Category: Greenspirit in Relationships


Nana Fursa RESTORE

When my mother died a number of years ago, I was the recipient of a large box of old family photos and record-keeping papers that I had never seen. There had been a lot of tragedy in my mother’s side of the family, both her mother and father immigrants to New York City from Poland in the early 1900′s.  I never knew my grandfather, he dying when my mother was one years old, leaving my grandmother to raise my mother and seven older siblings on her own through tumultuous years and through the remnants of the Great Depression.

My grandmother came to live with us when I was ten, moving from a small tenement apartment in NYC where she lived with a lone surviving son, my Uncle Eddie, and his family. We ourselves had moved upstate from a city apartment to my parents first real home..the pride of home ownership that included a bedroom for Nana and a new life living with her daughter (my mother) and our family.

Nana was quite strict and yet loving, but she could often be heard through the door of her room in the quiet afternoons, crying and saying the rosary. She was sometimes a trial for my brother and me, at times threatening harsh discipline for our honestly small misbehaviours, yet she had her place of honor and respect at the dinner table and we were family.

She was “old” (so I thought then) when she came to join us, and that is the way I experienced her although she was beautiful for her elder years and always elegantly stylish in her dress, taking walks around the back yard, steadying herself with a fine shiny black cane for balance. She was dignified and she was proud and capable of laughter.

But being young myself, growing up in the youthful self-focused way of youngsters and teenagers, altho she was with us every day I never really knew her, except as “Nana”, yet always hearing the stories that accompanied her and my mother, of family tragedies that haunted them both until their deaths.

One of the pictures in my mother’s record keeping box was an old photo…badly damaged by time and travels..of Nana’s wedding. Coming here from Poland at the age of seventeen to “look for her brother” who had earlier emigrated to NYC, she came alone on a steamship and passed through Ellis Island to somehow search the city for him.

There are huge gaps in the chapters of our family history and what happened when she got here is hidden in the mists of time. But she did meet a man, a Polish man I think, and married. He was not the best of the lot and died violently in shabby circumstances after fathering eight children, leaving Nana to the fates of being a widow and single mother of a multitude of children during the worst of times.

When I saw this picture, I was intrigued to see a grandfather whom I had never known, and more intrigued to see the picture of the woman who would later become my grandmother, who I would see as “Nana” as I grew up, but whom I truly did not know. What intrigued me most about this picture however, was the fact that in particular, it was her face that was most damaged in the old worn photograph and I was distressed that I could not see her the way I would have liked. Who WAS she?

Henya's Parents0001 (2)

And so, with the editing program on my computer, I started to slowly and carefully, as best as I can, try to restore my grandmother’s face so that I might know her in a new way..the young woman who came alone to this country from far way, who had a fertile if not disastrous marriage, bearing eight children, becoming a widow left to raise them on her own in the big city, working as a seamstress when possible to bring in money, and facing repeated tragedies… in time burying three young handsome adult sons six months apart, one taken away by accident in the military (lightning hitting an air traffic control tower where he was on duty) and two by separate unfortunate acts of violence as innocent bystanders…later losing a beautiful daughter to cancer and a daughter who went mad.

As I work to restore what I can of Nana’s hidden-ness in the damaged photo, I uncover a woman who like her children had the gift of physical beauty, one eye  the prototype of the family “beautiful” eyes…perhaps green or hazel… full passionate lips, a strong jaw for fortitude and inner strength yet smoothly rounded for the soft tenderness of motherhood for it was said that she was a wonderful mother through it all.

I am connecting with a part of my family history through the restoration of this photograph and coming to a new understanding of the tumultuous and often difficult emotional scenarios I grew up with in our home, usually generated by my mother’s grief and dramatic explosive tendencies, mixed with a gift of laugher in between. We have few stories from that side of the family except either  “the tragedies” or the glorification of family members.

