Mental Reflection

“Since everything is a reflection of our minds…everything can be changed by our minds.”   – Buddha

Delve deeply into your mind. You will find at that place within that is You, You and no one else, a need so strong for all that is positive. All that is truth and goodness. When we scratch away the surface of preconceived ideas and societies indoctrination of right and wrong we will find our true self underneath. What do you truly yearn for that is not greed, lust, or material possession? What does your inner You need; not want, but need.

A difficult concept to grasp as we are all trained to want “things”. I’m not immune to wanting the same things as most people.  Let’s go a bit deeper, shall we? On a different plain we will find a thought process that is extremely nourishing. That a positive mindset brings forth positive reactions to take place. There is something profound about the concept of “like brings like”. How we perceive that which is around us predicts how we react. When we see through positive peepers we project it forth to others.When our thought process finds the goodness in a situation we find resolution, compassion and comfort. Should we experience the opposite thought process of negativity we may experience restlessness, contempt or anger. Why would we want the latter for ourselves? Be honest.

Oftentimes I need to re-examine my thoughts and reactions to switch gears. I am human. Sometimes something rubs me the wrong way. It’s about letting the thought be processed as it is, irritation is a normal response, and find a way to diffuse whatever it may stem from and alter the thought so it becomes constructive. I am not adverse to confronting an irritation (person, place or thing) and dealing with the why and what of things. This is how we learn and grow. To always grumble without being active in transformation dictates a stagnant state of mind. The change is often the slightest alteration of self-talk. When we are diligent at how our internal dialogue plays out we will note a more balanced and calm mindset.

At the risk of sounding flaky with the whole Positive Power mantra, I stand by the notion that our minds are as powerful as we allow them to be. When we dumb down our thoughts we do ourselves a disservice. No need to be all sappy with nonsensical fluff talk and crazy notions that everything is always perfect. It’s not nor will it always be exactly as we desire. It’s about the finding the strength of mind to analyze productively to create a positive space within.

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Winter Hideaway

I’ve taken you to the beach in the winter with me before. In my mind it is truly majestic, even if it is one of the Great Lakes and not the sea. My future holds intimate moments connecting with the sea in all seasons. For the time being, I must content myself with Lake Ontario lovely and splendid in its own way.

 

These photos were taken on three separate walks over a two month period. As you will note, the weather turned and Old Man Winter blew his icy breath upon us as the winter wore on. Spring is now peeking its lovely face forth like a child playing hide and seek, making sunny days ever so welcome. Yesterday was one of those bright days saturated with sunshine which has put a spring back in my step and a smile on my face.

 

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As the season slides dreamily into warmer temperatures, birds singing and flora unfurling and flowering, this Spirit of mine begs to see what she can see.

Our Own Little World

I have been in a bubble. Yes, I’ve had  the yearning to express myself not through words as I would normally feel compelled to do but on a much simpler, elementary level; to feel. The need to experience sensations without the need to compartmentalize Life into words. Does this make any sense whatsoever?

 

Perhaps it’s was a “tuning out” period that called to me so strongly. I needed a disconnect of sorts. A desire to work on Me, and the Us, without feeling any responsibility to be anything but in the moment. The moment has been eye-opening, mind-blowing and downright delicious.

 

As time marches forward, the call of the outside world beckons. The trumpet sounds aloud for all the planning and brainstorming to be executed. The plans are laid out on the table of Life. Movement is in the stars, beckoning for adventure and to savour each new experience on the horizon. I am digging deep for this as Life is far too short and can all too easily pass us by.

 

What calls to you? Dare you dive into the deep end, or are you one to dip your toe to test the waters first?

The Gift of Moments

I must bring myself back to my sacred place within. To ground myself with the nature of Being, to feel the ever-so-slight hum that one can feel while being still and without thought or preconception. To remind myself that the joy in this journey of life is not strictly about the milestone moments but about the every day. The small stuff that reminds me of how wonderful the gift of Life truly is. The dewdrop on a young green leaf is purity itself. That the arms of the man I love around me when I’m feeling vulnerable heals me and reminds me that I am enough just the way I am in this very moment. The intense joy when a loved one succeeds where their focus is directed. That the wind in my hair awakens the feeling of pure freedom. We are bestowed many gifts throughout Life if we remember to be present in the moments provided.

Love-Hate Relationship

Have you ever been entwined in a love-hate relationship? I find myself caught up in the web of one such bond at present…with my Keurig coffee maker. Yes, you heard right. The convenience and speedy delivery of coffee to my body makes me swoon with pleasure while the environmental and health impacts trouble me greatly. So much so that I have shunned my Keurig brewing system in favour of slow-mo brewing techniques. Again.

