One of our daily walks includes the Baybrook Court Bridge that gets us from the north side of the Boise River to the south side, with ease. We never fail to stop, rest our foot on the railing, and take several minutes to appreciate the river as it meanders along, often carrying ducks and geese, and in the summer, rafts of people enjoying themselves.
You can tell from the worn spots in the paint that the bridge is well-loved. I hope that by the time I reach my expiration date I have lots of “worn spots” too. To me, it seems like a grand way of measuring one’s “loved-ness.”
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in your joints and are very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” —The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
That’s a picture of me and my dad. I’m currently visiting him in Encinitas, California (Dec 16 – Jan 1). One of the many purposes of my visit is to research local options for all levels of elder care.
But not just any elder care. I want my dad to be on the receiving end of heart-basedelder care if and when he needs it; heart-based elder care with a holistic approach. In other words, people who have his best interest—body, mind, and spirit—at heart.
While here, my goal is to help my dad understand that there are many ways to approach optimal rest-of-life wellness, stress, pain management, and comfort. My desire with the research findings I present, is for him to make informed decisions as he crosses various bridges associated with the ageing process.
My objective during this visit is to maximize his self-confidence and independence, and to help him integrate complementary and traditional approaches in an effort for him to reach and maintain a state of balance.
In addition to working with healthcare and associated insurance benefits, we’re working on financial and legal aspects. Hands-on we’ve been doing lots of breathwork, cranial therapy, and reflexology. I think he’s actually having fun—at least I hope so.
In a recent email discussion about elder care with my friend Barbara K. she said:
“I have witnessed so many people headed for the 20-year chronic disease and disability in retirement sentence. I have listened to that lesson and, like you, practice good eating, exercise regularly, watching that cholesterol level, and working this brain on both sides. The women in my family live into their 90s and I can either do that vertically and independently, or horizontally and dependently. Genetics pretty much determines how long we live. Lifestyle determines how well we live.”
George Burns, the comedien who lived to be 100, is famous for saying: “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”
Leaving you with that wonderful food for thought, please know that my next post won’t be until I return home on January 2, 2011.
Over the last nine posts, we’ve laid the groundwork for this course—The Color of Wellness and looked at the therapeutic properties of several colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
We learned that color is energy made visible; that every color has a different and distinct wavelength; and that we can be influenced by it. By incorporating a few easy-to-implement suggestions on how to weave color into the tapestry of our lives we’ve learned to enhance our sense of groundedness with red, increase our sense of delight with orange, cultivate our inner-landscape with yellow, develop our emotional empowerment with green, unleash our creative flair with blue, boost our insight with indigo, and strengthen the connection with our higher self with violet.
The photos in the slideshow are from our kitchen. As you can see, we enjoy a lot of color. We don’t set the table with every person receiving matching plates and dishes. Rather, we mix them up in bold fashion and have a lot of fun doing it! Our napkins are wild and crazy—no two are alike.
Every wall in our home is soft yellow (like the inside of a banana) with the exception of a very large sage green wall in the living room. We have liberal accents of chili pepper red throughout the house, with bold splashes of emerald green and cobalt blue here and there.
A few months ago one of my Gaia friends, a regular reader of this blog, asked me a question. My answer was to sit down and write a color meditation for her. With a little extra polish since that time, this is the result:
For this meditation, you may want to light a candle, dim the lights, and play music softly in the background. Each exhalation is designed to offload emotional baggage and to create space for unleashed, unlimited, potential and possibility— for joy!
Sit with your feet flat on the floor, back upright and supported against a chair, hands resting comfortably on your thighs, eyes gently closed. Take a few deep, letting go breaths, directing attention to your body’s still point where in-breath becomes out-breath. In your mind’s eye, picture roots growing from the soles of your feet down through the floor, deep into the earth, grounding and centering you like an ancient, wise tree.
Bring your attention to your base chakra—the tip of your tailbone, your foundation, where self-preservation, survival, and physical wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color red—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-preservation. I invite the healing energy of Divine Love to flow.”
Shift your attention to your sacral chakra—the area just below your belly button, where self-gratification, pleasure, and occupational wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color orange—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-gratification. I make choices that are for my highest good.”
Direct your attention to your solar plexus chakra, the area just below the point on your chest where your rib cage meets, where self-definition, personal power, and social wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color yellow—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-definition. I choose to fill my world with joy.”
Bring your attention to your heart chakra at the center of your chest, where self-acceptance, love, and emotional wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color green—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-acceptance. I lovingly forgive and release the past.”
Move your attention to your throat chakra, the divot in your throat, where self-expression, creativity, and emotional wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color blue—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-expression. I speak my truth with ease and grace.”
Direct your attention to your brow chakra, the point between and slightly above your eyebrows, where self-reflection, intuition, and intellectual wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color indigo—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-reflection. It see all things with insight and inspiration.”
Bring your attention to your crown chakra, the top of your head, where self-knowledge, divine connection, and spiritual wellness reside. In your mind’s eye, inhale the color violet—slow, deep, and steady—through your nostrils, drawing the breath past your chest and all the way down into your belly.
Now exhale the “waste”—any toxic thoughts, emotional baggage—through your mouth. Using the power of intent say: “The energy of Divine Love fills my self-knowledge. “I am divinely inspired to live as I am meant to be. Thank you. And so it is.”
