be together in its light and radiant elemental energy, to write down on a slip of paper something that we wished to release and place it in the flames to burn and be free of whatever burdened us or had served its usefulness in our lives. A simple ritual and a plate of sliced watermelon passed around for refreshment on a waning summer’s eve.

Staying in the immediate area of our neighborhood, and in the immediate interior stories lying tender within our souls, we were able to gain both freedom, release, and comfort in the presence of Community and the powerful mesmerizing energy of the fire.

In every fire circle it seems that there is one person who voluntarily and quietly moves forward out of the circle to adjust the logs and twigs, setting them up for the burning. Often also, that person becomes like a Priestess and Keeper of the fire, archetypally, as she moves around it during the evening prodding and poking to contain its elemental power and to encourage its fullness. Sarah, with her jacket for evening chill, placed it over her head to tend the flames and in the dwindling natural light of the closing day around the fire, she indeed looked like a Priestess as little sparks drifted up and out of the center into to air. Circle 3

In times of great cultural, political, economic, social and global change it is good to gather locally with old and new friends. To go “elemental” whether it be fire, or water, or wind or earth. In the circle of good people, being close to the elements brings out our humanity as well as our connection with powerful natural forces that symbolize how we might go about change creatively…EARTH for community gardening, WATER for compassion and tenderness, AIR for intelligent investigation and positive words that create what we want, not what we don’t want, and FIRE for belonging, releasing, passion and action, just to name a few of many  possibilities!

Circle

We need to work with the metaphors of the Elementals and nature. We NEED to accept our humble roles as true Priests and Priestesses at the grassroots, making sacred ritual out of everything we do. We need Community and Belonging right where we are. Now. Today.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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NOTE: Synchronicity is one of the amazing surprises of the Universe’s ongoing conversation with us. While preparing to write this essay, I was led to this link below through other mysterious connections having to do with another topic entirely on music and Cultural Creatives amongst us for inspiration. Elemental Fire Rituals are in the consciousness of people and communities in this intense period of change. For more inspiration and information on Community Fire Circles check this site: http://sacredfirecommunity.org/communityfires/why-fire/

**** This site hopefully is Food for the Soul. For Food for the Body, please check out my other blog here  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Sunflowers on blue

In the movie AVATAR, the planet of Pandora boggled the imagination with its rich lush forests and flowers of exquisite complexity, color and design. Secret tropical island hide-aways hanging without visible support high up in the sky  amazed us,  a magical Sacred Tree of the World who held all wisdom for the people had us longing to be under her trailing tendrils to give us Sanctuary, Comfort and Guidance if we could only find her in this world.

We celebrate the amazing powers of imagination that won James Cameron acclaim for following his dream. Literally, for the storyline and vision of Pandora actually was received one night IN a dream while he slept,  many years before.

I myself had a “Pandora Vision” while in a friend’s garden last year, and so  here we are in the blue garden usually hidden between the worlds or somewhere deep within our Imagination and the land of Dreams.  I was intrigued that although the environment around me shifted into soft focus blue (funny,  as I was totally awake , but looking with half-closed eyes), , that the sunflowers laughingly refused to give up their bright cheerful happy yellow as they danced in the sun…

This garden is now only a memory, so I am so happy that as always, my camera was with me to capture this magic momentary opening into Pandora, which apparently is always here through the doorway of Imagination.

Yes, Pandora is ALWAYS around us. Here’s the proof right there in the picture!

( Hint: Don’t forget to take your camera with you when you go out. You just might….find…an…opening when you least suspect it.

**Also don’t forget to check my other site: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com  Recipes for delicious eating while here in THIS world.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

Selfie

Creating a New Vision! What if..............?

When Georgia O’Keefe started to paint her large close-up pictures of the secret and intimate interiors of sensuous flowers, the “established” art community was somewhat taken aback at her independent daring. Breaking away from the pre-conceived norm of what was okay to create as  “art”,  she caused a bit of a stir, not to mention whispered confusion and criticism amongst the “professionals” (authorities?) and her peers in the community of painters. What WAS she doing???  Those close-ups of a kind of  intimacy, evoked strange feelings of discomfort ( mild shock?) peeking into private territories of form that should be portrayed …well… a little more subtly and discreet, if at all.

But what of art? Is it not the eventual  outpouring and manifestation of curiosity,  imagination, risk-taking, and experimentation..a glorified manifestation of PLAY that is always free, inventive, innovative and magical, though technique is necessary as well?  Is it not also the noble duty of art… and THE ARTS… to surprise us,  inspire us, reveal deeper truths, challenge the norm and invoke and evoke new visions of reality and possibilities. especially in stuck, rigid and outworn or faulty perceptions of what is and always has been (” but we ALWAYS have done it THIS way”)

It takes a radical kind of courage to DARE to express different ways of “seeing” and perceiving how “reality” reveals itself to an individual. It takes courage to speak it, paint it , photograph it, dance it, weave into story or blankets, to PLAY with it and put it out there.

Some will take issue and condemn, “oh that’s so silly! There’s no such thing as pink and blue leaves…!” (Remember being cautioned not to color outside of the lines in 2nd grade? A message that has kept many BEHIND the lines all their lives, afraid to express what has been revealed to them).  Others will say “WHOA…I always KNEW those colors were under the green in the worlds beyond this one when the light is just right! Thank YOU! I’m FREE!!!!”

But are there ACTUALLY pink and blue leaves?

 

In my world there are!..and so are they, or could be,  in the “worlds” of Disney, of Tolkien and  Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), of George Lucas (Star Wars),  James Cameron  (AVATAR),  and in the worlds and words of bards and storytellers with harps amongst us, artists, dancers, musicians, poets, mystics, theatre people,  and even the techies who design programs that play with light, shadows, colors in computer photo programs.

And guess what? We get to choose (if sane) which world to be in at any one time, moving back and forth as necessary. That is the MAGIC!  You can’t always accurately balance your checkbook in the world of pink and blue leaves.  But you can’t move through blockages in your life in a world devoid of imagination and rigid thought-form of how things should be done: the world of cultural “consensus”.

 

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Creating a New Vision! What if..............?There ARE two worlds and maybe more. Dare to entertain possibilities! Risk! Discern which world to see from at any one moment.. DARE to express a new Vision for yourself and to the world!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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ps. please check out my cooking blog too: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

(There ARE pink and blue leaves, but we don’t eat them!)

 

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As the Greening Spirit, I teach about things that lift the human spirit.. music, the arts, spirituality and metaphysics/magic.  When I use the word “magic” I am referring to the power we have within us to live in Mystery by giving free reign to our creative imaginations, literally seeing things in a new way and bringing into some sort of form, and using the words we speak mindfully and consciously for transformation in our lives.

