Saturday, December 28, 2013

RIPE FRUIT


I was blessed a few weeks ago with a big box of pomegranates.  A man with an orchard of 1500 trees near Fresno was giving away a box of fruit that needed a home quickly.  They were ripe. I have always loved the mystery of this ancient fruit.  Cracking the skin and pulling it open always seemed a bit miraculous to me. Red seeds surrounded with little packets of juice.  It is impossible to open one and eat it without getting that deep red stain on my hands. Tattooing from the Gods in the most delicious form. That seems part of the gift too.



These special bundles of juice and nutrition are rich in symbolism and history.  Every major religion and many cultures honor this fruit.







We know it to be rich and health-giving. Scientifically we know it is a major heart healer and antioxidant.

I was thinking it would be a good symbol for our new year coming.  It comes to us through, TOUCH, SMELL, TASTE, and SIGHT.    

It can hold the image of


HEALTH,

MYSTERY

AND

BEAUTY. 

Now wouldn’t these be good guideposts for a new year?  I was thinking YES!!

For further interest, I have included posting from the website "The power of pomegranate symbolism": 




Pomegranate Symbolism: Judaism


The pomegranate is popular within Judaism.

As references in the Hebrew Bible indicate, pomegranates decorated the priest's robes and the temple.

Pomegranates were eaten by the Israelites while they were in Egypt. As they traveled to the promised land, there were places without pomegranates. But the promised land would once again provide them with the luscious fruit.

Pomegranates were also used for making wine.

A legend arose within Judaism that each and every pomegranate contained 613 seeds, representing the 613 commandments of Torah.

A belief also circulated that the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was the pomegranate.

Nowadays, the crowns on top of the Torah scrolls are often made in the shape of pomegranates. Pomegranates are used during Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and are used to decorate the Sukkah (hut or tabernacle) during Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).












Pomegranate Symbolism: Christianity



The pomegranate is often seen in paintings and statues of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus.

It's a symbol of resurrection and everlasting life.





Pomegranate Symbolism: Islam


The Qur'an refers to pomegranates:

6:99 - It is He who sent down out of heaven water, and thereby We have brought forth the shoot of every plant, and then We have brought forth the green leaf of it, bringing forth from it close-compounded grain, and out of the palm-tree, from the spathe of it, date thick-clustered, ready to the hand, and gardens of vines, olives, pomegranates, like each to each, and each unlike to each. Look upon their fruits when they fructify and ripen!

6:141 - It is He who produces gardens trellised, and un-trellised, palm-trees, and crops diverse in produce, olives, pomegranates, like each to each and each unlike to each.

60:68 - O which of your Lord's bounties will you and you deny? Therein fruits, and palm-trees, and pomegranates.

Legend states that each pomegranate contains one seed (aril) from the pomegranate in paradise.


Pomegranate Symbolism: Mythology

The Myth of Persephone


Persephone is the daughter of Demeter (mother goddess of crops) and Zeus.

The story goes like this:

"When Persephone is carried off to the underworld by Hades, Demeter is enraged and prevents the crops from growing. To restore the natural order, Zeus arranges his daughter's release by negotiating a settlement between Demeter and Hades. But Hades had already given Persephone a pomegranate seed, and since she has eaten the food of the underworld, she is compelled to spend one-third of the year there with Hades and the other two-thirds in the world above. (The Greeks thought of the year in terms of only three seasons: spring, summer and winter). This 'deal with the devil' was always thought to explain the arrival of spring, which is when Persephone returns to earth. Her subsequent return to the underworld means the end of the growing season and the coming of winter, seen as the time of death."

So, the changing of the seasons is said to be caused by Persephone eating a pomegranate seed - - food of the underworld.

Alternatively, it is thought that this myth explains "the fate of Greek girls who were often turned over to much older men in arranged marriages. Demeter's grief over the loss of Persephone was typical of the experiences of Greek mothers who gave up their daughters in arranged marriages, usually to an older stranger."

In this sense, the pomegranate is a symbol of the indivisibility of marriage.

Quotes taken from: Don't Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth C. Davis.


Pomegranate Symbolism: Chinese Culture



Here, the pomegranate represent many sons - - a common fertility symbol.


Pomegranates in Literature


Pomegranates are powerful in religious writings, as you can see above. But they're also powerful in other literature.

Pliny wrote about how to preserve pomegranates.

Homer referred to pomegranates in his "Garden of Alcinous."

Shakespeare wrote of nightingales singing in pomegranate trees (Romeo and Juliet) and of picking kernals out of pomegranates (All's Well that Ends Well).


Pomegranates in Art



Paul Cezanne's "Ginger Pot With Pomegranates and Pears" and Pablo Picasso's "La Grenade" both capture the beauty and power of the pomegranate.

The painting shown here was done by Elaine Kehew and can be seen at PhotoBucket.


