Listen to your Elder…

flower-8114_1280

Remember the days when you could pop on the tube to relax and the only danger you were in from watching the commercials were a few extra pounds (Bundt cake) or some unwanted nagging from the kids over the latest toy? Ahh, the good ole days when the media kept the programming quotient set to simmer. Those days are long gone. Now we are inundated with ads selling all the latest drugs and vaccines because surely we are all going to die. They run so many drug ads you barely remember what you turned on the TV to actually watch.

So much fear crammed into every ad block, it’s no wonder our immune systems get fried, especially this time of year in the northern hemisphere.

The decrease in beneficial sun rays depletes our already low vitamin D stores, the holiday sweets and general debauchery add to our stress and weaken our gut health…then we are on the go constantly…events, parties, work…it’s the perfect cocktail upon which mr/mrs virus/bacteria can capitalize.

But, I got my flu shot! I’m covered! Unfortunately, the flu shot only covers 3 or 4 of the hundreds of viruses that are out there waiting for a host to become available. Not to mention the debilitating effects vaccines in general have on the immune system. According to a study published in the Journal of Virology, the annual flu vaccine can weaken children’s resistance to other types of influenza virus, including those that could cause a pandemic. [1] While a study in the New England Journal of Medicine of May 1996 revealed that tetanus vaccine disables the immune system in HIV patients. Tetanus vaccination produced a drop in T cells in 10 of 13 patients, a classic sign of immune deficiency. [2]

So what can we do? A lot. The human body is an extraordinary organism, expertly orchestrated with the innate ability to maintain health and in the event it becomes necessary, heal itself.   Keeping our bodies healthy is really much easier than we have been led to believe. Here is a basic rundown of what your body needs:

  1. Rest.  No, scrolling through facebook for hours does not count.
  2. Healthy Food. If you can recognize it as something that grows in the earth and you can pronounce it…you’re good
  3. Clean water. Avoid chemicals and fluoride
  4. Stoke that vitamin D factory!
  5. Studies have shown that moderate exercise boosts your immune system! [3]
  6. Last but certainly not least. Self-love being the most important but never underestimated the power of friendship, both human and animal.

So, we are all human and this world is rife with temptations…we strive to achieve the list above but there are times when we don’t. Then what?

This is when it is important to have allies. Beings who are here to guide us through the rough patches and support the body back to the road of glittering health.

elder-189098_1280Elderberry (Sambucus nigra, S. cerulea, S. Canadensis) can be one of those allies. In the plant world she is a powerhouse. The berries are anti-viral, immunomodulating, and antioxidant rich while the flowers are anti-viral, relaxing nervine, relaxing diaphoretic, and diuretic.

Herbalist Kristine Brown writes that the Native Americans believed that elder would heal all the illnesses anyone could ever have. They believed it would promote a long life, giving reason to the name “elder.”

According to herbalist and educator Rosalee de la Foret, elderberries have long been used as an ally against upper respiratory infections. They’ve been scientifically proven to be effective against at least 8 different influenza viruses including H1N1. Loaded with flavanoids, which are potent antioxidants that have been known to prevent viral replication, halting a virus in its tracks.

Elderberry can be used daily as a preventative, at the onset of symptoms as well as during an illness to shorten its duration.

In clinical trials, patients who took the elderberry juice syrup reported fast termination of symptoms. Twenty percent reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed a complete cure after three days. Patients receiving the placebo required six days for recovery. As proof that elder has more to it than the enzyme neutralizing constituents, researchers found that the patients who took it also had higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus. ”

Paul Bergner, Herbalist

 In our busy lives, it’s important to have an ally such as elderberry. Supporting our immune system has never been so easy and so delicious! Why weaken your system with a vaccine when you can strengthen it with Elderberry!

elderberrysyrup

 

 

 

 

 

1 http://jvi.asm.org/content/85/22/11995.abstract?sid=80ff3521-f359-4db5-b453-e71cb8a8a7ea

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/754263

2 http://www.healthy.net/Health/Article/Do_Vaccines_Disable_the_Immune_System/539

3 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/03/flu-shot-increase-flu.aspx

http://www.herbalrootszine.com/

http://methowvalleyherbs.com/

 

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Stinging Nettle Pesto

Nettles

Elven food porn. Yep, that’s what I’m calling it. That’s what happens when you combine fresh spring stinging nettles with organic garlic, organic raw walnuts, sheep’s milk romano and lemon juice to create a taste bud-gasm. One that is good for you to boot! It is a definite win and so easy.