I have read that often survivors of the Holocaust who started new lives elsewhere after devastation frequently go silent in the storytelling of their past experience,  and I do believe that the sufferings of times like war, the disastrous loss of one or more children through accident or violence way before their time, or  the terrors of those who survived the Great Depression and its aftermath years later often go silent as well, though one can hear solitary crying behind closed doors during the dark hours of night or on an afternoon behind the closed door of a personal bedroom…there are secrets in every family and blank pages in every story but the truth of experience never does go away inside…

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I am glad for this opportunity to restore my Nana, my Grandmother Marie and to intuit finally knowing her. A survivor.

Hello, Nana……

***memories of bits and pieces of the family story have slowly surfaced as I wrote this essay. The tiny bit of information that my grandfather, Nana’s husband, had been secretary to a Count in Poland and fled to this country after breakdown of the nobility there. My grandmother met him while he was working as a laborer in a pocketbook factory in NYC to earn money. She herself was the daughter of a gentleman farmer. Her mother held a reading circle in their farmhouse teaching others to read. When the soldiers of the Czar (Prussians) rode in on horses, they quickly  hid the books and took out their sewing and embroidery needles and hoops.

 

UU2From Christine, the Greening Spirit

also: https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress,wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

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Mandala Fam Dark Moon

Ah Cancer! Motherhood, Fanily, Nurturing, Food, cooking, the Tribe, gardens, memories and heritage, the home.

Once a Mother, always a mother…this is one strong experience I have learned over the many years I have shared with my daughters since they first popped out and into this world until..well, right now! They are mothers also in the ongoing process of learning how complex a job it is to usher and guide another human being through life and I have loved watching them unfold into this role. I have seen a documentary in which the Dalai Lama himself said that the most important job in the world is that of the Mother..and being an astrological Cancer-rising woman myself, I would have to agree.

My daughters have always been an exquisite delight as I was raising them and I have loved them dearly. There has been laughter, warmth and comfort and I have been blessed that they are fine, funny, responsible and gifted women, mothers, and wives.

But no family is without challenges and heartache and over the years we have had times when things worked exceedingly well between us and times when there was struggle or temporary distance and stresses, grasping for undertanding, grasping for appropriate words to challenge or address perceived slights or disappointments. Add to the mix of “life”, the divorce between myself and their father, my own struggles in single-parenting for many years and the re-arrangement of family loyalties and connections in the course of their own marriages, the balancing of me and their father and in-laws…well, sometimes heartache and frustration are an inevitable part of the  family mix until we learn to share needs and hurts diplomatically, truthfully and gently for the good of all, which surely does take practice! (Knowing when to remain silent and just let it go is a skill as well)

After one such time of challenge in relating in new ways, the dark moon/new moon in Cancer allowed me to look at where we were and re-evaluate and re-new what was important for us as a family and as mother and daughters.

Our family times together with me and the girls doesn’t happen as often as we’d like, living in three different states and they with full-time jobs and families. To bring us together at a time when life may have drifted us apart I called on the word “respect” to remember that in the time when they are now adult, responsible and meeting all kinds of demanding requirements of their own lives and relationships I must “respect” the changes of new family connections, time commitments and responsibilities that re-shape our own original connection.  Anyone who lives in a family knows that words are not always crafted well under duress and both  giving respct and claiming respect for oneself in interactions  is an important part of  “relationship-ing”.

In this mandala, the ocean for me represents the vast sea of emotion that is part and parcel of the connection between my daughters and myself. Compassion, tears, cleansing, moods and tides flow through our lives. Especially true when astrological Cancer is part of the emotional make-up or phase of the moon.

In this mandala, a tablesetting and delicious food…always a virtue of Cancer…has always been a part of our life… cooking and eating together when they were growing up was a priority of our family life and is always a highlight when we manage to get together all…”You (or I) are coming for a visit? What shall we plan for our meal!”. Communion around the dinner table is such a healing ritual….a ritual that is much compromised in this fast and over-scheduled culture.

