40 Days of Good News


Dandelion fluffI have been so distressed about all the ugliness and hate in the news lately. The political stupidity, the hateful people, the ignorance, the cruelty. With my particularly level of empathy, I find all of this negatively affects me heavily.
I am not traditionally a “religious” person, but I am supremely spiritual, so I’m going to take advantage of this Christian season of Lent to try to shine a little “Good News” in the world. For the next 40 days, I will try to write or share one positive post a day. I hope that it helps those of you who, like me, are feeling discouraged and distressed by the state of the world.
I don’t intend this to draw attention away from the bad things happening. I believe that all of these things need to be made public and need to be addressed. I just also believe that maybe some of us need to be reminded of the good things that happen around us, too.
I hope this series helps spread a little love and light in the world, and perhaps heals you as it heals me.
Peace & Love,
Tricia
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It’s the Little Things


forest smallOkay yes, it has been a while since I wrote anything. To be fair, it’s been a kind of hellacious summer, and to be honest, I’ve kind of let it get to me. However, recently I’ve decided that even if I don’t give myself time for much else, I need to at least take some time out for what I’ve been calling Nature Therapy. I’ve been making a point to get out and appreciate nature and the truly beautiful state that I live in, Maine.

Getting outside for a hike or a paddle changes my mindset, even if it’s only for a little while. I take my camera with me, and I go with the intent of finding and appreciating the wonder that is nature. I walk along, thinking about the flowers and critters and smelling the balsam fir and the fallen leaves. I listen to the songs of birds, the buzz of bees and frequent scolding from red squirrels. I revel in that non-silent silence that you find when you’re deep out on a trail with no modern distractions.

When I was preparing to finally get back to writing on this blog, I kind of first planned a bit of a rant about being judgmental, but I could not quite get it to flow the way I hoped. Two things changed my mind. red squirrelOne was this Sunday’s message from my minister, who spoke about “Something is Wrong”, and with it she spoke about the judgment and treatment of our fellow humans, and it gave me a different spin on the thought that I want to write about. So, watch for that coming up next. (You can listen to this message here. This particular message starts at 11:30)

The other thing was that afternoon’s walk in the forest, where I had an entertaining encounter with a red squirrel and another one with a damselfly, and I realized that what the world needs now is good news. It made me think that sometimes what we need are the little things to help us change our mindset, turn down a different path, or look at the world in a slightly different light.

I decided that one of the things I would start doing on this blog is also writing up some of the entertaining things that end up happening to me on my walks in nature. A reminder to everyone to take the time out, find your nature therapy or book therapy or whatever little thing makes your world even just a little bit better.

spiderwebA reminder that sometimes when you’re trying to see the forest for the trees or staying on the path, because that’s how you get to the end, you miss the journey. You miss the cheeky red squirrel, the ambling porcupine or the spider web glistening with rain drops.

So, yes, I will write about personal and social responsibility and growth, but I’ll also take the time to share some of my nature therapy with you, in the hopes that it will help inspire you to go experience some of your own.

Peace & Hope

Tricia

The Positive Benefits of Color: Orange


This is a part two of a series of posts looking at the different ways we can use color to positively benefit our lives.

Framed Daisies (detail) - Tricia GriffithOrange is another warm, energizing color. It is thought to combine the stimulating qualities of red with the more cheerful energy of yellow, which we’ll discuss next time. It is linked to the sacral chakra, another of what is believed to be the centers of vital energy in our body. This chakra is located in the lower abdomen, and is related to the organs in that area, including the uterus, ovaries, prostate and testes.

Physically, the color orange stimulates and energizes us. It is believed to stimulate the lungs, respiration and digestion, as well as increase the activity of the thyroid. Like red, many restaurants use orange, or more subtle shades of orange, such as peach, to stimulate the appetite. Orange colored foods provide beta carotene, vitamins and nutrients which help improve the immune system, protect heart and vision, and may play an important role in preventing certain cancers.

Staring into the Sun - Tricia GriffithEmotionally and mentally, orange projects warmth and happiness, it is associated with fun and sociability, and inspires creativity. It is believed to release constrictions of both the mind and body, open your mind to new ideas and boost enthusiasm. It’s related to gut instinct, as opposed to mental or physical reaction. It’s association with the sacral chakra may also make it helpful in dealing with sexual expression.

