Tag Archive: spiritual transitions


End of season: Empty Grow Boxes awaiting our move

End of season/Glorious Autumn: empty Grow Boxes awaiting our move

 

This past December I moved from my home of 18 years, voluntary “releasing” my sanctuary, house, wooded land and garden to greater power structures after a number of years struggling to keep it going in a time of financial crisis for many. There were a number of upkeep challenges as in most home ownership situations that could not be addressed but beloved beauty as well.

One of my biggest joys and loss in leaving were my gardens. Always over the years, the magic of herb garden, the awe and delight of flowers and the fascination, fun and nourishment of vegetables have provided much delight from seed to stem, leaves, flowers and “fruit”. Watching things grow from the invisible start, through all stages until gathering and harvest has been a reason for each day’s happiness and meaning. Photographing it all with a sense of humor (baby beanlings and escaping cucumbers) and writing about the mesmerizing life in the garden has been an irresistible form of excitement and inspiration about the stages unfolding in my own life.

For the last several years, knowing that at some point I would be leaving, I switched from in-ground gardening to the ease and inherent mobility of container gardening, specifically Grow Boxes. Last summer I finally knew that it would be the last summer at my home and decided that I would with the assistance of my Grow Box Garden, make it a celebration, although tinged with a bittersweet sense of having to let go of what was treasured, dear and familiar.

MY grow Box garden: Summer 2015

My Grow Box garden: Summer 2015

 

There are those who love the adventure of movement and change..buying and selling homes and relocating..over and over again. There are those who just cannot stay in one place too long.  And there are those who “ground” and put down roots that are so deep in spirit that to rip them up and relocate is like a mini-death. The way of a TAURUS, it is. And a Taurus I am. Like a Taurus (like the Taurean Ferdinand the Bull)..plant those flowers, lie amongst them forever, taking in the fragrance of the land, garden, field, woods that is familiar, that is “home”. Ah, Peace and Beauty….

 

My Garden, My Soul

My Garden, My Soul

 

Life is, however, a series of changes. I now live in the woods for a while…so many things in storage, a momentary simpler life. My Grow Boxes came with me to be my garden wherever I may be that has a patch of land under bright sunlight. For now, they have been over-wintering in the woods, the soil in them cleansed by water and snow awaiting this year’s growing season. Seed catalogues are arriving and in a couple of months, garden centers will re-open offering varieties of wonderful herbs, vegetable and flower babies full of promise.

My Grow Boxes over-wintering in the woods

My Grow Boxes over-wintering in the woods. A-waiting.

 

My prayer is to be able to fill those boxes once again so I may again experience the delight of the mysteries and magic of growing things.

Wherever I am, they are….. and wherever I may go, they too go with me….

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Pearls Gardening

Please visit my other blogs!

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com (FOOD!)

http://pianomistress.wordpress.com (Memoirs of a Piano Teacher)

 


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During the past several years, I became hard-pressed to make some very difficult choices in my very familiar and somewhat predictable life: choices like letting go of a house/home of many years, leaving behind a plot of land that was the garden canvas upon which a colorful array of flowers, herbs and vegetables nourished me physically, spiritually and mentally, choices that challenged the way I earned my living as a humble means of security and choices that initially did not allow me to see a clear path into a grounded and stable future.

My life had been filled with color, music, dance and creativity. It was juicy and plump with knowing that I was fulfilling my destiny and blooming in rightness for me.

But then there were gradually some serious challenges in going it alone in a very changing and unstable environment around me and  those circumstances pressing in on me, pressed me as well, sucking a lot of the juice and energy out of my calmness and..well…flattening me and the fullness of familiarity for a while.

I am happily back now in a new and stable phase..gloriously so I think…. but I have learned something important having survived pressing circumstances and being “flattened” for a while myself.

So let me talk about Rose Geranium first as an example. For the year between my “old life” and my “new life” I lived with dear friends, who also had large and bountiful gardens which were a comfort to my loss in the interim. Outside of their front door was a lovely rose geranium plant in bloom all summer and fall, its rounded and scalloped leaves when stroked, exuded a sweet and musky perfume that evoked a sense of sensuality, earthiness, and LOVE. This plant beckoned to me every time I came and went about my tasks such as I was trying to live them out.

