I am blessed.
Today at this moment in this time, I sit on one of my favorite outdoor perches while my Wintered body is bathed with the intoxicating sunshine that's pouring out of an astonishingly periwinkle blue sky.
I am blessed!
I hear generous birdsongs in the hundreds of trees with whom I share my lakeside world. I smell the breath of Spring in hyacinth and daffodils and see Spring's palette spreading pinks and purples, blues and yellows across what has been a stark grey and brown garden bed.
I am truly truly blessed!
I get to watch Janie and Violet, my two guinea hens, fluffing dirt into their polka-dotted bodies as they dust-bathe in the sun and preen in tender self-care.
I watch a chicken parade pass to my right as they waddle and wag their way from tasty bug to nutritious mineral pile, from fresh grass to tender leaf.
I am blessed to hear the buzz of fishing boats off in the distance and the heron take off from my front yard squawking like the pterodactyl he surely must've evolved from. And I am so very blessed to watch this masterful fisher, the Great Blue Heron, wait eons with stealthy precision then dive at just the right moment for just the right fish meal.
I am blessed to be here and now and I'm not even beginning to list the heaps and piles of blessings of my life in total...simple food and shelter are biggies and then there's transportation and good health and the list expands and expands...So, I'm just simply listing a few that are staring at me so intently in the gift of the Present!
To be in this moment is full to overflowing with sights and sounds and sensations. The many, many layers of blessed sensual appeals.
So very very full I am!
"My cup runneth over," Mama might say. Yep, she runs and runs and runs ...and all of that amazing volume pouring out of one single blessed moment indeed!
What does this contextually-charged word mean? A little online peek lends the following definition that fits my current state of awareness: "Enjoying happiness, joy, bliss, pleasure, the bliss of heaven." Yes, that's it.
Stephanie and I prepared a little gift activity for the Yoginis who attended the weekend women's retreat the weekend before last. With freshly cleaned old Patron tequila bottles as the containers for each woman's personalization, the invitation was to make a list of her blessings...as many as she wanted to list... in such a way that each blessing could then be cut as a tiny slip of pretty paper. The colorful slices loaded into the pleasing recycled glass bottles and individualized with further decorations led to some absolutely beautiful Blessing Bottles! Some added beads and colorful ribbons and all can be added to and added to over lifetimes.
All blessings are 3-bear-certified to be "just right."
Even if you missed the blessing-of-a-weekend that the 10 of us gals shared March 12-14, I invite and encourage you to create your own Blessing Bottle without delay. And for heaven's sake, do NOT go out and purchase a bottle for this project! Please, please, reduce, reuse, and recycle your way to your chosen piece. So many wonderful shapes and colors of wine and other drink bottles, sauce bottles, and such. Or decorate a plain-janie one with your style of magic. Paint inside or out, wrap the bottle in something cool, drop colorful and playful objects in with your Blessing slips, and use pretty paper for extra specialness.
And when you are writing out your blessings list, don't forget what a true blessing you are yourself....what a blessing you are as a Light shining in the space you occupy in this world, this lifetime, this moment!
I have discovered and re-discovered time and again that the ancient practice of counting my blessings is perhaps the most powerful antidote to depression, the very best solution to poor self-esteem, and my oft' prescribed remedy for lack of inspiration. Whether I put them in a bottle on in my bedtime "Gratitude Pages" or pour them out to myself when gravity pulls me low, blessing awareness is part of my Yogic toolchest and I recommend it be in yours too.
And you know what? You are each and every one absolute blessings in my life!
Spring and the world breathes anew
As I mentioned in the last Lovin' the Light newsletter, I have been hearing a new call but have been unclear what it is exactly. Just energetic nudges to shift and transform, to create fresh and new, and to breathe some new life into what is. Not that anything has died. Not that. Just the ebb and flow, contract and expand nature of Nature. Kindof like the feeling that I know I need to clean out my closet. Not that anything I own is worthless. Just time. You know?
MY CALLING PATH
Since I can remember, I have felt a tug toward "something" and then "something more." Not "more" in the material sense, not "more" in the adding-on sense either... but wider, more expansive, deeper spiritual openness and creative expressiveness. I have always felt "called" but I can't exactly tell you what that means in words and I'm not going to do a very good job of it here either... but I will share this little branch of my Calling Path: Back in my late 20's I "sensed" my first strong calling, was clear I knew what Path to pursue and had the gift of a spiritual name "communicated" to me to fuel my tentative fires. My name is Flame. Always has been, I suppose. But after a dream and 3 significant people's words to me, I later realized I was to own the name and live out the call that went along with it (simply to remind you that you are The Light of Love!) Obviously I don't use the name "out loud" and I don't think I ever will but I may find its use in some writing that I am now being pulled toward.
