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     Awen Environments

                                                inspirational living arts

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What My Gardens Have Taught Me

Posted on June 23, 2016 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)
My gardens have evolved so much over time and taught me a great deal about life and myself. Gone is the need to control everything in a precise, neat manner. I have found that when I set my intention by planting my desires and allow Nature to unfold her deep wisdom and artistry, sometimes the most amazing landscapes can appear. At times you need to be patient when nothing seems to be happening or when things are not quite as organized or beautiful as you would like, but the results will always surpass your limited view of things.

Nature is always giving us direction and guiding us through subtle and sometimes blatant messages. It's up to us to interpret these messages and act accordingly. Very often I have used gardening methods that did not seem to make rational sense, but intuitively felt like the right thing to do. Navigating our life path can be the same way. It's up to us to follow our instincts and put together the pieces of the puzzle. Over time as a garden grows and develops through loving attention and care, our vision manifests into reality.

If I had chosen to control every aspect of my gardens and use traditional gardening methods such as eliminating all weeds, which essentially is anything I did not intend, I would have missed out on the true beauty and healing power that Nature is capable of. I would have missed all the unexpected flowers that suddenly appeared or the unexpected caterpillar, bird or butterfly that suddenly graced my gardens because of these so-called "weeds". I would have missed out on the moments of shear Divine inspiration that I received when viewing my gardens in a certain morning light or after a gentle, nurturing rain. I would have missed out on the unexpected flowers which would heal me simply through their fragrance or presence in the soil that I had never imagined.

Gardening with Nature is a process that evolves over time. It is a test of faith that leads us in the right direction if we allow it to. It is an intuitive process that guides us step by step, year by year to discover our boundaries by eliminating that which we don't want, trusting that Nature knows more than we do and following the guidance that you receive through what you see, feel and experience. Sometimes you have to just follow your heart, despite what others may think.

It requires spending time just being in your gardens without doing, sensing the energy of space and how it makes you feel. It requires opening up all your senses. It is a collaborative process that teaches you where you feel uncomfortable, what your body is telling you and what all the beings of Nature are telling you including the ones you may not feel comfortable with or understand. Insects are very finely tuned to our energetic vibrations and will let you know when they are disturbed by you and also when they are in harmony with you.

Sometimes you have to allow a process to unfold despite the discomfort you may feel. Sometimes you just have to allow a little bit of ugliness to unfold in the form of aphids congregating on your flowers, a wasp carrying off a caterpillar, a spider entangling her victim in her web or a flower to go through her dying process without needing to cut her off once her beauty is gone. A garden is never perfect. She has her moments of glorious beauty and vibrancy and she has her days when she may be wilting and seem weak or very little appears to be in bloom. But overall, if you trust in the process and allow this process to unfold, you know that over time everything will come together and each year your garden will be that much stronger, that much more vibrant and that much more grounded and healthy.

If you allow Nature to take her course and you allow your inherent creativity to unfold, you will receive unexpected visitors that you never imagined. There's something really powerful about allowing. There's a point where the Earth dances with the light of the Sun and the Moon and everything comes together and sparkles vibrantly telling you that everything is exactly as it should be and all is well. It's a knowing that comes from deep within your heart and soul that tells you everything is going to be alright despite whatever turmoil or dissonance may surround you. Its a deep faith in the process of life that carries you through the discomforting moments of doubt, feelings of fear or uncertainty that occasionally (or maybe too often) rear themselves once more in your life just when you'd thought they had gone.

I am truly confident that if more people took up gardening and grew their own flowers or vegetables and aligned themselves with the healing powers available to us within all living things, this world would be a different place. Take time to see the beauty that is all around us in so many sweet, tender moments.

Solstice Blessings!

2016 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.

Seeing Perfection in the Imperfection

Posted on January 14, 2015 at 6:23 PM Comments comments (0)
We live in a society that values perfection. It is an unattainable goal that humans have a tendency to strive for and yet it is our definition of perfection that induces stress and anxiety, not the perfection itself. If you look around you there is perfection in every nook and cranny, you merely have to reorient your focus.