 

In the ensuing fall…last October…and before I knew I would be moving finally to a delightful new apartment in totally new circumstances I asked the plant permission and started to harvest some of her finest leaves pressing them between the pages of my books about Hildegard of Bingen which were references for a course I was going to be teaching at the local University.

When in time, I arrived in my new and delightful sanctuary,  my now apartment, and settled in beginng to prepare for the course, I opened the books and again met those leaves…. those now pressed and flattened leaves and I was stunned by their beauty…a NEW kind of beauty… as they emerged from having been nestled and pressed safely between those pages and  lying surrounded by all those beautiful words of wisdom front and back.

In their now pressed and flattened state, their strength and structure and divine and exquisite order…their master plan and destiny… was clearly revealed altho the physicality of their leaves are now seemingly…some might say “thin-skinned”.  But no, I would say instead “delicate, vulnerable and refined” and  with the color and beginning translucence of maturity. There is dance and frivolity and movement in the frilly-ness and happiness of their edges and I see that being pressed has not taken that away…in fact, it has made it the happiness more pronounced and visible as the essence of who and what it really is,  is clearly seen.

Rose Geranium 1

It has gloriously survived being pressed and has evolved into a new phase of being.

What I have learned from being pressed is like all that I see in this rose geranium leaf and  which has been revealed in the still- beauty, sensuality and love that is available when surviving pressing situations that seem to flatten us. If we can be surrounded by good words and the friendly, caring protection of friends/family and community, the “stuff” of which we are made is never lost..just perhaps transformed into what is truly important. Our essence.

And most importantly, is the awesome revelation and knowing of the Divine Order and Guidance of our lives and in that leaf, never fully appreciated until we are squeezed, challenged, or pressed to claim and reveal our deepest selves.

I have been promised a cutting of that plant to bring here in my new apartment. Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Capitatum) A special flowerpot is all ready and waiting! I believe this plant has more to teach me…..

From Christine, The Greening Spirit

Please check my foodie blog too : http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

UU2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOURNAL ENTRY

March 28, 2017 – Tuesday

The world of ” the news” is too much with me and for sure “the world’s way” is not my way these days. The intentional  chosen silence and stillness of the “Inner Monastery” is my sanity and my saving right now.

Yesterday a book I had ordered arrived in the mail: “Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day” by Benedictine nun, Macrina Wiederkehr. I cannot fully express the delight and joy that has enveloped me as I entered the pages of this exquisite guide to prayers and reflections praying the hours of the day. This book, and “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul through Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner are, and are to be, the prayer books that guide my life on a daily basis. It is with a deep sense of wonder and joy that these books have found me.

The Hours of the Day are little monastic pauses from Dark to Light to Dark again…a mindfullness of the messages inherent in the turning of the wheel of each day and night, never ceasing. I have always known this, and have lived it out in special ways and also known when I have NOT. This is a marvelous and soothing “coming home” to a path I wandered off of in tending to pressing matters these past couple of years.

This morning of course is the prayer of LAUDS at the waking up, the coming of sunrise. Except these days I often wake up with a sadness that either I cannot name or that has many names. And this morning as I read the new inspiration and prayers in Macrina’s book of reflection, I found myself inspired but also very groggy, wanting nothing more than to settle back into bed and snuggle under the covers listening to the silence before the light.

Macrina waxes poetic over the coming of sunrise and the light. You can tell it is her favorite hour of the day. However, this morning outside it is white and grey, not golden, as we are enveloped in fog and mist and the actually sunrise was and is not discernable. It is of course no longer dark, but light….not bright, casting legnthy and moving shadows, but soft and muted and a little echo-y. I give myself liberty to languish quietly into the comfort of couch and covers with my cup of coffee, in silence, and watching the path and leafless woods outside. This is the best I can do today this morning, aware of the new day to unfold, but feeling very lazy, so staying close to “what is” in the moment, I offer gratefulness and praise for the opportunity in my life right now to BE lazy and indolent in this early morning today.