In this mandala, books and knowledge…always part of our homes. Books, books for grownups, and for children!

And over our heads, the flower Echinacea as a protection and healing totem…Echinacea that stimulates the immune system to be strong, resisting toxins and illness that periodically weakens us or brings us down. Echinacea that stregthness our ties as Mothers and Daughters, with the children ..daughters and sons…the family connection….

This is one of my favorite mandalas…

**** Note: This series is being prepared for a book on the Dark Moon/New Moon, how to form a monthly gathering, the dark moon mandala art project  and journaling with the moon mandala.

Mamma GroupieFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

MoonCircle Three

Ah! The Dark Moon/New Moon in Libra. Libra: one-on-one commited relationships ie business partners? Professional and client? MARRIAGE? (also ­art, harmony, beauty, balance/imbalance, dependency/co-dependency, negotiation vs autonomy, gracefulness, diplomacy, and nice-nice for the sake of peace at all costs).

Journaling:

I have spent a good part of my adult life in partnerships and a bigger part of it as a single. In each of those two states I have been fully “in” it as it unfolded.  And I have learned important things in each……relationship with other and relationship with self.

The experience of being single and “in charge of myself and decision-making” without having to negotiate with another has afforded me the deep silence and extended times of chosen solitude necessary for the creative expressive part of my life’s calling. This freedom is an intense personal need that has only gotten stronger as I have gotten older.

The single life allows me the quiet and mental space in which to hear the inner promptings of inspiration and creativity. Just like the woman in the mandala alone in the greenhoouse planting beautiful flowers or the the woman taking time out to sit back and just be, without guilt or having to follow another’s schedule, I have  treasured the autonomy of being “single” and have somewhat chosen this in spirit if not in reality. I think. Because..

I also know that the warmth and sharing of devoted partnership or one-on-one intimacy is equally precious …when it is working at its best….in shared commitment and loyalty,  hugs, family time, conversations, brain-storming, task-sharing in the household, private games and shared jokes and humour, the history of trials and steadfastness…gifts, all.

Perhaps it is possible to have both, but I have yet to solve the challenge of that and though I am grateful to have experienced both, I am not sure exactly what it is the path that is truly the right one for me as I get older… now.

In this Dark Moon/New Moon in LIBRA mandala, my feelings gravitate towards the two images of the solo moments. Perhaps it is that as I have gotten older, have been partnered/married I am not now willing to give up large portions of my soul just for the sake of “peace” within relationship that threatens that. The partnership images are enticing…but it would definitely have to be the right person who would allow me to take periodic sanctuary into my own private personal soul-space.

Maybe it is a lifetime exercise in all relationships to work with the balancing of “self and other”.

Dark Moon Picasa twoFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

Lunas

-Setting Up Your Own Dark Moon/New Moon Circle

1. Gather group of your own interested Luna sisters!

2. Supplies: lots of colored magazines with pictures, glue sticks, glitter glue, metalic pens, a silver fine tipped permanent marker, hole puncher and thin ribbon if desired, large black poster board (draw perfect dark moon circles with a large pot cover).

3. Choose soft meditative music.

4. Provide a prepared program handout with (optional) astrological information for the month’s moon, and 1-3 journaling questions. Go over astrological input, provide quiet time for writing down answers to journaling questions. Share answers and insight.

5. Hand out individual dark moons, spread the magazines and allow about 45 minutes to choose, cut and paste images on the dark moons. SILENCE while creating…soft meditative music in backround.

6. Come together…share your dark moons, celebrate each story and creation!

7. Closing. (HUGS!)

                                                Program Example to Get You Started!

