Tag Archive: life


As part of my own personal spiritual practice, I am inspired to try to follow the Benedictine and monastic way of pausing with mindfullness or prayer several times throughout the day or night when I am able. The “Book of Hours” can be formal if in the monastery, and yet can be more informal guided “out here  in the world” by a good resource book.

That book for me is “Music of Silence: a Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day” by Benedictine Brother David Stendl-Rast which has beautiful essays on each of the hours and their meaning and application for peace and gracious living. There are two mid-morning “hours” for pause and reflection that are very inspiring for whatever are our busy times engaged in worldly tasks. These hours are Prime and Terce.

The theme of Prime at its simplest is about the assignment of and preparation for “work” each day and how to realize that our work  should have meaning and is to be about loving service. We and our work is needed…or should be. As Brother David writes ” This world was given to us to work on” and indeed there are many things that need to be done for the good of all.

The theme of the hour Terce following a little later before noon, is like a little spiritual coffee break during which we pause to reflect on and send our work out beyond as blessing and well wishing to all who might receive our the fruit of our labors.

It is these two particular holy hours that I thought of the morning at brought my daughter to catch a train back to the  big city for work after her week-long  family visit on the coast.

A bit sleepy so early in the morning, we were nevertheless given the lovely  opportunity for a special little just-us mother-daughter visit while waiting on the platform for the train to arrive.

There IS something wonderfully exciting waiting for a train and seeing it approaching from a pin-point distance to the roar and silvery speed as it  arrives with squeeling brakes and shaking platform.

That morning with  mumma/daughter goodbye hugs and once-again promises that I would get on that train sometime in the future to come visit when I had more confidence with my vision, the train finally stopped in front of us and the doors popped open.

There, welcoming oncoming travelers, was this handsome Conductor with the biggest smile of the morning, holding the door open and waving people in as to a party.

THIS was a man happy with his work, obviously loving his on-the-move job and the gift of his service to one and all and I thought to myself  “He has the PERFECT spirit of these early hours of the morning ‘Prime and Terce’!”.

He  was not a monk, but a proud and crisply uniformed agent of hospitality, welcoming and good cheer whose blessing and generosity assured the travelers that the ride would be  pleasurable and the destination assured. I knew then that a trip to visit my daughter and family in the big city would happen even before my vision was stable.  I want this man to be the Conductor welcoming me on board when I travel there and..

THIS is the train I want to ride!

Let’s GO!

 

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

It is Valentine’s Day today and at this particular time in my life, I am once again my own Valentine, as I have been over the past several years. I am also at a time of looking backwards, mindfully pondering where I have been in my life, where I am, presently, in the very much appreciated NOW, and lingering with questions regarding where I am headed in the future, next, in this still unknown third chapter of life.

I have been child, teenager, girlfriend, wife, lover, Mother, Professional, Grandmother. I have been many things at various stages, overlaying one onto the other like those Russian dolls that nest within each other, starting small and growing larger with each new role. I have been them all and today on a rather unusually configured Valentine’s Day culturally, astrologically and spiritually, I especially ponder the “me” that has been both Tartalina, and Priestess.

Two things: Today’s Valentine’s Day also falls on the day of Ash Wednesday. From an astrological/archetypal point of view, this is a rather interesting mix:  An “8th House” mix for those who speak and understand the poetic language of astrology.

The” 8th House”  is about several things but commonly  sex and death are initially considered.  Today’s Valentine’s Day oddly contains both themes for those who honor or ritualize both the popular cultural theme of romance and the more serious spiritual and religious consideration of death. This Valentine’s day offers us the opportunity to consider both sex/love and death as important and transformative experiences with the invitation to fully embrace Life.

In sex/love, the heart is opened and beating with Life, passion and connection. In death, the heart and beating are closed and earthly connection is released. In sex and love we can be healed but also we can be wounded which when lost, is like a death. In death, we if spiritually inspired, dream or believe our spirits move into a place of total love and merging with the All. Ash Wednesday reminds us of that return back to from where we came.

Big things to ponder here.

But now back to Tartalina and the Priestess.

