Friday, July 27, 2012

Optimismum - Remedium enim adversum et impedimentum

Lord Genesh
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” ~Dolly Parton

“One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles, possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity. “ ~ Albert Schweitzer

“The battles that count aren't the ones for gold medals. The struggles within yourself--the invisible, inevitable battles inside all of us--that's where it's at.” ~ Jesse Owens

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” ~ Randy Pausch

I’ve always liked to read fairy tales.  Even as an adult, I like reading the tales Hoffman, De Lint, Atwood, Esquivel, Wynne Jones and Oats have spun.  They seem to have the knack at weaving magic and fairy tale motifs into gritty contemporary settings.  These authors keep with the genre tradition by including the common story elements: magic (e.g., law of three, magical numbers), memorable characters, a moral message and obstacles the protagonist (i.e., hero) must complete to get the happy ending.  I’ve found, the harder the obstacle(s) [Note: they usually come in three] the more knuckle gripping the story.  A good book for me is the one I can’t put down until the hero completes their tasks and ultimately learn something new about themselves. 

These past three years I’ve been preparing to apply to graduate school.  My hero’s tasks have been relatively easy jumps over stones and logs: building up my writing portfolio; completing writing classes after being out of college for 20 years; learning to carve out time to be creative; learning to maintain wellness and balance regarding exercising and mothering while working full time; and searching out different MFA programs to meet my needs.  

The journey has included professors and instructors like Ann Palazzo, Columbus based poet Steve Abbott, short story writer, James DeMonte, and Nettie Morris who’ve proved encouragement, motivation and insights to hone my craft.  My classmates have also helped me by providing truthful criticism during workshops that have made several of my pieces publishable in the Campus Literary Magazine. 

I now approach my final obstacle: completing the two required essays in the application.  It isn’t that I haven’t known about these tasks.  I’ve stared at them upon my glowing laptop and overheard my classmates tête-à-tête about writing theirs.  But, unlike my fairy tale heroes who forge ahead towards this final task. 

Boulder in road
I admit to shirking away to a mission that only requires putting pen to paper.  And, while I’ve sat  staring at the blank white page it has managed to turn into an impassable boulder; around it, a thorny forest has grown; a din of banshees have set up camp taking bets as to if I’ll ever get this done; and I can smell the sulfuric breath of the Three Wyrm Sisters: Criticism, Doubt and Failure.   

My Fairy Godmother?  I’ve called her.  She has informed me WAMOU (Witches, Alchemists, Magicians and Occultist Union) is on strike.  “You're on your own,” she says and then quoted Naomi Wolf: “In women, powerless has been sexy for a long time. -  My stars how this sound like someone I know in aspects of her life, hmmmm?”  Ethically, she gave me a hotline number for a creativity coach in a snarky tone said maybe they’d be able to help rouse me off my butt by doing an unlicensed ritual. 

In the Last Lecture, author Randy Pausch writes: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”  I look at the boulder and still feel very overwhelmed. 

The Wyrms roar. “Why do you want to go to graduate school?” “Ha – she doesn’t really know.”  “Why the career change?  Why not continue in public health – it’s what you know.”  “Seems like a waste of money – do you really have something new to say?”  “Who will even read your stuff?”  “Oh the boulder is tooooo high, why bother you’ll never make it.  You might fall and smash your skull.”

I again stare at the boulder trying to scope any possible way to climb up around it.  I thought of my little girl self who sang her first poem amongst the tall trees covered with poison ivy.  How excited she to be able to share it that next day at school.  “May is spring/when birdies sing./Grass is green,/perhaps you’ve seen….” I thought of that poem full of red marks all due to spelling and punctuation errors and my ultimate solution of having a dictionary lay always across my lap.  Yes, I thought of the same girl who’d make stories in her head during classical music concerts, write grant applications for public health programs, newsletters or jot a poem as a creative outlet to the vicarious trauma experienced while working with survivors and the statistics of sexual and intimate partner violence.

