September 2016
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Archive for the ‘Finding Your Center’ Category

Feasting

It is the season for feasting.  The harvest is in full swing as are preparations to celebrate the abundance.  Sonoma County just hosted the Heirloom Tomato Festival, and the Sonoma County Harvest Fair,  good examples of public harvest celebrations.

Historically, feasting served many purposes: to display opulence, pay debts, frighten enemies, gain allies, negotiate war and peace, communicate with the gods, honor the dead and celebrate rites of passage.

A Sumerian myth dating from 3000-2350 BC relates the story of the god Enki offering butter cakes and beer to the goddess Inanna.  The Feast of the Blessed Sacrament that was created by four immigrant men to commemorate the festivals and sacraments of their Portuguese heritage continues as the largest Portuguese Feast in the world. (portuguesefeast.com).

Our Thanksgiving tradition is a good contemporary example of public feasting and harvest celebration.

Rites of Passage feasting is engaged regularly by all peoples.  Births, deaths, marriages, retirements, accomplishments, award ceremonies, are all feasting events, bringing together families and communities.

This week I invite you to bring greater awareness to how and why you participate in feasting; giving thanks for the richness and abundance we enjoy in these precious moments.

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Fall Equinox 2016

The spectacular Harvest Moon on Friday September 16 majestically heralds the coming of the Fall Equinox.  Reaping the fruits of our labor begins in earnest.  Storing and preparing for the coming winter can consume these precious moments.  It is important to pause and relish the beauty of the season.

In the garden, leaves have been yellowing on my beans for two weeks now, surrendering to the change of seasons.  Cold, crisp mornings melt  into afternoon warmth.

As heaven and earth mark this autumnal shift, I invite you to mark it also.   Celebrate the harvest and the beginning transition to the Solstice.  Bask in the last rays of summer; reflect on the passing of time; honor your part in the wheel of life.

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Risk

Paul Sutherland writes a column in Spirituality & Health (an awesome quarterly), called ‘The Heart of Money’.  In the Sept/Oct (2016) issue he responds to a reader’s question about risk.

He distills risk to it’s essential quality, “I think the biggest risk one can take in life is declaring to ourselves that we will live a spiritual life.”

To live a spiritual life is to know who you are, to live in the true or authentic self.  To live a life of intention; to know our strengths and weaknesses; to be responsible for our behaviors; to act without judgement; to trust the infinite intellect of perfect love that created us and the home we live on.

It is to know without question the depths of our soul, good, bad or indifferent; and be able to detach from our emotional investments.

The authentic spiritual life is one that finds acceptance, courage, inner peace and even happiness and humor in the most challenging of life’s circumstances.  This is no Pollyanna position, it is the capacity to be with what is, to accept what can’t be changed, to change what is mutable…to feel the agony and the ecstasy of the moment and respond appropriately.

I invite you this week, as we near the Autumnal Equinox, to take a spiritual inventory, and, if necessary, course correct.  Hence being prepared and centered to move into the fullness and beauty of the fall season.

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Labor

My apologies for the extra email.  Having difficulties with my subscriber list.  Appreciate your patience and loyalty!

We are celebrating Labor Day this weekend.  A National Holiday since 1894, Labor Day is dedicated to acknowledging the workers of America.

I found a quote by John D. Rockefeller that I like, and want to share it with you:  “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand.  That the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.”

There is another labor that deserves to be celebrated: the labor of personal growth.  The very demanding work of becoming an authentic self; of finding our true identity; and reaping the rewards of such labor.  To undertake this journey is to engage yourself in serious work, important work, demanding work.

“Hope has two beautiful daughters.  Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”  ~Augustine

Today, as you honor, acknowledge and celebrate the American worker, take a few moments to honor, acknowledge and celebrate the labor of your personal growth.

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Sustain

I am blessed to live in an area of California that Luther Burbank referred to as, “God’s chosen place in all the world, as far as nature is concerned.”  Farm to table is commonplace; sustainable farming practices are taking hold.  Farmer’s Markets and Community Supported Agriculture flourish in this verdant environment.

My question to you this week is, ‘Does your spiritual practice sustain you?’  ‘Does it provide you with clean, nourishing sustenance that maintains your overall health?’ ‘Does it provide daily support?’  ‘Does it support you in a crisis?’

We each must find our own way.  A way that is appropriate to us.  A way that sustains us through good times and bad.