One of the favorite workshops/lectures I offer is about the power of dreams and the imagination, and another on “Consciously-Created Reality-Your Words Create Your Life”  (http://lunchandlearnseminars.worpress.com)  In these lectures/seminars we become excited and encouraged to DARING enough to lead our imaginations play and express new visions and possibilities. “

Part of this process is to then be amazed at the energy of synchronicities that pop into our lives to validate and support these new visions and perspectives, as if the Universe is communicating to us “YAY! Keep going, dear human…you are on the right track and we have your back!”

I was teaching “Your Words Create Your Life” to a small peer mentoring group. It seemed that several of us were having situational financial struggles and were in need of a new flow of prosperity. That “money thing” seems to be of universal concern these days. We did some meditation and journaling work around this as a group, rephrasing how we speak about money and abundance.

Later on that evening, I had to go out for a little food shopping. It was past sunset, and it was dark in the oarking lot, except for several little islands with a young tree in each highlighted by a spotlight. As I passed by this one tree, lit up in the darkness, I noticed the soft yellow rounded leaves and admired them. THEN, in my mind “Why, these leaves look like little coins!” Immediately I took out my camera which is ALWAYS with me in my bag and photographed it.

Later, in working with the picture in my editing program I thought of our workshop earlier that day and the work we did around money… and here was this tree with leaves that looked like COINS. Playing with color through the magic of technological editing (what used to be done in the darkroom) I “conjured up” Golden Coins… a metaphor for abundance in all ways if we trust in ourselves and our abilities to bring into our lives better experiences if we choose what we give our attention and energy to. If we choose to “see” things in the world that we desire to see and choose the words that speak of them. The supposed wisdom “Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know” just may be wrong, coming out of a dispirited hopelessness. Yet, it is not just about money.

For the following peer mentoring gathering, I made up a color photo of the Tree of Golden Coins for each of us. It became a powerful metaphor for the possibility and reality of Abundance for all of us and everyone was delighted. Magic in the Mind, Magic in the Imagination, Magic in the camera, Magic in the computer technology that revealed in that tree, the golden coins.

At that workshop when everyone got a picture, we had a lovely communal lunch. When we went back to our seats and passed the altar, I did a double-take, for there in front of the candle was a REAL live golden coin. A dollar in coin form has suddenly manifested!

Well, in truth… it had not manifested out of thin air, but in the natural sequence of magic created when a group is into the mode of imagination, like in theater. One of the participants had slipped away during lunch and gone out to her car to retrieve this coin from her change compartment near the dashboard…just waiting for such a creative moment!

BUT…. a week or so later, with a large 8×10 framed photo of this picture in my living room and looked at daily, I in my very mundane time of daily life, stopped off for a coffee at Cumberland Farms. Paying for it and another item with a fiver, the cheerful gentleman behind the counter chatted with me while he reached into the drawer to make the one dollar change that was owed me…”Oh he said, I’m out of bills…I hope you don’t mind…here’s a golden coin…”

Coin

That had never happened in my experience before.  As a matter of fact, up until this experience, I had not been aware that dollars in golden coin had been minted.

The Universe was laughing and so was I!

“Go Girl! You’re on the right track!”

With magic and laughter, Christine the Greening Spirit. 

***  please check my foodie blog too!   http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

ps  We may be “magical” but we still have to eat!

 

 

 

October Witchy Willow

One of my great passions as The Greening Spirit, is photography and the magic that can be created through the editing technology that is now available in our computer programs. There  is, in the community of photographers, some small debate at times as to whether one should leave a photograph alone to stand on its own merits and the gifted eye of the photographer, or instead enhance the photograph through cropping, framing, blurring, working with light, shadow and color through editing programs to create a desired effect.

For myself, I tend towards the freer and more playful practice of editing my photographs to express something at a later time in essay or written form. It is an old saying that “a picture speaks a thousand words” and although my photographer’s eye, never un-assisted by my camera, is forever and endlessly seeing wonders everywhere, there is usually within a larger scene compelling me to “stop and snap!”,  some singular image that evokes a whole story, message or teaching worthy of pondering and eventual literary expression.  It is the need to capture and highlight that central image through creative editing that makes it come alive for me… and the actual source of those enhancements, deeper than the technology that implements them, draw their inspiration from the creative sparks of the Imagination, thoughtful discernment and good taste of the photographic “artist”, and depths of Soul.

Witchy Willow                                                                                                                                                       It is curious that many old libraries are home to magnificent old trees as well as old and treasured books under and into which we may take leave of the mundane world and magically “disappear”  for refreshment, inspiration and just plain “time out”. To disappear under a long-limbed and leafy tree or into the pages of a book and a fantastic story, especially a so-called “fantasy” one,  are indeed  magical experiences.

Go through the  solid back wall of an old wardrobe in a hidden room and spilling out into Narnia, sliding down a rabbit-hole and landing in “Wonderland, slipping into your “avatar” and through dream traveling arrive in Pandora, and walking through a wall at Platform 9 and 3/4 ending up at Hogwarts are all highly imaginative doorways through and to the usually hidden worlds of Soul, the home of light and darkness, choas and creativity, woundedness, vulnerability, healing and courage, art, music and all manner or archetypes, muses, Daemons and guides available to us for our adventures on the Imagination’s  surprise-filled paths and roads.

Our little local library here, though not ancient (but the township is) is home to a most interesting weeping willow tree overlooking the small parking lot. As with most weeping willows, long thick and thin wooden tendrils of branch twist their way in a downward sweep from a central sturdy trunk which is unseen. When fully clothed in leafy attire, no entrance to the base of that tree is visible, except “Under” it. Of course if in the middle of the Harry Potter series, one never does forget in Book One,  the impact of the “Whomping Willow” that thrashes any interloper daring to come close, insuring its independence, privacy and displaying its most contrary overly defensive/offensive nature. But not all weeping willows are cranky.

We love this old tree at the library, twisted and a little mysterious, and to my eye and imagination, exceedingly magical as well. Although it sometimes receives a little haircut, or curtain- cut as a caretaker’s trimming clips its trailing vine-like tendrils when reaching the ground, still it is full of private, hidden mystery,  for it is not possible to see the heart of the tree..just the spell of its thick green curtain that blocks entry to its heart of secrets.

My Witchy Willow has a magic power of Blue-ish green and depth of shadow, informing me that there are stories, poems, visions, inspiration, safety, and soulful inspiration beyond the veil of protection, and close to the heartwood, if one knows the right password to slip under and within and find them as treasures. Yet the word “Witchy” always has an edge to it…possibly dark and foreboding, the lure of the as-yet unknown requiring a spirit of adventure and courage…but also a sense of magic and possibilities available to us yet often unrecognized and un-claimed as we busy ourselves out in the parking lots and on the roads, rather than seeking guidance under the tree.

I love the Witchy Willow and although my mundane eyes see a more “normal” tree when I pull into the library these days, I know of a secret more hidden expression of that old tree that only reveals itself to those who see with other eyes.

