Bring Me Your Poppies

We Remember On Memorial Day

On Memorial Day in the United States, we remember and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty, in combat and in service to their country. It's a moment to reflect on the sacrifice of human lives. It's frequently said, "Freedom is not free, it comes with a price." Many have paid this high cost.

Even if you never served in the armed forces, it's likely you have a family member or a friend who did. Sometimes, it's family from our past. It might be an uncle in WWII, a relative from WWI, a great-grandfather who served with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

Remembrance is not limited to specific wars. All conflicts are embraced and held in our hearts. It doesn't matter if we agreed with it or not. Those who have been lost still need our love and healing.

Poppies For Remembrance

Poppies symbolize our remembrance of our fallen military members. Their red blossoms swaying in the fields evoke drops of sacred blood spilled in the battles of conflict.

Out of the mud created by combat boots in the fields of Europe, poppies were one of the first flowers to spring up. These delicate flowers stood strong as an affirmation of the persistence of life. 

Poppies are used as a symbol of remembrance on both Memorial and Veteran's Day, also marked as Armistice Day in Europe. It's always worthwhile to remember that each conflict had more than one side and people were lost on both sides. Although losers of a war are never honored, they too, had family members who grieved their loss.

Poppies And A Single Poem

The poem, In Flanders Fields, written early in the conflict of World War I by Canadian John McCrae gained popularity and placed red poppies at the center of remembering our fallen soldiers. It was taught in our schools when I was young.

 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae

In the 1960s, we still had a sense of the impact of World War I and used phrases like "All's quiet on the Western Front" and "I work in the trenches" in our normal conversations.

The Healing Begins Within Us

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), we are able to use the support of TRT® with all who were affected by the wars. We don't have to choose sides. We don't have to be ashamed if our relatives were on the losing side. And we can direct to those who were on the "other side" from where we grew up.

Students of The First Degree of The Radiance Technique® can apply hands-on in their meditations and focus on their own feelings with a specific war or the loss of a family member. Perhaps you want to focus on the complex issue of war. Explore your own feelings and fears that may arise. Allow the healing energy accessed by TRT® to bring balance to your emotions and thoughts.

For students of The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique®, they can use the technique taught at that level to direct energy to specific wars, or to focus on a certain individual. Maybe even someone from their own family or a neighbor. Perhaps The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Each country has their own representation for those who are lost in battle without a trace for the rest of us to see.

It's a time of remembrance, a time of perspective from a whole and not just a part of our history. 

First image of poppies by Heidi Reil
Second image of a single poppy from The Jitterbug Studio
Field poppy Papaver rhoeas, on which the remembrance poppy is based

 

Morning Dew

In The Morning Dew

The morning dew.

Translucent pearls adorn nature's foliage and offer sips of water for tiny crawling creatures.

Secrets of the dawning sun are reflected in their minuscule orbs.

Whispers of a fairy world are heard as they transform into vapor and disappear. 

Dew drops hold the freshness of an awakening day as if providing metaphoric sprinkles of water to splash the sleep from our eyes.

The Little Things

I was reminded of the magic of dew drops when I saw this poem by Kahlil Gibran.

In the sweetness
of friendship
let there be laughter,
and the sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew
of little things
the heart
finds its morning
and is refreshed.

Kahlil Gibran

Finding Dew Drops

It's worth getting up early to sneak out into the garden or the park to commune with the fleeting dew drops of the morning. The morning sun quickly burns away their watery melodies, leaving us to marvel at this transitory life.

With The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), students can place one hand in their heart as they observe nature and dew drops and increase their awareness of this little existence. Welcome the morning with TRT® hands-on in Head position #3 or #4 and in Front position #1 and #2. 

As the day begins outside of you, let it begin inside of you, too, with expanded light.

 

Easter Transcendence

The Point In the Middle

Where the horizontal and the vertical meet, there is your transcendence.

