Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oct. 1, Honoring the Anniversar​y of Namadeva's Mahasamadh​i

Namadeva Acharya

Maha Ganapathi mantra:

Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Ganeshwaraya
Bhrama Roopaya Charavae
Sarvah Siddhi Bhrameshaya
Vigneshaya Namo Namaha

At our workshops and gatherings, Namadeva would play his tanpura and sing this 32-syllable Ganesha Mantra. As he would sing, one could feel the open heart space and taste the love as he sang. As people would assemble in the room, everyone would begin to sing, filling the room with love and devotion for the name.

Last October, days after Namadeva Acharya made the transition, many of his students kept a regular Narayanaya chanting practice. For me, OM Namo, Narayanaya became the mantra that filled every cell of my body. And of course, there were tears and sadness in all of my chanting. In the middle of the eleven days of chanting the OM Namo Narayanaya mantra, I found my heart break open with joy. Instantly, I started singing :

Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Ganeshwaraya
Bhrama Roopaya Charavae
Sarvah Siddhi Bhrameshaya
Vigneshaya Namo Namaha

From that moment on, I was filled with so much love, devotion and joy for my teacher and his Mahasamadi.

October first is also my birthday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roasted Hatch Chilies

It is a South West sign of the season. IT comes complete with aroma.

I hope Uma and J were able to shop at Santa Fe Farmers' Market on their trip to Santa Fe today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Mexico

Every time I head back to Santa Fe, I hear this song playing in my mind. I prefer Jennifer Warens' version, even though Ian Tyson wrote the song.

Tonight I will be sleeping in my bed, next to Michael. I have been promised a foot rub.

Photo of Sangre de Cristo's. 2008.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Open Doors

It was hot here yesterday. I am opening the doors to let the cool morning air give the household a little hug.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Doors in New Mexico

In addition to the narrow winding streets in Santa Fe and Taos, I have an appreciation of the doorways of the adobe homes in these old cities. Here are a few that I want to share. These have not been Photoshopped or edited.

There is a strong presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe on buildings and in artwork. Some homes have small mosaic images or a fresco of the beautiful mother. Since I have a strong goddess practice, I find that she looks more like Ma Kali, who stands on Shiva or the ego.

Coming from Wisconsin, I find gates and fences made of branches to be a unique architectural feature. These structures are coyote fences. For anyone who has ever heard the singing, howling and calling of a pack of coyote during the night, the concept of a strong and secure coyote fence can give a sense of security.

Thank You to Wild Magnolia who created a nice little blogger party for me here in the internet ethers and on her blog site. I am happy to meet Teri and Terra, both bloggers from California who came to my little blog site through Wild Magnolia. Thank you Ashling, for also attending the little etheric gathering via Wild Magnolia. I appreciate meeting with other women and will continue to come to Wild Magnolia, My Grandma's Soul (Jo) and Karen L's blogs.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Santa Fe, NM

On our return to Santa Fe, we were treated to nearly daily rain showers with some thunderstorms. Some of the thunderstorms had an element of high drama. It is obvious that the season is shifting from late summer to autumn in NM. It is beautiful with clear skies behind adobe and brilliant flowers in the end of season gardens.

On a Friday afternoon, I decided to go on a walking tour of the famous Canyon Road and then to the Plaza. On my walking tour, I wore a camera and felt like a tourist in the city that I've been calling home. Since it was a Friday afternoon, the town was quickly filling with tourists and I blended into the flow of gallery lookers.

Santa Fe has so many great galleries. In addition to paintings and statues, there is an abundance of jewelry, textiles and sculpture. A walking tourist can see some amazing art and arrangements without stepping foot into a gallery. Anyone with a camera can create their own art from the scenery on their tour.

The late afternoon gave me a chance to appreciate the blue washed paint on adobe structures. Some places retained their old look, while others were fresh with paint and looking quite new.

