One “planet” I am starting to gain some new feeling of movement from is the Moon. (Yes, we astrologers know that the Moon is not a planet but in astrology the Sun and Moon are called planets) The Moon moves very fast and it’s effects on people are likewise fleeting. However it can make a big difference in a day, one day in our lives. A lot can happen in a day can’t it? The Moon can act like a trigger to a larger transit gun that is pointed straight at your life. BOOM! Even if the pieces take weeks, months or even years to sort themselves out, the Moon by it’s movement will make this particular day your day of reckoning by adding it’s energy to the Neptune or Pluto transit already in the works.
When we don’t have major transits sitting on us or in our natal charts, times are quieter. Then the Moon is a daily barometer of every day life. What kind of day did I have today? How did I feel? How did everyone around me feel? What is the mood out there anyway? The sign the moon is in and where it sits in my chart and yours will tell us that. Tomorrow it will all be different…after all, tomorrow is another day!
All my life I have had digestive issues. For some unknown reason this is the weakest link in my body and I am prone to all sorts of miserable maladies. Since this blog is more about eating than the results of it, I won’t go too far into the gory details, but those who share these problems know what I mean: constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, flatulence, irritable bowel, you name it, I’ve had it. To make matters even worse I have food allergies/sensitivities and hypothyroidism. Even if these problems only plague you once in a while they are a sign that food isn’t being processed the way it should and that is not a good thing for your overall health. Our digestive system is comprised of some of the largest organs in the body, the intestines alone are, on average, 25 feet long or ten times the length of the body. When they aren’t working right it’s going to be pretty noticeable. Right up there with the heart and brain, the digestive system is what keeps the body running. It must take all the food and drink that we consume and turn it into something our bodies can use. Not just energy giving fuel but nutrients to renew and replace every cell in our bodies. Think about this for a moment, really think about it. Whatever you eat or drink is ALL your body has to accomplish the monumental task of making all new cells, nourishing all the organs, provide internal heat, growing nails, hair, etc.and having enough left over to give you the energy to get out of bed every morning and think about your day. That’s a pretty tall order. This is the thing that stops me dead every time I start to eat a donut or a bag of chips. I ask myself: “Is this going to help my body with it’s goal of keeping me going and feeling good about it? What am I providing for the processes it must get done today?” We’ve got to have some sympathy for this vehicle of ours, working so hard to keep us moving so we can live our lives the way we want to. When I hear people say things like: “I don’t eat much I just live on diet soda” or “The only vegetable I’ll eat is potato” I cringe. How can their bodies work without the variety of foods it so desperately needs? We hear a lot about eating right to prevent disease but there isn’t much discussion about eating for the daily regulation of the body. This is the most basic and supremely important thing to eat for; to help your body thrive. If you do this you don’t have to worry about diseases.
Although it doesn’t feel like it, maybe I’ve been lucky to have had digestive problems since age 4 because without them I may not have found the will power to change my 50’s era diet into something healthier. When you collapse on the bathroom floor in pain you don’t run back to the table to have another slice of pizza. When the digestive system revolts you can’t fight it you have to work with it. My system certainly has made me aware of it, what it needed and where I was going wrong. For everyone else not on the bathroom floor there’s a difficulty in comprehending what the body needs or is asking for. When it ain’t broke we don’t fix it. Except that it is broke. The incidence of diseases rising every day are telling us that we are doing things wrong, but as long as we are able to get up and get going we won’t think about it until we get that life changing diagnosis. Then it’s too late. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a saint. I love pizza and cookies and chips just as much as the next guy. I just do my darndest to cram my diet as much as possible with fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains. Then I have a cookie or two or a handful of chips (putting them in a small bowl so I don’t pig out, because I will if I am not careful!) I just try and remember that my body needs me as much as I need it. I want to feel good every day, I want to have a lot of energy to accomplish my goals. To have quality of life, that’s what we all want. So please think of your body, of all it’s doing for you every day of your life and give it something good to go on today and always. You’ll be glad you did.
Haven’t been in the blogosphere for a long time. Life has been too good and too busy to bother but these long warm fall days are just too beautiful not to post a few pictures.
Seems appropriate to post some writing on contemplation here.
Contemplation: What we don’t have time for, may be just the thing we need.
