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Return to Paradise, Part II: Chapter 12

12

The sound of running water lulled Alexis back into consciousness. “I guess I fell asleep,” she said aloud, to nobody in particular. Sitting up, she saw Vicky was still sleeping. It was getting dark. “Vicky,” Alexis said, shaking her gently.

“Hmm? What?” said Vicky sleepily.

“Vicky, wake up. It’s almost night,” said Alexis. Vicky sat up and stretched her arms into the air. She yawned.

“I’ve been asleep for that long?” she asked.

“Yes,” Alexis answered, nodding her head.

“I guess we should head back,” said Vicky, getting up. The two girls started walking back to camp. “I hope it’s not my night for dinner!” said Vicky. “I must have been really tired.”

“We’re pretty close, aren’t we?” Alexis asked her.

“Yeah,” Vicky said with a nod.

“You know, while you were sleeping, I started thinking how life is like a garden,” said Alexis.

“Hannah inspired you, huh?” Vicky laughed. “But you’re right. It even refers to that in the Bible.”

“Really?” Alexis was surprised. “What does it say?”

“Well, it’s a parable of the Lord, about a sower,” started Vicky.

“What’s a sower?” Alexis wanted to know.

“Someone who plants seeds,” said Vicky. “So this sower went to sow, plant, his seeds and some seeds fell to the side and the birds ate them; other seeds fell on the rocks and grew, but withered soon because there was no moisture or earth; and some seeds fell among the thorns, which grew and choked the seeds. But some seeds fell into the good ground and grew and produced a lot of fruit.” Vicky paused to look at Alexis.

“So how is that related to God?” asked Alexis.

“Well Lexy, the seed is the word of God. And the earth and other places it’s sowed are the hearts of the people. So the people hear the word, but are so filled with sin or rocks, that they won’t believe it and be saved. They may receive the word with joy and believe it for a while, but as soon as they are tempted, they stop believing because they have no root. Then, those on the thorns hear the word, but the cares of the world choke them and they don’t bear any fruit. And of course, those on the good earth are those who hear the word, believe it, and are honest and good. These people patiently do the will of God and bear fruit that nourishes others,” Vicky finished.

“Wow!” said Alexis. “The Bible seems to talk about all kinds of neat ideas. I’m definitely going to start reading it after dinner,” she said.

“There they are!” said Colette as Alexis and Victoria walked into the kitchen. “Hannah told me she left you two hours ago.”

“I fell asleep for a long time,” said Vicky. “Was it my turn tonight for dinner duty?”

“No. Daniel, Gregg and Ronnie volunteered to make a special meal tonight, so you’ll be tomorrow, ” Colette told her.

“Oh good,” said Vicky, relieved.

“But your mom would be happy to know you’re back,” added Colette.

“Okay, I’ll go tell her,” said Vicky. She turned to Alexis.

“I’m going to go wash my hands and face and change before dinner,” Alexis told her. “See you in a little while. And thanks for taking me to the River Side Cafe.”

“Anytime, Lexy, anytime,” Vicky told her, smiling.

***

“And then, before we knew it, we had lost our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement and most of our other rights,” Allan was saying. Most of the group had finished eating the goat Ronnie and the boys had prepared and they were sitting together talking as everybody helped clean up the kitchen.

“But why didn’t people do anything?” Jazmin wanted to know.

“Like what?” Drew asked his daughter. “They were so distracted by making a living and earning enough money to survive and pay for all of the luxuries they needed, they didn’t have time to think about losing freedoms.”

“That was the idea,” said Will.

“But don’t forget, some people did act,” said Ken. “They were vigilant, but their friends called them paranoid and peculiar,” he said. “When things started coming down, they fled to the mountains. They prayed and were thankful they were shown the light,” explained Ken.

“They, and you know I’m talking about us, were led to a safe place away from the city which was getting ready to explode,” explained Colette, picking up her husband’s thought. “It was full of tension and uneasiness and dissatisfaction, causing crime and violence, fueled by drugs. It couldn’t go on forever.”