A number of years ago, a dear artist Friend named Madeline, gifted me on my birthday with a doll she mad to celebrate the qualities of the sacred feminine and love of ritual that we both shared. The Priestess doll represents the spiritual quality of  the Virgin-One-Unto-Herself experience and knowing that is in every woman, some of us a little more aware than others of the sacred times of ritual, connection to the holiness/wholiness of the earth, the seasons , the phases of the moon and planets and the many seasons and moods within us. This beautiful doll with the golden hair representing the return of Spring’s bright sun in the month of May (my birthday month) and the waning moon on her forehead foreshadowing release and letting go speak to the same qualities that we experience in our lives.  There is much to ponder in the symbolism that Madeline placed artfully onto the Priestess Doll.  The Priestess is all knowing of the cycles of life …birth, the fullness of Life,  and death along the continuum of our time here. She knows we come from ashes and to ashes we shall return.   And I am her.

The other doll is “Tartalina”, made in a private workshop Madeline gave to me and another close friend of hers. Both myself and that friend were coming out of complex and  passionate love affairs that broke our hearts and we were in great need of healing.

When coming out of a passionate relationship that has been “the best and worst thing that every happened to us”,  there is a decision to be made in the grief process as to whether we close our hearts totally in renunciation and self protection, or to, after a time, keep our hearts open to the new, to risk love once again despite having been wounded.

I created “Tartalina” to hold that broken heart open in love and understanding, and to honor the alive passionate sensual part of my nature that is as holy and private as my deepest spirituality. She is about owning and loving the sacred, mischievous naughty, physical, spicy, tart-like feminine expression that is pure delight. I created her to be beautiful and earthy with her long legs delicately imprinted with garden vines and green hair of nature and veriditas for these are earthly as well as spiritual powers. She is a Valentine. And I am her.

I am Tartalina and Priestess combined and in this middle phase of the blessed “NOW” between the remembrances of the Past and the as-yet unknown answers of the Future, I honor and love them both, knowing I can call their qualities and virtues back in whenever necessary.

An incredible Love Story: The Artist is Present: As she sits  silently for eight hours  looking into the eyes  of anyone who wishes to be seen, she is startled when an important lover from the past takes the chair in front of her. Deeply moving.

Happy Valentine’s Day to me! …and with love to all of you as well!

From Christine, the greening spirit

Cranberyy 2

 

 

 

In Joan Chittisters’s wonderful book, “The Gift of Years”, she writes  “The French call the years after  (official) retirement ‘the third age’ “.  She goes on throughout this lovely book to encourage and cheerlead those from about the age of 60  right until past 90 to see this time period as one filled with many blessings, though of course requiring  some attitude adjustments.

One of the blessings of this time for me ( and I am still working/teaching part-time and far from 90!) is the ability to look backwards down through the years, coming to better understand where I had been, be more acutely aware of the preciousness of NOW in this moment, and have a new tenderness, patience and compassion for those who are ahead of me and closer to eternity.

Inotherwords, perspective.

We have different agendas at each phase of life and Joan’s book eloquently captures all of them in her fascinating chapters.  For me, people- watching at the beach often captures the poignancy, humor and understanding of the different phases we move through…an enjoyable pastime for me in the now-available “floating” times I have to meander out and about with my camera, trying to capture in images what Joan offers  in words.

The beach and beach walkers all have different agendas. I have grandsons and know so well how little boys cannot resist skimming stones and small rocks across the waves…testing how far they can throw their dreams out upon the waters. Is the horizon the limit? Or is there more adventure beyond that? And the retired couple…holding hands, a slow stroll, maybe no need for talking, reconnecting after the active frenzied life of  youth and the middle years of  work and accomplishments, family and friends and many responsibilities, challenges and adventures.

share different agendasI PICA MG_5686 (2)

What about the Girlfriends? Such a familiar scene…. best friends…when teenage, sharing giggles over boys, middle years, long commiserations about relationships and challenges with husbands or lovers, shared wisdoms about raising kids, sisterhood guidance about following new paths of inspiration…. and older years…women soulsisters reminiscing and proud stories of grandchildren and adult children, comparing notes about health and lifestyle changes… I love this picture of these two girlfriends, deep in conversation along the beach, determined to keep sharing stories besides the challenges of the swirling gusts of wind threatening to snatch hat or skirt hems.

share E Mat People Pic one

And then, there is another agenda that is not age-related, but “spirit’  related when beach time is a no- agenda solitary time to just be, bringing nature and soul together in solitude to the music of sea and wind.

