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     Awen Environments

                                                inspirational living arts

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Snowflake's Story: a Look at Aconite

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 8:14 AM Comments comments (3)
Sometimes animals cross your path and you truly wonder whether their visit was just to help them recover or there's a more profound message in it for you. This story is one such experience. The first week after the 2014 New Year started out with a polar vortex that not only hit this region of WNY very hard, but many areas throughout the country. It's times like those with such extreme frigid temperatures that make you wonder how wild creatures even survive at all, but somehow they seem to manage. Sometimes though, a helping human hand makes all the difference.

The second day of our blizzard had me letting our dogs out and filling bird feeders amidst -6 degrees Fahrenheit and intense winds.  The birds were anxiously waiting for anything that would help them make it through the extreme temperature.  It was the coldest weather I'd experienced in this region in years. We Western New Yorkers are typically pretty tough, being used to this kind of weather and somehow we always seem to make the best out of the situation, but this was intense weather. 

That morning as I moved toward a feeder hung near one of our honey locust trees, I saw a bluejay covered with snow and seemingly lifeless.  His eyes were closed and the only thing that seemed to indicate some life force was the fact one of his feet was tightly clenched into a fist.  Somehow I sensed there might be hope as I scooped him up in my gloved hand and brought him inside. My son was home from school and I told him to warm the bird against his chest in the event he might still be alive.  I went back outside to continue with my morning activities.

When I came back in, my son told me the bluejay was still alive and breathing.  I told him to keep the bird warm until he noticed more life and I gave him a flannel pillowcase to wrap the bird in.  Ordinarily a heating pad is used in wildlife rehabilitation, but I knew in this instance, it was the connection with a living being that this bird needed, even if that being was human and perhaps maybe because he was human.  As I had hoped, my son's warmth and heart intention to bring this bird back from the brink of death, was exactly what this bluejay needed.

After some time, I thought the bird might be ready for some medicine, so I tried giving the homeopathic remedy Aconite in a syringe with some water, but his mouth was tightly clenched shut. Instead I rubbed some Rescue Remedy on his head as the vibration on the skin is often enough to calm an injured animal.  After about a half hour, my son called me from the other room saying the bluejay had put its beak around his finger.  

I knew it was time to give the bird the Aconite it needed to help recover fully from the shock of nearly dying. I'd seen various songbirds and mammals recover quickly from the shock of being hit by a car, after being given Aconite, which is the vibrational imprint of the flower Monkshood.  Aconite is the remedy for shock and works well in extreme cases with wildlife and people. For some reason the medicine of this plant works with the trauma of shock held within the body and acts like a key opening a lock. It can even be used for injuries in the past.

I checked the bluejay and decided he was warm and alert enough to be given some Aconite since his eyes were now open. Because his beak was wrapped around my son's finger, it wasn't difficult to get a syringe in his mouth.  The bluejay swallowed and I knew we just had to wait now.  Again, this is one of those moments when you see the power of homeopathy in full force because you know wild animals don't respond to placebos.  It is unfortunate that those who do not understand homeopathy criticize it as having a placebo effect, because I've seen it work in a variety of situations with wildlife and my son when he was a toddler.  This time, within minutes, the bluejay seemed more vital and looked like he was ready to be transferred to a recovery cage.  It was obvious that continuing to hold him would only invite more stress.

So I transferred the bluejay to his cage and put some sunflower seeds and peanuts in a dish for him, with another dish of water and Rescue Remedy. Several hours later he was already eating and looking like he was ready to continue living the life of an energetic bluejay once again. His recovery had been nothing short of miraculous for us.

Much to our surprise, he even managed to temporarily escape from his cage while putting in more food.  The flight however, quickly tired and stressed him, and at that point it wasn't yet clear whether this was due to a low overall energy or just the stress of our trying to catch him.  It was probably a little of both, but it was obvious he wasn't yet ready for release and the weather was still brutally cold, so release wasn't even an option yet.  My son decided to name the bluejay "Snowflake" although I thought "Blizzard" might have been more appropriate. I gave Snowflake another dose of Aconite and waited another day.

There's a fine line in wildlife rehabilitation between releasing a wild animal too soon before they are ready to be on their own and keeping a wild animal in captivity too long which can also kill them due to stress.  It's always a tough choice for me and many others who help wildlife.  This was no exception, but I waited a few days and I decided to release him exactly 48 hours after I had brought him in from the cold.  Although it was still a cold day, the temperature had increased somewhat and the sun was shining brilliantly.  Snowflake immediately flew to the top of our old maple tree and obviously enjoyed his new found freedom.  I had no doubt in my mind, we had chosen the perfect day for his release.

I know that my son will always remember the day we saved a bluejay from the bitter cold during the Blizzard of 2014 and I know I will too.  My son learned that sometimes things aren't always what they appear to be and sometimes, even when things seem hopeless, you might just save someone's life if you try.  I also know that it's not always the outcome that matters, but the intention and the care that we give to someone in need that counts in the overall scheme of things.  Although I know that wild animals die everyday out in Nature, I think it's worth the effort to help a creature in need when they cross your path.

The same day we released the bluejay, I found a tiny Chickadee frozen in the snow not far from our beehive and another bird feeder.  It saddened me that I didn't find this tiny songbird at the right time. Chickadees are one of my favorite songbirds because I love to watch them and admire their high energy, strength and resilience during the coldest of winters. I know I was not meant to find this little one. It was his time to meet the Creator. Two wild birds and one blizzard with two completely different outcomes. Divine timing in life is everything and sometimes... so is seizing the moment.