“But to some people, it looked like the evil had overtaken the good,” explained Kira. “But the Bible tells us, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’ The reality is the good were removed from the tribulation of the city, and the dark turned black. But the light did not cease. It merely existed in a remote place. Set away out of the wind, to burn brightly, keeping the antichrist from destroying the world. What a garden to be in during a time when so much destruction also occurred, under the same sun,” Kira spoke quietly, almost as if she didn’t realize everybody was there.

Nobody said anything. Ronnie began blowing his flute. The high pitches danced in the air. Suzanne strummed her guitar, while others played their drums lightly. She started singing.

“He is the way the truth and the light,

He is the only way that is right.

He is the way, the truth and the light, 

Of my life.”

People played instruments into the night, making beautiful music. J.J. stood up and declared, “Isaiah 42:10-12 tells us to ‘Sing unto the Lord a new song and his praises from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord and declare his praise in the islands,'” his voice rang out into the night, mixing with the music. People clapped.

“Hallelujah!” someone said.

“Praise God and Amen,” echoed into the night. Suzanne started playing again. Several people were standing and swaying to the music. Their voices rose in harmony and made Alexis tingle as they sang loudly.

“Holy, so Holy

There is no other so ho—ly

Jesus, oh Jesus,

Oh might God, you’re Jesus.

Jeee-suuusss.”

They lifted their voices, which Alexis thought sounded beautiful. She felt tears in her eyes and she hummed along with the melody of the soothing song. It was so intense. She fought to hold back sobs that wanted to break loose. The music and the singing were lifting her soul to a higher level where she felt a part of everyone and everything. Her body felt that now-familiar tingling sensation. The Holy Spirit, Karen had told her. She looked out to the sea. It’s so beautiful, marveled Alexis in her mind. A bright light caught her eye in time for her to see it shooting through the dark night sky. “Woah! Look!” she pointed.

Vicky grinned and nodded, swaying to the music. “A shooting star,” someone said.

Everybody was happy and smiling, feeling good. To Lexy, it all seemed a dream. She looked intently at the sky and was awed by the golden trail that followed the shooting star. It gleamed like the autograph of God. Somehow, she knew she believed. Her faith had grown strong in such a short time, but she was sure of a greater force to which she was connected.

“There is no denying the way I feel. This ball of love in my chest,” Alexis explained to Jazmin’s mom, Karen, “seems to grow every time we pray, or I read the Bible, or I hear, you know, like get a thought, from God, and especially when we sing.” Karen nodded at her and smiled. She looked into Alexis’ eyes, her black hair shining in the moonlight. Alexis thought she looked beautiful.

“The Bible says the truth will be revealed, Alexis. I’m glad you have understanding,” Karen said. “Eyes that see, ears that hear,” she added. Alexis nodded, recognizing the phrase from the Bible. They sat quietly together for a few minutes. “Maybe you’d like to get baptized,” Karen suggested.

Alexis tried to remember exactly what getting baptized was. Something to do with the water, she knew. “Baptism is an outward commitment of your faith. As Christ died, so does your former life of sin that was ruled by the flesh. Now that you’re walking in the Spirit, you become a new being, a light in the world. Getting baptized is a symbolic birth of this new life,” Karen explained to her without Alexis having to ask.

“That sounds okay,” said Alexis. “I’ll have to think about it.” Jazmin walked over and sat down next to them.

“It looks like you two are having an intense conversation,” Jazmin commented.

“Your mom was telling me about getting baptized,” Alexis said.

“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved,” Jazmin declared. “Are you going to do it?”

“I don’t know,” said Alexis.

“I could mention it to J.J.,” suggested Karen.

“I wouldn’t mind being baptized again with you,” said Jazmin. “Maybe a bunch of us could do it together?” Jazmin laughed.

