August: Where did it go?

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August 29, 2013 – Wow! Where did the month go?

August is my favorite month of the year and this year it just seemed to slip away. The month was punctuated with several memorable visits and gatherings which I enjoyed so much. And, we have plans to share this the last summer long weekend with friends.

Granted I wasn’t up to  functioning at a high level this month and maybe that’s a good thing as I do tend to overdo every summer. But I didn’t expect to have a crash course in what kidney stones were all about. Continue reading “August: Where did it go?”

Sorbets and Sherbets: Sensational Iced Summer Desserts

sorbetSorbets and Sherbets are two sensational iced summer desserts with a vegetarian difference. Both are made with the same base ingredients ie. puréed fruits, sugar and water, but Sherbets can also contain milk, gelatin, or egg whites. Sorbets do not contain any eggs or dairy products and that makes them vegetarian sweets. Continue reading “Sorbets and Sherbets: Sensational Iced Summer Desserts”

Chill Out With A Dozen Cool Summer Drinks

3 smoothie drinksUp to 75% of the body’s weight is made up of water and we all have to drink a significant amount of water to replace routine water loss.  Dehydration occurs when the amount of water leaving the body is greater than the amount being taken in.  And summer time is when the risk of dehydration soars along with the temperature.  One way to make sure we beat the heat, chill out and drink enough water is to make some cool summer beverages. Continue reading “Chill Out With A Dozen Cool Summer Drinks”

Crops in Posts

geranium2Whose eyes don’t feast on a stunning array of colorful flowers?

Who doesn’t love the fragrance and flavors of the many plants that can be grown on balconies, decks and in other small spaces?

Growing veggies, herbs and flowers in the spaces we live in lifts our spirits. And, I guarantee you will be surprised how much you can grow in containers in very small spaces. Continue reading “Crops in Posts”

Herbal Teas for You and Me

herbal teaDespite the prevailing myths to the contrary,  caffeine has few proven health benefits. Caffeine sensitivity varies from person to person depending on metabolism and the amount consumed but some people like me experience nervousness and stomach upset when drinking it. Those are  just two reasons why herbal teas are a better beverage choice for me.  Perhaps they are a better choice for you too. Continue reading “Herbal Teas for You and Me”

Everyday Meditation: Blue Sky Mind

CloudsMeditation is becoming aware of the vital stillness and hearing within that stillness. It is the stillness that’s naturally present before you become attached to thoughts and things; before you identify with thought-feeling-reaction.

In this meditation you will be using the visualization of a blue sky with clouds passing through it as the “virtuous” object of your meditation.  Continue reading “Everyday Meditation: Blue Sky Mind”

Take care of what’s between your ears

intersectionsA genius is a talented person who has an exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.  It’s those who transcend boundaries such as those of the time and space continuum and provide solutions that extend into the future who we recognize as geniuses. However, if we pause to consider the definition we may recognize that there’s genius in all of us as humans are problem solvers and problem solving is genius.  Continue reading “Take care of what’s between your ears”

Walking Lightly One Step at a Time

footprintsClimate change is one of the biggest threats we face and your home is plugged into nature. Your home energy usage or carbon footprint might seem trivial, however, as much as 17 percent of CO2 emissions come from private home electricity usage, heating and waste. Wasting electrical energy prompts CO2-emitting power plants to produce more and heating with oil, wood and/or natural gas directly creates greenhouse gasses. Continue reading “Walking Lightly One Step at a Time”

Five Ways to Make a Difference Where you Live

small differenceVolunteers make the good things in the world go round. Every act of goodwill creates a strong multiplier effect that everyone benefits from.  Finding a volunteer position that will allow you to contribute your energy and skills to worthy causes in your own community means you can make a difference in the lives of others right where you live. Continue reading “Five Ways to Make a Difference Where you Live”

Revisiting Atisha’s Wisdom

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Genius unrefined resembles a flash of lightning, but wisdom is like the sun. ~ Franz Grillparzer

While I’m still packing and sending off books to the free store there are two more I have decided to keep. I’d like to share what they are with you.

