A View With A Room

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You’ve probably heard of, or seen the movie, “A Room With A View.” But what I passed on my way home yesterday was definitely a view with a room.I was driving along my usual 2-mile route home from HolEssence, minding my own business, when all of a sudden the ivy climbing this beautiful brick building catches my attention.

“Look at me, just look at me, will you?!” it cries. I slow down to take a look. Not just a cursory glace, but a real look.

The view is amazing! Just look at how the windows are barely peeking out from behind the ivy—like knowing eyes peering out from behind long bangs.

There are cars behind me so I continue past, slowly. thinking, Thinking, Thinking. It looks like the perfect writer’s loft. No. It looks like a Hobbit’s abode.

Knowing I’ve got the camera in the car, I make a right-hand turn as soon as I can, and circle back.

What comes to mind as you look at the windows winking out from behind the ivy?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

Birds of a Feather

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Our friend and avid cyclist, Nan, told us about another gorgeous bike trail that she and her husband, Dave, found. The trailhead is in a tiny little town in northern Illinois called Hebron.

On Monday we, too, rode the trail and discovered that it was flanked on one side by breathtakingly beautiful wetlands. And just out of view for a good camera shot without a zoom lens, but well within earshot, there were hundreds of Great Blue Heron and wild turkey. They were singing. We couldn’t tell if it was a combined effort of both types of birds, or if it was one, or the other. Regardless, it was startlingly magnificent to be serenaded in the crisp morning air.

A little further down the trail, we came to the sporadic placement of several manmade nesting boxes. We’re not sure what type of waterfowl they’re for, but we’re fairly confident they’re not meant for the Great Blue Heron or the wild turkey as neither of them could possibly fit into the small circular entrances.

On the return ride, we were gifted to see the same birds, but this time there wasn’t a sound—not a single peep. It was hauntingly quiet. Either they were all asleep, or choir practice was over! Regardless, it was again done in unison.

We hadn’t known until Monday morning that Great Blue Heron hang out with wild turkey. If it’s true that “birds of a feather flock together,” what type of “birds” do you hang out with?

 

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Moose Madness!

You know how it goes… You buy a car and all of a sudden you start seeing dozens and dozens of the same kind of car. Well, the same thing’s true with moose!

Len’s been brewing his own beer again so he needs to have empty bottles. Great guy that he is, he’s more than willing to sacrifice himself drinking beer to get the empties. The other day he came home with what you see pictured above—Moose Drool beer.

Since then I’ve been seeing moose everywhere: Moosejaw outdoor clothing, Moose Munch popcorn, we even saw chocolate moose (yes, spelled that way) as a selection on the dessert menu at a local microbrewery and restaurant (as Len will tell you, we were there for “research” purposes)…

But the best moose I just learned about is Mooseheart Child City and School—a community and school for children and teens in need, located on a 1,000-acre campus, 38 miles west of Chicago. Over its 97-year history, Mooseheart has been home to nearly 12,000 young people, ranging in age from infancy through high school. It’s pretty cool—check it out.

Have you seen any moose on the loose in your neck of the woods? Take a peek in your freezer, you just may find some Moose Tracks ice cream!

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright  © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Low Down, No Good, Dirty Rotten, Yellow Bellied, Side-Windin’, Sap-Suckin’, Swamp Rat!

That’s precisely what I look like day 3 after The Incident. My face actually scared squirrels on our bike ride this morning!

Day 3 - Bar Room Brawl Look

Thankfully, it doesn’t hurt as bad as it looks.
Needless to say, I’m incognito

Incognito

Speaking of incognito . . .

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all. No one knew this, but the
violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social
experiment about perception, taste, and people’s priorities. This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? If so, do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be that if we don’t have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

… how many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

My Bar Room Brawl Look

My bar room brawl look

Yesterday morning at 8:30 I was in the final throes of getting ready for work. Most everything I do is backed with a great deal of energy—including brushing my teeth. I’d just spent a good 5 minutes gargling and leaned forward enthusiastically over the sink to spit when WHAP! I slammed my head into the shelf on our medicine cabinet.