I learned this lesson in a quite interesting way recently, but it had been a message that had been staring me in the face for quite some time. Growing up in a family of perfectionists, I was always striving for the unattainable. No accomplishment was ever good enough for long and I placed harsh requirements on myself for not only my physical body and outward appearances, but also my achievements. As time went on I realized that I was no longer my achievements nor my physical being, but a sum total of all my life experiences that had molded me into the person I had become. I think it was my son who taught me the most about myself-- the good and the not so good.

My son broke down all my barriers and made me realize what was important. I was no longer so concerned about my achievements and more about being a caretaker and inspiring my creativity, doing things that nurtured my passions and living life authentically. He also made me look at the not so nice aspects of myself and places that needed healing including criticism directed not only at myself, but at others. Repeatedly I was met with less than perfect circumstances within my life that inspired me to build inner strength, challenge my faith and focus on what was truly important in my life. It was a very humbling experience that made me stronger. The perfect no longer seemed to matter so much. The perfect living space, the perfect gardens, the perfect clothes and physical appearance seemed less and less attainable in my increasingly busy and challenging life. I began to observe and learn from Nature and strive for more balance.

It is going on a year since my mother passed away suddenly of cancer. She was a major perfectionist and so was my father. Though I would imagine they were most hard on themselves for all the challenges the universe had presented them throughout their lives. These high standards were passed on to their children and at times I have seen myself doing the same thing to my son. This past year I have been reviewing my life and trying to come to terms with my home and eliminating or upgrading things in my life that no longer serve me. It has been a continual process of clearing clutter and truly determining what direction I want my life to take. I have also been reviewing many patterns in my life that I no longer wish to continue or that have been replaced with healthier ones. My focus now is to streamline my life, do what I love as much as possible and eventually see more of the world again.

In the midst of all of the changes in my life, my most recent project has been my bedroom. It had become a catch all for a variety of furniture styles and possessions, as well as the location of my altar space where I would set my intentions, prayers for myself and others, as well as a way to relieve my stress from the day's activities. I realized my private space no longer reflected the life I wanted. It was filled with a lot of conflicting energy from the past including my fears, combined with my dreams and intentions for the future. 

So first came the color change. I chose a somewhat unusual mango color which brightened my room from the dark, womb-like earthy, terracotta color it had been previously. In retrospect, the terracotta had been the perfect color for me during a time of transition but not anymore. My new color brought lots of light during dreary winter days. It also made me feel good and that's what mattered in the overall scheme of things, not whether it was the latest trending color.

My previous bedroom set had been acquired second hand and although I was drawn to the style and solid mahogany wood and workmanship, it nevertheless carried the energy of its previous owners to some degree and had acquired damage over the years. It also held my own memories, some of which had been painful at times. We bring our thoughts to our bedroom at the end of the day and so these furnishings now held a past I no longer cared to remember. These bedroom furnishings were not something I had chosen new, but acquired out of necessity during a transition point in my life when I was wanting something new but not sure what that was. They no longer felt in alignment with my life now nor did they support the well being of my body anymore.

Realizing I needed a major change and a different outlook on life, my bedroom became a primary focus at the top of my priority list for change because it was about me and my needs. This bedroom was something I would devote to honoring myself and a new transition in my life from being someone's daughter and mother to a woman of independence, strength and wisdom. I would create a sanctuary for my soul in my bedroom and honor myself for once and the new boundaries I had formed within my life and the lessons I had learned. It was symbolic of a new beginning and perhaps one day it would also inspire a new relationship because my relationship to my self had changed.

So it was interesting when my new bed arrived and I immediately noticed that a piece of the wood in the headboard was 'different' from the rest-- somewhat lighter in color with a more significant graining pattern. There were also insect markings from the cherry tree it had once been. As I settled in with the bed and began living with it, I went through quite a little process of deciding whether I could live with this new piece of furniture. I reached a point where I contacted the furniture store and asked what could be done because I felt this was a design flaw and a poor choice of wood. The manufacturer agreed to replace the bed and arrangements were made, but then one day I really began looking at my new bed and seeing its true beauty with different eyes. I thought about how much I now enjoyed this new bed and how it had already become a new ally that supported me during my sleep bringing the beauty and strength of the cherry tree it once was, into my dream time. That's when I started to have second thoughts. 