Blessings of Gratitude!

2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.


I Love the House but...

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM Comments comments (6)
"I love the house, but I don't feel love from it"  were my son's words.  He made this comment to me after we visited two very different homes that came from opposite ends of the spectrum.  The first house was in an older, more transitional neighborhood that had a history of European  immigrants that had once lived there and some who still remained.  The house was tiny and modestly furnished, but warm and inviting.  The people were extremely friendly and gracious, and immediately made us feel welcome.  We left feeling pleasantly surprised.
 
The second home was expensively crafted and located in a newly built upscale neighborhood.  It was furnished with many collectibles and quality furnishings.  The home, though aesthetically pleasing, felt stark, uninviting and soul less as though no one spent much time there.  Though I recognized the quality furnishings and admired their beauty as well as the overall décor of each room, the energy was more of a museum-like quality than a home of happy memories.  The current owners had only been there a few years and two previous owners had only lived there for two years at a time consecutively.  Needless to say, my son and I did not feel at ease during our brief visit there despite the engaging conversation.  His insightful comment came a few days later as we discussed the differences between the two homes and how they made him feel. 
 
While anyone would chose the second home for its luxury and obvious material worth, the truth is that aesthetics do not make a home a sacred space nor make it feel welcoming.  You have to feel the spirit of a house and that is a direct reflection of it's caretaker, and I believe, to a lesser degree it's architect or builder who sets the blueprint.  Even the humblest of homes can be turned into a sacred space when the intention of the owner or caretaker is one of love or affection for the home and respect for balance and peace within the space.  I was so thrilled that at my son's young age, he could already feel and recognize this difference in the spaces we had visited.
 
More recently, we were invited to a dinner party at the home of a couple originally from India.  These owners had blended a combination of quality, modern aesthetics with ancient, traditional customs.  It was a very luxurious home that was carefully planned out from the gracefully winding driveway that meandered up a gentle slope, to a sense of the sacred from the moment you stepped into the house.  We were warmly greeted from the onset and made to feel welcome. 
 
There were carefully thought out altars and vignettes of collectibles in various locations, intimate seating areas, as well as bowls of candles and flowers throughout.  I could detect the subtle smell of Plumeria (or champa) in the air, which is often associated with Hindu or Buddhist temples.  This aroma combined with the enticing smells of the delicious meal we were about to eat.  Outside the large windows were two living Christmas trees decorated with lights and below we were later shown the elaborate garden patio with extensive waterfalls that had been created.  The entire property seemed to be a visual and sensual delight for the soul and weary mind.  It was obvious it had been painstakingly thought out.
 
During dinner the subject of architecture and feng shui came up and our host mentioned that he did not believe in the Indian version of feng shui which is Vastu Shastra.  Vastu is a carefully thought out system based on a mandala or grid of mathematical proportions combined with spiritual foundations that are believed to bring about harmony and balance in one's environment.  The premise for this architectural philosophy is that the home is a temple to be aligned with natural forces of the cosmos and the earth to bring about well being of the inhabitants.  Interestingly, the same principles apply when building either a temple or a home. 
 
When our host made his comment regarding Vastu, I replied that contrary to what he was saying, I sensed that although he may not believe in the formal or technical applications of this ancient art, my impression of his home was that he and his wife had an innate sense of creating sacred space which surpassed any formal application which might be used in the form of Vastu.  It occurred to me later that perhaps if carefully analyzed, many of the aspects of their home might in fact reflect these principles though not intentionally.  His reply that evening was that he agreed with me and admitted that what bothered him about this concept was that he had seen many people attempt to apply these principles in the strictest of manners by going to great lengths to achieve this concept and yet they did not have a sense of sacred space in the most fundamental of ways.  As with many ancient techniques and customs, it had become too commercialized and perhaps lost much of its original wisdom throughout the years.
 
One of the other guests who lived next door added that within their neighborhood, someone had required that the architect travel to India to be trained in the principles of Vastu and incorporate this approach into the building of their home.  This home owner went to great lengths to create a seeming temple of a home, which the neighbors jokingly called the "Taj Mahal", however, within a short time after being built, a fire ensued and the home was internally destroyed despite it's seemingly impressive stature.  I found this interesting as fire is seen as the great purifier in many traditions.
 
So, what went wrong?  Though I can only make assumptions about what occurred since I never actually visited this home they spoke of, I believe that when someone tries to use sacred principles of creating harmony and balance without a clear understanding or a heart-based connection to the concepts and tools which he/she uses, these principles can actually backfire on you and create more problems similar to opening a Pandora's box.  The history of the land could also have played a large part in the devastation that ensued.  What I find most interesting about the principles behind Vastu is the undeniable foundation of spirituality associated with the home and the need to create boundaries between mundane daily life and soulful life practices such as prayer and meditation.  Within Vastu, the integration of the material world of the earth with the spiritual aspects of the cosmos is part of achieving a balanced life.
 
Most often people chose a plot of land that resonates with their inner being and/or they seek to control an area of land that they deem to be powerful or advantageous to them from a material perspective.  It could be that the history of this land had been one of malevolent intent or misery or perhaps sacred land that had been abused, and so this energy would emanate through the new structure and create misfortune for those who dwell there.  A belief that the history of one's land can affect the predecessors is found in many cultures whether it is Chinese feng shui, Indian Vastu or various ancient customs of indigenous people throughout the world.
 
