Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Disappearing Assumptions


I have not posted for over two weeks. It is not that I have not been writing. I have. But that writing is not fit for public display.

I have been reading and studying about ayurvedic lifestyle changes for myself. I’ve been taking an online herbalism course which requires writing profiles and essays about herbs and their uses. Furthermore, I have been doing quite a bit of writing related to the day-job.

None of these writings will ever see the light of the blogosphere.

If you’ve been around this blog long enough, you’ll know that I believe that to be a writer, one must write… frequently…. every day if possible. But you should not think that this means that you must give that writing out to the world every day — if at all.

Let that assumption disappear.

Now, I need to go off and write a stimulating profile on, of all things, fennel.

lgj (c) 2018

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A Big Bubble of Unstructured Time

I found myself in the fortunate situation of having six whole hours, a big bubble of time in my world, to do absolutely anything I wanted to do. When you have as many interests as I have, six hours is hardly enough, but I was delighted to have it nonetheless.

The Garden Comes Indoors
The gardening bug has really bitten me, (no pun intended) and I could not stop myself from going to the garden center and buying a planter, some potting soil, and three small plants from the mint family.   This is entirely an experiment since plants have typically not thrived inside my place.  It is simply too dark. However, I noticed that my feral mint in the backyard  seems to be thriving in a shady, enclosed area, so maybe it would do well in my dining room. I selected three plants: another lemon balm, a Yerba Buena,  and an ordinary, garden-variety peppermint. (I am rife with puns today).  Here comes the strange thing:  when I brought them in, the place I situated them seemed to lighten, and I don’t mean from the sunlight coming through their window.  I mean that the energy in the room felt lighter.  Living things do that to a place.

Apothecary Work
Yesterday, I harvested some lemon balm from the outside garden for the purpose of making a tincture.  A what?  A tincture is any type of herb soaked in alcohol for a length of time.  A lemon balm tincture can be used as a stress reducer or sleep aid.   My tincture here is made with vodka (you would NEVER use rubbing alcohol).   I’ll let it sit in my refrigerator for a few weeks in order for the essential oils In the herbs to extract.

I also made a batch of cleaning solution:  purified water, white distilled vinegar, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil.  Armed with this solution, I washed down my counters, table tops, even my chairs.  I find this much more pleasant than washing everything down with a chemical-laden cleaner.  From an aromatherapy perspective, the peppermint oil is a mood-lifter.  This too added to the energetic brightening of my home.

Since I seemed to have fallen into cleaning mode, I threw together a spray to scent my pillows and bed linens.   Vodka and purified water again, this time in a spray bottle with a few drops of lavender, sweet orange, and vetiver oils, all to lull me into a wonderful sleep tonight.

In the Kitchen
I cook for the entire week on Sundays since I have so little time to do so in the evenings during the week.  I usually roast a bunch of vegetables as part of the menu.  I was inspired by a cooking show I saw yesterday, and followed suit by roasting chopped sweet potatoes and golden beets in a sweet and spicy rub.  Oh, oh, oh!  Cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne, cinnamon, honey, olive oil, and salt.  If I could sell the aroma wafting out of my kitchen, I would be a rich woman.  I think tomorrow for supper, I will just have this.

Body, Mind, and Spirit
After lunch, I took a few minutes to review my planner and then write a bit in my “Raven Journal”.   This journal is the serious one, filled with all sorts of angst, a place to dump the emotional toxins. I felt so much lighter when I was done.

As the afternoon progressed, I felt the need to get outside into the sun.  I walked down to the town center, bought a cup of coffee and then meandered back home.  When I returned, I rolled out my yoga mat onto the living room floor and went through an Ayurvedic routine designed to drain lymph and detox the body.  Of course, like any yoga routine, I ended with a few minutes of savasana, a time of still, motionless meditation.   To continue the detox, I took a long, hot, soothing Epsom salt and lavender oil bath. I emerged, calm and clear-headed.  (No picture of that, you will be relieved to hear.)

And Finally
I would have liked to have had a couple of more hours. If so, I would have worked in my sketchbook or maybe drum a bit. However, knowing that I only had a few more minutes left of my afternoon before I had to leave to meet some friends, I did what I am compelled to do on a daily basis. I put my feet up and began to write.

Ljgloyd 2018


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The Best Mentors I Ever Had

When I think of a mentor, I think of Yoda. You know, he’s the shriveled gnome-like creature who tried to teach Luke Skywalker the ways of the Force. More realistically, mentors are often teachers, relatives, or friends who see something teachable in a person and reach out to lead that person on a path of excellence in a specific skill, talent or knowledge.