 

If you’ve been around here long enough or are a friend or co-worker (which makes you and automatic friend) of mine, you are very aware of my deep-rooted desire to be constantly caffeinated with the strongest and fiercest cup o’ heaven I can get my mitts on. Before the K-brewer of Evilness was dropped on my lap a few Christmases ago, I immersed myself in the process of making a perfect cup of coffee each and every time. I think the beverage was originally more about the ritual than the drink itself. I did away with an automatic coffee pot and opted for a French press, a cone filter-drip doo-da for on top of my single cup, and a stove-top espresso pot. I adore each system for different reasons. Then I was swept off my feet by a handsome new stranger; his name was Keurig. He gave me everything I wanted and all of the things I didn’t really need. My friends and I joke about resorting to dragging around IV poles to keep the coffee flowing into us 24/7 and Mr. Temptation (Keurig) was the closest I was going to get.

 

 

 

Image found on imgfave.com

Image found on imgfave.com

 

 

 

Before Sir Hotness landed on my kitchen counter I had considered the pros and cons of introducing another brewing system in my home. I had decided to forego said machine due to its wasteful nature while looking longingly at it every time I was in ones vicinity. Here’s the flip side of this passionate vortex of quick caffeine supply…

 

I don’t know which is worse, the fact that hot water is blasting through plastic, leaching particles of nastiness into my coffee to be absorbed by my body or the horrific amount of waste from the stack of K-cups that accumulates. There’s a lot of buzz at the moment in regard to convenient brewing systems such as the Keurig and Tassimo. I highly recommend doing some personal  research for yourself on this. As far as my research has concluded, there is no recycling program for K-cups other than the Grounds To Grow On program through Keurig themselves. This program appears to be a step in the right direction but is limited as far as access goes, is expensive to utilize, and depending on your opinion may not be a viable form of plastic aftermarket utilization. I struggle with the notion that burning plastics as an energy source is acceptable. The Green Mountain Coffee Co. has a target of making 100% of K-cups recyclable by 2020. For more info see the sustainability report here. I have a few options as far as disposal of the single use cups go.

 

1. I can toss it in the trash bin which makes me feel guilty at creating excess and unnecessary waste for the landfill.

2. I can save the used K-cups and become an episode of Hoarders until a recycling option becomes available.

3. I could take apart each K-cup myself and compost the coffee grounds, recycle the foil liner, and re-purpose all those pesky little plastic cups somehow.

 

 

 

None of these options are particularly appealing. I have purchased a reusable My K-cup to use my own ground coffee in a wire mesh basket inside a plastic case. There is yet another issue…more plastic. It seems like a never-ending cycle, doesn’t it? In my constant quest to “do the right thing” I have been hunting down a stainless steel reusable My K-cup. I have located such a thing on Amazon (of course) with a price tag of $19.99 Canadian. Do I want to shell out another $20 so I can brew coffee in single cups? I actually loathe the refillable K-cups for one reason only; I use a gigantic cup in the morning and need to refill the cups twice. It is not fun trying to dump the used grounds into the compost bin when they are piping hot and I have not yet consumed any of my beloved liquid gold. I am a patient woman but this tests my limits most mornings.

 

 

Besides the disposal of these little cups of enviro-doom there is the issue of how they are made to begin with and the environmental impact before use.

1. Made from plastic that may or may not be heat-grade and/or food grade, plastic is a product of the oil industry which is an environmental nightmare.

2. The amount of energy used to manufacture and fill the mass amounts of individual sized cups is wasteful.

3. The cardboard boxes that the K-cups are packed in. Although recyclable and occasionally made from a percentage of recycled paper themselves it is still unnecessary excess packaging.

 

 

I have only touched on the notion of health risks due to heat and unknown plastics coupled with an acidic element such as coffee.  This is a topic for further research before I can have an opinion other than, “why risk it on a regular basis?”  I don’t claim to be the picture of perfection as far as my environmental footprint is concerned but I always strive to do the best I can to reduce my impact. Every little thing each of us does makes a difference and it adds up. I have returned to my original love of perfectly, and sometimes leisurely, brewing techniques that produce a far superior cup of coffee.  Even if it means letting go of express coffee consumption! Egad!

 

 

 

 

“And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use.  And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried:  “Look at this Godawful mess.”  “~Art Buchwald, 1970

 

 

 

 

 

Inner Child Visits Disney

Success at last!