Bless you all, and Happy New Year, Misty

Saturday, December 21, 2013

WE MAKE THE TURN




At 12:11 p.m. EST on December 21, the sun appears directly overhead along the Tropic of Capricorn, at 23.5 degrees south latitude. 





With the Earth’s north pole at its maximum tilt from the sun, locations north of the equator see the sun follow its lowest and shortest arc across the southern sky. 






For the next six months, the days again grow longer as the sun spends more time above the       horizon.

       
                                       More light, what a glory!!


Friday, December 20, 2013

A USEFUL CHRISTMAS - MY HOLIDAY NOTE



                                                                                   2013

I saw this photo and couldn’t put my eyes anywhere else.  I kept thinking about being USEFUL.  Our human need for that, or maybe as the photo shows, an animal need for it.  We get a look on our faces, a shift in our stance and a heart space deepened by the action.  We are grateful to serve.  Nice!   In looking for definitions, I also found the phrase “useful load”.  It is an aeronautical term meaning the maximum load a plane can take on above it’s own weight.  How do we determine this for humans?  How do we balance the need to help and the need to keep our load right for us?   I think this dog has it just perfectly.  He is tuned to the season, found the right thing to do, brought the right tools, was out on the land, and had a friend’s help and companionship…  All the pieces I wish for each of you who reads this.  May you have the happiest and best New Year.


 Love, Misty     And Iris and Zuzu, who are the most USEFUL pals.

Friday, December 13, 2013

HOLIDAYS…SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED







There is a saying that goes something like:  “I am forever comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides.  



I think the holidays are bit like that.  The big city center tree, the magnificent Martha Stewart looking wreaths and decorations add to our personal histories of holiday times, and we often feel ourselves lacking or inadequate.







It is a good time to remember that those decorations and events take vision, planning and effort.





So here is the deal:  You still have time to sit and create a vision how you would like to feel during this time.  Then you get to make a list of things that you need to assemble and gather them.  And the last part is  actually taking the time to put them together.



If you want to be with people start calling and inviting people to see you, or if you are short on people for the moment, then find some volunteering opportunities or group events in which you can partake in a sense of clan gathering.







Remember you need the pieces, the parts, and those parts are what will make your weeks to come wonderful, or just even doable. 




















Gather what you can, and do the tasks that will bring you a sense of participation and joy that can carry you through the days.  Celebrate the birth of moving, doing and creating something!



If you can build a wreath, do it.  Circles hold all of the energy, reminding us that all things come back to itself.  The next wreath you see, stop for a moment and think about what it took to be just as it is.  Enjoy that effort. 














Use this time as a way to circle back to yourself.












Take it easy out there.    Misty














Saturday, December 7, 2013

FEEDING THE WOLF, REBUILDING THE ALTAR

There is an old Native American tale.  An old man is talking to his grandson about good and bad things in the world.  He tells the child that all people have the ability and the choice to have good or bad behavior.  “We all have a great fight going on within us.  It is a terrible fight to the death between two wolves.  One wolf carries the energies of anger, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, guilt, inactivity, hatred and arrogance.  The other wolf  embodies hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, faith, love, peace and  joy.  The same fight goes on within every human, and sometimes it lasts for a whole lifetime."

The boy considered this for a while and then asked the grandfather, “How  does a person know which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee man simply said “It depends on which wolf you feed.”

Which wolf do we feed?  How do we translate this idea into our daily lives.  I was reading something recently that seems to resonate to this idea.  It was about ALTARS.  We were asked to identify and explore the idea that within our own value system we can SEE WHAT WE PLACE ON OUR OWN ALTARS.   Our own metaphorical altar.  The altar then is the way we value or nourish things within us.  Much like the wolves in the story above.

We can call the altar BEAUTY, FINANCIAL SECURITY, SICKNESS, REVENGE, RESENTMENTS, FRIENDSHIP, CLEANLINESS, CREATIVITY, INTELLECT….to name a few.






The exercise today is to ask yourself what wolves you are feeding?  Where do you place your energy?  What occupies your mental spaces?  Is it self centered, altruistic, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical… really take a moment and ask yourself for YESTERDAY how many minutes or hours did you put in the above categories.   It might surprise you.  Make the above list into your own.  List the categories that you did  give time to. 




Now spend a moment and imagine that those things are all on your altar.  See them as words or images or actual things that represent what you nourished yesterday?  Take a good look and then consider if this is what you really want in your space.



Know that you can refurnish, rework, rebuild, move, paint, destroy, or begin again with a new space for nourishing yourself.  You can change which wolf you are feeding. 

But know that you can only do that if you spend time looking at what is there.








SIT WITH YOUR ALTAR.  ADD SOMETHING NEW TODAY.  TAKE SOMETHING AWAY.  

Blessings to you and your family of wolves.  Have a great Saturday.  Misty

Sunday, December 1, 2013

BREAK MY HEART. OH BREAK IT AGAIN,...


