What a powerful process we had during the Burning Bowl New Year's Eve Service at Unity of Phoenix!
This photo shows one of the three bowls where we placed a page of what we had written that we would like to release from 2011 and before.
After watching our words go up in flame and smoke, we then went back into the sanctuary to continue the process with writing our goals and intentions for 2012.
All of this was accompanied by beautiful music and inspriational messages.
I found the process extremely powerful and feel I walked away from the service without some of the old concerns of the past and feeling fresher and ready to take on the new intentions set for 2012.
Recalibrate… Don't you LOVE that word?
You know you are ready for something to be different in your life.
Life circumstances are changing for you and there are choices you
need to make.
I can't tell you how many women I've heard sharing this feeling.
Maybe it's this particular time in history.
Maybe it's just where you are in the cycle of your life.
If this is you and you'd like the opportunity for someone to listen
carefully to what is going on with you and brainstorm with you for a little while,
click on the link below to answer a few questions and I'll see if we can set up a
time to chat. This chat time is my gift to you!
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Janice Taylor writes for the Huffington Post.
Her recent post talking about the recent hurricane and her experiences with her mother during that crisis caught my eye:
The Oy Vey After the Storm: How I survived Hurricane Irene With My 95-Year-Old Mother at My Side
I found this story particularly compelling because of my own mother's death at 95 just a couple of years ago.
Her mother hadn't left her Long Island neighborhood once during the ten years since her husband passed away. And now she was expected to evacuate and go to a shelter. Or to her daughter's home in the City. She was determined not to do either.
I was impressed that her mother lived independently and managed quite a bit on her own.
It's fascinating to me how humans age. How we can adapt to our many physical and mental changes or just succumb to being cared for while we live out our days.
Check out her post. I think you'll find it interesting reading!
Reading a definition of mindfulness meditation as "nonjudgmental attention to sensations", I became interested to learn more about what that meant.
When I think about my usual experience of life, I know that I am constantly making judgments about what I am observing. Do I like what I am seeing, hearing, feeling? What past memories are coming up? I know with smells we can bring up memories from the distant past.
I wanted to learn more about how I could let go of those judgments and be able to just "be" with what I observe.
I found the results of a study on mindfulness meditation very enlightening.
In a recent report on the effect of meditation on the brain, co-authored by Catherine Kerr, PhD, she said, “Mindfulness meditation has been reported to enhance numerous mental abilities, including rapid memory recall. Our discovery that mindfulness meditators more quickly adjusted the brain wave that screens out distraction could explain their superior ability to rapidly remember and incorporate new facts.”
When the brain uses more alpha rhythm or waves, it lessens the distracting information. With less judgment going on about what we are observing, it can really help us deal with our world that is SO full of stimulation.
When we are able to eliminate the mental noise, we can recall information faster. This is what they found with the mindfulness meditators. Just as radio stations broadcast at specific frequencies, our brain cells use distinct frequencies (or waves) to adjust how the information flows in our minds. The alpha frequency is most helpful for us to process touch, sight and sound in the brain's cortex where it helps to suppress the sensations that are not relevant.
Catherine Kerr's studies showed that those participants who practiced mindfulness meditation were able to control and bring on the alpha rhythms. While in the alpha state not only were the meditators able to have clearer reception of stimuli, but they also felt less pain. This would be a great benefit for people with chronic pain, enabling them to use less medication by doing regular meditation.
Learning about these benefits only emphasizes even more to me the importance of being in the present and practicing mindfulness. Our multitasking habits can be so detrimental to our clear thinking and brain health.
This year it was so wonderful to be able to pick LOTS of raspberries in Washington on July 14, my Nana's birthday.
She passed away in 1988 and lives on vividly in my many memories of her. This photo was taken at one of her many birthday gatherings. To the right of Nana is her sister Helen and my Aunt Mildred. Behind her are my mother and sister holding her baby. In the back row is my cousin Kathy, Suzanne (ME), my cousin Karen, and my brother Bill.
Nana was quite a gardener well into her 80's, and she always had a raspberry patch where I LOVED to pick the berries!
To this day, I think it is wrong to bake with raspberries. I just think they need to be eaten fresh…and particularly as you are picking! I have a feeling that this passion developed when I was encouraged NOT to eat all the berries while picking. I was supposed to take them to my grandma for her to bake with them or make jam.
So when I get near raspberry bushes filled with beautiful red berries, I am SO delighted. I picked two different ways this year. I picked from bushes at the Bed and Breakfast where I was staying. The berries were fairly scarce and difficult to get to through the barbed branches. I have to say that I ate those as fast as I picked them!
When I went to Boxx Farms with my daughters and grandsons, there was a great abundance of berries on the bushes that were easy to reach and fill our boxes or buckets. Plenty to eat and plenty to take home. My daughter and a friend of hers decided to make raspberry jam for the first time and used their berries that way. Their jam tasted good and they will continue to enjoy it for months to come. My daughter also enjoyed sharing the jam with family living out of the area. The berries I picked were definitely reserved for eating, however! And I froze some so that I'd have some almost fresh ones after the season ended.
Washington state is one of the top producers of raspberries in the world. I found it interesting to read that Russia is top producer of raspberries in the world.
Red Raspberries originated in Asia Minor in the Caucasus mountains. Around the time of Christ, the fruit was gathered from the wild by the people of Troy and the foothills of Mt. Ida in the Caucasus mountains.
In the 4th century, Palladius-a Roman agriculturist- wrote about the domestication of the red raspberry. Seeds have been discovered at Roman forts in Britain. Because of this, it is believed that the Romans probably spread the cultivation of raspberries throughout Europe. Throughout the middle ages, the British improved and popularized the raspberries. By 1771, they were exporting the plants to New York.
Here's a chart showing the top 10 countries where raspberries are produced:
|Top 10 Countries
(% of world raspberry production)
|1. Russia (24%)
||6. Ukraine (5%)
|2. Serbia & Montenegro (23%)
||7. Hungary (4%)
|3. USA (13%)
||8. Canada (3%)
|4. Poland (11%)
||9. UK (2%)
|5. Germany (7%)
||10. France (2%)