Below you will see a chakra necklace that I designed in April. I call it The Seven Selves as it goes hand-in-glove with my manuscript. The green stone (heart chakra) is perched neatly in the middle with three stones sitting in attendance on either side. You can’t see them all in this photo as they wrap around my neck, but from left to right as you look at the photo:
The red garnet reminds me to live courageously.
The orange amber reminds me of the importance of personal respect.
The yellow citrine reminds me to walk in dignity.
The green aventurine reminds me to drink from the well of calm and joy.
The blue lace agate reminds me to speak my truth.
The indigo lapis lazuli reminds me dive into endless possibilities.
The purple amethyst reminds me to live in the present moment.
The Seven Selves necklace by Laurie Buchanan
I hope you had as much fun receiving this “class” as I did delivering it. We’ll take a break from “coursework” through the rest of October and then jump into “Alphabetically Speaking” in the month of November. You may remember back in June (the day after my hard drive crashed) I took a reader survey and received lots of great topics that you’re interested in learning more about. I’m looking forward to delivering that “course.” In the meantime, I’ll post a bit of this and a dash of that …
For those of you who are just joining us, welcome to the University of Life. In the previous “classes” we laid the groundwork for this course—The Color of Wellness, and looked at the therapeutic properties of the colors red, orange, and yellow. Today is my 53rd birthday and I worked it out so that the class palette would feature my favorite color, Green.
Green is associated with self-acceptance, love, and emotional wellness. It enhances love, peace, and inner balance. It’s the color of growth. Think of freshly-mowed grass that springs back after a barefoot step, a wedge of lime hugging the rim of a glass, moss-covered rocks in a stream, freshly-snapped sugar peas, or new leaves unfurling as they herald spring.
The positive properties of green are expressed as warm, sympathetic, compassionate, soothing, relaxed, fair-minded, and consistent.
The negative properties of green are described as envious, mean, bitter, inflexible, and jaded.
The healing properties of green are described as calming and soothing, and can address physical symptoms that include headaches, heart, and kidney problems, flu, and negative states of mind such as irritability, spite, fear, of emotional involvement, and claustrophobia.
When you need a boost in the areas of love and self-acceptance, indulge yourself with this color. Its frequency revitalizes the heart chakra, the center energy station in a system of seven. It encourages us to love ourselves just as we are.
Love, the most powerful energy of all, helps us to heal emotional wounds through unconditional acceptance and understanding. It’s here—the place of the heart—where we become a balanced and peaceful being.
What shade of green are you drawn to? Pure green is strongly associated with nature, new beginnings, and a sense of renewal; it’s the most neutral color in the spectrum. While the more muted tones are calm, restful, and soothing. Maybe you prefer the deeper, shaded variants that project trust and order, encouraging contemplation, serenity, and repose.
Regardless of the hue, green reminds us to listen with our hearts and encourages us to fulfill our heart’s desire. Archangel Raphael—Heaven’s Physician—is associated with the color green. It’s no wonder this color is often used in healing circles.
What we do with our physical environment—our personal space—speaks to our heart and helps us to flourish. Buy a piece of green clothing. Add a splash of green to your décor with flowers, pillows, a candle. or a throw. Do you enjoy antiques? Add a few pieces of depression glass or a green seltzer bottle to your collection. Or take advantage of the healing frequency of green crystals such as green aventurine, malachite, green jade, or 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 ofEmerald 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.
Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in all the major spiritual traditions as among the greatest of virtues. I recently came across this quote from Matthew Fox, an American Episcopalian priest and theologian. It said, “Compassion is not sentiment, but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies.”
The virtues of the heart help us make more conscious and ethical decisions; they are what fuels great souls. It is my personal belief that love is a person’s divinity in action.
Compassion is vital to the healing process; the common denominator of all restoration. When we hold heart-based intent (Light, Divine Love) for another person, it yields a dividend; the promotion of health and wellbeing for both the sender and the receiver. It activates HeartLight – illumination of the sacred space within.
It is my perspective that healing cannot take place without love. Like a blade of light that pierces the darkness, HeartLight in our sacred space, inner sanctuary, can remove dis-ease and restore wholeness—body, mind and spirit.
Have you ever been part of the healing process for yourself?
Have you ever been part of the healing process for someone else?
University of Life – Divine Grace Course Description
“There but for the grace of God go I.” I have a difficult time with this familiar phrase. In my experience, it’s usually said by someone when they observe a person in an unfortunate circumstance. To me, those words mean, “I’m somehow special—elect—and don’t have to encounter that type of thing.” As if God imparts some people with a healthy dose of favor and leaves others to flounder.
Grace. We all have it. We’ve all been endowed with this innate gift. But what is it? Some say that it’s compassion or divine love; others say it’s the protection of God. I define it as the immediate presence of Spirit. One of my clients offers this definition, “Grace is the breath of God.”
The famous Latin writing, “Bidden or unbidden, God is present,” means that God is everywhere—not just with a select few—but with everyone in equal measure in the University of Life. We’re all here to gain understanding. Most of us learn by making mistakes. Some of us are taking basic courses; while others are in accelerated programs. Regardless of the level of difficulty, the classrooms have an ever-changing terrain. Having a strong and secure internal foothold—divine grace—helps us to stay the course.
If love is an act of compassion, then grace is divinity in action. The next time we see a person and think, “There but for the grace of God go I,” let’s put our divinity into action instead and be the immediate presence of Spirit for that individual; giving them a smile, a word of encouragement, or lending them a hand. Grace not given is grace lost.