                                             Dark Moon/New Moon in TAURUS

                                            The Greening Spirit Mystery School

TAURUS- a grounded steady Earth sign, Taurus is the sign of the sensual Earth Spirit. After the noise, outward thrusting movement, and fiery passions of the warrior/pioneer Aries, ruled by Mars (do you want to make war or make love..whatever, let’s get it on!), Taurus, ruled by Venus, wants to make love, beauty, leisure, art and music, money, luxury, harmony and peace. Good food, good wine, good social company, good gardens and surroundings, wealth and bounty, beautiful colors and sounds both man made and in Nature is pure aphrodisiac to this sign and time of the year. Taurus is steady, determined, persistent, stubborn and dependable, and though gifted with the strength of its totem, the Bull who can withstand stress and move mountains and boulders when necessary, this sign loves to pull back into silence and calm in order to hear the music of the Earth and enjoy leisure. Taurus New Moon is a wonderful, lovely and luscious time to take walks in nature and experience the magic of all that is manifested materially on this earth..including yourself!

Leyla

~OPTIONAL (Music and Video) The Lusty Month of May! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg4YrOlAkds

                                                                ~ JOURNALING and Sharing

Question #1: What do you most relate to in your experience of the above description. Of Taurus’sthemes? What do you most need to experiencee for yourself in this month of Earthly Delights and Bullish Stregnth and Endurance?

Question #2: MONEY! WEALTH? This is the month to think about Money for joy and enjoyment,and itsgift to live comfortable without fear or lack. What areYOUR emotions and reality around MONEY at this time?

Question # 3 : How do you connect to the Beauty and Gifts of Nature and the Earth at this time? Gardening? Walks in Nature? Wearing Garlands of flowers on your head? Making an altar?What is your favorite way of being with the Earth?

Question # 4: Love, Love, Love! Where in your life can you express LOVE after the challenging Aries energies of activity, argument, advocacy, challenge or standing up for yourself , others or something important ast month?

~Mandala Making in Silence to quiet meditation music

~Sharing/Celebration~Closing

Lunas

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

Mandala Making 4

The making of our Dark Moon Mandalas is an art project. In essence we are creating a collage of images on a blank dark moon posterboard canvas. We are not looking to make professional art. We are engaging in dreamwork, journal work and manifestation work all at once without writing in a notebook. Our process is a cut and paste project done in silence to soft  meditative music. In essence, this is serious playtime AND a spiritual retreat.

Artwork requires imagination and supplies. Our supplies are collected old magazines wherever we can find them…from friends, from our hairdresser’s studio when she’s putting out the new ones, or some that we have received as gifts but don’t have time to read. Magazines of ALL kinds…OPRAH! Martha Stuart Living, Heirloom Gardening, Spirituality and Health, Self, FAERIE Magazine (although THAT subscription is almost to beautiful to cut up), etc. I keep several large double-handled paper grocery bags to store them in for use in our evenings. A basket holds these items for making our mandalas: scissors, glue sticks, glitter glues in different colors, but especially silver and fold, loose glitter, metallic colored pens, a silver fine-tipped permanent marker, a hole puncher, and thin ribbon.

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The Process/Themes- Each month, the Dark Moon/New Moon is in a different astrological sign, each sign addressing a unique part of life and special opportunities to open up to, or particular situations to release. Each of our sessions start with an astrological review of the month’s themes with journaling questions to answer based on those themes, deepening our awareness of what is happening in our lives. Questions are journaled in silence, and our answers and input then shared with each other. This sharing in truth is a form of group peer mentoring and spiritual guidance.

Mooncircle

 

AND THEN….THE ARTWORK!  Dark Moon Mandala-Making!

… Bags emptied on the floor,  magazines scattered everywhere, scissors in all hands, SILENCE,  quiet music, and then browse, ponder, select, and cut images and words that appeal to you or catch your attention. Don’t analyze…go with your spontaneous attractions!

lunas circle

Timing…We allow about 1/2 hour for choosing images. When it is time to stop collecting images, the timekeeper will call out “Start paste-ing!”…and for another 30 minutes the images and words are arranged on the dark moon, glued, glittered and dated with the silver permanent marker.