I wish I could say that there was such a person in my life: that one special person who took me under wing to teach me that one…thing.  The fact is that there were many:  Those teachers who taught me to read and write and then later to critically think and learn the tools of research.    There were those spiritual teachers who taught me to walk in a just and upright way.  There are the people who are concerned with my physical and emotional health.  Thank God for them. There were those practical teachers who taught me how to use a computer, cook a meal, and take command of an office.   Then there are the men and women with whom I drum.

My mentors are not limited to those I know.  There are all those teachers and mentors from history’s pages.  I never understood why I had to study the Greek philosophers while a college student.   Now I do.  I love to read biographies.  Learning how a notable person navigated life has given me insight in to how I conduct my own.  Hundreds of writers, artists, and musicians, both alive and not, have influenced my creative expressions.

For a polymath, one mentor  would never have been enough.

 

ljg 2018


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Knowledge of the Ancients

I remember that once, when I was very young, I had an earache and a family member blew cigarette smoke in my ear to alleviate the pain. I don’t remember if it worked or not. In retrospect, this act seems bizarre,  and I am somewhat skeptical of its effectiveness. I also remember that whenever someone in the family had severe body aches, a liberal quantity of foul-smelling “liniment” was applied to that person. Since I don’t recollect ever seeing a television ad for this product, I did a little research and found out that “liniment” is the name of any herbal infusion or tincture used as a topical remedy for pain.

No, we did not live in some remote cabin in the woods. We lived in the suburbs. And we did take regular medicines, and, as needed, we did go to medical doctors. Nevertheless, these quirky folk remedies occasionally were employed.

More recently, an older family member mentioned that a great-grandfather of mine did “water-witching”. This is the act of finding water using dowsing rods. Another family member said that was nonsense, that my great-grandfather was not a dowser, but had in fact only hired a dowser to find a place to sink a well — which I guess was not nonsense.

Anyway, my point in mentioning all this is that there was a time when such folk ways were the norm. No one thought they were “paranormal,” “New Age,” “magickal,” “earth-based,” “of the devil” or “alternative.” Folk-ways were a part of a world view that for the people of the time were normal and effective.  It was just the way things were.

As a city girl, born and raised, I have been for the most part cut off from this heritage. I’m never going to need to dowse for water (I’ll call a plumber) or have someone blow smoke in my ear (I’ll take an antibiotic). But I can see the benefit of returning to the use herbs, healthy food, exercise and fresh air to maintain good health. I can see the wisdom of joining the ancient folk medicines of Europe and Indigenous America with that of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic health practices.  They are cheaper and gentler on the body in many cases–though I will still go to the hospital if I feel like I am having a heart-attack.

These ancient ways were typically handed down from mothers to daughters, or from sages to their students. Typically the teachers would find the most teachable student in the family and bestow this knowledge to the next generation.

Maybe my vague recollections of these ancient practices and my current study and application of these practices is a way in which this knowledge is being bestowed upon me.

Postscript:  After I wrote this, I found this Ted Talk.  The scholar echoes what I am trying to say here:.

 

ljgloyd (c) 2018


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Viriditas: An Earth Day Reflection

It seems appropriate on this Earth Day weekend that I spent a little time working in my small container garden. In the past, I have not been overly successful with gardening, but this time I approached it in a different manner. In the past, I would determine that I would plant a garden, and then spend large amounts of time sweating and toiling, ultimately not seeing much of a return for all the effort.

This time I am letting the plants grow themselves. What do I mean by this? All I need to do is four things: plant when the temperature is warm enough, and provide them with proper light, nutritious soil, and the right amount of water. I only spend about an hour once a week checking on them, giving them a good long drink of water, and keeping an eye out for insects and anything else that might be an obstacle to their well-being. Other than doing these simple activities, I get out of the way and leave them alone to grow. Plants, it seems, have the power within themselves to grow.  I don’t need to fuss over them

The medieval abbess, Hildegard of Bingen, who was a theologian, musician, writer, scientist, medical practitioner, mystic and visionary, had a word for this inner force: viriditas, or “greening” power. This power pulses with vitality and fruitfulness.  It resides in every living organism.  It is life in abundance.

What if we applied the same basic gardening principles to our own lives, both physically and spiritually? What if we got out of our offices, away from our computers and devices and exercised in the fresh air, feeling sunlight on our faces, eating nutritious food, and drinking lots of water? The greening power within us would heal our bodies.

Similarly, what if we disengaged from social media and all the other obstacles to our peace of mind? What if we were to take time to pray and meditate, fellowship face-to-face with others, feed our souls with things that are pure and wholesome and not negative or hateful? What if we partook of the divine Spirit that “greens” this world?

Then true healing would take place. Of this, I am certain.

Ljgloyd 2018