Tag Archive: lifestyle


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My garden grow boxes lying Fallow 2015-2016

Fallow (adj) ~ adjective. (of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated. not in use; inactive. (of personhood) ie My creative energies have lain fallow this year.

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During the last three summers of my home gardens, I decided to add grow boxes in the middle of my front lawn, as well as planting and tending all the border gardens around the boundaries and sides of the property. It was a joy and delight to witness all the green goodies…flowers, herbs and vegetables…. spilling out of those raised boxes…healthy and lush and easy to tend (no weeds!).

Sam garden

Jardin

Jardin one

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Sam garden

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These gardens gave me inspiration, strength, encouragement, hope and grounding during the several years of intense national and personal challenges in my life due to the economic downturn that so many Americans and home-owners were facing at that time. Holding on as best and as long as I could  came to an end in 2015… my “Year of the Thorn”…. when that way of life and the land had to be released, giving up home, gardens and land that could no longer be sustained.

 

 

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2015 My Year of the Thorn~ Loss and Letting Go

 

Receiving sanctuary with the dearest of friends, I was welcomed to stay with them for  the next year of my personal paradigm shift and healing of spirit. My grow boxes, once the containers of vibrant overflowing life, now lying fallow in their woods below a white pine.  And myself, fallow in spirit and activity as well, though still teaching piano to a small handful of mature students. Spirit-wise, though the rich compost of Creativity lay somewhere deep in my Soul, all was still and quiet and as empty as the soil in those grow boxes. Where to go next? How to work in new ways, how to sustain myself? How could I live in joy without my gardens, the source of so much creative inspiration, healing and connections to the Earth?

The blessings of my sanctuary friends and their own beautiful gardens still surrounded me with the green Veriditas so vital to my well-being. The joy of their land and its growing bounty helped during this fallow time between my familiar old life and my as yet-unkown new life when no new vision and direction revealed itself. Though their land and gardens were not mine, I was still tethered to the Earth while I waited for new as yet-unknown seeds of Soul to sprout.

 

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Madeline’s Garden

Eventually, when the Year of the Thorn  and the Fallow Period shifted slowly into the new life that I now live, those grow boxes were gifted to my daughter, and to a couple of elder friends who were happy to have them for easier gardens to tend. There are no more grow boxes or gardens at ground level for me now. 

But still…. this is not the end of the story of My Garden, My Soul. I am living with Veriditas (the greening spirit) .., but in a new way… with my “gardens” of green growing things and of Creative spirit.

Stay with me. There are still a couple of chapters to come.

 

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My Garden, My Soul

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Moi FM

There are many ways to live with Veriditas, the Greening Spirit of Soul!

You are invited to visit my other blogs…

http://sensuoussoupsandseuppers.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://thewinterkitchenfarmacy.wordpress.com (actually..herbal recipes for year round)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share the Thorn ip(2)

 

There have been many chapters so far to this series, My Garden, My Soul. It is time now to reveal that the celebration of these gardens of mine have been sweet reminisces, for they are gardens of my past, not my present. There is more to this story because there are many chapters in our lives. Like a season  in Nature of big winds, torrential rains, hurricanes or droughts, we too in our lives face those same challenges as emotional and situational experiences in our personal journeys. This series so far  has been mostly re-blogged/newly written celebrating and sharing  about the gardens..my gardens …for about 18 years up until the pivotal year of 2015 when significant losses changed everything and the time between my “old life” and my “new life” became a true personal paradigm shift from landowner to apartment dweller and the loss of my treasured gardens.

2015 was the “Year of the Thorn” in my life’s journey and relationship with the Garden of my Soul.

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The  invasive wild white rose vines bordered my garden on the back side of my land separating my front lawn from the lot next door, every year sending out a line across the yard and wrapping itself tightly around the water spout of the house. It was an arduous and often painful experience cutting this vicious plant back, as the vine…thick and hard..was covered with very large dangerous thorns with a tiny backwards tip at the end that pierced and embedded itself deeply even through protective gardening gloves.