I have a question about the landscape here however. We have so many trees…but where are the birds? Where is the chirping and trilling and sounds of life among the trees? I am used to the sounds of birds sometimes at 4 am in the wee hours back at my former home, my little cottage. It is now 9:02 am and I hear very faintly in the distance on this property, a soft occasional chirping…but not right here outside my apartment. Why not? Why not here?

I am asking this question of the Angels in charge of the birds.

“Perhaps the birds are also lazy this morning as well. Patience…”

Perhaps all is just as it should be. 

Now at last: Good Morning, World!

from Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

Nana Fursa RESTORE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Henya's Parents0001 (2)

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

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

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

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

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

Hello, Nana……

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

 

UU2From Christine, the Greening Spirit

also: https://thegreeningspirit.wordpress.com

http://wordmagicandthelawofattraction.wordpress.com

http://pianomistress,wordpress.com

http://sensuoussoupsandsuppers.wordpress.com

 

 

Healing Magic (2) ed

Some of us cannot be defined by a singular spiritual path but instead, draw from  the richness of a variety of traditions to inspire and nourish the diverse complexities of soul within and around us. For example, for the past several weeks I have been incorporating the Benedictine cycle of the Hours of the Day and Night, pausing to notate the energies and themes of Vigils  ( Deepest Night)…Lauds (Sunrise)…Terce (Mid-Morning)…Sext (N00n)…None (Mid-Afternoon)…Vespers (Evening)…and Compline (Bedtime/Early Night),  returning again through Deepest night, to Sunrise. Another day! Another gifted opportunity inwhich to create something new!

This pausing and mindfulness of the blessings and tasks of these hours has deepened  my appreciation and love of the cyclical nature of each twenty-four hour day from dark to light and back to dark again and connected me to the monastic rooms of my own soulful “Interior Castle”.

Living this way, although coming from a religious tradition, is really quite “magical” as spiritual practice, connecting me to the Great Mystery of Life and he rhythms of the earth and heavens that are felt and experienced rather than just described in words or print. In truth, the best of the mystical traditions, free of dogma, have never lost their connection to the Earth, nature and “the great Round” of the seasons, the moon, and the year.

Yesterday, my Library Angel “ACE”, through the agency of a soul-sister, handed me another book that is also a rich reminder of a path of soul that is ever a part of my own journey through life. All the way from “monk” to “green witch”… beloved traditions that each in their own ways have never lost the spirituality, and practices of the Earth, Cycles and Seasons of Celebration and Transformation.

Sitting on the front deck, feet up, un-apologetically spending the afternoon reading “Healing Magic-A Green Witch Handbook” by Robin Rose Bennett and drinking fresh lemon balm and lemon verbena tea from the garden…. (the “Hours” being between mid-afternoon (None) to earliest evening (Vespers)… I once again reveled in herb lore, moon lore, tree lore, chakras and medicine wheels, women’s sacred cycles and rituals and wise-women traditions.

Is there conflict between the monastic path of awareness and the green witch path? Not within me, as they each dance, blend and honor celebration, silence, prayer, ritual, presence, communication, intuition, gratitude and praise, beauty, and periodic chosen solitude to be one-on-one with the good and virtuous inner Voices of the “invisible” world…angels, ancestors, guides and God.

