Sunday, January 29, 2012


If Candlemas be mild and gay,
Go saddle your horses and buy them hay;
But if Candlemas be stormy and black,
It carries the winter away on its back.

Celebrations like Imbolic are a time that I can be thankful to the Creator.   Imbolic to me is an illustration of a magical occurrence.  Around Imbolic, those living in the Northern Hemisphere can actually begin to seen daylight increasing.  I know that the laws of physics are playing out and the earth beginning to tilt the other way as it goes around the sun, but I always step back and ask who governs that?  It is my belief the Creator with many names.  So for this magical occurrence – I am grateful.  It brings a hopeful feeling that spring is just around the corner making the last part of winter bearable.

My celebration activities are mixed.
The corn wreath that hung on my door during Halloween and Thanksgiving is now given to the birds and squirrels.  As I share it with the animals that live in my yard, I thank the creator and all creation for keeping my family fed during these last two months.  I ask for blessings to those who are hungry and ask blessings on the seed that soon to be planted.

I also spend extra time cleaning my home.  If the weekend is sunny – I might open my door and let the fresh air in.  (T (lifetime partner) really doesn’t like this and grumbles about the heating bill.)  But, it’s like a mini pre spring cleaning.  I mix up a spray – that I call Bless this House.  The original idea was from a recipe I found in Sage Woman.  I’ve changed it up by adding the essential oils.

Bless This House Spray
¼ cup of rose water – for love
3-4 drops of lavender essential oil – for peace
2 drops of cedar essential oil – for healing
2-3 drops of rose geranium essential oil – for protection

Place above mixture into a clean plastic spray bottle (type you mist plants with).  Dilute with spring water.  (recipe for 12 oz bottle)

I place my hands on the bottle and ask the Creator to Bless my House.  As I clean – I spray as I go.

I also like to burn a candle all day in my fire place.  I get a new Lady of Guadalupe candle.  I tend to follow the customs and lore from my Irish/Scot descent; I know this is a day to honor Bridgit, but I live in America and feel she is the lady I should honor. 

Finally I like to bake a Jam Cake.  I use one of the jars I made the previous summer.  I usually pick the peach ginger jam.  Any jam I choose reminds me of the taste of summer.  In this case, the peach also symbolically represents the returning golden summer sun.  The recipe isn’t mine; however I have changed it – as you’ll read.

1 ½ cup of all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
6 Tbsp butter room temp
1 cup of packed dark brown sugar (I use ¾ cup because the jam is already sweet)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp sour cream (I use low fat yogurt)
1 cup of jam
½ cup of walnuts (I don’t add because the people in my house are allergic to nuts or don't like nuts – but it is a nice added ingredient if they aren't around)

Pre-heat oven 350 F - butter and flour dust Bundt pan.
Sift together all the dry ingredients
Cream butter and brown sugar till fluffy.  Beat in one egg at a time.  Beat in sour cream.  Beat in the jam.  (add nuts here) Stir the flour in till just blended.  Pour into Bundt pan – (If you are lucky like me I inherited my Great Aunt’s – when I use it I feel like she’s looking over my shoulder).
Bake 30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool for 10 minutes before trying to get out of the pan.

On the web you will find icing recipes, but the cake is nice just as it is.

It is also a special day for me because my T proposed to me 16 years ago. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bibbidi Bobbidi boo or would that be faldera and fiddle-dee-dee?

Faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to.  Miracle on 34th Street

We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. And we all have some power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.  Louise May Alcott

[I]f you have a purpose in which you can believe, there's no end to the amount of things you can accomplish.  Marian Anderson

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.  Eleanor Roosevelt

Based on my 48 plus years of data collections, magic and miracles and "things are happening every day" (Rogers and Hammerstein, 1957). 

