Viriditas (Greening)

It’s time to choose my word for the year. This yearly ritual helps to focus my time and energy. I like to see the ways my word shows up in my life.

The word viriditas chose me this year. This word means “greening”, as in the waiting-for-the-lush-spring-growth-to-erupt kind of green. It is full of potential and vitality. Mystic Hildegard de Bingin associated this word with spiritual and physical health.

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On this first day of a new year, I sense the greening within me. I sense spiritual greening within my church community, within the country and the world. Despite our disagreements and differences, I have hope that is growing stronger than the fears that seem to bubble up with the possibility of change. I am looking for the leading growth shoots of spiritual awakening that I can nurture around me this year. I sense something big is waiting to burst forth and erupt with a refreshing surprise.

This anticipation of a global spiritual renewal is something that many of us have been yearning for. This holy greening, waiting to give birth to all sorts of new opportunities has been lying there dormant in our collective unconscious, waiting for the right moment to emerge. Can you sense this life-force energy bubbling up to the surface, ready to send out tender young shoots of new life?

What is “greening” within you? I invite you to notice what springs up to life within you in the coming months. Here are some questions for reflection:

  • What is waiting to burst forth within me physically and spiritually this year?
  • What new possibilities for my future can I nurture today?
  • What gives me a sense of vitality and zest for living?
  • How am I using my creativity to co-create with the Divine?
  • How am I creating viriditas within my body, mind and spirit?
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Photo Credit: freeimages.com/bobsmith

Reading Recommendations

I am often asked to recommend books on various subjects by friends and clients. Usually, I can go pluck a book off the shelf and loan it to the person. I’m getting to the point where I can’t remember who I’ve loaned which book to. Some come back. Others are never seen again. Sometimes I discover multiple copies on my shelf, that I have re-purchased. I like to go back to favorite books and see what I have highlighted or underlined or tabbed.

11973373_10153664285328573_861380738_oI finally came up with an Amazon list of my favorite books. When you become an Amazon Associate, you do the marketing for them by telling all your friends about your favorite books. As a reward, they pay you a (very small) commission. I’m talking pennies here. I think around the holidays last year, I made 38 cents from several purchases friends made. I’m sure Amazon made a lot more money than that from those purchases.

IMG_20150810_095331180Regardless of whether people purchase the books I recommend through Amazon, I like having a place where I have my favorite books listed by categories. People can easily click on the link and see more information about the book. They can sometimes look inside and read a few pages. They can see what others have to say about the book. Then they can decide to check it out at the library, borrow my copy, or make a purchase online through Amazon or another source. (I do like Better World Books as well.)

So for what it’s worth, here are the links to my favorite books. They are listed by topics. It’s not comprehensive. I keep adding books as I read them or as they get recommended to me by others I trust. There are books to balance your MIND, your BODY or your SPIRIT.  Whether you choose from my MUST READ list, WELLNESS resources, SPIRITUAL LIFE resources or my CREATIVE ARTS resources, there is hopefully something that will interest most readers.

Happy reading!

PS. If you want some other great book recommendations, be sure to check out Caroline’s recommendations at the book-dr: reading for what ails you, at http://book-dr.com/wp/

Cultivating Creativity

Cultivating CreativityCreativity feeds my soul. It’s not the final project as much as the process that is deeply satisfying. When I look at my past projects, I can see the inner journey that occurred through the years.

I’ve enjoyed a variety of creative endeavors in my life and find the skills in past projects are helpful in new projects. Scrap-booking skills were helpful when I started Soul Collage cards. Jewelry making skills were useful when I wanted to embellish my handmade books. My 4H sewing experience helped me as a new quilter.

My husband introduced me to ceramics. He brought a potter’s wheel and kiln to the marriage. Both of our boys also enjoy ceramics and have surpassed my skill level. It is rewarding to take a formless lump of clay and create a useful shape. Even the failed attempts are part of the learning process. Sometimes I manage to create something beautiful. Ceramics gave me an eye for shape and form.

Another creative project our family enjoyed was building a number of hand drums. In the course of one weekend, we sanded, stained, and decorated the drums. It was labor intensive, especially the final lacing and tuning. The sound is amazing. I love the vibration in the room when we play them. I learned that creating something myself can be higher quality and more satisfying than buying something factory made.