Stinging Nettle (urtica diotica) grows wild in meadows and fields everywhere. She is a shining jewel for herbalists and foragers alike. She is best harvested before she flowers so get out there soon!

Urtica has very high levels of minerals, especially, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, silica, iodine, silicon, sodium, and sulfur. Is also a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and B complex vitamins and high levels of easily absorbable amino acids. I have read varying sources stating the protein content ranges between 10 and 25 percent! That’s heavy for a leafy green!

But what about the sting, you ask? Yes, there is that. There is no doubt that when you brush against her, it hurts! With this chemical cocktail it’s no wonder: acetylcholine, histamine, 5-HT (serotonin), moroidin, leukotrienes, and formic acid. The remedy? Approach her with respect and mindfulness.

No. Sudden. Movements!

Seriously, when I harvest her leaves, if I mindfully pick one at a time, slowly, I do not get stung. If you do get stung, look around you…you should be able to find some plantain or dock within a few feet, pick a leaf, chew it up and spit it out onto the sting, it will relieve the pain right away. It’s called a spit poultice and it is stellar field first aid.

But we are making pesto, so we need more than just a few leaves. Wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt, and simply snip the top 3rd of the plant into a big bowl. No touching needed. When you get home, you will want to blanch the leaves for 3 minutes in boiling water. Then plunge into cold/ice water. This will neutralize the chemicals that cause the sting. Take it from me; eating a raw nettle leaf…may cause gagging and coughing. Been there, while I was being interviewed for the local newspaper about foraging. Embarrassing.

Once your nettles are blanched, strained and cooled, pop them into the food processor and grind with the rest of your ingredients! Simple. Use your nettle pesto the same as you would basil pesto!

Stinging Nettle Pesto

Makes 4– 8oz jars

  • 8 cups of nettles
  • 1 cup pecorino romano or parmesan if you prefer
  • 1 cup walnuts (any nut will do, really)
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Juice of 1 lemon and zest
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil (or just enough to pull it all together)

This is the basic recipe. I added a few random leaves from the garden. Five sprigs of lemon balm and 3 small bunches of wood sorrel for a lemony touch and a handful of mizuna lettuce to add a peppery zing. These extras are not necessary if you don’t have them.

♥ Enjoy!  Maria

 

 

 

 

 

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Alliance

poppy

I stand in alliance with our beauty full Earth, my throbbing heart pulsing in rhythm with her magnificence.

My hands and feet immersed in Terra, I feel connected to an energy greater than mind– primal, electric…conductive. Unmistakably feminine, my stress and worries dissolve as I nestle deep in her sweet bosom, tendrils of energy plait around me in divine embrace.

Gratitude cascades over my desensitized form, melting away a lifetime of armoring in an exhale.

I feel the trees reaching out, massive roots urging deep surrender, a connection that supplants ego. My hearts cracks open, in love with this life, this chance to walk…to taste…to feel as physical beings, sentient droplets of consciousness.

I often forget that everything I need to thrive is here, with me, waiting for me to open to it. When I am having a bad day, a barefoot stroll through the park whisks it all away. By acknowledging the flowers, whose faces smile…smelling the trees, their sap gently warmed by the sunrise, singing with the birds and frogs, a joyful resonance and allowing the sun to warm my body…kiss my face.

My ability to fall down in orgasmic connection with all of life, making sweet love to the Earth is my greatest gift to myself when I chose to keep it private and to the world when I allow the waves of pleasure to undulate out in rippling tickling currents.

In this state of joyful bliss there is no other. No boundaries, borders or walls. Only connection. This is Heaven on Earth, Heaven in Earth, Heaven is Earth and so are we.

 

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Nourishing Infusions

Stinging Nettle Nourishing Infusion

Stinging Nettle Nourishing Infusion

Spring is coming, I promise, and with it the bounty of green blessings!  Every spring I look forward to the return of my many green friends, welcoming back the simplicity and restorative wholeness only plants and digging in the earth can bring.  Just the aroma of warm soil quickens my heart with anticipation of the joyous partnership forged over the years with my earthly allies. Quiet early mornings spent, sun warming my face, tending lovingly my personal plot of the Mother, joining with Her in singing Her gifts to life.