The Wyrms laugh then choke upon their fire when I pulled out my yellow elephant shaped vile.  The label reads:

“Optimismum: Remedium enim adversum et impedimentum…. Remember the Law of Attraction: Our thoughts manifest our destinies.  Magical living starts with intent and optimism.  You have to be able to see your goals, dreams wishes and the great things happening around you.  Challenges are part of living.  An optimistic heart is grateful for all situations because it is learning something new. Take per os (orally) one Tablespoon daily.  Refill # (unlimited).  Dr. Ganesh.”

“If a don’t try, I’m toast anyways.”  I raise the vile up, take a gulp and raise up my magic fountain pen. 


Oh how it would be so easy to pull out a magic vile.  But, in my case the only way these papers will be completed is if I reflect back on my successes and set the timer for twenty minutes and slog away.  Reality - be optimistic and do your best shoot even Hemingway had to start with a blank page.    


Working on your third Chakra

Third Chakra

The third or solar plexus chakra represents our well-being, concentration and optimism.  It represents your personal power and helps you embrace challenges that are put before you.  It is located about 1-2 inches above the navel.  The ancients have symbolized this center with a ten petal lotus flower and its sound is RAM.

Those with an imbalance to this chakra may experience low self-worth and are always worried about how others view them or concerned about their future.  Fear plays a big factor in the imbalance: fear of failure, fear of shame…. All these worries may cause one to become either angry or depressed.

I know when I'm out of balanced when I don't take a step towards my goal or am snippy at friends and family.


Auntie Grace’s Shortbread with a Third Chakra Zing.
Ginger is one of the spices recommended to wake up your Solar Chakra.  Several Christmas/Yule seasons ago I was lazy and created variations on shortbread cookies.  Using my Auntie Grace’s recipe I got inventive: Lavender, white chocolate with dried cranberries, orange zest

Basic Shortbread
2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon each of baking powder and salt
1 cup of softened butter unsalted (2 sticks)
1/2 cup of confectioner sugar sifted.

1 Tablespoon of ground ginger
1/3 cups of cut up crystallized ginger (I used my kitchen shears it is much easier)
And a shake of white pepper

Preheat oven to 350.
Sift together flour, baking powder, dried ginger, shake of pepper, and salt.  Cream butter and sugar til light and fluffy.  Add flour mixture and then add in crystalline ginger.  Pat dough into 9"x9" ungreased pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes.  

Lemon Honey Ginger Marmalade.
I got this recipe from the Sure-Jell site and then added ginger to it.  Wow is this good.  I use this Marmalade to make Jam Cake.  

3 cups lemons (scrub their skins)
1 ½ cups of water
½ tsp of baking soda
1 box of Sure-Jell
½ tsp of butter
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of honey
¾ cups of crystallized ginger, finely diced.  (Again, I like to use my kitchen shears).

Sterilize jelly jars, screw bands in boiling-water canner pot.  Flat lids in a pan of hot water.

Prepare fruit by zesting lemon with a vegetable peeler.  Avoid the white part.  Chop the zest and put it non-reactive large sauce pan (e.g., corning ware).  Add water and baking soda to the pan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Continue preparing fruit by skinning off the white peal.  Chop up the lemons and reserve any juice.

Add chop lemons and reserved juice to lemon zest mixture.  Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Making Jelly:  Measure exactly 3 cups and place into 6-8 quart non-reactive saucepan.  Stir in Ginger, Sure-Jell and butter.  Bring to a full rolling boil (You can follow the cooked recipe on the sheet in the package).  Add sugar and honey.  Bring to a full boil and boil exactly 1 minute.  Stir constantly.  Remove from heat.

Ladle into the sterile jars, filling within 1/8th inch from the tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads.  Screw on bands tightly.  Place jar into boiling bath.  Process for 5 minutes. 

They need to sit overnight to set-up and jell.

Other help - 

Crystals/stones to help the third chakra: Citrine, Amber,Tiger Eye, Gold Calcite,Yellow Tourmaline, Jasper, and Golden Topaz.

Rosemary Lemon foot soak
1 cup Epson salts
1 cup sea salts
½ baking powder
20 drops rosemary essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil

Mix and place in a mason jar.  When you are feeling unmotivated or a lack of optimism - time to soak your tooties to get them moving. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi all - I really like your comments, but have had a change of heart regarding anonymous comments. My CCWWW beliefs are that you need to stand behind what you say and what you do. Peace out.