SOLOFof Scar PICA little blue boy (3)

share Lady on the rocks PIC Fisherwoman (2)

I am glad to be in this “third age” of life, giving me time to devote myself to writing, photography and pondering where I have been up to this point, where I am NOW in this gifted moment, and how I want to craft my life living at the edge along the shores of existence. Always a walk at the beach will inspire me to know the right way for me to live more fully.

From Christine, the Greening Sprit

share E Mat two book hand (2)

 

Lighthouses are amazing structures. Strong. Defined. Towering. Commanding. Courageous. Often they are built on jetties, or islands in the raging seas, accessible only by boat, and the first question that comes to mind is “How did it get there in the first place?”

We usually think of a lighthouse’s mission as a guide to bring those lost at sea, home again to safe land. We think of it as a beam of light, or metaphorically speaking, a beam of Wisdom bringing us to a place of sure-footedness and grounding when we are adrift in our lives, tossed about by raging emotional waters, or simply adrift and rudderless, not knowing where we are or where we are going. We usually associate these lighthouses with the sea, be they structures, guiding words or wise people or mentors who draw us back to home.

PJL

But “lighthouses” are for those of us on land too, in times when we DO know where we are trying to go, when the direction or new dream is compelling but to get there we need to fight our way through brambles, prickles and obstacles to clear the path. In this case we need to follow the dream by keeping our eyes on the light calling us home to our authentic selves.

PJL Feb 2017 PICA

We sometimes cannot do it alone. A trusted friend, a mentor, a wise counselor, a Lighthouse Keeper who knows who we are and who we can be, comes with the lighthouse, switching on the beam to guide us home to our best selves and purpose.

share Crea MonaCRI Lighthouse. OICA jpg (2)

In my life, I have had many “Lighthouses” and am so thankful for all of them no matter what form they have taken. I invite you, too, to scan all horizons in your life whether on land or sea to appreciate the Lighthouses that have brought you home to yourself over and over again.

** These images were taken on the New England coast…Point Judith Lighthouse and the Beavertail Lighthouse, Rhode Island.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

MOI Wind

 

 

 

 

 

There are days and seasons when the world is grey. Days when the natural winter of the earth as well as the winter of our situations and spirits have almost drained us of energy and color.

And yet… hiding away from it is not the answer. Grey is a time offering its own virtues… releasing the judgemental nature of black and white, softening the edges of the ego, gently demanding patience until color begins to return to both our environment and our lives.

What always helps me in the grey times is to get out and meet it on its own terms, fully accepting and learning from it by a WALK in nature.

On this one particular day when I’d had enough of staying inside in inclement weather, I went out…bundled up of course…after the rain that was melting snow. There was mist and fog both ascending and descending, and lots of puddles.

As always, my camera was with me though I did not think I would see anything of worth or beauty in such seemingly bland landscape. But you know, it also pays to be awake to possible surprises, even in the grey times, and experience has taught me that we are never disappointed.

And there they were….everywhere. Puddle Trees!  Watery Reflections …or maybe invitations/magical portals to another dimension beneath ours if one could dive in to see what all this grey-ness was really about.

It is a worthy practice to once in a while look at things from another perspective. In the tarot there is a Major Arcana card called “The Hanging Man” depicting a man swinging upside down from the limb of a tree. He is not in trouble…just seeing things from an upside down perspective to consider things or situations in a new way.

HangedM Pica jpg

The Puddle Trees are a little like that.  A sort of fairy tale to ponder with several secret lessons to be revealed in meditation.