Memories of gardens past, their bounty and their failures, adorn my inner landscape, beauty full, all.  But for all the tomatoes and peppers that I have grown, the plants that hold the keys to my heart are weeds.  Yes, weeds or as I call them Wondrous Edible Earthly Delights.   In her infinite wisdom and love, the Mother provides us (her children) precisely what we need to thrive—as surely as the sun rises each day.

Much maligned, weeds offer service, healing and protection.

They are the truest warriors in the green movement and often the least understood.  They blanket the bare earth preventing erosion and waste.  They draw nutrients to the surface to feed superficial plant roots and to store nutrients.  They appear for us when we need them most, sensing our physical imbalance and spiritual morass.  They fill a certain void within us, both physical and spiritual, the longing for partnership with the unseen yet loving force that is nature (god/dess).  Communing with plants is a joy that fills my heart.  Whether sampling the dew off a ripe crabapple or munching fresh chickweed as I cultivate my garden beds, the plants and the Devas who tend to them, offer wisdom as well as nourishment.

There are myriad ways to incorporate healing weeds/herbs into your daily routine to promote radiant health and restore balance.  Of them all, I love the simplicity of nourishing infusions.  More potent than a tea, not as strong as a decoction nor as medicinal as a tincture, the nourishing infusion offers a powerful healing impact.  Nourishing infusions are a great way to get to know a plant.  It’s beauty lies in its simplicity and in it’s wholeness.

  •  The first step, choose a plant ally.  You want to choose a nourishing plant versus a plant that contains high amounts of volatile oils, resins, alkaloids, or glycosides.  While volatile compounds pack an impressive punch, this is not what we desire in a nourishing infusion.  We want an herb that is of a gentler nature, one that is higher in protein, minerals, and vitamins, an herb you would consider food.  I would like to add that I, personally, would only use organic/chemical free herbs for my infusions.

Herbalist and nourishing infusion Deva, Susun Weed, explains it best.  “Because nourishing plants, by definition, can’t kill, they are scorned by many herbalists. Their effects are said to be slow and weak. Yes, poisonous plants do create instantaneous results, and I do use them when I need that immediate reaction. But they always undermine health.  Nourishing plants always build health. Their effects are slower, but still rapid — with significant improvement in well being seen in ten days or less — and powerful, often life-changing. I call the nourishing herbs ‘people’s herbs’ because they are safe for anyone to use for any reason. And the use of nourishing herbs is ‘people’s medicine,’ our birthright of health. People’s medicine is a direct threat to hierarchy medicine, whether mainstream or alternative. It returns the power of health to the hands of the individual, out of the hands of the elite.  Nourishing herbs are powerhouses of protein, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals that counter cancer and prolong life. The best ways to extract this richness are those that rely on water and dilute acid as solvents: that is nourishing herbal infusions and mineral-rich medicinal vinegars.”  Perfect!  Viva la revolucion!

Here is a simple guide to get you started.  Please practice due diligence before consuming any herb.  See this blog article by Susun Weed for more herb specifics.

Here are just a few ideas.

If you are feeling stressed and frayed, your hair and nails a mess?  Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is your gal.  Are your hormones out of whack?  Red clover (Trifolium pratense).  Feeling stagnant and gluggy from a long winter?  Chickweed (Stellaria media).  Nerves frazzled and shot?  Oatstraw (Avena sativa).

  •  Second Step:  Procure your herb.  You may do this by mindfully harvesting and drying the plants yourself or by purchasing from a reputable source.  Frontier wholesale has organic bulk dried herbs for a great price.  I run a Frontier coop if you live near me.  Mountain Rose Herbs is another favorite of mine.
  • Third Step:  Make your infusion.  You will need a clean quart Mason jar and lid.  Add to the jar 1oz by weight/approximately 1 cup by volume of dried herb to the clean jar.  Top with boiling water, lid and set it aside for a minimum of 4 hours to overnight.  I like to make mine before bed so that when I wake, it is ready for me!  Strain, really squeezing the juice from the plant material, compost the used herb and consume your infusion.  Your goal will be to consume the entire quart in one day.  But if you cannot do that at first, refrigerate what is left and use within 3 days.  Water your plants with any infusion older than that.

