Tag Archive: Culture


I was kind of in a hurry, dashing into town to pick up a few things. It was cold, grey and damp, but my car was warm and my four wheels could get me where I needed to go quickly and then back home again to host a friend’s visit.

You know…..that light at the four corners takes FOREVER to change so I  cleverly turned left for a short-cut behind Bess Easton Coffee to quickly drive across the parking lot and across the street to the pharmacy and Belmont’s market.

But no such luck. Turning the corner to make that quick dash, right there squarely in the middle of the road heading in the same direction was an old woman, pushing a little shopping cart with empty shopping bags attached. She was all bundled up against the cold, layers under coat, hat, gloves, scarf and she was SLOWLY making her way..and I mean SLOWLY…inch by inch….alone.

My first inner response  of impatience was “Oh, SHEESH!” ….. but just momentarily as I reminded myself that I now live in a Senior Housing Apartment complex and though I can quickly veer around those with walkers or a cane in the hallways of the building, someday a number of years from now, that could be me!

Compassion, my dear. Let’s polish that up a bit.

I backed up and turned my car around going to a store behind me instead and also stopped to top off the gas in my vehicle. And then I proceeded to my original intended destination, though about 25 minutes behind schedule.

The old woman was gone from the middle of that short-cut, and I was able to cut through, across the parking lot, across the road to the big parking lot of the pharmacy and market.

And there she was… inching her way step by slow step over towards the market…! She had covered quite a distance in those 25 minutes and quite frankly, I was awed and humbled by her determination, her courage, and her intrepid spirit making her way alone, without partner or friend, on a cold grey day. It was a very long walk in distance and time.

ELDER-kin. There are so many of us now…from about age 60 to 90+..especially single women, living alone in senior apartments.. families somewhere else and ever so busy..adult children on the move and grandkids too and so much time between visits. We did not know when we were younger about the sometimes isolation and lonely journeys we must take in this third life chapter.

It takes courage and pure GRIT to take that LONG WALK alone to the market on foot on a cold day. Women, I must say, are known for that kind of pure GRIT… haven’t many of us just up and done what needed to be done as we once accompanied partners, children or aging parents through all kinds of growth pangs?

Seeing this Elder Kin sister from across the distance stirred my heart and almost brought tears to my eyes. I blessed her, and me, and all courageous elders who are are taking that long walk…even when it is slower than it used to be.

 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

update Feb 2016 (2)

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Today I Am Looking for What I Am Wanting to See

It is a very serious time here in America with issues that are heartrending, enraging, challenging and disorienting. It’s also a time of awakening of hope and a turning of the tide towards an America we want instead of America we have drifted towards while asleep.

How do we stay balanced and focused on the positive when our hearts are breaking, and our psyches are bruised by conflict and confusion?

Well for me, having been taught by wise mentors of the laws of attraction is that we get what we mostly think and talk about…usually what we don’t want rather than what we do want.

One of the practices or mantras that I employ is the phrase “Today I am looking for what I am wanting to see!”.

One of those things I want to see are “smiles” … a symbol of good will and connection in a divisive world.

I have found smiles everywhere when I go about the world…the market, stores, the post office, parking lots while I enter buildings and pass others. Almost 99.9% of the time, a nod and a smile as I pass another “stranger” elicits the same greeting in return and I know that we both have been soothed and brightened and given a dose of hope. It is a wonderful practice to employ. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE in the energy field around us.

One day, feeling a bit low and needing a break from the dominant culture of never-ending “news of strife and disasters” I went for a solitary walk at the beach on a chill but early hint-of-spring day, of course as always with my camera.

My every-day prayer “Today I am looking for what I am wanting to see” was intent on experiencing smiles.

There were no other people nearby on the beach or boardwalk but it is true that “ask and you shall receive”for within five minutes of my walk, pondering smiles…there is was! And it was not a person! Nevermind…  “The Universe always says yes” in this focused magic of the imagination.  You get what you ask for, what you focus on with intent…eventually if not almost immediately, metaphysically in the mind first, then experienced in concrete reality.

Scarborough 2 Happy (3)

I have hope that in our lives, in our nation we can wake up from where we have drifted into a new consciousness of what we can be for the good of all, not the wealth and privledge of a few at the top.

Today and each day as I enter the world around me, I am starting by making kindly connections with others I newly meet, with a smile and nod of good will.

I am looking for what I want to see…  people willing to help each other, willing to volunteer and work for good causes, looking for beautiful art and words of wisdom and guidance in good books and literature, looking for and celebrating those individuals and societies that work for the preservation of our beautiful planet. And more.

