spring spring spring spring spring spring spring spring spring spring spring
Even the word brings to mind the feeling. I just want to hop around outside, in the sun, twirling through fresh new little plants. I can feel the Universe tugging me forward, breathing air underneath my wings. I am so ready to take on what Life has in store!
This feeling is very much in line with what is going on with Earth and the stars. We are beggining a new astrological year, but we are also at the beggining of the earth’s seasons cycle (at least in the northern hemisphere).
The past few weeks have been difficult. Lots of mourning – of old relationships, old habit/thought patterns, old paradigms. Mourning my past selves. Mourning the winter.
The air is filled with possibilities. I am so excited to get my hands in the dirt.
I started being more mindful of the environmental impact of my general consumption years ago. It started in the shower, when I emptied a huge bottle of shampoo and wondered what the heck I would do with it. My municipality had a recycling system, but it still took huge amounts of energy to transform this plastic into, well, plastic with a different shape. I always knew from school that plastic is made with oil or natural gas, but in that moment, it clicked. I could see the extraction operation; the damage to the soil, the damage to neighboring waterways… I was taken aback – as if I was slapped in the face by reality – I knew that I could make different choices. I knew that it was my duty to make different choices, especially after having that awakening, that click.
I started on a quest to make homemade shampoo, toothpaste and facewash, completely dropping to use of any other ‘toiletry’. I want to share my basic recipe for facewash AND toothpaste. The differing factor here is the choice of essential oil. I love how simple and versatile this is.
Toothpaste or deep-cleansing facewash
3 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
3 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
20 drops of peppermint oil for toothpaste or of tea tree oil for face wash
Mix it all together in a small jar and you’re golden. It lasts a month, maybe two. Don’t store it in a warm place – the oil will melt – but I keep my facewash in the shower and it’s fine with the intermittent heat. Be aware that this toothpaste is not foamy at all and needs some getting used to… some people like to put stevia or other sweetner in their homemade toothpaste, but I’ve found it unnecessary for myself, though it might not be for you (that’s totally rockin’ too!).
To this day: I don’t shave (although that’s a topic for another discussion), I use straight tea tree oil as deodorant, and the purest form of coconut oil as moisturizer (it’s suprisingly not oily!).
I’m extremely ethically-driven and have a strong sense of integrity. Having profound love for the earth as the sustaining force behind Life, I take the responsibility to eliminate all of my destructive behavior and consumming habits. Some things take more time and energy – like kicking green tea and bananas! – but I have patience with myself and take on challenges one at a time.
So much has happened since I last spoke. I spent two weeks visiting my brother and sister; I started conducting workshops for my community development course; I started teaching art classes to elementary school kids; I kept up teaching yoga, practicing yoga, swimming, painting, reading and writing.
All the while chaos was unfolding around me. I was caught in a riff between two people that I love immensely. Both sides were wrong. Both sides were right. I learned about the damages of near-sightedness, of being unyielding, and of miscommunication in cross-cultural relationships. When I sympathized with one, I insulted the other. I oscillated between the two, not quite knowing where to stand, feeling increasingly confused and hurt by the circumstances. Eventually, my partner left to go back to the United-States.
I still don’t know how I feel about the whole situation. At first, I was angry at them both; profoundly confused. Some days I want to lay in bed and cry because I love him and miss him. Other days I feel excited about moving on without him. Sometimes I’m frustrated because I can’t make up my mind. I’ve come to accept the process of not knowing; of questioning. My favourite poet, Rainer Maria Rilke said in his letters:
“I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
This resonates with me so profoundly. It evokes deep feelings of gratitude within. Everything is exactly how it should be. Not knowing is perfectly acceptable – sometimes my perfectionist self tries to get in the way and control things… I see it clearly now when I write to you.
Meanwhile, I’ve been talking back and forth with my friend Brett, who owns the farm I will be managing with (and sometimes for) him this summer. Seeding calculations, production plans, garden plans, greenhouse schedules, convincing people to buy what we call CSA shares (which consist of weekly vegetable baskets – hey if you’re in Ottawa and you’re interested go to https://www.cadencefarm.ca/), amongst very many exciting farm preparation things. Most of our help with labour will come from youth groups that want to learn about growing food sustainably. I am thrilled to not only be a farmer, but also an educator.