 

lunas 10

lunas 13

Mandala Making 7

 

 

 

 

 

Mandala Making 1

 

 

 

 

 

We find this process to be one of intense and deepening sacred play…relaxing and fun…but a true time out from the rushing pace of daylight.

The sharing that follows our completion of our personal dark moons fills the room with deep wisdom, laughter and delight and a lovely soul-level connection amongst us all.

These women are the LUNAS for me and each other in our lives!

Mooncircle FiveFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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                                                           BUDDY

 

I am a “dog” person although I have not had a pet for many years. Now, living with friends for a interim time between my old life and my future life, I am sharing space with a very curious species as well… three kitties. Certainly an amusing learning curve.

I am aware that some people have a beloved “familiar” and some people have a whole COLLECTION of them, intrigued by the variety of colors, patterns and personalities that cats display. Having now had the experience of house-sitting the three of the ones who live here when my friends traveled for a month, I have come to appreciate how fascinating these little beings are.

I am the earliest to rise in the morning, leaving my bedroom for a face-splash in the bathroom and upon opening my door, there are three faces waiting outside hoping for breakfast. Little meows from the oldest, Bubba, gives the request (orders) for food. He in advanced years lives to eat even with no more teeth. Given the persistence of a still ravenous appetite, he will live to be 100 I think.

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People who have “familiars” already know this, but I am intrigued by the observation that cats are such “ritualistic” beings.

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Staring out the window each morning, greeting the day with tales twitching for Life, when the sliding glass is opened, each one skitters outside, stands still for a moment and then sets out, each, in the same direction as before…Sky to the left, Buddy to the right, and Bubba, old fellow, carefully straight ahead on a nice day, or seated close and tight to the door if the weather seems unsettled.

Boy, do they LOVE the woodstove, and immediately gather from all parts of the house as soon as they hear the stove door opening in preparations for the fire.

IMG_1686Sometimes Buddy and I have to fight for the chair in front of the stove as it is his favorite place to sleep (and mine to sit)  Sky sometimes likes to sleep on the warm tile behind the stove, Bubba, old Philosopher, often stares into the flames from a safe-enough distance, though his eyes are dimming ( but he can sure find he leftovers in the other kitties’ spread-out food dishes if they leave before finishing).

 

Bubba Fire (2)

 

BUBBA

 

 

 

Buddy is gorgeous. Buddy is a Beauty. Buddy is sometimes a Brat. When weather or possible woodland predators have kept him inside for a day, his mood slips and he is ready for a scuffle with Sky, swatting crankily after that stand-off display face to face with twitching “you’re going to GET IT” tail. Buddy KNOWS the rooms he is not allowed to enter, but let there be the skinniest crack in the door as you exit quickly he is somehow there to see if he can slip in in a flash. He’s usually blocked and practically runs backwards and away. He KNOWS…but cannot resist tempting fate.

Then there is SKY, a lithe gray tabby with a soft pink nose and huge eyes. When I first came here, I was told that SKY was very timid and would hide whenever anyone new came into the house. Which he did, skittering down into the basement or upstairs letting the guests think that the house was ruled only by two cats.

                                                                               SKY

Kitty 2

However, in not too short a time, SKY warily began to hang around me, and the deal of bonding was sealed around day 4 of my feeding the cats breakfast when my friends were away for a month. Eventually we kind of fell in love, and now he routinely hops on the couch when we watch tv in the evening, does a whiskery “nose to nose with me, and even licks my fingers sometimes with a sharp-toothed nibble. My friends laugh and tell me this is most unusual for SKY  and I think it may be because once when seeing him sitting straight upon the arm of the couch backlit by the light outside the window, I noted that his silhouette reminded me of an ancient noble Egyptian temple cat. And his apple-green eyes, a magical charm. I think he heard that.

Sky has worked his way into my heart..my favorite, often following me and staring up from the floor into my eyes for no particular reason except he is connecting, and we are having a conversation without words. I think he has become…my “Familiar”.