While on my walk, I saw a familiar feature that can be found on West Alameda Street, not too far from the Plaza. It is this giant Ganesha. The figure feels like an old friend, out on the street. He almost seems to be waving as people walk and drive by. I hope to interest a certain blogger to come to Santa Fe to have a meeting with this street corner Ganesha. And of course, I anticipate meeting with that blogger, too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Day in Bozeman

It is Wednesday morning; we are still in Bozeman, MT. Michael has not been in much of a rush to leave, once again demonstrating that we live on Michael's timing. Sometimes, this can be extremely stressful for me, especially since I spent all of Sunday preparing food for our auto trip, finalizing the laundry, cleaning the apartment and packing things for the car.

But I should not use this forum to complain and instead, remember here, all of the benefits of spending two extra days in Bozeman. In a way, I could relax, because on Tuesday evening we went to Bozeman Hot Springs, where Michael gave me another long, meditative Watsu. When he is treating me to this soothing water dance, I can feel his body de-stress. The very act of giving a Watsu treatment to another gives Michael a focused calm and caring attitude. It is nice to see him so relaxed.

We also had a chance to go out to eat with another couple, who came down from Edmonton, Alberta. This is the first socializing that I did since I arrived in Bozeman. It was a treat to not prepare a meal, and to sit under the Montana sky at an outdoor cafe. I had a delicious French Onion Soup which gave me a severe tummy ache. I had to return home asap. Fortunately for Artemisia Herbs, I was able to take the Digestive Aid formula, which promptly resolved my issues. I slept well last night and am ready to pack the car and get ready to head out to Red Lodge, Montana.

Also, by staying in Bozeman for two extra days, I was able to witness a harsh rain storm move through the area, dumping marble-sized hail everywhere. Prior to the rainstorm, the air was hot and difficult. As soon as the storm passed, I felt the immediate refrigeration of the air and the contrast of a summer afternoon turned into clear evidence that fall has arrived.

During the afternoon, I also made the decision to register for Ipsalu Level-4 program to be held in Joshua Tree, California. That comes in October. I have a forty-day Kali mantra practice to do leading up to the workshop.

With the stress involved with not heading out on Monday, I again visited the Hill Botanicals, and herbalist/herb shop in downtown Bozeman. I took a few photos with the camera, not my iPhone. I also bought more herbs and was able to have a brief follow-up visit with the herbalist. In the near future, I hope to post photos and tell about my excellent consultation with the herbalist at Hill Botanicals.

Today, I believe is a travel day. We have an overnight planned in Red Lodge, Montana. We are also planning to stop at Valley View Hots Springs in Colorado. It is at the Northern edge of the Sandia Mountains. After a night at Valley View, we should be home in Santa Fe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Train Travel in the United States

My friends are often amazed that I regularly use Amtrak as a method of transportation to crisscross the U.S. Usually I use the train as an easy way to get out of New Mexico and to places like Southern California or back to the Midwest. It is relatively easy travel, if one is able to manage the comfort level of sitting in one place for a journey that can take more than a day.

Even though I take a book and my mala, I often find myself looking out of the window to watch quiet country sides, rural rivers, cornfields and sleepy morning towns with their old pick up trucks and run down cafes.

As Karen LR of Sew and Sow Life wrote on a previous blog, "i love the perspective of seeing the backsides of towns, and other off the beaten track parts of the country." It is true. I love seeing the vibrant gardens of large home properties that line the fencerow along the railroad tracks. Some gardens look to be planted and maintained by careful planners who want to express a hello to travelers who pass by their lots. Irresistible iris patches, joyous gladiolas and perfect peony beds all thoughtfully planted for the delight of train travelers. I've even had glimpses of meticulously placed and tidy outhouses, complete with arbors of old climbing roses or morning glories.

Not only can one see gardens everywhere, but from a seat on the train, the traveler can see woodpiles, some stacked with a precise geometry, other piles looking haphazard between house and garage. Among the gardens and woodpiles, there are at times old trucks, wasting farm implements and folk sculptures built from worn and salvaged motorcycle parts. This is the countryside and backsides of towns that one can see in these United States.

