I am happy even before I have a reason.
I am full of Light even before the sky
Can greet the sun or the moon.
We have been in love with God
For so very, very long.
What can Hafiz now do but Forever
“Forever Dance” by Hafiz.
Quoted from I Heard God Laughing translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
Image is Texture 25: Rainbow light bubbles
|Denial and Growth|
In Religion for Atheists, Alain de Botton suggests that religion still has important messages and lessons for secular nonbelievers. I read Clare’s post about Lent and the cogs began to turn.
I grew up attending Uniting Church services, where Lent wasn’t really celebrated (I vaguely remember something about lighting candles?). At first glance it looked like an opportunity to impose denial upon people. As I lay in bed thinking about this, I realised how wrong my initial opinion was.
For example, when people question me about being a vegetarian, their questions are always couched in the language of denial. “What else don’t you eat?” “You probably don’t get enough of X.” I didn’t wake up one day and decide to stop eating meat; instead I decided to start eating purposefully. I’ve always been at pains to point out that being a vegetarian is a positive experience for me, and that I am not denying myself meat because to do so would imply that I want it in the first place.
What does this tell us about Lent? Instead of a forced break from human vice, what if it was an opportunity to better oneself, as Clare says? Instead of giving something up for 40 odd days, what if I tried something new? The end of winter and the first stirrings of spring seem like the perfect time to embrace a positive change.
There’s a deserted plot of land at the rear of our apartment. I’ve decided to claim a corner of it and start growing some food. Easy things to begin with, like zucchini (or courgette as they say here), black currants, onions and carrots. Mr K has a passion for sunflowers, which are super easy to grow, so I may plant some of those as well. We’ll see how far I get in 40 days.
I’ve recently joined a local book club, but at my first meeting I sat there mute as a stone. I’ll admit I was piqued because the convenor hadn’t introduced me, and it felt wrong to talking to a group of people without knowing their names. Despite my inclination not to return, I will stick with it for the next month-and-a-half. And I’ll actually say something next time.
Colin Beavan of No Impact Man fame has said that the most important thing a person can do to help the environment is to join a local environmental group. Forget swapping out incandescent bulbs or saving up reusable bags. Making positive changes within your community is a chance to make a real difference. So I’ve decided to join a local environmental group for the next 40 days.
If you had the chance to try something new for six weeks, what would it be?
|Weekly Wrap Up | 13 January 2013|
I thought that after a year off from posting weekly wrap ups it might be good to pick up the habit again. Especially as I’m taking more photos these days.
On Tuesday I made some candles from the peels of the last of the satsumas. Erica has put together some super easy instructions together over at Honestly …WTF if you fancy making some yourself.
My daffodils started flowering! I happen to think that daffodils are the best part of spring in this country. I picked up a pot from our local hardware store for pennies, and this week it burst into flower!
Our new bed frame arrived later on in the week. Despite the instructions clearly stating that two people would be needed to put it all together, I managed the whole thing by myself. My parents raised me to believe I could do anything. I took it nice and slow, didn’t rush, and had it finished and ready to sleep on in no time! Pretty proud of myself.
On Friday I decanted the blackberry whisky and sloe gin that I had bottled in October last year. I may have to decant a second time to remove sediment. Must say the blackberry whisky is particularly amazing. I am looking forward to seeing how the flavours of that batch improve with age. Each bottle of sloe gin is from a different part of Essex – making them ‘single origin’ and I wonder how the terroir has matured in each.
Yesterday we went for a walk along the canal to the south of the city. It was a love day for it too! There are some amazing boats on the canal, including this one, which appears to be a floating chippy and burger-boat.
I decided to use the left over blackberries from the whisky for breakfast this morning. I made french toast, with boozy blackberries, sour cream and poured some home made rosehip and muscovado syrup over the lot. It was a good start to the day I can tell you!
Extra treats from this week: mint cake, tea in bed, curly hair, warm towels, finishing the first three Tales of the Otori books, all our stuff finally arriving, drinking chai tea, breaking in our new soda stream and snow!
“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver, from Dream Work.
|Costumes from days gone by|
A few photos to add some inspiration and cheer to your Hallows Eve.
A gift to myself (and you as well!) on my twenty-fifth birthday; four standards to live by.
You can call it what you want; optimism, mindfulness, thankfulness, positivity, gratitude etc. but the action and effect are still the same. Happiness and contentment are emotions we learn to develop, they don’t just happen automatically. It doesn’t matter how you go about it either; say a prayer of thanks, write down what you appreciated today, tweet with #gratitude or blog about your best moments. Focus on the good stuff. Be thankful. You’ll be better for it.