“Have you all been baptized?” asked Alexis. Jazmin looked at her mom.

“I think everybody but the little kids, Aaron Farl and Aja Cyrene. They’re a little young,” said Karen.

“How old do you have to be?” asked Alexis.

“Just old enough to repent of your sins and believe in God,” answered Karen. Jazmin was leafing through her mom’s Bible.

“Jesus said in John 3:3, ‘Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,'” she read. “Then in John 3:5, He tells us ‘Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God; you must be born again,'” Jazmin read.

“Born again,” Alexis repeated. “It sounds kind of weird, being born again,” she said.

“It’s symbolic,” explained Karen. “You were born in the flesh, or body, and we all sin, make mistakes. But as we learn about the spiritual side of life, we learn that we have a choice to say we’re sorry about all the mistakes we made, the people we may have hurt, whatever it is. So in the spirit we can have a spiritual birth, with water, and become a new creation, pure and following God’s words, loving one another.”

“And the Bible talks about it too?” asked Alexis.

“It sure does. Again, God is telling us how we can be saved,” Karen told her.

“It’s like an instruction manual,” joked Alexis.

“You’re absolutely right,” agreed Karen. “That’s what it is.”

“What other instructions does it give us?” Alexis asked, intrigued.

“Oh, let’s see, there’s my favorite in Mark, Chapter 12, ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,'” Karen said, turning to the chapter. “The next verse says, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ so that’s not too hard, right?” Karen said.

“Doesn’t seem like it,” said Alexis.

“I like this one,” said Jazmin. “‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,'” she read. “It says that the word must be preached everywhere before the end will come,” said Jazmin.

“The end?” asked Alexis.

“The end of this life, when we all join God in heaven and live in peace,” said Karen. “Don’t be scared of it, and don’t let today’s world scare you either,” she said. “Listen to what Jesus tells us in Mark 13:7: ‘And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, don’t be troubled, for such things must happen, but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles; these are the beginnings of sorrows,’ and we’re already seeing these things, aren’t we? ‘The Gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you will speak; for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost… he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved…. Flee to the mountains… For in those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Song of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.'” Karen stopped, looking at Alexis.

“That is going to happen, really? When?” asked Alexis.

“Well, we don’t know for sure. But let me read the next part. ‘Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you know not when the time is… And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch,'” Karen finished reading.

“Wow,” said Alexis. “Okay, so when can I get baptized?”

“I’ll talk to J.J. in the morning,” Karen promised her. The three women were surprised to see that everyone had gone to bed. They had been so involved with each other, they didn’t realize how late it was.

“We should get some sleep, girls,” said Karen.

“Okay, goodnight Jaz, goodnight Karen,” said Alexis. Both Karen and Jazmin hugged Alexis as they left her at the door of her camp. Alexis loved the bamboo structure covered in palm leaves. Judd and Kenny had built it for her in a couple of hours and even the hardest rain didn’t get her wet. Inside, she stretched out on her soft bed and fell asleep.

 

 

Cosmic Rainbow Connections & Grateful Miracles

Sometimes plans don’t turn out the way you expected, and sometimes miracles happen, and we’re surprised.

Such was the case on last weekend’s trip to take my kids to the Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary concerts in Santa Clara. First change was kids turned to kid as my son announced he couldn’t go b/c of work, and b/c he didn’t want to listen to a bunch of old people playing music. Since he’s 17, I obliged and left him home.

My 14-year-old daughter and I made it to the concert with time to spare, after a grueling drive and battling with parking and coordination issues. On the drive up I felt so much excitement about the idea that popped into my mind to give someone a “miracle” with my extra ticket that I’d bought for my son. Selling the ticket didn’t fill me with the joy thinking about giving a miracle did. So we stood outside the entrance as people milled around and I looked for someone who needed a ticket. For anyone who doesn’t know, at every Grateful Dead show, people walk around holding one finger in the air saying, “I need a miracle,” which translates to a free ticket into the show.