My glasses went flying, I’m surprised they didn’t break. The impact made my knees buckle, which slumped me to the floor, clunking my chin on the basin counter on the way down. Tears sprang from my eyes as a natural reflex. Len heard the THUNK! followed by the fall, and came running.

“What happened?!” he shouted.

“I just knocked myself silly.”

“Your forehead’s bleeding and it’s starting to swell.”

While applying Neosporin it occured to me… “Get the camera, quick!”

“Why?” he asked.

“This is tomorrow’s blog,” I said with a grin.

I’d just been writing a piece about chronos time and kairos time as it relates to memory and was so caught up in it that I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing and nearly knocked myself out.

The moral of the story? Be mindful. There’s a Zen proverb that says:
When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Enriching Our Lives Through Tea

Blooming Flower Tea

One of my clients brought me a delightful gift of blooming flower tea from a recent trip overseas. It was a pleasure this morning to sit quietly and watch the leaves gently unfurl. For the occasion—truly enjoying a cuppa tea is an occasion—I delved into the pages of one of my favorite tea books: Tea Here Now: Rituals, Remedies, and Meditations by Donna Fellman and Lhasha Tizer.

While I’m enjoying this delicious morning cuppa blooming flower tea, I’d like to share with you a small passage from page 142 in their book:

“Tea has enhanced our own lives in many ways. It has refined our way of moving, teaching us to carry ourselves with grace, dignity, and precision—helping us to develop a newfound sense of our bodies. We tread gently, aware of our personal impact upon the world and respectful of all that we encounter along the way. Learning to make tea becomes an exquisite and personal art.

It’s also a way of being and doing that can inform our entire lifestyle. It allows us to do whatever we do well, take time to pause and reflect, and contemplate our actions deeply. Tea does not tell us what do, or what to reflect on, or what actions to take. It only encourages us to pursue our endeavors mindfully, thoughtfully, with integrity and consideration—all the qualities that we learned through making a cup of tea well apply to doing anything well. The spirit of tea invokes a sense of caring and attention, a feeling for excellence that can have a positive influence in every part of our lives.”

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

A Hint of Magic in the Air

The morning started out almost like any other, but there was the slightest hint of something different in the air—magic—as we turned our bikes onto the Fox River Trail and headed south to historic Elgin, Illinois.

We turned our bikes south on the Fox River Trail

Riding along the Fox River, we enjoyed the way it winked back at the sun who was flirting shamelessly with it.

The river winks back at the sun

We rode past beautiful scenery that waved its leafy fingers, beckoning us to leave the trail and play.

We rode past beautiful scenery

But we didn’t. We stayed on the trail that eventually took us within feet of the river.

The bike path took us really close to the river

We could tell by the change in scenery that we were getting close to our destination.

We're getting close to our destination

Finally, we arrive in historic Elgin, Illinois—made famous by the Elgin Watch Company.

We arrive in historic Elgin, Illinois

I love libraries. As you can imagine, lots of magic is let loose in the children’s section of the Elgin library.

The children's section of the phenomenal Elgin library.

We continued our journey to see the Grand Victoria riverboat casino. After dazzling the security guard with our brilliant smiles (and using just a hint of magic), he allowed us to use their very nice restrooms.

The Grand Victoria riverboat casino

On the return trip, we stopped and fortified ourselves for the ride back home with a delicious breakfast at “The Measuring Cup.”

We ate a delicious breakfast at "The Measuring Cup"

Then, you’ll never … ever … believe what we saw. How had we possibly missed this on the ride down? Impossible!

How could we have possibly missed THIS on the ride down?

A castle! The early morning hint of magic in the air proved to be true.

A castle!

With the zoom lens we got a closeup view. How cool is that?!

