A Christmas Card 2015

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Out of the Love of the Universe

God the Creator gifted Earth with the presence of the Christ.

Angels accompanied pure LOVE revealing itself to guide us Home

To show us who we are.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus

May we allow our hearts to open.

May we hear the angels singing.

May we embrace the Light they bring us.

May we recognize the angels in our lives – seen and unseen.

And joyously believe as we say

Merry Chistmas

Peace in our Hearts and on Earth

 

 

 

photo courtesy of photobucket.com

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A Sustainable Life

Recently I watched Nathan Crane’s 12 episode documentary “The Search for Sustainability.” Nathan, his wife and daughter travelled the country interviewing women and men from many disciplines and walks of life who are in some way involved in bringing focus to sustainability of the Earth and all creatures including humans. In other words all express in. Arching ways a passion for LIFE that not only survives but thrives. Those contributing to the documentary focus on areas of growing and eating healthy foods, education, community living, use of herbs, the urban environment and the arts. They include a homesteader, permaculturists at several levels, herbalist, business owners, educators, musicians and even a government official who heads the environmental quality department for the city of Washington, DC. It was amazing and wonderful to see all that is going on and to see the women and men following their hearts and passions. Passions that remind us of our connection to the Earth and all life.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines sustainable as able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed or involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources. Watching the documentary I was reminded that it is time to pay attention to how we live, how our food is grown, the condition of our water and air. Two areas or questions jumped out for me. Do we need to determine if we are heading toward “completely using up” that which supports our life and even more importantly do we need to examine whether we really believe all life is connected in a way our human eyes may not see. I highly recommend checking out the documentary at nathancrane.com. I am going to briefly mention a few takeaways I got and that may provide you with ideas and concepts to investigate.

When you watch something such as this it is easy to be overwhelmed by so much information or to decide all those involved are just a bunch of tree hugging crackpots to ignored. I believe those are just reactions that come from a place of fear and our resistance to change as well as our unwillingness to accept different ways of life and opinions that differ from ours. Many of us put up immediate barriers if we think we will have to change our way of life or “lose” something in the process. Believe me I am certainly familiar with that dance! But the point is to remember we do not have to agree with everything we see and hear during this exploration. Yet we can be grateful for the thoughts and information shared and commit to at least additional exploration if anything “pings” us at some level.

I certainly did not agree with everything but some ideas and projects rang as Truth for me. I decided to initially focus on two areas: the food I eat and the packaging that comes into my home. I plan to pay more attention to where my food come from and how it is grown. Even if it is labeled organic I may not buy it if it has travelled thousands of miles to get to me. I want to be aware of all the impact on the environment in the process of getting food to my table. My commitment is to explore what is available locally at different times of the year and if I go to a Farmer’s Market talking with farmers about their growing practices.

As for packaging, even though I recycle, I am taking a close look at how what I buy is packaged. A simple (embarrassing) thing is the pods used for coffee in the Kuerig. Thousands of these are probably piling up in landfills daily and as far as I know are not biodegradable even though I think they will be one day. However, I have a reusable filter for it and I can use it more which for me is another “Duh” moment. And I can take my own travel mug to my favorite coffeehouse to not only save cups but the millions of little green sticks going into landfills. As I pay attention to packaging I may see other ways to reduce what comes into the house even by just buying larger sizes as several of those interviewed suggested.

These things may seem simple but they are a start. I also believe it is important to recognize we are often not told the truth or the whole story by the USDA and FDA or any government agency. Huge corporations have more influence than we want to admit and research is beginning to come out that underscores this. To continue to believe all we are told about our food, water and medicine without questioning is naive and will only harm us and our beautiful planet.

For you a first step may be just looking around at your style of life and beginning discussions with family and friends. What does sustainability mean for your family and you? You may already be doing recycling, growing some of your own food and or shopping at Farmer’s Markets. Pick something new to focus on such as water. Explore where your water comes from; how it is treated and how you use it. If you have young children help them see where their food comes from including taking them to a working farm. Help them understand their partnership with the natural world which will help them appreciate the gift of life.

Small actions will make a difference. There is no time for guilt, angst or finger pointing over what is happening. As more and more humans begin to think and live sustainably great change will occur in the world. And for me one of the most important reasons to be thinking about and feeling into this more is for the generations that follow me-for the children of today and those yet to be born. And I believe as our consciousness opens and expands we will be more at peace with ourselves which moves out into our beautiful world.

Below is a small list of websites you may want to check out:

nathancrane.com
greenamerica.org
spiritbees.com
peiasongs.com
tobyhemenway.com
ormeschool.org
starschool.org
doee.dc.gov
permies.com

Ideas to ponder or comment on:
What does sustainability mean to you? What are you currently doing that supports sustainability? Where will you focus next? Do you believe it is necessary to take a closer look at how we are living in our own communities? What responsibility do we have to the generations that come after us?

Maine Journey – Part 3

It has been two weeks since I arrived home from the Maine vacation and it is taking time to adjust to not being there. The last two weeks of the trip flew by with a walk up Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, a ferry ride to and hiking on Monhegan Island, a visit to the Belfast Cohousing and Ecovillage as well as a stroll through the Farnsworth Art Museum. And in between these trips were walks into downtown Rockland and the Breakwater.

The last weeks were filled with the continuance of grace as I was enveloped by much beauty and touched by the people I met. There were more opportunities to laugh at myself such as during the climb up Mt, Battie. As I kept stopping to catch my breath I wondered why a short mile hike could seem so long and deciding dying on the side of a small mountain in Maine wouldn’t be so bad (working out at a gym does not necessarily prepare one for steep hikes). But I made it to the top to partake of not only another beautiful view but to connect with another lovely family. They were from New York and reflected both awe at the beauty they were seeing as well as a quiet sense of peace. Of course there were also families dealing with tired whining children and whining adults complaining as their expectations were not met. All a part of the human community and our various stages of being.😉

An exhibit at the Farnsworth reminded me how extraordinary what we see as ordinary often is when we open our eyes, mind and heart. Currently there is an exhibit “Andy and Kosti” that displays works by the painter Andrew Wyeth and the photojournalist Kosti Ruohomma. These men were great friends both with a love for Maine. The exhibit features photographs by Kosti paired with paintings by Andy. A striking talent of both was to take “ordinary” subjects and help us see their extraordinary nature. This led me to think of all the many entrepreneurs in Rockland at the local bakery, coffee roasters, spa, art galleries, grocery co-op as well as clothing and gift shops. To me the risk taking, following their passions and giving to their community is beyond ordinary. I am sure at times it is highly stressful but also produces times of joy as they share their talents with us. I pray to never again look at small business owners as ordinary or fail to acknowledge their heart.

As you probably see places and people filled my heart in Maine. There was more clarity of vision and feeling I believe because I was free from my “Virginia” routine and responsibilities (whether real or perceived). That supported the ability to relax, live more in the moment and be more light hearted. So what did I discover about my self- nothing new😊. What I knew before this trip is that I am love and at my core is peace and joy. This adventure let me experience that more fully and freely especially on the feeling level. It is a gift that I now will strive to integrate more into my perception and action of daily life.

What do you see in your life that is extraordinary? Might it be you? How do you see yourself connected to both people and the Earth?

Maine Journey – Part 2

As I look back at last week I think it served as great practice for living in the moment. I explored the beauty of Owls Head Lighthouse and rocky beach area. I walked into town most days, window shopped and sat drinking coffee on the sidewalk observing the “tourists” as well as natives. But the highlight of the week was the three days of volunteering at the Maine Lobster Festival.

My job at two different gates was to put the bracelet on folks after they paid to get in. In case you are not aware the festival just finished its 68th year and goes on for five days and is located in Harbor Park in Rockland. It is an amalgam of entertainment, food, carnival rides and a large number of artist and craft booths as well as children’s activities. This year the USS Tortuga Navy ship anchored in the harbor and attendees were ferried out for tours. Also, a young woman lobsterman and a young fisherman tied their boats up to one dock and talked with folks about their life and work. Both the Navy ship and the talking with those who supply seafood were huge hits.

Working at the gate for four hour shifts gave me a great opportunity to greet people and find out where they traveled from to the festival. They were from everywhere including Europe and Canada. I met a couple from Italy and people from California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, and even Virginia Beach where some of my family live. I do think most states were represented. It is amazing how a brief interaction putting a paper bracelet around a wrist can even briefly establish a heart connection. As the mix of ages, gender, ethnicity and culture walked into the Festival there were many smiles and I was uplifted as I said many times “Have fun!”. And for me the focus was on that with no thoughts of back home or the next day or even the next minute.

The Navy sailors and Marines coming off the ship for shore leave were also a blend but most seemed so young. Time after time it was “How are you ma’m” or “Thank you, ma’m” and at some point I realized I could be the grandmother of most of them (and when did that happen?). But the most poignant moment for me with the military was looking out on the ramp that folks took to the boat ferrying them out to the Navy ship and seeing a young woman sailor with an AK-47 cradled in her arms as part of security. It was a moment of gratitude and heartbreak.

Being in the moment fostered camaraderie with those who volunteered with me. Some were local, some from other parts of the country including sailors who volunteered. There was much laughter and suspension of judgement as we stood in the energy of the sun and the wonderful waterfront. In moments when the incoming crowds thinned there was time to chat and find out a little about each other. We were all so different yet thrown together in the exuberance and craziness of the festival. But I also realized I was feeling compassion while being detached from the stories and the typical political infighting of a group running such a huge enterprise. It reminded me so much is the same wherever you are and that brought more laughter for me.

The Lobster Festival now is added to the many gifts I am receiving here. And the funniest part is I am not a festival attending person usually as the crowds, fried food smells and energy are too much. So what a joke on me that getting immersed in the moment allowed joy to move in and little thought was given to any negatives. It was the adults and children I touched as I affixed bracelets to their arms that stirred me, lifted me up and kept me experiencing the present moment.

Are you practicing living in the moment or is it already easy for you? What do you think this adds to your life?

A few pictures from the week.

The Maine Journey – Part 1

More than a week has passed since I started on my adventure to Maine and there are some observations I can make at this point.. First let me say I am beginning to understand the true impact of remembering we are peace at our core. I started the trip feeling at peace and the travel to Maine was extremely calm and peaceful: even through northern Virginia and even when the GPS took me straight through NY City on I-95. It was as though the way was being made for me which of course it was. I stayed the first night in Highstown, NJ and in my first blog about the preparation for the trip I had a picture of a many colored house from that city that I found through an internet search. Well, I drove right by it on the way to dinner and was delighted with the sight of it and several other old Victorian homes. Nothing compared to it however! What a delight knowing there are no coincidences.

The rest of the trip proved just as smooth and I arrived in Rockland excited and grateful. The house I am renting is warm, inviting and best of all across the street from a wonderful view of Penobscot Bay. In this first week I walked downtown numerous times, walked the Rockland Breakwater out to the lighthouse and spent 2 ½ glorious days in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. I rode the free propane powered bus to most of the places I wanted to see in the park and drove up to stand atop the incredible Cadillac Mountain. While in the park I had lunch on the lawn at Jordan Pond with the bees(another story in itself) and walked around the pond. They told me it was close to 4 miles but luckily I did not know that until I was more than halfway. The next day a park ranger led boat tour from Bar Harbor to Baker Island was another highlight as we traveled over gorgeous Frenchman Bay. As with many areas on the Maine coast on the island a walk through the woods ends with a walk out onto rocks with the water in front of you. On Baker Island that huge area is known as “the dance floor”.

What I am discovering so far is a tremendous sense of connection with both the Earth and with humanity. Our planet is constantly giving to us, supporting us, embracing us. Yet how easily we forget as we get absorbed in our lives, our fears, our distractions. But I am brought back to the truth as I look out over Penobscot Bay, Frenchmans Bay, Cadillac Mountain and as I walk the forest around Baker’s Island and Jordan Pond. All first brings a sense of awe and then overwhelming gratitude to what this wonderful planet gives to us regardless of we treat it. What gifts I receive over and over. And then I realize there is really no separation. I have moments of feeling the oneness with the Earth and that I can give to it.

And what of this connection with people? Everywhere I go there is a wonderful mosaic of people of many cultures, ages, gender and ethnicity. Since it is summer many are families. Their have been moments of sweet observation. A French family with 3 children were on the island tour. The parents were incredibly attuned to their children encouraging their curiosity and exploration and alive with their own joy and laughter. Another mother was on the tour with 3 teenage boys. That family too was enthusiastic and respectful of each other obviously having a good time. Several times folks stopped to help this “old lady” as she navigated rocks and on Jordan Pond a woman from Missouri said she could not believe I was doing the whole walk. Of course I was not sure if it was a compliment and tried not to think about how old I must look. I was quite glad her hand was there when I needed it. I can go on and on but those are just examples of interactions observed and those in which I participated in both in Acadia and here in Rockland. These have been such a gift as I am reminded that amidst all the horror we see and here about there are loving people filled with light which support all of us. As I make contact with others I am reminded we are all a part of “Life breathing life” as Gangaji says. We are all connected by our Creator and whether we believe it or not all are One. I am privileged in this journey so far to be experiencing the beauty of the Earth and the beauty of those that inhabit it.

As you move through the day are you seeing the beauty around you? Where is it showing up for you? Do you think there is a message it what you are seeing and feeling? Are there ways you need to be connecting more in your life?

The picture gallery this time is just a glimpse at the beauty and fun.

Preparation for the Trip – Mental, Emotional, Spiritual

Beyond the areas of physical preparation for my journey of play and discovery to Maine is assessing any preparation needed in the mental, emotional and spiritual arenas. Attending to my mental, emotional and spiritual bodies is as important as addressing the physical.  For me this seems to be letting go of any expectations that may exist in order for me to be open and be in the flow of each moment. Any remaining negative memories, feelings from the last two trips to Maine must be released.  Yes, those were wonderful trips but there were also experiences related to my belief of “not being good enough”.  Although I am not in that place anymore our minds have a tendency to want to cling to things.

I am practicing relaxation through using both music and silence to help me “feel” what I am feeling. Our emotions alert us to where our focus is whether it is joy and excitement or anger and fear. Long held anger or fear connected to our stories contracts us physically and mentally.  I am allowing any of these emotions that arise to move through me acknowledging them and reminding them that is the old and I am no longer in that place.  As you see the mind plays a part here as the emotional and mental bodies work together. For me the rising of joy lets me know the clearing is taking place.

I plan to leave my roles as mother, daughter, and sister in Virginia. Part of the reason for this trip is to find Pam or a part of Pam that has been buried for awhile.  Who am I beyond these roles and other roles such as trainer or employee or friend?  This too is another area where the mental and emotional intermix and what a fun experiment this can turn out to be. At this point I am conditioning my mind and emotions to be aware when I start to fall back into one of those roles and remember when I interact with other people or the earth that I am simply being fully Pam. And I am blessed to “see” and “feel” the angelic beings who are with me to help.  We have an agreement that when I start to contract or fall back into old patterns they stand on either side of me and gently touch my shoulders reminding me to relax and expand my heart (Yes those beings are really here with us). What a blessing that I am at this point in my life.

It is the Spirit that I am that supports it all.  In silence I am reminded that I am peace and joy at my core and that Love created me and that is who I am: a being of love and light in a human experience. I believe that as we mature as total beings – both spirit and human – the human process of mind informing heart begins to switch to the heart (the core of who we are) informing the mind. This process feeds the emotional body so that there is more joy, excitement and passion than fear and anger. It is understood that fear and anger maybe appropriate short term human emotions at times of danger or mistreatment but we begin to tell the difference.  We begin to recognize when these are stopping us from being our true selves. What Diadra Price calls “Grace Mind” is our highest consciousness in the spiritual realm and it guides us.

No, I am not totally there yet but am confident that I am moving upward.  Since I see this trip as a pilgrimage of sorts I am planning on intervening when my mind wants to whine or react negatively by reminding it that I am not there anymore and it is wasting my time. There is no need to fear the drive, leaving family, the unknown or anything else.  And believe it or not the planner that I am intends to allow plenty of time for wandering unplanned in this beautiful place much of the time. There is no doubt that in this process I will discover Maine has something for me and it is highly probable I have something to give Maine.

The gallery below is just a few more enticing pictures of part of this escapade (I just love that word).  All are from Bing Search but soon I will be including the ones I take. A week from today I will on my way.  See you in Maine!

Do you believe there are mental and emotional areas that keep you from being yourself and from enjoying life?  If so, are you working on clearing those?  What works for you?  What adventures or pilgrimages are you undertaking?

Preparation for Trip – The Physical

I am one of those people who is a list maker and I suppose it helps provide structure for me.  So for the trip to Maine I have multiple “to do” lists as well as “to take” lists. And I am embarrassed to admit that I prove the saying about the Myers-Briggs personality type “INFJ”: INFJ’s overwork work reworking it. Most of the time I can laugh at myself about it, but you probably get the picture that I am obsessing about aspects such as the best way to travel (drive or fly), what route to take if I drive (requested AAA Tripticks twice), what to pack and so on and so on. This may all be a sort of play for me or at least I am trying to convince myself of that and keep my sense of humor about it all as it can be tiring.

So the lists are made and some items can actually be checked off. I decided to drive and the car had been checked and had routine maintenance.  Thanks to those Triptiks I know the route and made reservations where I am stopping to spend the night on the way. The tour in Acadia National Park is booked as well as the B&B where I am staying in Bar Harbor. So now I can focus on the “to take” lists (yes it is more than one list).

What about the preparation of the physical body? One of my difficulties has always been truly connecting to and listening to my physical body as I preferred to live in the mind. Often we humans find it easy to ignore the communication from our physical selves (even those who pride themselves on exercising and eating right). But I know that if I do not pay attention I will not maintain a level of health that will support my play and discovery on the trip. So I am committing not only to working out but listening to what my body says it needs in the exercise arena. The most difficult part for me is eating well as I am often lazy, take short cuts and do love carbs. I am trying to focus on the foods that my body seems to need at this time and to keep my heart open. When I hear “rest” and “appreciate” I try (and the operative word here is try) to respond and follow the message. While doing just that I saw and felt my energy connection to various areas in the ocean on the East coast and on the Gulf of Mexico. Wondrous joy resulted.

I see this trip as an opportunity to be fully human which I must do to fulfill my purpose on Earth. Appreciating my list making, physical preparations and physical health are steps in that process.

Do you think preparation is necessary for big adventures? If not, why and if you do why do you think that? Are you listening to your physical body and do you respond to what you hear? Can you laugh at yourself?

The Gallery:  Just a peek at my travel map and two photos from the towns in which I will be stopping.  Now can this be anything but an interesting adventure.  These photos I got from Bing Image Search so I did not take them.  of course is my starting point in VA.  B is Highstown/East Windsor, NJ. Worcester MA and D of course is Rockland my destination..

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Map to Discovery

House in Highstown/East WIndor New Jersey

House in Highstown/East WIndor New Jersey

Castle  Worcester, MA

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse-AHHHH!!!