The Healing Garden

Does your garden rejuvenate you? Can you start out feeling troubled about something; but as you wander around planting, weeding, harvesting, watering, does a feeling of peace and contentment come over you? Do you feel yourself slowing down, breathing deeply, tuning in with the singing of a bird, the wind sighing in the trees?

I recall a very special garden I had the privilege of encountering in 2012, quite the thing of beauty already in May of that year. The striking entrance through the deer fence  a mystic star with poles sweeping up teepee style. Whoever originally designed the garden chose to shape the beds in a configuration of an Egyptian ankh. The cross piece in this case circles around several large stones, which warm up the immediate beds to speed up growing time by a few weeks. In May, beds of kale and brussel sprouts had over wintered from the previous season.

The circling raised beds making up the arms of the cross, consisted of three rows of raspberries – in spring just recently leafing out and brilliantly green; with an inner bed added while I was there, separating it from the inside row of raspberries to create another vegetable bed. I busied myself during my stay, putting in coriander, beets, radish, quinoa, broccoli, a patch of sunflowers for sprouting and another patch  hopefully to see yellow heads bobbing. Bending and squatting, dropping in each tiny seed it’s easy to fall into a meditative rhythm. I found a fellow volunteer, Ollis, entranced by the whole community of bugs, ants and worms he had disturbed turning up a rock, all living harmoniously in the cool rich earth.

The other arm of the cross had a wide bed of strawberries – all looking by early June like they had been putting out new energy as the days lengthened and warmed. At the end of the strawberry “patch”  a lilac bush, promised soon to be in bloom. The inner wide bed was again a vegetable patch with a plum tree at one end – under which I put in a few nasturtium and onion sets. I spent a while putting in two varieties of beets giving them a longer season by covering with a small moveable greenhouse in the fall. Had I had more time with this garden, I planned more vegetables to go  in over the  month of June.

The legs of the cross being more shaded were established borders of perennial beds of blackberry, grape and asparagus on one side and more strawberries on the other. A bed of blueberries, and many beds of kale, chives, garlic, lettuce, collards, spinach, tatzoi, sorrel, oriental greens, amaranth and more kale were already in the works by June, with plans for tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and squash.  What abundance!

Although the area of this garden’s location is the side of a mountain which nature didn’t originally plan to be a garden, one would never know it now after many years of building up the soil. On arrival in early May, I turned in horse manure, from the hard working Taloume, and compost. Everything of course organically grown so no worries as far as chemicals and fertilizers.

Taking out a few weeds and adding in some rows of greens toward the end of one day, as the shadows lengthened I was grateful for my sense of well being and for the quiet concentration of another volunteer, Jan-Michael, helping with some transplanting. Listening to the ch cchchcchc ch ch of the irrigation nozzles from the patio over supper; seeing the robins flitting in, I recall being assured of the garden’s ability to heal through the food it offered up and through the work it required, not only for that season of 2012, but for many a future season

 

 

 

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Musings of a Michael Jackson “Person”

via Musings of a Michael Jackson “Person”

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Further to Another Approach to Mountain Pose

As with the conventional mountain pose which is carried over into all other poses, so too with this variation (refer to “Another Approach to Mountain Pose” posted May 9). Also I’ve been trying this stance in other positions, such as wide legged, cross legged (that’s a challenge), seated straight legged with feet pressed against a support, or ‘v’ body again with feet pressed to a support. For me, it has the same activating effect of many of the yoga poses with the bonus of getting my brain completely involved as if new pathways are being built between it and the muscles. Physiology has never been my strong suit. All I know is, this is fun.

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Transcending Material Scarcity

Just listened to an hour length interview of Allegra Fuller Snyder and Jamie Snyder (daughter and grandson of Buckminster Fuller).

