Black Is The Night

That empty, listless feeling you get when you start to veer off of your own path is unsettling to say the least. You’ve tried and tried to reach this goal, this point, this place in time yet it still seems so far away. You reach your hand out to touch it and it’s almost like an optical illusion. Like someone is playing tricks on you. What do you do? Well that depends on you.

Do you wallow in the darkness and let it consume you? Thinking that everything that has gone wrong will go wrong and will continue to be this way?

Or, do you brush it off and ignore it? Completely missing the point and the lesson that this mistake may have intended to teach you?

Perhaps you find yourself in a comfortable medium. A medium where you will both appreciate the sorrow of the mistake and mishap yet rise up from the darkness and use the lessons learned.

How do we do this? How do we train ourselves to be balanced? Sometimes it is easier said than done and, believe it or not, vice-virsa.

Why is it that I blog for months and then seem to disappear into the unknown?

Is there really a reason?

Does there have to be a reason?

Know in my absence, however, that whoever may read this and discover it, I am thinking of you.

Thank you for being you. Thank you for existing. Thank you for taking the time out to view my blog.


Year and a Day! Day 1

So I decided to take the Year and a Day program, typically used in spiritual practice such as Wiccan and Pagan, and put my own twist to it. You can do this too if there is something you want to learn more about or perhaps start a new career. Give yourself 366 days to learn the material inside out, picking something new to learn each day.

Maybe you’re wondering what my Year and a Day is going to be about? Herbalism. Yes I have long been interested in the beauty, potency and wonder of medicinal plants. Not only will this incorporate plants, however, it will also incorporate meditation. My study will be, more broadly, integrative medicine.

Integrative medicine has been around for centuries and over in Europe, Asia and other parts of the globe, they see it as a serious practice. It encompasses treatment (and prevention) of disease from a wholeistic perspective. It sees that the entire body should be treated and stress should be regulated as well as diet and exercise in order to treat disease.

There are tons of accredited colleges offering study of holistic medicine, Chinese herbalism, Ayurveda and more. Here in the U.S.? No. We don’t see it as important. I could go on a long rant about how I feel we pump our bodies with chemicals and whatnot but that will be a different post.

So, join me on my journey of 366 days of learning and see where it ends up! Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired and learn a thing or two as well.

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001 – Wisdom Wednesdays – Two Bricks

English: Bricks in a wall.

Image via Wikipedia

Join me every week for a new edition of Wisdom Wednesdays. I take a quote, a lecture or something that has popped up in my life and share the wisdom I gained, with you!

About a month or so ago I had found a wonderful lecture by a monk named Ajahn Brahm who is an Abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery, in Serpentine, Western Australia. His talks are wonderful and wise and his charm laced with humor in all of his lectures have won the minds of thousands of viewers. To view his lectures please visit the Buddhist Society of Western Australia’s YouTube.

I’m not sure of the title of the lecture (and if anyone does, please let me know!) but he spoke about how he was building a brick building and couldn’t help but notice these two bricks that were out of place. For days he was squabbling in his mind over these two damn bricks. He stated that he wished to “Tear the whole thing down and build it back up again” Of course, this was something that just could not be done. After a few days a visitor came to the building and proclaimed how beautiful it looked. Ajahn looked at the person and asked if they saw the two bricks that were out of place. The onlooker simply stated “No, but I saw the hundreds of other beautiful bricks”

Isn’t that usually how it goes with us? We tend to look at those two proverbial ‘bricks’ in our lives that we just wish we could tear down and do all over? Days, months and even years pass and we still pick at these two friggin’ bricks. We zoom in on those flaws and see them as being this horrid and ugly part of our lives, our homes, our bodies, our relationships. Everything!

What we can learn from this is to take a step back and look at all of the hundreds of other things that we have done. Those beautiful bricks that we have laid with such precision and such care. Those bricks that we should be proud of and focus on. If this is a human condition, why do we do this? Why do we just pick out the ugly?

It’s actually simple, we want to constantly improve. This is not a bad thing but, we need to learn to accept and understand when the two bricks we are looking at simply cannot be taken apart. We can accept our flaws, notice all of the beautiful things about ourselves and move on to create new buildings with new bricks.

For a simple exercise on gaining perspective on your life, please visit Exercise 2 : Learn To Love YOU!

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Exercise 2 : Learn To Love YOU!