Many people are averse to the color orange, it’s often considered one of the least popular colors. If you’re not a fan of orange, ask yourself what aspects of orange do you perhaps have a personal struggle with, and apply orange in some form to that part of your life.

Like red, you can incorporate orange into your life as simply as eating or drinking things that are orange. In fact, so many orange foods are so good for us, like carrots and oranges. You can use orange to decorate a room like studio or craft room to inspire creativity, but you want to avoid using it in rooms where there is possible stress.

Monarch Butterfly - Tricia GriffithVisualize orange light when meditating or healing, on the areas of your body or your life where you think they most need it. Keep an orange light or light filter so that you can sit directly in the light if you feel you need it. Find a cheery orange blanket to wrap yourself in on days when you need that boost of cheerfulness or creativity.

It takes a certain personality type to wear a lot of orange, but adding orange accessories may help boost your mood. Jewelry or gemstones such as citrine, coral, amber, sunstone, carnelian, topaz, and certain agates and opals worn or carried in your pocket and bring a little of that orange energy into your life.

As with anything like this, it’s not just what people and books or websites tell you to believe, it’s what you believe. What feelings or thoughts does the color orange invoke for you? Does it bring up a particular memory? How does it affect you? You should always trust your own intuition about what’s best for you.

Sunflower - Tricia GriffithJust I mentioned with red, there’s nothing that says you have to work with orange if you can’t stand it. The added benefit of orange being a secondary color is that you could possibly achieve the same effects by using a bit of red and yellow if you like those colors better. These pages are certainly not everyone’s truth, just a bit of guidance to get you going in the direction you need to go.

And please, as always, if you have serious physical or mental health problems, talk to a professional. Take care of yourself.

Resources:

The Positive Benefits of Color: Red


This is a part of a series of posts looking at the different ways we can use color to positively benefit our lives.

Daisies - Tricia GriffithRed is a warm, bright, energizing color, often associated with love, warmth and comfort. It is linked to the root chakra, which is believed to be one of the centers of life force, or vital energy, in the body. This chakra is located at the base of the spine.

Physically, the color red is believed to increase energy and revitalize you when you are feeling run down. It has been shown to increase blood pressure and is generally believed to have positive healing effects on blood related health issues. It stimulates appetite and has been used by many chain restaurants in its advertising (think McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC and Wendy’s).

Emotionally and mentally, red gives courage and strength. It can improve your assertiveness and confidence, build strength and courage, increase passion and sexuality. It evokes strong emotions, and when over-exposed to red, it is possible to become over stimulated and even agitated, irritable.

Filigree Heart - Tricia GriffithHow can you use red in your day to day life? Any way, really. You can wear it, eat it, drink it, paint with it, just about any way you can think to incorporate the color into your life. Visualize what you expect to achieve as you use the color.

In a situation where you need to boost your confidence and courage, you might want to consider wearing something red, even if it’s a red tie or scarf. You can add something discreet underneath, if you need to wear darker clothing.

You can carry red items with you for their effect and comforting presence. Jewelry or gemstones such as ruby, garnet, beryl, red jasper, red tourmaline or red sapphires used in a jewelry setting or rough cut stones can add a little bit of red to your life.

Molten - Tricia GriffithIf you need a more enveloping effect of red, you can wrap yourself in a red blanket or bask in a red light for its healing effect. Using red in the dining area can help stimulate appetite, which might help if you’ve got a picky eater in your home. Adding red to a work space or creative space can help keep you energize and creative.

Additionally you can simply use visualization to work with the color. Close your eyes and picture yourself surrounded in red light, direct it to any problem areas, or imagine it filtering into areas of your life where it is needed most.

Along with everything listed here and all the other things about the color red you might read elsewhere, one of the most important things to consider is how the color affects you, personally. What feelings, emotions or ideas does it represent to you? Trust your own intuition about the use of color in your life.

Beaver Lake Sunset - Tricia GriffithThere is nothing that says if you can’t stand the color, you need to use it. You can likely find the same type of energy, influence and inspiration from another color, or even a favorite piece of music. These are just some ideas to get you started, and of course if you have serious health issues, you should always consult your doctor.

