When we hear the word “shoji” in the West, we sometimes mispronounce it. Just for the record, it’s “show-jee” and it’s not limited to those rice paper room dividers we often find in futon stores. In modern Japan, shoji usually refers to wooden sliding door units, paneled with translucent paper. Specially made to smoothly slide on wooden tracks, these sliding doors are very quiet. But shoji isn’t limited to closet doors and room dividers. The art has gradually moved into window coverings and lighting fixtures.
Archive for the ‘Zen Living’ Category
Whether you’re a decorator looking for inspiration or a follower of Zen who collects Japanese prints, Japanese calligraphy might be a major design element in your home. This is especially true with young couples and individuals who have more time to update their living spaces. Each Japanese symbol used in Calligraphy prints can be executed in eight strokes or less, and are typically written by professional calligraphers, but it’s also a popular artistic endeavor.
A weekend getaway is a great way to unwind and reenergize. A popular alternative to the traditional hotel is a Bed & Breakfast. Bed and Breakfasts often provide a much homier feel as well as personal touches and attention. Nestled on 175 acres of beautiful forest and surrounded by mountains is The Pembroke Springs Retreat. Located in Star Tannery, Virginia, this serene B&B provides a country feel with distinctive touches of Japan.
The Retreat features five rooms, each with gorgeous mountain views. Each room is decorated in a separate theme and has its own bathroom. Guests are provided Yukata (Japanese bathrobes) to enjoy during their stay. In the morning guests are treated to an authentic Japanese breakfast. This typically includes grilled fish, rice, seaweed, vegetables, egg, miso soup and fruit. Guests may request an American style breakfast and the innkeepers will accommodate vegans.
During the day, guests can enjoy nature walks on the miles of trails on the property, observing the abundant wildlife and taking in the amazing views of the mountains. Play a game of tennis on the all-weather tennis court or fish in the pond for bluegill and bass. The area is rich in history, from both the French and Indian wars to the Civil War. There are endless antique stores in nearby areas.
One of the highlights of the retreat, are the two large Japanese baths which are fed with their natural spring waters. The ofuro has been used by the Japanese for centuries to alleviate both physical and spiritual maladies. This ancient technique of immersion in hot water removes tensions, stress and soothes muscular pains.
While each of the five rooms has a variance of features, the Sunrise room brings Japan to you. Facing the east and overlooking the forest, this splendid room features shoji screens, tatami mats and a horigotatsu or sunken table.
While the area hosts a variety of restaurants within a half hour drive, guests won’t want to miss dinner service (check availability). You can view images of the tasty meals presented by an obviously very talented chef on Facebook [www.facebook.com/pages/Pembroke-Springs-Retreat/107360610655]. These dishes are as beautiful to look at as they are delicious. The innkeepers of this Bed & Breakfast jewel are Walter and Taeko Floyd. The manager is Lisa Floyd. To learn more about Pembroke Springs Retreat, visit their website http://pembrokesprings.com.
It’s time to shine with the Sun and communicating Mercury both in sunny Leo this month. Leo is the sign of self-confidence and self-expression. Under the influence of Leo we get in touch with our need to be our authentic selves and to be appreciated by others. You don’t’ need to be born under the sign of Leo to help yourself to a heaping helping of attention and recognition.
This month we will also be treated to a New Moon in Leo on August 6th reinforcing our desire to get in touch with the innocent but precocious side of ourselves. The energy of this Lunar Cycle conjures up images of a young Shirley Temple – adorable, talented, outspoken and not afraid to be seen. Now you may not sing and tap dance, but you were born with innate and unique talents that when you allow them to shine, they contribute to the light of all consciousness.
The Full Moon in Leo’s opposing sign Aquarius on August 20th balances the potentially aristocratic Leo energy with a healthy dose of appreciation for differences and the unique qualities of individuals. Ruled by the revolutionary planet Uranus, Aquarius is the sign of originality, humanitarianism, and social reform.
The first few weeks of August are the perfect time to take a good long look at your environment and think about how your home or office does or does not support your sense of self. What does it say about you? Use the Leo energy of self-expression to rearrange, re-design and re-create your environment to reflect your unique personality. After the Full Moon, take your cue from Aquarius and give away or donate those gently used clothes and home furnishings to a good cause. Your choices and possessions speak to the world about you. Make sure they are representing your most authentic self!
