This herbal blend plus soap and oat mix wrapped in a washcloth makes a great body scrub that you can use in the bath or shower.
The scent will soothe you, your body will feel refreshed and once the soap stops bubbling through the washcloth, you can discard the used blend and refill to use it again!
3 ounces simple soap
6 ounces rolled oats
1 ounce of rose petals, 1 ounce lavender flowers, 1 ounce chamomile flowers and 1 ounce sage leaves, all dried
Large bowl for mixing
Stainless steel spoon for stirring and scooping
A mason jar – one quart, 2 pints or 4 cups (This recipe makes a lot of extra mix and is a great gift idea so you may like to break it up into a few gift containers!)
1-4 plain washcloths (1 for each person you are making this for)
String or decorative ribbon
Grate the full bar of soap with a food grater (like you’re grating cheese).
Scoop 5 to 7 tablespoons of the blend into the center of one plain washcloth.
Gather all the edges of the washcloth around the soap blend and tie with a string or decorative ribbon to make your foaming bath scrubber. Repeat until all of the washcloths are full.
Put the rest of the mix into your mason jar of choice and store in the bathroom until it is time to refill.
I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t want summer to end! That’s why I am saving some of summers sunflowers and making them into a special wreath so I can see them everyday after fall and winter have come.
Adding a small, plain wreath from a craft store, a glue gun and some tulle for string I re-created the sunflower with it’s dried yellow petals and green ring (called the calyx).
To make your own, gently pluck the petals from a sunflower once a few naturally start falling off. Save them in a basket and shake every day until they dry. Take off the green trim behind the yellow petals and do the same to dry. Glue the dried yellow petals on one side of the wreath and green pieces on the other. Loop some tulle around one end and hang your “sunflower” on a wall.
As the weather warms up Nature seems to come back alive. The growth that is happening all around us can be very inspiring. Sometimes we don’t even need to go outside to appreciate it, we just need to open our eyes. Here is a little meditation/contemplation to help change a busy mindset.
Your mission is to experience your life as joyful no matter what happens in your outer circumstances. Whatever external circumstances you encounter on your journey, understand that they are no more then a backdrop for your set design so you can play your role, learning from them. Imagine a quiet moment at home, looking at a raven sitting in a tree cawing. You may not notice the bird at all when your mind is racing about all the things you believe you need to accomplish today, but disable your body for a little bit, then all of a sudden a butterfly moving across your window on a beautiful summer day represents much more than before. It represents the celebration and power of life at that moment, flowing, moving. The butterfly tells you to look inside and experience how everything is actually perfect.
Adapted from Conversations with Angels
I believe that how we eat is often more important than what we eat. Here is a gratitude ritual that can be used before a meal to help you pause and appreciate what will be going into your body. This will help prepare your mind and body so that you can absorb your food better. I like to do something like this aloud before group meals but it also can be done silently on your own. I don’t remember what book I got this from but will update this post if I do!
Thank you sun for shining on the seed and allowing this food to grow. Thank you rain for watering the fields. Thank you dirt for holding the nutrients that this plant needed to flourish. Thank you fruits, flowers, vegetables and grains for giving your life for me. For bringing nutrients to me. Thank you to the farmers who bring me the food. For the truckers for bringing the food to the market. Thank you for the people working at the market. Thank you for allowing me to bring it home. Thank you food for nourishing me. For bringing this group together and giving all of us a connection to the earth and our fuel, our energy.
Before eating your food, smell it, lay out beautifully, take in the colors. Eat with gratitude. Chew each bite appreciating it. At the end of the meal, give thanks again, honoring the earth.
Then, at the end of the meal, take a gratitude walk around the block if possible, connecting with the earth and digesting your food.
The Lotus flower is revered for its ability to grow beauty out of darkness. Its roots start in the muddy soil below a river or pond and out above the water grows a radiant flower. It blossoms toward the sun every morning and then closes up to go underwater every night. This series of hand positions represents the opening and retreating of the Lotus flower. Follow along with the pictures and repeat the sequence several times. This exercise is adapted from the book Yoga in Your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi.
Where I live, the warm weather is calling us outdoors and the long days are making it possible to do everyday activities outside. What can you take outdoors this week? A meal? A hobby? A meeting with a friend? Whatever inspires you, go outside and play!
With Earth Day upon us on April 22, we will no doubt be hearing the many reasons why we should pay attention to the needs of the earth, our home. Of course we ought to be considering the health of our planet every day, not just on Earth Day. I like to think of our earth connection as something that deepens and grows year-to-year and Earth Day can be a chance to recognize and acknowledge that relationship. Here is a ritual that you can use to connect with the trees in your own neighborhood on Earth Day. It is also a ritual you can do on a weekly basis to keep your relationship with nature healthy and alive.
Adapted from Earth Spirit Living
1. Try to find streets with large trees located near streets with no trees. An older neighborhood near a newer neighborhood or commercial area will often show this contrast. Walk or bicycle down a couple of streets with large trees and see how you feel. Notice your mood and any physical sensations. Then walk or bike down a few streets without trees, and pay attention to how you feel as you are passing through.
