Happy New Year 2019

Hello To New Year 2019

Last year was a wild ride and it appears that the bumps in the road will continue.

As a new year rolls into view and we practice writing 2019, remember to listen to the quiet voice in the heart – even while everything and everyone around us runs at a frantic pace.

Take Time For You

Be sure to take time for the little things this new year. Take a break from social media, set down the smart phone and enjoy a walk among the trees.

Bake some bread or cookies. Make a thick stew. Read a book, one that you actually hold in your hands.

Take time to exercise and stretch, to listen to music, to nurture your joy.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

In this rough-and-tumble world, even if it seems like it’s crumbling around you, look past the worldly troubles and focus on the light in your heart.

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), take time for a meditation with TRT® hands-on in Front Position #1, in the heart. Use of TRT® expands the radiant energy of your heart center. It supports a deepening of heart-filled wisdom. Listen to your heart as you decide which way to go.

Happy New Year!

“Let not your heart be troubled…” from The Bible, New Testament, John 14:1

The Stillness of Christmas

Christmas Eve Is Here

How did Christmas get here so fast? It seems like only yesterday we were cleaning up after a Thanksgiving feast. Another week or two to get ready for Christmas would definitely be welcomed.

But ready or not, here it is, and now it’s an opportunity to practice being in the moment. Forget what the mind says about time, if we have enough or what the future holds. Here we are, in this very moment.

It’s time to turn our focus to the symbolism of the birth of a holy light. A light of the world that guides us to a greater light within us.

The Stillness of Christmas

Christmas mass is attended and many celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We also welcome the arrival of Santa Claus and presents are placed under the Christmas tree. Others nurture in their hearts the winter solstice and the growing light. Shops close early, people tuck into their homes.

Christmas is a time of stillness over much of the planet. A brief, still moment settles around us. It’s a cherished moment in contrast to the chaotic cacophony and frenetic activity of this world. Let that shared stillness enter your heart and wrap around your shoulders like a warm blanket.

As a student of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can apply TRT® hands-on, especially in your heart to expand more light within you. Connect with the stillness inside of you. As a student of The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique®, you can tap into the stillness around the planet and direct radiant energy to expand on peace and goodwill.

May your Christmas be bright.

Happy Thanksgiving Day

A Day For A Feast

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA. A time for family and friends to gather for a Thanksgiving meal and to share in the abundance and generosity of life.

A Meal From The Past

Thanksgiving is a time of feasting – harkening back to 1621 when Native Americans and Pilgrims shared in a festival that celebrated a successful corn harvest.

Though turkey was consumed on that first Thanksgiving, much of what we have to eat today was not on the menu. Cranberry sauce would not have been there. The sugar sacks the Pilgrims brought with them were depleted by then and cooks didn’t start boiling cranberries with sugar until about 50 years later.

Potatoes, sweet or white, were not consumed at the time, but turnips might have made their way to the table. Without flour or butter, the settlers couldn’t make a pie crust and they hadn’t constructed an oven for baking yet. Cooking was done over an open fire or in hot ashes.

One item frequently off our Thanksgiving menu is seafood, but mussels were abundant in New England and it’s likely the colonists included them in their feast.

On The Menu

For Thanksgiving in the United States, the dinner table will be laden with pumpkin and pecan pies, green bean casserole with fried onions sprinkled over it, candied-yams casserole with toasted marshmallows on top, cranberry sauce and the ubiquitous roasted turkey.

Some Call It Stuffing, Some Call It Dressing

Seasoned bread cubes combined with celery, onions and carrot are part of the Thanksgiving menu.

Some like corn bread stuffing, while others prefer a plain bread stuffing. Some put the stuffing in the turkey, others prefer to bake it separately. Still others eschew the whole stuffing/dressing idea all together feeling that there are enough carbohydrates in the dinner rolls and mashed potatoes.

It’s called stuffing by most, but some call it dressing and others use both terms interchangeably. It can be argued that it’s called stuffing if it’s stuffed inside the turkey, and dressing if it’s baked in its own dish. But, these are only style points. It all goes with the turkey.

