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Gifts of Survival

In sweet darkness, braiding sweet grass,
smudge in herbal medicine
come to know ourselves
better

find your own trail, you are the indue
daisy-shaped flower, blooms while summer’s flower fades…
& found, wanting & lost?

Glide silently through
the water
travel the seas for one hundred million years, the ancestor’s gift,
survival instinct
perfecting self-reliance

shorter legs can scuttle at quite a pace
widely grown hybrids survive;
bright red, sweet and juicy
strawberry

vampire squid body
confusing the hunter
her luminescent cloud
baffles the predator

Golden and Delicious, wantonly pretty
African Carmine, fully awake 
needing sunshine

being alone
seat of creative energy
obtain nourishment

longevity
branching out, street smart with business savvy

rugged and determined
making money
minimizing
local menace

living the good life
adapting to novel threats
in changing
ecologies

every moment is a gift
of survival,
instinct

the life and spirit within

September days are crisp and golden.
I’ve been turn like the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky to survive. And when comeback to reality, I knew gracefully, life is a gift.

Ebelsain Villegas

Gifts of the Earth

Staying Alive –
first place of learning;
food and shelter
anchor
Eden’s
outcasts, shattered paradise –
Security and Well- Being
toiling, gardens for their own;
sparkling streams,
dense forests,
animals, and birds –
family, nature’s greatest gift.

Talking to myself but I never listen –
fossil fuels, water, wind, sunlight, forests,
valuable metals and even tides –
the air so vital for survival, of the living.

Talking to myself but I never listen –
air to breathe, nurturing rain, black soil, berries and honeybees, –
gifts of the earth we’ve neither earned nor paid for.

Beautiful vistas overlooking landscapes.

Leaves and flowers, fruits and seeds; Lakes and ponds, waterfalls and seas.

Colorful sunsets, rainbows, life and death, freedom, all principles belonging to nature and her cycles.

Gifts of nature
fresh flowing
sound and singing
diversity
nuts growing on trees –

the tree that became this page.

Sunny-Side Up

Happy and smiling
from ear to ear
Loving the look

See the newly brushed
thatch,
carefully raked
roof,
with its nouveaux
layered stone top.

I had the privilege of watching the roof of our outside cabin being rethatched. Thank goodness during this time, the rain joyfully stayed away; allowing for great and careful workmanship over the past seven days. It is the very first time for me, observing the artisans plying their trade with a buzz of professional activity.

RAIN IS GOOD FOR THE STRAW

And would you know, I was in the throws of writing this blog yesterday when a need arose for me to stop. Upon waking this morning I could hear the pattter of heavy raindrops on my rooftop. And just yesterday I wrote the above heading. So now, let me carry on while the sun is slowly waking up from behind the thick periwinkled – cotton clouds. I hope I manage to publish this blog today.

My bales of straw – rain replaces the plant’s natural moisture.

Thatching – an age-old craft

Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge (Cladium mariscus), rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof.

What was for centuries the roofing of the poor has now become the roofing of the rich. Thatched roofs are stylish, expensive, and quintessentially English.

Cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

When the Bronze Age inhabitants of England wanted to put roofs on their houses, they gathered up the materials at hand—long-stemmed plants such as wheat or straw. They’d bundle the plants together and pile them atop one another to create a thick roof that sloughed off rain and kept the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Their work looks deceptively simple.

The craftsmen who make and maintain these roofs are called master thatchers

While one would think that it requires nothing more than piling up bundles of plants, in fact the variations of roof styles, their curves, windows and ridgelines demand a skill that takes a five-year apprenticeship to gain qualification. – Sean McLachlan

Rethatching is an expensive venture.

Due to the recent hurricane and flooding that ripped off and destroyed rooftops in the area causing major damage, our outside cabin needed fixing too. We were lucky to have the insurance step in. The added blessing comes with a bonus, rethatching is only needed in 20 to 25 years. Besides I have the honour of watching the new thatch roof grow old with me, reminiscing the work of fine craftmanship.

Ajisai –

There is no argument, even if the celebrity popstar, – Madonna- Louise Ciccone, an American singer-songwriter, actress and film director has an aversion for them, any pure minded naked eye would be naturally inclined towards the exquisitely beautiful Ajisai.

By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Korea, and Japan

It seems that the most possible origin of “Ajisai”, the Japanese name for Hydrangea, comes from “Azusai”, meaning collection of indigo blue materials. This native Asian flower is a symbol of gratitude, grace and beauty, which features prominently in Japanese textiles. So you can reflect these qualities and have the garment to match. 

Hydrangeas are a familiar feature in Japan that marks the arrival of the rainy season.

Hydrangea season lasts from the end of May to the beginning of July. The peak is from around mid to late June.

