Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


2 Comments

Casting My Bread

The world is a mess. That’s an understatement, to be sure. Our problems are so overwhelming that it might be easy to fall into despair and think there’s not anything that can be done to fix things. The good news is that though none of us can fix everything in the world, we each can repair our small corner of it and be confident that it does make a difference.

There is an old saying that if you cast your bread upon the waters, it will come back to you many times over. In other words, I fervidly believe that if each of us do good in this world in some small seemingly insignificant way, then the effects are cumulative and magnified, and the results reach places we could never have imagined.

So where do I find my corner in this messed up world? I am finding mine in a garden. If you have followed me for a while, you know that I volunteer in a community garden that grows food for a local pantry that distributes to those in need. My creaky old knees don’t allow me to do a lot of heavy lifting or digging, but I can harvest, pull weeds, and water.

This work in a community setting has had an effect in my personal realm.   I am eating more healthfully by adopting a more plant-based diet. No, I have not become a vegan —yet— but relying more on plants for food is better for the environment.

Is my working in the garden going to eliminate hunger and poverty?  Well, at least for one person or two it may. Is my not eating meat going to end the global climate crisis?  No, but it may lead to one less cow emitting methane to the atmosphere– which might put a tiny, tiny dent in it.

Call me Pollyanna-ish, but inaction on my part is not an option for me. I am going to keep casting that bread.

LJG 2019

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/rdp-monday-fervid/

 

 


4 Comments

Urban Garden Log #4: A New Venture

Red Pepper Bug Deterrent

A former rector of my church, many years ago, had a vision of ripping up the manicured lawn on the church campus and planting a garden to provide fresh produce for a local food pantry that serves the poor of our community.  This garden came to be and has been an on-going venture for many years.  The rector went on to other endeavors and left the garden in the hands of the congregation.

This morning I joined the group that tends the garden.  I am an amateur:   I know nothing more about gardening except that you need good light, healthy soil, the right amount of water and a lot of energy. The garden manager, who (in her own words) has “a passion for the earth”, is patient and eager to teach individuals like me.  What I learn, I plan to implement in my own garden.

So I had my first lesson today: using a natural homemade concoction made of habanero peppers to keep unwanted critters away from the baby plants.  For nearly two hours I spritzed and sprayed all manner of vegetable seedlings with red pepper pest deterrent.  Other volunteers were working on harvesting seeds for future planting while others were spreading compost, weeding and watering. It was truly a community effort. Another marvel was the diversity of the group.  Women, men, and children of all shades and hues were working together in harmony to heal the planet and help the poor.

You can’t do church any better than that in my opinion.

ljg 2019


Leave a comment

More Reasons to Write Every Day

I came across this TedX video about the benefits of a daily writing practice.  Since life recently threw me a curve ball, I have fallen out the of that practice.  This video has motivated me to pick it up again and make it a part of my daily spiritual routine– just like prayer, meditation and yoga.   If you are a writer — or even if you are not– I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to this writer’s entire presentation.  She really provides some practical advice for developing a daily writing routine.

 


4 Comments

Living Mindfully in an Old House


It is Christmas Day, and I am now in a new home.  The house is old and has a lot of quirks, and I have had to learn how to approach those activities which I formerly performed in a mindless manner with new care and consideration. For example, I have to remember not to operate more than one appliance at a time in the kitchen or I will blow a fuse. Not flip a circuit breaker– but blow a fuse– which I don’t know how to fix. Everything I do in this old house I must approach with slowness and gentleness.

On this Christmas, I find myself approaching all areas of my life with a little more slowness, mindfulness, and gentleness.   I find myself meditating more, praying more, being more grateful for the simple things in life — like a roof over my head even when I wonder if it will leak when it rains.

I think it has something to do with the season when Grace came into this world in the form of a Child.  This time of the year always makes me reflective in this way.   Now the trick is carrying this mindful practice beyond the holiday and into the new year.   Can I do it?   I aim to try.

HMerry Christmas, everyone.  Blessings to you all.


Leave a comment

Shinrin-Yoku, the Practice of Forest-Bathing

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “tree-hugger.”  You know that type of person I mean:  those folks who seem to get a high whenever they go hiking in the woods, those nature lovers who sit and meditate in groves of trees. We should not laugh. These people have long known what hard science is now saying is true:  that spending time in a natural setting with lots of trees reduces stress and acts as a preventative to some diseases.  The Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku, or “Forest Bathing”.  This therapeutic practice was developed in Japan in the 1980’s and is now trending elsewhere. The list of health benefits is impressive.

I live in an arid area where it takes hours to drive to anywhere with a forest.  So I am making due with finding local botanical gardens and parks with a few big trees.  Yesterday, for example, I walked down to a city park near my home, found a bench, activated a meditation app on my device, and did some mindful breathing in the shade of several giant sycamores and stone pines.  Call me a tree-hugger if you must, but I think I’m on to something good here and I intend to keep it up.

 

ljgloyd (c) 2018

 

 

 


Leave a comment

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


2 Comments

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


Leave a comment

“I’m Just Here for the Shavasana”


“I’m just here for the Shavasana” is a tee-shirt meme that I find quite amusing and altogether accurate.

I have been doing yoga off-and-on since childhood, along with tai chi and chi-gong, bellydancing (yes, you heard me), and labyrinth walking.   I find any sort of moving meditation beneficial, but yoga is the one that has stuck with me the most all these decades. Once I got over yoga as merely another form of exercise and began to see it as a means to relaxation, meditation and prayer, I have been able to develop it as a routine practice that I do most days.

Shavasana (or savasana) is traditionally the last pose in most yoga routines. It is simply reclining and relaxing all the muscles. “A complete yoga practice will furnish the nervous system with a host of new neuromuscular information. Shavasana gives the nervous system a chance to integrate that into a brief pause before it is forced to deal with the usual stresses of daily life once again.” (Wikepedia).

I don’t know about the science of it; I just know that I enter a state of physical and mental bliss after my yoga practice. I feel a complete release of body and mind.

 

ljg (c) 2017
Images courtesy of Morguefile.


Leave a comment

Sweet Seduction

My name is Miss Pelican and I am an addict.

That got your attention, didn’t it?

I crave carbohydrates, particularly sugar and other “white” carbs like flour, rice and potatoes. I am not making light of people with substance abuse issues.  I am serious.  For me, these types of carbohydrates are as difficult to overcome as opioids and alcohol. And just as deadly.

I am working on eliminating them from my diet, but there are days when I succumb to their sweet seductive beckoning. I have never eaten a whole chocolate pie at one sitting, but I have gone on pasta benders and convinced myself that since it was whole wheat or high fiber pasta then it must be healthy. The same can be said for rice: since it is low-fat and relatively low in calories, it must be safe to eat. That huge scoop of white rice in the carton of Loco Moco from the Hawaiian BBQ joint is more dangerous to me than the egg, the burger patty, and the gravy together.

And the most seductive: fruit.  Fruit? Yes. And spare me the argument that since fruit has fiber then it is perfectly fine for me to consume. You would not tell an alcoholic that a bottle of wine is harmless because you can polish it off in an evening with no adverse effects. The same is true here. An apple is okay for me once in a while.. A fruit salad, not so much.

Sugar is sugar is sugar. And whether in comes in pure white crystalline cubes or in a bowl of spaghetti covered in marinara, it is a drug and it will eventually kill me if I don’t rein it in.

Ljg

Succumb