These past three weeks I have been reading many blogs in the PBP project.  And, I now have to confess – I grew up in a liberal Christian household.  The Bible was to be debated on.  Why?  No one personally knew the guys who wrote the book thus no one has the insider’s interpretation for each verse.  Interpretation is based on an individual’s age, experience, sex, race, income…….

During the sermons, my favorite pastime was to read the Bible's accounts of miracles.  (Liberal household – as long as you were quiet was the key during the service).  I equated Jesus’ miracle making the same as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.  I know, Fairy Godmother was a fictional character; but if Jesus was real why couldn’t I make magic or create miracles too?  Why couldn't I help someone in a magical way.

If you google the web you will find out quickly this type of thinking is called Magical Thinking.  It’s considered a primitive and childlike way of thinking, having an irrational belief system, and associated with several mental health disorders.  Frankly, I turn my nose up to those skeptics who may think I'm a "zanny fool" (Rogers and Hammerstein).  I believe the problem is we have forgotten how to see these miracles and magical elements in our life, including those researchers.  Sometimes it is so small it goes unnoticed.  Maybe one of the problems is some of us are sitting around waiting for a Fairy Godmother to show up and do all the work.

My Instructions for Living a Magical Life Part 1:

I know everyone wants to jump in and get it started by cooking up some neat dish, lighting some candles, braiding some ribbon or making some other cool crafty item – but you really need to take a step back.  It's important that you are able to see the magic occurring around you before you begin to make it.  Additionally, you should understand how it works both in your world and in your life.  And, to sound like my mother: “you need to practice to be good at it.”  It has been my experience that you need to be willing to devote some time in your day to this craft or else you'll only be mediocre.
I remember reading about Merlin’s teaching of Arthur.  One of his first lessons: to sit and listen to the birds.  Arthur’s task was to be able to distinguish the different songs between birds. What struck me in this story was that magic is a sensory experience.  If you can't hear the different songs than you aren't fully aware.  And, this is true for all of your senses. 
I had to drive to Canton this morning.  It’s a two and a half hour drive up and back.  Besides listening to WOSU celebrate Mozart’s birthday and my CD of Bossa music.  I tried to come-up with activities people could do for becoming aware of the magic occurring.  I began creating a list of my magical occurrences for the past week - only one I put out some energy on. 

  1. The trees along the highway were dusted with confectionary sugar (it was snowing as I drove)
  2. The birds were flying over the highway in triangular patterns.
  3. They put enough cream in my coffee from McDonalds.
  4. I had to get a new transmission for my car.  I was pulling out the Visa card and my student ID popped out.  The cashier asked if I was a student.  I said yes.  She tells me I get 10% off the entire bill.  
  5. The transmission bill didn’t blow my entire savings account.  Thus I won’t be charged for going under the minimum balance.
  6. I got 100% on my Mary Oliver paper.
  7. The salt truck pelleted my car in time to the Samba music.  (Weird but cool)
  8. I got 20 hours worth of music for $20.  (My work area has become very quiet to the point it is distracting.)
  9. My gas light flashed on on Rt. 30 between 10 miles worth of no gas stations.  I put it out there I needed to get to the gas station.
 A side note:  You will notice most of these these occurrences don't appear to be much based on what the TV says I need. 


Even An Old Pros Needs Reminders

At my house during the holiday season we celebrate many traditions and cultures.  The first time I knitted this Christmas Sock pattern everything was going great.  I was happily using up some of my stash of green, red and white yarn.  The three color pattern was looking nice and I knew there was enough room for lots of treats and chocolates.  That was until I came to the heel flap.  

I must have read the pattern 16 gzillion times (gzillion my son’s favorite term).  Each time, heel portion made no sense.

Knit 14 sts, k2tog, turn.
Slip first st, purl 6, purl 2 tog, turn.
Slip first st, k7, k2tog, turn.
Slip first st, p8, p2tog, turn.

(Sorry to those non-knitters – but reading above you probably better understand my anxiety at the time.)