 

 

After years of hearing, “When can we go to Disney, Mom?” and months of planning the dream finally became a reality. This was the only thing my kids had ever really asked me for and I was determined to make their dreams come true. I persevered through setbacks over the years while keeping the prize of Disney in my sights. It became about more than a child’s request. It morphed into a personal feat of determination to accomplish something that was slapped out of the air whenever the words were spoken by negative thinkers. Those that didn’t personally enjoy Disney, had already been there and lost their Inner Child somewhere along life’s path, or were hell-bent on being a dream crusher. I ignored them all…even though their words and actions hurt me and my kids I stayed focused. I reiterated over and over to my children that I was taking them to Disney. Then I went one step further and committed – I gave them a time period. I was now tapped into the reality and was not going back on my promise. It was happening.

“Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.”

– Denis Waitley

I am thrilled that it came together the way it did. My children are no longer tiny Beings that need to be toted or pushed in strollers, thank goodness, which made everything more enjoyable all around. I thanked my lucky stars whenever I witnessed parents struggling with over-tired and cranky wee ones, juggling diaper bags and strollers, and having to pretend they were enjoying all the kiddie rides when I know they were secretly longing for the Tower of Terror.  There is something to be thankful for in each stage of parenting and at present I am reaping the rewards of kooky teenagers. They are like aliens sometimes but they are so much more enjoyable to travel with than little ones. That said, last week my sister and I accompanied  my two kids on this magical journey and let our Inner Children run wild!

 

 

This vacation was more than just time away for me and my kids. This was about taking time to connect outside of the regular realm of our existence.  I have always had a wonderful relationship with my kids and this was another aspect to explore – travelling together for more than a few hours in the car. It was a fabulous experience! I am a Spirit that hungers for travel, adventure and fun so  who better to share this with? This excursion was also about strength and determination to accomplish a goal. To teach perseverance and to take part in making someone else’s dream come true. To share a joyful experience that they would hold in their memories for a lifetime. Time spent with my sister is always a blessing as well.  My parents gave my sisters and I the love of travel early on and we all feel grateful to them for sharing such a wonderful gift with us. I am thankful I can do the same for my children.

 

 

I have been asked a few times what my favourite part of going to Disney was. Honestly, I think the unspoken energy shift in my kids was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. I tear up with love for them as I type now. When a person lets their walls down and just lives for pure joy and laughter it is the most amazing thing to witness.

 

 

I must admit that I was a bit distracted at times with the beautiful plant life. So many gorgeous specimens that we don’t have here in southern Ontario. I was forever taking pictures of vegetation and spouting off Latin names as my kids just rolled their eyes at me and tuned out. Except when I said Monstera…that caught their attention. Go figure.

 

 

 

garden at resort

tree person

As we walked by a stand of trees in the Animal Kingdom Park this leafy figure stepped out of the gardens. They were on stilts and moved slowly and fluidly along the edge of the greenery.

These are just a few of the photos I took of the plant life – I wouldn’t want to bore you by sharing all of them. The gardens at Disney were spectacular and the amount of lush foliage and trees surrounding all the resorts, hotels and parks was a sight to behold. Disney certainly does it up right.

highway signs

Disney, here we come!

disney arch

It was all I could do not to squeal as we went under the arch. Seriously! I’m a big kid.

I think we were more excited than the kids!

I think we were more excited than the kids!

 

We have arrived!

Join me again next post when we get off the bus and get crack-a-lackin’ at having some serious fun!

 

“You’re dead if you only aim for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.”

– Walt Disney

 

 

Riotous Explosion

Burning Bush - Euonymus alatus

Burning Bush – Euonymus alatus

 

 

 

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”  – Albert Camus 

 

 

 

As the garden season is winding down and Mother Nature is tucking many types of flora and fauna in for a long nap, the last burst appears. A riotous explosion of colour that delights the senses.

Getting To Know Each Other

This post is a bit out of the ordinary for me. Normally I don’t participate in awards sent my way. I appreciate the kindness of others to share my blog along and am flattered by the positive reinforcement that what I have to say is enjoyed, at least in part, by somebody  else. Today I am giving a shout out to a lovely lady blogger that brings smiles with each of her posts and comments. I have come to look forward to her posts because I know that encapsulated within each one there is positive reinforcement that there is a silver lining and life is grand. Thank you, Ute!  Please check out Ute’s blog at utesmile.wordpress.com .

 

 

I have decided to answer the questions Ute has requested to be answered. Doing so helps my followers or those new here to get to know me a bit better and perhaps create a more personal bond.  Sharing interests and similar thoughts with others allows us to appreciate ourselves and our relationships with others more and feel a sense of connection. Here goes!

