ancient wisdom

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There are times in my life when all the facts seem to coalesce into a greater truth. Normally I find that this truth is also an ancient truth, an ancient wisdom, and that I am never the first person to encounter it.  That said, it is very important to me that I come to this wisdom for myself. Otherwise it always is just facts & knowledge but never truly my own wisdom.

I recently had that experience with wellness. I have written about why I chose FWTFL. It was the best decision I have ever made health wise. It is an amazing set of “what’s” and “how’s”. It has given me the tools to get back to a healthy state.  But I am a “why” gal.  I like to know, no — I need to know, why.  So I read a book called “The Four Pillar Plan” (UK title) / “How to Make Disease Disappear” (US title) by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee. It reinforced the “what” and “how” of FWTFL and went deeper into the “whys”.  Then I began listening to his podcast.  A particular episode really struck me as something that I wanted to know more about, something that was the big “WHY” behind all the little “whys.”

The big WHY is the circadian rhythm.

After listening to the episode(s) on circadian rhythm, I purchased the kindle version of Dr Satchin Panda’s book “The Circadian Code” then I read every article he referenced, then followed a rabbit trail of links and articles. It has been very enlightening. Very interesting. Very intriguing.

What makes us think we can just unroll thousands (and thousands) of years of living, being, and observation? This is the question I have to ask myself often. This is the crux of my endeavors going forward. It all came together for me when I sat down with my Book of Common Prayer to do Laud one morning and Vespers later that day.

Laud — Let my soul rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun.

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring to your holy hill and to your dwelling . . .

The very definition of Laud is praise, public praise so it is very fitting that my first intentional (conscious) thought is that of praising God. I notice that laud (praise) is tied to and acknowledges the rising sun. That first morning light that is filled with blue light, that light that alerts our body to awaken and prepare for the day  . . . and so I complete the prescribed prayers while lacing up my trainers, downing a glass of water, and heading out to walk in the new day, with the rising sun, and continue to focus my thoughts on God.

By the time my walk is done, I’m warm, hungry, and feeling quite alert and ready to tackle the day. I spend a few extra minutes outside watching Jasper caper about and weeding the gardens. This gives me nearly an hour out in the sun, moving my body, wakening my mind, and enjoying the peace and quiet.

The rest of my day falls into place with meals, plenty of water, a shower, light housekeeping, reading, writing, and learning.  By 3 pm, I am brain-tired and ready for a change. Some time doing yoga or resistance training helps re-focus my day from mental to physical — now is when I do any heavy cleaning or other physically intensive housekeeping chores, along with a quick dip in the pool to cool off, and my last meal occurs about 5 pm.

At 6:00 I sit down with my prayer book again and I find these words . . .

Vespers —

O gracious light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!

Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You are workday at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Vesper means evening (and Venus, as in the evening star) and I am reminded again to praise and I see again that it is tied to the changing light pattern. Now the sun is sinking, the day is aglow with reds, oranges, and purplish-gray. This is no time for glaring white/blue lights, screens, and exciting activities. This is a time to be be quieted, to prepare my body for rest and healing. This is a time for fireside (or candle-side) story telling, family chats, books, and audiobooks.  Even in the summer, when here in IN it can be light at 9 pm, it is easy to make this a quiet time — and sometimes another dip in the pool is needed to help cool down our bodies and make it easier to fall asleep.

There is so much more I’ve learned, and so much more I’ve remembered, but this is the gist of circadian rhythm and these are the keys to wellness:  Sleep, Eat, Move, and Relax.

vital worship conference

Vital Worship Conference: June 19-21, Grand Rapids Michigan

Weather:  Day 84, Night 57, Partly cloudy, but no rain.
Dress — “comfortable”

Activities:

Travel Tuesday early morning and Thursday evening
Conference Tuesday afternoon to Thursday after lunch, opportunities to walk in nature preserve, walking between buildings