A Symbolic Path

Within the symbolism of the cross, there lies a path of transformation. We can acknowledge the outer world which is represented by the horizontal line and bring to our realization that this outer existence intersects with the transcendental world which is represented by the vertical line. That holy meeting place of the two worlds lives in our consciousness.

Easter celebrates the resurrection, the transcendence of life over death.

Death and birth lie on the horizontal line and are parts of our outer world.

On the vertical line, the energy of life is always moving and rising up.

Life is wide and deep and while it steps out of the outer world, it also intersects with it in a greater whole. 

For Your Meditations

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can celebrate the Easter holiday and its transcendental energy whether they perceive themselves as Christians or not.

Step into the symbolism and let it guide your awareness. Suggested for your meditations is a focus on TRT® hands-on positions #1 on the Front and #3 on the Head, or a combination of #1  and #3 on the Front for a period of 10 to 15 minutes.

Happy Easter.

Artwork by J. Vincent

 

(The Radiance Technique® is not associated with any religion
or belief system.  Please see About for more details.)

Beans In The Oven

Cooking Beans

There's something magical about a rich soup or stew bubbling away on the stove. With a slow simmer, flavors deepen and become complex. It harkens back to an image of a cauldron and the magic of a transformative fire. 

Somehow, the cauldron idea did not appeal when it came to cooking beans. It was labor intensive and beans ended up cooked irregularly, with lingering hard ones or entirely smashed ones.

When it came to beans, it seemed like using canned ones was the simplest choice. All the debate about soak or not to soak, salt or no salt, just how long to cook the beans and all the stirring for who-knows-how-many-hours left many of us less than enthused.

So, it was no surprise that over the years we gave up and took the path of least resistance... canned beans. 

Of course, it's not a failure if you use canned beans. Sometimes, it's just easier. It's better to have canned beans than none at all.

But, cans of beans are not terribly inspiring and consequently, we didn't often cook with beans even though we really liked them.

Dried Beans Versus Canned Beans

Dried beans come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Gigante beans, baby lima beans, red beans, black beans, and white Northern beans, just to name a few.

Buying dried beans is a pleasing process. All those bean pebbles feel nice in your hand. So many possibilities lie within little bits of goodness. They're easily transported and stored.

The price of dried beans is especially helpful. And, environmentally speaking, there are no tin cans or BPA to worry about. If you buy your beans in bulk, you don't even have plastic bags. 

Dried beans sang a siren call, but not really being sure what to do with them meant they remained on the store shelf.

Then, we found out about using a Dutch oven to cook our beans.

Dutch Oven To The Rescue

Looking on the internet, there were several articles about baking beans in the oven in a Dutch oven. Dutch ovens function both as a pot on the stove top as well as in the oven.

Dutch oven is a misnomer, in that two well-known brands, Le Creuset and Staub, are made in France. Lodge is another brand of Dutch oven made in China. Dutch oven refers to a cast iron pot with a tight-fitting, oven-proof lid and often with a ceramic interior finish.

What Is a Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven is any large, heavy pot that is suitable for stovetop or oven use. So your deep 7-quart stock pot could be a Dutch oven, as long as it has an oven-safe lid and can go straight to the oven from the stove.

But when talking about Dutch ovens, most people really mean the extra-heavy cast iron, enameled pots typified by Le Creuset and Staub. These hard-working pots are ideal for slow-simmered soups and braises, as well as other favorite hearty meals.
— Kelli Foster
 

The idea of using a Dutch oven to cook dried beans was intriguing. The gentle, unhurried simmer that takes place in the oven is particularly pleasing.

The beans remain intact because they don't have constant stirring to break them down. There is no scorching on the bottom of the pan. It's very hands-off. The beans do their job of cooking while you do other things around the house. There's no need to stir during their bake time.

Canned garbanzos tend to be hard and roll all over the plate. Sometimes, there seems to be a slight bitterness to the flavor. Not so with the garbanzos we cooked in the oven. In fact, the broth is delicious – worthy of sipping all on its own.

Home cooked means you're in charge of their cooking time. We cooked our garbanzo beans until they were somewhat soft. The garbanzos had tender skins that melted into the buttery flesh of the beans. They even had a sweetness to them.