When choosing a new home, pay attention to the subtle messages that play upon you as you enter the space.  If something doesn't feel right, then perhaps it's not.  Ignoring your intuition or thinking that you can always fix whatever's wrong might not be the right approach because it could bring more headaches and problems than you imagined.  Spend time in your potential environment, get a feel for the natural surroundings and if you can't seem to find clarity in the situation or make a decision, get assistance from someone trained in the art of creating sacred space and get an unbiased, professional opinion.
 
True sacred space comes from a heart connection to the home which is based on respect and reverence for one's environment.  Intention is formally created by the inhabitants of the structure, however grand or humble it may be.  The history of the home and it's land is a blueprint for it's future and while this can be changed, sometimes only the strongest of intentions and wisdom can correct this pattern.  While I have had the privilege to experience a wide range of homes that were aesthetically pleasing, I often did not feel love or a sense of the sacred from these homes.  Simply collecting objects, furnishings and choosing the right colors and décor do not make a house a home. 
 
It is the love and intention that we put into our space both indoor and outdoor that determine the well being of the inhabitants and the energy of the land.  That is not to say that well intentioned people cannot suffer misfortune in a given home, because they most definitely can.  Usually this is related to karmic and/or unresolved ancestral issues that need to be addressed and resolved so that the patterns do not continue into a new home.  The messages are all there in your home, but it's up to you to determine and interpret what they are.  I believe that sacred space and music (see below) can truly be made wherever you go when you align with the natural world (even sometimes under extreme circumstances). 
 
Holiday Blessings!
 
Here's a musical video from the Siberian Lake Baikal , which is one of the deepest lakes on Earth.  Performed by Siberian musicians in the most unlikely of places, you can feel a sense of the beauty of Nature within this music and the sacredness of this pristine frozen water which generates healing sound frequencies (please make sure you scroll down to view and enjoy!)
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 

Beyond the Visible

Posted on November 6, 2013 at 2:24 PM Comments comments (2)
"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."
--Albert Einstein, "The World As I See It"
 
There are times when it may seem that very little or absolutely nothing is going in the direction that you would hope.  Despite your best efforts, things do not appear to be falling in place as you had planned.  That's when you need to let go and focus on what uplifts your spirits and makes you feel connected.  Maybe you need to dance with abandon to music that you love or take a walk in the park or on the beach and just feel the beauty and power of Nature.  Sometimes just spending time with a child or an animal companion can make all the difference.  Finding joy and peace in those moments is key to moving past a seeming standstill.
 
Sometimes we are being held back for a reason.  The timing just isn't right and other things need to happen before what you desire comes to pass or perhaps something better manifests itself.  Trusting this process is a huge part of remaining grounded and not falling into the abyss of frustration and despair.  We don't always know what's best for us or the sacred contracts we may have made before coming into this lifetime.  Yet there is a grand perfection that exists, if we can just be patient, listen and be aware.
 
Often times while working with animals I have had to hold them back to keep them safe in order to ensure their complete recovery before being released into the wild or even outside of a cage into my home.  I can feel their frustration as their desire for freedom to do their own thing is great.  Nevertheless, I know that were I to release them when they desire, it is very likely that more harm could come to them or their chances for survival would be lessened.
 
I think the Universe and the Creator do the same thing.  They guide us when we are lost and hold us back when we would make wrong decisions or plunge into something that is not in our best interest.  Divine perfection exists when we allow the flow of life to manifest in its own time and allow ourselves to be guided by the sometimes very subtle nuances of Nature and Spirit.  Sometimes a chance conversation with a stranger can bring the greatest of insights and clarity.
 
I can't say that I have all the answers as I struggle with these very things each day while facing this changing world, but my faith is strong and I'm confident that the way will be shown to me at the appropriate time regardless of which situations I may encounter.  I've simply done far too much work within all aspects of my life to give up on what I know to be true and how I intend my future to be, to go back to an old way of being or doing though it may seem easier or more comfortable at times. 
 
The waves of adjustment continue as the Earth goes through her growing pains releasing unbalanced energies via earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters.  With every movement of the Earth we are affected by the shifts in energetic grids across the planet.  Don't think that an opening in the Earth's crust thousands of miles away is not having an affect on you or a wildfire on another continent, because it is.  And if you're prone to sudden bursts of emotion and irritability or extreme exhaustion, know that as the Earth releases pent up energy, so are you.  Each person feels these changes in their own way.
 
Now, more than ever we need to focus on what brings us joy, what uplifts our spirit and what makes us stronger and our energy more vibrant.  If you are finding yourself being dragged down by discordant energies and the chaos or drama of others, find a way to bring yourself back into alignment with Nature and your true sense of self.  Everytime we do something to keep ourselves grounded, we are helping this planet and the planetary shifts taking place.  Be a lighthouse amidst the storms or a tree that bends with the winds but anchors itself firmly, don't go running after that which you cannot save because it will not serve you.
 
I believe that 2014 will bring new insights, greater opportunities and also many challenges as we face our intentions, our outmoded ways of being and living, and we all become clearer as to what we want out of life.  Find renewal in the silence of the night and strength in the warm rays of the morning sun.  See the sparkle of the crystalline essence of a snowflake and plant your seeds of awakening in the sacred space of your soul.  Now is the time to release old patterns and prepare for whatever you feel is significant.  Trust that your choices will determine your future.
 