The several years leading up to 2015 and specifically 2015 itself were the years of, and specifically the “Year of.. the Thorn” in my life’s journey. Due to severe economic challenges in our country of those years and it’s impact on my work…losing a major portion of my private music teaching income when my many students were also financially impacted and had to let go of their frills including piano lessons…I was no longer able to sustain myself, my home and my land. The thorn of personal and societal disaster hooked itself deeply into my life, wrapping itself around all that was familiar, piercing my Soul-filled life as musician, teacher and gardener.

In short, I lost everything. Income, House, Land and Gardens.

What was left to me..household furnishings, a vast library of books, piano and instruments, and all manner of the stuff of living went into storage.

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Packing up a life

 

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Storage GS

However, I was truly blessed by loving and generous friends who invited me to stay with them for a year between my “old life” and my “new life” …a year during which I had no clue as to what would come next for me, where I would go, how I would continue the Journey of my own destiny. A double blessing was that these friends were also gardeners of exquisite skill and magic, and though the gardens were not mine, they surrounded my exhausted emotional life with their green healing power and beauty.

 

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My friend Madeline in her garden…the year between my old life and my new life

My grow boxes, once overflowing with flowers, herbs and veggies, also become un-employed as they, empty of life,  were stored and sheltered under the trees in the forest of my friends.

 

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My growboxes stored in the woods during the Year of the Thorn

                                                                   Remembrances

Jardin

There is no escaping challenges and changes if we are alive on the Earth. Like the plants in the Garden, there are seasons for everything including us in our life’s journey. Some years of bounty, some years of barren-ness. It’s always a cycle of letting go and letting “in”, of deconstruction and re-construction, of loss and then renewal.

This is not the end of the story of “My Garden, My Soul”.

Stay with me. Chapter 24 is next. Like Life.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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You are invited to visit my other blogs!

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com  (music and memoirs of a piano teacher. Me!)

http://thewinterkitchenfarmacy.wordpress.com (healing herbal recipes. Fire Cider!)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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burdock, iris, chives, lamb’s ears, milkweed, daylilies

The Everything Garden is just that! The delight of green growing things, colorful flowers, healing and culinary herbs, delicious vegetables on whatever little (or larger) plot of land you are blessed to care for is a joy. If one is an artist in your spirit and soul, but perhaps “painting” is not your skill, one can plant and create painting-like images in your garden that invoke moments of stillness, awe and wonderful memories if you have a camera to capture and hold them…How I loved my morning walk along the garden’s edge above…a wild mix in the border..

Jardin one

My years of gardening in the yarden surrounding the house that was mine for an extended time was supported and cared for with hoes, rakes, bags of soil, the best compost, trellises, grow boxes, raised beds, little fences, and garden decorations created by my artist partner, David…and…my CAMERA!

 

The Dance of the Femine Face of God

The Garden Dancer by Canadian Artist David Hickey

 

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The Great Mother by Canadian Artist David HickeyT

The pictures in this series was from that time and will be from that time since… But a primary part of my gardening adventures has always been a camera, for during the growing season I would be in and out of the house multitudes of times throughout the day to visit, tend and photograph the life journey and antics of my green Kin.

An exciting, interesting and humble way of life. Humble ..as from the word “Humus” ~ of the earth. Living with Humility as in the true definition according  Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister –

                            “Knowing one’s proper place in a Universe of Wonders”

                 ..and for sure, the garden is one place to experience those wonders!

 

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Aren’t these Poppy seed heads fun?

       

                                       More Images from a Universe of Wonders!                                                                                                                     

SIGNED Ed Bursting

Bursting

 

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Mountain Laurel by my front door

 

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Chives in bloom in the un-mowed border

 

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A Universe of Wonders ~ The stars in the center of chive blossoms

 

                                                                An Everything Garden!

 

Veggie Garden

ONE of my Everything Gardens!