There are 21 Lamrim Buddhist meditations, which are usually practiced in a three-week cycle as a daily meditation practice.  These meditations, along with instructions and background material are in the New Meditation Handbook. An extensive presentation of Lamrim meditations are in the Joyful Path of Good Fortune.

Continue reading “Revisiting Atisha’s Wisdom”

Mentoring is Making a Difference

mosquitoEvery one of us is able  to contribute and make a difference to the people in our world in our own unique way. How we define success is up to the individual. Whether you want your life to make a difference and what difference you want your life to make is also up to the individual.  Continue reading “Mentoring is Making a Difference”

Happiness is Spring

walkingApril has come and gone in a flurry of activity. The theme of the month was the title of this post. You can train your brain to become happier and that’s my intention. I do get by with help from friends, who provide excellent advice such as  15 Positive Tips to Be Happy right NOW!, and inspire me with thoughtful articles like  Drop Into Your Heart: It’s Easier Than You Think. But I’m a sun lover and spring has finally sprung! Continue reading “Happiness is Spring”

Half the truth is no truth at all

yoga mudraHere’s a brief gardening analogy I will use to introduce what I’m about to share with my readers.

If we recognize that positively focused people are like fertilizer and rain that helps us blossom and grow in our own lives. And, we also recognize it’s not wise to pull every weed out of our gardens because they provide vital trace elements for growth, then we can likewise choose to summon up enough empathy to become the sun and fertilizer in the lives of negatively focused people. Granted we may limit our time with them, but everyone we meet is our mirror, and if we want love to be reflected back to us then we need to be the light of love in their world. Continue reading “Half the truth is no truth at all”

Looking Forward a Stress Free Future

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Last autumn was a good time to renew my strategy for the future because I recognized there is no magic potion that will guarantee a long, healthy life. I made an assessment of where I was at and where I wanted to be. Continue reading “Looking Forward a Stress Free Future”

Healthy Snacks for Kids by Kids

Choosing healthy snacks
Photo credit

As most of the diseases humans of all ages suffer from are self-inflicted and many of them are “food – centered”, parents/caregivers and kids making lunches and snacks together is preventative medicine. Taking to time to make kids part of the food selection and preparation process early on means they learn what their bodies actually need to support healthy growth.  Continue reading “Healthy Snacks for Kids by Kids”

Children Do What They See Done

Nature is the overbearing factor in our behavior but nurture also has a role that cannot be neglected. Early exposure to violence, combined with poverty and abuse can shape our attitudes and behavior in such a way that the damage to the psyche will contribute to the manifestation of violence in thoughts and actions throughout our lives and can result in mental illness. Continue reading “Children Do What They See Done”

Compassion Quotations and Mantras

heart-chakraCompassion may be defined as deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the desire to relieve it. Our own suffering gives rise to compassion and can result in doing something for another without the expectation of  return, often at a personal risk or cost.  Without compassion our species would not have survivedContinue reading “Compassion Quotations and Mantras”

Life Lessons: Aparigraha (non-grasping)

meditation treeI am as far as one can get from being an urban yoga practitioner. My husband and I choose to live a life of voluntary simplicity in a semi remote location. We waste not and want not.  As we chose to drop out of the consumer driven society and are unimpressed with the unrelenting advertising that assails and assaults us when traveling to the city, we are uncomfortable when evidence of misguided yoga connected marketing success shows up on our shore. Continue reading “Life Lessons: Aparigraha (non-grasping)”

Vibrancy and Saturation in Abstractions

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DSC_5480 Kleur (Photo credit: Joop Reuvecamp)

I’ve been exploring the difference between vibrancy and saturation in digital abstracts.

Vibrant colors are very high on the scale of brightness. They are bright and striking colors that pulse with energy and suggest activity. Continue reading “Vibrancy and Saturation in Abstractions”

Re-energizing After a Lay-Off

energyEveryone is familiar with energy drain. Researchers are studying the links between what we eat, how we work and live and how we feel.  There are different kinds of fatigue and different ways to improve your energy level.  How do you know if your low energy is caused by underlying disease or is the result of lifestyle factors, stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or normal aging? Continue reading “Re-energizing After a Lay-Off”

Islands of Sorrow, Oceans of Grief

globe On islands of sorrow, across oceans of grief,  all over the world there will be no tomorrow for marine life and ocean birds. They ingest our waste, starve, writhe in agony and die, and we are none the wiser.