Blessings of Clarity!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Restoring the Light: a Look at Belladonna

Posted on October 11, 2013 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (4)
If you practice homeopathy, there are surely remedies that are your favorites.  I have several, but the one that always helps me with extreme situations is Belladonna.  When I first began my studies in homeopathy, my teacher talked about the pictures of several remedies and one of them was Belladonna. What I always remembered about her lecture was how  Belladonna,  because it was made from the vibration of a poisonous, psychotic plant, had the ability to "restore light from darkness."  That picture has always stayed with me over the more than 15 years that I've been using homeopathy. Over and over this concept has presented itself in a variety of interesting ways and I know for that reason this is one of my allies whose capabilities never ceases to amaze me.
 
Most recently I had an extreme situation that occurred after having my 7 month old shiba inu puppy spayed after being vaccinated with a rabies shot one week prior.  I will never know exactly what caused such an extreme reaction in her behavior, whether it was the combination of the rabies shot with the morphine that was used after surgery, or whether the anesthesia itself caused a shift in her consciousness.  It is possible that all of the things together combined with her sensitivity, caused such an extreme shift in behavior that we thought we'd never have our sweet, fun loving puppy back with us.
 
Although the rabies vaccination passed without any noticeable problem the week prior, as soon as we picked up Sachiko (Japanese for child of happiness), we noticed she was very lethargic and in a great deal of pain because every time we even touched her, she cried out.  She refused to eat anything but a small treat that evening and even that she eventually threw back up. She slept through the night, probably due to her pain medication, and the following day she raced around as though she was back to normal. It wasn't until evening of the next day that we noticed an unusual change in her behavior. Sachi started to become extremely irritable and began growling at our other dog.  She also began twisting and contorting her body in obvious discomfort.
 
Other extremes have included when my son was a toddler and he developed such a severe headache that he was sobbing and asked me to take his head off because it hurt so much.  Another was when he was in kindergarten and came off the bus one day severely traumatized by an older child who had bullied him.  His mind became delirious as he raved and only Belladonna could comfort him.  In both instances, my son went from either extreme pain or emotional trauma to tranquility and sleep in a matter of minutes.  It's hard to imagine this type of response, if you haven't experienced it yourself.
 
Repeatedly Belladonna has worked in a variety of ways and situations where perception and/or pain were severe with an extremely sudden onset.  Despite Belladonna being a psychotropic plant in it's original state, the energy pattern held within the homeopathic remedy is able to transform the person or animals from a state of darkness to one of light, clarity and health.  It simply is one of my greatest allies.
 
Blessings of Health and Clarity!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 

Bee Feng Shui: the Energy of Space

Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM Comments comments (4)
I've been thinking lately about how my interests and my work through out the years went from working inside the home with regard for the energy of space to where my focus is presently, which is outside with the land.  This has been an ongoing process for quite some time, but yesterday when someone from Myanmar found my site using the key words "bee feng shui," I just had to explore this idea and write about it.  I've written on feng shui and I've written about bees, but I've never written about how they relate to one another.  I doubt that many people have made a connection between the two, but there is one and the principles are at what I believe to be the very foundation of our survival here on this planet.  It has been said that humans will not survive on this planet more than four years, if the honeybee should disappear.  That's a scary thought given the honeybee is in tremendous peril at this particular moment in our planet's history.  Whether or not it would be that quick remains to be seen and I hope we never find out, but there's no doubt the loss of our pollinators would change our food supply as we know it, as well as the energy of our natural world.
 
So how does the honey bee relate to the energy of our homes and spaces?  Although I've loved seeing bees in action for quite some time now, it's been over a year since I began working with them intimately and observing their activities and behaviors as a caretaker of two beehives.  The insect kingdom in general has taught me a great deal about my own personal energy field and now the high energy honeybee has brought me to an even greater understanding of the dynamics of this planet and our own personal spaces.  I truly believe that it is our relationship to all insects that is the key to our survival as a human species.  In actuality, the insects do not need us, we need them and it's time we all changed our attitudes and stopped treating them as insignificant. 
 
Honeybees and insects in general are all finely tuned to the invisible strands of energetic grids that run through this planet.  You may not be familiar with them or you may choose to deny their existence, but ancient cultures knew about them and managed their societies accordingly.  The Earth has natural and man-made electromagnetic fields that run through the planet and we also have this energy flowing through our bodies.  Rudolph Steiner has discussed the significance of formic acid in his numerous essays on Nature.  Formic acid is the building block of life which connects us to the cosmos, revitalizes the soil and it is something that the insects bring to this planet and maintain.  Ants, wasps and honeybees are among those insects that revitalize an area by creating formic acid, without which we apparently would not be able to exist and it also has a spiritual essence to it according to Steiner. 
 
So, by their very nature, these insects are injecting a form of acupuncture or feng shui treatment of the land to enliven it.  They are opening up channels of dead or stagnant energies and allowing the energy to flow on this planet, revitalizing the area with high vibrational frequencies.  Subsequently, this energy will also then flow into the adjacent land and your home.  Those who have been bothered by bees, wasps or ants building colonies inside the structures of their homes, have no doubt experienced other problems related to energy stagnation within their lives, though it's easy to find fault with the insects.  Unfortunately, though their efforts might be noble and instinctive, the insects usually suffer the fate of their own demise when pesticide contractors are brought in who only exacerbate the underlying issue of imbalance of the land and energetic frequency of the home structure.  The owners of these homes never really understand what's going on at a core, energetic level.
 