C.A. Brooks is a clairvoyant astrologer, writer, speaker and coach
You can find her at 12Listen.com and read her weekly astrology column in Mark’s Power Peek at 12House.com. She hosts a daily radio show “A Course in Miracles Daily Lessons” on 12Radio.com at 7am Pacific – 10 Eastern. You can also tune into her weekly Astrology radio program, Simpletales, on 12Radio.com every Tuesday 11am Pacific – 2 Eastern.
Countless people have attempted to make meditation a part of their daily routines, but few people actually achieve this. Why is it that some people find it so easy to silence the inner “chatter?” Meditation requires inner silence, but in our multitasking world it can be nearly impossible to get there.
Almonds are delicious, crunchy morsels, and this alone is reason enough to grab a handful. But almonds are so much more than a tasty snack – they are packed with healthy compounds and a great addition to any diet. Here’s why:
Almonds are a healthier choice than the ubiquitous peanut, which has held tight to its spot as the favorite nut (peanut butter, peanut snacks, peanut brittle, the list goes on). However, peanuts are acid forming, whereas almonds are alkaline. Some cancer specialists claim that everyone who is diagnosed with cancer has an acid pH. Almonds are also less toxic and less allergenic than peanuts, which are actually legumes, rather than nuts, and therefore can be more challenging to digest.
There are so many wonderful health benefits to eating almonds. They are good sources of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which help in bone growth. They can help prevent cholesterol build up in the veins, which reduces risk of heart disease. They are full of vitamin E, which keeps the skin looking young, healthy and soft. Compared with other tree nuts, almonds have more protein ounce for ounce, as well as higher fiber (12% of the daily recommended amount) and calcium.
Practically speaking, almonds are a very handy snack. They are perfectly portable and great for grazing through the day. They also give that sought-after satisfied, full feeling. This is because almonds contain oleic acid, a healthy fat, which helps trigger the small intestine to produce oleoylethanolamide, a component that has been shown to curb hunger pangs.
Almonds are very versatile when it comes to including them in your diet. They can be eaten as sweets or savories, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almond butter (ideally, raw organic) is a delicious add-in to a morning smoothie or stirred into an oat, amaranth or millet porridge. Almonds can be flaked or chopped and sprinkled over muesli. One delectable savory dish that incorporates almonds is the Moroccan pastilla, which is a spiced vegetable and ground almond parcel, wrapped in filo pastry.
Almonds can be used in a variety of dessert recipes, still offering all the health benefits of this nut, wrapped in a decadent package. For baked goods, almond flour or ground almond can be used as a flour replacement for gluten free and paleo recipes. Many health food enthusiasts make their own variations of bliss balls, which are dried fruits and nuts, seeds, and oats, all blended together and rolled into balls. Bliss balls are perfect natural energy snacks and satisfy a sweet tooth. They are delightful with a cup of herbal tea after yoga class. Here is one recipe to try using almonds:
In a blender or food processor, mix pitted dried dates, ground almonds, a couple of teaspoons of raw cacao powder, and a handful of whole nuts of your choice (e.g. walnuts, brazil nuts or cashew nuts). Mix thoroughly, adjusting the consistency by either adding more dry or moist ingredients, or even a drop or two of water if needed). Roll the mixture into truffle sized balls and pop them in the fridge for easy access snacks and treats.
All in all, almonds help support the body’s internal systems, make the skin glow, and are a healthy, handy and filling snack. Almonds can be incorporated into every aspect of a natural diet. So if you’re in a peanut rut, switch up your habit for almonds and enjoy a delicious new spin on healthy eating. (courtesy of Gemma Ford)
Whether you consider yourself an artist or just a “dabbler,” there is something so wonderful about the Japanese art of Sumi ink painting. A close relative of calligraphy, Sumi ink painting is usually a monochromatic technique that relies on water-based inks along with special pens and brushes. Whether it is calligraphic writing or Sumi painting, there are four essential implements in this East Asian art form: they are the paper, ink, brush and inkstone. In China these four items are known as the Four Treasures of the Study, and in Korea the Four Friends of the Study.
We’ve all heard our super-tan friends bragging about how dark they get during the summer months, but they may not realize how “leathery” their skin will someday become. It may be nice to have some “color” on your cheeks or a tan-line after vacation, but consider how all this sun exposure may affect your skin. The sun’s rays can do more than cause wrinkles and age spots; overexposure to ultraviolet rays is also the number one cause of skin cancer.