Packing List

  • Wear: shirt, pants, cardigan & loafers
  • In Roller Bag:
    • 45DEDB9D-D609-4EEA-B9F5-42A9F75965642 shirts, 1 pair pants, 1 jacket
    • Underwear/bras/socks — sports sandals
    • C6E55FC8-2514-46F8-84E1-05BA813D6057311: face cleaner, face cream, lotion, BB cream, lipgloss, tide stick, contacts + solution, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm
    • 81BB0E15-1574-42F4-8277-C8BCA3358655spiff kit: comb, emery board, Rx+supplements, toothbrush, wipes for glasses, small travel first aid pouch, sanitizer wipes, alarm clock, flashlight, phone charger + stand
    • food bag: protein shake packets, trail mix, chocolate bar
    • pen + journal + conference notebook
    • book
  • B193C950-B0B2-4AF1-A640-5134DEF19730Purse:  Wallet, glasses/sunglasses, and water bottle

living small, 6 month update

Six months ago I noted a few areas where I really wanted to dive deeper into living small (simply). It has been an amazing six months filled with questions, observations, re-thinking, and change.

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More Favorites  . . . Less Novelty:  I am reading through my Kindle books instead of buying new fiction books. I’ve had to change the non-fiction reading part as 1) my church received a worship grant and there are some books I wanted to add to my library to help explore the idea of Celtic themed worship and my Spiritual Companionship Group will be reading these books, 2) I bought a couple of landscape books because I enjoy looking at beautiful gardens and I’m knee-deep in front yard planning, and 3) my wellness journey brought 1 book to my attention that I really wanted to have my own copy of so that I can refer back to them at any time.

I am now back to operating on a one in – one out rule for my books. They currently fill 2 shelves on the bookshelf and that is quite enough.

More Language . . . Less Social Media:  This might be the single thing bringing the biggest changes into my life aside from the wellness changes I have put in place. I have unfollowed everyone on Facebook and I only use it for my wellness accountability group. I still browse my Instagram feed, but just once a day. And Twitter is now a news feed and I try not to interact too much.

As a consequence my German is really improving.  I can now read 15 pages during my set German reading time. I haven’t had to look up a word in several weeks. And I can follow the audiobook without difficulty. I just finished Harry Potter 1 and will start Harry Potter 2 as soon as I am home from the conference I’m attending.

More Wellness . . . Less Confusion:  I am still following the Faster Way to Fat Loss program. I have learned so much and gained so much confidence. I am on my 12th week and I have lost 22 inches now. I likely have 5 more inches to lose.

I also read “How to Make Disease Disappear” by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and “The Circadian Code” by Dr Satchin Panda. Both books strengthen what I learned from FWTFL.  They are helping me understand some of the “why” behind the “how” of getting and maintaining heath.

My needs have changed as far as exercise gear goes. I’m not using the kettlebells anymore. They are tricky with my hands. I have some hand weights that have thin handles and I use those and a couple of resistance bands. I also narrowed my yoga mats down from 3 to 1.  I cut one up to put under my weight bench to keep it from slipping and to keep the weights from marking up the floor. The other piece of that mat goes on top of my travel mat (that I kept) when I need a bit of extra cushioning. The very large yoga mat hasn’t been used in 12 weeks and I am think if I don’t use it in the next 3 months I will find someone who wants/needs a very good mat. I also find that I don’t really use the step bench as such. Mostly it is just a platform for my fan.

More Simple-ness . . . Less Stuff:  There have been quite a few changes in this department. Little things like adding a flashlight and an alarm clock (rather than using my phone at night — helps with sleep) and needing a bigger purse since I am wearing glasses most of the time now and I need to be able to carry my glass case with me.  I got rid of my wallet and just use a little pouch now.

My bathroom cabinet fluctuates with products, but since they are consumable I don’t count them anyway. My two small shelves easily hold everything and that seems to be a reasonable way to contain the amount. I continue to strive for healthy, ecologically sustainable/durable products. I have a 3-1-1 kit that contains tiny jars that I can decant product into when I travel and that eliminates a lot of waste and hassle since I don’t need to find travel size samples.

I simplified my wardrobe even more by taking it down to neutrals + green. So now I have 2 pair of jeans (denim), 2 pair of trousers (black), 2 pair of capris (black and denim). My shirts are all black (4), white (3), or green (1).  All my 2nd layer sweaters are black (1), green (3), white (1), or denim (1).  Shoes are all black (loafers, sandals, ballet flats, + trainers +sport sandals). I have 2 at home outfits, 1 workout outfit, 1 swimsuit, 2 sun hats, and 1 pair of slip ons sneakers for outside work).