Feng shui (wind and water) is about the flow of energy through our homes and through the land.  If this energy becomes stagnant or blocked, disease and disharmony results.  You cannot have a chaotic, stagnant or disease ridden property and not be affected mentally, emotionally and physically.  The two go hand in hand.  Obviously, those people who are drawn to living in cities with high energy frequencies and loads of activity and people, are more subject to a wide variety of influences some of which can be quite chaotic or destructive and yet if the inherent energies of the cities are positive and life enhancing, it can also generate a very positive influence to those who dwell there.  Too high of a vibration is not good and too low of a vibration is not good.  Just being in the country does not necessarily imply a better energy, if the inherent energies of the surrounding land are unbalanced or toxic with negative histories.  In truth, all of the Earth is sacred and even those seemingly negative environments have the potential to be transformed by human thought and behavior with the help of Nature.
 
The honeybees in particular, because of their work as a community, show us how everything is related.  Their work and very being corresponds to the sacred geometric pattern of the hexagon, a six-sided figure where there is no wasted space.  All is equal.  And so it is on this planet.  In truth, no life form or existence (including rocks, inanimate object or human creation) is insignificant, as it all came from the same source and works as a collective on this planet.  The links cannot be broken because they all work together and even something that seemingly does not have consciousness, originates from some form of energetic force at it's very basic level.  That is why the energy of space is so important because all things affect us at an energetic level-- human interaction, the natural world and the spaces we inhabit. 
 
The honeybees teach us how to work toward a common goal and to take something of one form and to transform it into something more beautiful and life enhancing.  The honeybee brings more beauty and nourishment into the world and creates a healing nectar for all life forms, while transforming toxic patterns and behaviors into something positive through their very vibration and activities.  When you work to transform your personal space, you do the same affecting the environment around you.  It's time to restore the sacred to everyday life because truly our own spaces and spheres of influence are the only ones we can control or be responsible for.  The rest is subject to the choices and influences of others, the outcome of which has yet to be determined.
 
Bee the Blessings You Seek!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bee Swarming: a Message of Rebirth

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (10)
This morning I went out to check my original beehive and found that half of the bees had swarmed with the old queen.  The steady streams of workers were no longer there, though I could still see bees inside the hive.  Although I never witnessed the swarm, I knew something had changed and I felt like a piece of me had gone with the bees.  It had been over a year since they had arrived and interestingly, today is a new moon in my sun sign of Leo.  Somehow I cannot see this as a coincidence, as my birthday is also next week. 
 
This original hive was my initiation into the realm of bees.  They taught me how to overcome my fears through working with the hive, they taught me about the mistakes I made along the way (and there were many) and they taught my son and me how to develop a love and respect for beekeeping, though it is not an easy art as it requires time, patience and dedication to get it right.  It truly is about being a steward and developing a relationship with the bees and not about 'having' or exploiting them.  Had I known how much it entailed, I probably would never have gotten involved.  It's like that with many things in life, but in your heart you know that what you're doing is what you're supposed to be doing and you continue because a love gradually ensues and it envelopes you as each day your relationship grows and you look forward to it's existence and you can no longer imagine life without this passion.
 
The bees have become my allies in so many ways.  They have taught me my priorities, how to conquer my fears and how to be prepared during these tumultuous times.  Each step along the way has been like a milestone toward a better awareness of the beehive and how it functions in unison as one being comprised of many collaborators each fulfilling an important role.  Though I'm saddened by the loss of half of my bees from my original hive, I am also happy and concerned for their welfare as they venture out into the unknown searching for a new home. I'm told they have three days to find one, otherwise they perish.
 
Gunther Hauk explains this process so well in his book "Toward Saving the Honeybee."  Contrary to what has been done in the last century and the ways of modern beekeeping practices that often seek to exploit the honeybee, swarming is a natural process that is necessary to maintain the well being and vitality of the hive.  Ironically, just when everything is fine at home, the food is stocked and the bees might be able to rest on their laurels, a new queen is created and half of the colony leaves with the old queen in search of a new home. 
 
This is in sharp contrast to what we as humans strive for and live out during our existence on this planet.  And yet, perhaps the bees' message is even more relevant during these times of upheaval and change-- searching out into the unknown, into territory that is at times both exhilarating and terrifying not knowing what you will find.  Simply knowing that this is how it needs to be.  Gunther Hauk and Rudolf Steiner talk about the swarming of bees as a rebirth of the hive.  In essence it truly is when you understand the complexities and perfection that exist within a honeybee colony.
 
Interestingly, the swarming of my bees was part of a series of experiences I had involving both my original hive and a second hive that I acquired as a result of a swarm that we captured one evening hanging from one of our pine trees.  At the time, I thought this swarm was my own, but later I came to see that it had probably been from a nearby property that also had bees, as I could tell that my original hive was still intact and the bees in the second hive were much more docile. 
 
So, this past weekend I had to correct a mistake that I had made with my second hive-- that of not being prepared.  I did not have additional beekeeping supplies ready in the event of a swarm and so when it happened, I was scrambling to put things together having to borrow supplies from a mentor friend and buy new ones.  Because the main hive box was not my own, I would eventually have to switch this out with my own and that's what I did this weekend with trepidation because it meant taking everything apart and reorganizing the bees by myself.  I had to do it alone because my son was away on a trip and my mentor was also unavailable.
 
What ensued was rather complex and unexpected.  Amidst opening the hive and seeing the queen for the first time since I had begun beekeeping, I was so intensely focused on what I was doing and keeping the queen and workers safe, that I completely lost track of time.  I became one with the beehive.  They were part of me and I was part of them.  It was as though I had gone on a shamanic journey, though I did not set out with this intention.  Yes, I was functioning as a normal human being going through the activities of beekeeping, but at some point which I think was upon encountering the queen, I went into an altered state of consciousness and remember little from what happened thereafter.  I just know that when I had everything rearranged and reassembled, I had no recollection of many of the things that I had done.  As I spent time in my gardens, for several hours thereafter, I could not remember what exactly had happened to me.
 