As it is said in the “Witchy World”…”It takes one to know one”.  (WINK)

**** Originally published 12/5/2013

Old man tree singing in the morning

I do believe that there exists all around us a parallel world of spirit, energies and beings who are usually hidden from our human physical eyes, either because they just operate on another plane of existence, or because they wish to be hidden in order to go about their assigned business and purpose in our mutual and precious web of life, OR.. because we two-leggeds are just so immersed in our own dramas at a high rate of speed, that we do not see what and who is there around us all the time!

 In any case, there are moments of sudden deep-seeing that can happen unexpectedly when we are slowed-down a little and the slant of light is just a bit different to allow a peek in-between the worlds. This deep-seeing requires but a momentary flash of child-like openness and imagination, which is the source of all fairy-tales, myths, “Make-Believes” ( oh, but are we sure about THAT?) and dreams.

So it was that one morning, while washing dishes at the kitchen sink I gazed briefly out of the window, my mind slowly pondering the schedule of the day, when there he was, the old man-in-the-tree singing to the sunrise,  greeting and welcoming in, the new morning. Or perhaps it was more important than that…perhaps it was his task to call in the morning through his song and had he failed to do that, it would have stayed dark forever!

It was a deep-rooted song (basso profundo I believe) and he was so into his morning salutation that he was not aware of my enthralled and delighted gaze. OR… maybe he was aware of me indeed and thought “ah, she is one who believes” and subtly but intentionally bent into the shaft of light that would render him visible to one who would do no harm and perhaps even add my voice to the morning salutation.

It was a gift under any circumstance and whether he lives and sings in the Outer World or in my Imagination it does not matter. The world of Myths and Dreams is REAL and so is “Make-Believe,”all of which is necessary for Manifestation, and in this process Creation flows back and forth between the two multi-layered Worlds unceasingly.

If still you are not sure of this, and yet are fans of Harry Potter ( “the whomping willow”), AVATAR (the sacred tree), Star Wars, and the Lord of the Rings (remember the “ENTS” ?) then remember that they started as dreams in someone’s Imagination before they became the stories that we read, watch, and tell to remember in some fashion that the Web of Life is Magical and that there are many kinds of “us” who  live here.

So in the next week as you yourself walk or ride around in your life, gaze at the trees who have agreed to shed their clothes this season to reveal their stories and personalities to those who might be open to meeting them in a new way.

Maybe you will even hear them singing.

Christine Phoenix-Green (January 15, 2010)

Please respect my ownership of all writings and photos on this site, and  credit me and this source if passing on or sharing this in any way. Copywrited material is part of a book in progress. Thank you.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

The Letter

Perhaps it is the long cold isolating winter this year, or perhaps it is a seasoned Maturity marching to an old and distant drummer which is somewhat at odds with, and questioning of, the fast pace and material focus of contemporary life. Perhaps it is a personal longing for communication with grown children who live busy lives elsewhere as parents and professionals and a puzzlement as to how things have become so intensely busy that even a 3-line e-mail is too long to ponder and respond to with presence or care.
 
 It seems that the social forces want everyone to link up and “connect” but to do it as quickly as possible…get in and get out, skimming over the surface of life with sound-bites of information/touching base that become trivial because there is no time to pause, go deeper, reflect and dialogue for the fuller, more complex and truthful story. And that may be okay for some, but for others it simply is not enough to satisfy the longing for the treasured communication that was often inherent through the more personal presence and practice of letter-writing. In fact, I would go so far as to say that in these past several days of Winter isolation, I have been pondering the lost art of letter writing, as a sweetly archaic form of personal communication that is unknown to the generation of the 30 year olds and younger, and which has been almost forgotten by many who are older and now tech-saavy.
  
 
As a youngster and a teenager, one of my greatest delights was the rhythmic correspondence between myself and my beloved cousin Edmond in which we shared endlessly about books, youthful and deepening philosophical ponderings of the meaning of life, teasings and humor -an ongoing lively in-depth dialogue that started about age 10 and continued through his tour of duty in Vietnam and my marriage and new life as a wife, and mother. In a real sense, these letters to each other were like diaries in which we shared with each other great trust and patience, depths of intellect and for sure, depths of Soul in spite of our youth.

In my teens also, I had a handsome pen-pal named Sujit Banerjee from India who sent me marvelous and intriguing pictures of himself in school uniform, riding an elephant and visiting exotic holy temples made of polished glass and sparkling mirrors. How exciting it was to receive the mail and see his paper-thin air-mail letters with unusual stamps and to open it with news and Kodak photos from a place so far away in miles and in culture!

In the years of my marriage and motherhood 3 states away from my own family and my in-laws, letters flew back and forth on a weekly basis to both my Mom and Dad, and my beloved Italian Mother-in-law, Maria, filled with stories of our life and the babies, and the joys and struggles as a young couple while my husband attended graduate school at the University. My parents and my in-laws were connected to us and we to them across the many miles with those stories which gave them an ongoing “picture” of their children and grandchildren allowing us all to feel, know and experience the continued unfolding of our lives as family, through words, images, thoughts, sharings. And they told their stories to us too as parents do…you know, the weather, their health, the state of the changing world. In these letters, we spoke, were listened to and were heard. To get a letter, to open it and read it was a bright spot in the day, and no matter where we were, it was a a reminder that we were connected to those who knew us.

Not that ALL letters were sweet and warm…in times of family or relational stress, letters could come that challenged the calm, drew lines in the sand or broke the heart. However, the letter carried the truth of the moment of a situation and the truth emerging from the heart, and allowed one voice to speak without interruption, interception or deflection. The letter allowed a period of listening time, and if a bond was not irrevocably broken, a possibility for ongoing, albeit sometimes scary or courageous, reflection and dialogue in the service of reconciliation. The point is, the letter always had the potential for authentic communication…which takes TIME, and a certain spaciousness for thought…and perhaps, a certain conscious elegance that could nurture and deepen Relationship.

Of course, the teasing, passionate or longing and SEMI-PRIVATE e-mail or FB announcement of ardent devotion can never match the treasure and intimacy of the Love Letter straight out of the depths of the heart, to be read and re-read and kept secret and personal under the pillow or tucked away in a special box, with a key…to save for years if love is true. And if love is fickle, the solemn ritual of tossing the letter with its personal handwriting into a roaring fire is much more powerful and magical for healing than pressing the “delete” button!

Letters, letters of all kinds…the paper, the pen, the stamp, the time it takes to write, the time it takes to read…there is an element of beauty, honesty, respect and genuine contact and communication directly from the heart and head and through the hand that offers a human touch and presence that no e-mail, twitter or texting message can match.

And like taking the time to prepare and sit down with a cup of tea, the writing/reading of a letter is an opportunity for a centering “Time Apart” from the world, so fast and full of noise and invasive chatter about so many things that do not matter.

The Letter. It is an art and a craft worth reviving.

