Monday, March 24, 2008

Kindling for the fire: Healing the Wild Within, and Without

Myth and storytelling, like ritual, have been with us since our first breath. Through our telling of tales, we connect and reconnect with one another and with our surrounding nature. Throughout the ages, as we connect the delicate strands of individual life together into common tales, we are reminded of how precious life is, how precious we are to one another. The journey is not so lonely. The burden not so great -- when it is shared. Each healing a tiny star, joining the one with many to illuminate the night for the next fellow traveler.

This is a lovely re-telling of the fairy tale The Girl With Silver Hands, wherein the author takes a look at her own journey through illness. She reconnects this to our refecltion of dis-ease in the wild, and our mutual need to heal. A star to add to our night sky, lighting the way: here

(Image is by Sulamith Wulfing)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rite of the Moment: Ostara

Hail spring! It is the equinox -- a time of balance, renewal, growth. The green good things are bursting out of their tight coats all across the fields, blossoms and beauty are everywhere we look. This is a wonderful time to stand in your center, to acknowledge the depths of wintertime's reflection before turning your face towards the illumination of spring.

Ritual has been around since our beginning -- it does not matter what your religion may be, or the path you consider to be on. We all have the ancestral history of ritual and its power pulsing through our collective bones. It was used and it still works, because ritual enables us to step outside our mundane every day lives and acknowledge what is unique, amazing or valuable to us. What do you consider a miracle in your life? And in your own way, how do you wish to acknowledge it and gives thanks for it? Ritual is the perfect vehicle for doing this.

We thought we would offer up a simple and easy ritual to symbolize the changing season within that is reflected in nature. And if you feel that ritual makes you uncomfortable, then we invite you to simply take a moment and breath deeply, and offer a prayer of thanks for the blessings in your life. Then state clearly, out loud, what you will tend to in the coming season, what you will nurture and take care of. It can be as simple as "I will drink more water," to "I will not yell at my child all the time."
Just make it something that really would make a difference in your life, no matter how small. The idea here is that we are going to take care of something, and help it to blossom in our lives in the coming days.

For those ready for the rite, here we go. You will need:

1 egg
a plant, or a packet of seeds and somewhere to share them

Sit wherever you can, and take a moment to close your eyes and just become aware of your breathing. See if you can slow it down, just a bit. Good. Now see if you can deepen each breath, just a little bit more.

Place the egg cupped in your hands. Think for a moment about what you have lived through during the winter that is now passing. Maybe it was a great season for you, no drama or illness --give thanks in your thoughts for these blessings. Or maybe it was a really trying time -- a family member passed, you made it through a tough battle with cancer, or maybe a child was just having a rough school year.

And here you are. You are breathing, you are alive--you made it through. Can you see the teachings within the strife? Take a moment and see if you can, no matter how small. Give thanks for the lessons that difficult times can present, and gratitude that you have made it to today.

With your last thought of thanks, breath in deeply and exhale slowly and with emphasis all over your egg. You can really go with this -- blow hard, moan and groan if you need to! Sing and holler if you want. You are charging this little egg with all that you just recalled.

Ideally, if you can -- go to the nearest body of running water and turn your back so that you are facing against the flow. Toss the egg over your shoulder and walk away. Don't look back; let the water carry away what is done. Let go, and move on. If you can't go to the river, or a stream, or even the ocean -- then you can still find a ready and willing flow from your sink down the kitchen drain. Ritual can be practical, too!

Now, go over and pick up that plant, or that pack of seeds, and once again sit for a moment and breath. Think about something, anything, that is your heart's desire. Something that you want to nurture and foster in you, that you want to see blossom. Maybe you want to learn how to play guitar, or maybe you wish you could be more calm with your child on a daily basis. You know you have this in you, you just need to put your focus and attention towards this something to nudge it along.

Pick up the plant, or the seeds, and again take a deep breath and then exhale, focusing on this promise to yourself. Let it out good and strong -- make this count! This is for you, and in turn for those you love. Then go and toss those seeds where they will grow, or place that plant somewhere that you can give it attention. End this by carefully watering your charge, and giving thanks for yet another season you have passed through.

As the days grow in light, take the time -- it doesn't take long -- to water those seeds, or that plant. Let them be a symbol of what you cherish in yourself, what you choose to let blossom. As you water the new growth, take a moment to again breath deep, and focus on your intention.

The time is now! Get out there and bloom!

Note: We feel the need to point out that this is truly more like a working, or a very shortened version of ritual. Ritual usually has elements in it that take a bit more time and focus, however we wanted to offer up something that was very engaging and yet wouldn't be too much to pull off for all you busy people out there.

(Tomorrow, we will have more about the shoppe and latest info, but for today we wanted to only give gratitude, and stir up some growth. )

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Kindling for the fire: Anima Center

There is a wonderful place I have read about; and I have hopes of someday going there on retreat -- the Anima Center.

They have lots of events, workshops, etc coming up, you can check it out


One of the partners that sustains herself on the land, and assists in nurturing Anima, is Kiva Rose. You can find her blog down to the right under our "Health and Healing" blogroll, and in articles that she writes for SageWoman magazine. I find her to be wise, inspiring, inquisitive and kind...and surefooted, as she walks the land and learns from the green growing things. This woman lives off the land, and stokes the fires for living a life of passion and grace. She has a way of making you feel as if you sit right beside her, sipping a cup of delicious tea as she shares with you her understanding of herbs, her respect for the land she walks.

Blessings, Kiva Rose, thank you for sharing!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Kindling for the fire: Randy Pausch's last lecture

This was shared with me by a mother from my weekly playgroup (thanks, Elizabeth!). I had caught wind of this awhile ago, and had never made the time to sit down and look for it, play it, watch it- take it in.

I invite you to do so now.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

With great anticipation...

Spring is almost here-- can you feel it? Go out for a walk and bear witness to all the sweet budding of life everywhere! The earth is waking up, Mother Nature is opening Her arms wide in adoration of Her Sun.

This is a great time for taking herbs to cleanse our systems, to wake up and shake off that winter coat that carried you through.

Here's a simple recipe to help stimulate your liver and get things moving:

2 cloves garlic
1 oz organic olive oil
1 oz fresh squeezed, organic lemon juice

Blend this together and drink at once (use a blender or mini-food processor; if you don't have one, then you will need to very finely grate the garlic, or even press it first). I have seen different recommendations for this, but personally I do this one time every morning for 7 days. This helps to quickly move things through the liver, some may strongly feel this and some may not. I have found I get an intense burst of energy and alertness within minutes of drinking this.

It is helpful to follow this with a supportive tea infusion that you drink throughout the day, such as equal parts Dandelion Root, Burdock, Oatstraw and Nettles. Hmmmm...lovely!

If you would like to try an infusion like I mention above, it would be best to decoct the roots, or create a cold infusion. Here's how:

Decoction -- take equal parts of the Dandelion Root and Burdock, mix together and measure out a heaping 1 tbs for a quart of water. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes in a covered pot. Remove from heat, and add 1 heaping tbs of the remaining blend (equal parts Oatstraw, Nettles -- you can even add some Red Clover, yummy!). Cover again and let cool. Strain and enjoy.

Cold Infusion -- Equal parts of all herbs, measure out 2 tbs and place in tea strainer in your favorite quart jar (mason jars, wide mouthed, are perfect for this). Cover the herbs and let this sit in a cool dry area overnight. In the morning, remove your tea strained and enjoy throughout the day.

*edit to add information about decoction and infusions