 

kitty

Moi 2

 

From Christine, The Greening Spirit, Novice Cat Lady

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://lunchandlearnseminiars.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

**** BTW: Cougars like hanging around the woodstove Fire too   (wink)

Dec Dreams 3 (2)

Dec dreams (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eyes See You

                                                          Eyes See You

Yesterday while finishing up the transaction in line at the grocery store, the young clerk handed me my change and the receipt. As I took it, I did something shocking. Smiling,  I caught his eye  as I said “thank you” and for the briefest second or two a flash of human connection happened which startled him before he shyly smiled back his eyes locked with mine.  Not just a clerk and a customer and a quick  “have a good one”  but an actual rich moment of recognition, appreciation, acknowledgement and respect between two strangers.

How rare that is these days, as we mindlessly look away from people,  and out or down into distractions…hand-held phones, I-pads,  lists, or the never-ending agendas and self-talk in our mind  blinding us from really seeing and “being-HERE- now” in the present situation. How equally rare it is to  “wake up” amd turn away from those many other things crowding awareness of who is right in front of us…to consciously break away  from distraction for a moment to actually turn and LOOK at another directly eye-to eye to SEE and be SEEN.

It’s a tricky thing,  this eye-contact because we are stepping into the area of intimacy, vulnerability and the momentary revelation of our deeply personal tender human-ness. As it is said “The eyes are the doorway to the Soul”.   To not look at all into the eyes of others is to dismiss them and be only partially present. But to turn and look directly for even a second too long breaches necessary personal boundaries and is rude and even worse, invasive.

But when we can, to turn and let our eyes truly see whom we are talking to, or to risk the exposure in letting ourselves be seen fully for even the briefest moment can be the healing balm of connection in the often fast, soul-less pace of modern life. A “sparkle” in the ordinariness of the day.

For the briefest moment, the precious gift or blessing of “Eyes See You”  between people…and SMILES… can, I believe, change the world within oneself, within the other and  in the World.

**** An Art installation: “The Artist is Present”…sitting silently gazing eye-to-eye with strangers…until… “a (familiar)stranger” from the past emerges…. exquisitely beautiful and moving…another Eyes See You……

 

220727_10151282433958396_866733424_oFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

Flower 4

I am a member of a wonderful Unitarian/Universalist community. Part of our Sunday service is this pledge:  

“Love is the spirit of this congregation, and service is our prayer. This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love….and to help one another.”

Time and time again I have witnessed these precepts in action in this group, gently pulling people out of isolation and into warm connection and belonging especially in times of need or challenge. A truly caring community free of dogma, as is the way of Unitarians, and full of kindness and sincere interest followed by action.

This past Sunday our interim minister, Rev. Jan, spoke so wisely and compassionately in his sermon about the experiences of “Loneliness and Intimacy”. He addressed the sometimes familiar feeling of sometimes being “alone in a crowd” or even “alone in a relationship”. He clarified the differences between men and women when it comes to “intimacy”, men sometimes associating it with a sexual relationship,but women often identifying its presence in deep sharing of stories, deep listening and being “heard”.

I loved all that he shared in his sermon and I KNOW that his thoughts and insights hit home with just about everyone who was there and have lived life alone and with others.

My own family knows that Intimacy is a deep need that is primary for me. Speaking the truth of feelings and experiences with each other, trying to live without judgement, attempting to understand each other’s viewpoints and perspective have been things I as a parent have attempted to teach my children as they grew up. In my later years, I found that the way of Unitarians matched my thinking about this. In my personal friendships and in the workshops I have facilitated, deep sharing, respectful listening without judgement have always been things we have aspired to and attempted to be mindful of. These things foster trust, true soul-filled connection and healing of spirit and emotions.

I am so thankful to have been blessed with friends with whom the treasures of “intimacy” in these ways have been a part of my life. I am happy when I have been able to offer that same treasure back in return. A win-win..we are all healed, and gently drawn out of the lonely place of isolation and disconnect able then to then express our full potential and unique gifts with the blessing from others.