(Christine Phoenix Green, January 2011)

Coming up next

The Art of the Letter

Part 2

Please respect my ownership of all writings and photos on this site, and  credit me and this source if passing on or sharing this in any way. Copywrited material is part of a book in progress. Thank you.

 

 

MARY Christmas                               (artwork by Sulamith Wulfing)

            Christmas Eve: The Time of Fulfillment draws near.

Gaudete! Gaudete! Christus est Ex Maria Virginae

Music: Gaudette by Steeleye Span

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDc2FD-vy8M

 

IMG_0695 (4).jpg Frost on Glass

The Art of Deep-Seeing is the practice of slowing down, paying attention and being present to the Miracles and Magic that surround us all the time, every day, every place, no matter where we are.

To some, the Art of Deep Seeing comes naturally.This is especially true if one’s personal pace and daily schedule offers the opportunity to not just “look” as we dash through on our way to somewhere else,  but rather to stop and allow things to surprise us. When that happens these seemingly ordinary “things” capture our attention with their beauty, their patterns and colors, and especially their metaphors..that is, what they simply are and  what they suggest to us symbolically.

The morning I captured this picture, or rather…it captured me…. was one on which a sudden sharp dark-night frost unexpectedly coated the windows of my car, the blades of dried grass and the glass jars I had washed and set out on the deck to drain and dry. Yes, in the early morning,  I had to scrape the windows of the car, scatter ice-melt on the front steps and mourn a potted rosemary plant that had taken the sudden freeze to heart, and sadly died.

But then I noticed a slant of cold early morning light beaming through the bushes and across the railing of the deck…and in all crystalline brilliance and color, was a feather-thin pattern and sparkle of ice on those glass jars.  Looking closely at them, I could see the icy crystals in a pattern of radiating stars as if  the frost had captured and imprinted the night sky full of twinkling bodies of light upon the surface of the glass.

The magic of camera went one step beyond the naked eye, and the editing program of cropping and color went several steps beyond the camera. And what do we see once again but the ingenuity, the beauty, the creativity, the mirroring of stars and sky upon earth and in water:  crystals, gems, snowflakes, stars, the sparkle of mischief, humor , intelligence  and LIGHT in the eyes of humans and all creatures on earth. Wealth and abundance of spirit everywhere. .and a multitude of Possibilities!  Is it actually possible to count each individual ice crystal upon that small patch of glass, let alone all the individual ice crystals of that morning?

Rev. Matthew Fox, author of “Original Blessing” often says “Where there is Awe, there is prayer”. (Awe as in “oh wow! Look at THAT!”)

I guess this was a morning prayer.

Move slowly, and with Presence. Be surprised when what was hidden because you looked but didn’t see, suddenly reveals itself to you in your rare moment of stillness.

It’s always about Magic.

Christine, The Greening Spirit

ADVENT-  holy enclosure, gestation (Painting by Sulamith Wulfing)

ADVENT- holy enclosure, gestation (Painting by Sulamith Wulfing)

 Path of Sacred Mysteries: Advent as a Marian Time of Waiting
ADVENT in the Christian tradition comes in the cold and dark of winter when it seems that we will be waiting forever for the return of Spring, the season of new light, life, warmth and the emergence of the greening vegetation that sustains us. It is in these dark days and even longer nights that we must not lose energy and Faith that although all seems hidden and silent,  a great Mystery is taking place within the womb of Mother Earth;  the seeds of something wonderful and NEW are gestating in the darkness itself , and will indeed, undeniably and and with utmost certainty be born out of the Waiting Time to bring new Life and Hope everywhere.

In the Christian tradition, it is familiar to focus on the birth of a Savior..THE Savior… and so Advent is celebrated week by week, with the lighting of a candle and the reading of Scripture that expresses the LONGING of the people to be saved, rescued and renewed by One who will bring new life, new hope and new meaning to humanity in dark times. However, although the Catholic/Christian path was the inherited and beloved path of my own roots originally, as I have grown older as a woman, a mother and now a grandmother, and have spent many years in and with spiritual circles of Women, I have come to ponder  another perspective on this Holy time before the actual birth of the Baby…and that is,  ADVENT as a “Marian” time, and the story-REALLY pondered  studied, imagined and ritualized, as the story of a young, innocent Child-Woman asked to partcipate in an astounding happening: to agree to be “overshadowed” by God, to defy the rules of Nature and become pregnant by Divinity…and  yet to remain within the tribe of her people, undercover as it were, containing a very great Mystery within her that surely could not be explained in ordinary society.

My compassion and admiration for Mary in this story is great and profound. It must also be said, having studied archeological histories that there is vast evidence of archeological HERstories also and that this particular Holy Story is not the only one of its kind..many that pre-date Christianity. But this is the season of ADVENT in the Christian tradition, and it IS winter,  during which the Earth is pregnant with the seeds of Spring’s new Life.  And so though it may be a departure from the traditional focus for this season of Advent, there is in truth for me a  very personal call to honor Mary in the enclosed time of her pregnancy, holding the Light of a very special Life within her, in a posture of Stillness, Solitude , Calm Waiting and Mystery.

It is also a time of personal remembering for my own experience many years ago as a Mother-to-be in the waiting time…and an honoring of an event that can only be experienced by, and through the body of a Woman.

Christine, The Greening Spirit

Snow posOur first real snowfall is here today, blanketing the brown and burnt sienna of dried oak leaves, softening the limbs of branches and tree trunks, gently drawing us inward, listening to the music of silence as we watch the flakes fall straight down wordlessly but with  messages that we hear nonetheless.

Shhh! Shhhh! Be still. Pull in and cozy up. Push your indoor garden closer to the window so that they can see the whiteness and celebrate their year round green-ness  in the shelter of a warm kitchen.

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Polish up the crystal teapot and take out the herbs. A special tea for today, a creative and sensuous blend, just because…Milky oat tops, red rose petals, spearmint, a thin wedge of orange and a little honey. Snowpost 2

Listen to Vivaldi, softly, in the backround on Pandora. There is celebration and quiet crystalline lushness outside…

And magic and mystery as well.  A good afternoon to read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,  feet up, disappearing from the usual path and pattern of a Tuesday schedule.

But mostly, it is a day for rest, for pulling in and down without distraction if your life allows that today..centering, listening to the silence of snowfall and within ourselves, breathing deeply and inhaling the fragrances of rose and spearmint and honey..becoming WHOLE again…and a prayer:

“Thank you Oh Whole-y White.”

(If the only prayer you say is “thank you!”..it is enough. ~ Meister Ekhart)

Snowpoat 6

With love, from the Greening Spirit

NOTE: Today’s “Sensuous Snowday’s Tea”  recipe is on Sensuous Soups and Suppers blog! http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Crunchy Cranberry Relish! A Greening Spirit Recipe!