    1oz dried nettles

    1oz dried nettles

I like to keep a journal when beginning any new routine, especially when it involves consuming anything with consciousness.  Paying attention to any changes I experience both subtle and overt; provides the opportunity to fully embrace my process and embody new discoveries.  Although this step is not necessary, I find it thoroughly enjoyable and quite complementary.

Simple.  Extraordinary.  Wholeness.  Living in harmony with all of life. 

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Touched by an Angel

snow crocus

As I sat cradling her head while she wept lamenting a part of her life that was ending, a gentle voice whispered in my ear as it has done so many times.  “Tell her how strong she is, share with her that only those who are infinitely powerful receive the hardest lessons.  Tell her.”     As the words hung in the air between us, a palpable force electric with life, the dam broke allowing the torrent of emotion and pain to flow free as tears.  “I don’t feel powerful.”  She responded meekly.  “I understand.  Will you allow me to hold that vision of you as a powerful being in my heart until you are ready to see it yourself?  I believe in you.”

I love these moments, not because I feel powerful or because I enjoy the misery of others.  I feel so profoundly honored that I am trusted with this most dark and vulnerable space.  This deeply human place that plucks a chord within us all.  It is my opportunity to pay a gift forward many times over; it reminds me when I felt I was dangling at the end of a rope and Spirit reeled me in.

The year was 1999, I was 33 in what I have come to call my “year of jesus.”  Not because of some weird and awkward conversion (that would be 6th grade and a story for another time) it had more of a “why hast thou forsaken me?” flavor.  1999 was the year I, or who I had known to be me, began to unravel. My engagement was abruptly and unexpectedly broken and I was asked to leave the home I had immersed 2 years of my life into.  I had thought I was “done.”  You know that program, the “I’ll be able to relax and just live my life once I’m married” program.  The “I’ll finally be able to exhale once I’m married” program.  Yeah, that.  That’s where I was standing in the midst of a steaming pile of shattered programming; when I was moved beyond this body, beyond this world…I call it my “Touched by an Angel” moment.

Earlier in the day, I had called the plumber because our tub needed service.  So, here I was standing in the bathroom with the Roto Rooter man and things were not going well.  He was having a bad day and I, well, I was busy projecting my steaming pile right at him when he stopped and took a breath and asked “can we start over?  It appears we are both having a really bad day.”  He held out his hand for me to shake and we introduced ourselves again.  Then he asked “are you alright?”  Some unreasonable force possessed me in that moment as I began to bear my soul to this man, a complete stranger.  He listened intently (do they teach therapeutic listening in plumbing school?) and then asked me “do you believe in god?”  “Yes” I replied.  “Then you must know that he has something so much better lined up for you.”  I swear he had the glowing aura behind him when he said it, he lit up just like in the show…

I wept.   Tears of recognition, of release swept through me with his words.  In that moment I was reminded of who I was, who I am.  His words jolted me out of my ego’s pity party and back to the remembrance that I am OK.  This is not the end, this is the beginning.  A wonderful opportunity.  I never looked back.

A wonderful opportunity.  That is what my heart held for my client today.  That this loss she is experiencing is not the end of her life but the beginning of a new and wonderful adventure.  The chance to begin again.  Awakening like the first crocus of spring rising victoriously from the snow, flocks of robins returning to the thawed and fertile earth, sap rising salaciously within the trees their arms outstretched to the heavens…

This, the second Spring of your life, I hold in my heart for you.

Photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/1hDly19  Thank you!

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Because: Resistance

I had a conversation with resistance today…when I sat down to write, I felt blank, there was nothing there that pertained to the story so I switched notebooks and wrote in my morning pages.  Nothing much there either.  As I sat and stared out the dog snot encrusted window at my frozen, snowy landscape, pen in hand, my attention was drawn to my pendulum.  Hmmm, I thought, I wonder… I picked it up and asked,

“Is this even real?  This story I am writing, is it even real?”  Response:  <no>.

“Fuck it,” I said as I dropped the pendulum, “I’m playing candy crush.”  In the catatonic trance that can only be candy crush; I heard my inner self whisper, “Who are you talking to?”  When I’d played my last life, I set down my phone and picked up the pendulum again.  “When I asked my question earlier, was I speaking with my resistance?”  I asked.  Answer:  <yes> Ahhh, it all makes sense now.  I chuckled.

“Hello dear resistance” I said aloud “Are you afraid for me to tell this story?”