The oceans are precious, yet we fill them with lethal junk that doesn’t break down in the environment,  junk that’s the agent of death for the life that’s left in the wild.  We sit in front of our TV’s and believe the wilderness we see there is intact. Well it isn’t and that’s a fact.  If you lived on a tiny island like me, you would begin to see a glimpse of what we are doing to the seas. Continue reading “Islands of Sorrow, Oceans of Grief”

Favorite Valentine’s Day Song 2013

love letterMy husband and I are baby boomers who  were young teens when rock and roll was loud and proud. Without doubt we liked rock music but we also liked Bob Dylan and other beat poet types.

When we first heard Leonard Cohen’s Bird on the Wire in 1968 we loved his poetic music and became fans. Most will be acquainted with * Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and we do love it too but … Continue reading “Favorite Valentine’s Day Song 2013″

A Difficult Week in Review

smallLast week was typical week for me.  I was busy and productive and though I had to deal with several difficult people I was happy.

I have resolved not to shun the so-called difficult people in my life for two self serving reasons. They teach me important lessons about myself, and learning from them provides  opportunities for my growth.

I acknowledged that every person in my life is my mirror. By remaining aware that each one was reflecting aspects of my own consciousness back to me,  I was able not to take their negativity personally. Continue reading “A Difficult Week in Review”

Starting Over: Working Through Pain and Developing Inner Strength

start-overEven when the mere idea of walking around the block makes you want to  crawl back under the covers and never surface again, exercise is essential for people with arthritis and fibromyalgia. Working through stiffness and pain requires accepting responsibility to become your own healer and summoning the courage required to stay the course. When you have had an exercise program and  abandoned it, starting over again is a shame-filled, fear-filled and painful challenge to overcome.  Continue reading “Starting Over: Working Through Pain and Developing Inner Strength”

7 Energizing Snack Foods for Optimum Health

good foodToday’s nutrition message is ‘dump the junk; eat real food’.  I heard the call to eat healthy and enjoy life and acted on it.  Have you?

Obesity, heart disease and strokes are prevalent. It’s clear that many people aren’t either wise or moderate when it comes to the variety of foods and quantities they consume.  So it’s no surprise the nutrition pendulum has swung back toward eating unaltered food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Continue reading “7 Energizing Snack Foods for Optimum Health”

Cabin Renovation: Simple Green Living

Protected by Copyscape Online Infringement Detector Umbrellas-PublicDomainThirty years ago my husband and I were city dwellers still spending most of our time working  for someone else.  Then we made a life changing decision, a decision to make our simple dream come true.  We moved to where we wanted to live,  purchased a home, committed to voluntary simplicity and built our own business from the bottom up. Continue reading “Cabin Renovation: Simple Green Living”

Ani Choying Drolma: A Singing Nun With a Mission

Ani Choying Drolma  SmileI am an admirer of Ani Choying Drolma, also known as Choying Drolma and Ani Choying.  She is a Buddhist nun and musician from the Nagi Gompa nunnery in Nepal. Throughout the world Ani Choying is known for her compassion, her lovely smile, and her beautiful voice.  Rather than just relying on prayer alone, she is using her voice to fund her school for Nepali orphans. Continue reading “Ani Choying Drolma: A Singing Nun With a Mission”

Train Your Brain to Become Happier

Protected by Copyscape Online Infringement Detector Depression has played a major role in my life since I was a child. There have been many times I had to struggle to make the happiness choice minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day.

Granted in some cases of depression therapeutic intervention may be necessary.  But I am unable to take pharmaceutical drugs due to allergic responses so I have to rely on keeping my physical health and mental health in balance through alternative means. Continue reading “Train Your Brain to Become Happier”

Does Solitude Have a Place in Your Life?