Last year, in early December, I traveled from Albuquerque to Palm Springs by rail. The passenger train went through the industrial railyards of the Southwestern U.S. In some of the railyards, I was privy to a view of the front yards of broken down men and women who made their shanty town style homes between the train tracks and dilapidated warehouses. That December day was one of those windy days with a crude wind and a late afternoon sunset made violent by the approaching rain clouds. From my seat on the train, I saw groups of people huddled around shared fires. Their ragged tents and canvas lean-to shelters serving as their homes during the approaching winter. I could not identify a meticulous outhouse.

Besides looking out of the window while traveling by train, I enjoy eating my own home-made meals. Before I leave, I plan my carry-aboard meals and snacks. Usually I have an evening meal, a snack for late night, a simple breakfast and an afternoon snack. Sometimes, I carry beer or wine to enhance my dining and travel experience. As a coach passenger, it is not allowed to bring alcohol since Amtrak expects passengers to purchase alcohol from the cafe vendor. But I like to have my own beer or wine. It helps to make the trip more relaxing.

It is not difficult to travel by train. Since I have more time than money, it often suits me to travel alone and use the train. The slow movement of the train gives me a clear sense of being a traveler. Although it is possible to see into the back sides of sleepy towns, it is also possible to reflect on why I call myself a mystical gypsy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Under the Montana Sky

I left my Stevens Point hermitage to meet Michael at his hermitage in Bozeman. Compared to our household in Santa Fe, we each have a place to get away where it is quiet and we do not have a non-stop revolving door of friends coming into our living space. Neither hermitage has a television or endless series of ways to connect to the internet. At the hermitage, we don't listen to radio and we take turns connecting to the internet. This gives Michael much needed time to work on his projects and it gives me time for chanting and reading. It gives both of us time to have long discussions, eat every meal together and cuddle together at bedtime. Here, we savor our intimate quiet time.

Our days here have been simple. The Bozeman Food Coop is within walking distance. We are close to the university and are an easy walking distance to downtown dining and shopping. Although we went out to eat once, I'm enjoying the intimacy of simple meals at the small cafe table in our kitchen. It is quiet here, except for the occasional whooping of a returning college student.

On Monday, we went to Bozeman Hot Springs. I spent time soaking in the sulfur waters which seemed to make my skin respond favorably. Michael also found a quiet place in the perfect temperature swimming pool to give me a tender and nurturing Watsu. The hot springs are indoors. It is a place where I can be in the waters but not be exposed to the threatening sunlight.

I titled this post, "Under the Montana Sky," but for the most sunny part of the day, I stay inside. To avoid the sun, I do not venture out except to hang the sheets or take them off the line. By staying out of the sunlight, even indirect sun, the redness of the rash around my mouth is finally experiencing some relief.

Here in Montana, I do not have any projects started. My days are simple. There is no canning of vegetables or mashing fruits for jams or jellies, or gathering flowers for tea. There are no expectations to attend to a social or be available for friends. We've been gone so long that our Santa Fe friends don't even contact us anymore. With that, it is extremely peaceful under these Montana Skies.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Saying Goodbye To My Hermitage

In a few short minutes my ride will arrive to take me to the bus station. I'll be traveling on Jefferson Bus Lines, across the northern section of the Heartland, headed to Bozeman. Michael has been working in Montana most of the summer. I will meet him there before returning to Santa Fe.

Reluctantly, I leave my little Church Street hermitage, affectionately known as "the Church Street Ashram."

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Week Ramblings & Subliminal Recipe

I noticed that I have a total of six followers to the Mystical Gypsy Blog. In the beginning, I had the intention of creating a blog that would allow me to enhance and generate my on-line writing skills. Part of the intention included learning to use the various tools that make one's blog interesting, interactive and inviting. To this day, I feel negligent with achieving my intended goal. But maybe I'm just slow at coming around to making it happen.

I've been following some spectacular blogs here at Google's Blogger. Most are highly creative in content including writing, photography, links, blogging resources and the other followers who have their own blogs. If I do not control myself, I can be lost in reading blogs for more than four hours. Like others who surf the net, I can begin reading a blog about natural healing in rural Vermont, and end up looking at a blog related to weasel fighting in Ireland. Don't ask; it just happens.