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Want something to SNACK on or take to a pot luck and become a culinary Star? Try my special Crunchy Cranberry Fruit and Nut specialty! On my companion foodie blog:

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

Community, Kinship and Conversation on Thanksgiving

IMG_0684 (2).jpg Thanksgiving Celebration (Reposted from November 2010 by request)

Many Thanksgivings have come and gone and once again we are on the eve of that special day, each year the experience of the holiday both familiar and new as people come an go in ours lives.

And yet, we approach the day with precious memories that may or may not have anything to do with the picture painted by Norman Rockwell, in which a Gram and Gramps preside over the holiday feasting table of sons and daughters with their spouses and children, all gathered as one big happy family.

It is a picture with a homey, old-fashioned air of harmony, peace, togetherness and the ongoing family story, extended into longer chapters with each new marriage, each new birth. The thing that is so touching in this painting is that it feels real and comforting, eliciting the longing for “coming home” where we are loved, accepted, connected and recognized, and it’s fulfillment on Thanksgiving Day.

But as I pondered this,  other not- so- cozy scenes of the holiday prompted me to to ask the questions ”where are all the OTHER sets of parents of the spouses who married into the family in this picture ? Their own children, now all grown up, are HERE at this table, not at their table, so where are they? And how are they celebrating this day of  “togetherness and home-coming”?

I suspect they are: #1. With their other children, or with friends  #2. Eating a turkey dinner at the local Fire Station with other child-less elders. #3  Alone at home watching QVC. The Norman Rockwell painting may portray the experience of some, but what you can’t see are all the others who are attached deeply to those seated around the table, but who are NOT there, and having to create a way to alternatively go through the day somewhere else where they find kinship or seek solace in some manner in solitude that may be piercing to the heart.

So it was that yesterday, a day after Thanksgiving itself (when my out-of-town daughter, son-in law and grandchild came through for an overnight after spending this year’s Thanksgiving with his extended family elsewhere), I made my way to the home of dear friends where 19 of us gathered once again around the welcoming table at Madeline and Michael’s in a nearby township. Madeline had to work at the hospital on Thanksgiving this year and so the official celebration was moved to Friday, which served us well. For some, it was Thanksgiving #2, having spent Thursday elsewhere with blood family or friends,  and for some, it was THE Thanksgiving #1, having spent Thursday alone cleaning the house or yard or watching the football game without family. But for ALL of us, no matter what the official day of Thanksgiving had been, gathering once again around the table at Madeline and Michael and with each other, was  THE “coming home” event, as we greeted each other with open, cheerful, tender, or wounded hearts that could, for these hours and in this company, heal with welcoming, stories, hugs, laughter, updating, and the bounty of the earth.

Everyone contributed a specialty to the banquet table, an offering sharing delight and nourishment to pleasure and sustain both body and spirit. The age range of guests around this table spanned a great swath of time and several decades, from age 80 down to age 1½.  There was a 7 year old, some young 20 year olds,   a couple in their 30’s, a number of 60+ year olds, a 75-er and a great elder of  80. And unlike sitting at the table with one’s children in their 30’s plus toddlers in which there is no possibility of starting or actually finishing a sentence,  there was REAL conversation, and the topics varied…who’s doing what, how to cut down a tall tree, the price of ink (one of the costliest commodities at $5000 a gallon), growing potatoes and butternut squash organically in the neighborhood gardens, what the difference is between the space shuttle (that part which propels the whole affair) and the capsule( where the astronauts live and work and float about in space), how a cat sitting atop a tv survived a lightening strike, what it’s like being on a construction crew working on building mega-mansions for the mega rich ( summer homes that include helicopter pads and indoor private theatres)  and many other interesting topics to mull over  keeping the conversations lively with stories.

At this table were artists, painters, a dollmaker,a woodcraftsman, a piano teacher, a flute player,  a roofer, a construction supervisor, a soon- to- be aeronautical engineer, a lady bartender, a teaching assistant,  a grade-school teacher,  two medical lab technicians , potters, an astrologer, a Chinese translator, lots of great cooks, gardeners, herbalists, former professional photographers, Irish set-dancers, English Country Dancers etc-many of us wearing more than one hat in what we do for our both Vocations and our avocations, and a great pool of wisdom, expertise and services to offer within this little “village” of companions.

Times have changed from the evocative scene portrayed in the painting of Thanksgiving by Norman Rockwell. Yes, families still do gather at long tables, and carve the turkey, and watch the grandchildren, nieces and nephews dash around the house in rambunctious delight and play. They still note with bittersweet memory those who are no longer alive, and their absence from the banquet of Life. But this scene attempts to portray a wholeness and a continuity, which is does in a lovely way. Yet in these times, the changes include family continuity challenged by many divorces, great distances between people, and a cultural ethic that puts commercialism and glitz (Thanksgiving stuffed animals and baskets on display in September, Christmas goodies with sports, Disney or designer logos on display in November) before the simplicity of community coming together in some form, either familial or intentional, consciously, and with a gentle ease, to linger together, take refreshment, tell stories, laugh, and be grateful for the hours of gathering set apart from the mundane daily routines. And if there is the possibility of a span of generations present, than there is an extra richness and nourishment around the table  and afterwards, in front of the fire.

For the wonderful  Thanksgiving gathering on Friday at Madeline and Michael’s and the members of the day’s intentional “tribe”, I am very nourished and full of  Gratitude. Thank you, Thank you, dearest of Friends.

Please Visit My Foodie Blog!

The Greening Spirit Way is about the cycles of Life and how we grow and renew our spirits, our minds and our bodies through Nature, Art, Beauty and all that Nourishes.

I invite you to visit my other blog:    http://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com  for delicious recipes from Earth’s bounty and Greening Spirit stories and memoirs around food.

Today’s post is  “A Memoir: Recipes as Life Markers”Handwritten Recipe

Drawing from the Field of Possibilities

   “Everyone is waiting for Eternity, and the shamans are saying ‘How about   tonight?’ ” ~ Albert Villoldo, PhD

Do you believe in Possibilities? Do you believe in Dreams and the ability we have as conscious humans to manifest those dreams into the realities and experiences in our lives?

For a number of years, I have been studying, practicing and teaching the principles of creating our personal experience of  reality no matter what is actually happening in our lives at any one time. There are many many teachers of these laws and principles of manifestation these days, offering metaphysical, spiritual or scientific perspectives. But really, the teachings are not new or new-age. They are old…ancient as a matter of fact… offered throughout the milleniums, but not always accepted or followed through as a practice to bring into our lives a way of being that is healthy, wealthy or wise.