A couple walked by me pushing a stroller with two young kids, and, oh my G! “Trinity?” I said to the guy with the long beard and soulful eyes. How amazed was I to see my old friend from Kauai, with his wife, Mary Martha, and 2 kids! I hadn’t seen him in probably 15 years, and there he was, beard, family and all! Talk about cosmic connections…

Soon after, a cute young girl with dark hair walked up with her finger in the air. I made eye contact with her and handed her the ticket. Perfect timing. We walked in to the tune of Uncle John’s Band. “Wo, oh, what I want to know, is are you kind?”

Hundreds of roses were set inside the entrance, so we gathered some. Wending our way to our section through the dancing crowds, a girl said to me, “My name is Rose.” Of course, I gave her a rose.

As my daughter and I made it to our seats and sat down at long last, we listened to the music, which I realized the next night, seemed more of a warm up jam to the familiar songs we know and love. I was run down, sick with a bad cold and just basically exhausted. My daughter had a headache, said the guitar was too loud and was giving her a headache and there was too much smoke. Feeling a little low about the scene, all of a sudden, I looked toward the sky. A beautiful, brilliant and vibrantly colored rainbow arched across the sky above the stadium. rainbow

As more and more people began to notice it, the cheering reached a crescendo and the spirit and energy I remember from that crowd rekindled.

What a feeling of joy and elation that filled the air, and all of our hearts, as that rainbow, amazingly, surprisingly appeared to grace our gathering of almost 65,000 loving souls. Miracles abound, and in the words of my favorite band, “I need a miracle everyday!”

It was the epic beauty of nature that evening that stole the show and won our hearts, uniting us with nature’s awe-inspiring spirit, through the rainbow connection and a light-filled sunset. This is truth, beauty and love.

On the drive home, a patch of rainbow appeared in the wide open sky above us. “Mom,” said my daughter, abruptly and a little too loudly, as she was listening to her own music with her headphones on. “Is it just me seeing it, or is that a little rainbow?” I joyfully saw it too, and it seemed to expand as I drove along the open road. It stayed above us for a couple hours, to my joy and amazement, giving me comfort and connecting me to the cosmic mystery in a colorful, peaceful and miraculous way that I could not have planned if I tried. So Grateful.

sunsetroses

Energy Points

This thing called energy really is an amazing force. I’m a big believer in synchronicity and following the energy, which reinforce each other.

During a recent late night coughing spasm session with my sick-with-pneumonia child, I realized the power of energy medicine for healing our bodies. After trying everything, from prescription cough medicine to tea with honey and lemon and steam treatments, I sat on my son’s bed, exhausted, and watched his racking cough shake his body until he threw up.

I sighed in frustration and walked out of the room, straight to my book on Energy Medicine, by Donna Eden. I looked up coughing, then lungs and found an entry: lung sedation points. Okay.

I located the points shown in the diagram on my son’s hand, and held three of them for a minute or two. My son’s breathing calmed; he stopped coughing and fell asleep within 10 minutes. Overjoyed, I sent Donna Eden a blessing for publishing this book.

She’s made energy medicine accessible to anyone who can pick up a book and read. The concepts are easy, whether you understand how they work, you just follow the directions, in this case, holding your fingers on three places on the hand, and the lungs respond. There is science, of course, behind it, energetics, and nature. It’s amazing, and so powerful.

I’m discovering so much about energy and how it works in the body. And as it amazes me within, I’m also amazed how energy works outside the body. There is some natural force, and I don’t understand how it works, but I’ve experienced it often, always with a surge of delight and wonder, awe.

Having learned about energy medicine through Donna Eden’s book, I attended a weekend seminar with her and her husband, David Feinstein, at Esalen in Big Sur, California. I knew during the magical weekend that I wanted to learn so much more about energy and how it works as “medicine” for the body. The seminar ended on Sunday afternoon. I drove 4 hours back home, excited more than ever about energy medicine.