It is a process, not an event.  Our spiritual body grows, changes and matures just as our physical and emotional bodies do.  As in our food diet, there is an ebb and flow in our spiritual diet.  There are days when we eat really healthy, and days not so much. So, too, with our spiritual diet.  There are days when we act from love, and days, not so much.  If our physical diet and/or our spiritual diet are out of balance, so are we.

Luther Burbank said many profound things.  One of my favorites is, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

Part of my practice is to keep fresh flowers in my home…always.  When I came across the above quote I felt a deeper connection to my spiritual practice.

This week I invite you to review your spiritual diet.  ‘Is your daily bread sustaining you?’  ‘Do you enjoy flowers in your daily life?’

 

Generosity

It feels good to give.  I find it more difficult to receive.  Generosity is one of humankind’s greatest characteristics.  The following quotes are expressive of this trait.

“There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.”

~Nathaniel Branden

“Religion is a complex and often contradictory force in our word.  It fosters hope and comfort but also doubt and guilt.  It creates both community and exclusion.  It brings societies together around shared belief and tears them apart through war.  However, what unites the faithful, whatever their religion, is the unshakeable force of generosity.”

~Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen

“Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give.  We can give time, we can give our expertise, we give our love or simply give a smile.  What does that cost?  The point is, none of us can ever run out of something to give.”

~Steve Goodier

This week, I invite you to bask in the glow of generosity.

 

Shooting Stars

As a young person, and a young adult, I loved to wish on shooting or falling stars.  I always felt a sense of cosmic wonder at the sight of them.  At the time I knew nothing about meteor showers.

Beginning mid-July and peaking August 12, the Perseid Meteor Shower, which is debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet entering our atmosphere, will rain down shooting stars at a top rate of 60 or more per hour.

The Perseids and Leonids (which peak around November 17) are my favorites.  I have been known to frequently venture onto one of the many ridge tops in Sonoma and Napa County, to spend the wee hours of the morning waiting and watching for the shooting star spectacular.   Sometimes being profusely rewarded, and other times being shut-out by cloudy, foggy weather.

The Greeks believed shooting stars were human souls rising and falling.  Jews and Christians believed them to be angels or demons.  Wishing on a shooting star is thought to have originated with Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer around AD 127-151.  The act of wishing on a shooting star makes the wish come true.

The child within me never ceases to delight in the heavenly spectacle.  This year, if you chance to see a shooting star, make a wish.  May it come true.

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Summer 2016

Today we enter the ‘dog days of summer’.  Gardens are beginning to peak with vegetable and flower bounty.  Blackberries and pears, apples and grapes are ripening, BBQ’s and air-conditioners are getting a workout.  Cool salads, cool drinks an cool breezes are gladly welcomed and enjoyed with relish.

Outdoor living, camping, concerts, baseball games, swimming and hiking are just a few activities that  move into high gear in summer.

To enjoy the fullness of the season, there are some precautions to take: sunscreen, hydration, moderation and pacing are important.

This is a good time to begin preparations for the fall harvest and for the coming of winter.  Like ants, bees and squirrels, it is a good time to stock up on batteries, emergency food and water, replace furnace filters,  and do necessary repairs.

Wishing you all a rich and vibrant August, full of the magic and wonder of the season.

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Reflections on Life

A recent conversation centered around the meaning of life and what is it about, sent me searching for insight from others.   I found the following quotes.  It  seems a good day to share them with you.

“Life is not about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”

~George Bernard Shaw

“My formula for living is quite simple.  I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.  In between, I occupy myself as best I can.”

~Cary Grant

“The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.”

~Henri Nouwen

“Life is a song – sing it.  Life is a game – play it.  Life is a challenge – meet it.  Life is a dream – realize it.  Life is a sacrifice – offer it.  Life is love – enjoy it.”

~Sai Baba

Have a great week!

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Nourish

The plum tree is dripping with ripe fruit.  Soon the pears will be ready to harvest.  Relishing the first heirloom tomatoes from the garden, I am thankful for the bounty and variety of good, healthy food that is available to me.   We need good food to keep us well nourished.

So, too, we need food to nourish our souls and our spirits.  We thrive on the loving touch of others; on kind, encouraging words, on compassionate understanding and support, on an active spiritual practice.

“Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”

~Susan L Taylor

We are a world in crisis.  This week I encourage you to participate in healthy nourishing,  in all it’s many forms.

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