"Break my heart. Oh, break it again, so I can love more fully."

-Rumi


There is something comforting about this idea.  That the heartache we experience prepares us for a deeper connection, meaning or experience of life.  

In this season of holidays, families, weather and darkness it is good to remember that things are not what we expect or even want.  They are imperfect and messy sometimes, perhaps sad or confusing.  This is OK.  I like the image of falling down in soft snow.  Not what we expect to do.  We look silly, we get snow everywhere, but we are OK.  We can laugh about it.



There is a quote from the movie Moonstruck, with Cher and Nicolas Cage where he says:  “I’m in love with you.  I love you.  Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice.  It ruins everything.  It breaks your heart.  It makes things a mess.  We aren’t here to make things perfect.  Snowflakes are perfect.  Stars are perfect.  Not us.   Not us.  We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts.  The only thing that is here is you and me.”





This might be a good movie to watch this season.  Nothing turns out the way people are expecting.  The fiancé asks a woman to marry her, but then cannot.  A husband cheats on his wife but she finds a way to forgive him and two people who shouldn’t love each other, do.  And the old man, walks the dogs and howls at the moon..  Sounds like a normal family to me.  Relax.  Laugh.  Break your heart, break it again, so you can love more fully.  Happy December to you.  




Today I am blessed.  Today you are blessed.  Today is a wonderful day.   Misty









Saturday, November 23, 2013

I PROMISE TO WITNESS

Why do you think people marry?  This was the question that Susan Sarandan asked of the private eye that she had hired to follow her husband in the movie Shall We Dance.

He said “romance?”





She then gave one of the most succinct and unvarnished views that I had ever heard.  Most people marry to have the other person fulfill their needs.  There are huge expectations of behavior, many not conscious.





Here is her answer:  "Because we need a witness to our lives.  There’s a billion people on the planet…what does one life mean?  But in a marriage, you are promising to care about everything… the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things…all of it, all the time, every day.  You are saying ‘your life will not go unnoticed, because I will notice it.  Your life will not go unwitnessed, because I will be your witness’".

If we were able to bring this idea to the process of dating and looking at our long-term spouses, I suspect there would be less divorce and certainly less disappointments and less of a drive to turn your mate into someone of which you approve. What if we thought of marriage as the building of a safe enough container so that each person would be supported in their journey to self.  One in which we agree and promise to witness and notice each other.  



What if you looked at a possible mate and said…Could I spend the rest of my life witnessing and noticing this person?  Could I make it safe enough for them to become who they need to?  Could I take good enough care of myself so that I would have the energy and stability to  be that noticed and witness?  Can I create safety in this relationship?  Am I mature enough and well balanced enough to pay attention to another living being in a loving way?  Can I keep my selfishness to a minimum?  Can I use my support system to fill up my own basket so that I have things to bring into the container of the marriage?  Am I brave enough to work at my own path and struggle with my own demons and not blame my partner for my own obstacles and fears?  Am I whole enough to care for another person enough to witness their life without judgement and notice who they are on a daily basis?



             Maybe these are the new questions.  

Notice how the shift is to what I can bring to the party, not how they are going to make my life wonderful.

Have a grateful holiday week and "Be careful out there English."  from the movie…………wait for it……..WITNESS



Saturday, November 16, 2013

TO WHOM/WHAT AM I BOUND?

To Commune: to confer, consult, converse, a mental or spiritual exchange, sharing, holding in common, community, fellowship, honoring social contracts, communication…



What is the social contract?  What have I contracted to do or be by being human in a democratic republic, this planetary realm?  What have I taken this life to do or become?  How do I learn this?  How do I express this?

In one of my favorite movies of last year, “The Cloud Atlas” explorations of reincarnation and responsibility are put to narrative form.  One is afforded the opportunity to see six or seven character interacting with one another over lifetimes, cultures and sexual identities.  It is not the neatened up version of karma.. If I do bad, bad things will happen to me, but more the idea that our energies commune, and there is ritual in communion among us.

One character, Somni-451 is asked about her philosophy following some choices she made with her life that will have fatal consequences.  In part she answers


 “Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb we are bound to others, past and present.  By each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”  

In this she refers to the collective future of us all.  An interesting idea don’t you think? My karma, so to speak is the world's karma.  Check out the film.  Don't try to follow each character so much as let the life of all the people in the movie wash over you as a whole.

What if all sentient beings, right now, in this moment knew that the next 10 things they did would greatly impact the future of our planet, our culture, our children and children’s children? How would it change the world?


What if we each know right now.. this next thing, and the thousand that follow will bring us all forward into communion with our future…possibly our future selves, but surely our communal future?  What if we knew that?





 Just for today.. try to hold that consciousness.  Just for today, or even the next hour.

Peace.  Inner peace is great.  Outer peace is nice too.  More soon,  Misty