Mediocre Midwinter Update

I’ve been feeling under the weather (which, by the way, consists of snow and more snow) from an icky winter virus. My sinuses ache, and I’m tired of coughing and blowing my nose. I just want to lie down in a dark room.

The kids, who had the virus first and passed it back and forth a couple of times, are feeling better and only cough once in a while. They’re back to their regular activities now. Crow has basketball practice tonight, for Saturday’s second playoff game. He had his best friend sleep over last night, and they were having fun playing indoor basketball and computer games. ElvenTiger slept over at a friend’s house (we did a kid exchange) after yesterday’s bowling party for another pal’s birthday.

Like most everyone in northern climes, I’m decidedly sick of winter. That usually happens around this time of year, right when the viruses crop up and the air is still cold and the ground is alternately frozen and slushy. I have been enjoying reading, writing in my journal, and putting together photo albums. The photo albums are thus far the old-fashioned paper kind. But soon I’m going to purchase a digital camera, and then this blog will get modernized, with the addition of actual images! That is, once I can figure out the process of posting the photos here. I’ll be seeking help from my more computer-savvy friends.

My creative projects are going really well. I have more than enough to keep me busy, even if I stayed home from work every day (assuming I feel well, of course). That’s a good sign, since that’s exactly what I want to do! And of course, I’m always coming up with new ideas for additional projects to start.

Looking at my goals for the year, I’m doing well with all of them except for my yoga practice. I haven’t been doing any physical yoga at all lately; just haven’t been inspired. I have, however, been practicing mindfulness with a renewed focus, and that’s been wonderful. I’m not sure how to get motivated to do yoga, though. Maybe I need to take a class again.

So, overall I guess the mid-winter blahs aren’t too bad here, though I’m definitely looking forward to returning to full health.

Food for Thought (and Nourishment)

As a mostly-vegan person who is trying to add more raw and living foods to her diet, as well as bring into balance my consumption of sugars, I’ve been thinking about the various meals my family and I eat on a regular basis. We mostly eat homemade food, with some exceptions based on time constraints.

Breakfast is usually either a fruit smoothie, a banana, or nothing. Many times I’m just not hungry for the first few hours of my day. I do drink a lot of water, though.

Currently I work outside the home, and my lunches are normally a salad and some fruit, or perhaps some leftovers from a previous meal (today I had leftover split pea soup). Occasionally I go out for lunch; BlackLion and I went out yesterday to this great new vegan restaurant (The Green Elephant in Portland) and I had curry and nan.

Here is a sample week of dinners, from this past week. Not sure what we’re having tonight, so I put last Friday’s meal here instead.

Friday: veggie burritos (vegan for those of us who wanted, with cheese for the other folks)
Saturday: a traditional pasta dinner with salad and garlic bread, and cupcakes, at a friend’s house (not entirely vegan)
Sunday: vegetable curry over rice (vegan)
Monday: a pasta dinner with a lot of veggies in the sauce, some homemade bread, and homemade whoopee pies for dessert (vegan)
Tuesday: veggie burgers, a salad and some tater tots (vegan)
Wednesday: split pea soup and homemade oatmeal bread (vegan)
Thursday: salad and a sandwich to go, from Panera Breads (not vegan)

I’d say this was fairly typical, though we were pretty busy in the evenings this week, so Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday’s menus had either time constraints or other locations involved. I like variety, so I tend to be the one in the family who seeks out new recipes and encourages Quester to get creative with dinners. The kids would just happily eat the same things over and over, for the most part. It’ll be interesting to see how our diet changes and/or stays the same when I’m the primary homemaker. I do want to migrate to eating more raw foods, which will be easier in the growing season.

What about you? What do you eat on a regular basis? Are you happy with your foods or would you like to make changes? Leave comments below if you’re inspired by the topic.

In another food-related note, I got a catalog last night from a food supplier, and policies about starting a co-op (they call it a “buying club”) with them. I think it’ll work well. I hope to have it up and running in time for a March order.

Make Joy, Not Fear

This is a big year for me. I feel I’m closer than ever before to really doing what I’m called to do. I’m overflowing with creative ideas and inspiration. I see a big fork in the road ahead, and I’m ready to take the path that’s right for me. It involves investing my energies and will in creating and learning and exploring and becoming more fully myself. This path is full of writing and magick and gardening, play and abundance. The other path is full of distractions and worries, limitations and fears and daily annoyances.