 

Well now. There have been many chapters so far to this series, My Garden, My Soul. It is time now to reveal that the celebration of these gardens of mine are sweet reminisces for they are gardens of my past, not my present. There is more to this story because there are many chapters in our lives. Like a season  in Nature of big winds, torrential rains, hurricanes or droughts, we too in our lives face those same challenges in our personal journeys. This series so far has been mostly re-blogged, written in 2015,  and celebrates and shares the gardens..my gardens for about 18 years up until the pivotal year of 2015 when significant losses changed everything. (The last several chapters are recently written.)

Has there been a pivotal year as well somewhere in your life when things changed and you had to let go and live creatively between your old life and your new life? What does that new life look like now?

A few more chapters to come in this story of My Garden, My Soul  from 2015 to the present now of 2020 when EVERYTHING that was familiar for all of us is pivoting into the as-yet unknown and the now new-normal.

It is important that we still be Gardeners of new ways. Staying close to Mother Nature. Staying close to each other. To choose and attempt to make our lives and the way we live a Sacred Garden.

 

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Garden stone for my garden by Canadian Artist, David Hickey

Mary Oliver Gardener

From Christine, The Greening Spirit ~ July 2020

Moi FM

Please enjoy some of my other blogs here on wordpress!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com (delicious and healthy recipes and kitchen memoirs)

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http://thewinterkitchenfarmacy.wordpress.com (herbal recipes and memoirs)

Fire-Cider_landscape

http://musicmistress.wordpress.com (music and memoirs from a piano teacher!  Me! )

Piano Teach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

share My garden soul artsy eggplant

I recently read an article on how to get children to eat (and love) vegetables. Have them plant them, watch them grow through all their stages, tend them and harvest them in a garden! As children are so curious and tender-hearted, growing their own veggies is fascinating for them to watch from seedling to maturity,  becoming protective of their well-being as they grow  ….and finally getting to EAT them too when at last they are ready! Harvesting is often like playing a game of hide and seek!

 

 

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A Grandson in the Veggie Garden

 

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Grandsons in the Garden!

 

 

Aiden Garden

The “little”  grandson in the above pictures is growing like a weed! He likes mini tomatoes.

 

I myself must have a child’s spirit when I have planted and tended my own vegetable gardens, totally mesmerized by all of the fascinating stages from seed to seedling, to green leaves , budding flowers and the pushing out, giving birth from the flower center of the veggie itself. Switching to my Mothering-self, these plants become my children in the garden and I am in and out of the house, camera-in-hand photographing them and their curious idiosynchronistic ways and then writing about them in my blogs ie  https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/my-garden-my-soul-part-14-cukes-overboard/.  My veggie garden is a creative resource for me!

 

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photo credit: from my daughter’s garden MGPerry

 

Colors Beanlings

Are you REALLY going to turn into a BEAN?? C’mon you can DO it!

 

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Oooh! Hello baby tomatoes!

Switching again to my poetic and spiritual-self, I often make metaphoric connections between the plants and my own personal life situations, finding that the green KINdom..veggies, herbs, flowers,trees have much to teach me about how to live wisely and well.

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/my-garden-my-soul-part-10-beany-babies-sprouting-something-new-2/

 

 

Bean Baby

Beanie Babies: What is sprouting new in me?

 

Shy pumpkin teaches me it is okay to sometimes stay behind the action until I am really confident and mature enough to engage with the World! 

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/shy-pumpkin-pondering-vulnerability/

 

Shy Pumpkin

Shy Pumpkin

Purple Kale teaches me “If you’ve got it, FLAUNT IT! “

 

Kale with water droplet-look!

Aren’t I just so gorgeous??? (Purple Kale in my Garden)

 

From my lovely eggplant and its roundness, I learn to celebrate my own womanly form, round and curvy, and yet firm, full of the seeds of creativity and life in all stages.

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This is all so much fun and fun in these ways is Virtuous. However in a more serious vein, the Veggie Virtues of Nourishment and Strength are such awesome blessings upon us  from these delicious gifts of the Earth, that forever in the Garden and at the the Table we should always give thanks for this that sustains us body, mind and spirit. There is a life force, a vibrant Veriditas/Greening Spirit,  always present in the plants whether growing in the garden or on our plates, and in partaking of this powerful energy,, we are intimately connected with the life force of Nature and of the Creator who loves us.