<Yes>

“Are you afraid we will die?

<Uncertain>

“Are you afraid we will be laughed at and ridiculed?”

<Yes>  (Emphatically)

Well, this I can understand.  Memories began wafting in, crowding my already crowded mind, begging for attention.

As a child, I was an easy target.  If my vibration were to instantly manifest in matter, it would have been a kick-me sign on my back. If I had tattoos, I would have worn emo-sleeves…bleeding hearts and weeping angels.  I was a sensitive kid, still am as an adult but when I was little there was no armor…no experience that said, “Hey, maybe you shouldn’t do or say that.”  This  (experience) was coming in heavy doses as the universe attempted to show me my story.  Any time I attempted to wield power or assert myself confidently, I got the slap down, either physically or emotionally.  By the time I was 8 years old I had already had 2 different people threaten to kill me; one promising to slit my throat while the other attempted to bash my head into the sidewalk.  Compared to that, being laughed at and ridiculed for being an easy target doesn’t seem like such a big deal.  One elicited PTSD, the other emotional wounds that would follow and control me most of my life, both had me in therapy for much of my adult life.  All for being me in a world that does not always honor authenticity.  Did other beings have it significantly worse than me?  Absolutely.  Does that lessen or change my experience, not at all.  So, yeah, resistance, I get it.  I understand.  I hear you.  What we experienced sucked and I am really sorry.

Life is different now; we are different.  We have grown and an amazing support team surrounds us.

“Would it be ok, for right now, if it were only me who heard the story? It is vitally important for me to know this.”

<Yes>

OK.  This I can live with.  After all, focusing on getting the book published right now is akin to asking an infant who cannot support it’s own head to dance.  We shall cross that bridge when it presents itself.  For now, the story is for me. I know the beast that I battle within me…she is stubborn and unrelenting.  Battling her, trying to slay her doesn’t work.  She has been there before; she has gotten us through it.  She is a dragon, but she is my dragon and I’d rather have her as an ally than an enemy.

This strategy may backfire on me…only time will tell.

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Deer Medicine: Gentleness and Innocence

I got up this morning fully intending to write my Valentines Day piece about self-love.

When I let Doodles outside, a single deer jumped out of the cedars.  I had startled her by opening the door and she ran toward the path leading away from the house.  As I was sending her love and apologies for frightening her, I noticed that she had a limp; she was favoring her back right leg.  I looked down and saw a large swelling on her right ankle (which would appear to be her right knee).  My breath caught in my throat, this is the deer I hit on Cleveland Avenue 4 weeks ago.  She has found me.

I was driving down to the Box Factory to retrieve the child from art class on a snowy Tuesday.  I was listening to my husband’s music and was in that place that music takes you, (I have since decided that I cannot listen to music and drive) when BAM, she was in front of me.  I slammed on my brakes and swerved as she ran for the snow bank but I could not avoid her.  Her cosmic timing was perfect.  I hit her on her back right hip and leg.  She flew onto the snow bank and landed on her side.  I was in such shock I did not see her get up.  I kept driving until I could turn around safely and go back.  As I drove away in a panic,  I saw the rest of her herd trounce safely across Cleveland.  I was distraught as I waited to turn back.  The man that was right behind me drove past and made eye contact…was he worried and sympathetic or was he judging me for not paying attention?  Or was that just me, judging me…  When I returned to the scene, she was gone.  No blood anywhere.  I had not killed her…yet.  I cried the entire way to the Box.  Sofia said to stop thinking about it, it’s over!  Bob told me that she likely ran off and was icing her hip in a snowdrift…really?!  Oh, my dear family…do they not know the lengths my mind will go to in order to assume blame for all things “bad” in this world?

So, here she is, in my back yard, does she need help?  I wonder.  I needed some answers so I consulted my trusty pendulum.

Is she the deer I hit?  YES

Does she need my help?  NO

Is her herd nearby?  YES

Is she staying close to me?  NO

Did she come to show me she is OK?  YES

Does she want me to do distance healing with her?  NO

Does she want me to forgive myself for hitting her?  YES

Should I feed her?  NO

deer"dreamstime" Since I do not believe in coincidence, I decided to consult the always trustworthy interwebs to see what possible lesson there was for me.  Here is her medicine for me from linsdomain.com

Gentleness and Innocence

Deer teaches us to use the power of gentleness
to touch the hearts and minds of
wounded beings who are in our lives.