I tried to visualize what was going on by comparing it to a store made sock.  Determined, I would knit two rows and immediately tear it all out.  To me, what I was knitting clearly couldn’t be right.  I don’t know how many times I repeated this pattern: knit and rip out.  Frustration was taking over and the words in the directions were beginning to blur.  I concluded that the directions weren’t right.

As a last ditch effort, I took the pattern to my co-worker (a Fairy Godmother in disguise who’s obsessed with knitting socks).  She glanced at the pattern, shrugged and said there isn’t anything wrong.  She told me I was the one who was having the problem.  She patted my arm and said:  “Just trust the pattern and you’ll have a heel.  It’s magic.  Socks are guaranteed magical event every time.”

She then went on to explain in knitting terms what was happening.  Which went into my brain like when a someone is talking about (Name a subject you don’t understand)  - what I took from it was when doing the heel flap you don’t knit across the entire row.  (This still doesn’t make sense to me - I mean: logically speaking why wouldn’t you knit across the entire row?)  But, my co-worker insisted that I just follow the directions no matter how crazy it sounds.  I needed to believe it would work.  So I picked up the needles and thirty minutes later magic had happened.  My Christmas sock had a heel. 

Non-knitting Activities:

Make a list of the magical occurances that are going on right now in your life.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Body Be Houses - Sacred Ground of the Great Spirit”

Graphic from The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries Part II

“Virtually all involvement with our food except for chewing and eating is done for us.” Mary Farkas, RD, MS, MA – “Food Politics” in The Holy Book of Women’s Mystery

“People’s bodies be houses, sacred ground for the Great Spirit….People need to know how close they are with the Earth Mother, they need to see good foods…” No Eyes, Native American teacher and visionary in Earthway


In my family’s backyard in suburbia Cleveland, my dad had an extensive organic square foot garden and compost.  Back in the 1970’s it wasn’t about knowing where your food came from, living simply or eating organic.  Bottom line, money was tight on dad’s teacher’s salary and my mom’s part-time nursing jobs.  We grew our own food to save money.  My dad would draw out the squares; and tomatoes, beans, chard, squash and peppers would be planted uniformly.  Mom’s winter meals revolved around the available vegetables in the basement freezer.  

Back then, I was totally embarrassed that vegetables were growing in the backyard and not a nicely mowed green lawn.  I wanted to be like the kids in my neighborhood who’s Moms shopped at Krogers or Rini’s.  I wanted summers that didn’t include planting, watering the garden, pulling weeds, picking beans in the humid weather, and being part of an assembly line for blanching and freezing.  I wanted to be like the Brady Bunch and not Green Acres or Little House on the Prairie.


Two weeks ago I attended a class at one of Columbus’ local food pantries.  Sadly, I found out my beloved Ohio has managed to climb to 6th worst in the nation for hunger (US Department of Agriculture).  I was told 1 in 6 households struggled last year to get enough to eat.  Local food pantries have seen a 200% increase in usage.  As the statistics for Ohio kept being rattled off, I sat dazed.  This seemed unfathomable because one of Ohio’s big exports is food and food production.  (If you aren’t familiar with my state - we have 3 major cities and some minor cities but the majority of the state is made up of farmland).  I kept asking how we got into this mess of not being able to feed our people.  (Yes, finger pointing came to mind – corporate greed, selfishness, apathy – you fill in the blank)

The second half of the class I got to experience what it was like to shop at a food pantry.  We drew names and a story of who we’d be.  The instructor told us the descriptions were based on current clients who came to the pantry.  The stories weren’t how the media portrays food pantry consumers.  The majority were families who had lost a job or had a major health problem.  I pulled an elderly couple on a fix income.  Both had major health problems and were living off his fixed retirement.  This couple didn’t have enough money to pay for their medication and food.     

