Planting Paradise

Sharing this beautiful post from my friend, Laura. Thanks in large part to her and her awesome husband, as well as several other friends, Jason and I will be making this place our home at the end of this month!
To say that this place is a dream come true for us just doesn’t do justice to our journey. I will write more about that once we get settled in to the new place, but for now, I leave you with Laura’s gorgeous photos.

Laura Bruno's Blog

The first summer we lived here — 2013 — this median facing an ugly view required a date with two batteries worth of weed whackers at least three times per week. We’re talking fast growing, out of control weeds on a strip of land with giant holes and rock hard, uneven soil, and an often flooded driveway. It crushed my soul to see this median as we approached our house.

I can barely believe the difference four years makes! This same strip is now a rain garden, bird and butterfly paradise, with serviceberry trees, Robinhood roses, sunflowers, lilies, milkweed, bachelor’s buttons, love in a mist, cosmos, and more. The fragrance alone is worth the trip. Last year, those roses bloomed from late May through the end of November with barely any care. Birds ate the hips this winter and spring.

Don’t ever doubt that you can change the world, one…

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Healing my Memories of Home

old brown trailer

Old trailer like many of those I lived in as a child

I bet many of you lived in a place like this, and you will be able to relate to what I am about to say. My family lived in several places like this; some in trailer parks, some not. But they all shared a smell, especially in the South: cockroach spray. All the places we lived in reeked of the stuff. I can still smell it in my mind. By the time we lived in them in the mid-80s, these places had seen way better days. They often had soft floors around places where water might accumulate, like the toilet, the shower, and the kitchen and bathroom sinks.  In one trailer, we had to be careful not to stand too close to the front of the shower because the floor under it was so weak, a 90 pound 11-year-old might go crashing, naked, through the floor on to the ground below.  In another place we lived, that actually did happen to my mother, and she had the scars on her right calf to prove it until the day she died.

We didn’t always live in trailers. A few times, we lived in apartments, but those proved to be no better. Another place we lived, an upstairs apartment, had one bedroom that was completely unusable because the previous tenant had had dogs who were kept enclosed in it and there was so much calcified dog poop on the floor that you couldn’t walk anywhere in the room without stepping on it. I got the thankless job of ripping it up out of the bright blue carpet and scrubbing the spots with a bucket of hot, soapy water. It never was a room we could use for anything but storage.

In that same apartment, we could not afford to have the hot water turned on. Bath water was heated on the stove in a large roasting pan and poured into the bathtub. I washed my waist-length hair in icy water from the tap in the kitchen.

Why am I telling you this? So you will understand the week I have had.

My husband and I have gradually improved on my experience of home, but I have never felt that I left it entirely behind.  In all the spiritual work I have done, particularly in the last two years, I have moved leaps and bounds beyond the idea that I somehow deserved to be hidden away in unhealthy, ugly places, but my belief has still been put to the test this week.

The home of a very dear friend is coming open for rent in just over a month, and I have loved it from the moment I stepped inside it. There is a magnificent garden attached that she has lovingly, painstakingly restored from a desolate, weed-choked wasteland to an oasis of peace and beauty. I long with everything inside me to take up Guardianship of this place that feels sacred to me. But, I have struggled with finding enough faith in myself  – and in the Universe- to seize the opportunity in front of me.

As I went back and forth this week, breaking myself down and remaking myself into a true believer in my own worthiness, all my old memories of home resurfaced, and I have faced them with as much bravery as I could muster.

I wanted to share these thoughts of home with you today because it feels important to me to acknowledge my struggle, for maybe you have struggled with similar growth along your journey, or are struggling now. We can be the support we need for each other.

As I work my way through this period of intense growth, I also feel within me a rising of something I cannot even name yet. I think it may be an entirely new version of myself. I see her as more fully embodied, able to bring the visions in her head down into the Earth to be made manifest in this 3D realm. I see a woman who feels at home in a place that has firm floors, hot water, sacred spaces, and healthy boundaries.  I see a woman coming fully into her power.

The part of me that is already the woman I see in my mind’s eye believes that I will be living in this beautiful place that feels like home by the middle of July. The part of me that is still hiding, seeking a place that is clean and bright and whole, is terrified that things won’t come together in time, and I will be forever trapped in places like the ones I grew up in.  I hold that child-me in my arms and rock her, whispering that she is safe, she is safe, she is safe.