Don’t push towards change in others,
rather gently nudge them in right direction
with the love that comes from a Deer totem.

When a Deer totem shows up in your life,
a new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened.
There is going to be a gentle lure of new adventures.
There will  be an opportunity to express the gentle love
that will open new doors for you.

Thank you sweet and gentle spirit.  I am so sorry I hurt you.  Sending gentle love to you, I hope that is OK.  I understand now and want you to know I have forgiven myself for hurting you.  For being careless and not paying closer attention.  I just wish the delivery of your gifts did not have to be so extreme.  I understand that sometimes we need to be intensely shaken from our trance.  Embracing gentleness and freshness.  Thank you.

♥  Maria


Free Stock Photos: Fawn Picture. Image: 203878
© Photographer: Jamie Wilson | Agency: Dreamstime.com

 

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Forging New Paths

New PathwaysI had a brain reboot this morning.  No, I didn’t do anything noteworthy, no epoch-making moments.  I wasn’t in meditation, I wasn’t chanting or doing yoga, I wasn’t in deep communion with aliens…

I simply made a different choice and everything changed.

The day began as most do, I rolled out of my warm bed, extricating myself from the gooey and cuddly child and dog, peed, made my lemon water then sat down to write my morning pages.  After recounting various unremarkable dream fragments I wrote, “I feel blank today.”  I did.  Not in a melancholic way, it was more nothing/neutral, as if my mind was void of course.  There was an eerie silence in that maddening echo chamber located between my ears.  Without much to say I moved on to my chores.

Every morning (in this exact order, says the Virgo) I feed and water the ducks and chickens, collect the eggs, walk the dogs, first Rosie followed by Maddy, then feed the dogs and Doodles the kitteh.  Today, I decided, since she had been pestering me most of the morning, to walk Maddy first.  As I walked her along our snowy track in our backyard, she pulled me in another direction… With all of the snow this winter, we have around 3ft of powder on our 1.5 acres.  Over the weeks we have managed to tromp a fairly well packed narrow track that runs from the house straight back to the end of the property, then loops around the back then again around our sacred circle as it traverses the yard to meet up with the original path.

 I always follow this path, in the same direction, every day, 4 times a day.  Except today.

Today, Maddy caught the scent of something, a deer, bunnies, an old frozen turd…and yanked me westward where the paths converge.  What happened next was startling.

I felt like Jake Sully when he first merged with his avatar in the movie Avatar.  It was as if my body no longer knew how to walk.  I felt clumsy and kept slipping off the packed trail, sinking knee deep into the powder.   I was what I coined “dyscombobulatory”:  The act of trying to walk while your brain is rebooting.  What the hell, I giggled nervously.  My vision was distorted slightly as if I couldn’t quite rectify what I was seeing with the sensory input coming from my proprioceptors.  I was disoriented.  The strangest sensation came from my brain itself.  The best way to describe it is being woken from a deep sleep when you shouldn’t have been asleep.  Like at your desk at work.  There was a sudden mild panic and a shuffling of papers.

The person who was driving my avatar was asleep at the wheel, on autopilot.  By doing the same thing, in the same order every single day, she thought, why bother, I don’t need to engage in this, I don’t need to participate.  Ruts do that to us.  They keep us plodding the same course ad nauseum, until we simply fall asleep…it takes a tree trunk falling onto our track to wake us up and force us to make a new choice.

It was a tabula rasa kind of moment for me this morning.  I felt like a blank slate and in opening (read: being dragged) onto a new path my brain grew; it awakened novel synaptic pathways, which stimulated a heightened awareness of myself in relation to my Self.  In that moment, I simultaneously awakened my physical avatar and my greater Being from the void, the nebula of my consciousness.  A feeling of infusion followed…as if through coalescence, my greater Being was creating new growth or altering our existing matter.

And we don’t need a major event to do this.  It can be as simple as allowing your dog to lead or choosing to switch the hand that controls the mouse…in making novel choices you can literally feel growth happening.  And it puts you in that really cool place that is pure potential; where anything is possible.

ACIM teaches this as their first principle/exercise.  It asks you to act as if everything you think you know, everything that you think is real and true is not.  Let go of everything—to get to that tabula rasa state of pure potential.

