Monday, December 24, 2012

The Hap, Happiest time of the year, Really?

This time of the year is difficult for me.  It is difficult for many people.  It has not always been so for me, in fact, quite the opposite.  My husband, Paul, loved Christmas.  Those who knew him might not ever guess that but it is true.  He liked the family & friend time. His dad & his girlfriend used to come stay with us for the holidays and we would go to Paul's family get togethers on Christmas day.  It was always so lovely.  I do miss it.  I don't think anyone but kids loved the whole Christmas tree thing, picking one out, decorating it, getting a new decoration each year like Paul did.  One year we could not afford to buy a tree and that was not ok with him so he found a way to get us one.  A local park was over run with invasive junipers and if you cut one down you could take it home for free.  So, out he went to get us a tree.  He chopped it down and drove it home.  Paul was not a tree chopping kind of guy.  It came complete with an empty bird's nest and lots of dripping sap which we quickly found out that I was very allergic to.   Paul had to do all of the decorating that year.  We had our tree.  When we lived in our tiny LA apartment and were broke he still bought a Christmas tree.  Needless to say I have lots of great Christmas tree ornaments but they have not been hung since he passed.  I still can't look at them.  I just want Christmas to be over and I want it to stay gone.
This morning my mother found out that her best friend was killed in a car accident last night.  This woman was over at my mom's delivering homemade cookies yesterday afternoon when I called.  You just never know what is going to happen.  Life moves forward and it does not care when it decides to take a turn.  It is another reminder that every moment of every day is precious. Live it that way!
A beautiful thing happened to my mom this afternoon though.  It is a long back story so I am going to try to sum it up.  After my dad passed on in February 2009 there was a cardinal would visit my yard throughout the year.  It would appear every time things were not going well and always when I would talk to my dad's spirit.  I began to believe that this red bird was my dad visiting me.  The morning of the day Paul passed on I was sitting outside crying and I asked him for any sign to let me know it was ok.  A red bird appeared to me and started singing and kept singing for a few hours.  I believe that was Paul.  He owed me a song.  He used to play guitar and sing to me almost every day.  We had talked about how he owed me a song the day before he died.  That same red bird was in my yard nonstop for weeks.  I saw red birds all over the city for months.  So I looked into it and there is a belief that when a person's spirit transitions and they want to visit someone in this world that they come back as birds.  I shared this with my mom and she started seeing red birds in her yard too especially during times that were difficult.  So we both believe that our red birds are our husbands or any loved one that is taking care of us from the other side.  Today, for the first time in months, she had two red birds at the bird feeder in her yard.  I asked my dad, my husband and my sister Sue to be with mom and give her peace.  When she called to tell me about the birds she sounded happy and said she knew that she was being taken care of and it would be ok.  This is our Christmas miracle and our gift!  This is more Christmas than anything I can think of at the moment.  It put a smile on my face and hers and that is no small task today.
Christmas is not about material stuff.  It is about the gifts we give and receive that have no monetary attachment.  We get them every day we just must be open to receiving them especially in the sad times.
This isn't a sappy sweet Christmas story.  It is a crazy, messy, real life Christmas story and that is ok.  Remember every moment is precious so cherish them and have a happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Respect your food respect yourself

I want to talk about food, surprised I am sure.  More to the point I want to talk about reverence for life and how I believe that relates to what & how we eat.    This is a big, broad topic that is controversial.

Food and water are our sources in this physical world.  Without them our bodies cannot function meaning you and I do not exist. The nutrients that we receive from what we eat keep us healthy and alive.  Depending on what we eat and what is in our food it also has the power to take us down.  It is a choice everyday, it is our choice.  Will we respect our bodies and feed them whole, healthy, real foods or crap being paraded as food?

Because we have lost the importance of food in the modern world we have also lost respect for it.
In doing so we have let go of respect for our bodies.  Here in the US we have abundant supplies of what passes for food.  There are fast food restaurants on just about every street cornor, grocery and convenience stores too.  Those isles are filled with stuff we feed our bodies, some of it is even fortified with micronutrients to make us feel better about eating it.  Our ancestors did not have these things and it wasn't that long ago that the grocery store was ours or our neighbor's backyard or field or the depending on our geographic location the nearest lake, river, ocean or woods.  The foods we harvested from these places were rich in natural nutrients that helped us live and would be passed onto us as we consumed them bringing the circle of life together.  Plant or animal it didn't/doesn't matter.  They had life, we took it and used it to sustain our own.  And in those times food was respected because our ancestors understood that without it they would get sick and die.  Native Americans had/have rituals of respect for the animals they killed thanking them for their sacrifice and the life that they are passing on to humans.  WHY don't we all have that practice everyday in our homes and communities?  I believe plant foods deserve the same.  I believe that we must treat the foods and water sources we consume as the sources that they are because without them we are no more. 
A bag of chips, a factory farmed piece of meat and a glass of soda are sources of illness so I am not asking you to thank them although that animal from the factory farm who gives us sick meat was forced there and made to live a desperate, tortured life by the very species that it will make sick .  The same type situation goes for the GMO foods and heavily sprayed, etc. crops. Our waters are polluted to the point that we put special filters on our faucets or buy special filtering pitchers just to be able to drink some form of pure water.  We have bastardized our sources of life and in so doing lost respect for them and for ourselves.
Eating should be a pleasurable experience that nurtures and nourishes yet many of us find shame, confusion and pain when we sit down to eat.  If we sit down to eat.  We can change this.  Give a damn about yourself and about your food sources.  Eat simple, real, whole foods that give life like fresh, local veggies, fruits,meats, fish and dairy.  Shop at your FARMER'S MARKETS, co-ops, local stores and if you do not have access to these request that your grocery store begin to carry some of these choices.  That might require a bit of research on your part but you are worth it and the gift that you will be providing to your community is priceless.  Eat with mindfulness that what you are putting into your mouth should be helping sustain health and wellness and it came from a life of its' own to help you do this.  Thank your food.  You don't have to do it out loud but try doing it and see how it changes your attitude while eating.
Reverence for life, all life, comes full circle just as disrespect does.  The responsibility and choice is ours.