Kamakura’s Famous Hydrangea Temple: Walk Among Flowers in Japan’s Ancient Capital

Kamakura is a seaside Japanese city just south of Tokyo. The political center of medieval Japan, modern-day Kamakura is a prominent resort town with dozens of Buddhist Zen temples and Shinto shrines. Its most recognizable landmark is the Kotoku-in Temple’s Great Buddha, a roughly 13m-high bronze statue still standing after a 15th-century tsunami. 

Kotoku-in Temple Canvas Print – Eva Lechner

“The name ajisai is often applied generically to other species in addition to the Hydrangea macrophylla. References to ajisai in Japanese literature appear as far back as the Man’yoshū, an anthology of poetry completed in the 8th century. Mention of the ajisai usually alludes to the spring rainy season.”

万葉集

The Man’yōshū or the ‘Collection of a Myriad Leaves’ is the first, and longest, of Japan’s poetry anthologies.

Madonna Loathes Hydrangea” 

Ajisai, the Gift that keeps on Giving

On September 1st, 2011, American pop singer Madonna attended the press conference for her director’s debut W.E. at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. Just prior to the beginning of the conference, Madonna was handed a hydrangea by a fan. Although she accepted the flowers with a smile and told the fan “thank you,” she was heard complaining about her dislike for Hydrangea to the woman sitting next to her. Madonna’s dubious remark quickly became a subject of controversy in celebrity news, leading to much online gossips and commentaries criticizing her fuss over flowers.

Beautiful girl wearing a pink hat with a field of flowers Hydrangea

On September 7th, Madonna’s publicist released a statement defending the singer’s remark in an interview with CNN:

“She’s entitled to like any flower she wants and she didn’t want to hurt the feeling of the hydrangeas of the world,” the rep said in a short statement. “No disrespect to the hydrangeas lovers of the world but she prefers different types of flowers.”

Well, at least the former Sacred Heart student should be thanked for her gracious smile. The fan who gifted the Hydrangeas was identified as a Ukrainian media personality named, Vitalii Sediuk.

Everything we do Counts

The Tao doesn’t take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
Tao Te Ching

Taoism has been connected to the philosopher Lao Tzu, who around 500 B.C.E. wrote the main book of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching. Taoism holds that humans and animals should live in balance with the Tao, or the universe. Taoists believe in spiritual immortality, where the spirit of the body joins the universe after death. – National Geographic, 19 May 2022

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” –Psalm 91:11-12

The darkness, the void, the space that the mind is terrified to enter, is the beginning of all life. It’s the womb of being. Fall in love with it, and when you do, it will immediately be taken from you, as you witness the birth of light. The Tao doesn’t take sides. It embraces both the darkness and the light. They’re equal. – Byron Katie

Beginning in her early thirties, Katie was so depressed and stuck in self-loathing that she was often unable to get out of bed for days or weeks at a time. One morning, in a sudden moment of life-changing insight, she saw that her suffering came from her thoughts about her situation—such as “my life is horrible,” and “I don’t deserve happiness”—and not from the situation itself. She realized a simple truth: when she believed her thoughts, she suffered, and when she didn’t, she was happy.

Byron Kathleen Mitchell, better known as Byron Katie, is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work of Byron Katie” or simply as “The Work”.

We are never really in control. We just think we are when things happen to be
going our way.”

~Byron Katie

Everytime I/we say “God please help us/me,” God hears. An invisible spiritual community surrounds us.
Angels are watching over us when times are good or stressed.
They come to guide, protect, encourage and strengthen us.
Often one of the invisible appear as a brother, a sister
and ever so often the angel masquerades as a stranger,
someone we don’t know, from Adam or Eve.

The beauty and calm of Lainsburg in the Central Karoo Municipality.

The power of a single wish or promise can change our own life and the lives of others for better of for worse.

YOU HAVE THE ABILITY, right now, to create anything you dream for yourself and others. An invisible spiritual community is there to support us.

Floating Clouds

The world’s affairs and the floating clouds – why question them? You had best take life easily – and have a good dinner. – “Giving P’ei Ti a Drink”

IN THE POEMS OF WANG WEI (699 -761)

Buy a bottle of
wine, sear a couple of steaks-
Dine beneath the dappled light



The Human Story

changes when women are the Storytellers.

Initially drawn to spirituality as a child, Elizabeth Lesser has been a leading voice in the field of healing for nearly 40 years.

NBC News
Inspired: Elizabeth Lesser

For more than three decades, Lesser has devoted herself to the worlds of healing, spiritual development, and cultural change, and dedicated herself to empowering women and protecting the environment.

The highly acclaimed author is the co-founder of the Omega Institute, a nonprofit, lifelong learning and wellness center.