 

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a little help from the farmers market garden

 

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May all be blessed in our gardens of Flowers, Herbs and Vegetables and let their Virtues live in us.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Pearls Gardening

You are invited to check out some delicious recipes on my food blog! :

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

https://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com/2015/05/19/tempting-tomatoeggplant-basil-teasers/

Eggplant basi teasers

 

 

 

 

 

On the virtues of the herb Lemon Balm~ “It maketh one merry” ~ Hildegard of Bingen

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Morning tea blend from my garden: Nettle, red clover, mugwort

On the virtues of the herb Lemon Balm~ “It maketh one merry” ~ Hildegard of Bingen   *(to be in a merry state is an important component of good health)

There is something particularly magical about Herb gardens and in particular, something mythically magical about Gardeners themselves who raise, tend and wisely use these herbs for the making of herbal teas and potions for healing.Those who knew and still do know about the inherent powers in the plants that offer healing to both creatures and humans alike were both admired and feared and in older times, labeled as wisewoman or witch for their knowledge of the secrets of Nature. What is odd about this view is that the healing powers in the herb gardens was also a tradition kept alive by monks of the medieval Catholic Church as apothecaries in their monasteries, most of which had impressive herb gardens to care for both the monks and the villagers where they lived. The awesome Benedictine  abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) amongst her other extraordinary gifts of music, writing, visions, prophecies and teaching, in her later years wrote three books of medicine based in the medieval use of herbalism and the greeningspirit (veriditas) energies of Nature.

 

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Herbal wise woman

 

 

 

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Brother Cadfael in his herbal apothecary

I have always felt like that magical wise woman as I tended the many herbs both medicinal and culinary in my gardens. Moving amongst them, gathering them, LISTENING to them, using them,  always stirs my imagination and images of ancient times dimly remembered and seemingly familiar. A felt-sense of history/HERstory. A scriptural quote that was presented to me serendipitously seemed apropos to this experience:

  “And the Holy One says ‘Stand at the crossroads and look, asking for ancient paths where the good way lies. And walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ ”  ~ Jeremiah 6:16

The herb garden with its ancient paths and ever-present healing gifts is certainly a good way to follow!

 

 

 

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Borage (for courage!)

 

 

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Echinacea and Milkweed in my garden

 

 

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Mugwort and red clover in my garden

BUT herbs have another virtue and that is saved for the kitchen and those of us who love to cook and adore delicious food! The herb garden is a scentuous symphony of flavors to tempt and delight even the most jaded or bored eater! Basils, rosemary, sage, chervil, lemon verbena, the thymes, sweet marjoram and oregano, chives, caraway and of course, the heavier spices from bark and seeds imported from faraway exotic places not near or backyard gardens. Fresh or dried they make us hungry for beauty on the tongue and for the tummy and stimulate creative cooking for ourselves or as loving gifts for family and friends! Or even a delicious tea to sip while reading a good book! A kitchen without bouquets of herbs on the counter or collections in the cabinet tells me much about who cooks dinner regularly or orders take-out!

 

 

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My special herbal vinegar with lovage, garlic and hot pepper

 

 

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Chives in my garden

 

 

 

 

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Tomato, Basil and Cheese  Quiche

Herbal virtues one cuppa

Spearmint, lemon balm and rose petal tea

    Whether you include herbs for either medicinal or culinary projects, know that you are entering a truly magical time filled with ancient secrets and wisdom… enjoy and share these virtues with others whom you love and treasure! In fact all herbs are a mixture of both medicine and food… you can’t lose either way…you bring the gift of love and healing from your garden of herbs!

