Saturday, January 8, 2011

Today's Medicine: Clarity

Last week I had an astounding moment. I was re-hanging the hummingbird feeder in the back yard. (Yes we do have hummingbirds year round up here.) I've seen several over the past few weeks and since we've had freezing temperatures, I've kept an eye on the feeders to be sure they're not frozen. As I'm fiddling with the feeder, up zips this Anna's hummingbird. It hovers about a foot from my face. I freeze my arm mid-air and he begins to feed. A hummingbird. A foot from my face. For a good five minutes, which is an eternity when your holding your arm up and trying not to breathe too much. I've never seen one that close before, so I never knew just how vibrant a magenta the chest feathers are or how loud their wings really are as they hover to eat. It was amazing, it was humbling and I spent the rest of the week feeling truly blessed.

Fast forward to last evening. I had a moment clarity when I realized I wanted to have a more aesthetic approach to my life, particularly in regards to surrounding myself with functional and beautiful things. I want my life to feel as if I'm in a Pre-Raphaelite painting, full of jewel tones, richness and simplicity. I hunger for this in a way I cannot begin to express. It's a deep longing that I often set aside in the face of practicality, yet it cannot be completely suppressed. After all, my house is a perfect example, with each room having at least one wall of deep and vibrant color. I've started thinking of ways I can integrate more of this into my life, how I can begin expand into lushness.

The practical side of an aesthetic approach came through last night as well. I was in the kitchen tidying and realized that I really needed to wash the window. Never mind it was 9pm and I wasn't sure exactly how clean it was getting. It needed doing, I had the energy to do it and so it was done. I was surprised to see which items I removed from the windowsill, which serves as my kitchen altar most days. It now feels more spacious, more clear. Hanging above is a moss agate mobile and a stained glass multi-pointed star. Within the window stands a bee statue and a deep red Goddess vase, as well as the happy Buddha statue made from wood that was my grandmother's. It feels clearer. The kitchen feels like the sacred hearth and heart space of our home. I went to bed feeling accomplished just by doing that one small thing that I'd been putting off for a month.

What I wasn't prepared for was the sense of wonder that hit me upside the head first thing this morning. I toddled downstairs to put the kettle on and looked out the window. The greenness of the holly tree took my breath away. I had not really understood how cloudy and dirty that window had been until the light of day. I don't know how long I stood there gazing at the red berries and prickly leaves. Eventually I decided I'd best put the kettle on and maybe it would be a Good Thing(TM) to wash the window on the outside, as well as the sliding glass door. After a lovely cup of Crumpet Shop tea, I did so. After the morning's epiphany, I was even motivated to wash my car, Minerva. (Yes, in January. It had to be done.) Not only does she embody the idea that sometimes dreams do come true and should be cherished, she's one of my vehicles for movement in the world. And her windows were getting pretty blessed filthy. I feel better knowing that I'll be able to drive around for at least few days without the glare of lights on a dirty windscreen. And I'm sure the pedestrians and other vehicles will appreciate that as well.

If nothing else, I learned today that it's amazing how many details you can see when you pause to clean the lenses through which you see the world...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Today's Medicine: Potential

A new decade. A new year. A new day. Although the winter has frosted the world outside my window, the sun is shining brightly and hope lingers in the chill air. Why is it that January 1st always feels so hopeful? I guess it's because for many it symbolizes a clean slate, a new start and possibilities. As a culture, we've made this day a very powerful tool for change, even if it only lasts until the first celebration where chocolate butter cream frosting is involved. Then our hopes for a new life/self/body image is dashed by the reality that withholding and depriving isn't exactly the best use of change.

Years ago I worked with a woman who always followed her Greek heritage traditions during the New Year. The belief is that whatever you do on New Years day sets the tone for the rest of the year. She spent the days before January 1st cleaning house, tying up loose ends and making sure that New Years day could be spent in leisure, sleeping in and spending time with loved ones. After all, who wants to spend your year cleaning up other people's messes, not to mention your own?

As January 1st looms, I always consider this approach and I've modified it a bit to suit my desires. I did some cleaning this past week, mostly making sure that the house is somewhat tidy. I'm taking advantage of the collective energy of the day to bring moderation to the coming year: I had a leisurely lie-in with the kitties, but not too late. I'll be spending some time today doing spirit work, as well as hearth tending. A long bath is certainly on the menu. I also intend to clear out some clutter today, in the hopes that I will continue to learn the lesson of letting go in a gentle and more graceful way.

May the coming year and decade be as bright and shiny as the new day that dawned. May my life continue to be filled with as many blessings as I can handle, as well as enough puzzles to help me grow. May my heart continue to open and may my eyes see all the beauty that exists around me.