If everything you think you know, everything you believe is suddenly gone…what is left?

You, floating in the void, profuse with the heady scent of pure creation.  The opportunity to recreate your existence…a re boot.

Welcome to the new world, enjoy the ride!

♥  Maria

 

 

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Winter Sowing

This Imbolc, we honor Brigid by welcoming spring even if the groundhog does not comply!  Imbolc traditionally marks the beginning of Spring, as it is the halfway mark between Yule and Ostara (the Spring Equinox).

Our favorite Imbolc ritual is the early planting of seeds.  We typically start seeds that have slower germination and growing cycles or seeds that need special conditions in order to sprout, like stratification or scarring.  We start perennials, flowers and herbs now and save the tender annuals until later.

This year, we decided to try something new.  Winter sowing!  Following Mother Nature always feels like the right thing to do and this is no exception. In nature, plants will fruit or flower, then produce seed which will fall to the ground, overwinter under the leaf mold then germinate at it’s natural time in the spring.  In the ground outside, they will experience many freeze/thaw cycles, which will naturally prepare the seeds for germination.  When the soil temperature warms, the seeds burst open with new life!  This is the way nature will “stratify” seeds.  With winter sowing, there is no need to stratify or nick seeds to force them to germinate.

There are different ways to winter sow.  This year, I tried 2.  In the fall, I sowed seed directly into my flowerbeds, tucking them in under the leaf mulch for the winter.   Today, we sowed indoors.  This is what we did!

  1. Cut old water bottles in half, leaving a small part connected.  Drill holes in the bottom for drainage.  You may also use flats or other plastic containers, I used some mushroom boxes as well.  You still need to drill holes in the bottom for drainage, and cover them with plastic and poke air holes. WS jugs
  2. Moisten your soil (I used Fox Farm Ocean Floor Blend) and add about 3 inches to your jugs.  You want your soil to have the moistness of a wrung out sponge. I used Fox Farm potting soil because it was what we had on hand.  You can use any type of potting soil you want.  Ideally, you would use your own garden soil; this would ensure the least amount of transplant shock.  Although seaweed water will help with that (transplant shock) as well as a spritz of rescue remedy…ws moistensoilWS small containers
  3. Sow your seeds, cover lightly with soil (following depth on your seed packet) and tamp down gently.
  4. Water lightly.
  5. Insert your plant marker so you remember what you planted.  I used popsicle sticks and a sharpie.  Be creative!
  6. Seal your container with duct tape.WS water jugs
  7. I wrote in sharpie on the outside, too.  This will likely fade by the time I go to plant them.
  8. Leave the lid off for proper air circulation.
  9. Place containers outside in an area that gets good morning sun but will not catch the run off from your roof or be vulnerable to animals.
  10. Check on them when you have your first good thaw.  They may need water.

You can see, it is a fairly messy project!  We love to play in the dirt here, so plan accordingly for your own comfort!

I followed instructions for this project from the winter sowers facebook page.  They hold a wealth of information and are extremely helpful!  Trudi Greissle Davidoff, from Winter Sowers says “amazingly, just when Winter is about to break, and you’re still getting nightly freezes, the first of your flats will begin to germinate. When I saw this I thought that the seedlings were goners, but they thrived. The seeds know when it’s safe to come up; it’s part of their genetics.”

That’s it!  I will let you know in the Spring if we were successful! Share your experiences with winter sowing!  Perhaps if we all hold spring in our hearts, we can over rule that mean groundhog!

Imbolc Blessings!

Maria

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In Joyful Memory of Jack

jackhandsome

1998- November 1, 2013

I feel you running through the fields of my consciousness, joyful and free.  Released from the pain and suffering of incarnation.  My heart longs to run with you yet the roots of my existence are still strong and vibrant.  Let us bridge this divide and bring heaven to earth.

My heart breaks, not with sadness but with a ferocious will to be free!  To love it all!  To run with the wild ferality of a dog chasing a rabbit, leaping into the air and gliding like a bird, twisting and slicing through the velvety air.  Running across the treetops, sylphs tickling and teasing, you do not belong up here human!  You do not believe!  Coming to rest upon a cloud, nestled deep within the cotton, you come to lie by my side your smiling pant, tongue lolling, filling me once again with the depths of me.

In loving memory of and in divine partnership with my beloved Jack.  I miss you, buddy.

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