Simon Buxton talks about altered states of consciousness achieved while working with bees in his book "The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters."  It is a profound book and one that at times is difficult to conceptualize and understand, if you have not experienced anything similar.  It is nevertheless, a delving into the mystical and complex world of bees that we as humans have yet to understand fully.  Though I do believe that ancient cultures once understood the honeybee much better than we do today.  The honeybee has long been revered for its ability to work in such complex unison and produce such a 'nectar of the Gods' from within it's own body via the perfection of Nature and the beauty, complexities and high vibration of flowers. 
 
I have spent a great deal of time observing the bees in my gardens and I can say that the relationship that exists between bee and flower is truly a love affair as I have ever seen.  The fervor with which the bees gather pollen and nectar is really quite interesting to observe as they both depend on one another for their very existence-- the bee to create honey to feed its queen and colony, and the flower to perpetuate it's life cycle.  What can we as humans create, if our very survival depends on it?
 
And so, my experiences with the bees have come full circle.  I have experienced the joy of capturing a new swarm to create yet another hive to pollinate our gardens and offer us the rich golden rewards of honey--  gifts of which I have given to family, friends and neighbors.  And I have also experienced the sudden anguish and sadness over losing part of a hive due to my inability to attend to the needs of the hive in a timely manner by not providing them with adequate space for their colony. 
 
Did I error greatly by not putting on another hive box in a timely manner or was the rebirth of the original hive meant to be to serve as a signpost for a new life that is beginning for all of us-- the bees on their journey with their beloved queen and I having completed a year of honeybee stewardship and many, many years of healing the lands where I have lived, ready to face what new surprises lie before me in this ever changing world.
 
Blessings on Your Journey!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 
 
 

Dreams: Follow Your Own Path and Intuition

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:42 AM Comments comments (2)
Recently something happened to really make me think about how quickly we tend to follow others often without thinking clearly whether it's the right or appropriate thing to do.  It can become a type of mindless behavior that in the wrong circumstances could lead to serious consequences.  Though my experience was minimal in this situation, the message behind it was not.  It also tied together some previous insights that I had experienced, but had not allowed myself to heed.
 
All week long I had been one day ahead of myself thinking it was later in the week than it actually was.  I have no idea why except that I've been noticing that the concept of time for me has been changing and when I'm in the flow, I don't seem to notice it at all and when I'm not, I'm so aware of it.  One day I noticed that my neighbor had ripped out many of his still very alive shrubs and thrown them out curbside.  I was angered and disappointed to see what this man had been doing bit by bit over the last year since he'd moved in.  The previous owners had built their house 20 plus years ago and painstakingly landscaped and created gardens everywhere.   He had told them he loved gardening.  As time went on, it was obvious he was not an experienced gardener and really didn't have any connection to the land at all.  He just wanted everything to look meticulous and neat and his way. 
 
It really bothers me when people buy homes and then systematically proceed to destroy everything that the previous owner created.  I've seen it too many times and once even turned down a large landscaping project for that reason because I refused to participate.  This particular day, I had been focusing on what this man had done and wishing the other neighbors were still there   Meanwhile I proceeded to place my garbage cans at the road for the following day's pick up.  The next day when my garbage and recycling had not been picked up, it took me a very long time to realize why.  I kept looking all around the neighborhood and suddenly noticed no one else had put their garbage out except my neighbor and me.  Questioning whether it had been a holiday earlier in the week, because then they always came a day later, I began to run possibilities through my mind.  After a very long time, it suddenly dawned on me that it was a day early and they hadn't come because it wasn't the right day.
 
What I realized in all of this was how much I had been in a space of anger and I had simply gone through the motions without really thinking what day it actually was.  I had followed my neighbor's actions blindly without questioning his actions.  I hardly felt in resonance with him, but my actions surprised me.  Had this been a life or death situation, such as in the event of a natural disaster or an unusual public situation requiring quick reaction and clarity of thinking, I might have followed someone to my demise, or at the very least, into a difficult situation that would not lead me to safety or wellbeing.
 
In retrospect, there have been so many messages for me in this situation including a dream I had shortly after this man moved in which was very incongruent with his actions toward me after I came to know him.  In my dream I saw this man totally destroying the gardens and landscaping that my former neighbors had created.  I wondered why I had this dream, since up until that point, I hadn't even met the guy-- only seen him and visitors walking about the property.  Thereafter, I introduced myself and we shared stories of experiences we'd had in the same town we had seemingly both lived in previously.  He later became very generous offering freshly grown vegetables planted by the previous owner, baked treats his family had made and at Christmas he made a point of personally delivering gift cards to us.  I thought-- wow, was I wrong about this person.
 
Then, the following spring I began noticing that he had been throwing what appeared to be his gardening debris onto the wooded section of my property and it really took me by surprise.  In fact, his actions really annoyed me because he never asked my permission and I had no interest in having my land become a dumping ground for his stuff even if it does looks wilder than the average property in my neighborhood.  It happened several times until I made a point of dragging everything out across his lawn to my fire pile so he could see I knew what he was up to.  We never spoke again until yesterday when I found more tree cuttings and found out they were my own and the guy hadn't even told me my tree was bothering him.  He also threatened to cut more up to the sky because he didn't like the shade on his lawn.
 