So, part one of my new shift: I have some writing and creating to do. I can not put it off any longer. The time is NOW.
A NEW FORMAT FOR YOGA CLASSES AT RIVERBIRCH YOGA
Part two is a new format from which I will offer and teach Yoga beginning in May: Rather than offering weekly classes, I will be providing a once-a-month Wholistic Yoga Event. Instead of the previous study and Sangha groups, the monthly event will provide plentiful opportunity for study and social connection plus there's a new online Sangha coming in May! Additionally, I have a number of new things "in the oven" for future enjoyment!
So to put it simply, here's what I am excited to announce...Riverbirch Yoga presents!....
Riverbirch Yoga presents "Your Monthly Wholistic Yoga Event!"...Second Saturday Sadhana
A 4-hour experience each month beginning in May 2010 (May 8th is the first one)
Second Saturdays 8am-12noon
8-10am "Reunion ...Reuniting with true you! - A Yoga Immersion in Being" - Safe space to simply and honestly BE. An on-the-mat experience of movement, stillness, silence, soundings, breathing, healing energy, being, sensing, and deepening your awarenesses. Very similar to what's currently offered in Riverbirch Yoga classes with some additions including at times: outdoors experiences with sitting and walking meditations or mat time; early morning "still waters" experiences such as canoing & kayaking before 8:30am; some energy-freeing hands-on assistance by Jan, other healing practitioners, and class partnering at times; sometimes we will dance and play, sometimes we will be quietly still.
10am-12noon - "Sec Sat Market" A two-hour possibility-fueled space for meandering and gently-energetic connecting! Think of it like a "marketplace" of Yogic fun and flavors, tools and toys! Varied Activities offered each month including some or all of the following: little mini-workshops, a "market" (garden produce, herbs, arts, used goods, services,) healing arts practitioners onsite (brief chair massages, reflexology sessions, energy experiences, and such,) artful gifts displays, informational sharing, community connections, tea time chats, live music.
So, come at 8am for time on the mat and stay for or simply arrive at 10am for a more diverse yet still very Yogic experience and please bring friends!
No meal will be offered but you're encouraged to bring a sandwich if you come at 8 so you can stay for Sangha! Pay as you feel called to pay. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED for "Re-union at 8" and will soon be available online.
THE RIVERBIRCH YOGA ONLINE SANGHA
Riverbirch Yoga presents The Riverbirch Yoga Online Sangha
Our website will soon have a forum where you can connect and stay connected with others who you know from class as well as many others who will surely find us along the cyberPath. An "online intentional community," this Sangha is a space for more direct and frequent learning and sharing. Group studies; sharing of recipes, natural remedies, plant info; Yoga discussions, healing arts, creativity, and who-knows-what-all might arise from this new venture. It will be a monitored board and nurtured carefully along as the new baby it is. Should be up and going in May sometime.
Aside from that, what will I be "doing"? I will continue to offer private sessions as called on. I will get The Shed cleaned back out and my hands back in clay. I have tons and tons of "paid" work to do with Jon for our many businesses we have created over the past couple of years as we continue to re-create our income streams to be more aligned with our personal truths, callings, and turn-ons! (www.TheCarolinaRider.com and www.satisfactionmarketing.biz) I have some "unpaid" fun stuff to create (www.lakewyliemusicfest.com, and some other new creations that may show up before year end called Joy Ride, Loving University, and Good Vibrations Healing Troupe). I will take as much time as I can to sing with Mama! I have gardens to tend and chickens to nurture and Amos to laugh at and Jon, of course to love and love and love! Besides all that, I welcome you stopping by for tea anytime I'm here!
Oh, and then there's.... Riverbirch Yoga, uh, Jan or Flame presents.....some yet-to-be-fully-defined writings and creations from the beautiful flowing Source of all Light and Love via me!
Mama turns 90!
Please do a little dance and help me celebrate the life of my incredible mother, Frances Madora Killian Jenkins - who would clearly and strongly ask you to call her nothing but Fran! She turns 90 years old on April 13th and is so beautifully full of life when she sings and makes people laugh. She says that's why she's here....to make people smile. And she does! If you find yourself nudged to meet this woman who I talk so highly about, don't hesitate and please do ask. I'll be so happy to take you to see her and share her Light with you! And you will be so glad you did!
