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     Awen Environments

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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.








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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.











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Trusting Your Intentions

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 10:57 AM Comments comments (1)
Daylight savings time is almost here and Spring is right around the corner, but appearances can be very deceiving.  Snow is on the ground and more frigid temperatures are expected.  Even though I'm well aware of the cycles of Nature and can see some signs of Spring like budding trees and songbirds returning, it's often easy to be mislead by appearances.

Even when the ice on the surface of a river seems motionless, beneath it the water is flowing and it won't be long until the ice starts to crack." -- Denise Linn

Our efforts do not go unseen and there is a kind of certainty to the rhythms of life and Nature, but sometimes when we're experiencing challenges and exhausted by our daily routine, we have a tendency to overlook all that we've accomplished and the intentions we've put out in the world. Things do not usually manifest overnight, but we'd often like them to and that's why many stray from the course when things become difficult.

I once worked for a boss who would change the direction of his business plans, if he didn't see immediate results. This, as you can well imagine, just created chaos for me and the other employees.  Working for him was a great lesson for me however, because I knew that if I focused my intention and put forth my creative abilities, the results would eventually appear and they did.  It didn't matter for me when he changed direction, because I knew that what mattered most was the intention I put into my work and not the outside influences that constantly sought to redirect me.

We're being tested regularly these days. People are pulled in a wide range of directions and we encounter them on a daily basis adding to our already stressed lives. It's easy to get drawn into drama, frustrated by people's inefficiencies, and caught in a discussion that only pulls you further from your centeredness.  Putting out fires, persevering when someone tells you something isn't so or cannot be done, and maintaining focus when all you want to do is throw in the towel, are challenges we are all facing today in a myriad of ways. 

What I've learned recently is that in a moment your outlook can change, in a moment what someone's telling you can make or break your day, and in a moment things can look optimistic when yesterday they seemed hopeless just because someone had the wrong information and passed it on to you. So beware and stay focused. Trust yourself and your instincts.  If something doesn't seem or feel right, figure our why and persevere.   The Earth is changing and we are changing with it.  Things may look bleak before they look better, but you can trust that renewal and new life is just around the corner, along with new opportunities and experiences.

Spring Blessings!

2014 Copyright Awen Environments/Clarissa Harison.















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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.


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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.
 
 
 
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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.
 
 
 
 
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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.
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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.
 
 
 
 
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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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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.
 
 
 
 
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