If possible, go back and forth a bit and notice any differences in your mood, energy, or physical sensations as your own energetic system response to the different energy fields. If your daily commute takes you through a variety of areas, use this time to notice how each area affects you.
2. Alternatively, find a park or natural area with an open meadow space (such as a ballfield) and large trees (or one particularly large and beautiful tree). Spend some time walking and sitting in each area and notice how you feel in the open space and how you feel near the tree or trees. Write down your impressions in a journal or notebook, as it will help you retrieve your impressions more completely later.
3. As you go about your days, notice the presence – or absence – of trees near the buildings you encounter. How does it affect you when there are trees? When there are no trees? Jot impressions and observations in your notebook.
4. You can also connect to one tree. Visualize and feel yourself linking to the roots of a tree. Feel the whole tree from the top down to the deepest part of the roots. Be aware of the trees energy field that extends to far down beneath the surface of the earth. When possible, it’s great to physically stand or sit near the tree, close to the extended roots. Connecting with the tree in this way is wonderful when you feel depleted, tired, or scattered.
Practice this attunement with the trees in your neighborhood once a week to establish a regular connection. Taking timeouts will enhance and expand your awareness of your home and nature relationships.
This February, my boyfriend Greg Heffernan and I joined forces to lead a special Valentine’s Day partners yoga class with live cello. Our intention was to help couples connect more to each other through music and yoga. Everyone left smiling and Greg and I felt more connected, too! During the class, we read two poems that helped inspire us. See if they move you, too.
The Charge of the Lord of the Dance
From The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan
Whenever the voice of the earth is lifted in song, whenever your soul aches for union, call my name – I am Lord of the Dance and I am the wild tribal beat of your heart.
Free the serpents of your spine, delight in your earthly senses – for yesterday as a lesson learned, tomorrow is yet unwritten, and only in the present moment can you feel my rhythm. My music is the turn of the seasons; my lyric is the endless cycle of days.
I am the stolen kiss, the gaze across a crowded room, the tangle of limbs the morning after. When you learn to love with a whole heart and live your deepest passion, you will know and never fear darkness – for I am the shadow that follows the flame, the far side of the sun, and the most desperate desire of your heart.
I am the tremor of the thunderdrum and the graceful moonlit flight of a stag – I dare you to stand up and not to stand aside. I am the first step of the thousand, the sweat of a thousand more, and the courage to move at all. I bring the ecstasy of the unchained soul found only through the ecstasy of the body.
Wherever you gather in the love of nature, I rejoice among you. Whenever you honor the spirit within, whenever you dance the dance that is yours alone, you do so at my fire. I am Lord of the dance – take my hand and step into the rhythm of the infinite.
All the world is a dance.
I call upon the Lover
From The Body Sacred by Dianne Sylvan
I call upon the Lover
I call upon the fire
I call upon the heartbeat
I call upon desire
I call upon the moonrise
I call upon the tide
I call to you, beloved
I call you to my side.
Journal entry on pine trees 3/31/13
Not having been out to Pennsylvania in six weeks, I was struck by the size and stature of the pine trees. Yes, I’ve been aware of them before, but this time I couldn’t help but feel fascinated by how huge and abundant they are. Even in nearby places like Connecticut or Prospect Park the familiar pines have stood out to me, but their presence and stature don’t match these. These are tall, proud and beautiful, even in these earliest days of spring. Interestingly, pines are known historically to embody an energy of friendliness!
I felt that familiarity and solidarity that comes from a friendship and I was moved to know that I’ve been growing alongside them for 26 years. Growing together, not always aware. The good news is, they’re your trees, too! If you’re from this area or are living here, this land is made up of the ancestors of this place who hoped to cherish and preserve it for future generations (us). If you’re not from the area but from the region, these trees are the tallest in the Northeast, reaching high up in the sky and reminding us of the connection between heaven and earth. From the sky and the sun to the water and the earth, we, like the trees, find our place somewhere in between. Sharing their oxygen they help us strive to balance out the earth’s natural breathing rhythms.
Here is a creative writing journal entry written by my mom at my June 2012 Retreat.
The Pine Trees
The Pine Trees in our yard are so magnificent. They are beautiful with soft green needles that fall gently onto the lawn and on the home. They drop teeny bits of sap from their outstretched arms that land on our heads like a kiss from an angel. They are sturdy and strong and they stand tall to keep the coolness in the air and in our home. They release pollen that covers everything outside with a gentle coat of soft yellow nothingness. The pollen makes its way through the summer screens to do the same to each bit of furniture indoors. The Pine Trees here are strong soldiers of defense on our lawn. They form a sense of security making the home an oasis that sits in warm sun, while providing cool air that is perfectly filtered for cleaner, clearer breathing. The Pine Trees on our lawn serve as a home base for games and they become our own special spot when we choose one to be ours alone. The PineTrees are almost 100 years old, yet they show no sign of fading or falling. There is no weakness here, they are specimens of perfect planning. It is so amazing that a tree starts as a small delicate defenseless seed. So incredible that a small, delicate seed produces thousands upon thousands of more seeds in a lifetime. A Pine Tree represents a life well lived. I will respect and honor the trees on the lawn of our home forever.