This summer I came to see that my dream really had been prophetic, but I had allowed myself to discount it initially because of my conversations and all the gifts I had received.  I have often had initial impressions of people or situations that surprised me and then later were very accurate.  We all need to be in the moment each day of our lives to access our environment accurately and make the appropriate decisions because things are changing rapidly and on a constant basis.  Dreams can be a huge source of information, if we allow ourselves to be guided by them, and are able to discern useful information with regard to how it applies to our present situation. 
 
Following others blindly who may not know what they are doing or may just be following the person in front of them (who has always done things that way), will not lead you out of harm's way or take you on the road that will lead to new opportunities.  We are creatures of habit and often we don't even think about the activities we are involved in.   Be aware of your environment and your choices, as well as how a situation makes you feel.  When everything flows, it is then that the universe is guiding you.
 
Blessings of Clarity!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
 
 

A Look Back: Taking Inventory of Your Landscape

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 6:36 PM Comments comments (0)
Sometimes it's hard to see the progress we've made when we're constantly putting out fires or simply trying to get through our daily routine of responsibilities.  As humans, we seem to always focus on what still needs to be accomplished, rather than what is.  I think it's vital, however, to reflect periodically on what you've accomplished and take the time to truly see the progress that's been made from several years back, a year ago or even a few months ago.
 
I know I have to do this on occasion to remind myself of how the energy of my landscape has shifted and how much I've changed in my awareness. Despite the heavy rains we've been experiencing in our area this year and the accompanying flooding and frustration it can create, I'm constantly reminded of how when we first moved to our home just over  three years ago, there was barely a flower in sight, 
 
Now we have gardens everywhere and many new trees and plants are starting to anchor a new life force on this land.  They are also transmuting the toxins that existed in the soil that once smelled rancid.  All the white pine and fir trees that had existed when we arrived, were either dead or dying due to excessively wet land and an imbalance of energies.  Now when I walk through our backyard, I feel like I'm in a wildlife sanctuary or tiny park.  As a gardener, I'm constantly thinking about what still needs to be done or re-arranged, although so much has healed.  I'm also proud of what I've accomplished in so little time.  We've also just installed our second bee hive, after catching a swarm the other day.  The vibrancy that these little beings bring to the landscape is visually apparent in the difference from last year to now.  I also love seeing them busy in our gardens, knowing how they are enlivening the land and our lives.
 
My gardens have been such a metaphor for my life in so many ways. They have grown with me, struggled with me and portions have died at times, just as I have died to my former self and sought new ways of being, discarding what was no longer useful or part of my awareness.  I have also had to make choices as to what I chose to keep in my garden and where my boundaries are.  Weeding has become a way of eliminating all that which I no longer need in my environment.  While I don't believe in the noun weed as they are only plants that are unfamiliar or unwanted to most people (a very individual concept), I do believe in the verb of weeding and I realize how it becomes symbolic for caring for yourself and what you've created.  This year has been all about maintenance and creating balance, whereas in previous years, I was totally focused on creation.
 
The first half of this year has already been filled with challenges which, while I was going through them, exhausted me sometimes to the point of overwhelm. Nevertheless, as time passed I came to see the value of those experiences and how they taught me to express my boundaries, see things in a new way or persevere despite the physical and emotional exhaustion I was feeling. These moments can be priceless sources of inspiration and transmutation, if you allow them to be.  My gardens have been my source of solace when I felt filled with anger, despair or sheer overwhelm.  Just the sounds of the birds and seeing the grasses swaying in the breeze, has often brought me back to a point of stillness and knowing that all is well and exactly the way it should be in this moment. 
 
And just as sometimes you have to allow a garden to do it's own thing and trust that Nature knows the direction she's taking, you also have to believe that the direction you're being lead in and the challenges you face are preparing you for better things.  Moments spent appreciating your landscape also build a solid foundation for the energy of your land, as it is a co-creative process requiring our individual efforts and the collaboration of Nature.  We cannot always see the results of our actions, but it is our intention that matters.  Our mistakes will be overlooked or reflected back to us so that we can learn what we need to in order to make different choices next time.  Gardening is such a great way to see and experience what works and what doesn't-- what feels right and what is uncomfortable and no longer in resonance.  This is a continual process of shedding layers like peeling an onion and it is part of the changes this planet is going through.
 
Despite what at times may seem like an endless battle in this changing world, it's so important to spend time viewing your accomplishments from a point of reverence. The world is moving so fast now that it's easy to overlook what stands before you, but take the time to truly feel and know how your environment has changed.  Feel the vibrancy of that which has healed and that which is in transition.  Know that despite the fact there may still be challenges for the future and things to overcome, so much has transitioned and healed throughout this planet and continues to do so. 
 
Our efforts do not go unseen and despite their seeming futility at times, it is the intention and the process that matters in the overall scheme of things. To me, nothing is more gratifying than to see a landscape transform, whether an indoor or outdoor environment or that which is our own sense of being. Cherish your accomplishments and your efforts for they do matter.
 
Blessings of Inspiration!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Dandelions: a Source of Inspiration

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)
After a long cold winter with loads of rain toward the end, we've had a series of beautiful, warm days.  The dandelions seem to be flourishing as a result.  My lawn is aglow with a proliferation of yellow.  Today I came home to find a brochure from a rep for a commercial lawn and herbicide company offering a free consultation to help "Start attacking weeds today!" 
 