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Though it’s technically possible to be connected thousands of people thousands of miles away—anytime, anywhere—too much of a good thing can lead to a bad place. Solitude is a human need and to deny it is unhealthy for both mind and body. Living in a technologically connected 24/7 society that undervalues solitude and overvalues attachment is stressful and stress is a killer.  Continue reading “Does Solitude Have a Place in Your Life?”

Spiritual Music – Winter Solstice

winter solstice Evergreens  are a symbol of rebirth and you could say I am blessed, because everything I need for my evergreen wreath making is free of charge and readily available.

Every December I walk in the woods with my small wheelbarrow, a hand saw and pruning shears to collect wreath making materials. Fallen cedar, fir and tamarack branches, mosses and lichens, ivies,  cones and berries are exactly what I’m looking for.  Each wreath I make is made from different combination of materials and has a different theme.  I tart them up with tiny ornaments, ribbons and such that I purchase at liquidator sales. Continue reading “Spiritual Music – Winter Solstice”

Winter Celebrations

religious symbolsThe holidays are here! It’s a wonderful time of year when the twinkling lights go up on trees and we awake, as my Beloved and I did today, to a snowy winter wonderland.   The winds are blowing, the sky is thick with falling snowflakes, and the power is surging on and off.  So in case we are rudely interrupted I want to publish my best wishes for love and laughter in this season of good cheer. Continue reading “Winter Celebrations”

Shop Local this Holiday Season

shop localI love some things about this Solstice, Hannukah, Chrismas, Kwaanza season.  It’s truly the season of good cheer and well wishes but times are hard. No one is flush with money. Everyone is reluctant to increase their debt.

Local business people and charities make a significant positive contribution to the quality of life in our communities all year round.  Shopping local is the first step towards ensuring community success and security in a competitive global market and I’m shopping local. How about you? Continue reading “Shop Local this Holiday Season”

An Attitude of Gratitude

gratitude1My program of retaining an attitude of gratitude and enjoying my life every day is going well. I’m living mindfully in the moment and taking small steps to encourage myself to celebrate life.

My life is not less stressful than it was before I began this commitment, but my coping skills are improving as I make attitude adjustments throughout the day. Continue reading “An Attitude of Gratitude”

MUL Mantra

The Mool Mantra (also spelled Mul Mantra) is the most important composition contained within the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs; it is the basis of Sikhism. The word “Mool” means “main”, “root” or “chief” and “Mantar” means “magic chant” or “magic portion”.  It is a most brief composition encompassing the entire universally complex theology of the Sikh faith. Continue reading “MUL Mantra”

Aad Guray Nameh

chakrasThe Sanskrit word mantra- (m.; also n. mantram) consists of the root man- “to think” (also in manas “mind”) and the suffix -tra, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”.

I’m sharing three different versions of the Aad Guray Nameh mantra in this article, hoping you will give an ear to them and then share your responses to them with me.   Continue reading “Aad Guray Nameh”

Om Mani Padme Hum

om mani padme hum Mantras can be orally chanted, intoned,  visualized and/or repeated mentally to oneself. Mantras can also be sung.  I love singing. Vocal improvisation and mantras are a part of my practice.  In this post I’m sharing two very different versions of the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra and I hoping you will give an ear to both. 
Continue reading “Om Mani Padme Hum”

Canada Remembers

Over the course of 100 years thousands of Canada’s service men and women sacrificed their lives for the greater good.  Recent research confirms more Canadians than ever want Remembrance Day to demonstrate respect for the fallen in all wars. At Memorial Cairns on Remembrance Day from sea to shining sea we will conduct our services and lay wreaths to recognize the Canadians that give us the will to preserve freedom and uphold peace. Continue reading “Canada Remembers”

Ambient Music for Working Online

sky  I don’t listen to music that demands my attention while I work. I don’t like listening to music with a driving beat that makes me feel like dancing or catchy lyrics that make me want to sing along.  I select music that’s restful and relaxing. While I work online I listen to ambient music but I don’t find any of the definitions are really a fit for the music I like to listen to. Continue reading “Ambient Music for Working Online”