With Berries Or Without

Some like cranberry sauce smooth and jellied and others like it with berries. Cranberry sauce is there to cut the richness of the other main-meal foods. Some like their cranberry sauce straight out of the can to include the little ridges left from the can, others like it homemade.

Pie For Thanksgiving

Every family has its own variations on a theme – some prefer sweet potato pie over pumpkin pie. Some like to toss in an apple pie. Some choose not to debate it and include all three pies for dessert. Pecan pie is a favorite. Pies dominate over cakes for this holiday.

Time To Eat

Then, there’s a debate on how to eat it. Some ascribe to the notion that the food is best enjoyed by getting a bit of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce on your fork… all for just one mouthful. Others believe each bite should be consumed individually and thoroughly enjoyed.

Still others prefer to remain vegetarian and celebrate Thanksgiving with all the sides and skip the turkey!

However you enjoy your feast, it’s a time to give thanks for all we have.

Whether you are with a lot of family, just a few family members, or by yourself, let gratitude pour into your heart. Gratitude for this very bite of food.

Happy Thanksgiving.

National Coffee Day

Let’s Celebrate Coffee

Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.
— Thomas Jefferson
 

Everything has its day and coffee is no exception. National Coffee Day is September 29 and is celebrated in the United States.

It’s not as if every day isn’t coffee day, but hey, it’s fun to actually call it out loud and celebrate this dark brew that comforts us.

After all, we didn’t always have coffee.

Introduction Of Coffee

Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy.
— History of Coffee

Coffee spread throughout Europe, dripping its way into Italy, France, Germany and England. Coffee began to replace the common breakfast drink beverages of the time — beer and wine. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol started the day alert and energized, and the quality of their work was notably improved.

The Birth Of The Coffeehouse

Coffeehouses soon sprang up all over Europe and, across the lands, they became a platform for people from all walks of life, especially artists and students, to come together and chat.

In The Netherlands, the Dutch were initially more interested in coffee as a trade commodity since they cultivated coffee in their colonies. However, in the 1660s, the Dutch coffeehouse grew in popularity and took on a decidedly unique style of rich décor and lush gardens. These coffeehouses were located in the financial districts of Dutch cities and thus, were places where merchants and financiers conducted business meetings.

In the 1680s, the Dutch introduced coffee to Scandinavia. Today, this far northern region has the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world.

In England, London coffeehouses became an integral part of social culture by 1660. People nicknamed coffeehouses Penny Universities due to the entrance fee of one penny and all the writers, artists, poets, lawyers and politicians who patronized them. Customers benefited from more than just hot steaming cups of coffee, they shared in the intellectual conversation that swirled around them.

Originally called The Turk’s Head, the Jamaica Wine House was one of London’s first coffeehouses. It opened between 1650 and 1652.

In North America, coffee traveled across the ocean blue in 1668. The first coffeehouse that opened in New York in 1696 was called The King’s Arms. Coffeehouses were not for the literature scene, because the early colonists had no professional writers of note.

Instead, for New Yorkers, the coffeehouse served as a civic forum, a meeting place for merchants and politicians. The long halls served as a gathering place for general assembly and council meetings. Colonists sometimes held court trials in the assembly rooms of early coffeehouses.

Imagine slipping back in history, to a time when people are trying their first cup of coffee in Europe. A hot, bitter brew slightly burns your lips, slides down your throat and warms you from the inside out.

You might have marveled at its exotic flavor and wanted another cup. Perhaps you worried that it was a dark magic that gave you a boost in energy. How would you have pictured this strange, black liquid if you lived in the 1600s?

Light Up Your Coffee

Whether you’re drinking coffee in a coffeehouse or at home, warm or cold, as a student of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) you can add a dash of light to your magical brew.

If you studied The First Degree of The Radiant Technique®, you can hold your coffee beans in your hands, whole or ground, while in the bag. Let radiant energy infuse their own natural life energy, the bag doesn’t inhibit universal energy. The same applies when holding your coffee cup. Place one hand in your heart while you take a sip.

For students of The Second Degree of TRT®, you are able to direct energy to where the coffee beans grew, to the people who brought you the coffee, or to the coffee itself while its brewing. If you enjoy history, you can direct radiant energy to the long journey of coffee as it was introduced around the world.