So I notice that when people first start talking to me they come off as being content with their lives only for them to open up five minutes later about how they hate x, y and z. When I first meet someone, whether it be online or off, I generally can get a good feel for who they are the minute I start speaking with them. I don’t like to sound cocky but I can see through people pretty well. Often times, I won’t point out these little things because, to me, that doesn’t matter. But, for the most part, people can generally go on and on about things they don’t like about themselves.

Think about it, while you may be shaking your head and saying “No, no I’m really happy” (Which, I think that there really are people who are happy with themselves out there) You can probably go on and on about this one thing that you really dislike about yourself. This can be some bad habit, your appearance, something you did years ago that still haunts you or a myriad of other issues. While we can all go on rambling about things we dislike, do we take the time to ramble about things we like?

I don’t mean that you should go running around proclaiming you are god’s gift to mankind but, be a little nicer on yourself! This exercise is designed to help YOU bring out those positive qualities and start highlighting those rather than always rambling about the negative.

1. Take out a piece of paper and fold it in half vertically. You should have a left and a right column.

2. Label one column “Things I love about my appearance” and “Things I love about my personality” Notice how we are not writing a “Pro’s” and “Con’s” list.

3. Begin with your appearance. I guarantee you can list at LEAST 5 things you love about your appearance. Is it how your hair shines in a certain light? Is it about how your eyes get to be a beautiful color when you wear a certain outfit? Or about how people are commenting on your beautiful figure? Whatever you can think of, write it down.

4. Next go to your personality. Do you love how you always can help out a friend in need? Do you volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen? Can you make others laugh? You can probably name a ton of things about your personality. Write ’em all!

5. When you’re all done, go over each list. Notice all of the wonderful things you have just said about yourself. Keep this list in a place where you can see it and the next time you’re thinking about rambling on about all the bad things, take a look at this list.

No matter what, you are beautiful and wonderful. There are so many diverse and great things about being you that only you can possess. Don’t worry that you don’t have what the person next to you has, be happy with what you have. More often than not, the person next to you is wanting something you have.

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001 Herbal Fridays : Lavender

So I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I’m so happy to be all moved into our new place so that I can!

Herbal Fridays is a series that I created to highlight one herb, mineral or healing plant per week. These plants I post have proven medicinal properties and I will provide tips on how to create tinctures, essential oils and teas. I do not diagnose, treat or claim to be a doctor. If you are having serious mental or physical issues I urge you to see a doctor. These should be seen as supplemental to a routine given by your physician. Always consult your doctor, especially if you are on medication, are breastfeeding, pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

This Friday we will be looking at the beautiful, sweet and calming nature of Lavender!

Lavender is well known for being a relaxant and has been used for centuries to help treat insomnia. Powders, sprays, body washes and oils have been seen to promote sleep and relaxation. A rather new study also shows that lavender can grow back hair lost due to a condition called Alopecia Areata. In 86 people, over the course of 7 months, saw a significant increase in hair growth after lavender oil was massaged onto the scalp once per day.

Lavender can be ingested but should not be ingested by women who are pregnant or breast feeding. It should be ingested at the lowest dosage (1 teaspoon per cup of boiling water) first to see your reaction to it and then increase as necessary (2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water)

Boil 1 – 2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes. You may reheat afterward and add sugar, lemon and honey to your liking. If you wish to make a blend, lavender goes best with catnip and chamomile for an even more potent relaxing effect.

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Why Should You Create A Daily Log?

Well since we all want to know more about the world, the first place that we should start with is ourselves. By creating a daily log for ourselves we can gain a lot of insight into who we are, how we act during certain times and what emotions or physical ailments trigger what. By taking some time out each day to fill out some information on ourselves we can begin to paint a picture of our true being.

Whenever I do my logs I like to include the current moon phase. There are numerous amounts of people who have linked certain moods of theirs to certain phases of the moon. I’m sure we’ve all heard “Well there’s tons of crazy drivers out on the road so it must be a full moon!” Nature has cycles and so do we and by taking the time to understand them we begin to understand ourselves.

Remember, you are going to want to make sure that you log at least for two weeks in order to begin to see a pattern. If you don’t see one after two weeks then I urge you to continue with your writing and log for at least two months. Doing this throughout the year can really boost your inner-knowledge and is a great tool to starting a self-help routine.

For a quick guide and links to printable and online versions of my logs please visit the following link.