The next day I drove to Santa Barbara to do a little work and also shop with my daughter along Main Street. As we browsed through the gemstone rings in a jewelery store, a woman entered the store. “Excuse me?” she said, causing me to look up. As she asked for directions, I drew in a breath, excited!

“Oh my God! Donna!” It was Donna Eden, herself. In the flesh. I said hello and told her I’d just been at her Esalen conference the day before. We laughed at how funny it would be for us to meet up right then in Santa Barbara! She lived in Ashland, Oregon, and just happened to be shopping in Santa Barbara with her daughter.

So what does it mean? And how does it work? Energy knows. I just know that’s how it goes.

Forces of Nature ~ Reeling in the Real

I love Joseph Campbell, influencer of Star Wars’ George Lucas and a student of Carl Jung, he just has this incredible way of putting into words life’s many esoteric mysteries… and I love how the Universe once in a while “shows us the light in the strangest of places when we look at them right”…

As this angstful eclipse energy – and Mercury retrograde too – ramps up emotions so that they’re spinning intensely, keeping our balance while riding these waves of seismic activity is an art.

Campbell (and yoga) help me find that sweet spot, hidden in the barrels of the rolling waves, without being crushed when they crash, by shedding light on and making sense of our emotions to make it easier to understand and reflect on why they are what they are. In his “Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion,” Campbell writes about a certain male fish that has a dark upper body and a light lower body, so that he is camouflaged and safe from danger when looking up or down at it. But… and here’s the good part:

 “When this particular fish is in love, his color shifts so that he’ll be visible. This puts him in danger, you see, and it seems to be symbolic of this love thing. You give up self-protection when this other comes along and you are seized with erotic compulsion.”

Despite the risks, fish do not control their natural instincts so that they can stay invisible and safe. No, without even thinking about it (probably), they change colors and take their chances.

While we humans can often learn some lessons from nature, we still get to decide if we’re going to go with the flow of our instincts or play it safe and resist these forces of nature.

While we never know where love will go, if we don’t try, we’ll never know (someone said; I’m saying it today, and others have said it before, like Smokey Robinson and The Miracles and, of course, the Jerry Garcia Band):

What are you fishing for? And, even more, when you catch it, can you reel it in and keep it real, without killing it?

Seeds of Change

Not too long ago, I wrote about how happy I was that my holy basil plant was thriving. I’d grown it from seed and it was now over a year old. photo 3 (2)

About 2 weeks ago, I spotted a little critter on the plant. photo 1 (3)

It was stark still, holding its body perpendicular to the plant. “It’s getting ready to form a chrysalis,” I thought to myself. Leaving it there to do its thing, I envisioned the “holy butterfly” that was going to emerge.

Little did I know, its “thing” was to eat every single leaf off my basil plant! When I went out the next day, I was horrified! The leaves were gone and so was the caterpillar, off to find more of my plants to munch. Now I know this is nature’s way, but did it have to eat every single leaf?!

I thought my plant would come back, but after a week of looking at the withering stem turning brown and not one new leaf sprouting, I resigned to the fact that it was gone. I pulled the stem out, feeling the roots break… with a heavy heart. I couldn’t toss it aside, so I hopefully set it in another pot of soil, just in case…

In the meantime, I planted more seeds in its place. It got me thinking about the fleeting nature of life, and pretty much all things. We never know how long they’ll be around, and we can count on the fact that everything changes… as I wrote on a friend’s nostalgic post today about his old house being bulldozed to make room for a new home, “Change is the only constant.”

Change is part of the life cycle. Resist it as we may, we can’t stop it. We can only accept what is and appreciate what we have, in the moment.

Change often brings sorrow, bittersweet melancholy feelings about what we can’t “change.”

