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|Posted on June 23, 2016 at 2:15 PM||comments ()|
|Posted on January 14, 2015 at 6:23 PM||comments ()|
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.
|Posted on October 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM||comments ()|
|Posted on August 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM||comments ()|
|Posted on May 1, 2014 at 9:30 PM||comments ()|
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.
2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.
|Posted on January 1, 2014 at 11:11 AM||comments ()|
|Posted on December 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM||comments ()|
"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).
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.
|Posted on September 7, 2013 at 11:01 AM||comments ()|
|Posted on June 13, 2013 at 6:36 PM||comments ()|
|Posted on May 8, 2013 at 4:05 PM||comments ()|
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.