How To Cook Your Beans In The Oven 

Any dried beans can be cooked in a Dutch oven.

Here are instructions to prepare half a package of beans which is usually 8 ounces.

First, rinse them in cold water to take any dust off of them. Place them into a large bowl, sprinkle 1.5 Tablespoons of kosher salt on them. Cover with 8 cups of water. Let sit over night, anywhere from 12 to 18 hours. 

Drain and give the beans a brief rinse in cold water. Place beans in a 4 quart Dutch oven. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt over them. Add 6 cups of water. Cover with lid.

Place in a 300º Fahrenheit oven and bake for 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on how soft you want your beans. Don't stir, just let them cook. 

Check them for doneness and if you think they need more time, you can put them back in the oven and check every 15 minutes until desired softness.

Below: white Navy beans cooked in a Dutch oven. No stirring required.

If you want to double the recipe, using the whole package of beans, use a bigger Dutch oven.

Use your cooked beans right away, or once the beans are cooled, place them in containers and store in the refrigerator. If you've cooked a whole package and find you have too many to consume right away, they freeze beautifully. They're easy to thaw in the refrigerator.

Add beans to soups or salads as desired. Be sure to keep some of the broth, it adds a lot of flavor. 

Students Of TRT®

For those who have studied The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can enhance the life-force energy in your food by holding it in your radiant hands for a few minutes. This applies to your dried beans too.

You can also place your hands about an inch above your food to help you connect to it consciously. For students of The Second Degree of TRT®, you can direct radiant energy to what you are about to eat. Your food is meant to nourish you and directing universal energy helps to lift that connection.

Garbanzos Transformed Into Hummus

Oven-baked garbanzos can be used to make homemade hummus, like in this photo. The recipe is from Bon Appétit: Classic Chickpea Hummus.

The recipe calls for a can of garbanzo beans, but you can substitute your own oven-cooked beans. Two cups of cooked beans equal one can.

The next time you see some dried beans, take some home and pull out your Dutch oven to prepare them.

Deliciousness awaits you.

 

Christmas Songs And Mary

Mary And The Birth Of Jesus

What are all our Christmas songs about? We touched upon vernacular and religious songs of the season in another blog post Christmas Songs Across Time.

Christianity brings us the spirit of Christmas. It's the story of the birth of a child, the manifestation of spirit into mortal flesh. This birth of light is embodied through a mere mortal woman, Mary.

(Artwork by Jason Jenicke.)

Mary's Song

What do our Christmas carols tell us about Mary, the earthly Mother of Jesus?

Come to find out, not much. Christmas songs across the years celebrate the birth of Jesus, but there are not many that sing the story from Mary's viewpoint.

In Michael Linton's article on this topic called Looking for Mary in Christmas Carolshe describes with charming humor:

 
Both the “First Noel” and “Angels from the Realms of Glory” are remarkable for Mary’s invisibility.

In the nine verses of “Noel,” we have the economic condition of the shepherds (poor), the weather report (cold), the star (bright), the homeland of the wise men (far away), their mental condition (assured), the gifts (you know the list), the local livestock (ox and ass), the nature of divine creation (of naught), and, in a verse mercifully found in no hymnal, the doctrine of salvation through good works...

...there’s not even a hint of Mary. She’s simply not there.
— Michael Linton
 

As for Mary's lack of visibility, Linton offers this theory:

 
Our carols are primarily nineteenth and early twentieth-century Protestant inventions (although the tune dates from the Renaissance, the medieval-sounding text ‘What Child Is This’ was written in 1865), not a time that’s known for its deep Roman Catholic, Protestant cooperation and mutual affection.

Mary can’t be excised from the Christmas story completely, but in the carols she’s mentioned as little as possible, for fear of turning her into an object of cultic devotion, something most Protestants have accused Roman Catholics of doing for a fairly long time.