I’ve gone through several cycles of fabric arts. My first quilt was a California Queen sized denim quilt with a three-dimensional angel in the middle. It took me almost a year to complete. I went several years before attempting quilting again. I learned not to tackle large projects when learning a new art form. A few years later, I joined a quilting guild, so I could learn some new quilting techniques. We met every other week during the school year and learned new techniques each meeting. Sometimes we swapped fabrics and patterns. The result of that two year time-span was a bin full of UFO’s in colors and designs that I did not enjoy. (That stands for Un-Finished Objects or UFO’s, for those of you who are not quilters.) I finally made peace with the fact that my UFO’s were a learning tool and I don’t need to finish them.

One of the projects I did finish during that time was a batik quilt I made for my 40th birthday. I call it “Breaking Out of Tradition” because the center shifts 45 degrees to create a new design. I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted to do, but did not follow any patterns. I learned to be adaptive and that it’s ok to take things apart and re-do it if needed. I also made several smaller wall hangings in bright bold colors. The rainbow-colored spiral wall hanging is called “Ignite the Fire Within.”  My captured fabric journal cover was completed during a weekend retreat. It is rewarding to have finished projects in colors and textures that I love.

For my 50th birthday, I learned how to paint silk scarves from the women at St Margaret’s House in the Silk Creations program. They are amazing artists. I love the colors and feel of the silk scarves, which are a joy to wear. I made a large silk wall hanging symbolizing the tree of life and the empowerment of those women, which now hangs in my bedroom. I am inspired every day when I see it.

Some of the art I make is hidden within my journals. I usually don’t share those with others. Sometimes it is poetry or word poems I create. Other times I make sketches or paintings. They are a depiction of the inner work I’m doing: My inner child is dancing with the Divine. I’m at a Sacred Threshold. My roots and branches reach out in new directions. I embrace the beauty within me. One of the most interesting art experiences I had was a series of intuitive painting classes. It was very insightful as the painting morphed into various images throughout the process. When I spent time journaling on the process, I was amazed at what I learned about myself.  I’ll save that story for another time!

I can chart my inner growth with these various projects. Others may see art, but I see the inner story unfolding. Art and creativity touch my emotions and help me process them in ways that words are unable to do. When I don’t take time for art, life feels dull and my soul feels heavy. I’ve learned to make art an important part of my week.

What are you doing to cultivate your creativity?

Weekend Percolations:07/18/2015

flowersHere are some favorite websites and ideas percolating this week:

DharmaComics has a new animation that is cute.

I love this story about feeding your inner wolves. Which wolf do you choose to feed?

I discovered the Cozy Minimalist through a friend this week. Join me in simplifying your home and living space!

I’m trying out lots of new salad recipes this summer, with the abundance of greens from our local CSA.

I’m enjoying our hydrangeas. Ever wonder the trick to making them change color?

I discovered a new book, thanks to my niece’s blog. If you want a fresh reading of the Psalms, try this re-duxed version by Carla A Grosch-Miller.

Here is a list of 10 things resilient families say to each other. Check out the PDF to download for kids.

I’ll end with one of my favorite animated videos, called The Misguided Monk.

Have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Windchimes stir my heart’s song

19302581775_00f92d6614_cI love the sound of wind chimes. They make my heart sing. I have several that have various pitches and tones. I like the harmony they create as the breeze gently blows through them.

Why are these tones so deeply satisfying to me?  I’m not sure. I did not grow up having wind chimes on the farm. I can’t even remember when I first started collecting them. I just know that I feel a deep satisfaction internally when I hear the chimes singing in the wind.

My favorite set of wind chimes are from Ten Thousand Villages, my favorite Fair Trade store. They have deep tones. The finch feeder is hanging next to it, on the corner of our sun room deck. I enjoy hearing the chimes and watching the birds in the evening.

Perhaps the chimes are a reminder of the elements. Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. These elements help me feel connected to something bigger. I am connected to the Creator through these elements. So when I hear wind chimes, they become part of my heart prayer to the Creator.

What makes your heart sing?