I’m not saying I’ll never worry or be afraid again. I’m choosing to work with those feelings in a new way. Using the tools I’ve learned over the years, I’m consciously allowing my emotions and reactions to flow through me, mindfully focusing on my true calling, my inner landscape, my authentic self. I repeat my mantra: go deeper. I believe I’m here for a reason, and that by following my deepest desires, I’m helping with the birth of a new way of being. Rather than being trapped in a declining culture, I’m assisting with the resurgence of love and connectedness. Rather than being a part of the problem, I choose to be a part of the solution, and I do so by following my heart. I choose the Good Reality.

“The original meaning of the word ‘apocalypse’ was ‘revelation,’ and in the esoteric spiritual traditions of the West, the apocalypse is regarded as a Great Awakening — a marvelous resurrection. I propose that the apocalypse we’re living through applies in both the degraded modern sense of the word — the end of the world — and in the original sense. In other words, collapse and renewal are happening side by side; calamity and blooming; rot and splendor; grievous losses and unpredictable surges of miraculous novelty. Yes, the end of the old world is proceeding apace; but it is overlapped by the birth pangs of a fresh, hot civilization that will be beautiful beyond all imagining.” – Rob Brezsny

The Snow is Always Fluffier…

I was going to call this post “The Grass is Always Greener,” but the landscape here is one of ice and snow, with green grass but a wispy memory. The question is: why is it that we always seem to want something other than what we have? In the abundance of snow, we’re aching for blooming flowers and warm breezes. Those of us with partners and families wish for a bit of free time to ourselves, while others are lonely and long for the commotion of a busy household.

What brought me to muse on this today, though, was reading several posts lately on unschooling blogs, about the overwhelming daily tasks of a purportedly “simple” life, and trying to get a disorganized day back on track. Yes, I’ve had days like that, and that’s not something I’m yearning for. But as one who is creating a self-directed life, free from the constraints of an office job, I’m a bit envious, even of the daily chaos of life with kids or the tediousness of household chores. I guess that’s part of the reason, right there – in order to have the impetus to make a change, we need to be able to see that which we want to manifest. “Hey, the grass really is greener over there! Or at least it’s in a shadier part of the pasture.”

I return to gratitude. I am thankful for my life, for all the love I’ve been blessed with, and for all the experiences I’ve had. I’m grateful for the opportunity to make changes and to continue to evolve and learn and grow. Thank you, universe, for all the snow…fluffy and otherwise.

Unschooling Wisdom

My metaphysical studies began, back in the early 1990s, with the Seth material and the books of Jane Roberts. Seth is a non-physical entity from another plane of reality, and his teachings were channeled through a writer named Jane Roberts, who also shared her own thoughts and ideas through her works of fiction and non-fiction. Whether or not you “believe” that Seth is “real,” the ideas he and Jane shared are, in my experience, creative, wise and very useful in building the life you wish to live.

While Seth never used the word “unschooling,” I recently found the following quotes, which to me describe the essence of learning that is self-directed and individually authentic:

“Each person can also intrinsically sense the direction in which he or she is most inclined. Inspiration will send nudges towards certain activities. It will be easier and more delightful for each person to move and grow in certain directions rather than others.”

“By looking at your own life, you can quite easily discover in what areas your own abilities lie by following the shape of your own impulses and inclinations. You cannot learn about yourself by studying what is expected of you by others – but only by asking yourself what you expect of yourself, and discovering for yourself in what direction your abilities lie.”

Seth through Jane Roberts. The Way Toward Health. Amber-Allen, 1997. Pages 175-176.

“I have mentioned before that play is essential for growth and development. Children learn through play-acting. They imagine themselves to be in all kinds of situations. They see themselves in dangerous predicaments, and then conjure up their own methods of escape. They try out the roles of other family members, imagine themselves rich and poor, old and young, male and female. This allows children a sense of freedom, independence, and power as they see themselves acting forcibly in all kinds of situations. To a child, play and work are often one and the same thing.”

Seth through Jane Roberts. The Way Toward Health. Amber-Allen, 1997. Pages 222-223.