Just as I can wander reading the blogs of others', I wander with where I am going with this particular entry. My intention was to confess that I have little to offer and not much worth following. I noticed I have a difficult time writing in a public manner. I feel slightly shy, much like Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon character. I want to open each blog with, " It was a quiet week here at the hermitage in Stevens Point."

I've been back to my hermitage for less than two weeks. I came here because I've been suffering with facial eczema and a severe physical reaction to the sun. I asked Michael if I could abandon him in Montana while I returned to Santa Fe. After three weeks in Santa Fe, I felt I a magnetic pull to return to Wisconsin. Somehow, I thought I could manage my condition easier if I had some solitude, very little sun, easy access to my acupuncturist and minor distractions to my yoga, pranayama and chanting practices.

When I returned to Wisconsin, everything seemed so loud and annoying. After a strong storm with heavy rain and straight-line winds, the sound of chainsaws can be heard in most yards in this college town. Last week's approaching full moon inspired our newest neighborhood couple to loudly argue with foul and abusive language. Most everyone on this block was disturbed by their nightly physical and verbal fights. For me, I had to endure their disregard for my backyard, which they used as their personal parking space. When I requested that they no longer use my yard for their cars, they were upset and abusive to me that I would suggest such an inconvenience to them, since I have no car of my own.

I love to cook. Seasonal produce from Central Wisconsin is coming into incredible abundance. On Saturday, I made a paella over a dung and twig fire. One of my neighbors could smell the fire and said that my yard smelled like household cooking in India. My dinner guest, who just returned from a SEVA-inspired trip to Liberia, was intrigued with my resolve to cook with a non-traditional cooking fuel. I reminded him that dung and a handful of twigs is a traditional cooking fuel, but as Americans, we are quite removed from what is traditional and practical.

On Sunday, I made moussaka from my CSA box. It was loaded with eggplant, Yukon Golds, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, parsley, oregano, basil and too many zucchini. Using as much as possible, I made an enormous pan of moussaka. The red sauce created without recipe, but only with the inspiration of the contents of the CSA box. The white sauce created from cooked and pureed cannellini beans with sauteed onions and too much garlic. As I am trying to stay away from dairy, I used about two ounces of cheese at the end of baking, letting the cheese melt into the top of the layered potatoes, eggplant and zucchini bake. Eggs were omitted. It was good and well worth the time it took to prepare and finally assemble the various layers. My friend Mark, who shares the CSA box with me, brought over a bottle of Rose` that went well with eating, conversation and sitting on the porch on a Sunday evening.

It is a quiet start to the week. The abusive neighbors moved out between Saturday and Sunday. The Mourning Doves are cooing with renewed contentment. The dogs around the block are relieved of their nervous barking. My kitchen door opens to a peaceful and wildly growing backyard green space. The moon is waning while autumn sneaks a kiss with summer.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Travel Day

I have a strong urge to see my original acupuncturist.

Photos: Train station in Lamy, NM and train lunch.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Call of the Elementals

In a blog that I follow,, the writer recently asked the question, "Do you use any herbal remedies or home cures?" At first, I was reluctant to answer that I do use herbal remedies because I have a sense that buying herbal formulas and tinctures from local herbalists has a connotation of dealing with witchcraft. Fortunately, I have met some inspired herbalists who helped me be comfortable with using herbs. I can promise from my experience that they are not the villains or evil entities portrayed in movies or religious propaganda.

In the early 70's, one of the first herbalists that I met, helped me to make a soothing herbal tea blend. Using the famous book, Back To Eden, she showed me how to make custom blends of tea. Once that door was open to the knowledge that people could create their own remedies, I started noticing that many of my friends were creating their own tinctures, teas and salves from their garden herbs, flowers and roots. Friends who changed their names or named their children after the common or Latin names of botanicals both intrigued me and sometimes frightened me. I knew that many of my friends had an affinity and Divine calling to work with plants. But I also knew that our culture, religions and government battled against the use of home remedies and those who worked with the sprites, elementals and fairies.