Such was the case with the big waves about a month ago (in September) that washed away the Cove House at Sycamore Beach in Malibu. Many of us watched, in horror, as the waves crashed up against the Cove House, destroying its foundation and eventually pulling it out to sea… leaving us only with the memories of what used to be, a house where so much fun was had… Now, the beach remains, with only splintered pieces of wood as proof that the house was ever there at all…photo 4

The Grateful Dead captured the feeling so well (as they so often did) in “The Music Never Stopped”:

“No one’s noticed, but the band’s all packed and gone
Was it ever there at all?

But they keep on dancin’
C’mon children, c’mon children, come on, clap your hands…
And the fields are full of dancin’
Full of singin’ and romancin’
The music never stopped…”

And there is the key… to hear the music, if only in your memory, and keep on dancing… through the changes of our times, because, in the words of another musical sage, “the times they are a changing…”

Planting new seeds, we continue to grow.

Nature’s Magical Mystery

giant squash

I had a dream a few nights ago that I was walking through a giant squash plant that was taller than me. I’m guessing I was picking up on our bunny’s viewpoint, as he has watched this plant sprout and proceed to grow into this humongous squash/pumpkin that is spreading around our yard.

I noticed there is a flower getting ready to open. I throw seeds out in the yard, so I’m not sure exactly what this will turn out to be, but I’m guessing a squash or maybe one of my dad’s giant pumpkins! It’s so exciting when seeds sprout. You never know which ones will sprout, or when… but watching nature bloom in its own perfect timing, when the conditions are right, reminds me of the magic that lies in every seed, big, small and metaphorical… its inherent potential will show up when it’s ready.

It’s so fun to watch it grow… the mystery is part of the fun! squash

Circles of Love

How can you not smile when you see the joy of these creatures!? Houdini, Hannah’s Holland Lop bunny, loves running circles around her. Hannah read that bunnies do this when they love you and are happy to see you.

Our dog Ginger runs circles around the house when we get home… love how our pets are so happy to be with us. Love & Joy abound… around and around…

Who or what do you run circles around?  If you don’t run circles around anything or anyone, maybe it’s time to find your circle of Joy. In Joy, you will find it, if you look.

When Seeds Sprout

Today I was delighted by the appearance of tiny sprouts! I planted three types of Tulsi basil seeds on the New Moon, June 11. I read the seeds can take 3 weeks to sprout, but mine peeked out of the soil today, June 18… exactly a week after I planted them, and, on my sister’s birthday!

Image

These sprouted seeds are especially exciting to me because I planted them with intention. I’ve long been fascinated by medicinal herbs and nature’s medicines, and when I read in Horizon Herbs’ seed catalog about Tulsi, I knew I had to grow them.

Tulsi, or Tulasi means “The Incomparable One” and represents the Divine Mother on Earth. It’s revered for its healing abilities, known to cure “countless diseases of the body, mind and spirit, bringing harmony and healing on all levels,” Sarvaga and Gunavati tell us in their book Tulasi Devi The Goddess of Devotion.

Even its Latin name, Ocimum sanctum, reveals this plant’s sacredness. Called the “Elixir of Life,” Tulasi is an important Ayurvedic herb. Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years in India. It is basically living in harmony with the universe, to heal and maintain health. “Ayu” means “life” and “veda” means “knowledge” or “science.”

Herbal medicine is a huge part of Ayurveda, and Tulasi is “one of the most admired and respected Ayurvedic herbs and is renowned for its powerful healing abilities.” The list of conditions treated by Tulsi is astounding: “coughs, colds, flu, fever, congestion, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, earaches, headaches, diabetes, indigestion, gastric disorders, ulcers, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sore throat, kidney stones, join pain, rheumatoid arthritis, nausea, vomiting, cramping, mouth diseases, allergies, skin diseases, internal parasites, insect bites, numerous skin and eye disorders, malaria and cancer.” The book says there’s probably no other plant on Earth known to have such a “vast range of medicinally and spiritually uplifting properties.”

