Archive for November, 2014


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.

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Portal

 

As photographers, we are always looking “deeply” into the world around us…horizons wide or far, vast skies or scenarios, closeups of the inner realms of flowers or the true stories behind the faces of people, colors that enchant, shapes and angles that tease the eye, shadows and the play of light that alternatively cloak and reveal mysteries hidden in plain sight.

I have a call to capturing and photographing “windows and doorways” leading to hidden realms and territories that may be home to otherworldly treasures, or at least to deeper meanings of life beyond superficiality and speed. Therefore, I am always “cropping” to get closer to my subjects or to frame a portal in order to accept the invitation to step out of ordinary consciousness and into the territory of “Dream”.

When one of my daughters saw this picture, she asked what is that shape in the center of the picture in the woods beyond the portal.  Is it a tombstone? Or maybe a small boulder? Or better yet…ANOTHER doorway to a yet even deeper more mysterious territory? I could not answer her really, because although I took the photo, I don’t actually remember seeing that in the larger uncropped picture until I worked with the image of the circular bent tree branch forming a doorway. Shall we call whatever it is a “mystery” for you to name with your own imagination? What would you like it to be? What story of it would you like to tell?

It is said that we, moving so fast and pre-occupied in our overly busy daily lives, often hear but don’t really “listen”, and look but don’t really “see”. That, perhaps, is because although our ears and eyes are such powerful and amazing sensing organs gathering the information,  it is the Heart  that truly interprets the input..  The Heart therefore is the real organ of Deep Listening and Deep Seeing, in which, if we take the time to crop and focus in our interpersonal interactions, gifts us with a depth for understanding the mysterious territories…the “interiority”  of those places, experiences and people with whom we are in relationship.

Whether in photography, nature, the arts, relationships or Dream, there is ALWAYS more beyond the portal.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

portal 5Life is multi-faceted…please visit my other blogs at your leisure..!

For love of music and music teaching memoirs:

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For delicious comfort food recipes and cooking memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For the magic of words and positive attitudes:  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Bubbles 2

Do you have a dream? A tender longing in your heart for something not yet experienced, or fulfilled? A secret love for life’s sweet potential or creative expression that wants to pour out of you, framing your world in circular Beauty?

Our dreams for a better more fulfilling way of life are often tender and fragile like bubbles in the air. I do believe as they are breathed through us by the Divine Artist and out into the world that they hold within their radiantly colored boundaries, everything we need for them to be fulfilled, sustained by the breath of God.

When they burst of their own accord, they shower everything with colorful droplets of the dream to seed the air all around with the creative vision, manifesting in its own timely fashion.

Yet when intercepted prematurely with a finger and negative words by naysayers, the Bubble Bursts and its secrets fall to the ground in heavy wetness, the integrity and potential of its inner surprises pierced and deflated.

Bubbles 3

Please don’t burst my Bubble when I share my dream with you but kindly add your  own breath and gently blow it forward to see how far it will travel before exploding with finesse into the winds of creation! In that we will both be surprised and delighted….. together.

 

 

Note:  I captured these happy bubbles when my very grown-up son-in-law was on the deck with the children of our family during a summer visit, keeping themselves and HIMSELF amused. Squeals and claps of merriment from all!

Bubbles 1

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise  My other blogs are the result of my “dreams and visions”

For Love of Music and the Performing Arts:  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

For delicious recipes and kitchen memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For Art of Allowing/Law of Attraction: http://wordmagicandtheartofallowing.wordpress.com

 

Tree 15

There has been a festival of color underfoot on my front lawn as I walk across it to my car or to pick up the mail.  The Japanese maple, home to hundreds, maybe even thousands of tiny leaves, has released them each for their one solo flight, back to the earth. They are dressed gayly for the occasion, not in mourning but for the resting place and the next phase of transformation after summer’s greening work on the tree, now completed.