Yesterday, while thinking of the words of Rev. Jan’s sermon which powerfully hit home and have lingered in my consciousness for several days, I went through my photos looking for a nature or garden picture to write about. Instead, I came upon these pictures of a past birthday of mine, and a dear dear soul sister who had stopped by unexpectedly to honor my birthday with a special gift.

Flower 5

This Soul-Sister, “Julie” whom I often call “Jewel-y” because she is a jewel, has been at different times “girlfriend”, “daughter”, “teacher”, “student,” “devil’s advocate”, or “vulnerable and open-hearted seeker”.  Over the years, these individual roles in our friendship have shifted depending on the situations of our very individual lives. A tender shining example of soul-ful “intimacy”… listening deeply to each others stories, challenges and successes, encouraging each other when down, celebrating with each other when up, holding secrets, offering alternatives, challenging decisions and actions that might  block our paths, and more.

Women know these kinds of friendships that sustain us through all other relationships with lovers, partners, parents and children…  Often Soul-ful intimacy may or may not be found in those other situations.

Each of us, my friend Julie and I,  have gone through some very serious and stressful changes in our individual lives over the past several years. We cannot get together much or connect as often right now as we give attention to new situations requiring deep focus and other connections. But I love these pictures of our friendship that seem to have captured the depth of sustaining  support, delight and unfolding that have, and always will, shelter us from the experience of isolation and disconnect in our lives when we might sometimes “feel alone in a crowd”.

btw: my birthday gift from Julie was that throw blanket in a wild animal print. We had been in our women’s group celebrating our wild creative selves and artistic self expression.. there were also cookies are for the sweetness of friendships…!

shawlFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

 

My daughter and grandsons on our Christmas woodswalk..a tradition

Follow the Leader:    My daughter and grandsons on our Christmas woods walk..a  family tradition!

Isn’t it wonderful that many libraries have a shelf in the entrance hall with books for free or a small donation (.50 to $1.00) for the library fund? Treasures are often found there, a brilliant way to recycle books and wisdom.

Recently, dropping “overdues” at the library, I found in the hallway a gem of a book entitled “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv…an absolutely wonderful inspirational guide to unplugging  from technology and taking our children (and ourselves) outside to reconnect with nature, especially “the woods”. Although it is not a new book, it was the recipient of the 2008 Audobon medal and is probably even more relevant and urgent today than when it was published.

Last child (2)

This book did not suddenly “wake me up” to a new idea for a thing to do with children and specifically, MY grandchildren. I had just returned from a Christmas Day visit to my daughter and her family in a nearby state. Following our family tradition to take a nature walk during the day of a visit, we  had driven to Sedgewick Gardens/Longhill  in Beverly Massachusetts and hiked through the winter woods blanketed with dried crackly leaves, fallen twigs and branches and climbing over old logs lying prone on the ground. We have always taken these walks in nature whenever my daughters and their children come for visits or I go to visit them…sometimes to the woods, sometimes to the ocean, and often to hang out at farms, parks or garden centers. And we always had taken these walks as a family when my daughters were growing up.

On this particular chilly afternoon, the boys were full of little boy energy…jumping, running, losing a sneaker in the leaves… and even accidentally stepping in some hidden doggie poo, a true and pungent experience of nature! I had given the boys a clear quart-sized baggie and some tweezers so we could collect nature treasures to bring home. (The magnifying lens I had ordered for close-up inspections unfortunately had not arrived in time.) But we did collect special odd stones, dried leaves with but a hint of orange, strange twigs, pieces of dried tree moss…and even a bug. The woods were filled with strangely shaped trees “with no clothes on” during the cold season and the colors around us were mostly brown, black and gray. Going out on that Christmas day with no snow was a very different experience than when we walk on Easter or in May. A walk full of crackling, snapping dried sounds, and pungent scents of decay and earthiness.