I was delighted with my “find”  and had fun meeting the Grey in a new (upside down) way!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

 

 

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…

View original post 690 more words

IMG_3885[1]

Why is a recipe from my foodie blog http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.worpdress.com here on the Greening Spirit site? Because delicious food lifts our spirits and gives us something to look forward to after our day’s work and travels “in the world”. Good food also brings loved ones to and around the table for “communion”… and communion means food for the soul as well as the body around the table’s altar. Here is the  “greening spirit” recipe from yesterday’s post on “sensuous soups and suppers”:

Well, yes it is true that so many of us grow weary and discouraged on FB these days given the chaos of our present political challenges. Taking time out from posting alarms and alerts, some of us eventually resort to alternating posts between our opinions and activism, with Comic Relief (funny cartoons or snarky wit), Beauty (flowers and scenery), Cutsies (kittens, puppies and babies) and  FOOD! (WHAT WE ARE HAVING FOR DINNER!).

Last night I fled to my kitchenette (only 6 inches away from my tiny apartment living room) to free my mind and heart from stress, and to dive wholeheartedly with my hungry tummy into pure comfort and creativity with an awesome Italian recipe inspired by Lidia Bastianich,  I say “inspired by” because she started the whole thing off in her recipe book, but I, Imdependent  and renegade Cooker myself, always have to tweak a recipe to make it mine, ALL MINE! So to be fair, let’s maybe say it was a winning “collaboration”,

When I posted the above picture on FB for good cheer, it must have provided some much needed comfort as more people jumped into my post with comments about this than about anything  elseI have posted all week. Several even sent me private messages asking (begging) for the recipe. Which of course I promised to do…what else are friends for? So wipe your chins dear salivators !…here we go… feel free to make it yours too with your own tweaks.

Ingredients:

1 box/pkg of gnocchi

1 10 oz pjg of frozen peas, defrosted)

5 thin stalks of asparagus, steamed and cut into thirds

4 or 5 small cocktail tomatoes, seeds squeezed out and quartered

1/2 heavy crème OR half n  half OR evaporated mil

1 cup of chicken broth

2 tablespoons of butter salted or non salted

6 oz of crumbled gorgonzola

a dash of garlic powder, a dash of Italian herb blend (I used Penzys Tuscan blend)

a little squeesze..drops really to taste…of lemon. Go very easy on this to taste

salt and pepper to taste

A BIG SOUP MUG and a BIG SPOON

**(Don’t forget a glass of rose (not red! not white!) wine to accompany. (Red is too strong, white is too “white”…I cook with complementary colors..there is enough white in this sauce)

*** Put on some nice music. Preferably by Josh Groban singing in Italian. Shut off the news on tv!

IMG_3887[1]

Preparation:

Boil the gnocchi according to the instructions of the box (Lidia makes her OWN gnocchi from scratch. Not me…one of my ingenious creative tweaks). Drain and set aside

Saute the butter (you can add a little more if you want.) in a large frying pan with  higher sides. When melted, add the combined milk and broth and dash of herbal blend and bring to a boil, then lower heat and let it cook for about 8 minutes to thicken a bit..sort of..stirring often. DO NOT burn or rapid boil and bubble (trouble!).

Add the gorgonzola and stir to melt. Taste and season to your liking.,, salt and pepper, a tiny squeeze of lemon (be careful here) and a dash of garlic powder.

Add the peas, asparagus and cocktail tomatoes and stir.

FINALLY,  add the gnocchi to coat completely.

IMG_3886[1]

IMPORTANT ! Take a picture and post it on FB so your friends can drool, leave lots of comments and then send them the link to this recipe on my blog!

Enjoy!

From Christine, the Greening Spirit a la “The Cook” on https://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

***Picture with my granddaughter Giana who is now 11 years old. ( I am the same age as I was then).

264613_10151085786018396_17473576_n (2)

 

The Mystic Life Through the Eyes of a Grandmother

 

128_128I am on a social networking site with a variety of “friends” who have a diverse swath of interests.  All are very interesting..and one can learn a lot and share a lot.

One  group of writers are very interested in the “Life of the Mystic”, sharing back and forth all kinds of writings and quotes by the Desert Fathers of ancient times, deep ponderings on the nature of God in the  Judeo-Christian traditions, and the finer points of theology and monastic life drawn from the Middle Ages.