I’m back to traveling with my backpack (since my shoulder has finally healed), but I do not plan on getting rid of my rolling case — just in case I take a longer trip or have another injury that makes the backpack tricky.  I got rid of the toiletry case and just use my 3-1-1 bag and my Tom Bihn Side Effect.

My page “The List” is on-going and ever-changing list of my essentials. A lot of the list is linked to posts where I “justify” each essential.  I actually need to work through that list and re-do posts because as I continue to refine my thinking things change. I notice that I am missing something or I notice that I really don’t find a particular thing to be essential.

The Way of the Heart

The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers
by Henri Nouwen

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“Arsenius, flee from the world, be silent, pray always . . ”

Solitude — Silence — Prayer :: a summary of the spirituality of the desert.

Solitude:  

  • the furnace of transformation
  • Temptations that face
    • to be relevant
    • to be spectacular
    • to be powerful
  • The very first thing we need to do is set apart a time and place to be with God.

Silence:

  • Silence is the way to make solitude a reality.
  • Silence makes us pilgrims.
  • Silence guards the fire (Holy Spirit) within.
  • Silence teaches us to speak.
  • We speak a great deal, but what good does it really do.
  • “wordy unbelief”
  • A word with power comes out of silence. A word that bears fruit comes out of silence.
  • Divine silence in which love rests secure.
  •   . . .  how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks in silence.”

Prayer:

  • Pray always . . . solitude and silence are never separate from prayer. They create space for prayer.
  • Hesychia — the rest which flows from unceasing prayer.
  • Prayer isn’t just talking to God or thinking about God.
  • Hesychastic Prayer:
    • prayer of the heart
    • to descend with the mind into the heart and stand before the face of God
    • Heart = the source of all energies: impulses, feelings, mood, wishes, perception, understanding, will, plans, decision, PERSONALITY
  • Hide Nothing :: Surrender All
    • Happy are the pure in heart: they shall see God
  • Prayer — simple, unceasing, all-inclusive.

 

what’s growing? may 2018

What’s growing in our gardens — May & June 2018

Kitchen Garden

  • peas (edible pod)
  • okra
  • lettuce (6 rows)
  • spinach (6 rows)
  • kale
  • chard
  • carrot (2 rows)
  • zucchini
  • cucumber
  • radish (globe)
  • beet
  • radish (French breakfast)
  • asparagus
  • hot peppers
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes (cherry)
  • basil
  • parsely
  • cilantro
  • oregano
  • yellow squash
  • green bush beans
  • rows of blooming flowers interspersed in each bed to attract pollinators

In Seed Flats

  • lavender
  • basil
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • tomato

Fruit Garden

  • strawberries
  • grapes (4)
  • blackberries (20)
  • blueberries (3)
  • peach tree (2)
  • cherry tree (2)
  • plum tree (1)
  • apple tree (1)

Pollinator Garden (New)

  • new round flower/pollinator garden with wildflower mix (includes pollinator mix, hummingbird mix, butterfly mix, shade mix) **to help settle the soil while I fill in with perennials, bulbs, etc.** Will free up half a bed if we can remove these from the kitchen garden
  • primrose (4)

Compost Bed:

  • about 2 feet deep on 8 June
  • layers: <sticks, ashes, grass clippings, food scraps, soil> <sticks, grass clippings, food scraps, soil> (We will continue to layer like this until the stack is 4 feet tall, then 4 bags of manure will be added, 2 bags of peat moss, 2 bags of sand, and then a final layer of grass clippings and soil.

Planning/Dreaming (2019)

  • 7 red raspberry bushes
  • 2 blueberries bushes
  • 1 grape
  • 1 plum tree
  • 1 swamp white oak
  • herb bed (separate from kitchen garden — will free up a half bed (at least) in the kitchen garden
  • add perennials to flower bed
  • expand flower bed towards oldest peach tree, deck, and house
  • “shade house” over 2 half beds for greens
  • sunken greenhouse
  • rain water collection and irrigation hose to each bed