Some of the main points I got out of the video:

  • Bucky’s belief that all children are born geniuses with a comprehensive view which is drummed out of them by a school system which compartmentalizes thought processes.
  • In the face of such big problems as global warming, there is a tendency for people to feel hopeless and helpless. Allegra pulled out her shopping bag, noting that in the course of a day shopping, she might save 15 or 20 bags. This may seem incredibly insignificant, but “each one of us can do these very, very small things that add up to the big thing. The individual must feel absolutely responsible and effective within their everyday life.
  • As of 2001, of a world population of 6.5 billion; 1.5 billion is in extreme poverty (not making it); 1.5 billion are in moderate poverty (basic needs met, have food, shelter); 2.5 billion are middle income (basic needs met; have a little put away); one billion are wealthy (the rest of us)

Very encouraging ending with Jamie saying:

“One of the fundamental insights that he (Buckminster Fuller) presented was that for the first time in history, we’ve learned to do so much with so little in terms of resources; so for the first time in history, we have the potential to sustain 100% of humanity in a way that is ecologically sustainable while phasing out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. That’s very central. AND

It is important to realize that there is a very large global consensus now; there is a very large coalition of people around the world who now understand that we can end poverty on the planet.”

Listen to the interview at <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xj_lyn0982E&gt;

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The Healing Garden

Does your garden rejuvenate you? Can you start out feeling troubled about something; but as you wander around planting, weeding, harvesting, watering, does a feeling of peace and contentment come over you? Do you feel yourself slowing down, breathing deeply, tuning in with the singing of a bird, the wind sighing in the trees?

I recall a very special garden I had the privilege of encountering in 2012, quite the thing of beauty already in May of that year. The striking entrance through the deer fence  a mystic star with poles sweeping up teepee style. Whoever originally designed the garden chose to shape the beds in a configuration of an Egyptian ankh. The cross piece in this case circles around several large stones, which warm up the immediate beds to speed up growing time by a few weeks. In May, beds of kale and brussel sprouts had over wintered from the previous season.

The circling raised beds making up the arms of the cross, consisted of three rows of raspberries – in spring just recently leafing out and brilliantly green; with an inner bed added while I was there, separating it from the inside row of raspberries to create another vegetable bed. I busied myself during my stay, putting in coriander, beets, radish, quinoa, broccoli, a patch of sunflowers for sprouting and another patch  hopefully to see yellow heads bobbing. Bending and squatting, dropping in each tiny seed it’s easy to fall into a meditative rhythm. I found a fellow volunteer, Ollis, entranced by the whole community of bugs, ants and worms he had disturbed turning up a rock, all living harmoniously in the cool rich earth.

The other arm of the cross had a wide bed of strawberries – all looking by early June like they had been putting out new energy as the days lengthened and warmed. At the end of the strawberry “patch”  a lilac bush, promised soon to be in bloom. The inner wide bed was again a vegetable patch with a plum tree at one end – under which I put in a few nasturtium and onion sets. I spent a while putting in two varieties of beets giving them a longer season by covering with a small moveable greenhouse in the fall. Had I had more time with this garden, I planned more vegetables to go  in over the  month of June.

The legs of the cross being more shaded were established borders of perennial beds of blackberry, grape and asparagus on one side and more strawberries on the other. A bed of blueberries, and many beds of kale, chives, garlic, lettuce, collards, spinach, tatzoi, sorrel, oriental greens, amaranth and more kale were already in the works by June, with plans for tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and squash   What abundance!

Although the area of this garden’s location is the side of a mountain which nature didn’t originally plan to be a garden, one would never know it now after many years of building up the soil. On arrival in early May, I turned in horse manure, from the hard working Taloume, and compost. Everything of course organically grown so no worries as far as chemicals and fertilizers.

Taking out a few weeds and adding in some rows of greens toward the end of one day, as the shadows lengthened I was grateful for my sense of well being and for the quiet concentration of another volunteer, Jan-Michael, helping with some transplanting. Listening to the ch cchchcchc ch ch of the irrigation nozzles from the patio over supper; seeing the robins flitting in, I recall being assured of the garden’s ability to heal through the food it offered up and through the work it’ll require, not only for this season but for many more to come.