They are so small and perfect in their pointed edges, some quite tiny and oh so happy in splendid hues of yellow, gold, red, orange and cream. They are also so vulnerable too at this time of surrender and for the oddest reason, as I walk though, over or around them, I am filled with love and tenderness at their now fragile and fleeting beauty…I feel such compassion for them…I feel like their Mother.

Some come in with me for little altars and the warmth of candlight in my home. IMG_8623They are with me at the piano while I teach so I can see them and offer them sanctuary near the music and near friendly people who, like me, think them adorable and a wonder…like we used to feel about the babies in our lives. Such tenderness.

Little Leaves, we love you…..

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

red

 

 

 

  Please visit my other blogs too! 

 

For love of music: http://thepianomistress.wordpress.com

Food memoirs and recipes (yum!):  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For manifesting a positive life: http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Tree 10

Shamans in ancient and modern rituals and ceremonies, through the use of potent brews, mushrooms and scents go into altered states  in which they slip through a portal of natural time into a place of deep-seeing. In this alternative state of consciousness, they move through a dreamlike journey between this world and the Other, perceiving colors, shadows, shapes and energies not readily discernible in normal time, but existing simultaneously with what we call “real”.  They are “under-the-influence” of chemical and magical substances with inherited knowledge and caution, to see and experience a level of beauty, connectedness and possibilities we ordinarily cannot see. They are DEEP-SEEING and eventually come back to full mundane consciousness with a deeper knowing and perception of the way things REALLY are in this world.

I am under the influence of  the PICASA  photographic editing program and beautiful music at full volume with head phones as I write this post…and a my magical brew,  a healing tea of the Ojibway peoples of Canada. Though the MAGIC of technology I work with the image of the tree in my Yarden to see what it might really look like through the portal from this world into the Other, where colors and light and textures are even more wondrous that what our senses perceive on this side of daily-here life.

There is a  joy in the world alongside this one..a treasure of Beauty and vibrancy, shimmering and radiating light and color in different modalities than we are used to. Things are not always as we perceive. There is a myth that altho blood when it hits the air is red, but when running through our veins, is the color blue. Look at your wrist! What is the truth? How are things, really?

Tree 15

 

Under the influence of Picasa, beautiful music, and Ojibwa tea of woodland herbs and bark…the amazing beauty of this Autumn is almost more than we can  comprehend. For the possibilities of what it might truly be through Deep-Seeing, I am awed and delighted. And waltzing to the music in my living room in between writing!

Tommy Bhetty’s Waltz….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXO3PZqda14 (for YOUR waltzing pleasure!)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit
We have many ways of seeing the world….visit my other blogs…

self Oct 2For love of music: http://pianomistress,wordpress.com

For manifesting a positive life experience through good words and speech: http://wordmageandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

For being under the influence of delicious food:  http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

BIG frost on oak-001

Leaves under the Japanese maple in my yarden

 

It has always been my way since I was a teenager in my parent’s home, to open the blinds to let the morning light into the room. For most of my adult life however, I have lived at ground level with sliding glass doors to a deck surrounded by woods, trees, shrubs, field and bodies of water at the far edges of greenery. My firs awakening step during these years has been to slide the glass door open to greet the morning and listen to the sounds of nature…the symphony of winds, birds and creatures, and the faraway hint of the sea. This morning ritual has always been like a wordless prayer of attention, a grounding that reminds me of my creatureliness and connection to the world of nature, being OF it, not above or outside of it. Nature is musical and it does have a repertoire of sounds and songs each season.

Early spring? Open the sliding glass door and there is an occasional solitary birdsong that has not been heard for many months of winter. But then, suddenly …PEEPERS somewhere off in hidden bodies of water in and around civilization, whatever that is for us where we are. Have we ever actually seen Peepers? Not usually, but they are THE music of early spring into pre-summer.