It is taught that in order to bring a particular experience or set of circumstances, a specific desired material object, or a definitive solution to a problem into our lives,  we must be clear..very clear… in our minds and in advance, about what we desire or intend. It is taught that beyond our limited awareness, all shapes, colors, sizes, streams of light, objects, forms of creation, elements, situations, energies, POSSIBILITIES and SOLUTIONS are available to us in and from the quantuum Universe. Because of this,  anything and everything is available to us if we can imagine it,  focus on it within our minds, hold it in our intentions, express it through our attitudes and call it into our lives with the words we speak. Personally, I am enchanted with the word “magic”, but when the principles of manifestation -into- experience- and- reality are studied, magic and quantum physics are similar, if not the same. It is a Mystery that we cannot actually explain by logic, but that we know from experience.

I love watching and photographing these Great Mysteries expressed through Nature. The world of science, the world of the shaman, the world of storytellers and cosmologists, the world of the poets, artists and  mystics all have some manner of communion, understanding  and expression about the way Nature, the Universe, The Cosmos brings the most amazing creations, living and non-living, into being, into form,  into Manifestation.

Everything that manifests in the world of nature  draws from that vast field of Possibilities, and with the highest intent and focus, pulls together from the swirling vortex,  all that is necessary for a tree, an ocean, a bird, the winds, fire, color, movement,  to come into a form of reality that we can see, feel, smell, taste or interact with.

It is taught that we may do the same in our lives. Out of the limitless, infinite stream of colors,  shapes and energies swirling in the ALIVE Field of Possibilities,  what do YOU  intend to draw from it for yourself for a happier, healthier, more loving way of Life?

Dream a dream, hold it, SEE it in your mind, FOCUS on it being possible, and trust that the many threads of wild color and energy of the amazing Field of Possibilities will weave it together for you..!  If Nature can do it..so can we!

Nov 8 2013  4

I belong to a community of photographers on FB who focus (literally) on pictures taken within our little New England state. Each week there is a different theme and we are out and about everywhere capturing the beauty or the visual stories of where we live. Right here. Right now. It is a very special and gifted group, with cameras large and small, tripods or steady hands, fancy lenses or single built- in lenses, and editing programs in our computers. We capture Beauty, shapes, scenes, angles, curves, colors, people, animals, events, costuming, memories and more. We are not competitive, but rather, amazingly enthusiastic, supportive, inspired and inspiring. We learn to see the world through many perspectives, and to see a theme, through many eyes and unique interpretations, celebrating and taking delight in diversity.

Because I am a writer as well, when I see an image that I am compelled to capture, as I am taking the photograph for what it is, I am deep-seeing what it means for me symbolically as well. When I photograph something, I am also writing about it in my mind. What it is beauty enough, but what it means to me as metaphor is even more powerful on a personal level and often becomes the inspiration for my writings on nature, or life, or soul-full living.

Like many creative artists, I often ride a financial roller-coaster supporting myself through work based on the creative, healing, or metaphysical arts. Sometimes up. Sometimes down. The themes of Abundance/Lack are always being worked with and adjusted through meditative practices, visualizations for blessings, reading inspiring books and practicing exercises for manifestation, and just plain prayer..(we try not to beg the Universe to answer..wrong energy :-) )

For me, one of the best ways to work with the theme/the prayer/the desire for the manifestation of “Abundance” is to photograph it! And in truth…it is the way of Nature, the way of the Earth, the way of the Universe in its sheer playful and awesome generosity of manifesting bounty. Everywhere we look…the infinite individual needles on a single pine tree, the impossible-to-count grains of sand on a beach, the millions, billions, TRILLIONS of drops of water in the ocean,the un-ending blades of grass in a yard, let alone everywhere, the awesome silk-carried seeds on a dandelion head..everywhere we look, we see wealth, treasure, opulence.

And let us not forget leaves, leaves, leaves…the sheer amount of them covering our lawns and “yardens” when they decide to let go of dancing in the wind and drop upon us, truly revealing the enormity of their numbers under our feet, eventually to be swept up for re-cycling by our rakes, the work and gathering seemingly endless when we are in the middle of that task. There is the other gift of leaves besides their numbers, reminding us of the Earth’s generosity and abundance, and that is their ability to transform themselves from green to unique, flaming brilliance of light and colors in their “old age”. They do not “leave” without letting go of the rules and required uniformity of Community, becoming who they truly were all long as the chlorophyll in their individual bodies drain away, their work in the greater community done for this year. They do not go quietly, insignificantly or shyly into the dark night, but rather, in flaming color, beauty and bounty while saying  goodbye.

May we open our eyes to the Beauty, the Blessings and the Abundance that surround us at every moment. May we choose to notice, capture and savor it.  May we always remember to say Thank You, as well…..

Little Leaf

Little Leaf 5We live in such a busy world of movement, noise, activities, responsibilities, information and constant media updates about all things important and mosty not, and of instant everything that keeps us in perpetual motion, dashing from one thing to another, one thought to another, sifting, sorting, prioritizing on the run in a constant state of mental mind chatter. Attention spans can be very short, communications brief, quick and on the surface (who writes letters anymore, or has the patience to read through an e-mail communique made up of more than one short vertical message..three paragraphs taking up too much time…).

Woe is us, who have lost the art of Presence, Depth, Deep-seeing and the practice of and intimacies  Deep Engagement with those around us, and in our connection to the natural world..the Earth’s primary scripture of connection and belonging!

There are four lines from a beautiful blessing by the Celtic priest/poet John O’Donohue in his lovely ode to “Presence” that I carry with me every day, and these four lines remind me always of the delightful gifts of slowing down, opening my eyes and heart in a spirit of focused alertness to be present to the wonders that surround us in people and places as we move about the world.

The four lines are:

Awaken to the mystery of being here~ Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses~Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention and ~May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

And so, on a particular day of seeking sanctuary, play and exercise as well, I entered the woods once again at Kettle Pond, with camera…my treasured deep-seeing companion.. and moseyed about just walking, just seeing the depths throughout the woods and the varieties of colors and textures of bark, roots, fallen leaves, mosses, and rock.

In such a relaxed and slow stroll, we can often fall into a kind of altered state..really a state of seeing from the center of Soul, all superficial worldly subjects of concern falling away. And for me, and perhaps for you as well, entering this alternative state of consciousness allows for a different kind of focus..both laser-like in clarity, and diffuse in perception combined.

And suddenly…I saw it. A leaf…a little tiny leaf.. open and trusting, spread out upon a large and friendly boulder, surrounded by the chaos of the breakdown and decay of a season gone past and returning to the earth. It was darling and sweet, like a tender baby clinging, or rather, resting upon the support of sturdy sanctuary. Had I been moving fast through the woods to finish my walk and get on to my outer life..like grocery shopping, driving to town to pay a bill, scooting around to get on to get back home to check e-mails..I would have missed this, with eyes straight ahead to finish my walk and get on with things, mind chattering about things I needed to do next.IMG_4004

Presence. Presence to the present moment from a place of centered wondering/wandering. Looking..and really seeing..and full of anticipation for the element of surprise!