Walk down any book aisle these days and you will notice a flood of titles all screaming that our lives have become overwhelming and we are way too busy in them. I don’t think we need anyone telling us what’s already in our face; no one is arguing that the pressure is on. Like an overbooked airline we consistently cling to the hope that some ticket holder on the next flight will be willing to take a later time or cancel altogether giving us the break we need. Yet, when we finally get some downtime, instead of relaxing, we tend to program that too, filling it up with “purposeful” activity.
As usual advertisers have caught on to what we dream about and the latest media catch word for selling anything is “simplify.” A lot of solutions are being sold out there, whole magazines dedicated to showing us how to do the quick fix simple thing in twelve easy steps. We may think we know how to combat craziness, but do we see is any detailed explanation as to why we should care? Other than being a bit tired and stressed, what’s the big deal about being over scheduled anyway?
We read about stress levels are significantly higher for the lowest worker on the corporate pole because he has the least amount of say over decisions in the workplace and beyond. The solution being offered seems to be work even harder, (demanding even more time and energy) and become some Big Cheese. I don’t really think that’s the answer most of us are looking for though. It isn’t that we have too many people telling us what to do, it’s the feeling that we are not in charge of our lives. We lack the security and the inner knowing that we are heading toward what we want in life. This is where our stress is coming from. If we were sure that everything we’re putting up with was carrying us to our own personal glory (whatever form that might take), I think we’d all be a whole lot more relaxed.
However (vague notions of wealth or fame aside), most of us just haven’t a very clear idea what goals to give ourselves. Our busy schedules are sacrificing more than quality time with the kids. Finding ourselves at the center of so much outside activity has created lives fraught with what I call: flitation. We flit from project to problem never getting much time to think anything through. In the process we’re not only losing a sense of accomplishment we’re losing the center of our SELF. We never seem to have the time to stop and see ourselves very clearly, to get a sense of who we are and what we need. If we could put our fingers on our places for a little while, we could hold a space in which to create some new ideas. As it is we aren’t able to stay still and focused for any length of time to know how we could make the changes we need to get us where we want to go. We must have some stillness and quiet to think and assess without an IPOD accompaniment.
The major themes of life may be family, home, money, and career, but minor details like: self knowledge, introspection, personal philosophy, and creativity, are extremely important nuances in a life well lived and they are getting left behind. Do you know what you believe and why? Do you have a personal code of ethics that you live by? What do you think you have an aptitude for? Do you understand your fears and how to ease them? How do you use your imagination? Do you give more to yourself or to others and why? How far would you go to achieve your goals?
Without clear answers to these questions and many more like them making personal plans and projections is harder if not impossible. It’s in the details of our life that we find our drive, the engine that lays down the tracks we follow to self actualization and satisfaction. If we don’t tend to the inside of ourselves: who we are, why we think what we do, how we feel and what we believe, then our outside life can fall apart. It comes unglued because there is no cohesion, no foundation or framework, nothing to give any personal meaning to what we are presently doing.
We need time for contemplation. Contemplation is an art that can be cultivated. If it’s been awhile since you sat still and quiet for any length of time without popcorn and a DVD it can get a little uncomfortable. It feels awfully foreign to be alone with nothing to do and the longer you stay there the chance that certain less than satisfying things about you or your life (once easily avoidable by way of distraction) float to the surface. You may have to acknowledge that you are in some depressing situation or even not (yet) the person you want to be. It could get pretty ugly. Don’t despair, it’s what you’re there for, to reassess and rectify, to clean out what you don’t like or doesn’t belong anymore. Then the dreaming and planning and restructuring can begin.
Once we know what we really want again and why, we have to keep our lives going in the direction that we intend and that too, requires the constant vigilance that regular contemplation can provide. Any time a rash of outside concerns demand our attention the more trivial any life on the inside will appear, making contemplation seem like a total time waster. Yet without it we lose our central core and the personal order we keep that helps us make sense of our lives. It takes a lot of discipline, fortitude and even courage to consistently go against the current flow of flitation.
After a few hours a month of this quiet: Awareness will develop naturally or deepen because we now have a more defined sense of self, we know more clearly why we make the choices we do. We are operating from a focused, organized center of our being. We have our mission statement. We are conscious. With our newfound awareness, that is: the ability to simultaneously hold on to all that we are and take in what is going on around us and see how these two things fit or don’t fit together, we can go about living our outside life. Armed with the knowledge we acquire during our downtime, we are better able to make decisions that bring us closer to our personal objectives.