This just put me into an agitated state as I read further about how this company could help rid my lawn of "unsightly dandelions."  It's very possible that I was being singled out for my yellow lawn, as were others on my street who choose to go natural or it was just a general attempt to get business.  I've had a barage of solicitations from chemical lawn care companies since spring began.  Being in a seemingly non-progressive suburb, it appears to be the norm to treat your lawn and sadly I wonder how many homes on my street are pursuing these offers.
 
I won't go into the virtues of dandelions here because I did that in a previous post "Gardening with Nature: in Defense of Dandelions."  Nevertheless, I realized how despite all the progress we've made on this planet in terms of environmentalism, there is still such a profound attack on unwanted vegetation and insects and anything else that gets in man's way.  The lack of awareness continues out there in terms of what is healthy for this planet and what is contributing to the  continued decline of honey bee populations and other beneficial pollinating insects, not to mention wildlife, as well as the increase in human diseases.
 
So I decided to give this guy a call and tell him my thoughts.  I felt his excitement as I responded to his flyer, only to hear him go into the defensive mode when I asked that he not make trips to my house nor send me further literature.  I told him right out that the product he was representing was contributing to the environmental degradation of this planet and perhaps he should find another form of employment. 
 
I've simply reached the point that I no longer feel like putting things mildly to people or ignoring their attempts to continue the status quo.  I feel the lines of demarcation becoming stronger and stronger as the old world is falling and the new world is manifesting on this planet.  The continuous natural disasters and acts of violence are a sure sign of changes that will continue and perhaps even escalate.
 
To me the dandelions are a source of inspiration in their beauty, their courage to keep coming back despite their persecution and their ability to bring healing to this planet both in the unseen realms beneath the Earth and to those who will allow them to be their allies. 
 
I know that this plot of land I live on is healing and I welcome those beautiful bursts of yellow energy in my gardens despite what those who don't know better think.  Perhaps it's time we all continue to shine regardless of what we encounter out in the world.  I know the dandelion is truly a wonderful role model of endurance and strength.  If only we would take more cues from Nature...
 
Blessings of Sunshine to All!
 
2013 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

The Laws of the Universe: A Test of Faith

Posted on April 13, 2013 at 11:33 AM Comments comments (3)
Because I'm highly sensitive to my environment and live in alignment with Nature, I feel the Earth rhythms more acutely than most.  Each time there's an earthquake or some other natural or man-made disaster, I've begun feeling strange a few days in advance.  It's my internal cue that something is up again.  I don't always know what it is, but I feel the shifting of the vibration of the planet.  We are all affected by shifts in consciousness and planetary disasters, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.  The anger and fears of others can quickly spiral into your own negativity, if you're not careful.
 
As the Earth goes through her rebalancing process, the shifts in consciousness continue and the results become more apparent depending on where you are in your level of awareness.  The old ways are dismantling and making way for the new.  All that which is not in alignment with the Earth is being revealed so that we may take the proper actions to right the wrongs that affect us all.  No individual or corporation is immune to the Laws of the Universe.
 
One thing that has become more obvious to me is when things that aren't 'right' get balanced in terms of universal energies and it can happen in a variety of ways.  In other words, something that seems unfair to you, suddenly gets straightened out through no major action of your own.  I experienced two completely different incidents that drew my attention and caused me to think about how eventually things get balanced out, even when you choose not to act or have no control over a situation. 
  
The first occurred while I was shopping with my son at a local grocery store that normally has a pretty friendly environment.  I was about to enter in the check out line behind a woman who was almost finished, when a man walked up without a cart whom I thought was her husband.  When I moved in closer, he suddenly called his son from behind me and asked him to bring their cart over.   I  point blank asked him what he was doing and without waiting for a reply, went off to another aisle.  I forgot the entire incident as I paid for my groceries and left.
 
As I was loading my car, suddenly I heard someone talking behind me and as I turned to look, it was the man I had spoken to at the check out line.  He commented that despite all "my bitching," I had gotten out ahead of him anyway.  I was shocked to find him behind me and I couldn't believe how he'd acted in front of two young children.  My reply was "I guess things turn out the way they're supposed to" and I turned away.  I had been the one wronged and yet he chose to make an issue of what happened and continue his negative behavior.
 
What's scary is there's people out there who are so stressed out that they can make a really big deal out of nothing, not recognizing their own inappropriate actions.  These incidents will only increase as tensions rise around the world and energies become increasingly challenging.  The only thing you can control is your own reactions to people like this.
 
A completely different scenario involved my son's intramural hockey team at a local boys' club.  The season started out promising, but as weeks went on, the team began losing because inevitably children from the other teams would not show up and my son's teammates would either have to play on the other team or an adult would have to play goalie for the opposing team.  While I know the point of these games is to have fun and learn to support others, it does become disheartening as your team continues to lose seemingly through no fault of your own.  Finally during a playoff game, all the team members showed up and my son's team won as they had deserved.   Although they didn't win the championship, they at least were recognized and validated for their abilities at the end of the season.
 
While both of these incidents were relatively minor, they nevertheless represent to me a powerful force within the Universe that affects all life and actions generated by humans.  Sometimes the things you want the most don't come to pass, but then you are graced with something even more amazing than what you imagined.  As long as we are clear about our intentions and make choices based on integrity and authenticity, we can be assured that things will work out exactly the way they are supposed to in accordance with the Laws of the Universe. 
 
Divine retribution is a powerful thing.  Staying grounded even amidst the most trying of situations can ultimately lead to the intended destination with the Universe at your side.   

Blessings of Faith!
 
 
Copyright 2013 Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.





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