Is there conflict between the monastic path of earth-centeredness and the green witch path and the relationships with the healing plants/herbs of field, forest and gardens? I think not, remembering the wise women of the villages and the brother monks in the monastery gardens who all were keepers of the secret powers of lemon balm and lemon verbena tea!

lemon balm tea (2)

And so:

“Healing Magic is rooted in the earth. It’s basis and foundation is the realization of immanence, which is the recognition that the Great Mystery that gives life to the earth and he universe is within the earth as well as transcendent. It (God-Goddess-All-That-Is) exists within us and within the land–every tree, every animal, every pebble and every so-called inanimate object”  ~Robin Rose Bennett (Healing Magic: a Green Witch Guidebook)

 

“There is a secret place. A radiant sanctuary. As real as your own kitchen. More real than that. Constructed of the purest elements. Overflowing with the ten thousand beautiful things. Worlds within worlds. Forests, rivers. Velvet coverlets thrown over featherbeds, fountains bubbling beneath a canopy of stars. Bountiful forests, universal libraries. A wine cellar offering an intoxi cation so sweet you will never be sober again. A clarity so complete you will never again forget. This magnificent refuge is inside you. Enter. Shatter the darkness that shrouds the doorway… Believe the incredible truth that the Beloved has chosen for his dwelling place the core of your own being because that is the single most beautiful place in all of creation. ~ St. Theresa of Avila (The Interior Castle)

May Magic and Holy Blessings Be Yours!  (one and the same,,,)

Pearls GardeningFrom Christine, The Greening Spirit

 

 

 

Monk Endrts (2)

The “world” seems quite crazy right now, populated in the media by some very bizzare personalities, stories and situations presented and talked about all day long 24/7 . If one has the tv habit of watching, which I do NOT voluntarily have, the world presented to us is so disturbing, divisive and dangerous that one has limited choices for dealing with it ie  joining the fray with words and verbal combat, insuring a fractured angry heart, or the duck and cover response, insuring disaster and despair when it all goes down and one is left un-prepared to deal with new realities. A third choice is to be very very picky about information coming in from the outside, choosing wisely what informants we listen to, and taking time away from it all to listen from the inside-out.. listen to our own heart and intuition speaking the truth of sanity, peace, balance and love. It also is so important and healing to bring that inner-knowing of virtue back out in some form of creativity and self expression ( (writing, painting, poetry, music, gardening, cooking, STORYTELLING etc)  thus becoming an “Artist”..an Artist of Life, bringing beauty and mindful care to a chaotic world. YOUR world. 

A gem of a book recently came into my life by serendipity while I was deeply pondering these things. A timely toss from my Library Angel, “ACE”  (Angel- in -Charge of- My -Education), this treasure “The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom” by Christine Valters Paintner came into my possession as one of the many “winks” from the Universe when I am on the right track in my personal unfolding into who I am meant to be or what I am supposed to be doing.

In this beautifully written book, much of which sounds like it is out of my own journals, the author ties together the similarities of spirit of the archetypes and practices of both the Monk and the Artist. Following her lovely suggestions for both the practice of the the Lectio Divina and especially the Praying/Presence of the Hours of the Day, I started to incorporate the markings of time s during the day to re-collect myself back into a state of peace, awareness of “the NOW” and gratitude and blessing for exact place and moment I was in. 

Often in my life…VERY often..when committing myself to this inner state of  stillness, peace, presence and LISTENING I receive surprise messages from the Ethers, from “The Universe” that cheerlead  me  on, often making me laugh out loud in the playful way my direction is validated. And this experimentation with the archetypes of Monk/Artist was no exception.

With book in hand, I drove as I often do to a special retreat center on a little island off of the coast of Connecticut, where I photograph the gardens, walk by the sea, and enjoy the peace and music of wind and water, and the solidness of earth for several hours. I parked the car, and found a big rock upon which to perch reading through the section about the “Inner Monastery” accessed through silence, solitude and nature. When, who should appear right in front of me, strolling with a friend across the vast lawn towards the sea, but a MONK himself, in grey habit, rosary beads hooked on the knotted corded belt around his waist, and sandals on his feet.

This retreat center’s grounds are open to the public like a park, and I am there so often during the week when there are few people there and I almost have the place to myself. I can tell you that in all that time, though I have sometimes shared the gardens with couples, people walking their dogs, friends sitting on lawn chairs by the ocean quietly having lunch, or pray-ers on retreat walking slowly in meditation, I have NEVER had a MONK cross my path.