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Musings of a Michael Jackson “Person”

How does one become a “Michael Jackson person”? I’m sure there are any number of ways to finding oneself including MJ on the journey. As a simple example, one young woman told me she grew up immersed in popular culture at a time when Michael was playing a major role in it; and she was proud that he was involved – that he was one to admire and his talent was unquestionable.

For my part, being a few years older than Michael, I of course knew of the Jackson 5 and one could  hardly miss Thriller, Billie Jean and Bad. But other than his greatest hits, I have to admit I largely was unaware of Michael’s career and his impact on music  and popular culture. Perhaps it was because his music came under the “pop” genre that I never paid much attention, being more an avid listener of “blues” and “rock”.

At any rate, probably 99.9% of my becoming an MJ person had to do with the existence and access to computers and the internet. One day late in August 2010, browsing the video site YouTube (which at the time I had no personal history with) a video of his was just one click away. Later I learned August was the anniversary of Michael’s birth which was perhaps why one of his music videos came up and not something else.  A second click brought me to the 30th anniversary concert, Madison Square Gardens, NYC, 2001 at which Elizabeth Taylor introduced Michael as a great humanitarian. If anyone in popular culture is going to get my attention – the aspects of their character that have to do with what they are giving back to the world is a huge draw. What was Taylor referring to? Again the mouse was there with instant answers, my research finding that the proceeds from entire tours had gone to charity and to the Heal the World Foundation, of the visiting of children in hospitals and the creation of Neverland, Michael’s home, and it being opened for children.

Wanting to find out what MJ was like as a dancer and during live performance on tour, it wasn’t long before I came across the Live in Bucharest concert and then watched everything I could find featuring his moves.   Later looking up Jackson 5 videos – it was evident the years and years spent honing his stage skills from early childhood on.

In writing this I’m noticing what drew me in first – someone else might have been drawn in by the music first – but for me it was MJ’s humanitarian side, then his dancing and performance style as a solo artist and yes eventually I began to absorb the music itself. I was  to discover, that no matter which song Michael Jackson either wrote himself, was given or collaborated on, I liked them all. Unusual for me – as sometimes one or two songs of a recording artist will grab me – not their entire catalogue….

From here I recall my research mushrooming in any number of directions simultaneously. I needed to know about it “all” and how it “all” started – the history of his childhood and family background; the influences he sited – again that led to weeks, months of researching anyone whom he had credited like Sam and Dave and of course James Brown; his years as performing with his siblings and family and learning all about Motown and all the performers and groups coming out of Barry Gordy’s Hitsville – many of which songs were familiar to me as a child growing up in the 60’s with a radio clamped to my ear listening an American station in the middle of the night.

Having always been a voracious reader with a wide range of reading interests and biography, autobiography and memoirs being some of my favourite reading material it was now easy to reread Moonwalk – although I found little of interest otherwise, nothing  worthy of serious attention; the library shelves bare in comparison to other contemporary artists and groups such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elvis.

Back to the internet – I could find endless entertainment though in the Jackson 5 performance years this leading me to set up a Twitter account wanting to have some connection, however illusory with people who had lived and breathed and worked with MJ  – his brothers being all alive and right there a tweet away. Any of information I could want to have was again a mouse away. Another example was a particular fascination for Katherine. In MJ interviews I noted his chosen speaking voice  From whom did he learn to become so soft spoken and articulate – perhaps they had drilled him at Motown but perhaps Katherine was his initial template to emulate.