How To: Create A Daily Log

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Exercise 1: Gain Perspective On Humanity

With the study of the history of humanity it seems that we have a gap between what it means to be human and our modern day society. For years we have seen countless wars being waged over things that just do not make sense. We began with land and have now worked our way to wars over our own minds. We began to create wars over who could think which way and what way of thinking is right. Where does this insanity end? Where should the line be drawn between what we can and cannot wage war over?

Our American society, which has now grown into a global phenomenon, has put such value on material gain and material things that we have lost sight of what it truly means to be human. Our sexual desires are now outlined by what we should and should not do during sexual intercourse. Our desire for food has been replaced by packaged and processed items and even the way that we entertain ourselves is outlined by what society deems “right”. What makes these things right? Who makes these things right?

When it comes down to it, each and every one of us is responsible for how we live our day to day lives. Whether you would like to believe we are controlled or not we have to understand that we do have choices. We have the ability to reach within ourselves and grasp what it truly means to be human.

The exercise I would like you to try is quick and easy and only requires you, a quiet spot (preferably alone), a piece of paper and a pen

1. First write all of the things that you disagree with in life. Whether it be religion, politics, the way someone does something.

2. Take a look at that list and see if you can attach any situations or persons to those disagreements.

For instance, you may write that you disagree with the Buddhist tradition and then go on to write that you disagree with it because someone has told you to. Or you may disagree with it because someone who believes in Buddhism has disagreed with you.

3. For those beliefs that you have attached to a person or situation, try and understand them. Feel the situation or person that has provided a negative backing to this belief. Take a deep breath and let go of those negative emotions. Understand that these are just words and you do not have to believe in them but feel yourself becoming accepting of the fact that these are just different beliefs. See them for what they truly are, differences of opinion.

4. For the words that you cannot connect to a specific person or thing I want you to take these into special account. I would like for you to research them and jot a few notes down. Understand these beliefs. See if you can gain perspective on them. While you also do not have to agree with them, simply disliking something because you “Just dislike it” is also not the way to go.

After this exercise understand that while there are differences throughout this world, we must keep our eyes open to everything. We must see that each and every person provides a vital role in life and that arguments over politics or religion is petty. Love one another and gain insight into humanity by accepting one another.

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Negativity Toward Occupiers Around The Globe

The intense negativity that I see toward Occupy Wall Street gets me frustrated, upset and downright depressed. Through this negativity, however, I have become even more enlightened and even more positively charged toward this movement. Through all of the shame the media tries to put on this movement to the disgusting police brutality against innocent protesters, I have seen hope.

Many ask the golden question of “Well what is Occupy Wall Street about?” and “What is the movement going to DO?” While these are all relevant and important questions I ask you to take a look deeper. To really step back and look at this movement from a whole perspective. What is it that YOU are expecting Occupy Wall Street to do? Is it political? Is it to see an economic change RIGHT NOW?

Whatever the expectation is, drop it. Occupy Wall Street is not about having expectations for anything. It is not about trying to gain political prowess with the rest of the world. It’s not about having immediate results. It’s not about trying to climb high in the ranks of political debates. It’s not about having a leader. It is about having human interactions with one another peacefully and to show the world that love is among us.

It is to have people understand that our government has been lying to us about things in the media, things on the internet, how our wars are conducted, how our money is spent. Through all this though, there are people who are awake to this. It is this awakening that is what the Occupy movement is about. It’s about opening your eyes to the world around you. Seeing people for what they are, people. Your neighbor is like you and me. The strangers walking down the street are the same as you and me. We are all alike in this and we all should show respect for humanity.

What I see whenever I go down to Occupy Wall Street is a loving community there to care for one another. There to shed light on issues that may not have light shed due to the fact that the media tries to block it. To help form humanity in a new and daring way. To have you look at the person next to you and smile. To love one another like we are meant to love one another even in these times of hardship. To show that he human race is not all that bad and that we are not all that jaded.

Love. This is what Occupy Wall Street is about. This is the message that they are trying to spread. You cannot have any better of a definition than that. You cannot express love in politics or economics because it is not something that you can say. You can only feel. You can only look at one another with respect. This will get rid of the greed the wars the hate and the rest of the issues that are among us today.

Love, my friends, love.

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The Ripple Effect of ‘Green’ Living

Earth Day Beach Day w/ UncleWeed

Image by kk+ via Flickr

By doing one small thing per day and by showing others that you care about the earth it can certainly create a ripple effect. We need to show the earth that we care and that we want to have a more harmonious life with, not only one another, but with OURSELVES! We are all in this together. Let’s start to show ourselves some respect by treating our living space, our bodies and our close relationships with love and respect!

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