I am never disappointed by the conscious decision to slow down and practice the art of deep-seeing..and I always always find that I am rewarded by the surprises and delights that open up to me when I surrender to this. Of all that was going on around me in the cacophany of color, shapes and textures of the woods on that walk, it was this little leaf that was the greatest gift of beauty, tenderness, vulnerability and trust that was the gift and teaching of this moment of “time out” and be here now. I am so grateful.

I am also grateful for the technology available to us in the photo programs in our computers that allow us to crop and see even more closely the wonders that surround us that we otherwise might miss. When I was growing up, I often asked for a magnifying glass or microscope kit for Christmas and would spend hours collecting treasures from nature and seeing them enlarged, up close and personal, revealing then what could not be seen of their intricacies and complexities with the naked eye. Up close and personal through the technology of “cropping” the exquisite colors of rock and moss, the delicate and fragile skin of leaf, and the patterns and veins of life within the once-living leaf are revealed.

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 I am always enchanted, captivated by and in love with the great Mysteries (which are often little) hidden in plain sight.

Presence.

**If you also love good food that is natural, healthy, delicious and full of life..please check out my food blog sensuous soups and suppers! Then go take a walk in nature!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/tempting-tomatoeggplant-basil-teasers/

Grumpy RockIt’s probably because I have Cancer Rising and a Pisces Moon, that I have quite an imagination and a  highly intuitive sense that allows me to peek into the “invisible” world that co-exists right alongside the material one. I “read” faces of people, imagining their personalities and hear the “music” (major or minor key?) in people’s voices,sensing their mood,  and I “see” distinct personalities in nature as well. Driving past a stand of trees, I can see the ones that are family groups, or lovers, or free spirits within their arboreal community. I see shapes in clouds that reveal a story, and  I have experienced looking down at reflections in pools of water that tell me what is happening up in the sky.

Today while driving out of our little lively local library, someone was coming in at the same time. Our windows lined up for a brief moment as we passed each other going in opposite directions and we were in direct visual contact for a mili-second. What I saw was a face that was very very crabby if not downright angry..not sad, not worried, not flat…but quite unpleasant and cross, and I thought..”my word, I don’t think she would be pleasant to interact with just now..”(or maybe ever). She reminded me exactly of a woodland entity I met while on one of my nature walks at a nearby preserve. She reminded me of ….Mr. Grumpy Rock.

One of our seaside nature preserves is an old forest, with immense rocks, boulders and deep pits  hewn out of the earth during glacial events..a very interesting territory with narrow paths, knobby exposed tree roots,  overhanging canopy and lichen-covered boulders of various sizes and shapes. I love the variety of plants found here..sassafras, sweet fern, yarrows, goldenrod, St. Johnswort, red sumac and other herbal treasures. Oak dominates, but the forest is host to many other species of trees and entering its sanctuary is like entering another time and place in history when coming off of the mainstream road of the present. There are many paths that wind and meander and one always has to IMG_4002eventually make a choice to stay on the path or move to the side and investigate a bog.

On one particular walk, when the leaves had fallen and the trees were unclothed and courageous to the elements of the sleeping season, I followed a bend in the road that was lined with a community of large rocks and boulders along one side. I always have my camera with me..always..for who knows when something extraordinary  or of exceptional beauty will be revealed without warning and I serve to capture it for the purpose of remembering.

And so I started down this new path bordered by these large boulders and was suddenly startled by a most definite scowl..the face of a very disgruntled rock who I think was also grumbling and mumbling to himself as I passed by. Not that he was aware of me, actually.. he was really just too into his own story, and centuries of discontent had etched itself permanently upon his face. He wasn’t sad. He wasn’t suffering that I could see, but he was just one of those types who by temperment, was just plain crabby. And the older he got, without a change of attitude..the bigger and wider his scowl became.

Well now. Isn’t that just the way it can be with us humans who, without paying attention to how we habitually think and talk,  can also have that tape of kvetches, complaints, discontents and resentments playing over and over in our minds on an unconscious level, tempering the music of our voices and creating the shape of our facial expression. One of my Aunties used to tell me when I was growing up and grumpy and out of sorts that if I kept looking like that, it might freeze that way on my face permanently..a really harsh destiny, self-inflicted. Nobody in the forest dared to mention that to Mr. Grumpy Rock..but it was obvious that he was not having fun. Is it fate? Or is it at some level a choice to be in a snit, perturbed, irritated on a regular basis, argumentative, and witholding of good will and gratitude for what IS working well, even amidst the challenges, upheavals and seasons of life?

So I go back to the brief eye-to-eye encounter I had with a passing human today, in which I was reminded of Mr. Grumpy Rock. Perhaps it was just a momentary pique on her face, worthy of compassion..but inviting a cautious wide berth just in case. Perhaps it was an expression worn daily and perpetually, frozen there in a particular stance in life..certainly an uncomfortable destiny.

For me..I hope what gets etched into my own face are crinkles of laughter around my eyes, and lines of welcoming smiles turning upward around my mouth. It’s not all perfect and it’s not always easy. But the “lines” on our visage actually have their origin somewhere deeper and closer to the heart, where the real stories are. And then we decide..

As an addendum to this story, I also met a neighbor of Mr. Grumpy Rock. His next-door neighbor Grumpy Rock Sleepyactually. He’s been listening to Mr. Grumpy’s Rock’s  low grumblings, and complaints for many years now. And he just closes his eyes and tunes out..his name is “Sleepy”. He’s very old, patient and tolerant. Good friends are like that.

***Need a Quickie? Check my Simply Sensuous Sweet Potato Supper/Snack on my foodie blog:   http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/a-quickie-simply-sensuous-sweet-potato-supper/

Spring Sprouting-in Praise of the Greening Spirit

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer. ~ Dylan Thomas

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Veggie Altar 1It has been a fierce and wild winter. Not so much a continuous snow here on the coast, but rather cold, and one major blizzard with the immense power of its furious Winds which buried us in heavy wet snow, shredded and took down trees and power lines, leaving many of us without electricity, heat, light and water for over a week.

Nature wields un-imaginable power that we ignore at our peril. Perhaps that is why the ancients, indigenous peoples and the pagani of the earth took such care to honor, celebrate and ritually appease that immense FORCE for life and death that is inherent in the energetic Greening Spirit of the Cosmos.

I have felt that so strongly this season. Perhaps it is because I am of a certain age and have witnessed, experienced  and gathered the teachings, challenges and gifts of many turns of the wheel of life, and I have not yet emerged from the spirit of actual winter this particular year. Perhaps it is because just recently, my own mother has passed and in the almost-spring phase of February and March when one starts seeds and seedlings indoors for the eventual garden,  dreaming of Life,  I have been rather  out-of-sync momentarily in the process of grieving. The great FORCE of the winds  and the destruction that it has brought with it, taking down and decimating so many young and elder trees alike, combined with the ending of my mother’s life had made me feel the inevitable far end of the spectrum of the opposites of existence: the visible and invisible, the great sound and the Great Silence, the Force that pushes Life UP! and that same force that breaks and  takes Life DOWN!.