And so it went. l was thrilled to catch the Cirque du Soleil – Michael Jackson The Immortal show in Vancouver in November 2011 and again in August 2012. It was a treat to be able to see in action Sugarfoot Moffet, Greg Phillinganes and Jamie King.  A spectacular show with the live band, the acrobats,  the dancers, the visuals, I felt MJ’s artistic legacy reta

I thought that my journey as a Michael person would be a solitary one. After all, at the time, I lived north of the 60th parallel, in Whitehorse, Yukon so I thought it highly unlikely I would find anyone to share my “obsession”. However I was wrong. After leaving the Yukon I received an email from my former boss, with “Michael Jackson” in the subject line. I thought my boss was teasing me – as he had caught me once in his office practicing the Drill. I used to have a bit of fun at the bakery where I worked. On the front counter, rested a basket of white gloves which we used to take the freshly baked loaves of bread off the shelves. One day a new customer asked me what they were for. “Oh,” I offered, “we’re all Michael Jackson fans, stick around long enough and you might catch us breaking into Billie Jean.” For a moment I think she believed me. But I digress. The “Michael Jackson” email was to introduce me to Wendy (still living in Whitehorse) who having found Michael was searching for others to relate to. Corresponding via email I felt that at least I was not entirely alone on the MJ path. Though Wendy and I have never met physically – we came close when I planned to meet her in Gary, Indiana at the Jackson family home. Because I can often go long stretches “off the grid” as someone referred to me – meaning dropped out from technology, I am more often than not out of the loop as to what is going on MJ wise. So I was grateful to “know” Wendy who told me about the In the Studio with MJ seminars.

These are music workshops offered world wide by one of MJ’s former sound engineers, Brad Sundberg. A story teller extraordinaire, he invites other artists who also once worked in some capacity with Michael, in the studio to share their stories as well and I have thus far had the privilege of meeting Brad Buxer (MD on tour and musical collaborator with MJ) and Michael Prince (the understated and self described “knob twister” in his working relationship with MJ).  For someone like me who would never have thought much about the anatomy of how a recording is made, and to hear the break down of a completed piece on the best studio equipment out there at near MJ decibels are experiences I never imagined to have. These workshops can be quite addictive with content being switched up from time to time I’ve had more fun than a person should be allowed at two of these events – one in Boston, another in Toronto. In Boston I was able to thank Joe Vogel, the author of The Man in the Music, letting him know in my opinion it should be on every library’s book shelf. Speaking of books, Elizabeth Amisu’s The Dangerous Philosophies of Michael Jackson is on my to read list

Because I am not always tech connected the entertainment value of MJ related spin off projects on line will probably last me indefinitely. As an example, I find the MJ Podcast a worthy replacement if I can’t access CBC radio and Saturday Night Blues.

Recently (as at August 2018) I’ve had the distinct privilege of meeting self described “MJ devotees” – (I think I have that right). Brenda (author) and Siren (artist) graciously and generously opened their hearts and homes to me and included me on their respective MJ paths intertwined beautifully one with the other.  For them Michael is a remarkable before and after, life altering, perhaps ego shattering, muse creating, all encompassing experience. They can tell it better and they have  – through their art, books, blogs, posts, etc. If Michael’s oft stated “all for l o v e” was an embodiment – it would be in these two.

Interesting the intersection of our paths crossing was because of a tree planted by Brenda and Siren in Michael’s memory in Calgary – happening to also be old stomping grounds of mine from life times ago. When I contacted Brenda on line – I thought I was simply getting directions to Michael’s Love Tree with no expectation to actually meet. Curious about what “makes people tick” and always the seeker I’m finding out a little about the trajectories of others on their own MJ paths.

In my own case while Michael will always be “just another part of me“, (as the song goes), coming across him as I did – thankfully many years after the beginnings of my own life altering, ego shattering, course changing (ongoing) days; MJ has been a reminder to keep the journey “light” “impish” (this in an MJ dream of mine) and carefree. To “make that change” whenever possible  – thanks Siedah and cowriter, but also sometimes to just allow for that sheer “escapism” that Michael often talked about wanting to provide through his artistry.

As the anniversary of his birth once again comes up (August 29, 2018) I can continue to celebrate that my happening to be around when he happened to be around just so happened to coincide.

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Desiderata…

Desiderata

I shall quote Desiderata in full. I had it on my bedroom wall in high school.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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