I hope, while taking actions for goodness, that I can remember to celebrate and talk more about the things I want to see and not to just rage and post and repost endlessly about all that is enraging, shocking and dark.

Mother Theresa once said “You will never see me at an anti-war rally. But you will always see me at a Peace Rally”.  Perspective/focus.

Today I am looking for what I am wanting to see. And I will see it…experience tells me I will indeed see it.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

I am on FB/social media daily and interact with a number of creative people who are free-spirited and artsy: craftspersons, lovers of music and dance, writers, poets, painters,photographers,animal lovers,  yoga teachers…. and political activists in this chaotic time of challenging social priorities.

However recently this past year, showing up in my feedback stream are a number of posts (or comments) by persons of fundamentalist religious beliefs who are ardent about particular issues that they feel are dangerous, sinful, against God’s will or threatening to their biblical or dogmatic faith teachings. These passionate concerns include issues around pro-choice vs pro-life legislation, transgenderism, gay relationships, emerging women’s voices with access to public power for change, to name a few.  Let me say that altho we may differ vastly on what we think about these issues, both they and I have a common right to think what we will.

Debate that can often lead to arguments as to who holds the “Truth” are common although I try not to engage in that way, beyond stating what feels right to me…for me. What I ardently resist is the attempted legal imposition of fundamentalist  belief systems upon the rights of others to choose for themselves how to live a sane and hopefully moral life.

And I do not hold that there is only one valid spiritual path that is the one true faith for all and that that one path is a cure for all of societies ills.

As the prophetic priestly Matthew Fox often says of the world’s spiritual Wisdom traditions :  “One River, Many Wells”.

I teach a variety of courses at a local University and one of them, a course I describe as “a retreat in an academic setting” focuses on three words (plus one) from a poem by the Celtic poet John O’Donohue.  The three words are Silence, Stillness, and Solitude. I added the “plus one” as Simplicity. These words are practices that help us to discern a deep ability to access a personal  spiritual conscience leading to right and just decision making personally and in society.

A meditative exercise we do to demonstrate open-ness and respect for the many ways of finding a healthy inner guidance system without judgementalism born of fundamentalist hubris is the artistic creation of our Soul Mandalas.

Each person receives a black and white image of a complex mandala design. Everyone receives the exact same image (ONE RIVER). In quiet meditation to soft music, everyone colors this image. At the end of the exercise we display our creations and are awed at the diversity (MANY WELLS) and all and each one is beautiful, whole and unique. Yet the original pattern is identical. Each of us, given free will (and a set of colored markers) must personally create a life, a spiritual path, a Voice for what we stand for without demanding that everyone else believe as we do or denigrating others for standing up for justice from another angle. We each color in our mandalas without demanding that they are colored in the same way.

Often then a challenge comes back such as “well is MURDER a valid life choice, or GREED or LYING or Terrorism? And should we accept those? ”  Common sense and decency can answer that one. The issue here is about intolerance of diversity in how people make life choices that lead them to whom they were meant to be in the Creator’s plan for service and inspiration for others.

It is vital in today’s complex society filled with so many forceful “opinions”,  judgments and and sometimes “righteous” religious hubris, to craft honorable discernment through personal spiritual work and the humble practices of Silence, Stillness, Periodic Solitude, and Simplicity.

And it is also vital to keep the image of these multi-colored mandalas in our imagination and the wise teaching of One River, Many Wells.

OLLI Class photo

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

OLLI peace

 

 

 

 

Snowface David PICA WINTER WHITE (2)

Doesn’t it seem like Winter is endless this year? Cold, dark, windy, FOREVERRrrrrr!

I think Old Man Winter has fallen asleep in the woods and I hope he has not forgotten in his dreams that Spring is waiting impatiently to bring color back onto Earth’s canvas.

There has not been a lot of snow, but this HAS been a grey Winter in many of our spirits these days, with the intense flu season and especially the political upheavals, disarray and FROZEN icy heartless souls in power at the top in our government  right now who are stealing the lushness that belongs to all of us.

If we who believe in Spring don’t lose hope that all will dark, cold and seemingly life-less forever, if there are enough of us to soon, if not already, stir the soil, clang the pots and bells, sing songs and recount stories of our most colorful and generous dreams, then surely the green-ness, the “veriditas”, the flowers of freedom, as well as the Earth, will return in Spring.

Old Man Winter actually does know this.

As the Celtic poet Priest John O’Donohue has said:

If and when  you are in a bleak time, remember this: The secret work of winter…is..Spring”

May it be so (as it always has been….)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Moi hat 2

 

 

 

What’s your mission?

The Greening Spirit

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…

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Dark Moon Aquarius Mandala (2)

Ah! Aquarius! The Rebel, the Genius, the Unique Individual, Freedom of Expression, The “Outside-the Box” taster of life! Leader of the pack…Visionary.