So Mary merits only passing mention in a few carols or, even better, no mention at all in most.
— Michael Linton
 

Today, there are a few songs that view the miracle of the birth of Jesus through Mary's eyes:

Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) – by Amy Grant

Mary's hesitant questioning speaks to her human frailty. You can almost sense the trembling of her hand as she embarks on this journey. Her doubts give voice to her concerns that she will live up to the task before her.

 
I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
must I walk this path alone?
Breath of Heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me.
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness.
 


For The First Time – by Jason Bare

With his voice and music, Jason Bare paints a scene so we can envision when Mary and Joseph look upon their son, this birth of light, and hear his cries for the very first time.

 
In a world so dark, heaven and earth would collide and would change who they are.
Could this be the same voice that brought us to life?
Unbelievable, the promise is this little child.
What a miracle.
The world has seen the Light for the first time.
 

Mary, Did You Know? – by Clay Aiken

As Mary held her baby boy for the first time, could she have possibly guessed the future that was about to unfurl in front of him? Clay Aiken wonders out loud if Mary could have known the remarkable destiny of her child and his greater purpose. 

 
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
 

Mary And The Radiant Child

The artwork by Sulamith Wulfing entitled Frohe Weihnachten portrays the radiant child of light held in Mary's heart center.

The symbology is there for all of us to appreciate. It's the awakened child within our hearts, the birth of light into the darkness of this outer existence.

For any Christmas music, students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can bring a song's imagery to their meditations with use of TRT® hands-on. Accessing universal energy with TRT® lets you explore the deeper meaning behind the notes and the words.

What child is this who is awake? Awake in consciousness, even at our birth. 

 

(The Radiance Technique® is not associated with any religion or belief system.
Please see Radiant Nursing – About for more details.)

 

The Life Of Julian Of Norwich

All Shall Be Well

In my blog post All Shall Be Well, we were introduced to Julian of Norwich, a Christian mystic and writer from 14th century England.

Intrigued by her story, that she was likely the first woman to write in English, I launched a search into this remarkable woman. Various books about Julian are available, especially books that present her writings.

However, to delve into the person behind the mystic, I recommend a book of historical fiction :

 Julian's Cell - An earthy story of Juiian of Norwich

Julian's Cell

Like a master weaver, author Joseph Milton spins fiction with the threads of factual events to create a colorful tapestry of story-telling.

Set in the late 1300s of England, Milton weaves together the smells, sights and emotions of medieval life such as the pungent stench of urine from the tannery and the heavy smell of wet wool in the woolen shop. Milton captures the daily struggle to stay alive in a time far-removed from our own. War, pestilence, famine and plague weighed heavy in the air and people would breathe it in with every step they took.

Milton displays a kaleidoscope of colors of medieval life in the 1300s. He conveys powerful emotions in a time far-removed from our own and yet, makes situations recognizable and understandable. Although details of daily life are different from today, our human fears, tears and joy remain quite similar.

Without access to formal education as a child, Julian was considered to be an unlettered, laywoman. Milton offers an idea of how she taught herself to read and write; a painstaking, letter-by-letter process pouring over books in both Latin and English. 

God Is Love

Death took no holidays in medieval life. Death lurked around every corner and strolled with calm insolence in the village square. Infant and child mortality ravaged everyone, from the lowest peasant to the highest monarch. The plague wiped out entire families. No one was left untouched by mortal suffering. 

People of that era looked around and believed the world was coming to an end.  600 years later, we marvel at Julian's writings of mysticism and marvel that she could have had the realization that love is at the center of all that is.

In spite of all she witnessed, Julian would go on to write her brave words,

 
All shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
— Julian of Norwich
 

For Julian to have found God's universal love in such a harsh and violent world is indeed remarkable. Julian shared an insight she had from a humble hazelnut:

 
God showed me something small, round and frail, like this hazelnut. And I wondered why I was seeing this. Then an answer came. There weren’t words, but I understood why I was looking at such a tiny thing.

It is all that is made. Everything is there in this tiny creation that could crumble into nothing so easily. But I knew it would last, because God loves it. It has its life, its being through the love of God.