I immediately looked at my food choices (i.e. ingredients) on a first walk through.  I learned that my approach in shopping was much different from the normal clients and my fellow classmates.  I drew out a meal plan for the week and created meals with the ingredients.  I also felt I could possibly make my food choices stretch over two weeks.   The instructor told me people usually come and take the quantities of the food they like and don’t see it as making meals.  She said some the choices were based on stress and guilt of living with poverty.  However, she felt it also had to do a lot not having the skills to cook or know how to plan a meal by choosing ingredients. 

She showed me the crates of heirloom tomatoes and dried red peppers mainly undisturbed.  My instructor stated that people don’t know what to do with them.  These tomatoes don’t look like the uniform red ones acquired at the groceries.  And the red peppers, people don’t realize that if you smash them up they’re the same as found in the spice section jars.


After I graduated with a degree in health education, I became interested in holistic medicine – the connection of mind, body and spirit.  My specific interests were centered on women’s health.  Most of the books I found written on this subject were either from the Native American traditions or Ayurveda medicine.    Unlike Western medicine that was starting to talk about mind and body, these traditions included spiritual health. 

Looking back three of the most influential books to me were: Mary Summer Rain’s Earthway; Z. Budapest’s Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries and Diane Stein’s: All Women are Healers.  These books talked about how we've become disconnected from Mother Earth and the food she provides us.  We had become wrapped up with convience and ease that our food was becoming very processed.  In Rain's book, No Eyes discussed how you need to use the whole potato - skin and all to recieve the health benefits from Mother Earth and the Great Spirit (Rain, 46-94).  The whole food is what keeps us healthy and functioning and allows us to do spiritual work. 

All three books discussed daily spiritual practice as having autonomy and knowing how to care for yourself.  Their three key points being: know where your food comes from, know how to cook and eat only the whole foods which promotes health.  For me, their whole foods lists didn't include my favorite treats Jeni's ice cream, Little Debbie's oatmeal cookies and German dark chocolates, and Anthony Thomas chocolate mints.    The books encouraged people to touch the earth by laying in the grass, grow herbs in a window box, go to a farmer’s market, or dig up your backyard and plant a square foot garden.  And those treats I mentioned were to be eaten in moderation.

At the time I was living in an apartment complex.  At my back stoop there as a 2 foot (.61m) by 2 foot patch of dirt that I ask the manager to use - if I recall his response was 'yea whatever.'  I went out and bought a shovel and two tomato plants, 4 marigolds and 1 basil plant.  Digging down a foot, I pulled out pieces of concrete and an aluminum can.  Immediately, I realized that dirt would not support those plants (Green Acre experience as a child).  I went to a garden shop and bought a bag of manure.  Back at the plot, I layered the dirt and manure, then planted.  The whole summer I played in the dirt and took care of those plants.  And, if you haven't experienced a sun ripened tomato  - they're like German dark chocolates - nature's candy eaten as you picked.  For me, when I was out there just looking at the plants or watering them - time seemed to stand still.  I felt connected to something bigger.


Recipe for fresh pesto

4 cups of fresh basil leaves
6 sprigs of parsley
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of fresh graded Parmesan

(In a blender/food processor place garlic and onion and pulse till chopped.  Add basil, parsley and olive oil and blend till chopped fine.) * Place pine nuts in a heated pan and toast lightly.  Add basil mixture.  Dump on pasta of your choice.  Add cheese

*I freeze this basil mixture in plastic containers.  I take them out and thaw; using them in soups, my tomato sauce, and as pesto over pasta.



Learn how to read a food label

Cooking on a budget - one of my favorite cooking blogs shares ideas - Simply Recipe.  I also like this UK site called Student Cook.

There are many weekly meal planning tools out on the web.  I use it because I work full time, go to school and a Mom.  Mainly, it is one less thing I have to think about.  One site - Meal Planning Made Simple.

Check out seed catalogs - especially if it is snowy outside.  Nice dream of summer activity.

Go to a local farmer's market.