Winter right now is at the very end of the cycle, saying “goodbye” just as simultaneously Spring is seemingly gently nudging us to wake up and say “hello” to the great  Life Force of the Greening Spirit that has had enough of stillness and frozen sensibilities, and with the greatest Force, thrusts us and all living things up and out of real or symbolic darkness into the New. It is for this reason we often in great excitement “plant” our spring bulbs or Narcissi and tulips, gladioli and daffodils with a sense of excitement: to participate and help  the process of birthing and renewal along…to see and smell GREEN and enjoy all the  fresh and vibrant colors that were asleep while grey, brown , black and white blanketed the earth for their allotted time.

This past week, because of the ruthlessness of the winds that took down so many trees, and the death of my mother, I went to the markets in search of a little prepared potted narcissus to bring home for an altar in honor of letting go of the past, and to honor the new, bringing the green, the color and the scent of new life into my “living room” itself. I needed to do that because I had been unable to cry and let the tears flow for all that had ended and demanded a goodbye. I was however quite surprised and  frustrated when I found just the perfect little pot with several miniature yellow blooms and buds ready to open, and then realized that I had left my checkbook and debit card at home by mistake and did not have enough cash on me to purchase the flowers! Oh how I needed to see and sense the Greening Spirit of Life on that special altar I had set up at home for comfort and inspiration.

Veggies 1I returned home and started to prepare dinner, going to a bowl filled with winter squashes, avocados, sweet potatoes, and garlic. And there..THERE..right amidst this bountry, was one large sweet onion…. sprouting green shoots, just like the narcissi! I truly had not seen it before in that state as I moved about the small kitchen preparing meals..how could I have missed this only onion on the plate, firm and hard still, but with the tall green shoots straight up, thrusting out of itself from the ineffable power of the driving Greening Spirit of Life wanting to flower and bloom! I had  missed bringing home the potted narcissi because instead here was an Onion, which if cut and chopped for cooking, brings tears, TEARS that are frozen behind the eyes, sometimes not even knowing that they were there in the first place.

The Universe and Great Mystery and I dance together, and I believe always that there is the potential dialogue between us if we pay attention and listen deeply. This was the perfect plant of life for my altar at this moment..a plant that symbolized both nourishment, an aid for the flowing of tears, and soon, a bloom as well..an onion that embodies within its seemingly solid and finished self..the spark of new life that mysteriously MUST move up and out….”the force that  through the green fuse, drives the flower…”

It is unstoppable!

And there will be a flower on one of those green shoots eventually..a globe of purple or some secret onion color…the promise of Spring, the power of the Greening Spirit and renewal will soon be here. Is ALWAYS here!

I am grateful for the way the Great Mystery and I play together.

Veggie Altar 2“And remember this: SPRING is the secret work of winter.” ~ John O’Donohue

**Note: you are invited to check my other blogs/sites:

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://lunchandlearnseminars.wordpress.com

http://www.thegreeningspiritmysteryschool.com

 

Warmth, Love, Hospitality Reside Here!

The Secular Path: Cultural Rituals of Beauty

It is dark. It is cold. It is harsh outside and the colors of Nature..black, white, grey and brown..are not hospitable. The sometimes death-like stillness can often be unnerving, altho on a good day or after a blanketing snowfall, the silence can be exquisitely peaceful. There can be all sorts of winter fun, but it is the darkness…the  cold and long nights… that wear us down,  as we try to remember with hope, that in time,  warmth, light and the greening will return.

The Secular Path and its Cultural Rituals of Beauty have much to offer us in the Dark Season, starting around the Solstice time and through the next few weeks of celebratory events, for it is at this precise time that we may begin to lose hope of the Sun’s return in spring, and we must make the choice to either “be Scrooge”, or to seek, find or create meaning and beauty until then!

There is a thinking about the word “Secular” that often places it on a continuum with “Sacred” on the high end, and “Secular” on the less admirable end. But as I am using it, it is the word that refers to various ethnic, historical and contemporary seasonal traditions that are expressed through gifts of the creative imagination and the arts. Its myths and practices are not based on a particular religious or scriptural tradition, but rather draw from the experiences of the human appreciation for the spirit of the natural season, our common humanity, and the attitudes of generosity and goodwill in dark times.

If in fact there is a continuum, I would put the Commercial Path on the low end, The Sacred Path of Mystery on the high end and The Secular Path in the middle. The middle of the continuum is the proper place for the Secular Path, for its arts and creativity can be tilted either towards the Commercial Path as a tool of  Illusion and Persuasion for consumeristic ends, or incorporated towards the Path of Sacred Mystery to Inspire. In the middle, it serves as a Path  Beauty, Fun, Celebration, Surprise and Childlike Delight all by itself.

The Secular Path  during the dark season offers us refreshment through art, music, myth, storytelling, theatre, ritual, decorations and much imagination. There is a spirit of generosity, entertainment , and a touch of magic to tide us over until the harshness of the dark and cold gives way to the more lasting light of spring.

Some “goodies” of the Secular Path of the Winter Season are community tree lightings, writing Christmas cards for the yearly re-connection /update with friends and loved ones, festive decorations  indoor and out, photos with Santa, parties and gatherings of a celebratory nature, performances of plays, ballets and theatre like the yearly Nutcracker Suite, The Christmas Carol, The Christmas Pops, beloved literature like A Child’s Christmas in Wales, contemporary films like “The Polar Express” and “The Snowman”, food and toy drives for the needy, imaginative and creative art installations and non-religious but seasonal music of all kinds from the lovely Ukranian Bell Carol and medieval motets to the “Chestnuts Roasting by an Open Fire”. Something for everybody in the spirit of the interplay of dark and light, cold and warmth, isolation and community, lack and bounty. Goodwill and “Light-ness” in general.

Solstice/SOULstice and the two weeks of celebration and community that follow is a rich time that can bring deeper meaning to our Lives and our journey through the ongoing cycles of the year.

For a wonderful example of Secular creativity, delight and surprise..very techno-contemporary..check this link to experience a wonderful artistic creation for this Season of Darkness. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_9AYqhaw64     “Snowflake and Bubble”   (load fully..there is music and movement!)

http://youtu.be/wp_RHnQ-jgU  Random Act of Culture Flash Mob.  (This one merges the Secular and Sacred Paths.  No matter what religious tradition, this is Beauty, taking place at a  secular venue)

Part 3 tomorrow:  Solstice/SOULstice:  The Path of  Sacred Mysteries (Religious and Pagan Tradiitons)

Christine Phoenix-Green 2010

*** Please visit me at www.thegreeningsspiritmyseryschool.com  site for an unfolding exciting project!

 

“Hot” wines/ “Cool” Wines and Tender Tummies

“Hot” wines/ “Cool” Wines and Tender Tummies.

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