This moon coming at a time in my life when it became so necessary to take the risks of a unique vision contrary to the mainstream idea of what is it is to be happy and successful and the cultural/commercialist/consumeristic path to “get there”.  Also at a time in my life when I finally stopped the attempts at “explaining” and justifying the validity of a path and use of “time” defined by other people’s expectations or jusdgements. THAT release of the need to explain is FREEDOM!

Happiness is elusive when pursued by way of the homogenized, televised or advertised images and words of the “outer” world. For me as I have matured, happiness is an “inside job”…happiness and a feeling of rightness in how I express myself, how I earn my living through the arts/spirituality which doesn’t always earn a fortune but expresses freedom of creativity that is a major facet of my personality. Freedom of expression in how I dress, how I write or talk, what I focus on that has meaning for me and gives meaning to my life, how I define “freedom” of intellectual thoughts, how and what I pursue as pleasures and delights to bring beauty into my life…

This dark moon mandala in Aquarius chooses the actions of stepping out of the box and how to spend a day, a month, a life in a unique and personal way. A bright pink open BAG (not a box) filled with flowers and gardens, an outrageous pink outfit and hat no matter what my age…a butterfly for freedom of spirit, the permission to “think differently” from the herd or commercial consensus…and the blessing of personal guides and the gods laughing:  “WE HEAR YOU!” Thank you!

Take a chance on love! Speak Your mind..and other daring moves!

Take a chance on love! Speak Your mind..and other daring moves!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Moi 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

 Crocus minded 2 (2)

  We live in a time that requires speaking out. Speaking out against political rhetoric of hate and the encouragement of violence against others in political speeches pandering to the lowest common denominator of thought and behaviour. Speaking out against injustice, destruction of the environment, racism and xenophobia and lies and spins that fracture truth and throw up smokescreens that cover and excuse them.
  Speaking out takes courage and finding the words that address wrongs and dark-doings often is like breaking through the rocky soil of fear of repercussions or the insecurity of possibly not finding the right words to express justified outrage or grief at physical, emotional or psychological paths of destruction.
  The poem “Crocus-Minded” was read at one of our recent Unitarian Sunday services. Following the spectacles of our present political campaign rallies and “debates” in the USA, many of us are alarmed, dismayed, embarrassed, and full of grief for what seems to be taking hold.
  For me, the arts, poetry, dreams and myth have often inspired me to deal with what is going awry personally or publicly and helped me to find the words to speak out for what is right good and of virtue.
  In so doing, I find that at this time, I am Crocus-Minded. I’d rather it be easier and more pretty like roses full of delicate or heady scent. (But then, still in summer, roses DO have pfeisty thorns….)
  For now…whenever I speak out against the violence, ignorance, hatred in a divided atmosphere….I am Crocus.
CROCUS-MINDED
It takes courage to be crocus-minded._
…I’d rather wait until June,
like wild roses,
when the hazards of winter are
safely behind and I’m expected.
and everything’s ready for roses.
But crocuses?
Highly irregular.
Knifing up through hard-frozen ground
and snow,
Sticking their necks out
because they believe in spring
and have something personal and
emphatic to say about it.
…I am not by nature crocus-minded
even when I have studied the
situation and know there
are wrongs that need righting
affirmations that need stating,
and know that my speaking out may
offend,
for it rocks the boat – –
Well, I’d rather wait until June.
Maybe later things will work
themselves out,
and we won’t have to make an issue
of it.
Forgive me.
Wrongs won’t work themselves out.
 Injustices and inequities and hurt
 don’t just dissolve.
Somebody has to stick their neck out;
somebody who
cares enough to think through
hard ground
because they believe
and they have something personal
and emphatic to say about it.
Me? – – Crocus-minded?
 
Could it be that there are
 things that need to be said
 and I need to say them?
 
I pray for courage.
(This prayer was written by The Rev. Dr. Gordon B. McKeeman, UU Minister and adapted by Reverend Jan Vickery Knost for use at the UUCSC Sunday service.) _
Crocus minded 1
From Christine, The Greening Spirit

							

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One of the most shocking things about a move is the sorting through and packing of STUFF… All kinds of STUFF that we have come to consider as essential in our lives under the finite roof over our heads in the structure we call “home”.

We don’t have to be identified clinically as a “hoarder” to realize as we pack that there is STUFF in our lives everywhere which indeed is problematic when needing to wrap it up and leave! All those little Hummel statues, bottles of medicine and cough and cold remedies, a bag full of various lengths of extensions chords, the spices and herbs in the cupboard, little boxes of staples for the 3 sizes of staplers, the box of drawings from when our kids were little, our high school yearbook (and now we are over 60 years old!), the three crockpots, the shoe stretcher, the souvenier champagne glasses from that island vacation etc etc etc.