I am not an herbalist, but I come to herbal remedies and formulas with respect. About ten years ago, while having severe peri-menopausal disruptions, I talked to my allopathic doctor about what to do. First, he warned against the hysterectomy that the OB-GYN suggested. He warned against the hormones that were manufactured without regard to the human body. He warned against pharmaceuticals. Instead, he suggested to find my way and talk with other women. When I returned home, I called the woman who I know to have the biggest front yard herb and flower garden. She pointed me to Susan S. Weed. From there, I worked my way into the life of being peri-menopausal. The male allopathic came along on this journey of watching me take charge of my body.

Once that door was open to me actively finding my way, Naturopaths appeared. I was flooded with choices and opportunities. I was also gifted with confidence in "being allowed" to find my way.

I am currently in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It seems that every style of herbalist and healer spends time in Santa Fe. The local farmers' market can have as many as six herbalists on a Saturday morning, selling their herbs, lotions and tinctures. I am attracted to Artemisia Organics and her line of herbal formulas, lavender skin care blends, various rich oils, Osha root syrup and lavender honey.

The closer I move in the world of the natural, the more I feel entrained with the plants and the elementals. There are times I am called to play in the berry patches and times I am called to rest my head against the earth to listen to a root. Since this is the New Moon, I am called to create something new.

Sometimes, I am called to have a beer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Alberta Rose

Enjoying Alberta, Canada. Tomorrow, Ian Tyson Concert.

Thanks to Michael Caditz for photo of Alberta Rose, shot at our campsite at Wapiti Campground at Jasper.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Think I'll Go Out To Alberta

Last stop is Great Falls, Montana. Then on to Alberta, Canada for a week long hiking and camping trip in Jasper.

Following a week of trails and Solstice, we'll go to Edmonton, where Michael and I have excellent seats to see Ian Tyson. Tyson has been one of my favorite singer/songwriters since the late 60's.

I continue to navigate my life using and reducing the prednisone and antibiotic.

The blogs that I've been following, especially the nature, gardening and contemporary divine feminine/mystical topics, have been deeply inspiring and nurturing. My soul is feed here, but is ready for the experience of hiking trails, glaciers, sky and earth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sleepless With Prednisone and Doxycycline

Yesterday was our second veggie box from Whitefeather Organics CSA. Since I am sans car here in Stevens Point, I took a short bike ride to the pick up location. The box is generously filled with radishes, leeks, scallions, mixed lettuces, about three pounds of spinach, asparagus, pea tops, turnips, green garlic and golden oyster mushrooms. This is a fabulous, high gourmet quality, locally grown offering from the sands of Central Wisconsin. This part of the state is the terminal moraine, the area where the glacier stopped and dropped sand, silt, and minerals. I am eating from the earth where a glacier once rested.

With all of my good nutrition and my determination to stay healthy, I'm afraid that the eczema on face, hands and wrists is beginning to wear on me. My immune system started to feel compromised. I went to my family practice doctor; we've been together since 1979, when he first opened his clinic. We stayed together as I transitioned from using him as a primary care physician, to using him when I have a health crisis but would chose to resolve my issue through rest, herbs, exercise, nutrition, acupuncture, massage and Network Spinal Analysis. I usually tell him my plans for resolving an issue using the alternatives to allopathic, then proceed. On Wednesday, I asked for more aggressive help and that I would be open to using drugs.

Wednesday night, I began a course of pharmaceuticals for my skin: prednisone and doxycyline. Although I am not happy about it, I am already feeling relief from the burning under the skin, less visible blazing inflammation and the end to the scratching open of my skin during my sleep.

Sleep is another issue. Yesterday was the first full day of taking the medication. Last night, after three hours of sleep, I woke up, and was unable to return to sleeping and dreaming. This is unusual for me. Whenever awaked during the night, I can almost always return to sleep within minutes. In those sleepless hours, I listened to the rain, and felt gratitude for the coolness of the air and the slow steady drink to the thirsty plants. There was an appreciation for the pre-dawn sounds of this rather quiet city. But every time I thought I was drifting off into sleep by the sweet scent of rain, I could feel the twisted mandala of the prednisone and doxycycline in my body and in my auric field. I tried to chant, but scenes of a disturbing film noir visited me, intermingling with the structure of the pharmaceutical mandala. I found that if I started to imagine cleaning cupboards, washing walls, or polishing a pan, I could change the structure. Mostly though, the mandala won-over. After all, I did say that I was open to using these chemicals.