Winter Solstice


Winter TreesSome people approach the winter solstice with gloom and trepidation. The first day of winter, oh god it’s going to be dark and cold for months and MONTHS…

For many of us, though, it’s already been cold for at least a month, or at least cold on and off, maybe since as early as October or September.  (Or whatever passes for winter-like weather where you live!) For some, it has already snowed. A lot. So really, the calendar may mark today as the ‘First Day of Winter’, but that is mostly a psychological thing, man’s need to trick himself into believing Mother Nature is not completely in control. (Sure she isn’t!)

Technically, winter solstice occurs exactly when the axial tilt of a planet’s polar hemisphere is farthest away from the star that it orbits. (Wikipedia) For those of us in the northern hemisphere, that was Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 12:30 A.M. EST. While winter solstice is actually more of an instant in time, it is a term more commonly used to describe the day with the shortest number of daylight hours and longest night in the year.

Historically, the winter solstice appears to have had significance is many cultures, with some evidence dating back as far as the Neolithic era, specifically the Goseck Circle in Germany, which is a set of concentric ditches carved into the earth with opening “gates” that line up with where the sun rises and sets on the solstice. Pottery fragments and other artifacts found at the site date it circa 4900 BCE.

Goseck-Circle

More famously, Stonehenge, in England, whose exact purpose remains shrouded in mystery and speculation, would appear to include allowing prediction of the solstice, equinox and other celestial events. Archaeologists estimate it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

Photo by Jeffrey Plau 2004

Similar sites throughout the world, including North and South America, point to how important the movement of the sun and the changing of the seasons was to ancient people.

Beaver Lake Sunset In modern times we are typically less worried about the starvation that might set in over the winter. Modern grocery stores and the ability to obtain food from all over the world certainly cuts down on our need to have spent the summer and fall stockpiling our food reserves. So, Winter Solstice, as an occasion, is not necessarily our last great feast before winter sets in and most of our ancient superstitions about the solstice have been forgotten through the centuries.

The tradition of Winter Solstice is not completely forgotten however. Many modern traditions and religions honor the day. From the website www.timeanddate.com:

In Poland the ancient December solstice observance prior to Christianity involved people showing forgiveness and sharing food. It was a tradition that can still be seen in what is known as Gody. In the northwestern corner of Pakistan, a festival called Chaomos, takes place among the Kalasha or Kalash Kafir people. It lasts for at least seven days, including the day of the December solstice. It involves ritual baths as part of a purification process, as well as singing and chanting, a torchlight procession, dancing, bonfires and festive eating.

Many Christians celebrate St Thomas’ Day in honor of St Thomas the Apostle on December 21. In Guatemala on this day, Mayan Indians honor the sun god they worshipped long before they became Christians with a dangerous ritual known as the polo voladore, or “flying pole dance”. Three men climb on top of a 50-foot pole. As one of them beats a drum and plays a flute, the other two men wind a rope attached to the pole around one foot and jump. If they land on their feet, it is believed that the sun god will be pleased and that the days will start getting longer. Some churches celebrate St Thomas’ Day on other days in the year.

The ancient Incas celebrated a special festival to honor the sun god at the time of the December solstice. In the 16th century ceremonies were banned by the Roman Catholics in their bid to convert the Inca people to Christianity. A local group of Quecia Indians in Cusco, Peru, revived the festival in the 1950s. It is now a major festival that begins in Cusco and proceeds to an ancient amphitheater a few miles away.

One of my favorite interpretations of Winter Solstice is the Season of Light. Celebrating the return of light to the world. I have been watching the days get shorter and shorter this year, watching the night arrive earlier and earlier. While I am generally a night owl, I can feel the early darkness kind of dragging me down. Perhaps its like I mention in my post You Are What You Think, this kind of dwelling on the darkness getting into my mindset and getting me down. I am ready for the light.

DSCF4564This as a time for letting go of the past, moving out of the darkness and into the light. This is a good practice for anyone, regardless of your spiritual path,  regardless of the flavor of your religion. Let go of the past, let go of regrets, grudges, resentment and anger. Forgive. Forgive others, forgive yourself. You can symbolically let go of these negative feelings weighing you down by writing them down, venting all your hurt, stress, distress and anger, then burn the paper (safely please!), let the ashes float away into the darkness. Tomorrow the light returns and the future looks a little brighter.