Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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There are many more gastronomically interesting options available at Christmas time, but I’m still always drawn to the reassuringly traditional sage and onion stuffing. Nowadays, in addition to stuffing poultry, sage is most commonly used to flavour other meat dishes (particularly sausages in British cuisine). However, its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, shows its heritage as a […]
Without further ado I dedicate the rest of 2016 to pure pleasure. If politics is the malady, happiness and personal fellowship is the remedy. The election will not dominate my December. The inauguration and the results will come soon enough for me. What I do best is cook and entertain. The drudgery of politics not only bores me, but usually astounds me with the futility of it all. I have spent some time trying to change the political horizon during my life, but I now look upon all that time as a monumental waste. I could have been just living my life in the most pleasurable way possible at the time. This investment would serve me better than taking time to convince others to participate in political causes. Being happy and free is where it is at.
When I use the word hedonism I mean only fun. I do not mean overindulgence to the point of ruining all the good times. This common mistake has given fun a bad name. Addiction is perhaps the shadow side of hedonism, but it is not pleasurable. Fun is only fun when it is well managed. Well executed pleasurable pursuits provide stimulus to all the senses and a feeling of time well spent. It can be a week in Thailand or a walk around the block. The difference between the ordinary and the hedonistic is attention to detail. Wear what you want, see what you like to see, eat what delights you, linger over what intrigues you without trespassing on the pleasure of others. Travel to your own happy place. This will require that you get to know your own true preferences, which will naturally change over time. Self care for a teen is different than it will be when that person turns 65. We must evolve with our own best interests in mind.
My good friend and neighbor and I have opposing political views. We never need to talk about politics at all. If we do we joke about how crazy people are. We have much in common, including an interest in cooking and cuisines. To celebrate Heidi’s birthday we visited one of my favorite stores in Tucson, Alfonso’s Olive Oil, for a tasting of their vast selection. It was a blast for me to introduce her to this wonderland of flavor and my great pleasure to buy her first bottle to start her own specialty oil and vinegar collection. We tasted all over the store for a long time before she came to a decision. She wisely selected the classic best unflavored dark balsamic vinegar because she can infuse it herself if she wants. The vinegar she chose is exquisite, deep, complex, fruity….everything you want in a vinegar. I was happy to buy the gift, but more happy to introduce her to someplace she did not previously know. Then we had lunch, also very good. The balsamic birthday will go down as a complete success with little effort or expense on anyone’s part. It was all about the discovery.
I suggest you look into your heart and decide what makes you happy. Just do that, gentle reader. Start with that.
The sun has just entered Pisces for a month. I am working on clearing my desk and finishing my tax preparation, which always happens this time of year. I am particularly interested in clearing my space as well as my body and mind of the past this month. Cleaning up and getting rid of useless garbage always brings me great joy and a feeling of moving forward with everything. This year I am giving the Pisces month full attention because I see a metaphor for better health through karmic cleansing of beliefs. In my own natal chart I have three planets in Pisces, most significantly my north node is the twelfth house. I am a relative amateur in astrology but am learning more as I investigate and read. I follow a few good astrologers all the time. One of my favorites is Dr. Loretta Stanley who also created my most recent chart. She has urged karmic cleansing of the past during the Pisces month in preparation for a new life this spring. Physical and mental as well as belief cleaning is what she recommends during this time. Sounds reasonable to me. I am sure I hold at least a few beliefs that no longer serve my best interests.
My own needs coincide with karmic cleansing and attention to the mystical, magical powers of Pisces for several reasons. Pisces rules the feet, and I am slowly recovering from a nagging chronic foot pain that has plagued me now for a couple of years. It is definitely on the mend, but still causes a bit of pain. I have acupuncture once a week which is very effective in reducing the swelling and discomfort. I am back on the walking path and functioning well, but I have a feeling the injury/chronic issue has an emotional component. Everything always does. There is a powerful metaphor about stepping forward without pain that I believe is soon to be opening a happy new pathway in my life.
Pisces rules the 12th house of karma or self-undoing. It is a very emotional, mystical, spiritual and intuitive sign. The 12th house is the end of the line for astrology, the last house. It represents the unconscious, and therefore transformation. Our unconscious minds are powerful guides that process the unknown and unseen parts of our lives. The symbolism of the 12th house is the deep understanding, both spiritual and physical, that will decide how we move forward. I have applied many remedies and treatments to my foot disorder to find a cure. It makes sense to take this month to take a deeper look at what my gait is trying to say to me. The little limp on the left represents a deeper issue, I think. I plan to use this month to meditate, clear, clean, and simplify my spiritual practices. I believe (the motto of Pisces) the answer will be found deep in my subconscious.
I recently gave thought to the question “What is the opposite of gratitude?” I decided it is entitlement. This exercise works well for all kinds of grand concepts and world events. Our violent world is punctuated with opinions and some bravery, but the violence itself looks more powerful all the time. I am a believer in Chinese medicine and the power of understanding opposite forces. I go to acupuncture every week for my health to balance the chi in my body. There are macro and microcosms of chi as well, like the environment, social order, etc. Energy balances energy and life continuously flows. Balance depends on constant movement and exchange, like inhale and exhale.
