This is a piece by Leo Babauta celebrating the profound and humble breath.
Breathing can transform your life.
If you feel stressed out and overwhelmed, breathe. It will calm you and release the tensions.
If you are worried about something coming up, or caught up in something that already happened, breathe. It will bring you back to the present.
If you are discouraged and have forgotten your purpose in life, breathe. It will remind you about how precious life is, and that each breath in this life is a gift you need to appreciate. Make the most of this gift.
If you have too many tasks to do, or are scattered during your workday, breathe. It will help bring you into focus, to concentrate on the most important task you need to be focusing on right now.
If you are spending time with someone you love, breathe. It will allow you to be present with that person, rather than thinking about work or other things you need to do.
If you are exercising, breathe. It will help you enjoy the exercise, and therefore stick with it for longer.
If you are moving too fast, breathe. It will remind you to slow down, and enjoy life more.
So breathe. And enjoy each moment of this life. They’re too fleeting and few to waste.
(Leo, calls the work on his blog uncopyrighted, and encourages people to freely share it.so pass on the inspiration if you feel inspired to do so)
This is a season I struggle with, and I know I am not alone.
It is a time when the cold brings an inclination to look inward, and nature strips down all that is excess leaving the raw bare bones. It is a time of death before re-birth, a silent waiting in solitude and stillness.
There is such beauty at this time of year too, and I have made a conscious intention to be patient enough to enjoy and learn from it this year. I’ve found a wonderful guide in Joanna Powell Colbert and her midwinter Gaian soul practice online course. It has given me the courage to be still in the quiet and cold, where my natural tendency would be to gallop manically towards the sun
As we move towards Solstice, let’s remember to keep our little lights shining, to gather together for warmth , to sing, tell stories and to remind each other that we are part of this turning cycle which will bring us warmth, light and new life after the darkness.
I have been reading the beautiful book, ‘This I Know’ by Susannah Conway. She has such an honest and soulful way of writing, I feel I know her and want to ask her round for a cup of tea. There are suggestions at the end of each chapter and this is one of them, revealing ten things about yourself. She says this may feel a little vulnerable, (which it does) and recommends this as a way of taking a risk and connecting with others, especially if you are feeling somewhat disconnected, (which I do).
So here we are…
I was a very shy child and related better to horses than people.
I was diagnosed with otosclerosis and have had my stapes, (smallest bone in the ear) replaced by a piece of metal when I was 13 and a piece of plastic when I was 28. My hearing is still difficult and I wear hearing aids.
I have a first class degree in art and psychology and a masters in integrative arts therapy.
I like singing power ballads in big open spaces.
I have had three VW Beetles and 2 VW camper vans.
We had a fire which wiped out nearly everything we owned.
I love pyjamas and rubbish cop re-runs.
Eating in public often makes me nervous.
I have travelled for three years out of the last four.
I’ve known my hubby since I was 19 but we didn’t get it together until much later as I shacked up with his (ex) friend for 9 years. Me and my honey have been friends for 29 years, married 14 and I still really love him!
I have put together a slideshow of some of some of my favourite images I created during our time in Cambodia. I was very inspired, especially by the remarkable serene beauty of the carvings of Buddhas in the Angkor Wat temples.
I’ve tried to capture how I felt when gazing at these mysterious images, in the hazy heat a sort of dream like wonder. I have used a layering technique in photoshop to add to the sense of time and mystery. The backgrounds are collages and paintings from my travel sketch book. The peaceful music was composed and played especially by Matt, my man. It’s ten minutes long, sit back make a cup of tea and share this lovely sultry experience.
They are the most wonderful creatures who devote their lives to making nectar for the Gods. Did you know that honey is the only non corruptible food as well as being yummy for your tummy?
Another one of my favourite bee facts is that when one of the girls finds a particularly juicy crop of nectar she will come and dance for her sisters, wiggling her bum and angling her body in relation to the sun to point the way. She will also bring a sample of the nectar to show them what they are looking for and perhaps to provide an incentive!
We visited a bee shop in New Zealand where you can taste the most remarkable array of different flavours, from delicate clove to tasty thyme and the miraculous health giving Manuka. Apart from being gorgeous on toast honey is balm for burns, can be used as antiseptic and good for allergies. It takes one bee a whole lifetime to make one teaspoon of honey, so show some respect next time you have a honey moment.
Bees are in big trouble worldwide, they are battling some natural predators (mites) and also, sadly the enemy to so much natural balance… us. Yep, we in our great wisdom have been busily intent on destroying the foraging areas for bees, mowing down the wild flowers to make more crops to make more money. Einstein made an ominous prophesy that when the bee community ceases to exist, humans will not be far behind, so crucial are they to the food chain.
“if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live”.
They seem more aware and respectful here in New Zealand though, it is so heartening to learn they are working to support the honey bee. At Arataki where we visited they work in partnership with the local farmers who ensure part of their land is left wild and bee friendly. It’s so wonderful to see the main motivation being balance and respect for nature, as opposed to blind greed which is sadly so often the only incentive.
So let’s hear it for the honey bee, raise your toast in a salute to this industrious and miraculous little being.
My life is a quilt, a patchwork of intricate design. Some patches are bright and clear, some are uncertain, shadowy and intriguing, they don’t give up their secrets easily. Sewn together they make a random pattern the carefully designed next to the messy and mistaken.
I ache as the relentless music pounds, a man on the corner paints veggie lollies with chilli juice…only in Mexico! I wonder if I can afford a massage but I reckon I should wait for my knickers to come back from the laundry.