I've been awake since before one in the morning. With a fine mist of rain, I took a ride on my bicycle to the river, (the Wisconsin River), then to Emy J's for a cup of coffee. The cool moist rain felt good on my face. It was like receiving a natural facial. I tried not to think about the heavy metals or possible radiation in the water from the sky. Unfortunately, that was like being told to NOT think about monkeys.

Last year's berries:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A week from today I leave my little Church Street hermitage and return to New Mexico. I already feel my judgements that while here, I did not chant enough, did not fast enough, did not walk down to the river enough and did not embrace the silence enough.

With the exception of attending a wedding, I've refrained from public socializing. Instead of meeting friends for coffee or social affairs, I've invited a small assortment of guests over for coffee on the veranda in the morning, tea in the afternoon and a glass of wine in the evening. With summer in full swing, it is nice to sit outside in the freshness of the daily greening of two maple trees. The branches become heavier each day, the growing leaves pulling the branches closer to the earth, creating tunnels in the front yard.

Some days, I sleep late, missing my 3:35 am wake up to meet my 4 am chanting schedule. Instead, I stay in my bed, sleeping until 5:30, missing my Agni Hotra Homa sunrise timing. On awakening, I have a less than one-hour period of chanting, asana and meditation. It seems like I lost my discipline and instead race to have coffee and catch an Wi-Fi signal.

Whatever I am doing in the hermitage, I appreciate the simplicity of my routine. Waking to the morning song of birds and the smell of foliage from the blackberry plants that are growing outside of my bedroom window. I like how I can eat on my own schedule, not being expected to produce meals for a household of two and drop-in guests. Washing clothes has its own simplicity. Drying my yoga whites has become a practice of giving them enough sunlight, without the help of a clothesline. My other clothes dry closer to the earth. My days are an act of simplicity.

I've spent entirely too much time on the Wi-Fi signal that comes into my hermitage. I've found some excellent blogs written by women. I have so much gratitude for the company of women who are writing beautiful blogs. The blogs are filled with information about recycling, herbs & flowers, nature & nature writing, poetry, relationships, cooking, gardening and relationships/cooking/gardening/recycling/nature and life combined. The most valuable part of these blogs is my sense that with all of the women who are sharing their passion, I feel as if I am in the company and the grace of the Divine Mother.

Reading the blogs and savoring the messages, is my meditation. I am being nurtured and being restored by the presence of the Divine Feminine.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I've decided to start using this photo of myself as my profile photo. Until now, I've been reluctant to show that I've been aging and becoming more frail. I've been hesitant to let others see that I am not in the robust health that I managed to portray for the last ten years.

Last July, during a particularly auspicious astrological period, when Saturn entered Libra at the time of a full moon, a lunar eclipse and grand cross, I started to have some health problems. It was the same time that I saw my Beloved Teacher for our last time in these physical bodies. He himself became ill and left his body on the first of October. That is also my birth date.

Since then, I seem to have a weakening of my body. I am not as strong as I used to be. Maybe it is just leaky gut syndrome or a loss of strength after having shingles. Maybe my will to live is decreasing. Maybe it is transition and transformation time again.

In my life is a partner who loves to photograph my image. He continually takes photos and makes movies of me. Sometimes I wonder if he does this so that he can show younger women that he has a frumpy wife/partner. But in my heart, I know that he loves me and does not see me as frail and sick. He photographs me because he sees what he loves, and he loves to photograph the object of his love. Because of the rash on my face, the puffiness of my eyes, or my tired stature, I want to politely ask him to refrain from taking movies and photos of me, but I don't want to squash his happiness.

In this photo, we are in Big Bend National Park in Southern Texas. It is a few days after the tsunami hit Japan. We are at the Rio Bravo. Just across the river is Mexico. It is a breezy evening and we are walking along the U.S. Border, after having found a cache of hand made items for sale from someone who boats to the U.S. to dispense fork art treasures. We paid six-dollars in cash for a copper wire scorpion, placing our dollars in a glass jar to an unknown vendor.