Plant a basil plant in a pot.  Depending on the size of the pot - you can get a basil bush.  When it begins to flower cut it back.  You can use the flowers to make the pesto too.

Watch a kitchen witch/kitchen goddess/food deva on the food network.  Teach yourself and your children how to cook meals with whole foods.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dear Readers:

Again, this has been a week of fabulous posts.  I don’t know about you – I am keeping a running list of other ‘A’ words I plan on writing about: Altars, Air, Advice, Abundance, Affirmations… 
Last week I wrote about creating a written document to give to the future.  I am reminded of a story I read at the beginning of my pilgrimage by Judith Merkle Riley: A Vision of Light about a mystic healer.  Unlike the majority medieval women who were mystics and midwives, I am literate.  I don’t have to hire someone to write for me.  I don’t have to hide my writings because of my sex or out of fear that I will be burned.
My mitochondria DNA ends with my son.  But I can pass this to those I choose.  I can share my beliefs, practices and struggles.  I can share the unspoken piece of my life, my hidden books, my recipes and stories.  What I find exciting about this project is the prospect to publically reflect on my journey, honor my teachers and get my bearings of my compass. 
Ultimately, I hope to learn from you.  Yes, to learn and celebrate your gifts that are different than mine.    
Thank you and may your path be blessed.

Friday, January 13, 2012


"Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true." [paraphrased]  Buddha


The scientific method is the best way yet discovered for winnowing the truth from lies and delusion. The simple version looks something like this:
  1. Observe some aspect of the universe. 
  2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis that is consistent with what you have observed. 
  3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions. 
  4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results. 
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation

I confess I love the biological sciences.  As a result of my love of science, I confess that I use the scientific method in all aspects of my life – consciously and unconsciously.  This includes my mystery study along my spiritual path.  For me, I need to wrestle with an idea to see if it is true for me and my path.  I do this through the scientific method.

The first time I heard that crystals could sing in your hand – I laughed.  It wasn’t an out loud laugh, but the one you do in your head that includes a: “Yah Right.”   

I’d been shut out of an herbal class I wanted to take and was told there were still seats available in a crystal healing class.  I’d pre-paid to take classes for the day and my frugal self kicked in because I didn't want to waste my money.  There I sat the skeptic sitting in a “rock” class who wanted to learn about herbs.  What’s more – the last time I learned about rocks was in 8th grade when I got a C-.  

Looking around, the majority of the class was taking copious notes.  There was a mixture of folks: Gray-haired grandmas in dress slacks, teens dressed in Goth, guys in jeans and t-shirts and me.  Most were shaking their heads in agreement with what the instructor was saying.  I sat with my notebook unopened and arms crossed.

The instructor asked the class to share their experiences.  Several people stood and gave vivid testimonials of how different crystals vibrate or tingle in their hand.  The instructor stated clearly: a crystal will feel different to different individuals.  She explained for one individual, a crystal may vibrate and get hot and with another – nothing.  “Crystals communicate like people – there are some people you want to talk to and others not so much.  Don’t be offended.”  She said.     (I know it sounds a lot like what I said about trees last week.)

I soon found out that this class was to be interactive.  The instructor went around laying 5 or 6 different stones out in front of us.  We were to put the stone in our hands and write down our experience.  (My Hypothesis quickly formed in my head: People cannot feel a stone’s vibration in their hand.)  I drew up my data table ready for my experiment.  She turned down the lighting and asked us to take three deep breaths to relax.  I was far from relaxing; I wanted to get my investigation going.

I listened to my classmates say “Oh you should feel this one.” “Wow this has a lot of energy.”

My chart was being filled in with negative signs.

My instructor came up to me and lightly touched my shoulder saying.  “You’re trying too hard – lighten up.”  She picked up a white double pointed crystal and put into my left hand.  “Try this one.”

I felt like a hole being drilled through my hand.  I picked up the crystal to see if there were any jagged edges or sharp points.  The stone’s plane was smooth.  I put it down into my hand again and the same thing happened.