With a zoom lens, we get a closeup view

See those blue tubes hanging over our right shoulders? Those are how we drink water while riding. We wear “Camelbak” packs that each hold 100 ounces of water. When we’re thirsty, we just bite down on the bite-valve and voilà! Perfect for a long, hot ride.

Our Camelbak packs make it easy to stay hydrated on a long, hot bicycle ride

There’s magic around us all the time, all we have to do is pay attention.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Emerald Eyes, Isles, and Stones

Raw Emerald

One of my friends, Donna Jill Witty, recently returned from North Carolina where part of her time was spent gem mining near Ashville. Much to my surprise and delight, she gifted me with three raw pieces: emerald, sapphire, and citrine. Since green is my favorite color, emerald is the gemstone that I chose to highlight in this post.

But first, please follow this LINK so that I can introduce you to Donna Jill Witty and her amazing artwork. I’m tickled to share that she was featured in the current (summer 2010) edition of the American Artist Watercolor magazine. The article, Mixing Careful Planning with Spontaneity, starts on page 42.

Emerald
The frequency of Emerald is said to enhance harmony, joy, cleansing, abundance, clairvoyance, memory, and faith. It provides inspiration and helps those in need of balance, healing, and infinite patience. It also benefits intuition, intellect, communication, decision-making, and promotes truthfulness and honesty. It motivates the possessor to give love and wisdom to others. Emerald is used to enhance intuitive awareness and to bring forth manifestation. It’s a stone of protection and is associated with the heart chakra.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.

Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive

Four Generations

Do you remember the 1996 comedy “Multiplicity” with Michael Keaton? In an effort to accomplish more, he had “copies” of himself made. Unfortunately, each copy (clone) was more blurred than the previous one; less efficient, less effective, less everything … In fact, the negative aspects of the original became emphasized with each copy.

On a recent bicycle ride I was thinking about my son and our similarities and differences. That got me to thinking about how similar—yet different—I am to my mom, and she was with hers, and so on…

In looking at the “bolt of cloth” that I’m cut from, my goal is to “accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative.” I’m hoping that my son will do the same as he examines that same bolt of cloth.

In the four generations picture above, my mom’s on the left, I’m on the right, and my maternal grandmother is in the center holding newly-born Eoghan (1983).

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved. 

A Chair for your Derrière? Take a Stand!

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Do you sit too much?

In an editorial published in the January 2010 publication of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences said that authorities need to highlight the dangers of sitting. “After four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals because the genes that regulate the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down.”

Tim Armstrong, a physical activity expert at the World Health Organization said that people who exercise every day—but still spend a lot of time sitting—might get more benefit if that exercise were spread across the day, rather than in a single session.

A new Australian study by Melbourne-based Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, in conjunction with health insurer Medibank Private, has alarming findings about the simple act of sitting down: It’s dangerous, particularly at work and watching TV.

The study was published in the American Heart Association Rapid Access Journal Report in January of this year. They said that the theory of sedentary lifestyle being bad for you isn’t new, but that the findings in this study are alarming.

Australian researchers tracked the lifestyle habits of 8,800 adults and found that each hour spent in front of the television daily was associated with:

An 11 percent increased risk of death from all causes.

A 9 percent increased risk of cancer death.

An 18 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related death.

Compared with people who watched less than two hours of television daily, those who watched more than four hours a day had a 46 percent higher risk of death from all causes and an 80 percent increased risk for CVD-related death.

This association held regardless of other independent and common cardiovascular disease risk factors, including smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, unhealthy diet, excessive waist circumference, and leisure-time exercises.

Len stands—all day. There are stand-up desks. And there are pub tables. As you can see in the final photo, Len’s preference is the latter. A good choice, as he burns an extra several hundred calories per day just by taking a stand!

If you’d like to find out how many calories you burn per day doing certain activities—including standing—simply follow this LINK to the AOL Health page and use their “Calories Burned” feature.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

www.HolEssence.com
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.