Other herbal post on the Greening Spirit:

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/mugwort-magic-and-medicine/

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/herbal-love-finding-my-plant-spirit-guide-mugwort/

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/herbal-love-2-mugwort-dreams-and-dreamers-tea/

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2016/05/25/herbal-fantasies-a-ladys-tea-recipe-1/

https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/herbal-fantasies-a-magical-big-hearted-tea/

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

Moi FM

I invite you to visit my other blogs for recipes, inspiration and music!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com    (Tomato, Basil and Cheese Quiche)

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com

http://thewinterkitchenfarmacy.wordpress.com  (Herbal Fire Cider Recipe)

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

 

 

I am an occasional instructor in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at a nearby University. The OLLI program across the country is a college for seniors, age 50 and older, who come back to school just for the fun of learning, because it is NEVER too late to learn new things or buff up on skills and talents put side during the busy years of looking after others or working full time.

This past fall, I taught a course inspired by a wonderful book by the author Christine Valters Paintner. With a rather unusual title, “Nurturing Your Creative Spirit with Monastic Wisdom” the book shares Benedictine monastic practices and daily rhythms to deepen our spirituality in a complicated world AND guide us back to that  “room” in our souls where creativity is  birthed and stored,  hopefully followed by  the courageous  re-entry into our actual individual  time-apart studios to manifest artwork, poems, writing, sculptures or crafts.

Our class was exceedingly exciting as we employed various meditative practices from monastic life to settle down, reach inside ourselves within the context of silence and stillness, and find our way back to personal artwork and creativity in new and surprising ways, gathering up long ignored pen, paper, journals, paints, brushes and the like.  Our  daily inspirational mantra was a prayer from the Divine Muse, with which we initiated our creative endeavors awaiting the surprise of new expressive ideas:

“Now I am revealing new things to you.

Things hidden and unknown to you, created just now, this very moment!

Of these things, you have heard nothing until now, so you cannot say, ‘Yes I (already) knew that’ “

Some wrote exquisite poems, some shared reflective journal entries. One woman started an art project, a beautiful book of paintings..one for each of the monastic hours (Lauds, Vespers etc) with eloquent musings on each…and with delightful imagination, one woman made for the homeless, a comfy sleeping mat from colored plastic bags, much like a hooked rug, and complete with the ability to roll it up and carry with handles.

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Crea Mona Se 4 One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our class was a total delight but our Eldest Elder was one of the most delightful creations herself.  “Joan” is well known and very beloved by all  who know her at OLLI. In her mid-90’s she attends a variety of classes for enjoyment, inspiration and, as she has told me a number of times, to find out what it is she is supposed to be doing with her life at age 95!

During the class she sat attentively up front as always, usually rather quiet until she has something to say.. generally a soft-spoken one or two-liner that catches us by surprise and makes us all laugh with delight…or a question that reveals a piercing depth of curiosity and wisdom that stops us cold to ponder.

Throughout this class as others brought their creations in for our opening “show and tell”, eliciting claps and smiles, we knew that Joan had not as yet gone back into her “studio”  to start painting again which had for quite a time, maybe years, been set aside. She was quite elusive about why she was unsure about doing it.

But then …..

On the last day of the class, she and her daughter came in with a surprise!

Joan had in fact gone back into her “studio”,  picked up her brushes and painted a picture of the rough ocean waters  near the sea wall after a wild storm! Like Joan herself who is quite a “modern-thinking”  Elder at 95, her painting is also modern in expression, impressionistic and with dynamic movement.

Crea Mina Joan PICA ED one 1 (2)

I am a Senior now as well, and the rhythm and responsibilities of life have shifted although I am still far from being  95 years old. With new “open spaces” in my days, I often wonder what I am supposed to be doing with my life now, knowing that it is up to ME to create the new meanings and that, given good health, I need to listen and follow The Divine Muse who has ideas for me to be creative and of service in a world so needing inspiration and beauty.

I think on one level, Joan’s work at 95 is being a “Muse” for us younger Elders… 

 And… for the record…..

We’re  paying attention to you, Joan!!

Crea Mona Group PICASA Blue (2)

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

"Write the truth"

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every so often I need to write about the lost art of letter writing, which to me is a very sad indicator of a distressed culture, particular one that is originally and supposedly trained in literacy. 