We all need to learn how to stick up for ourselves, to leap into adventure, to be brave. Don’t forget that you are allowed to say no. Cook without a recipe. Do not suffer idiots to waste your time or your friendship. Walk with your eyes closed. Be an artist.
Kindness matters. Charles Darwin once said “This virtue, one of the noblest with which man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they are extended to all sentient beings.” Once you recognise that we’re all essentially the same underneath it’s pretty easy from there. Be kind to strangers. Be kind to animals. Be kind to yourself.
What codes do you live by?
Original Image: Orion Nebula – new image from Hubble & Spitzer
I’ve been lusting after vintage suitcases again. About two years ago I picked up an especially sexy oversized doctors bag in vegetarian leather. While it was lovely to look at, it’s one flaw was a complete lack of wheels. I’ve since then bought a luggage trolley, which does the trick for short distances. But nothing beats a suitcase with a pair of wheels attached. But all those wheeled suitcases are ugly! Or so I thought….
Here are four lovely vintage inspired suitcases and the imaginary women who use them;
Kara is travelling to Japan for the first time. She wants to eat lots of sushi & buy all the Kawaii trinkets she can get her hands on. During the flight over she gives herself a manicure with delicious pink nail polish & listens to Blondie on her ipod. She’ll make little videos of her travels in Japan & put them up on youtube for her family & friends. Kara packed her lime green Doc Martens, copies of Fruits magazine, a rhinestone tiara & bottles of her favourite bubble bath.
On her way to Vienna to see her grandmother, Olivia daydreams about taking possible shopping trips to London & Paris afterwards. While in Vienna Olivia & her Oma will shop for sweet pastries, go to the Volkstheater Wein, gossip about relatives & catch the tram just about everywhere. She will return home with her suitcase full of German magazines, old photos & a pair of Louboutin’s she managed to pick up from Paris, of course.
Morgan is traveling from New York to Edinburgh for a business trip. She’ll stop by Holyrood while there just to see what all the fuss is about. She carefully packed all the business documents in her suitcase, alongside her tailored suits & black patent pumps. Underneath everything she hid a leather riding crop & her teddy bear Mustafa. During the stopover in LAX she taps away nervously on her Vaio & updates her facebook status compulsively. “STILL waiting at the airport”
Isabella decided to take the train to Krakow because she thought it would be more romantic. She’s travelling there to begin studying at art school & hopes that the two years of Polish language classes will have been useful. On the weekends she’ll sketch pictures of the Jewish Quarter in charcoals & sell them to tourists. Besides all the vintage hats & gloves in her suitcase, she has packed her folio, conte crayons, a broken medium format camera & peppermint sticks. Unfortunately, Isabella forgot to pack anything warm to wear.
Loomis Luggage looks very promising!
Scour Etsy for the real deal – sans wheels of course.
|We Should Talk About This Problem|
There is a Beautiful Creature
Living in a hole you have dug.
So at night
I set fruit and grains
And little pots of wine and milk
Beside your soft earthen mounds,
And I often sing.
But still, my dear,
You do not come out.
I have fallen in love with Someone
Who hides inside you.
We should talk about this problem -
I will never leave you alone.
- – -
“We Should Talk About This Problem” by Hafiz.
Quoted from I Heard God Laughing translated by Daniel Ladinsky.
|50 Cheap & Easy Date Night Ideas|
- Build a blanket fort.
- Share a bottle of something delicious.
- Play cards.
- Invent exciting new cocktails.
- Learn a new language.
- Cook your own giant pizza to share.
- Listen to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter.
- Plant a tree.
- Get dressed up.
- Sing your favourite songs.
- Visit the farmer’s market and buy exciting and as yet unheard of vegetables.
- Make origami.
- Catch a bus to somewhere new.
- Read your favourite stories to each other out loud.
- Climb a tree.
- and build a tree house!
- Make a kite.
- Go cloudwatching.
- Jump on the bed.
- Visit a playground & use the swings.
- Take photos.
- Stretch out in the sun.
- Have afternoon tea. In your underwear!
- Go for a swim.
- Eat dessert first.
- Draw chalk arrows on the footpath for strangers to follow.
- Make mix tapes.
- Take turns giving each other a massage.
- Play tag.
- Try a strange recipe.
- Share a bath.
- Go geocaching.
- Rent your favourite horror films.
- Pack a picnic.
- Bake bread.
- Visit the planetarium for some stargazing.
- Go on a scavenger hunt.
- Sit and watch the world go by.
- Dress each other for an afternoon.
- Draw on each other.
- Spend a whole day communicating without words.
- Write silly poems.
- Swap stories from your childhood.
- Have a wine tasting. With blindfolds.
- Play a few rounds of strip poker.
- Take silly photobooth pictures.
- Jump in puddles.
- Eat with your hands.
- Master the art of being together.