February 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
Just in case we didn’t know, scientists have proof now that listening to music that inspires us has wellness benefits. It will be redundant to post that article, but just click on the cool Nina’s picture to listen to science in action.
Nina Simone’s Feeling Good.
February 5, 2013 § 2 Comments
I actually didn’t see this commercial during the Super Bowl, I must have been too busy watching Miss BEY during the Half Time Show. But when I saw the commercial in a blog about the power of religious language, it stopped me on my cyber-tracks. Where do we place value in our society? Who do we identify with success and who are our idols? Bravo, Mr. Paul Harvey, bravo, to the photographers, and bravo to the producers and creators of this TV Commercial.
Here are the words:
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say,’Maybe next year,’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from an ash tree, shoe a horse with hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out hay wire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. Who, during planting time and harvest season will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, put in another 72 hours.” So God made the farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales, yet gentle enough to yean lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-comb pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the leg of a meadowlark.”
It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed, and brake, and disk, and plow, and plant, and tie the fleece and strain the milk, . Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does. “So God made a farmer.”
January 24, 2013 § Leave a comment
In all my studies of anatomy, philosophy, design and yoga there is the common thread of observing nature’s pulsation. This idea of contraction and expansion permeates our surroundings, our bodies, our minds and spirits. When we are able to tab, connect, ride, touch or pulsate with the overarching pulsation of God, then we experience an authentic life that moves us closer to the sweetest experience of life itself. I found this poem by Rumi, which evokes beautifully what all great teachers are trying to cultivate in us.
Birdwings by Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
December 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
Not that long ago, I was listening to On Being’s radio show about the mindfulness of anger, the talk was offered by Buddhist Master, Thich Hhat Hanh and in times like this when our own thoughts can’t possible offer an explanation, we must turn to the wiser ones, the stronger ones, knowing that in our hearts those qualities abide too.
I found light in this passage from the Buddhist master, I hope you do too. It is particularly poignant:
“…there is a seed of anger in every one of us. There are many kinds of seeds that lie deep in our consciousness, a seed of anger, a seed of violence, a seed of fear, a seed of jealousy, a seed of full despair, a seed of miscommunication, a seed of hate. They’re all there and, when they sleep, we are okay. But if someone come and water these seeds, they will manifest into energy and they will make us suffer. We also have wholesome seeds in us, namely the seeds of understanding, of awakening, of compassion, of nonviolence, of nondiscrimination, a seed of joy and forgiveness. They are also there.
What we see, what we hear, what we eat, always water the seed of violence, the seed of despair, the seed of hate in us and in our children. That is why it’s very urgent to do something collectively in order to change the situation. Not only educators, but parents, legislators, artists, have to come together in order to discuss the strategy that can help bring the kind of safe environment to us and to our children where we shall be protected from the negative watering of the seeds in us. The practice of transformation and healing could not be effective without this practice of seeking or creating a sane environment. When someone is sick, you have to bring him to a place where he or she can be treated and to heal.
If the human person is affected by the poison of violence and anger and despair, if you want to help heal him or her, you have to bring him or her out of the situation where she continues to ingest the poisons of violence. This is very simple. This is very clear and this is not only the job of educators. Everyone has to participate to the work of creating safe environments for us and for our children.”
December 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
Perhaps it’s the chilly winter days that are approaching or perhaps it’s the impending beginning of a new season of Downton Abbey ; the truth is that tea season is upon us. The bitterness and sweetness, perhaps it is its resemblance to the essence of life that make tea such a pleasurable experience. So here is some basic information I found helpful in my own tea journey.
What is Tea anyway?
All “true” tea comes from the same plant, called the Camellia sinensis. Any leaf, root, fruit or flower that comes from a different plant is considered an herbal tea. For example, chamomile flowers and peppermint leaves are considered herbal teas because they do not come from the traditional tea plant. It is important to distinguish between real tea and herbal tea since the flavor, health benefits and nutritional characteristics vary from plant to plant.
THOUSANDS OF TEAS, DIVIDED INTO 4 CATEGORIES
There are thousands of different kinds of teas, each with their own individual appearance, taste and aroma. To make sense of all the variations, “true teas” (those made from the tea plant, or Camellia sinensis, versus herbal teas which come from other plants) can be categorized into 4 major categories: white, green, oolong and black. Generally, these categories refer to how much a tea is oxidized. The more oxidized the blacker the tea. See table below.
How to brew the perfect cup of tea?
Once you know the basics, brewing the perfect cup of tea is easy! If you can boil water, you can make tea. Fine tuning the flavor is essentially a game of manuvering and adjusting 3 elements: water temperature, steep time and amount of tea used.
With just a little practice, preparing a great tasting cup of tea is easy and will quickly become second nature. The right brewing equipment can also further simplify the process.
- Bring fresh, cold water to a rolling boil. Always start with the freshest, purest source of water available as this will heavily impact tea’s flavor … it is the main ingredient, after all!
- Add tealeaves to a teapot, fill-your-own teabag or infuser basket. Use 1 teaspoon – 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) per cup (8 oz) of water depending upon desired strength. Adjust to taste.
- Pour boiling water directly over black, oolong and herbal tea. Allow water to cool slightly before brewing green tea, white tea or yerba maté. Cover.
- Infuse (steep) leaves for 2-5 minutes; 3.5 minutes is a good standard steep time that works well for most teas. Do not oversteep or tea may become bitter. If you prefer strong tea, do not over steep; simply use more leaves.
- Remove tea sachet, bag or infuser from water or strain leaves.
How to Clean Your Tea Kettle?
To remove mineral deposits, boil equal parts white vinegar and water inside kettle. Remove from heat. Let sit several hours; rinse. Hand wash the pot’s exterior with a gentle pot-scrubber sponge. Let tap water run for a few moments before adding it to the pot.
Now brew yourself a delicious cup of tea. Enjoy!
November 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
Deepak Defines Meditation – Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought.
According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind – the mystery that some people call the spirit or God. We don’t have to use those terms, but it’s your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:
- It’s a field of infinite possibilities – infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.
- Everything is connected to everything else.
- It’s a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.
- It is a place where there is something called observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment – what people call the law of attraction – so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit.
In meditation, we get into this space so we find ourselves infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention. That’s what meditation is really about.”