While this is, in fact, part of my own original religious heritage and has much beauty and inspiration,  my life’s experiences as a woman have unfolded in such a way as to draw me ever closer to the Feminine Face and Feminine Experience of God and the Sacred, which has been much ignored if not at times denigrated in the major traditions.  The Path of the Mystic was somehow deemed to be somewhat rigorous,  often apart from daily life and to be officially accessed and supported through practices , prayers and readings drawn from sacred writings and texts.

This past weekend, much of my time was spent rocking my newborn grandson, a tiny newcomer alternating between asleep and awake, between  being “There” and “Here”, lying in deep peace and quietude upon my heart. His repose was awesome in those moments, full of Trust and just “Being”…nowhere to go, nothing to do,  just to Dream as he continued to slowly emerge into the World, even after birth.

For this weekend, all schedules of mine, tasks and responsibilities were set aside to assist my daughter and gently rock my grandchild into this new Life, and the repose and quietude within myself brought me closer to the Holy than any reading of scripture or poetry at this time. Watching my daughter breastfeeding, nourishing and comforting this newborn in her arms while she was very still and present was a prayer of wonder and celebration, the little one just BEING  in the arms, and on the Heart of the Mother, in the arms, and on the Heart of the Grandmother,  and all of us (including Dad, who also is loving and strong), in the Arms of the Divine.

The Path of the Mystic does require “Time Apart” in order to witness the small daily miracles that are ever present, and that fill us with a sense of awe and wonder. The Path of the Mystic can immerse  us in Beauty and move us to tears or prayers of gratitude and praise for the sacred surprises and Mysteries for which we often have no words.  We may trust, however, that it is in this  state of Presence and Soulfulness , blessed by Grace,  that ordinary experiences  are illumined and made extraordinary by stillness,  awareness and just being. (As an indigenous teacher once said “We are here to become human Be-ings, not merely human Do-ings).

We need not always enter the desert to find the Holy. And that is something  many Women have come to know since the lives of Mothers and Grandmothers often involve constant involvement in the lives of others. As the ones who physically give birth, and are often in charge of the care and feeding of others, giving out nourishment and support at all levels within the family system, the Time Apart to feed the Mystic within ourselves may be experienced in the brief  and simple moments of being in the garden, tending a wonderful pot of soup…or rocking a newborn.

And that IS a form of very personal Sacred Scripture on the path towards the Feminine Face of God.

DREAMING Your Life Alive!

For over 20 years I have been leading ,and participating in, retreats, workshops and circles of Dreamers…people who live authentically from the “Inside-Out”  by honoring, collecting, sharing, and working with their dreams.  Implementing the inate guidance and wisdom that comes up from the depths of the personal and collective Uncomscious through the mists of night, the Dreamers have been blessed with a freshness of Inspiration and personal practical and spiritual direction that has added magic, delight, humour,perspective ,wisdom, and instruction to their unfolding lives.

We do not live in a culture that makes a point of valuing  our dreams in this way. For the mainstream, the  question “what’s your dream?”  often evokes a response as to vacationing somewhere exotic, having a certain kind of car, more money, or in general having more of some kind of “stuff”. These are dreams that are fed from the “Outside-In”, often from advertising and programming of the media.

To Soul-Seekers and to  certain indigenous cultures,  that  same question has more to do with LISTENING to the images and promptings that emerge from the Dream as personal guidance to live a more balanced, uniquely authentic,healthy, creative  and generous life…in otherwords,  “DREAMING your Life ALIVE”.

In these times of economic and cultural challange and upheaval,  many people have found that the “outside ” Dream they have been pursuing has fallen apart or turned to dust in unprecedented cultural chaos. Often that “outside”  Dream  has been packaged and fed to us by advertising, and the images generated by a consumerist-driven mentality and society.

Perhaps, then, we might now re-assess which images we pay attention to for which direction we follow.Perhaps we can now turn inward to pay attention to the “Inner Dreams” that have always been there within us, and which are trying very ardently to speak to us in  this time of change, if only we will stop to listen and honor that deep and compassionate voice.