And as I do, her tears dry, her smile blossoms, and she gets up and runs outside to play in the garden of her dreams.

 

 

Everyday Magick Tips: 15 Ideas For Bringing the Sacred to Your Daily Life

We could all use a little more whimsy, enchantment, and connection in our daily lives. Here are some things I have done and used to do just that:

  1. Create one or more altars.
    An altar is just a sacred, special space set aside for a particular purpose. You can set the intention for anything you like: greater abundance, healing, and a closer connection to the Divine are all popular altar themes. Once you know what your altar is in honor of, then you can choose items that are meaningful to you that reinforce what you want to focus on. For example, a healing altar might have crystals that promote healing, a photo of something that makes you think of being healthy and healed, a letter you write to your body, or anything that has meaning to you and pertains to the theme of the altar. You can also set up a general household altar that has a more all-purpose meaning. It really is up to you!  Try setting up multiple altars around your home. Any flat surface will do – even vertical ones – and you can add anything that is meaningful to you and relates to the theme you’ve chosen.

  2. Meditate
    Meditation gets a bad rap, sometimes. People think it’s hard or you have to spend a lot of time at it, neither of which is true. Meditation simply means to focus on the space between thoughts. That can happen during a lot of activities: washing dishes, an art project, swinging on the front porch swing, or lying in your bed on the verge of sleep. The idea is to create an empty, still space for new intuitions to emerge and to allow your mind to relax.

    An easy way to begin is to focus on your breath and focus on what it feels like to inhale, and then exhale. Notice each tiny sensation. Before long, your body and mind begin to relax, and lo, and behold! You are meditating!

    If you would like more guidance on how to meditate, there are countless videos on youtube.com that will help you relax and find that space between your thoughts in no time. I especially like the ones with binaural beats or brain entrainment elements.

  3. Be Aware
    Pay attention to your surroundings! Engage all five senses while mentally naming each sensation. Does the air smell like grass? Like oil and car exhaust? Like food? What is the air temperature like…too hot? Too cold? Just right? What about sounds? What do you see? It doesn’t take a lot of time, but paying attention to what’s around you and taking a moment to name those sights, sounds, smells, textures, and even emotions can tune you in to the magic of the moment, adding an element of joy and pleasure to your day.
  4. Buy yourself some flowers
    I very often see grocery store bouquets for $5 or less. You can break them up into smaller arrangements and scatter them all around your home or office to bring some life and color and the special joy that flowers bring.  Flowers also invite faeries to visit!
  5. Play with a pet
    Your pets miss you while you’re away, and playing with them even for just a few minutes can soothe you both and help you reconnect.
  6. Make your last 5 minutes before sleep count
    What you think about in your last 5 minutes before sleep is what your brain ruminates on all night. Make it something that will help you, rather than hurt. For example, if you go to bed thinking about how awful your life is, your mind spends all night reinforcing that thought with dreams, hormones, repeating thoughts, and you wake up in the morning feeling as though the day is already a disaster! Try a week where, before you go to sleep, you think about all the things you are grateful for. Make them up if you have to, but do not resort to sarcasm. Feel grateful as best you can. After a week, you will see a difference in how your days go! (For more tips on making your sleep a spiritual practice, read my blog post here.)

  7. Write wish lists
    The Universe cannot bring us things it does not know we want.  Often, we don’t know what we want, ourselves. Take some time to write down all the big and little things you want from your life and your day. From very small things like a cup of that Chai Latte, to very large things like the home of your dreams, WRITE IT DOWN. The act of writing it imbues the wish with emotion and energy, making it more likely to find its way to you.
  8. Place meaningful objects around your home
    Frame the photos on your phone, bring in the beautiful dead tree branch from your yard, get the old desk out of the garage that was your grandfather’s that you just love. Our homes are a reflection of what means the most to us. But…..
  9. Get serious – and brutal – about what you keep in your home
    There is a famous quote about not keeping anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.  Clutter can quickly take the shine off of being at home, making it feel overwhelming, stressful, and unhappy. Start small or go big, but get rid of anything you no longer love or use.