My partner continued to snap photos of the U.S. river border, the landscape and scenery. We walked together along the river. He asked me to turn around because he wanted to take a photo of me. When I looked at him, I felt so much love for him and I saw his love for me. It was one of those precious moments that I like to remember of being with Michael.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Noxious Weeds

Early spring gives me a chance to do some urban foraging. I was inspired by an excellent blog writer from an Eastern state to discover the health benefits of noxious weeds and early spring plants. At the same time as I explore, I find that I am having an explosive episode of eczema. For the first time in more than fifty years, my face is overrun with red inflammation and papery flaking. This happens on the day of the wedding of wonderful friends who I traveled over fourteen hundred miles to see.

But back to the noxious weeds component. I've been making meals using the famous garlic mustard that is popping up along roadsides and in dark places behind garages and barns. I create various pestos, using the garlic mustard with watercress or lettuce or arugula. It seems healthy and a great idea. But a question is buried inside that wonders about what kinds of toxins were dumped in the habitat of the garlic mustard? Do those toxins enter into the plant and then into the people who eat the plant? Or have the toxins been transformed through photosynthesis and other actions of the sprites and faires?

I am grateful for the transformation of a toxic atmosphere and earth, to a nurturing planet by the grace of the plants.

This is somewhat disjointed, but I write and post while doing a cazillion things prior to attending the wedding.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Church Street Ashram

I've returned to the Church Street Ashram, a quiet little living space near downtown Stevens Point. It offers me a chance to live simply and quietly.

Although I've been here during the winter months to experience the rich solitude and winter darkness of the Solstice, I appreciate the transformation of late spring into summer.

The kitchen is tiny and inspires simple meals. Mostly, I eat from the local farm market, items I've foraged near the river or precious greens from the gardens of friends. Suddenly, garlic mustard is coming into everyone's garden. I eat well and believe I will be preparing a jar of garlic mustard kimchi before the end of this week.

One of my favorite features at the ashram is my bedroom. My head faces to the east. On the other side of the wall and out the open window, is a wildly growing bed of big black cap blackberries. In this urban landscape, what are the chances that I can sleep indoors, yet mingle and sleep with the wild blackberries as their foliage expands and pushes into my sleeping space?

This is an urban ashram, with no physical guru or guide. There are no rules. The residents follow a chanting practice, live at their own pace and keep their guru close to their hearts. Satsang is usually spontaneous depending on the daily schedule.

I've been following several other bloggers who inspired me to write here today.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Current Reading Stash

To get a better idea of what I am currently doing in my life, take a look at my present stack of books.

The study of macrobiotics and macrobiotic living has become a big part of my daily life because of an issue that I am having with severe eczema, exhaustion and fatigue. I'm using the recipes and the daily living suggestions to address my skin and internal condition. With one bowl for eating, and several small cooking vessels, I am able to prepare simple healthy meals.

While in my little hermitage, I am using the book, THE PRACTICES OF YOGA FOR THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, for the study of yoga asana, breathwork and visualization and go deeper into my yogic practices. I read several passages from Swami Sivananda's JAPA YOGA, each night before going to sleep. I have a 90-minute Sanskrit mantra chanting practice in the morning. Sivananda's passages give me the light of intention for my 4 am practice of japa.

I also have two Ipsalu Tantra Kriya Yoga texts, so that I can refresh my knowledge and performance of individual practices, and be better prepared to work with the people who come to me for mentoring.

Of course, I have an Osho book among the mix. I like the classic, AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SPIRITUALLY INCORRECT MYSTIC.

Most of these books are from Downtown Books, a used bookstore in Milwaukee, from the public library, some from my travel bag, and two returns from previous loans to friends.

I'm obviously deep into living a hermit yoga lifestyle. In addition to these practices, I am going to acupuncture, taking long walks along the river and going to yoga classes.

If you've read this far, thank you for your interest. I should also mention that I am currently not in a position to date or meet for coffee. I do, however, meet some friends for Monday Morning Tea.

Special thanks to oedipuscrow, ttp://
for his suggestion to share a reading list.