Finding a time for personal contemplation may seem old fashion and a frivolous waste of something so finite but carving out some space to mentally regroup each month gives us perspective and the peace of mind that comes with understanding our true purpose. It isn’t an inconsequential interruption in our life; it is an invaluable resource for it. It is what’s known as living life deliberately.
“…Live the life you have imagined…” -Thoreau
“Be the change you wish to see in the world” -Gandhi
The second day of February is historically more than the Groundhog’s Day. On the old pastoral calendar it was the first day of spring! Now, we may have a foot of snow on the ground, but underneath the soil the seeds are stirring. When I walked out the other morning I heard the Chickadees singing “Say Phoebe” the translation of which must be something like, (among other things,) “Hey! Want to build a new life together?” Every year the hardy little birds lead us all in pushing nature’s restart button. In support of them (and breaking with tradition,) this is the time of year I am most likely to make personal resolutions or plans. This is time of year to have Vision.
For me, having Vision is an extension of being awake and aware in life. It is the simultaneous melding of accurate present circumstances with an imaginary future for the purpose of achieving my desired goals.
The first part of Vision is to periodically run reality checks on all our operations, to see things as they are in order to embrace what is really going on. To tell ourselves the absolute truth, we need some understanding of who we are, what we want and why. We don’t need to be psychic to see that when we take what has manifested around us and add our feelings and reactions to it, we project a future. It’s just like watching a movie where the leading man (or woman) has a peculiar attitude that you just know is going to propel them into certain circumstances for good or ill.
The other half of having Vision is holding onto a picture of the future as we imagine it. Where do we want to go? Picturing your life as you would like it to be means understanding who you would be in that life and that is the key to getting there. To overtake that future requires being that person right now. It is good to have some steps in mind for the journey but remember over-planning will get in the way of any unforeseen yet fortuitous happenings. We are interested in the result, not attached to the process. We must be willing to balance our idea of how we think things should happen and having faith, for the universe delights in unexpected short cuts. With that in mind have all the long range goals you want.
Now we stand back and marry both sides, asking ourselves: do they mesh? Are we headed for the future we want? Or is our Vision skewed in some way and why? What are we willing to do differently to get there?
Vision is our mooring in life, without it we drift on a tide of reaction and indifference. It’s another of those things I think is sadly lacking at the moment. We have mission statements, business models, projected sales and financial planning, but, I don’t see much Vision at work in our world, not positive vision anyway.
An example of global Vision would be for a country to have an accurate sense of the outcome on any action it may take. Governments especially, must have Vision; all good leaders should have a positive vision for what can be achieved. It’s not about who we have been but rather, what are we capable of? To be sure, always something far better than what we were. As a country called the United States: who would we like to be tomorrow? A kind-hearted people working toward peaceful coexistence? What kind of circumstances will be living with in 10 years? Prosperous and respected? Our present government never took this into account. True Vision in a governmental body organically produces responsibility for any outcome is a direct result of their viewpoint. Here, more than anywhere else we have the obligation to promote and preserve positive action at all times, preventing reckless reaction.
The ability to follow a present course of action to a thoughtful and logical conclusion is paramount. If our “leaders” could have skipped ahead to the idea that fighting, instead of working with enemies only breeds more animosity, and at the same time, held a vision of a world where countries could connect to what we have in common instead of fighting over what we don’t, well, we might all be living in a very different time.
Vision in a society or culture is seeing all the motivations that a group of people may possess in the pure light of day and then imagining, going beyond, to all possibilities of what they could be. Can they work through their fear of change, for instance, and learn to accept the variations of nature? Can they “see” a time when they are not afraid but confident and empowering to all? How will their new philosophy affect their infrastructure and their laws?
Vision in a community is being able to see how the town of Sandpoint’s present attitude can affect the way we will all live forever more. What do we want our town to look like, to feel like? We must understand how every decision we make today effects Sandpoint’s beauty, character, wealth and people for many decades to come.
At the foundation of all these though, remains Personal Vision, the most important of all. Everything begins at the individual level. To address your present attitude and circumstances with honesty and accuracy is to project a realistic result that one can study for acceptance or rejection. To then create and imagine a life experience that speaks more intensely to who you really are and what you are capable of is to see your life the way it should be and then, holding it in a stop frame use the image as a template to, like the Chickadees do, build a new life.
