Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Day 47: A Loaf of Bread and a Dose of Self-Reflection

My church is collecting stories from parishioners on how we are coping with The Quarantine.   Here is my contribution: 

As I write this, it is day 47 of my confinement.  I am fortunate in that I have been able to work from home, and this has served to keep me occupied and out of trouble during the day.
In the afternoons and weekends I have been taking what I have learned from the garden managers in the church garden and applying it to my own garden.  My goal even before the pandemic was to create a “pollinators’ oasis” in my backyard.  Now I finally have the chance to do this. Poppies, calendulas and nasturtiums have taken over one whole side of the yard, and I am eagerly awaiting my milkweed and borage plants to bloom. A couple of years ago I got myself a good camera and finally now have a chance to play around with it to capture images of my pollinating visitors.
I got loose in the kitchen and have been making comfort foods from my mother’s and grandmother’s recipe collections.   I have been experimenting with bread-making and I finally was able to bake something that resembled whole wheat bread rather than a whole wheat brick.
I have been binge-watching Downtown Abbey episodes and just finished the entire Harry Potter film series.  I am currently reading The Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living,   I figured out the Book of Common prayer and have been doing one of the daily offices each day.
Finally, I have been having virtual happy hours with friends through text and zoom.   One friend sent me a case of wine to make sure I do it right.
The strange thing is:  As much as I am eager to get back to “normal,”  I think I may miss this time of comradery and self-reflection when I do.

ljgloyd 2020


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Day 1: Calm in the Eye of the Storm


Like hundreds of millions of people all over the world, I am trying to practice some social distancing during the pandemic.  In order to “isolate” for several weeks, I ventured out to do some shopping for essentials to have on hand.   At 6 o-my-sweet-Moses-in-the-morning in the darkness and in a pouring rainstorm, I went to one of the local warehouse stores hoping to avoid a crowd and possible exposure to the virus.  That idea didn’t work too well.  When I arrived there were already about 50 or 60 people waiting to get into the store along with me. I knew the crowds would only get worse so I took the plunge and got in line.

Seriously, I wasn’t there to hoard. I simply wanted to get some pantry staples.   For example, I thought I would get a few rolls of paper towels.  However, all the store had were huge packs of 24 rolls. I don’t need that many rolls of paper towels and to have purchased them would have been hoarding. So I left them for somebody else.  I’ll use old fashioned fabric towels and wash them.  It’s better for the environment anyway.

A lot of shelves were empty, but in spite of what I have seen on the news — people fighting over toilet paper and other insane behaviors– everyone I engaged was polite and in some cases even jovial in the attempt to take the edge off the tension.   I quickly worked through my list:  a few canned items, hand sanitizer, cartons of shelf-safe nut milk, oatmeal, and chocolate.  (I can’t face a global crisis without chocolate).  Then I checked out and high-tailed it home.

I had originally planned to fill my day with garden work, but since the rain has made that impossible, I had to find something else to occupy the day.  I’ve made an inventory of my pantry (I’m good on food and toiletries for several weeks), I fooled around on social media, and now I am writing.  This evening I plan to read.   I cannot– CANNOT– watch one more minute of the news.   It is not that the news about the pandemic frightens me.  More to the point, it unsettles me.  I am anxious.  Not so much about my getting sick, but about things like what this is doing to the stock market, and the global economy,  how does this affect my doing my job next week, and how do I keep myself sane when I am spending so much time alone.  By the way, Alexa is not very good at holding sustained conversations.

Yesterday, a friend of mine had a digital copy sent to me of a well-known book on Zen meditation.  So tomorrow, Sunday, since my diocese has cancelled worship services, I may sit and try to meditate instead.   I have the next few weeks to worry about the state of things.   Tomorrow, though, I will take a few minutes and try to find some calm in this storm.

Stay well everyone.

ljg (c) 2020

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/03/14/rdp-saturday-calm/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/rdp-friday-isolate/

 


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Morning Routine: A Collaboration with “She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”

I have always been a bit of a lazy, undisciplined wretch when it comes to a morning spiritual/wellness practice.  Oh, I do just fine with the functions of the day job.  In fact, I get criticized for being a bit too rigid in my routines and processes.  But when it comes to doing those things that strengthen and motivate my interior life, well, not so much.   I’ve tried but usually backslide in a few days after “re-committing myself to my practice.”

But then I decided to collaborate with some technology I have on hand and it has made all the difference.

To make a long story short, I created a “routine” on one of those digital personal assistants.  (I don’t want to name names because she wakes up every time I say her name and won’t shut up.)  Anyway.   I programmed “she-who-must-not-be-named” to run a routine that I activate when I wake that gives me the date, time, weather, news brief, and then an in-bed yoga routine where the last asana gets me out of bed and on my feet.  From there I can manage a few sun salutations.   When I end with the savasana, I tell HER to play some appropriate music and set a timer for 10 minutes.  I know then that I can meditate and pray without falling back to sleep on the floor.

After this, I set another timer for doing devotional reading and journaling.   When that timer goes off, I proceed with getting ready for the day job, preparing breakfast, and packing lunch.  Finally, I set one more timer to tell me when to leave for work.  This usually is enough time for me to eat, watch the news, and maybe even work in my sketch book.

So far, so good.   But it’s only been one day.   So we’ll see.

The ancient sages and devotees managed their spiritual practices by watching the movement of the sun and being accountable to each other in the communities where they lived.   I guess I am a little like that too — except my abbess is some AI chick in a little round container.

ljg 2020

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/collaborate/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/rdp-tuesday-wretch/


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It’s All Greek to Me

Kale and Mustard Greens

As much as I am gardening to do my small bit to repair the planet, the other reason is that I like to eat: and I like to eat healthfully as much as I can. Furthermore, I have found over the years that it is the Mediterranean diet that I enjoy the most: Italian, Greek, Provençal, Spanish, North African, Levantine, greens, beans, grains, olive oil, fish and wine. Admittedly, I can’t produce it all, but I can do a little.

Here’s a little scholarship on the subject:

Ljgloyd 2020


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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/

 

 


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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


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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.

 


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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.


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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