Summer? Where I have always lived in the Northeast, on the coast but surrounded by trees, shrubs and greenery the natural symphony is alive, vibrant and Fortissimo especially all through the night…birds of all kinds of feather, bullfrogs, tree frogs, buzzing insects like cicadas and especially the hard to describe incessant chorus of CRICKETS.  There have been nights when I have stood for an hour or more after midnight in the dark by an open window facing the woods with the overhanging canopy of trees forming an umbrella of green over my house..just to listen to the wild but celebratory symphony of our New England rainforest..expecting at any one moment to hear the cry of a jaguar as well.

In the mornings of summer into early fall, the sliding deck door get opened and there UNFAILINGLY is the ever-present low to the ground choir of crickets..a presence you can count on just as surely as the rising sun of morning. All is alive and fertile and in movement and so are we in spirit and in habits of summer play, socializing and travel.

But what are the seasons but the Turning of the Great Wheel. The summer’s heat begins to cool and give way to brisk nights and chilly mornings. We open the sliding glass door to the deck and woods and there is a thinning of the chorus..and with each night and early morning tinged with a chill, the symphony turns into a chorus, the chorus turns into a quintet, a quartet, a trio..spread out wide…of cricket song.

And then one morning, sometime in November, upon awakening and peering out beyond the glass of the sliding glass doors, we are greeted by a sparkle and coating of  crystals upon all branches, dried stalks and fallen leaves. We slide the door open gently and the silence is almost louder than the wild rainforest of summer. The silence is stunning and non-negotiable…everything, EVERYTHING is still and halted..no birdsong in the grey, no crickets..not even one solitary voice…a powerful silent call to pulling in for reflect on all that has happened during the busy times, for hearth and home whether that means going back into and under the earth, or to tend the fires of the woodstove in your cottage .

The morning when the crickets go silent is a personal holy day for me. Its date on the calendar is not fixed and I always know it is coming,  yet it always catches me by surprise when that morning arrives..the beauty of that first hard crystalline frost with the inevitable bittersweet  accompaniment of the Great Silence, the time to dive deep under the covers of leaves or blanket to sleep and dream into the next turn of the wheel.

The morning when the crickets go silent.

Amen.

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Me Turqoise    We are, all,  full of memories and stories to be shared. Please visit my other blogs and feel free to share a thought or story of your own in the comment.

I am also writing on one or two of these blogs each day. If you are enjoying, you might want to “follow” so that you don’t miss anything!

For the power of words/speech for a positive life experience:                              http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 FOOD, recipes and memoirshttp://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

For love of music!   http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Dollmakers13 Peartree-001

 

We have just come though mid-term elections here in the United States and the Greening Spirit is not happy.  By whatever forces made it happen… general ignorance in the populace informed by faux news and media sources, sloth, or the influences of billions of dollars and dark money from and for corrupt power structures.. those who have produced rotten fruit…and also NO FRUIT at all from their own lack of greening spirit…have been reinstated or inserted into the governing bodies that shape our national agendas, and our society.

Humans can be awesomely creative, generous, visionary for a better future for all, courageous for the good, humorous and just. Humans can also be self-serving, greedy, manipulative, deceptive and easily deceived, and just plain evil. Societies rise or fall on these noble virtues or “sins” and failures of integrity.

We are in dangerous and disheartening times in this country and it seems that hatred, greed, ignorance and plutocratic interests and money have won the public upper hand. It’s not a new story. The arts through literature, theater and film have portrayed this kind of epochal cultural slide in revealing and prophetic “myths” like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and stunningly, the movie AVATAR. Except “myth” is not make-believe. It is the capturing and revelation of truth.

What are we to do in a culture and society that is withering? That is becoming soul-less and soul-stealing and sterile of spirit and  good fruit?

After un-curling from the momentary fetal-position, let us look around our immediate home environments..the small business community run by local friends,  our gardeners and farmers, our  dogma-free, non-fundamentalist churches, to our artists, musicians, writers of integrity and poets..right where we are. Make art or music or poetry ourselves. Sing, dance, paint, give greetings to strangers, pay something foreward, use good manners and courtesy daily, give thanks for beauty wherever you find it. FIND YOUR VOICE and the courage to speak out for what you believe in with great excitement and enthusiasm rather than (or at least more than) the things you are screaming and raging against. Bear the good FRUIT..the juicy, sweet and tangy fruit of good works, generosity, inspiration and love.