I love that Tulsi is a sattvic, or pure, herb. Ayurvedic herbs are classified by their natures, either sattvic, active (rajasic) or dull (tamasic). These can also be thought of as states of consciousness. Sattvic properties “include pure light, righteous action, creativity and the power of observation. Sattva gives the power of discrimination, knowledge and the ability to know truth. The highest state of sattva manifests as peace, harmony, contentment, compassion, unconditional love, selflessness, devotion and faith. Sattva is the state of equilibrium. When sattva prevails, there is peace and tranquility. Tulasi has the quality of pure sattva.”

Being this is an Ayurvedic herb, I decided to plant some Tulsi seeds for me and my classmates in my Yoga & Ayurveda teacher training program. I found a Tulsi Seed Set, Tulsi Kapoor, Tulsi Rama and Tulsi Krishna, along with the wonderful little Tulasi Devi book at Horizon Herbs, an awesome seed company in Williams, Oregon.

The book talked about how to plant Tulsi seeds and their favored conditions and also the medicinal and spiritual role of the herb.

I’m fascinated to learn that there are 108 names for this plant, so revered as it is in the Indian culture. I’ve been reading that scriptures and legends tell of Tulsi’s virtues. Apparently, traditionally every house in India had a Tulsi plant in the front yard that they cared for and worshipped as a symbol of divine nature. Tulasi comes from the word thula, which means “to lift up.” Tulasi is believed to “lift us all up to the Lord’s side.”

The Tulasi seed is said to symbolize the spiritual awakening within us. I can understand that by the wonder and joy I felt looking at the little sprouts that surprised me this morning!

Of the countless stories about Tulsi, one I especially love comes from a scripture recalled by Swami Premananda told in the book. “If one lovingly gazes at Tulasi with devotion in the early morning hours, one will enjoy perfect eyesight for the rest of his life. Knowing that the modern mind needs scientific facts in order to prove these types of scriptural statements, he resolved to look into this further.

“After a long search, he discovered research confirming that Tulasi releases a special vapor, along with ozone, during the early morning stages of photosynthesis. He felt that when one gazes with devotion the eyes may become moist or filled with tears. What else but this moisture of devotion could make the eyes best able to absorb the benefit of the vapors?” So as often goes, science confirms spirit.

I am so excited to watch these sprouts grow into this glorious herb and experience its magical, natural healing.

I also love being a part of “the preservation of healing plants worldwide,” as Horizon Herbs says we are doing by sowing these medicinal seeds. GMO-free, naturally…

The Eternal Hum

As I’ve been turning my backyard into a natural sanctuary, adding plants and cleaning up the clutter, making it a nice place to sit and relax, I noticed a hummingbird fly in and check out the area. I decided I wanted to put up a hummingbird feeder so they would come and I could feed them and enjoy their company.

I put a request for a hummingbird feeder on FreeCycle, an awesome service where people can offer and request items, all for free. The next day, I had an offer to my request and I went by and got the feeder. I was thrilled and put it up that day!

Immediately, the hummingbirds found it and have been regularly visiting us, enjoying their newfound food. I love watching them. They are so beautiful and light. So many of them have unique coloring and markings. I marvel at them and just feel a sense of joy and a quickening of my heart whenever they come visit our yard. They somehow make me feel more connected to nature when they come around. Kiwi

I was sitting outside in my comfy chair given to me by one of my best friends, reveling in the little piece of paradise I was creating, watching the hummingbirds, our Holland Lop rabbit, named Houdini, and our sweetheart puppy dog, Ginger, and just thinking how happy I was with these 3 Hs: hummingbirds, Houdini, and hound!

Then, yesterday in yoga class, I was surprised and thrilled when a sweet little hummingbird showed up, peering in at us through the wall-length windows in our second story yoga studio. The lithe little bird hovered at the windows, getting all of our attention, and lightening our hearts, making us smile and comment on the sweetness. It felt very magical, like he was communicating with us.

