So much has been written lately about the benefits of meditation, with much of it aimed at helping people deal with holiday stress. But few people are successful at forming new habits during the busiest time of year. A better idea is to start new habits in January. This may explain the recent trend toward meditation retreats.
Archive for the ‘Zen Living’ Category
Oh meditation, how we love thee! Especially at this busy time of year! While it may be years until we have enough scientific research to back it up, many converts to the practice of mindful meditation are convinced of its benefits. Nutrition and exercise may be our first line of defense to take care of the body, but there is a reason why meditation has been around for thousands of years: it works.
When we think of meditation, an image of someone sitting cross-legged on a pillow comes to mind; perhaps in a quiet room with candles, hands upturned. But for people who are not quite accomplished in the art of relaxation, meditation can be very difficult. Fortunately, this group of people has a noisier option – gong therapy!
When it’s time to invest in a new meditation pillow, customers can have a hard time choosing the proper filling. This is particularly true when the pillows are purchased online, as many meditation supplies are. Without the ability to feel the texture and weight of a pillow, shoppers find it difficult to choose between buckwheat hull and organic kapok fillings.
As “Westerners,” some of the ancient wisdom of Asian cultures might seem a little unusual. Whether it’s the practice of Zen meditation, Feng Shui or Chi Energy therapy, it’s easy to feel like an outsider looking in. But windchimes have a spiritual energy that everyone gets. Kinetic and resonant, wind chimes bring a sense of oneness that calms and energizes simultaneously. It’s a universal language of hope and beauty; one that isn’t easily duplicated.
If you’ve recently put away the summer clothes and pulled out the sweaters, it may be hard to think of what to wear on a winter vacation. But this is also the perfect time of year to get some great deals on summer clothes. When it’s time to plan your winter getaway, why not pick up some coordinating Zen-style resort wear to give your spirits a lift?
Astrologically speaking October is a very dynamic month of change with a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Aries on the 18th and a Mercury Retrograde pattern beginning on the 21st. First let’s tackle the Eclipse. At the time of the Full Moon, the Earth will stand in-between the two luminaries keeping the light of the Sun from reaching and reflecting off of the surface of the Moon, thus creating a Lunar Eclipse. We can’t deny there are physical repercussions as the electromagnetic pulses are temporarily disrupted. Psychologically there are effects as well – mostly positive.
All eclipses are harbingers of change, but Lunar Eclipses, usually indicate we have come to the culmination or ending of a project, relationship or endeavor. Eclipses act like wild cards bringing new people, opportunities or events into our lives that prompt and guide us to make big changes. Many people report eclipses feel like their internal systems have been rebooted. It’s the chance to clean out some old “programming” and make a clean start. Even when an eclipse drops something in our lives that seems “out of the blue” or surprising, when all is said and done, we often realize the change is exactly what we needed.
Mercury, the planet of thinking and communication, will make its third and final retrograde cycle of 2013 starting this month. This one is in the mysterious, sensitive, complex, and psychological sign of Scorpio. Scorpio represents our need for cathartic change and transformation and the need for intense and passionate involvement. Minds and hearts will come together to reveal some amazing insights!
Both events – the Lunar Eclipse and Mercury Retrograde – have change as a common denominator. We don’t always have control of the changes in the world around us, but we do have the ability to choose our interpretation and use events as valuable learning devices on our way to earning our PhDs in Earth School. Enjoy the ride. I’ll be back with you next month to talk about the Eclipse of new beginnings – a New Moon Solar Eclipse on November 3rd. I’ll leave you with the words of Viktor E. Frankl, “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
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.
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.
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.