Suddenly one day I realized what the message was in all of this when a friend mentioned that maybe the choice of wood for the bed was meant to be. I realized I had finally 'seen' the perfection in the imperfection before me. This bed and the wood it was made out of was actually perfect. One needed only to see it in a different light as it is with all things. Nature is perfect because it is as it should be. The insect markings would also become very symbolic for me, as I later came to realize. Those of you who know me or have read my stories, will remember that the insect kingdom once taught me a valuable lesson about relationships and my anger which I had been putting out into the world. This bed would be a reminder of what I didn't want in my life anymore.

I believe there is a perfection in all creation that goes behind our very comprehension as humans. Every snowflake has a different pattern. Every tree has different DNA and a different shape. We humans are part of Nature and all of creation-- each unique and perfect in our own way. The messages are all out there if you pay attention even to those objects that you bring into your life. I think I'm finally on the way to accepting myself exactly the way I am and... I just love my new bed and the lessons it has taught me.

Blessings of Clarity!

2015 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.









Journey into the Labyrinth

Posted on October 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM Comments comments (4)
The road I've been traveling lately seems to have a series of twists and turns that end up nowhere.  I find myself being drawn to a certain direction pursuing ideas and seeming opportunities that ultimately lead to a dead end or represent who I used to be and no longer feel right. It occurred to me the other day that this was so symbolic of being in a huge maze where you are journeying intent on finding the way out only to come to a wall that causes you to completely turn around and go back the way you came from or go in a completely different direction. In my own personal experiences, nothing seems to be coming together at the present moment and I have to wonder why.

What do you do when every intention you have and every action you take leads to a dead end? Do you give up your hopes and dreams to ever changing your situation or accomplishing your task at hand or do you look at what it is that you wish for and analyze why it isn't manifesting in the manner in which you would like? What I've learned over the years is that when something isn't coming together in a smooth manner and all of the pieces aren't falling into place, there's usually a reason. That reason is that it's not in your best interest or in the best interest of the universe's overall plan that is taking place and there's a lot going on right now on this planet both from a physical and spiritual perspective. It also may be that other things have to line up first for things to happen.  Recognizing this is sometimes easier to intellectualize but dealing with the frustration associated with coming to a dead end despite your best intentions can create a lot of anger or it can lead to losing your faith and feeling hopeless. I have felt all those emotions over the last few months, so sometimes I have to just sit back and wait and redirect my focus.

The thing to remember is that while a maze is designed to confuse, it is also like a labyrinth, a tool for meditation. Sometimes you are meant to walk the path because while you do so, you also become clearer with regard to your original plan and/or you gain more insights or clarity into the situation you are dealing with. What may seem to be wasted time, can actually be seen as experiences that only serve to strengthen your intentions by serving to show you what you do not want and help you to see that change will usually not come until you are ready for it. In my case, I had been looking for a new home because our current home has never really 'fit' our lifestyle or needs in the way I would like it. I can't seem to get organized as I would like, there's a lot of traffic and noise on our street and I have had a constant tendency to create clutter in our closets, in our bedrooms and other living spaces, as well as in our attic. Despite what I know about the energy of space, I just cannot seem to get organized or keep things neat the way I would like to. So I have been spending a great deal of time looking at other homes and properties in search of the right one.

What I realized in this seemingly endless search for the 'perfect home' is that I will not find what I am looking for until I have dealt with my current home and it's circumstances because I will just carry those patterns with me if I do not address them here. I cannot take my clutter with me and I cannot miraculously find I home where I will become organized until I address why I have clutter in the first place. Why is my closet a mess and what am I holding onto? Why do I having furnishings in my current home that do not work or need repairs or hardware or the right place? Why do I have things in my home that I do not love and find useful? Why do I have clothes that no longer fit me or make me feel good? Why can't I let go of them? These are all questions I have been asking myself.

When you realize that until you address the inner feelings associated with clutter and a disorganized house, you will not find what you are searching for because energetically or vibrationally you are not there yet. You have to be living it and streamlining your current circumstances in order to achieve what you think you want. So, if you keep hitting a wall or walking around in circles like that of a maze or labyrinth, there is a very good reason because you are not clearly aligned with where you are supposed to be.