 

 

 

1. Are you a morning or an evening person?

 

Hmm… I would say that I am both. I love rising before the sun to gain the peace before the morning chaos begins. Some mornings can be challenging to get out the door so if I already have my mind focused my day starts on a good note. On the other hand, I am driven by communication and fun and the evening seems to be when the world is buzzing!

 

 

2. Which day of the week is your favourite and why?

 

In all honesty, I love Mondays. Yes I really do. Activity and movement kicks into high gear on Monday mornings…knees to chest! Get moving!

 

 

3. What is your favourite fruit and veg?

 

This is a hard one. I love almost all fruits and veggies. As a longtime vegetarian I have learned to love the variety and taste differences, sometimes subtle, in all edible plants. With the exception of papaya and lima beans which I would rather not consume.

 

 

4. If there was a planet/star which can be lived on apart from earth, would you go there to live and why?

 

The planet Earth is an incredible place. Mind you, I have no first-hand knowledge of other planets. The thought of being encased in a capsule shooting through space for goodness knows how long freaks me out too much to imagine myself leaving the beauty of this environment. If I could teleport to another planet however, it would be one of botanical abundance.

 

 

5. What type of music is your favourite?

 

Definitely Blues.

 

 

6. Have you had any encounters with animals/ insects you don’t like?

 

As a professional gardener/landscaper and horticulture technician I have definitely had my fair share of insect and animal encounters. Insects are definitely fascinating if not a bit off-putting, however I think any contact with centipedes would count as the most horrific in my eyes. Ack!

 

 

7. What makes you happy?

 

I am easy to please as I enjoy each moment for what it is (unless of course I feel threatened or fearful). Laughter makes my world go around! Happiness comes from within but outside sources that contribute to inner happiness are my kids, squeezey-take-my-breath-away hugs, wind in my hair, cranked up loud music, the feeling of being connected, and on and on.

 

 

8. Imagine you are on a lovely island, stranded, who would you like to bump into?

 

Someone with a great mind, sense of adventure and a warm personality. Time flies when you are having fun!

 

 

9. What colour suits you best? Do you wear colours often?

 

My favourite colour is blue and I wear it often in all its varying hues, although I think I wear aqua/turquoise the most as it brings out my baby blues.

 

 

10. Is nature important to you?

 

Nature is the centre of my world. We all come from Nature and will return there. I work in Nature every day of my life and feel a strong connection with the Earth. I try to live my Life as environmentally ethical as possible with the knowledge I have at every given moment. I can’t imagine feeling any other way.

 

 

A huge “thank you” to Ute for the recognition.

Melissa

Summer of Revelations

I have learned a lot this summer. About myself and life in general. I’d say that I am sad that summer is coming to a close but that would be a lie. I am elated at the prospect of change. Change of the season to Autumn, change of daily routine, and change in temperature. I respond well to change, I think. It keeps me on my toes and makes everything  fresh!

 

 

I never thought of myself as a Being of Summer. Boy, how things have changed. The heat and humidity are not high on the fun-factor scale for me but I can deal with it which I never used to be able to. This summer I have developed the look I always sought when younger but could never accomplish; hair bleached by the sun, tanned limbs and absorbing vitamin D in the form of sunshine like nobody’s business! This really hit home when my Grannie said to me a week or so ago, “You are definitely an outdoor girl.”  I used to be the girl who hid from the sun to keep my  pale skin from freckling and turning the shade of a cooked lobster. Now I work in the sunshine daily and am trying to be smart about precautions while maintaining reality. I certainly don’t spend my days off laying in the sun!

 

 

“I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things…

I play with leaves.

I skip down the street

and run against the wind.”

– Leo Buscaglia

Yesterday, I realized something quite extraordinary – I am only twelve pounds away from the weight I was throughout high school! Mind you, after having two children, the joy of passing time, and working a very physically-demanding job my body shape has changed significantly (for the better, I think). So, I plan on saying goodbye to those clinging twelve pounds before the end of this work season and accomplishing a task I had never thought was all that important until now since I am so very close to accomplishing it. Weight in terms of the scale is not all that important to me but how my body responds to exertion through work and play is paramount. I have become strong and more defined muscle-wise over the past two work seasons and am liking how I feel! I intend to keep getting better in terms of health and strength. My lazy and uninspired days are behind me.