I purchased that crystal that day and it now guards my fireplace.  (See the picture above)


By Charles Simic

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger's tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.



Get to Know Crystals
Choose at least 3 crystals

Instructions:  Relax and be open.  For me – it’s better if I sit down.  Place a crystal in your palm and relax your breathing.  Let the crystal do all the work and just feel.  Next write down your experiences.

Finally, remember to be respectful – the crystal is older than you. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dear readers:

I spent a lot of time reading many wonderfully written PBP blogs this weekend.  All I can say is wow to everyone’s take on their selected subject matter.  I really liked the diversity of the topics and those subjects that were repeated illustrated how we each bring a unique perspective to our own spiritual journey and this year long community.
For example:  I read several blogs on altars/shrines throughout one’s home.  One blogger shared a photo journal of her altar.  It showed as she has grown pieces are added or the whole look changes completely.  It was very beautiful to see her journey in this art form.  Another, shared her Hesta candle in her kitchen – she lights it before cooking.  The act of lighting the candle reframes her attitude while she cooks.  To me it is a reminder that food is also spiritual and if I am angry cooking – it transfers my energy into that food.  
One thing that struck me reading about altars was really being conscious of the items I have in my home.  Do my things serve me along my journey?  Why are they in my home?  And, if my home is a sacred space or altar to the divine does it really show it?  These are the questions I am really thinking about this week.
Someone else wrote about a “Book of Shadow” or “Recipe book” or a “Shadow Scrapbook” to share with future generations.   This person described how these books were handed down generation to generation.  I don’t have a daughter, but it makes me think of granddaughters.  As I write in this blog – I believe my overarching theme will be what words of wisdom, or recipes or poems or songs etc. do I want to share with her to be named?
Can’t wait until Friday.  “B”   

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ash, Oak and Hawthorn.

“I was a listener in the woods.”  Corma MacCuileannain (836-908 CE)

“Nature is the greatest teacher, the best mortal instructors but inept guides by comparison.” The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg

“Oak, Ash and Hawthorn are the faery triad of trees – it is said where they grow faeries live.” Celtic Saying


I live within a faery triangle: Oak, Ash and Hawthorn.  In my front yard grows the ash, her picture is above.  Her leaves shade my house in the summer and her arms welcoming song birds and acrobatic squirrels that I watch out my front window.  Many don’t realize that she’s the offspring of the Norse holy tree Yggdrasil, the tree of life.  My youthful tree is a guardian of old memories.  If you listen, she’ll describe how her mother’ branches extend up to the heavens - bending into comfortable chairs for the Gods and Goddesses to hold court.    And, she’ll tell you about of dragons and heroes quests her mother supported.  

I know it is only a brief time she shares with me.

In Central Ohio, we’ve been hard hit with the Emerald Ash Bore.  This beautiful green insect from China has been killing our ash trees in the Great Lake Region.  The destruction is being compared to the American chestnut blight and the Dutch elm disease.  Once infected these holy giants have to be cut down.  Streets that were lined with shady ashes now are nude looking like new housing developments. 

I shake my head, we have not learned from our past mistakes.  I’ve watched the city plant the same tree down a barren street.  Again, probably for the same reasons the ashes were planted to replace the elms: easy to take care of one type of tree and the bottom line revolves around money. 

But, my neighborhood before humans was an eastern deciduous hardwood forest.  Everyone knows a forest doesn’t have just one tree growing in a picturesque lane format.  There were many different trees and shrubs - walnuts, oaks, hickories, ash, maples.....  Each sharing and taking what they need from the environment.  And, in turn the animals and insects too gave and took from this environment.  There was a balance. 