For Alan Day

A beloved community member passed away from this Earth yesterday, at the dark of the moon. Alan was a loving, magickal, fey, joyful, musical and fun person. He had also been through the depths of depression and emerged from that dark Underworld with much wisdom. He touched the lives of those of us who were blessed to know him, no matter how well or how fleetingly. His eyes literally sparkled with benevolent mischief and faerie dust. He facilitated creativity, healing, and community-building all around him. His twin teenage daughters carry the light of his energy and spirit. His family, friends and acquaintances will continue to work and play in his footsteps. Thank you, Alan. I know you’re now in a place where you can freely dance and drum, create and delight, and continue learning. Enjoy your new adventures! Blessed Be.

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.”

– spoken by Merlyn the Magician in T. H. White’s The Once and Future King

Wintry Darkness

It’s the dark of the moon tonight, and supposedly a wintry mix of weather besides. Today’s rain was expected to turn to snow. Our homeschool group, the Maine Wholeschoolers, was supposed to do our Midyear Review tonight. We canceled so folks wouldn’t have to drive in the snow, but this next phase of the storm hasn’t materialized yet.

For the review, Crow created and edited some awesome videos, using a stuffed ground squirrel as the main character and a bowl of nuts for him to purse. Our cat Mystick also plays a supporting role in one of them; too cute! ElvenTiger is going to perform a song she wrote, and also do a choreographed song and dance with a friend. We’ve rescheduled it, so they’ll still get a chance to share their creations.

Meanwhile, we’re having a quiet night at home instead. Quester made curry for dinner, and the kids and I have a batch of vegan carob chip cookies in the oven. I’m blogging, Quester is reading, Crow is playing with Star, ElvenTiger is chatting to me as I type, and the cats are lounging (of course!). I have a good book going, about Mary, Queen of Scots, and I’ll probably curl up and read, while Quester reads to the kids. All in all, a mellow evening!

Winter’s not so bad…

In the Raw

I’ve been looking into the benefits of eating a diet composed (in part or in full) of raw foods. My assumption was that this meant eating a lot of salads, carrot sticks and fruit. Yes, you do eat those things, but I was surprised and pleased to find that there are tons of delicious-sounding recipes and ideas available (links below if you’re interested).

Some friends and I are planning to start by going 50 percent raw. I think that’ll be easy – smoothies for breakfast and salad for lunch, along with trying some recipes and adding those to the warm vegan foods I enjoy for dinner. Quester pointed out that we already have a food dehydrator, given to us by his sister several years ago and stashed in the closet because we had no use for it at the time. With our plans for starting a vegetable garden this year, I’m looking forward to exploring a new way of nourishing myself.

It’s as if, unbeknownst to me, when I became a vegetarian nearly 15 years ago I stepped onto a continuum of food choices that lead to better and better health. At age 38, I feel healthier than ever before, I rarely get sick (knocking on wood) and I’m finally satisfied with my weight (a big deal for most women in this culture). And I didn’t do it by depriving myself of anything; healthy foods are delicious and succulent and full of exciting flavors. What more could I ask for?

Here are some links I’ve been exploring:

The Master Cleanse & Raw Food Site: My reading about the Master Cleanse (I am on day 10 today by the way) was what got me inspired to look into raw foods recently.

The Raw Food Coach: How to get started with raw foods.

Living and Raw Foods: Great recipes.

Gone Raw: Food forum with lots of reader recipes.

The Garden Diet: The website of a cool family with testimonials and a description of their diet and lifestyle.

Enthused by a Book

I just started reading an amazing and life-changing book: The Four-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. I’m only three chapters into it, and already it’s helping me change my view on a lot of things. As goal 2 on my list of goals for this year indicates, I’m changing “what I do for a living” this year. Yet I would recommend this book even if you’re not considering that type of change. The author’s discussion of fears and why we choose inaction are mind-blowing. If you’ve ever put off a dream because you’re afraid of failure or the unknown, the questions in this book will give you a whole new perspective.

We are so often brainwashed by the culture around us; we think we “can’t” live our dreams if we don’t have the guarantee of earning a certain amount of money. That’s why I didn’t just become a writer in the first place! That was what I always wanted to do. I was taught, and I believed, that “no one can make a living through writing.” That is so obviously false that it now seems absurd to me. We create our own existence. If you try to be a writer while clinging to the belief that it won’t work financially, you’ll create that experience. If you instead change your beliefs and outlook, anything is possible! And even if you try it and it doesn’t work out as you’d hoped, at least you have done something new, experienced new things. There are *always* options. We create our own success, and even more importantly, our own definitions of success. Check it out.