The other day something occurred to me when I was listening to an acquaintance talking. This individual had mentioned how difficult and time-consuming it was to be environmentally friendly. WHAT? This came as a shock to me as it was in that moment I suddenly realized that I basically run on autopilot when it comes to issues of environmental responsibility. Sure, I’m not perfect and I sometimes make poor decisions but overall I feel responsible for my actions and have integrated this thinking into the every day so it is the norm in my world. It seems so archaic and offensive not to care about the planet we all share and its inhabitants. I seriously don’t understand the unconcerned mindset.

 

 

One of the biggest revelations this summer has been that sometimes, there is no going back home. Recently I went back to my hometown to visit family and friends. I quickly realized that this may be their home but it is no longer mine; I am merely a visitor. At first this thought made me uncomfortable so I dug a bit deeper to understand the reason for my discomfort. I think part of the parcel is that my parents are aging (as we all are) and I have moved in a different direction as offspring are supposed to do. When I first moved away from home at the age of 19 to St. Catharines, I knew no one here. It was not only an adventure but it was sometimes lonely and scary until I made friends and connected with others. Luckily, this was only a matter of days that I wound up in the company of good people. This city has become my home over the years and has replaced my hometown as the place I identify with. I no longer consider myself a Peterborough girl  and this puts a bit of a lump in my throat. Honestly though, the Niagara Region has opened its arms wide with welcome and I am now enfolded in its embrace. I love living here!

 

 

This summer has also shown me more of the incredible natural beauty that surrounds us here in the Niagara Region. We have such a diverse landscape that is teaming with incredible natural wonders. The Niagara Region is tucked between two of the Great Lakes – Lake Ontario (I live on the south shore) and Lake Erie. There are over 200 walking, hiking and cycling trails to be enjoyed and shared with incredible flora and fauna at every step. The Region has created many naturalized sites to encourage wildlife to do its thing and give a safe haven for many species. One of my favorite hikes/walks is up the escarpment by Niagara College. It has a feeling of such intense history to be with these particular trees and rocks and gives an all-encompassing feeling of being a part of Nature not just an outsider looking in. These photos were taken in the late Fall a couple years ago but the escarpment is beautiful in every season.

 

 

 

One of my favorite walking trails on the Niagara Escarpment

One of my favorite walking trails on the Niagara Escarpment

Ericsson 2012 343

 

 

 

Within a short walking distance from my home is the Welland Canal. Even though I’ve lived in St. Catharines half of my life I still find the Canal interesting. It is fascinating that these huge freighters and  sea-going ships make their way through a system of locks up the Niagara Escarpment. For a brief description of the Welland Canal see this link. When my kids were itty-bitty, they used to love to go sit at the locks with me and watch as the ships went through. They were thrilled to bits when the workers on the massive ships would wave to them. Recently I have visited the Canal again a few times and realized that it doesn’t matter how old or young you are or where you come from the Welland Canal is an incredible feat of engineering.

 

 

I’m sure I need not dwell on the prominence of wineries in this region but seriously, they are worth a visit and the trip along the wine route. Wineries play a huge supporting role in the area’s mindset and activities. Good food and great wine are the specialties of an area filled with orchards, farms and vineyards. It’s easy to eat well here.

 

 

Another huge revelation for me and I think the most important of all – I need to live the life I envision for myself. We all have dreams, desires and are called deep from within our Soul to certain places, people and actions. Respecting someone else’s dream is essential to living our own.

 

 

Learning to love the Life we have and moving forward instead of stagnating or going backward is on my mind. I see movement in my future…I strive for joy each and every day through learning new Truths…to treat myself and others with kindness…to appreciate all that is on offer.

 

 

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open

where there were only walls.”

– Joseph Campbell

 

 

 

Top Secret Mission Revealed

I love to try to find fun and interesting ways to reuse items. This is one of my favorite projects that I am still enjoying on these beautiful summer nights in my back garden. Things are looking quite different this year in the garden itself while the outdoor light fixture is standing up to the tempestuous Canadian weather year-round.

Thanks for hanging out in my garden with me again.

livelovebegreen

I have been on yet another Top Secret Mission. OK  not really, but calling it top-secret makes it seem so much more fun.

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would like a light fixture over our outdoor dining table. After looking around at a few stores and seeing what’s available, I decided to tackle making one myself. Besides the fact that the cost is prohibitive on many outdoor fixtures and most are not to my liking, I wondered if I had the materials to make my own unique DIY version.  In the spirit of reusing and recycling, I pondered over different materials already around the house then gathered together my chosen objects. Here are the materials pictured below.

One string of LED outdoor Holiday lights, wicker/rattan balls, hanging basket chain with three chains connected to top hook, paperclips, and a stainless steel ring from an old kitchen…

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