Somehow during our intellectual and technological evolution, we’ve (humans) became disconnected with the earth and how we fit in.  We have forgotten how to appreciate every tree and living organism within the forest – choosing to like a select few – rather the diversity.  We watch nature on a big screen rather than actually spending time outside; believe apples come from the supermarket rather than eating one off a tree.  It is uncanny, that our relationship with the forest mirrors the relationship we have with each other.  We live out of balance. 


“The Tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of
Arboreal life, how from earth’s salty lap
The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness
Enacted by leaves’ fall and rising sap;”
C.S. Lewis from his poem On Being Human.  May 8, 1948.


Meeting Trees Activity 

Idea One:
Purpose:  Hanging out with a tree for 30 minutes.
Equipment:  Wear old jeans if you’re worried about getting dirty.  If there isn’t a tree in your apartment complex – look for a local park. 

Instructions:  Which tree to pick?  Think of it like going to a party – who would you like to talk to?  Go up and introduce yourself – Hey I’m (fill in the blank) can I sit down here.  Be open – intuition will tell you yes or no.  If you get a no – go introduce yourself to another tree.  When you get a yes - sit down with your back against the tree and listen.  When you get home, take time to jot down in your journal your thoughts.

Idea Two from Joseph Cornell, Sharing Nature With Children
Purpose: Hear a tree’s heartbeat.
Equipment: Stethoscope

Instructions:  If you listen carefully with a stethoscope, you can hear the “heartbeat” of a tree. Find a thin-barked tree more than 6 inches in diameter and place your stethoscope against its trunk. Be very quiet. Move the stethoscope around until you can hear the crackling, gurgling sound of sap flowing up to the branches.

Idea Three:
Go to your local library and take out a field guide.  Learn the names of at least three trees who share your neighborhood.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year

I woke up today and there was a dusting of snow - yea snow.  With snow, it finally feels like winter.  The sky is grey and the wind is moving the naked trees. (I need refill the birdfeeders.) 

The guys are watching the Buckeyes and I'm sitting here writing.  You might say, I'm feeding my hungry ghosts of creativity  - dark chocolate treats by writing (Levitt, Peter. Fingerpainting on the Moon. New York: Harmony Books. 2003. Print.).  I've had three writing projects in my mind and I know that I need to just sit down and write.  (I've been resting on my laurels after two poems and a short story were published this past year.)

A common theme of my life lately and it keeps being reinforced:  "you need to get off your duff."   This morning it was from The NY Times Sunday Magazine "A View from the Margin." by Sam Anderson who highlighted his reading this past year: "Stories are always really, really hard.  I think it's totally rational for a writer, no matter how much experience he has, to go right down in confidence to almost zero when you sit down to start something.  Why not?  Your last piece is never going to write your next one for you." (McPhee, John. "The Art of Nonfiction No.3" The Paris Review, Spring 2010, p 67.)."  And, then there was that dream two days ago - The Egyptian God Thoth holding a clock and snapping at me: "when will you pick up the pen?"

Talk about the law of coincidence. My friend send me this link for joining a crafty group of blogger embarking on a year long project.  I decided to join.  Why?  Writing deadlines of Fridays.  And, the wonderful moderator Rowan is giving much needed promps.  But, I was interested in having one place to explore my link between creativity and spirituality.  I also wanted a place to be more intimate with myself in this area and take some risks in what I believe by writing it down.  Finally, to be able to share this experience with a community.

It's snowing again, large fluffy flakes.  The sun has managed to push through the gray clouds.  And, I'm writing.  The Buckeyes are loosing - but the band looks good as always.

To my fellow spirit blogging - I light three candles (yellow - communication, purple - spirit and orange - creativity), annointed notebooks for writing topics and cut a ribbon to begin saying: "Today I begin a powerful journey. I intend to discover who I am.  Along this path may I be nurished; may I be healed; may I keep my ears openned and judgement aside to learn from others and the messages spirit may be sending; and may I approach this journey with the same curiousity that I did as a child.  May this path be filled with joy, love and abundance of creativitiy."