For me, it took a great deal of househunting and looking at a wide range of homes that were disappointing to realize that what I have may not be perfect, but it sure has come a long way from when we moved here and slowly but surely has been becoming what I want it to be.  Why should I accept less than what I want and compromise with a new home where the previous owners have used less than acceptable materials to remodel their home? Why should I accept a lower standard of quality in my life by moving into someone else's poor choices or mistakes in order to gain a few advantages that I don't have? Rather, I realized, that I was done fixing the mistakes that others had created in their homes both energetically and physically. I was no longer going to accept less than what I wanted and this included in my home. Those remaining steps that I need to take including clearing my clutter and perhaps even building an addition may well be the answer to living in the house that is best suited to our needs right now. As time goes on, I will gain a clearer picture of exactly what steps I need to take next.

Sometimes you can seemingly spin your wheels looking for answers or thinking that you will find something better to suit your needs and sometimes, you need to change your circumstances and environment to create that which you need. The thing to remember is that a maze will eventually lead you to your final destination albeit in a round about way. Those experiences or feelings that you encounter on your path serve to better define your wants and create that which lies at the heart of your desires. You cannot arrive at your destination if you do not set forth and try something one step at a time. Sometimes the path seems endless, but always you arrive somewhere, and it will be exactly where you are meant to be at that particular point in time. Trust that all is well.

Blessings on your journey.



2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.








Gardening with Faith

Posted on August 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM Comments comments (0)
As my gardens continue to grow and evolve, my own faith and belief in my creativity and knowledge, as well as path in life, is challenged. This year has been a strange one with a very long, hard winter followed by an unusual spring and summer. One moment it seems normal and the next it's totally out of character with extreme high or low temperatures and weather patterns.

In my area, the flowers seem to be about a month behind their normal cycles. I have lost many plants and shrubs this year and some plants seem stunted or never bloomed at all. It's all very odd and it reflects my own inner feelings at times. Sometimes things seem clear to me and other times they are muddled. One moment I want to forge ahead with my plans and the next I feel I have to be cautious or I change my plans completely. And sometimes I have gone ahead with plans although the timing did not seem good or it did not seem rational or logical. That is when I trusted my heart and my instincts despite what appeared around me.

I lost both of my honeybee hives over the winter due to the extreme cold and I really missed them. The bees have been tremendously challenged too with some beekeepers around the US losing up to 75% of their hives this past winter. The bees are so vital and important to our own wellbeing that it is very disheartening and alarming to know this. Everyone and every thing is being challenged it seems.

There was such a difference in the energy of the land and gardens without the honey bees around. Now I have them back with a newly developing hive of different honeybees and I sense the difference they make in the gardens. These new bees are from another beekeeper and location. They are much calmer and easier to work with than those I had previously, reflecting an energy of peace and balance that is descending upon this land. I sense that their very nature is different  and to a degree reflects the care and respect of the beekeeper that they came from.

I had a feeling that the loss of my beehives was a sign of things to come but little did I know. I also lost my mother this past year to cancer and that was totally unexpected. It happened very suddenly and very quickly. There was no time to change the course of anything. That put a totally different perspective on my life and a need to anchor and heal within my gardens and look at those aspects of myself that I wanted to release or improve. My gardens have offered me solitude when everything seemed to be chaotic and swirling around me or leaving me. They have brought me beauty and color during moments of despair and anger. They have infused me with their healing gifts both visually and spiritually as their renewal and resiliency reflected my own need to move forward. It has been a long road and one in which I have constantly reflected on the meaning and purpose of my own life.

I see in my gardens how Nature's hand paints a new color or design when I allow it to be itself and take it's own course rather than constantly trying to control it's path or destiny. So many surprises occur when you allow things to just be and take their own course with only a guiding hand to maintain borders and boundaries, eliminating only that which does not seem in alignment with your vision or your sense of balance.

It's not always easy but sometimes you just have to have faith that you will come to see the results of your intentions which may just turn out far better than you had imagined. Faith seems to be the key as sometimes it is the only thing that keeps you going when all around you is chaos and uncertainty.

Blessings of Faith!


2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.








Healing Water: a Beltane Message

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)
These past months have been challenging for many. All around me people are making choices and some are making changes in their lives while others are facing serious illnesses. Some are drawn into drama and some are keeping themselves grounded by being more isolated. I know in my own life, things have changed drastically and while there are still signs of the old, so much that is new has come into my life.