These pictures are from her 80th birthday. For as long as I could remember she had said that she wished she could be a clown. So a student of mine who used to be a clown helped us gather costumes and make-up and we dressed Mama up as well as several of her grandkids and myself and went to a nursing home and gave out flowers to the residents and then Mama was serenaded by a barbershop quartet (one of the men in the quartet, Fred, is a former 70-something Yoga student of mine.) It was a grand day! Her wish for her funeral someday (which I will surely make happen) is to have a big group sing-along by everyone in attendance and a New Orleans jazz band to play When the Saints go Marching In and other upbeat tunes to celebrate her homecoming. But never fear, she told me just in the last month that she's aiming at 100!
Saucey News for Yummy Goodness
Ok, at long last I am revealing the recipes for some of my favorite sauces, or Elixirs, as I enjoy calling them. Not that I won't create another any moment now because the bowl's the limit to what the foods create in my kitchen...and yours!
What I'm not giving you is amounts. Sorry. Firstly because I don't know...it depends on how much I want to make, what position the moon is in, and how I'm feeling that day! And secondly because you've gotta figure it out just like you do on the Yoga mat....it's YOUR ELIXIR, not mine....make it as it calls you!
Taste! Taste! Taste! And please don't skimp on ingredients, for Elixir's sake! My stuff is good because I use the good stuff....as close to fresh and whole as I can get. And I'll probably get fresher and wholer with it along the way. Might use some seaveggies instead of the Spike sometime.
Lemon-Garlic-Tahini Salad Dressing (or drink!)
Juice of fresh lemons
Spike (a wonderful veggie-full seasoning salt)
Fresh ground black pepper (and/or red pepper flakes or other heat of your choice)
Tahini (I prefer the kind in jars near the peanut butter in health food stores rather than the mysterious and tinny-tasting canned stuff)
Bragg (Soy Sauce that's called Liquid Aminos - has nothing other than soybeans)
Oils of choice. I usually use Olive Oil and sometimes mix in Sunflower oil or do it completely with Sunflower. Sometimes I add flax or other health-needed oils also. Your salad dressing is a great place to put those needed oils!
That's the basis of it. You can add fresh herbs of any kind and amount, you can do different kinds of seasonings as you like. But if you've got the lemons, the garlic & the tahini, you're golden - and so is the beautiful Elixir you will create!
I throw all but the last 2 ingredients in the blender (well, my Vitamix, but who's dropping names?!) and on slow get it good and mashed together before I go on to more liquids with the Bragg and Oil. I then add Bragg to taste...at that point,
stick a finger in (when the machine is OFF!) and see how much salty needs to go in with the citrus-y. Adjust any other ingredients at this point too. Once Bragg and other flavors are right, I add some water to thin it. You'll figure out how much.
The water also helps to clear off the sides of the blender so I don't lose any good stuff that may be stuck there! After blending all that, the oil goes in and I can tell you at that point I put in
about as much oil as I have everything else. For instance, if the blender says I've got a cup of the first 5 ingredients in it at this stage, I add about a cup of oil ... or a little more. And I add the oil on VERY SLOW blend.
Stir Fry Sauce that's also great on grilled fish or tempeh or tofu or veggies or your breakfast cereal (well, perhaps not that but maybe some quinoa!)
Red chili sauce
A good stone-ground brown mustard (I like the one with horseradish)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fresh grated fresh ginger (oops, forgot to tell you retreat gals about that one!)
Fresh grated fresh tumeric (sometimes - I was out of this during the retreat. I keep my fresh ginger and tumeric roots in the freezer and grate as needed.)
Last night I grated fresh horseradish root into it!
Sometimes I grate some lime zest into it or use fresh lime juice too
And minced fresh cilantro is a de-lish addition
This sauce is simply stirred together in a beautiful bowl or pitcher for serving
Good for stir fries too as well as on grains of all kinds, falafel, tofu, and so much more
This one will be new to you ravenous retreat Yoginis
Miso Paste (NOT the dry mess but the GOOD STUFF that's in the refrigerated section of the health food store in plastic containers that look like cottage cheese perhaps. Various colors/flavors of this. I like the dark red/brown for this sauce
but the lighter ones have their place....I use the lighter ones in my scrambled tofu- another yummy recipe for later)
Mash the above together - about half of each - the slowly add a little boiling hot water to it to reach the saucey consistency you want.
Then add lemon juice to taste.
I have done this with Almond or Peanut butter instead of the tahini or mixed butters and those are yummy alternatives too.
Riverbirch Yoga is a giddy-proud sponsor of the Lake Wylie Music Fest Check it out!......and send it on to your friends......and performers still needed!!