God made it. God loves it. And God keeps it.

You and I are part of that creation. Just like this hazelnut, God is our maker, our lover, our keeper. But we can never really know what that means until we are united with God the way this hazelnut is part of God.

That is why we are created. To be one with God.
— Julian's Cell
 

Milton captures Julian's journey from humble peasant to anchorite, from human to saint, while remaining in touch with the humanity that housed her soul.

Touching A Saint's Life

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), we can get in touch with an historical figure through use of TRT®.

Students of The First Degree and Second Degree of TRT® can apply TRT® hands-on while reading her writings, or a book about her, and experience her story with more light. They can also have a meditation focusing on Julian of Norwich herself, or a specific passage from her writings.

Students of The Second Degree of TRT® can direct radiant energy to Julian, or the time period she lived in. It helps us to  expand our awareness and understanding.

If you like historical fiction, Julian's Cell will educate and delight.

 

Storms, Hurricanes And Flooding

Weather Events Across The U.S.

It's hurricane season and the United States is swirling in the midst of eventful storms and hurricanes. Following the news on the television, we are acutely aware of the risks, threats and damage that is occurring.

It is, indeed, nature being nature. Below is a weather image of Hurricane Irma.

In The Path Of The Storm

A storm, in and of itself, doesn't have a price tag on it. That exorbitant price comes from all the infrastructure that we've built that lies in the path of a storm and its resulting damage. The flooding in Houston after Hurricane Harvey was widespread and deep.

Recovery is expensive, but we choose to rebuild those structures, right in the same spot of destruction, because under non-storm circumstances, these are wonderful places to be.

Sometimes they say the storm is headed to an unpopulated area and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.. Well, unpopulated with humans, but there are many animals and plants living there and my thoughts and prayers go out to all of them, too. 

Support From Within

For my students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) – you are able to participate in supporting everyone and everything in the path of a storm. If you are a student of The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique®, you can direct radiant energy as taught by your Authorized Instructor.

TRT® is not a panacea or a magic wand. It doesn't make a storm disappear from existence or change the fact that it causes damage, or even that there might be loss of life. It's about aligning energies with wholeness even while things on the outside are chaotic, such as in a storm.

When you direct radiant energy., you weave radiant light within the inner planes and help to build an inner reservoir of energy that others can drink from deep inside. With TRT®, you access transcendental, universal energy that is beyond the outer planes.

Directing Radiant Energy With TRT®

You can direct energy to the hurricane or the storm, itself. You don't know, maybe it will support the hurricane to lessen or turn, but then again, it may not. It's not about controlling an outcome. 

It's about supporting a process in wholeness. The energy accessed with TRT® is always harmless.

You can direct to the people affected by the storm. Maybe that radiant energy will help someone calm a fear or support them to make a decision that is beneficial to them. 

Perhaps you'd like to help support all the animals, wild and domestic, that are impacted by the storm. Deep inside the structure of the inner planes, you are weaving radiant light and inner support for all of our creatures.

You won't know what support your inner work has provided. Your service will be in silence in the outer world. 

TRT® Hands-on, Radiant Touch®

Once you have studied TRT®, you have Radiant Touch®. When you apply Radiant Touch® as taught in your seminar, you access universal energy. Within your Radiant Touch®, you the learn TRT® hands-on with positions for the head, front and back that support the healing process.

As a student of The First Degree of The Radiance Technique®, remember to apply TRT® hands-on for yourself while watching the news. You can also apply TRT® with your meditation of the storm. You are bringing greater light to your own thoughts and fears that may arise about the storm. The strings of all our hearts hum together, and when you do TRT® hands-on, our hearts connect in energy beyond time and space.

Students of The Second Degree of TRT® will also want to remember to use their hands-on. TRT® hands-on and Radiant Touch® are important in all degrees of The Radiance Technique®.

Of course, there are also ways you can donate money or volunteer to help if you live close enough. Working from within and without, it's all about service to one another and the planet.