I feel different although I'm still exhausted quite a bit. Winter was a long one and Spring is behind it's normal timetable in our area. I think this is a reflection of the world around us. Things seem slow to manifest even though many of us have painstakingly and relentlessly done our work. At times we continue to be tested with regard to our beliefs and our faith, working tirelessly toward our goals while maintaining our intentions and convictions.

And yet it's so hard sometimes. It seems as though we are continuously being challenged with new obstacles, new options and new situations to cause us to persevere and push on. It's gets tiring though. There is nothing that is set in stone, no outcome that is inevitable and nothing that is assured these days. We simply have to be flexible, stay open minded and move forward. Staying in fear is not an option if you want to make things happen in your life and move past limiting beliefs.

This Beltane I was reminded by a friend of the tradition that is behind this celebrated day, it is that of water and giving thanks for its many virtues. The ancient Celtic people would typically honor their wells and sacred springs because they knew that without this life giving force, they would perish. In recent years, we've come to understand so much more about water and its ability to hold memory and patterns. It is one of the strongest substances on Earth because it has the ability to wear away at stone, adapt to the environment and fill the space it finds itself in, and it also has the ability to take life away in it's absence and it's presence.

If you have too much water energy in your life with regard to your home and it's supporting land, you will have an excess of emotions in your life. I know because I've lived in two homes that had this type of energy and it was/is very challenging to live with. Nevertheless, water signifies communication, flow, flexibility and strength. You just need to recognize why it is in your life and learn to harness and work with it in the right way. The way that you do this is by adding grounding elements to your home in terms of rocks, pottery, plants and trees and earthy colors. These vibrations will offset and balance out the excess of movement and water energy in your life.

Water is very healing to me despite the fact I have a lot of fire energy in my nature. I've had to learn the lesson of water in some of the most difficult ways, but water has taught me so much about land energies and imbalance and why they exist. When we try to work against the natural balance of things in Nature, we are met with opposition. While initially our intentions will seemingly work, if we do not allow the natural flow of water in our life, it will manifest itself in a variety of ways. In Nature, when we plug up a natural water source, it becomes stagnant and murky and the surrounding area suffers. So too, when we resist our natural tendencies and inner knowing, we become frustrated and angry and sometimes even sick, especially when we do not communicate our true thoughts and feelings.

Water is the blood of Nature and of this planet. When it is not allowed to circulate properly, it's energy builds up and builds up until it is released-- because it cannot be contained. That simply goes against the very nature of which it was intended. The same can happen in your own life when you suppress your emotions and do not speak your truth-- anger and resentment build and ultimately your body will become stressed and diseased if you do not honor yourself.

This Beltane, honor the water within you and around you by blessing it's miraculous qualities and abilities. There are so many things in life that we take for granted until we lose them. Don't have regrets. Honor yourself and our natural world today by living in alignment with your highest purpose and being true to yourself.

Beltane Blessings!

2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.











Clear Clutter, Clear the Past

Posted on January 1, 2014 at 11:11 AM Comments comments (6)
"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again."
--Joseph Campbell

Clearing clutter was never a difficult thing for me to do, as I always kept my home neat and organized with everything in its place.  That was until I became a mother, before I was seriously concerned with environmentalism and before I had such a complex life filled with loads of responsibilities.  It was also before technology reached the point it's at today and before being on the internet had become an integral part of my life.  It's easy to keep your space clear when you lead a simple life and you live alone, but what about when you're handling multiple tasks on a daily basis and you have a family of humans (or animals) to take care of?  Then the challenge becomes much more daunting.
 
We also live in times that are fast paced and filled with chaos and uncertainty.  How do you cope with the constant barrage of emails, personal and professional challenges, as well as things that we as humans acquire over the course of our lives? And how do you balance the need for utility versus things that you love?  How do you justify throwing things out when you know that you can reuse them in more creative ways or they will become useful again, if and when you move into that perfect house? Believing that the home you are currently living in is just temporary does not help matters.  It may be because of your job or because your current home doesn't have the plot of land your truly want or just because your dreams are to live in another region at some point of your life.  The real question is how does it make you feel right now?  That is what matters most because it's affecting your energy and the way you live your life in this present moment.   
 