And, a cosmic symbol in your coffee cup is great way to start your day.

May you enjoy your coffee today, and every day.

 

Evensong At St George's Chapel

Windsor Castle And St George's Chapel

When you visit Windsor Castle, a must see is St George's Chapel. As a place of worship, it serves The Royal Family and the local community with church services. It also provides a venue for marriages (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married here) and funerals as well as ceremonies that include The Order of the Garter.

The beauty of St George's Chapel lies in its Gothic architecture, Perpendicular Gothic style to be exact. Construction started in 1475 and was completed by Henry the VIII in 1528.

Perpendicular Gothic is the “phase of late Gothic architecture in England roughly parallel in time to the French Flamboyant style. The style, concerned with creating rich visual effects through decoration, was characterized by a predominance of vertical lines in stone window tracery, enlargement of windows to great proportions, and conversion of the interior stories into a single unified vertical expanse.
— The Royal Family

The Chapel Of Royals

The Chapel holds in its heart a number of Kings and Queens who have come before. Ten former Sovereigns are buried in St. George’s Chapel, notable among them, Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, Edward VII and George V.

Connected to the Chapel is a Memorial Chapel (built in 1969, the only structural addition since the 1500s). The Memorial Chapel annex contains King George VI (Queen Elizabeth's father) who is interred alongside his beloved wife, the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth's mother), and Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth's sister). Funerals also take place at St George's Chapel. A list of burials and funerals can be found here.

St. George’s Chapel is a place of worship for The Queen and the Royal Family as well as a church serving the local community, built by kings, shaped by the history of the Royal Family.
— The Royal Family

Worship Service

If you're seeing St George's Chapel during the busy summer months, you will be sharing it with throngs of hot, sweaty tourists rolling through the aisles in never-ending waves of jostling humans. The crowds keep on coming.

As in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle, no photos are allowed inside The Chapel, so you'll find yourself craning your neck, trying to imprint the details into your memory. Eventually, you'll be swept along the waves of tourists. 

To fully appreciate St George's Chapel, I recommend attending a service to get in touch with The Chapel's true purpose and function – a place of worship.

During a service, the crowds are dispersed and the weight of the throngs is lifted. The aisles stand clear and welcoming. The Chapel offers a refuge of healing calm, dignity. The secrets of history beckon.

Evensong

I attended Evensong (Evening Service) at St George's Chapel in July. The welcoming priest pointed to a carved stall that I could claim as my own during the service. A dark pew from hundreds of years ago enfolded me in its smooth, worn wood. I tucked into my seat and surveyed the richness of the Chapel.

Gone were the tourists traipsing around. The Chapel now belonged to us, those who had a purpose there, as worshipper, chorister, or priest.

From the corner of my eye, I could sense the phantoms and wisps of humanity as they paraded through the aisles and settled in the carved stalls.

The molecules of breath of all the people who came before, who also sat in these same seats, swirled around me. Within the breath, we were all held in a co-existance. Inhale, all the forgotten details of our individual lives; exhale, the collective memory of the whole of humanity.

Visiting Choir

The service was blessed with a visiting choir, The Choir of St Mary's, Warwick. Here is their program.

- Preces & Responses:
Richard Shephard Psalm 4

- Canticles:
Orlando Gibbons Short Service

- Anthem:
Charles Villiers Stanford Beati quorum via

Scriptures were read, The Apostles' Creed was recited, resounding tones from the organ filled the Chapel – as it had been done for centuries. 

History unfurled its banner before us.

Attending A Service

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can attend a Chapel service whether you consider yourself to be Christian or not. It's possible to participate in your heart as you listen to the words and music. TRT® hands-on placed in your heart allows you to listen, sing and speak from your heart.

Sitting in the Chapel during a service, gives you a chance to drink in all the history. As a student of The Second Degree of TRT®, you can direct radiant energy to people or historical events. You can direct energy to the Chapel and the people in attendance, deepening your participation.

Enjoy your visit to St George's Chapel.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at St George's Chapel

 

First photo by Aurelien Guichard