But it did happen that very day as I held the book about the Monk and Artist open on my lap and for sure I recognized that manifesting that monk at that very moment was a very merry communicaton from that who watches and guides my own journey..a “wink” from God, from my angels and/or chorus of ancestor guides.

Enders Sept 4

Lest you think that these validated moments into the Inner Monastery shelter us totally from dealing with the chaotic life-times we live in , I must admit the inconvenient truth that the Monk/Artist first steps back to center and remember the assignment he/she was “given” when coming here, and is then required to go back out and engage the “world” in truth-telling, vision and beauty..making an artful life and bringing hope and healing. In the monastic Rule of St. Benedict centuries ago, he writes of the backbone of this task.

     “Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way”.

I like that. And it frees me, gets me off the hook trying to explain the personal path that seems to wander in a different direction than the dominant culture and its consumeristic, militaristic, competitive prescriptions for “happiness” and fulfillment.

I feel okay if not delighted with this, and the “winks” that so playfully manifest all sorts of affirmations to ” keep on with it! “….

*** In another afternoon visit  to this place several weeks later,  I was walking down a path towards the gardens, when whom should appear walking this time down the spath TOWARDS me but this very  same monk! In our sudden  face to face encounter, we chatted and I found out his name…Brother Seamus…another surprise “wink from God”.

update Feb 2016 (2)From Christine, the Greening Spirit

***** DON”T BE SHY….SAY HI! *****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lauds

Do you have a “Library Angel”?

I do.

My Library Angel is named “ACE” (Angel-in-Charge-of- my-Education) and “shim”…not a him or a her, but a “shim”..is the invisible playful but serious being who regularly, faithfully and unexpectedly tosses to me just the right book from out of the ethers for exactly what  I next need in my unfolding life journey.

The latest of ACE’s suggested reading program for me was the book “The Artist’s Rule: nurturing your creative soul with monastic wisdom” by art therapist, spiritual director and lay Benedectine Oblate, Christine Valters Paintner.

It is an absolute jewel of a book with the delightful theme hilightimg the similarities between the archetypes of “The Monk” and “The Artist” and suggestions of how the Benedictine Rule of spiritual practices, prayer and presence enriches, supports, and enhances the daily lives of both of these authentic personal paths.

One of the lovely practices  of the Rule is being present to the ongoing cycle of hours in each day from darkness into light and back into darkness again, stopping at various points of the day, called “hours”, to appreciate the natural and symbolic energy of each point, and to reflect or pray joy, appreciation, awareness, peace or support.

In the early morning at sunrise is the magical hour of the return of the light after the long hours of night’s darkness…the Hour of LAUDS (praise).  What is the energy or message of that gradual transition from dark to radiance? Awe…renewal…freshness..the invitation to start a whole new day..a wondrous gift of life offering the possibility for a whole new fresh start…the gift of sight, as the world is revealed by illumination..and especially at this time of early summer here in the Northeast, colors, textures, shapes, and scents…the morning revelation of a very sensuous world…flowers, trees, herbs, vegetables, birdsong, insects and tree frog communications bursting with aliveness!

Sitting on the front porch with my morning coffee and the meditations for LAUDS the other day (and following days) I was mesmerized by the radiance of the light, dazzling itself upon the sky, the plants, the gardens, the trees..and especially the shimmering halo around the hanging pot of ferns.

Matthew Fox, pfeisty prophet/priest has said “Where there is awe, there is prayer”- that sudden in-breath of awe at the shock and recognition of beauty (..”aahhh”). Indeed  it is prayer not needing any words. And the words of the medieval mystic  Meister Eckhart on prayer: ” If the only prayer I say is  ‘thank you’, it is enough”

It is enough.

And THAT is the hour of LAUDS.

I like living this way.

PHOTO CREDIT: by Christine Phoenix Green

Lemon Balm, Lady's Mantle, Nettles

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

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

Mandala Fam Dark Moon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is one of my favorite mandalas…

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

Mamma GroupieFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

MoonCircle Three

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

Journaling:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dark Moon Picasa twoFrom Christine, the Greening Spirit

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