With the bigger picture in mind I wonder what is the opposite energy to contradict and balance violence. I don’t own weapons or use them. My life is easy, comfortable, and fun. I don’t think about encountering violence even though there is plenty of it right in my neighborhood as well as across the globe. I agree with the sentiment of the Parisians who believe that fear to go out and live it up is what terrorists want to see in their victims. Caving in to fear may be the worst reaction, but what is the best one? I live in Tucson where we were shaken by mass shooting early in the game. Our city is plenty violent all the time with the full time smuggling at work here. Most people go about our business without any thought of the crime and violence we know happens. I have started to wonder if this is unrealistic or healthy.
As long as I stay aware of the shadow of violence I think it is healthy to be happy and free of fear. The only thing that has worked in my life as a cure for big and little violence is patience. Patience must be the opposite of violence. Patience develops into empathy if practiced for a long enough time. When you restrain your emotions long enough to see the bigger overview you always find ignorance was the cause of all problems. Ignorance continues to cause trouble, but if I sincerely practice patience I can stop myself from adding my own portion of violence to the boiling pot of trouble. What do you think, gentle reader? Have you found any new truths by observing all the horror lately?
My garden is full of lemon thyme, a culinary herb I love to use for seasoning food and drinks. It is potent as a flavoring agent, and has medicinal qualities as well. It is one of the earliest recorded plants used in Western medicine. It can be helpful in treating respiratory problems, digestive disorders, and infections. It strengthens the immune system and can ease headaches and insomnia. Those with high blood pressure need to take caution when using it because thymol, the active ingredient, can prove to be too stimulating for those individuals. Lemon thyme generally contains less thymol and more linalol than red thyme, which may cause less irritation and sensitivity. To take thyme as a remedy you can brew an infusion and drink it three times a day, or make a tincture by soaking the herb in alcohol to extract the active agents and take a few drops of the tincture three times a day. Commercially thyme is used in mouthwashes, toothpastes, and cough lozenges. It is used to flavor foods and drinks as well as in the fragrance industry.
This herb was highly praised in ancient Greece and Rome. The magical significance of the plant is to strengthen the will and promote confidence. Egyptians used it in mummification, and it was used in funeral rites in other parts of the world. The ancient belief that the dead take up residence in the flowers of the thyme plant gives some extra meaning to the psychic dimension. Making a bath sachet to use as both a confidence builder and an anti bacterial boost is a pleasant and effective way to use thyme externally. Skin absorbs the active ingredients quickly during a bath, allowing a low dose to create the maximum healing. Wrap dried herbs in a cloth and brew the tea in your bath for 10 minutes or so before bathing to enjoy the benefits of this method. You keep the sachet in the tub with you so you can scrub with it and enjoy smelling it while you soak. Since I like to include the medicinal ingredients in cocktails here are some ideas:
Since returning home after ancestry quest I have tracked my dream life. I think am digesting centuries of action in my nightly dramatic interpretations. My homework assignment to record dreams and notice the archetypes I find in them has not been completed in a very rigorous fashion. During my weekend with Thomas Moore we talked about dreams and did a group discussion about one lady’s dream that she shared with us. My guilt about not doing homework as the rebel archetype dominates the teacher in my chart of origin, came into focus. I fell deeply to sleep that night and did start to notice and record dreams on a regular basis while I was still on the road. I visited homes and graves, museums and city streets where the specific ancestors lived and died. I started to have some strong emotions about history and groups of the dead.
Although Mayflower ancestry is highly valued by some, I am much more excited about those who rebeled against the Pilgrims. The sooner they dissed Plymouth, Salem, and the Pilgrim way of religious fascism the more I liked them. My special pride in my one Wampanoag ancestor makes me feel entitled to some explanations. They will not be forthcoming, and I need to understand that I am the sum total of many warring factions going back in time. While Mary Stuart was burning one ancestor at the stake, another ancestor was defending her in Scotland. This is how life works. We do not just have two crazy parents, we have all of karmic history in our collective inheritance.
I have had a dream now more than once that is symbolic and clear. I enter a big building, box, loft, kind of structure, where I am joined by all kinds of other beings from past and present..maybe future also. The place is intended to heal, but the multiple streams of energy mix and collide inside the space. The beings leave having exchanged symptoms with other people, leaving with new issues, side effects and thoughts. The desire to dump one’s own faults on others who are handy is at the root of this gift exchange gone so bad. Common practice is to blame the dead, or the absent for almost everything, trying to leave with only shining and laudable characteristics. This creates a mighty vortex that fills with neediness and greed once the door to the blame barn has been left ajar. A boomerang of dreadful feelings never fails to be returned to the sender. I am no dream interpretation expert, not even a very faithful recorder in the past. This series of dreams in the warehouse health space is about healing, boundaries, and inevitability. I haves used the flower essence Mexican Hat recently, which I find to be powerful and freaky. It is blooming in my garden in a few places. Under this hat’s influence the connections to others that we wish to ignore are highlighted. This flower essence refers to boundaries and healing, exactly like the dreams. Reflection is imperative to interpret both sides of symptoms, causes, and remedies.