The vacuum cleaner, the Weber Grill and extra propane tank, the lawnmower, the birdfeeders, the table saw, the aerobed, the carwash kits, the flower pots, the bags of compost, the dog’s dishes and heartworm pills, the kids toys, the …the wall sconces and moveable fire-pit and all those little pieces of sea-glass and white stones collected at the beach and arranged on a tabletop altar…and….and…and….

Since this move, when I am visiting friends in their little or big homes, I find myself looking around in the room at all the things they will have to pack too when and if they have to, or decide to move and relocate. Just looking and imagining that exhausts me all over again! My word..do they have any idea what they are in for when it is their time for change?

When I started my process of packing things neatly, systematically and by category in my plastic bins, bringing them to the storage, I took pride in the fact that I was organized and somewhat in control of this arduous and exhausting project.

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BUT at the end of the big move-out, the last few days when it was truly clear-out and GO time, it ended with  “just-get it in there!” any way we could. And the reality of STUFF…too much STUFF!…. struck me with such a force….  I felt like I was dragging Marley’s chains and began to entertain the desire and ability for a second purging to let it all go in time…

Full (2)

Except…one has to eat! And I cannot cook without my favorite spatula which I have had with me since 1968…. a wedding gift that has been part of my life, kitchen, well being and  creative cooking adventures all these years.  So…” Where is my favorie spatula in all that STUFF??? “IMG_8154

Don’t think for a minute that I don’t know where it is…and this week, I shall enter the cave where so much of my life is in boxes and bring it out to live with me in my shared living space at this time. Not ALL of the STUFF is mere clutter… I know exactly where to find it in that above storage!

If you would like to know more about my favorite SPATULA, check out my essay on the other blog of mine:

https://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/memoirs-the-treasured-spatula/

My hard-won advice to any and all who think they might be moving between really soon to within the next TEN years: start sorting and simplifying NOW!

*** I would love to hear your own moving experiences..so many of us in this process and it is no small event in our lives. I have adjusted the settings for you to share a comment…

 

Storage GSFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

Sunflowers and smiles  at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

Sunflowers and smiles at Buttonwooods Farm in Griswold, Ct.

What is it about Sunflowers that makes us so smiley and happy? In a world full of bad news and upset on a daily basis, and the constant barrage of vapid or divisive media chit-chat we sometimes need to FLEE into our gardens, or garden centers or those wonderful land-trusts and farms offering creative Greening Spirit delight and refreshment.

Sunflowers speaking;

Sunflowers speaking; “Hello there, Humans! Lighten up!”

I have decided at a time of personal life challenges and change at this time to purposefully include happy “field trips” to places nearby that I have always meant to visit, but had not yet done so. Calling a friend who is always ready for a spur-of-the-moment adventure, we took off to join throngs of smiling people who were doing the same to visit Buttonwoods Farm during this two-week only sunflower festival.

Peekaboo You....Look this way! Down here!

Peekaboo You….Look this way! Down here!

Point and shoot digital cameras, cameras with BIG closeup lenses and busy cell-phone cameras were in everyone’s hands…stop, snap, stop, snap…taking home a sunflower picture if not a bouquet. My friend Margie had her little camera and focused on a happy sunflower being visited by a bee gathering its pollen.

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The sun was bright, the path through the acres of Sunflowers was long but upon exiting there was a lovely hill and a big shading tree and cool breezes to stop and view the field from a higher vantage point and rest up before making the return trip…

Cool breezes on the hill up there

Cool breezes on the hill up there

People, young, old, of all shapes and sizes made the journey through the Sunflowers to be greeted and blessed by all that good cheer.

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

Never too old to greet the Sunflowers!

On the way out, we met a real Sunflower Smiley Face!

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After our trek through the Sunflower Fields…back to my own neighborhood for Ice Cream across the way, sitting in the shade and enjoying every single lick on a warm day.

I didn’t bring a bouquet home with me from Buttonwoods.. I knew there were, on a much smaller scale, but still smiling, emergent sunflowers in my own garden…they are just beginning to open now as will add to the greening spirit joy and delight as I also daily prepare to release this home and venture into a new chapter.

I want to take these smiles with me wherever I go …..  🙂

My Garden, My Soul

My Garden, My Soul

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Yellow   ps. T’would make me smile if you leave a *like* if you did, share away or make a comment of your own! Are you smiling?

Soulfulness can infuse everything! Please visit my other blogs! They’re FUN!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

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