Founded in 1977 by Elizabeth Lesser and Stephan Rechtschaffen, inspired by Sufi mystic, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan and his ecumenical spirituality, today the Omega Institute offers classes to over 25,000 people a year, at the 190-acre (0.77 km2) campus.

Elizabeth Lesser is the best-selling author of “Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow.”

“The book made me do it.” 

I personally found it sweetly encouraging to learn that she reads spirituality and self-help books for work and pleasure. This declaration of love put a skip in my own step. It made me feel light and happy. To make it less preachy, she believes that spiritual books must have a storyline.

Without a storyline, spiritual writing feels dry to me.

Even ancient religious texts, the most important teachings are given through parable, through human story.

In Broken Open the author bravely and beautifully explores one of the most compelling questions of life: How do we emerge from suffering and challenge with real, encompassing wisdom and love? Broken Open is her personal testament to the inner richness and potential of every life and a deeply trustworthy guide to the dynamics of healing and growth.

Marrow is a courageous memoir of two sisters uncovering the depth of their love through the life-and-death experience of a bone marrow transplant. 

She experienced being the donor for her sister’s bone marrow transplant. Their process -before, during, and after the transplant – encouraged them to take risks of authenticity in other aspects of their lives. “It is an honor to have been able to give life to someone I love as much as I love my sister,” she writes

It felt like I won the lottery when I found out I was a perfect match

She writes further and says “Marrow is an unflinching and beautiful memoir about getting to the very center of ourselves.”

Marrow is an unforgettable memoir about two sisters but it’s really about all of us. This is a book about the courage it takes to own our stories, to look truth in the eye, and to write our own bold endings. No one truth-tells with more soul and tenacity than Elizabeth Lesser. Her courage is contagious.”
Brené Brown, Ph.D.  Author of the New York Times #1 Bestseller, Rising Strong

Originally published: 15 September 2020 – Cassandra Speaks is a beautifully balanced synthesis of storytelling, memoir, and cultural observation.

What if women had been the storytellers?

Elizabeth Lesser believes that if women’s voices had been equally heard and respected throughout history, humankind would have followed different hero myths and guiding stories—stories that value caretaking, champion compassion, and elevate communication over vengeance and violence.

Cassandra Speaks is about the stories we tell and how those stories become the culture. The book is about what happens when women are the storytellers too—when we speak from our authentic voices, when we flex our values, when we become protagonists in the tales we tell about what it means to be human. – Google Books

Do you remember the Goodnight Moon story? ELIZABETH LESSER still reads stories about and for children. Don’t you to find when reading children’s books that the answers to life and the joy of living and loving is made so simple? While reading we realise how we complicate our own lives and by looking through the eyes of a child life takes on a whole new meaning, She has read Goodnight Moon 10 000 times, -let me put you at ease, it takes 30 minutes to read – over and over to her threes sons and now to her 3 grand babies.

We want a peaceful and lovely life for our children. Everyone wants that. And everyone deserves it.

The author keeps her writer’s muscle in relatively good shape all the time. In her writing room she surrounds herself with art, photos, inspirational sayings, meaningful tchotchkes, and books of all kinds that she can turn to when she needs a hit of insight or a refreshing pallet cleanser from the goop inside her head

People talk and write about finding one’s “life purpose.” How did she find hers?

I have not finished this task by any means. Mostly because life is always changing. There is no firm purpose to find—no final destination.” – Elizabeth Lesser

Originally published: June 1999

The Seeker’s Guide is a comprehensive, authoritative guide to the many choices facing spiritual seekers today.

The times we are living in now—there is so much uncertainty, fear, and change. It’s natural to feel afraid, to want certainty, to want control. But I suggest a different solution to our individual and collective anxiety—and that is to relax into the uncertainty.” -Elizabeth Lesser

ELIZABETH LESSER attended Barnard College and San Francisco State University. Before Omega, she was a midwife and birth educator. She has been active in local environmental issues for many years in New York’s Hudson Valley, where she lives with her husband. She is the mother of three sons.

Quiet the Mind

“When we slow down, quiet the mind, and allow ourselves to feel hungry for something that we do not understand, we are dipping into the abundant well of spiritual longing.”

~Elizabeth Lesser

excavating the
varied layers of the quiet
mind, curiosity is like hunger –
Are You Really Hungry?

Love is a fine wine
I am a fallen leaf
petal, dazzling the ground –
peaceful warrior

“He’s a vicious-looking brute”

“I wouldn’t trust him, his eyes are too close together.”

Physiognomy is a broad and integrative framework within which to study art, artists, artistic creativity, the venues of art, arts audiences, and aesthetic experience.

“You can tell she’s artistic just by looking at her.”