  10. Look for signs
    There are signs everywhere that God/The Universe/ Spirit/Big Momma is watching over you, loves you, and wants you to be happy. Sure, you could say they are coincidence, but which is more fun- thinking that nobody “up there” cares, or that you are the beloved child of something greater than yourself? If you choose the latter, there will be evidence for you to find… repeating numbers, happy “accidents”, information that comes to you at just the right time, even people appearing in your life just when you need them! (Psst…I don’t believe in coincidence…to read more about that, click here)

  11. Write Morning Pages
    The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron describes Morning Pages like this: 3 pages, long-hand, stream-of-consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning before your brain has a chance to wake that cranky old Editor who lives in there and inhibits you.  Try it for 30 days and see what you think.
  12. Edit your input
    Every single thing that goes into your brain stays there forever. Facebook is a prime garbage dump to pick up stuff that doesn’t serve you: Do you really need your cousin’s rant about her neighbors rattling around in your mind? What about the racist jokes your friend from high school posts that just make you mad?  TV is another medium that offers more harmful content than good, in my opinion: Do you really need another gory image of a dead body in your head along with the story line from Criminal Minds? I don’t. I am happier without them. Be careful what you put into your mind. Books, movies, conversations, all contribute to the climate of your emotional landscape. And you can control that—so, DO!

  13. Smile at strangers
    Just do it and see what happens.  🙂
  14. Do something fun or silly
    Why should silliness stop at age 10? Who says fun has to be reserved for weekend nights? Make faces at yourself in the mirror, record a video of yourself on Snapchat, play a game with your spouse or kids, dress up in a silly outfit and just wear it around the house…whatever strikes your fancy.
  15. Sleep in
    Don’t set an alarm, make sure your bed is cozy, comfy, and clean, and sleep until you wake up naturally.

 

We are not here to simply pay bills and die (that’s a whole other post…). We are here to feel joy in its many, many forms. Adding joy and magick to your everyday is not difficult or time-consuming and can really enhance your life. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments!

My Path is Strewn with Love!

cherry-blossom-wallpaper-15

My path is strewn with love!
I feel the embrace of the Universe,
Reminding me that all is well.

The light that glows at the end of this
Flowery and tree-lined tunnel
Is not my future, but my Now

Seen from the perspective of a world
That lives in three dimensions
And believes that Time is a Thing and a Line.

I sink down into the sweetness
Of every moment that is Now with a sigh,
As if sinking into a warm bath at the end of a long day.

Remember, I think, the sweetness of all Moments.
Remember they all brown and wither and remain pink and alive forever
Like the flowers at my feet.

 

Joyfullness

It’s feeling like a joyful day! In that spirit, I’d like to share some photos from my Pinterest board, Joyfulness. These are images that make me feel light, uplifted, and filled with a sense of wonder. You can find the entire board here.

yellow-ranunculus

This is a ranunculus, or Persian Buttercup.  Ranunculus (ranunculi??) are one of my favorite kinds of flowers for their delicate, feathery leaves and sweet, layered buds. And they come in some of the loveliest colors in Nature.

 

 

group-of-dandelions

I love to see the first bursts of bright yellow dandelions in the spring. They are the first sign of color and cheer after what are often very dark and grey winter days here in northern Indiana. Dandelions get a bad rap, but they are so useful! I love dandelion root tea because it tastes good, but it also helps improve liver function. Here is some more about the health benefits of dandelions.

 

 

quiet-reverie

Just look at this one for a moment and breathe in that smell….  Now, sit down in that log, soak in the sun, and examine those delicate little flowers. Find a piece of moss and let your imagination out for a run.

 

moss-706391_1920

Speaking of moss, tell me you don’t want to sit down there and pet that stuff 🙂 Mosses are interesting plants. If you haven’t read Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things, I encourage you to do so. It is a novel about the daughter of a wealthy 19th century businessman who makes a lifelong study of mosses.  For a little non-fiction information, this site has a nice little overview.

 

fibonacci-fern

This little fern frond was the inspiration for my choice of Unfurled as one of my first core desired feelings, a concept introduced by Danielle LaPorte in her book, The Desire Map, which has been deeply influential in the last two years of my life.

 

I leave you on this Monday with the delicate and luscious (another core desired feeling) peony.

Have a joyful week!