There was a time when I was very hard on my clients immediately pointing out areas of clutter in their home which resulted in stagnation and negative energy in their lives.  It was so easy for me to do because I was the observer and the analyst.  Much has changed since then, in particular, my lifestyle and what is important to me.  But what about walking my talk now?  So, I've been taking serious inventory of how I live my life and what areas need improvement.  The process has been exhausting and sometimes even overwhelming.  I have been shocked at times at how far I've let my living and organizational standards go simply because I've been too busy, have had too many fires to put out and just got caught up in the mundane activities of life. Sometimes I've just been exhausted and needed to do something that pleased my soul and physical body.  Those were times I would simply ignore all that needed to be done.
 
The key to tackling seemingly overwhelming clutter is to deal with it one step at a time.  Your home (or your situation) didn't get to the point it's at overnight and so you can't expect to change it overnight.  You can, however, address your clutter fairly quickly if you just keep chipping away at the issue, one piece at a time.  Each day I'd work on my clutter in some manner and every day I got closer to my goal.  I continue to do this, one area at a time.  A big challenge for me this past autumn was how do I get my car back in my garage for the winter with all the clutter I had stacked inside?  Being a gardener, it was filled with all sorts of tools and supplies.  At one point I truly thought I'd never be able to deal with all the things  I'd accumulated in time before the cold weather set in, but I did.  

Clearing this clutter involved several layers of planning which ultimately improved the quality of my life.  I also went through a very intense internal process that included a lot of foresight and planning to achieve my goals.  It felt so much better once I put my plan into motion and saw the results.  I think back now and wonder how I could have put up with this clutter for as long as I did and wonder how I could have held onto so many things.  I know that part of this was that I always planned to do more activities which ultimately I never had time for.  Investing in a huge shed which I turned into a studio was part of my organizational plan and it made a big difference because we were able to organize our tools, gardening supplies, as well as materials for future projects.
 
Clutter is stagnant energy in your home and it can truly affect your mindset.  It brought my energy and perspective down every day as I looked at my clutter filled spaces.  Sometimes I just chose to ignore them, but inside it really bothered me because I knew it wasn't acceptable to who I truly am.  I had strayed simply because I had been pressed for time and other things had to be addressed.  Now I have more time, but I also had to make the time to address the problem areas. Although I began this process in the fall, winter months can actually be a great time to deal with clutter because we're indoors more and we are affected by the energy more readily.
 
In November I attended a breakfast meeting where I asked the instructor how do we address our challenges these days and find the time to do all the things we need to do and those that are important to us.  I told her of my overwhelm which I felt quite often.  Her response was to create a to do list which you review every day and then you eliminate 5 things that just aren't so important.  I thought this sounded simple enough, but it still didn't address doing the things I loved which at times seemed trivial.  To that she replied that what made me feel good is well worth the time because it puts you in a different space-- one of joy. That's really what matters on a daily basis and it will get you through the challenging times.

I bought her book that day and later read about a similar question that was addressed in a slightly different way. The response was to each night speak to your higher self and make a mental note of all the things you need to do the next day and then you simply turn it over before you go to sleep.  During the day you will find that your attention will be focused exactly where it needs to be and the rest is not so important. Not surprisingly, I have found this process to be quite effective and I've found myself to have more clarity and direction (when I remember to take the time to do this).
 
At this point I am still addressing my clutter, one room at a time and sometimes only one closet or drawer at a time, but I am truly feeling the difference in how I approach my day and how I manage my activities and responsibilities on a regular basis.  I can sense how the energy of the house is changing and aligning more with who I am and how I intend my life to me.  And yes, I still have days where I seem to accomplish nothing and everything piles up, but I know there's always tomorrow to get back on track.

Clutter issues are significant because they reflect innermost feelings and beliefs about ourselves, our lives and our future.  It's easy to dwell on the past and unpleasant memories if you are surrounded by constant reminders that you subconsciously associate with unhappy or stress filled times. Releasing things that you no longer find useful or enjoy creates the space for new energies to come in, thereby setting the foundation for change and the manifestation of your goals.  Creating your own sacred space is part of letting go of the past, releasing that which no longer serves you and creating a new future.
 
New Year's Blessings of Renewal!
 
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.
 
 
 
 

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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

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