Hey! That is one beautiful little plant! | Touchstones of the Sacred | Touchstones of the Sacred

Archive for May 2011

Hey! That is one beautiful little plant!

May 30, 2011 By: Samantha Category: Grandparenting, Mind Body Spirit


Do you want to know the most amazing words an eleven year old can hear? Those words are “Only 20 days of school left!” I heard this the other day, and flipped out. The school year has gone by so fast, and I had no idea it was almost over. I’m not saying I am sad that it’s over, I feel the opposite actually, but I feel like we had just started when it ended.

I am really looking forward to summer though, and there is no denying it. I can’t wait for our wet, gray, cold weather to magically turn into a bright warming day, where, for the first time, we actually want to be outside. I can feel it now, my memories so vivid. Sun outside my window shining on us like a giant spotlight, making everyone smile.  Smiling is the key to summer. And the flowers -  pink, blue, orange, just there for you to admire so that you can say “Hey! That is one beautiful little plant!”

Summer is really the key to happiness. It opens a warm, bright window of lunch with your parents, bike rides to cute little ice-cream shops, and not wearing anything but your new bathing suit—and still being hot! It’s the ultimate vacation where you don’t need to leave your neighborhood, so you still have your friends. And everywhere you go, you can hear the laughter.

Just a little longer….


May 27, 2011 By: Patricia Tedeschi Category: Mind Body Spirit


When we talk about beauty in the context of Ayurveda, it should be perfectly clear from the start that we are not talking about market-driven ideals of the moment.  In Ayurveda, inner and outer beauty are intimately related.  The more we nurture ourselves, the more radiant we become physically and expressively – regardless of our particular body shape or proportions.

In keeping with the general orientation of eastern philosophy and healing, beauty can be viewed as having three aspects; an outer, inner, and secret aspect. When one balances the outer and inner, one has accomplished the secret aspect.

Outer beauty is what we most commonly associate with the field of beauty.  It is the perfection of what is visually perceived.  It includes the obvious traits such as contours of the body, texture of the skin, and the quality of the hair and nails.  But in Ayurveda, it also includes grace in posture and movement and the subtle qualities of freshness and vitality and magnetizing brightness of being. Ayurveda has always understood beauty to be the product of general physical health and appropriate daily care.  It is not just a cosmetic event.  The emphasis is on self knowledge and development of positive routines and habits that literally will bring out the best in ourselves.

Read more »

Everybody’s Black Swan

May 20, 2011 By: Michael Nagel Category: Mind Body Spirit


In the psychological thriller movie, Black Swan, Natalie Portman gives an academy award winning performance as a shy, prim and proper ballerina who tries very hard to be perfect as she prepares for her role as Swan Queen in Tchailovsky’s Swan Lake  ballet.There’s only one problem. She’s human. The black swan of her repressed ambition, jealousy, passion, and rage undoes her.

Right now a black swan swims in the backwaters of your unconscious and mine. Depth psychologist Carl Jung called it the “shadow” It’s the weaknesses, imperfections, faults, and instincts which we hide from others and ourselves by repressing them into our unconscious. The saint’s shadow is the sinner within; the sinner’s shadow is the saint within. The shadow or black swan is the disowned part of our psychological wholeness.

Despite our every effort to be good, here and there the black swan’s persistent beak pokes through the chinks in our goodness. We get into a snit because someone takes too long in the grocery line. We grab a parking space for which someone was waiting. We go into a rage because someone cuts us off in traffic.

From childhood we are trained to fit into society as “good” persons. Yet being socialized is only an initial stage of development. Being “good” by denying, cutting off and repressing parts of ourselves seems simply a matter of psychological tidiness.

Yet life and you and I are more complex than tidiness. Without preference life sustains both the month-old puppy that leaps towards you with unbounded love and also the eagle which sweeps down and carries the puppy away in its talons. The special forces soldier who by night lovingly twirls the curl of his sleeping 5-year-old daughter’s hair, by day “offs” others’ children protesting in the square.