I recall now a quote from the  book The Last Child in the Woods:

“I like to play indoors better ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are”  ~ a fourth grader in San Diego

I admit that my own grandsons living in this culture know where all the electrical outlets in their house are as well and there is a constant challenge to balance monitored technology time and offline projects time. One cannot escape it and it is a challenge in just about ALL households these days.

But I am so happy and proud of my daughters and the attention they give to nature time …. in our family picture albums are so many photos of a  Mommy in the lead…follow the leader!…as we tramp through woods and paths and along the beaches and tidepools and corn mazes in the various seasons of the year.

This Christmas, my gift to all my grandchildren was the game Wildcraft Craft! An Herbal Adventure Game. They know that Noni and their Mumma’s have magical and healing herbs in the garden and cupboard… what a lovely idea to play a game to recognize these helpful plants on their own!

Wildcraft (2).jpg COPY

From walks in nature, to educating the young ones in the healing power of both wild and garden HERBS, this Noni and my daughters hope to keep ourselves and the children close to Nature…. physically, mentally and spiritually.

With love from Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Christmas 2015 and a walk in the woods

Christmas 2015 and a walk in the woods with the boys!

 

 

Storage 1 Closeup

The time came when it just didn’t work anymore… after about 8 years of hangin’ in, hangin’ on it just didn’t work anymore.  Letting go of a home…especially if it is also your place of work and service is traumatic and fearsome, especially if you are not sure where you are to go next. In my case, my home, besides being private and comforting Sanctuary, was also my professional and service base teaching piano, writing, and hosting a variety of peer mentoring circles, like a retreat or periodic workshops in New Moon gatherings, cooking or herbal preparations. Those who have come together in my living room also were letting go of a sacred space apart from the world that served as gentle sanctuary and community for all of us and they too were concerned and saddened wondering if we will be able to stay together in special time-apart space.

My garden…this year in convenient grow boxes.. was my inspiration for this summer’s series on the Greening Spirit, photographing and taking delight in all things green as well as the most beautiful Japanese Maple on my lawn that radiated peace and loveliness in all seasons, always visible from my front door.

Garen Lush July 5, 2015

I am fortunate though to now have interim time staying with friends who are dear kindred spirits and we are creating for this time on my journey into the unknown a kind of elder “commune” experience. What this has meant for me in an exhausting period of intense sorting, packing, and organizing is he breaking down all that is part of my physical life and environment in a focused review of all that I have been, all that has been part of different chapters of my life.

Photos, years of  writings in folders, cookbooks, journals, music and music books, cds, audio tapes and dvds, art supplies, musical instruments, pots and pans, office supplies, candles and ritual objects, shoes and clothes, beauty products, dishes (4 sets) , BOOKS of a number of separate and treasured genres, house decorations, statuary, towels and sheets, knives and forks and cutlery, photographic supplies and cameras, coats and jackets, boots, shoes, garden supplies, grow boxes, clay flower pots and bags of organic soil, seeds for vegetables and flowers and…and….and…canned goods and spices, herbal teas and herbs and…and…much more. And keeping track of that one special tool…my favorite spatula without which I cannot cook!

The enormous challenge has been not directly moving from one place to another to establish  another home, which is not possible right yet. Packing for the immediate now- life in the shared interim place with friends and packing all furniture and most items and supplies of my familiar in-progress life into bins, bags and boxes in a storage facility has required an intense all-consuming focus.

IMG_1130My grow boxes came with me….not to go into storage…but to winter outdoors as is recommended, now under the pines in the woods of my new sanctuary. I am learning new things shifting from independence to inter-dependence. I have learned how to make a fire in the woodstove which yes, is all new for me.

But my life in boxes…boxes in the storage facility, boxes here in the basement, boxes in the loft where I am writing, boxes under my bed in my charming little bedroom… Many chapters in a life….in boxes…..the price being paid for a new kind of freedom unfolding…..

 

IMG_1012From Christine, the Greening Spirit in Transition

 

 

 

 

 

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