And, today, listening to a radio show on Hay House radio, as I sometimes do while working, the host, Michael Bernard Beckwith, commented out of the blue during a caller’s question, that he had just seen a hummingbird fly by and that whenever he sees them, it reminds him of his mother. It touched my heart, and with my attention on repeated events, I decided to research if there is any symbolism to the hummingbirds.

Of course, there is! One of the most striking facts I learned is that the hummingbird’s wings move in an infinity motion… signifying eternity. And several people commented that hummingbirds have appeared during their parents’ passing, reminding them that their parents’ spirits were free, happy, and ever-present.

In his blog, A Light in the Darkness, Matthew James wrote about hummingbird symbolism, noting, Because of its speed, the hummingbird is known as a messenger and stopper of time. It is also a symbol of love, joy, and beauty. The hummingbird is also able to fly backwards, teaching us that we can look back on our past. But, this bird also teaches that we must not dwell on our past; we need to move forward. When the hummingbird hovers over flowers while drinking nectar, we learn that we should savor each moment, and appreciate the things we love.”

 

He goes on to say that “The hummingbird has powerful spiritual significance. In the Andes of South America the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. It seems to die on cold nights, but comes back to life again at sunrise.

 The hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart. When the hurt that caused us to close our hearts gets a chance to heal, our hearts are free to open again.

With hummingbird consciousness, we learn the truth of beauty. Our life becomes a wonderland of delights in flowers, aromas and tastes. We laugh and enjoy creation, we appreciate the magic of the present moment, and the magic of being alive.

The hummingbird teaches us the medicinal properties of plants and how to work with the energy of flowers to heal ourselves and others. Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one gets hurt. They teach us courage. Having the courage to refrain from creating new trauma by communicating non-violently toward ourselves and others is an important part of healing. Recovering lost parts of ourselves enables us to become healthily independent.

It is not commonly known that the fluttering wings of the hummingbird move in the pattern of an infinity symbol – further solidifying their symbolism of eternity, continuity, and infinity.

By observing the hummingbird, we see they are seemingly tireless. Always actively seeking the sweetest nectar, they remind us to forever seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day. Amazing migrators, some hummingbirds are known to wing their way as far as 2,000 miles to reach their destination. This quality reminds us to be persistent in the pursuit of our dreams, and adopt the tenacity of the hummingbird in our lives.”

I also just realized that a hum sounds a lot like the Om sound, which is an ancient, vibratory sound that induces healing.

I’m so grateful for these amazing creatures showing up in my life and delighting, teaching and reminding us to playfully enjoy our lives and pursue our dreams without end. Just what I needed, at the perfect time. Awesome nature.

Power to the Plants!

It’s been said that the natural world contains a substance to heal any disease or damage on Earth. I was amazed to learn this morning that plants, such as hemp and sunflower, have the ability to clean up the environment even after a nuclear war (!!) These plants can absorb radiation, toxic waste, pesticides and metals!

I read that hemp and sunflowers were planted in Chernobyl to help absorb the radiation in the air. This process is called phytoremediation, phyto meaning plant and Latin remedium, meaning “restoring balance” (thank you Wikipedia!).

So plants can restore balance to the environment; good to know! I am so filled with awe at the fact that plants are so powerful.

This natural power may be viewed as a threat to those who think it should be illegal to grow plants. How outlandish that growing plants would be illegal for any reason! But it’s illegal to grow hemp in the United States! Even as many of us have voted to make it legal in our states to grow cannabis, it remains illegal to grow hemp, which is basically cannabis-free marijuana.

The United States is the only industrialized nation where it is illegal to grow hemp! China grows the most hemp, supplying 80% of the world’s hemp needs, according to Scott Thill – alternet.org in his article, “Ten Great Reasons to Kill America’s Ban on Growing Hemp” published by Wake Up World.

Power to the plants, I say. Grow, grow, grow!!!

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