I’m also painting a lot more. I am refining my skills, and I find myself less and less frustrated by the process and more and more in a state of flow. Which brings to mind a poem I wrote last summer.
it’s flow, obviously
stand up straight
there’s no time to wait
from the past
these things always pass
yet we quiver at the thought of separating from the mass
we shiver in anticipation knowing how fast
yet simultaneously slow transformation has
deceivingly betrayed us
intuitively guided us
Now, this makes me think of something Eckhart Tolle said in one of his talks. He was talking about how we’re always waiting. Waiting for lunchtime to come around, waiting for spring to come, waiting for someone to speak first, waiting to quit our jobs and start the next exciting thing. Waiting. Waiting. He says when we start cultivating awareness. I want to emphasize that. When we start cultivating awareness, we start being present. We start being here, Now. With whatever we are doing. We stop waiting.
And yes, blah blah blah, you could start contesting that with thinking “well what about decisions that I need to make? and choosing a ‘career path’? and planning a vacation?” Those are all legitimate concerns, truly. And maybe your life requires you to think in that way. But that might also be the reason that the human race is stressed out, anxious and unfulfilled. Which brings me to something touched upon by Osho. He talks about spontaneity and recognizing the flow within. If a decision doesn’t come to us spontaneously, from that unknown place within ourselves, then we are trying to control. We are lying to ourselves and fooling ourselves, in a very subtle, but profound way. Because then we are pretending that we know better than the flow does.
I have certainly been catching myself trying to control things and people and circumstances. Know that I am only sharing my thought processes and understanding of things with the purest intentions. I just want to learn through sharing, and I encourage you to do the same. I am always open to receiving your thoughts and ideas. I most likely will answer, though sometimes I feel like it’s unnecessary for reasons that depend on the immediate circumstances.
I wrote this poem when a group of friends and I were working in a food forest together. We slept in what we called “The Big Bed”, usually four of us together but at times we were six. Every night when we settled in for sleep, we individually spent at least 5 minutes arranging our pillows and blankets. As I was hilariously watching my neighbors arranging their sleep-space, I was catapulted to an alternate dimension where I could see small animals preparing their nest and I could see such similarity in our ‘bed prep’. I laughed and told my neighbor, Kush, “are you making yourself a nest?”
That moment sparked an idea within me. I wrote this poem the next day.
the Art of Nesting
i’ve curiously observed animals
setting themselves up for snuggles
finding a place to lie, gathering supplies
recollecting old lullabies
first, a comprehensive look is taken at the place of rest
the length, the depth, and the comfiness is assessed
then, a Great Gathering takes place
essential creativity in setting up this microspace
the basics, the classics; fabrics and blankets
pillows and fellows; inconspicuous banjos
secret stashes of snacks rescuing insomniacs
well out of sight for the soon-to-be amnesiacs
massaging pillows, getting the right consistency
arranging everything to be all warm and fuzzy
the lucky ones with a partner
get to solve the puzzle of their limbs together
so such is the Art of Nesting
its adepts perform it with playful undertaking
if ever you find yourself engages, about to commit
Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual. . . . Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are gods in the chrysalis.
I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.
When I was a child – and still to this day – my mother kept a panoply of plants in the house. I didn’t think much of them then; I thought plants were part of a house, like a piece of furniture. That everyone had plants in their house. I watched them flowering dearly and marvelled with my mom at the beauty of their blossoms. It was only later on when I moved out of the house and brought my room’s plants with me that I realized the sacredness of keeping house plants.
I found myself connecting with them somehow. Hearing their begging for water when they needed it, for nutrients or for a soil refreshment. It sounds peculiar, but it’s the only way I can explain it. They spoke to me.
Watering them and tending to them became a ritual, a meditation. I was so wholly present with them; I started hearing their gratefulness. Maybe it’s all in my head, maybe I’m crazy, but it doesn’t matter. Because what I hear and what I feel when I connect with the plants is Divinity itself. Nature.
I wrote this poem to explain my feelings and thoughts on it.
I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.