During the summer, it’s especially important to stay hydrated for optimal health and beauty. Your body will crave more fluids as you perspire more. While pure water is always best, sometimes you want a little flavor in your refreshment. Unfortunately, many popular summer drinks are filled with sugar and chemicals that offer no favors in terms of your health or hydration. But there are many other good choices, and you can enjoy a refreshing summer beverage without all of the chemicals and sugar. Here are five great recipes.
This is a different twist on citrus-flavored water. Cucumber is a powerful beauty food, and this refreshing beverage infuses water with the flavor of cucumber. Cucumbers are high in vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as folic acid. Best, the drink is super easy to make and really delicious!
1 medium cucumber, cleaned and cut into ½ inch slices
2 quarts of pure water
Combine cucumber and water in a large pitcher and allow to sit for one hour or longer. Serve cool.
This popular Mexican drink infuses water with your favorite fresh fruit.
4 cups pure, cold water
2 cups of your favorite fresh fruit (berries or papaya?)
Stevia to taste
2 teaspoons of fresh squeezed lime juice
Place fruit and water in a blender and puree.
Place a small sieve over a pitcher and pour mixture into it, straining the liquid into the pitcher. Discard solids.
Add lime juice and stevia.
Garnish with lime wedges.
Iced Rooibos Mint Tea
Rooibos tea is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, so it promotes youthfulness and great skin. Over a little ice with mint and lemon, it’s a refreshing and detoxifying summer beverage.
6 Rooibos tea bags
One lemon, sliced
Several leaves of fresh mint
Stevia to taste
1 gallon of boiling water
Pour water over lemon, teabags and mint leaves and steep, stirring occasionally, until liquid cools. Remove tea bags, pour into a pitcher, and refrigerate. Serve cool or over a little bit of ice.
Lemons are high in vitamin C and promote alkalinity and cleansing in the body. The basil adds a refreshing flavor to this sugar-free lemonade.
½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups of cold water
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
Stevia to taste
Place basil in the bottom of a pitcher and muddle it by slightly crushing the leaves. Combine lemon juice and water and pour over basil leaves. Add stevia to taste. Chill, and serve over ice.
Cilantro and Jalapeno Limeade
Cilantro is loaded with antioxidants and aids in detoxification, while jalapeno can help rev up your metabolism. Lime is high in Vitamin C.
4-1/2 cups of water
1 cup organic cilantro, washed and chopped
2 large jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
1-1/2 cups of fresh lime juice
Stevia to taste
Lime slices for garnish
Pour water over cilantro and jalapenos. Steep for 30 minutes at room temperature, and then cover and chill for 3-4 hours. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and stir in lime juice. Add stevia to taste. Serve over ice garnished with lime slices.
Enjoy. If you like these drinks, give us a shout out on Facebook.
Thanks for the great drink advice from Kimberly Snyder. Visit her site at http://kimberlysnyder.net
(Makes about 4 servings)
This is a great soup for this time of the year. I never really considered myself a hardcore cauliflower lover…until I started making this delicious soup. Whenever I make it I consume a good deal of it. It’s raw and easy to digest, and contains turmeric, which has wonderful anti-inflammatory and alkalizing qualities. Turmeric is an Ayurvedic spice that has amazing antioxidant properties. It inhibits oxidation and protects us from free radical damage, and also helps us clean up metabolic waste. It also supports our liver, while adding some color to this soup!
Even though it’s raw, I don’t like having this super cold. I like to warm it up to room temperature, which takes about 30 minutes or so out of the fridge, or you can warm it gently over the stove.
1 medium head of cauliflower, with outer green leaves removed and chopped into pieces
3 Tbs. organic, unpasteurized miso paste (if you don’t have this you can just add more of the high quality sea salt at the end, adjusted to your taste)
½ ripe avocado
2 cups filtered water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 ½ Tbs. of low sodium tamari
½ tsp. turmeric
Chopped parsley, as a garnish
1 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt
Add all ingredients and blend until smooth before serving. If you’d like a thinner texture, try adding a bit more water. Enjoy!
-Compliments of Kimberly Snyder (http://kimberlysnyder.net)