The nose in Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past and the teeth in novels by D. H. Lawrence foreshadow the narrative.

A face perceived as friendly or hostile is a typical example of physiognomy, and so, too, are objects (a brooding mountain, a peaceful glen) and events (an expectant crowd, a threatening movement).  

The Art of Physiognomy

Physiognomic undercurrents capture and hold the attention of arts audiences, including readers of literature, who are sensitive to the subtle nuances of artistic works

The topic of physiognomy has a marginal if not unsavory status in psychology because of its historical excesses and fakery; its close association with phrenology; and following the popular writing of Lavater in the late 18th Century, its use as a parlor game (Crabtree, 2000).  Consequently, neutral labels like non-verbal behavior (or communication), interpersonal space, body language, gestural psychology, and kinesics are substituted for physiognomy in order to avoid its negative connotations.- Martin S. Lindauer

Creative artists, open to the physiognomic wisps of sounds and other stimuli, discern what is difficult for most of us to hear, see, touch, and notice. 

“Character” actors often complain that they are being typecast, but there are faces that we can instantly recognize as portraying a villain, an intellectual, or sultry lover.

NOT ALWAYS THE CASE – “You wouldn’t think it to look at him, but he’s one of their top scientists.” “I know he looks rough, but he’s one of the gentlest people you’ll ever meet.”

Do these characteristics show character? A nose of a certain shape, a wide mouth, full or thin lips? Or is it more what we do with these physical features rather than the features themselves?

SouthAfricanArtists.com
Lesotho man with Wisdom in his Eyes

Physiognomic resonances abound in literature as well.  The Bible: –

  “A man’s wisdom makes his face to shine” (Ecclesiates 8:1).

The ancient Greeks placed a high reliance on Physiognomy, the judging of character by the overall shape of the head. In the 16th -19th centuries a number of people, from poets and pastors to anatomists and physciologists made studies of physcical form, and what it can show of the personality.

Physiognomics was the ancient science, first comprehensively outlined in a treatise attributed to Aristotle, that purported to read the “signs” of the face in the context of the human constitution of the four humours – sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic. Aristotle wrote that large-headed people were mean, those with small faces were steadfast, broad faces reflected stupidity, and round faces signaled courage.

http://www.div10.org/newsletter/oaca-spring-2016/physiognomy-arts-rich-neglected-relationship/

Physiognomy has its roots in antiquity. As early as 500 B.C., Pythagoras was accepting or rejecting students based on how gifted they looked.

Wikiwand
Physiognomy – Wikiwand

Given the contrivances of paintings and photographs – can we ever deduce anything about a person from their features?

The Mist Being –

Humana del Niebla,

Behance
Humana Del Niebla on Behance

In Japanese she is called Amaterasu-Ōmikami (天照大御神, 天照大神) – The Numina, who brings all light, all consciousness- CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS. – The spirit or divine power presiding over a thing or place.

Etsy
Japanese Sun Goddess amaterasu Omikami Handmade | Etsy

Etymology. Amaterasu can be translated as “Shines from Heaven,” with 天 meaning “heaven” (or Imperial) and 照 meaning “shines.” Amaterasu is shorthand for Amaterasu-ōmikami, which can be represented in Kanji as 天照大神, 天照大御神, and 天照皇大神.

In fact she is far too vast, too expansive in the pyschoid unconscious, there in the Mist the wild woman has no name. Pyschoid unconscious an analytical psychology, soul-like, a term that Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) applied to the collective unconscious, which ‘cannot be directly perceived or “represented”

Fine Art America
Reflections of a past Painting by Mazarine Memon

Cantadoras tell us, she lives at the end of time..

La Mujer Grande, the Great Woman; Luz del abyss, the light from the abyss.

Fine Art America
Mistic Painting Of A Young Indian Woman Wearing A Big Feather …

At the edge of the world, She is La Loba, the wolf woman,

Singulart
‘La Loba, the Wolf-woman V’ by Reka Barcza (2020) : Work on paper India ink on Paper – SINGULART

And La Huersa, the bone woman

She Who Is Art
Woman of the Bones — She Who Is Art

The Wild Women walks amongst us, she had no name, yet her on earth she is named, many names.

Ö, Erdöben, is not a religion, She of the Woods, is a practice, a discipline.

In Tibet she is called Dakini, the dancing force.

Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
Dakinis: Sky Dancers – Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia

And it goes on. SHE goes on

Rio Abajo Rio, the river beneath the river.

Eiyn Sof – Bandcamp
Rio Abajo Rio | Eiyn Sof

The chiming of her own inner rhythms, the sureness of her soulfooting.

Saatchi Art
Nombeka- the goddess of respect Art Print

The Mist Being, the woman who has lived forever.