Nothing can compare to the possible eloquence and depth of a personal  letter, thoughtfully composed with the express intention of intimate communication and deepening of relationship. A letter can connect two souls, hearts and minds in a way a dashed-off paragraph in an e-mail or a three-lined tweet can never do. And let’s not forget the bastardization of language, an inquiry of another’s well-being reduced to the single lettered laziness of a “how R U? ”

There is the revealing of personality in penmanship and unique handwriting and the historical treasure of wrinkled old letters and documents on parchment for the sake of posterity that cannot be conjured up and savored in sterile black and white print from a computer file.

Bringing us now to this essay’s main image of this sad abandoned mailbox. This was the mailbox out in the front yard of the home I used to own. My home,One time it was the receiver of a mix of the usual bills of homeowners and letters from family and friends…those personal letters so eagerly awaited when distance kept us apart from personal visits.

But then, over the years, technology changed (or rather, infiltrated) our culture,  people’s lives changed and the computer allowed a quicker “touch-base” communique easier on the run, but less informative. That mailbox became less and less receiver of the written voices of people, but more and more the temporary receiver of printed corporate billing and junk mail and flyers.

My mailbox began to lose heart.

Eventually the billing also went online, and that mailbox only became a holding place, until emptied, of colorful  and jumbled hastily stuffed-in fliers and paper junk advertisements which I refused to bring into the house.

Entered then the cultural change of a mailbox unit at the post office.

My poor mailbox was eventually overtaken by brambles and thorns..alone and abandoned by human connections, it became home to a small nest of bees. The happy ritual of going out into the yarden to check for a letter…a LETTER…or to say hello to the mailman…went the way of many of our rituals of belonging both to family and community.

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Moi 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 made to celebrate the qualities of the sacred feminine and love of ritual that we both share. 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 sensual 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

 

 

Our family loves to roam about in land trust forests, parks and old estates that are open to the public, all with beautiful cultivated gardens and managed wild borders.  Most of these sanctuaries are home to magnificent ancient trees that magically draw us to come close and under their extended branches in order connect with the green-ness of their heartbeat and history.

 

Mel Gardens Oct 2017 Five

 

Our picture albums are filled with pictures of us near or under these awesome leviathons of the land and always we come back home to our civilized homes of four walls, a little, if not a lot, wilder in spirit and healed of whatever personal challenges we may have been wrestling with or life puzzles we are trying to solve.

 

I am so grateful for those lovers of gardens and trees who with their blessed bounty of financial means and properties, generously invested time and love into these places and made them open and available like sanctuary parks to visitors coming in out of the stressful fray of supposed “civilized” life composed of consumerism, political and social disarray, incessant media noise and speeded-up everything.

 

sharebBeverly Tree {ICA signed IMG_4231[1] (2)

 

We find Peace near or under these old wise Beings and we feel their pulse and slow and steady life force calming and blessing us. We know the science of our mutual intimacy in the exchanges of breathe between us.. they breathing out oxygen for our intake and we breathing out carbon dioxide for theirs. Our lives depend on each other. Knowing the science of this bondedness does not overshadow the poetry of our relationship.

 

     (photo credit: Bill Bragger  (my daughter L and grandaughter G/Pacific Northwest)

 

Ancient trees just beg for little boys to climb them. Though old, they have not forgotten what it was to be a seedling or even an acorn.  They have LONG memories….

 

 

(Noni says “no THIS tree is toooo big to climb!” )

Mel Vis Aug Noni

 

The Japanese say that “forest bathing” ….a walk in the woods…. is good for our health both physically and spiritually. I agree…no matter what season…being with the trees, especially the ancient ones is the best medicine!

 

 

Until you find YOUR favorite old tree, at least DO take a walk in the woods…

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

 

If not near a woodland, take a walk around town. You just might find what magnificence you are looking for there….

 

  Rhode Island

 

Wishing the magnificence of Old Trees upon us all. Please protect them wherever they should be threatened or endangered.

photo credits: all pictures except otherwise noted by Christine Phoenix Green

From Christine, the greening spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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