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, those 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.

 

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.

"Freedom is not free, it comes with a price," it is often said. Many have paid the high cost of dying while serving their country.

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. Red blossoms sway in the fields and 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 has 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 memorial for those who are lost in battle without a trace to be found.

It's a time of remembrance, a time of perspective from a whole, 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

 

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.)

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Welcome to 2018.

As particles of time swirl around and fly past us, let us remain bright and steady in the light of our hearts. 

Knowing that we are not defined by the judgments or dualities of battling controversies, we shall not be pulled from our center point of clarity. We're able to see all possibilities and all sides. Everything is held in light.

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), if we feel particularly polarized regarding a topic, it's a perfect opportunity to apply TRT® hands-on. When we access universal energy with TRT®, we bring balance to our thinking or feelings. With use of TRT®, we expand our awareness and insight into a situation or events. We begin the healing process for ourselves.

DANCE INTO THE NEW YEAR

As time passes through us, we are observers of the celestial dance.

Wishing all of us love, good health and joyful discoveries throughout the new year.

Let's dance like we'll dance forever.

 

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.)

 

Celebrating Hammocks

We've Got A Hammock Holiday

There's a holiday for hammocks. Yes, indeed.

We were alerted to this important life-detail via a tweet by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (@BHGRealEstate).

Hammock Day Is Celebrated On July 22

Hammock Day has its own day on the calendar – July 22. It's difficult to pin down the start of this holiday, but, since everything seems to have its own "day" – this was probably inevitable.

Hammock Day obtained some momentum when an article in the Huffington Post highlighted the event in 2014.

Will this holiday take off and become a celebration that is fêted around the world? Maybe not, but in the meantime, who wouldn't enjoy a little swing in a hammock?

The Origins Of Hammocks

Hammocks were developed in Central and South America and are now found in most corners of the Earth.

 
Early hammocks were woven out of bark from a hamack tree, and later this material was replaced by sisal fibers because it was more abundant.
One of the reasons that hammocks became popular in Central and South America was their ability to provide safety from disease transmission, insect stings, or animal bites.
By suspending their beds above ground, inhabitants were better protected from snakes, biting ants, and other harmful creatures.
 

Hammocks remain popular in Central and South America. El Salvador integrates hammocks into their daily living. Hammocks sway in humble rural homes as well as in prestigious city hotel chains. They're found inside houses, outside in courtyards, on porches, and connected to trees.

An afternoon siesta is meant to be relished in a hammock. One village in El Salvador annually celebrates The Festival of the Hammocks in November where hammocks are produced and sold.

Mayan Hammocks

In this photo by Abraham Razu, a man is hand-weaving a Mayan hammock with brightly colored cotton fibers. These hammocks come from the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. The breezy fabric allows for air to circulate and on hot nights, this provides more cooling than a flat mattress.

To call it a Mayan hammock is a bit of a misnomer. The hammocks didn't originate with the ancient Mayan civilization. It's thought that hammocks arrived in the Yucatán by way of the Caribbean almost two centuries before the Spanish conquest. However, the Mayan people of the Yucatán have been weaving hammocks ever since that time.

Hammocks in Yucatán life are integral to their culture and are a part of their home furnishings. They are used for beds as well as living room furniture and are easily removed at any time to free up precious space in the rooms for other activities.

Mayan hammocks are considered some of the most comfortable and have a tight weave that leaves fewer marks on your skin. They are light, making them easy to carry and store. A hammock weighs between 0.9 and 3 kg, depending on the style and size. Contrast that with carrying around a queen size mattress or a sofa.

How to Get In And Out Of A Hammock

Enjoying time in a hammock is the easy part. Getting in and out of it without hurting or embarrassing yourself provides a small challenge. 

If you'd like to master these swinging contraptions with a bit of elegance and panache, here's a video to help you.

Hammocks And Relaxation

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), resting in a hammock is a perfect opportunity fro benefit from TRT® hands-on. Any of the head positions and front body positions, or a combination of positions, such as one hand in the heart and the other in the abdomen, enhance and deepen relaxation.

If your hammock is outside, use of TRT® hands-on allows you to get more in touch with the natural world. Feel the nuance of the breeze on your skin, listen to the message of the wind in the trees and the songs of the birds.

Maybe you hear the steady rhythm of ocean waves by the sea or perhaps the chirping of songbirds in a wooded glen. Using TRT® expands your awareness and supports greater perception of your outer senses. 

If you're comfortably ensconced with a good book in your hammock, you can place one hand in your heart or abdomen while you read. Let the words enter you through a filter of universal light, bringing greater wisdom to your reading.

Whether you're ocean-side or lake-side or in your own backyard, hopefully, you'll get to enjoy some relaxing hammock time.

Let's celebrate our Hammock Holiday.