If left unacknowledged, the black swan will undo us. The gay basher will be discovered in a back seat dalliance of the same sex. The preacher will be found in a motel with a prostitute. Yet the black swan’s beak does not poke to attack, but rather to be fed with the light of our awareness. Why? Within us resides a psychological drive to individuate (to realize one’s authentic Self) which is a stage of development beyond simply being “good” or socialized.

In part individuation results from our reconciling ourselves to the givenness of all that we are: the light and the dark. As we acknowledge the black swan, we free it from the backwaters of the unconscious. Neither do we act out, nor do we hide out. We strive for the moral courage to be neither better nor worse than we are but rather as we are. No longer do we labor at goodness, but rather at psychological wholeness.

Carl Jung warned that if societies do not attend to their collective shadow, then genocidal persecutions and world wars can result. Our era of failing institutions and broken social covenants is fraught with the dangers of unleashed psychological and social chaos. We each can do our part to safeguard each other by integrating our own black swans.

Riding the Wave of Transformation, Part 2

May 17, 2011 By: Mary Lane Category: Mind Body Spirit

Surfing Wahine

The Wisdom of  Nature

The ancient Taoists were aware of the necessity to align with nature and own our place in the web of life. All ancient indigenous cultures lived with this awareness according to their own cultural and environmental surroundings.

The 5 Element System of nutrition and lifestyle is a model of this awareness that gives people a map to live by. The Taoists were taught this model of life, death and transformation by observing nature and receiving her guidance. When we are in alignment with this energetic flow of the natural world we easefully become part of the universal creative energy that flows through all there is. When we are out of alignment we feel cut off, separated and alone resulting in illness on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels.

Read more »

Aromatherapy and Women in Recovery

May 10, 2011 By: Allison Stillman Category: Mind Body Spirit


Once a month I volunteer in a home for women in recovery, part of my aromatherapy seva and one of the more rewarding things that I do with essential oils. It was pretty obvious when I showed up last Thursday that almost all of the women in my class were suffering from major anxiety. Very few of them could sit still, nor could they resist the urge to talk out and talk over each other and me. So I quickly passed out some lavender oil, giving them each a few drops in the palm of their hands and instructing them to massage the oils into the back of their necks.

I then asked them to cup their hands over their noses and inhale deeply three times.
There was only one woman who did not like the smell, turning up her nose and letting us all know in no uncertain terms, that the fragrance was most unbecoming to her. Everyone else seemed to really like the fragrance, and immediately begin to soften their edges.Lavender is one of the most calming of all the oils and I like to start my sessions with lavender, as it begins to relax the central nervous system, which is why I like to massage it directly onto the neck, so as to penetrate immediately into the central nervous system which extends along the side of the spine. It takes a few minutes for that action to occur, but it is not too long after that I can perceive a subtle shift in the energy, with it dropping down a few degrees.

The inhalation serves to calm the portion of the brain associated with stress, not only the mental processes that spin wildly with thoughts, but also the emotional centers which process our thoughts and hold onto feelings, happy, sad, depressed, etc.. In addition to the emotional centers, the portion of the brain that is responsible for addiction, is directly affected by the olfactory system.

Read more »

One of those things I love

May 02, 2011 By: Samantha Category: Mind Body Spirit

Sami .jpgymg

These few weeks in gymnastics, it’s been tough. All of our conditioning leaves me sore, and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to tumble well on floor. Yet, it’s one of those things I love, and a lot too, so I try as hard as I can as long as I can. A couple weeks ago, it dawned on me that I have a real shot of moving up to level 6! So, impossibly, I tried harder.

If I had to stay without Gymnastics for a long time, I would most likely be uncontrollable with all my energy. It is like a sunburn on the back of your neck. You can’t get rid of it until it’s gone. Most of the time, Gym is either super hard and you want a rest or it is so fun, you wish you could stay forever. I really do hope I move up, because Gymnastics gives me sugar, the kind of sugar that makes you feel strong, mighty, and important. It’s the kind of sugar that makes everyone around you, and even myself, HAPPY! Happy is all you need in life!

Gymnastics rocks!!

Touchstones of the Sacred © 2007 - 2017 All Rights Reserved  |  Web Design & Development by Jeff Brock Studio