This essay is called “REQUIEM: By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them”.  A requiem by definition is a ritual Mass for the DEAD.  It involves grief and then letting go.

Let us grieve over the deaths of virtue, peace, justice and nobility in many areas of our national culture, and with careful but definitive releasing, let go of the institutions of barren or rotten fruit. DISCERNMENT.

In the meantime, let us choose to cultivate and become the Fruit that sustains life…and that is, life that is both nourishing, aesthetic and sweet. Do it somehow, somewhere where you are. Use your imagination. Be green and bear some fruit. NOW. TODAY.

“In the people who were meant to be green…..” ~ Hildegarde of Bingen

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2

 

You are invited to visit my other blogs!

For love of music and music teaching/appreciation: http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

 FOOD and foodie memoirs: http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

The Power of Words and thoughts in your life experience  http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

Shy Pumkin 2

One delightful thing about a garden is the element of surprise when things that were hidden are suddenly revealed…finding the last fat strawberry in a row picked clean, discovering the lone crisp cucumber growing behind the garden fence, unexpectedly coming upon the treasured secret patch of nettles under the drooping branches of the white pine. ” Oh look!” we exclaim appreciating the sudden revelation and gift.

A garden teaches us so many things about life and how to live it well and compassionately. Matthew Fox, the Catholic/Anglican priest and theologian, once silenced by the Vatican for his “radical” spirituality  wrote something like: If we shelved all holy books for about ten years and went out mindfully in Nature instead, we would learn everything we needed to know about how to live a just life,  from the Earth.

As the garden plants begin to wind down from their job of flowering and fruiting, they are not as physically attractive as in the weeks of youthful promise and birthing. Drying out, browning, marred by powdery mildew, it seems that soon it will be time to clear things out in the garden as in its deep maturity, things are just about over, its gifts utilized, savored and fully harvested…

And then…aha! Amidst the drooping, tangled mass of drying out green leaves and vines, a sudden tiny flash of orange… one shy pumpkin who up until this moment-in-time has been living its tender and vulnerable life hidden from view, quietly  practicing perfecting its vibrant color, rounding out its flesh and form as a container of many seeds and inspirations for the furthering of life, all in secret under the  mass of the green and busyness of the dominant culture of the garden in full swing, in public.

One shy pumpkin. Doing its special pumpkin thing quietly out of sight just for the pleasure of being a pumpkin with no need for notoriety and fame. OR maybe… could it be the tender vulnerability and shyness to avoid harsh or unkind competitive comparisons, judgments or rejection that had kept it hidden deep under the uniformity of all those shades of green and the protective canopy of (seeming) flashier veggie-kin?

Shy pumpkin’s time has come…a little later perhaps than others of her kind. But then its always a matter of time, isn’t  it, as my counseling astrological colleagues know. When the  time and we are ripe and right, the shyness can give way to courage because we suddenly realize that we don’t have endless time as either pumpkins or people to pass on our unique delectability and our seeds, being part of the larger cosmic cycle of birth-life-death-recycling back into birth and on and on…….

Which makes me also recall a one-liner from one of those holy books momentarily shelved while we wander about gardens and woods seeking the wisdom of those place of sacred scripture…

“Do not hide your light under a basket”   (at least not forever.)

Shy Pumpkin

 

The timing is everything: “Come out, come out wherever you are, Shy Pumpkin! We long for and need your delicious fruit and your seeds!”   NOW!

 

 

 

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

self Oct 2  Don’t miss my other blogs about living life well!

Music/piano and the performing arts:  http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

FOOD and kitchen memoirs:  http://sensuoussoupsandsupper.wordpress.com

Manifesting yourself and a happy life! :

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

Photo credit: Christine Phoenix Green, 2014

Please respect and do not download. Thank you.

 

 

 

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