Perhaps, then a  most precious gift of the night is to DREAM our Lives ALIVE!!   (more on Dreams  in upcoming posts)

For personal help in working with your dreams in one-on-one Dream or Spiritual Direction appointments, please refer to INSIGHT GUIDANCE Services on this site. In person or by phone. Christine, the greeningspirit

***Sunday, July 12 3-5pm YOUR MAGIC  GARDEN: The Wild Weeds and Herbs (Session 2) will be held at the Greeningspirit’s place. The teachings for the day will be: Communicating with the Plant Spirits (an exercise…bring a folding chair and notebook), Imagination and Play in the Garden,  and Honoring the Path of SLOW “Good Medicine: The making of herbal teas and decoctions. Participants from Session 1 will hopefully share  their own Magic Garden experiences since the last meeting!  (Raindate: Monday  July 14   6:30-8:30 pm)***

Cost : $30 Pre-registration necessary. E-mail cphoenixrising@earthlink.net with the header “Your Magic Garden!” Leave a phone number please!

“GOOD MEDICINE” is Wellness Medicine!

Morning Tea! Nettles, Mugwor, Red Clover

Morning Tea! Nettles, Mugwort, Red Clover

In the ancient Chinese medical system using herbs and sometimes strange ingredients from nature, the job of the doctor was to keep the Emperor well and in good health, NOT to fix him after he got sick! In fact, it is said, perhaps anecedotedly, that if the Emperor became ill, the doctor lost his job, if not his head. If that were so in this culture, we might have more than a few doctors running around, shall we say,” mindless”  since there is an emphasis in our allopathic medical system on “Fixing” rather than preventing. However, to be totally fair, it must be said that a major  part of the responsibility for staying healthy is on each one of us to practice “Good Medicine” in our daily lives through proper diet (REAL food, and at regular peaceful intervals), exercise, a spiritual practice,  and knowledge and use of the natural “medicines and nourishments” from the plant allies around us.

One has to be careful in this culture with the word “medicine”  so let me be clear that what I primarilly mean by this word is what indigenous peoples mean by this word in it’s highest meaning. “Good Medicine” is that which keeps you Well and Healthy in the first place, and secondarilly that which nourishes and brings you back into balance when you have been stressed into illness. The herbal allies after all, have been the basis for medical pharmacopeias in all cultures across the centuries. According to the World Health Organization several years back, it was noted that 80%  of the world’s population still practices “Green Medicine” for the common maladies that are part of our lives as we flow back and forth between being balanced and unbalanced as part of the stresses and challenges and celebrations of human living.

At this time, I am one of many people, who due to the work and economic chaos we are in, have found myself for the first time without health insurance. It is therefore very necessary for me to practice “Good Medicine” to take care of myself in all the ways that will build me up to stay on my feet and engaged in life with vitality and vibrancy. For instance, recently after a bout of intestinal distress, my digestive system was very irritated and sensitive. Two days of an herbal tea of comfrey leaf, mugwort, skullcap, meadowsweet, and spearmint  soothed all discomfort and brought my system back into a normal state, without the use of over the counter medications which actually mask the symptoms but do not bring healing.

My own “Magic Garden”  full of the wild and cultivated herbal allies serve as both a nutritional and medicinal resource, as well as grounding me in my connection to both the spiritual, magical and natural world that has been gifted to us  by the Great Beneficense, God, the Great Spirit, Mother Earth. For me, both that spiritual and earthly connection is part of my personal Wellnes Program, keeping me grateful, full of imagination and wonder, and giving me hope always, knowing that I am participating in my own health care.  It is a form of self-empowerment that spills over to many areas of my Life and I am very grateful to be able to experience this personally and pass on that wisdom to others in my community.

***On Sunday, June 12, our little band of Greeningspirits will regroup here for Part 2 of Your Magic Garden: The Wild Plants and Herbs to empower themselves and their families. Studying together in this way delights us all as we make Community with the GreenSpirits in the garden, as well as the GreeningSpirits of our new friendships with each other…all part of “GOOD MEDICINE” for sure! (New friends are welcome). Veriditas! Christine

%d bloggers like this: