People don’t often think of animals as making conscious decisions. But they do. Last month I wrote about a chicken that had been injured and who was under the coop that night waiting for her death by predator or freezing. Ignorant of the Natural Laws, and loving the old hen, I coaxed her out from under the coop and helped her inside. The next day she seemed to be alive and well although still injured. She had two more days of being relatively active, considering her state, and appearing to enjoy her life out in the field with the flock. I was happy for her. So for two more nights I helped her back into the coop. But by the third day, she had obviously declined steeply. That night I once again helped her back into the coop. As I placed her in the coop, she turned to look at me as if saying, but not unkindly, “Insane human!”
The next day, my co-workers spotted her early in the day, partially hidden, way over in the bushes. I knew by that time that it was truly her time to go. So, although it was a difficult decision, I decided I wouldn’t look for her that night. I knew that she had made a conscious decision to go where I wouldn’t find her and that she had purposely hidden from me in order to die her own natural way. The next morning I found her there, in the bushes, frozen, finally having left her body in peace to move on to Happy Hen Heaven.
Come join us on Saturday, March 5th for a rewarding adventure into a future that works to benefit all. A day-long primer in homesteading skills, permaculture, small livestock, energy technology, and ‘food forests.’ Five very experienced individuals will be sharing their knowledge on living in ways that provide security and abundance in the midst of today’s uncertainty.
Fee: $25 before 1/29. $30 thereafter.
Location: Lily Hill Farm, Lawton, MI.
Register at: https://squareup.com/market/lillie-house-permaculture/skills-for-self-reliance
Further info see: http://www.vankalpermaculture.org/event/skills216/
The problems of the world can appear so overwhelming at times that it seems almost impossible to get a grip on it all. And what to do about it? Reading the news can feel depressing at the least and even disabling at times. How can anyone do anything about something so apparently enormous? How can one lone individual bring about change — or is it all just a cookie cutter life?
Long ago, when I thought about the enormity of the world’s problems and saw the injustices in my own backyard, my sense of rightness directed me to work toward mending the holes in the tapestry of the common good. This is called Tikkun. Tikkun is an ancient Jewish concept that means ‘repair of the world’. So based on my own proclivities and my own experience of bias against women in so many areas, I made a decision to start my own business – with a few dollars and using just a simple, three line classified ad. I went into fields related to outdoor work and home repair, fields usually relegated to men. The business was successful and was one of many woman owned businesses that blossomed during that period and began to open doors for women. To me it seemed a far more powerful way of affecting personal and political reality than voting.
With that recognition in mind, I’ve continued to create my own businesses. There are three concepts that have guided my decisions about what I do in the world. The first is Tikkun, already mentioned. This second is based on ‘the personal is the political.’ This is a slogan that came from the feminist movement and means that what you do affects everyone at many levels whether you are aware of it or not. The third concept is that of ‘Right Livelihood.’ This is a Buddhist concept that means you implement, as your means of livelihood, that which is in the spectrum of the common good and this will have a beneficial affect on all living beings.
In light of those beliefs, climbing the competitive success ladder only to make a boatload of money was not my primary goal. The common good was. I made enough to have the basics of life and a small amount extra and I was happy with that. I loved what I was doing, I did It well and my enthusiasm for change carried me past all obstacles. I knew that what I was doing for a living, along with so many others working in the same direction, was making a difference in the system. I continue to make choices based on what I see needs mending in the world tapestry. It is not easy to go against the grain of capitalism, but I don’t regret any of my decisions. In the end, many small acts of courage by many concerned individuals are what make the big waves that change the world.
Is there something you want to change? What gives you enthusiasm? What do you see that needs mending? Is there some way you can use your skills, predilections and gifts in a way that will benefit more than yourself . . . that will benefit Mother Nature and all her relations – meaning all living beings? You don’t have to start a business. You don’t have to do anything formal. Use your imagination. Act from your heart. Vote with your Life!
I recently moved to a rural area from a heavily populated city because to me that city had become one huge, ugly, senseless never-ending parking lot. Sometimes the cars were moving and sometimes not. Regardless, they seemed to cover nearly all surfaces. No matter where I looked there were cars, concrete and asphalt. Beauty has a mighty struggle to find a space for roots between all that endless metal and concrete.
The ability to go into Denial – not to see, hear or feel something — can come in handy (and can sometimes save your life). It can also save us from having to make tough, inopportune and courageous decisions. It can lull us into apathy. In our consumer culture, we have sacrificed beauty for convenience.
Beauty is essential to health and an indication of higher intelligence. The beauty of Nature is vital to a healthy life. Beauty is the foundation of mental health: and the ethereal sustenance of physical health. It frees the Spirit to soar. It may sound like an immense exaggeration to some, but without a connection to Beauty, we entomb ourselves; we become the walking dead.
Denial is convenient, but not life-giving. Denial of the fact that we have eliminated the subtle essence of beauty in favor of consumerism is dangerous. We get used to things as they are and then we forget that this may not be the only or best way. We become immune to the negativities. We blind, deafen and numb ourselves. And then we become ill. But that too becomes just another one of those everyday ‘things.’ In Albert Camus’ novel “The Stranger,” Meursault is sentenced to death by decapitation. The story ends with Meursault in his cell, waiting for his death thinking, “After awhile you could get used to anything.”
Sensation is the language of the body. Messages from our senses go through our nervous system to inform the entire being about the state of the external and internal worlds. Our sensations build our consciousness and our perception of life. Stress and tension deaden sensation and, therefore, our ability to feel alive or even to feel at all. Relaxation allows our senses to open up like flowers blossoming in the sun. Disciplines like meditation, Yoga, and Qi Gong relax the body, strengthen the nervous system and develop greater awareness through the physical senses. This awareness opens us to a greater and beneficially profound participation in life. I quote a Tibetan teacher, Tarthang Tulku who says it best.
“A sense of unfulfilment arises when we cut ourselves off from the full experience of ourselves and our world. Through neglect our senses toughen like elephants hide, diminishing the fullness of our sensory capacity. Only when we soften this toughness by developing the energies of feeling and sensation that link body to mind, self to world, do we open to the full field of experience – the source of satisfaction”.
The relaxation exercises of Tibetan Yoga, “work to soften us in this way, bringing us into harmony with ourselves and the world around us. When we reach this state of balance we are able to participate in the natural flow of the universe: we come to understand that we depend on nature, and nature – indeed the whole universe – depends on us.”
What makes Yoga so popular and so physically beneficial to your health? And how can you best use it to address the issues that are up for you? You are invited to a short weekend, in a nurturing, peaceful environment, where you can learn some of the dynamics that have made Yoga such a popular and effective movement practice. You will be introduced to ways of using Yoga that work for your body and your concerns and is meant to maintain and enhance your health, strength, flexibility and peace of mind.
Dates: October 17-18, 2014
Times: Friday: 4:30-9pm (Dinner-6pm).
Saturday: 8-4pm with basic breakfast (8-9am) & Lunch.
Location: Lily Hill Farm Retreat Center, 32260 88th Ave., Lawton, MI 49065
Fee: $95.00 for workshop: additional $85/room overnight accommodations
Continuing Credits: 8.5 Yoga Alliance CE’s available for attending this workshop.
Instructor: Carol Iverson, twenty-six years teaching, E-RYT500, Iverson201@aol.com (phone reception almost non-existent here): www.risingsunhealingarts.com.
Other than making sure that we have enough to drink, who ever spends time thinking about water? Or maybe you think more about it because of the fracking issue recently? Water is actually incredibly fascinating: it literally has a life of it’s own. It is the binding element of life: it holds our material being together.
“According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.”
Victor Schauberger, a Austrian forest warden was known as the ‘Water Wizard.’ He spent long periods of time in the pristine Austrian forests just observing nature untouched by humans and he came to understand that Water is a living entity. For example, he perceived that water had an ‘external skin’ which was an important factor in its metabolic processing, and, “If it is unable to build up it sealing skin, then it dies like a human being whose skin has been burnt off.”
Renowned Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto, has discovered that molecules of water are affected by our thoughts, words, and feelings: that water records them in the form of ‘water crystals,’ which look like snowflakes. http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html. Emoto stated that, “To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself.” Life is an enchanting mystery! Take time to understand Nature. It is always and only to our benefit.
As time goes on, our beliefs become rigid and minds stagnant. Looking at life through someone else’s perspective can sometimes bring a breath of fresh air. See if you can wrap your imagination around this:
“In the very earliest time,
when both people and animals lived on earth,
a person could become an animal if he wanted to
and an animal could become a human being.
Sometimes they were people
and sometimes animals
and there was no difference.
All spoke the same language.
That was the time when words were like magic.
The human mind had mysterious powers.
A work spoken by chance
might have strange consequences.
It would suddenly come alive
and what people wanted to happen could happen —
all you had to do was say it.
Nobody can explain this:
That’s the way it was.”
Do you spend your life doing what you love? Are you happy with how your life is unfolding? Here is the story of how one man alone, not rich, followed his passion and reforested a desert larger than Central Park one tree at a time. http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=5309.
You too can do something you love. What is your passion? Poetry, music, science, art, Nature? Take a risk. Live your life from your heart. Use your imagination and, one step at a time, plant the seeds of your dream. The world will be better for it. Mary Oliver says it best in “The Journey.”
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice – – –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations – – –
though their melancholy
was terrible. It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do – – – determined to save
the only life you could save.
Oriental healing arts have always recognized our direct connection to Mother Nature and used the wisdom of their understanding for practical healing. According to Chinese medicine, we are composed of the Earth elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood: and according to Indian healing arts we are composed of ether, air, fire, water, earth. Both cultures teach that each of these elements creates certain qualities and characteristics in us and each of us has core elemental characteristics.
What does that all mean? If you contemplate, or meditate on, qualities and characteristics of each element, you can begin to get an idea of their essence and how it might relate to your physical and psychological being. (My translations follow). Earth: substance, stability. Water: fluidity and bonding. Fire: light and metabolism. Air: movement, wit. Wood: growth, creativity. Ether: space, peace. So someone who is stable and dependable might be primarily an Earth character. Someone who is very intellectual and quick witted might be mostly an Air type, etc.
You can learn a lot, have some fun with these concepts and maybe even begin some self-healing by reading (Yes, let’s begin with food – your basic substance), “Recipes for Self-Healing,” by Daverick Leggett (affordable at https://www.redwingbooks.com) or “The Ayurvedic Cookbook,” by Amadea Morningstar. Each of these books succinctly describes the individual elemental types and then gives recipes that are rated for effectiveness for each type. Take some time for yourself and your health. Read a book, try some recipes and you will enjoy your own Kitchen University!