The snow is piling up on Black Pine Mountain and it seems downright refreshing after the dormant dryness of last year. The dark is a bit depressing and I never get over how fast it falls. One minute it’s day and the next, the stars are out.
There is plenty of dark now; we’re approaching the longest night of the year. Since summer, the sun has been sliding south, taking the light with it, days growing shorter by the minute. On December 21, Sol reaches the farthest point south and it’s as far away as it can get from us Northerners. This explains the very long night. Meanwhile, the Australians are baking on the beach till all hours.
For centuries the Winter Solstice, or Yule, has been celebrated all over the world as a powerful yet festive time for good reason. The autumn equinox showed our ancestors a sun that was slipping away day by day and they had no assurance that it would ever return. If it kept going, they were all doomed.
By the solstice there was near panic. They needed comfort and craved some control over their destinies. So they began to develop elaborate rituals to encourage the sun’s return. They lit bonfires on the hilltops, imitating the sun’s light and heat, a way of honoring what the personal fireball did for us.
They Looked everywhere for a sign that life wasn’t completely gone and would perhaps return to full flower in time. They searched for what still might be living and green in the soil of their natural world.
The evergreens were a sign. They cut fir or pine trees and brought them into their homes in a celebratory way. If these trees were alive then surely they would have a chance also. They devised an ornament made from the trees branches, a circlet of evergreen boughs to hang on the door, this was another symbol of the sun and through sympathetic magic perhaps it could be encouraged to come back their way again.
Then, wonder of wonders the sun did return, the light was born again and all rejoiced at the Yuletide. Life on Earth would continue.
If this theme strikes you as somewhat familiar, it is. Before Jesus was a glimmer in Mary’s eye, people celebrated this life affirming holiday and revered it as a time of renewal and the moving out of darkness. When the Christian priests wanted more followers for their new religion they decided that the solstice was a good spot to place the birth of Jesus.
The symbolism was apropos and, besides everyone was partying anyway, the people might just be persuaded to celebrate Jesus instead of the Earth. I’ve been told that the Bible hints at Jesus’ actual birthday being sometime in the fall. At any rate it worked pretty well.
I think that it is important to know the true history of things so that we understand what we take for granted and why. One problem that arises in shifting the celebration from the natural world to that of a holy man is that we no longer feel we belong to our own earth. Our spiritual emphasis has become human-centered, no longer do we revere and celebrate the Earth and all that live on her.
This may seem like a (deceptively) trivial point at this time of year but having all the old celebrations of nature and the seasons removed from our psyches has helped to cut the cord of kinship with our very surroundings, snowballing into an appalling human apathy when it comes to our planet and home. How can we talk about the winter wonderland while tossing an empty beer can into it? We got control and lost the connection.
As you sit by the fire on December 24, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to celebrate Christmas or Yule. They are equally religious and beautiful holidays and past misdemeanors really don’t matter anymore. The theme is still one of bringing light into our homes and hearts and remembering to love.
Whatever your spiritual beliefs let them include one of the greatest gifts God or Goddess gave us: the earth. That said, Jesus is part of the godhead, but so is the earth – so how can we sing the praises of one and ignore or even harm the other? It makes no sense to me.
What matters this holiday season is that we choose to revere and honor all of life and the spirit of the God/Goddess inherent in it – called Jesus, the Earth or our other fellow beings.
So in that spirit, go on out and commune with some stark, yet still quite lovely scenery. The way the snow shines like a million diamonds on the hill, the color of the birds at the feeder all flutter and fancy in the still air, the whisper of a deer walking through the woods, a gentle reminder to slow down and breathe within our busy lives.
These are things we can enjoy with or without money and they bring us ever closer to a connection with the incredible life we’ve been given and the beauty of it.
When we stop and turn our attention to the natural world, and care for it, we raise our awareness of a gift we may have forgotten we have and help us to feel gratitude for who put us here. It all leads to the same place of holy reverence because we are all part of the same life force, are we not? It’s a circle, but we have to make more of an effort now, because we have no routine seasonal ceremonies to remind us of the honor we hold.
During this time of rebirth, let’s give rise to an attitude of inclusiveness, along with the love and joy, embracing not only our fellow human hearts and minds, but the others we share this planet with. For by honoring them we honor their (and our) Maker.
May the power of the season continue to inspire you throughout the year, Merry Christmas and Happy Yule.