Archives for posts with tag: Religion and Spirituality
Ukrainian Easter eggs

Ukrainian Easter eggs

This Easter weekend we are taking it easy, reflecting on life and the new life that springs all around us. We take note that today is Earth Day, and a cause for another pause and reflection.

If you are so fortunate as to have both some time off and a garden, this seems like a good time to research seeds, plants, and garden ideas and set out what you would like to grow this year!

Or maybe you will take a day to Spring Clean. I know I am overdue…

If you are dying Easter eggs or decorating cupcakes, you could try some of the natural dyes that we used for Snow Painting With Plant Pigments. I would recommend Turmeric (for a bright gold) and beets (for a nice purple). The traditional method for eggs is to add some onion skins into the water, as you boil the eggs with the natural dyes. For icing colour, just add the colourful ingredients in the same way you would more toxic chemical “food colouring”.

Have a wonderful, verdant Easter weekend!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Guest Contributor Beata Sobolewski shares her transformation from a person who takes yoga classes to becoming a yoga instructor.

A few weeks ago I finished a course to become a Yoga Instructor. This journey, which spanned five months, would open my mind to a world of possibilities. From the lessons I learned to the people who I met, I have walked away with a grander meaning of life. I did not have much yoga in my life prior to the course, but now it is part of my daily living.

Yoga showed me the union of mind, body and spirit. Yoga introduced me to the things around us we cannot always see but greatly influence our lives; Einstein and other great philosophers spoke about the great-interconnected world in which we cannot always perceive with our five senses. Yoga allows you to tap into this world of potentiality. I’m beginning to understand that as a human being each one of us is an energy being of pure potentiality.

We have been conditioned from childhood to believe that we are not powerful beings and are meant to live a mundane life of 9-5 five days a week. Throughout the course and what my instructor quoted as “the Unlearning Process”, I began to shake off some of these beliefs. If I had learned some of these attributes in my earlier years, I feel I would have greatly benefitted. However, I still greatly appreciate this knowledge. It is never to late to learn if one is open-minded and willing to stir up some beliefs.

The greatest thing yoga did for me is to allow me to have an open mind. I’ve come to realize that not one person has the answer; this is a journey of self growth. We all have our own interpretations of situations, but by being able to listen to everyone and not always judge, we are beginning to change some of the programming of the Ego self.

The Ego, I learned, is the greatest illusion in our lives. “We are the same being in different disguises” is a quote spoken by my instructor that I always review and keep in my mindset. This quote is powerful, and when repeated frequently changes self-perception and perception of the people around us. The Universe is a living organism with full awareness of itself. The five senses allow us to have the illusion that we are all separate individuals when we are really all interconnected in a web of life.

I’ve learned that life is holographic and when you affect one part of the hologram you also affect all the other parts. We can see the pain, insanity and chaos in the world around us. This is due to the fact that people are lacking self-love and knowledge of who they really are. If we knew, then we would not be harming our planet and ourselves. We are a global family and a new system needs to be implemented to fix some of our errors. I feel Yoga is a tool that can help heal the world we have created through our misperceptions about our reality.

I believe our world is a reflection of what we have inside of ourselves. When we begin to purify ourselves, we begin to purify our environment and everything around us. Yoga shows not to repress our pain, but to acknowledge, accept and forgive it. Truly we are Energy, and energy cannot be destroyed. We are infinite and timeless. It is only the identity in our life that creates the world around us. I began to learn this is for a higher purpose and it is part of the one divine mind. This false ego keeps us trapped in our own delusions and blocks truth from the “real self”, which is not of the physical world. Yoga has allowed me to reclaim some of my true self beyond the physical means around me. We are more than the job, car, money, bank account, and title in society. Beyond the things we think make us happy lies a world of truth. Life has a natural flow and we must give to receive, love to be loved and care to be cared for. Our fears, anxieties and confusions are created due to the lack of knowledge about our true identities. This reality of our true self is kept purposely from us in order for us to rely on a system built of fear of our world and ourselves.

Within five months of my Yoga journey I am beginning to reclaim some of the power I have within me. However, this is not an easy process, it is a life-long work. As human beings on a physical journey, we have many layers that need to be undone and cleansed. I have greatly benefited physically and mentally on my journey to become a yoga instructor. A reward is that once I have started to find my own inner peace, I may then do the same for the people around me. It is a great gift to be able to teach people about this metaphysical world they may not have been previously introduced to.

I will forever be grateful for this experience, and now know the journey will not end here. The choice is ours about who we decide to be in the world, and I am grateful that yoga is allowing me to get to know my true self.

Montreal, Canada 

Iggy, my cat who likes to stare at things.

I have a cat whose name is Iggy. He likes to stare at the wall. I can relate to this; whenever I need to step away from the distractions of my life, I will stare at something. This can prove to be a little awkward when I’m out in public. In that case it is good to find somewhere to sit, then close my eyes for a minute. Iggy doesn’t have this problem, because he is an “inside-cat”.

You might wonder why I’m writing about this right now. My rationale is that I am in a Post-Yoga-Class state. This morning I had my first yoga class of 2011, after a month’s break. My mind is clear, my breath is easy and focussed, my spine and arms and legs and fingers and feet and… everything that makes up “me”… feels good. I had intended to write about the braided rug that I am slowly working on (it’s quite a long process, being the sole crafty or creative thing in my life that I would define as a “hobby”), and as my eyes were looking up from this computer screen towards that rug, I saw Iggy. Staring at the wall. This reminded me of the state of my mind during yoga class this morning and that’s that.

braided up and ready to go...

So, this rug is composed of pieces of unused, discarded t-shirt material that I rescued from the landfill during my employment in “the fashion industry”. I worked as a sample-cutter in the sewing room of a large corporation for about a year and a half. Each garment that was designed for this company required several pre-production samples in order to pass muster, before being manufactured in China. Hence there was a lot of waste, and this sewing-room went through a lot of fabric.

At one point I decided to tuck away scrap pieces of fabrics to take home, rather than throw into the trash. The company had a lip-service “Green” policy, in that they put up dozens of posters encouraging staff to use only one paper-towel when drying their hands in the washroom. I reasoned with myself that if I should get in trouble for taking trash away from the company, that I could plead “Logic” and win. I could point out the blatant irony of all those posters, asking that people save little pieces of paper, while in the meantime we tossed out what amounted to sheets of fabric every day. As it turned out, I didn’t need to plead anything because shortly thereafter I quit.

it began... and one day it shall end.

It didn’t take long for me to amass a big sack of scrap t-shirt material at home, and I began braiding pieces together. I would just cut about an inch-wide strip, tie similar-toned pieces together, and then braid. I made several meters of braided t-shirt material. This was the easy, fun, simple, relaxing part of the craft. The more difficult task was in sewing it all together. I basically just began to wind the braid around itself on a table, stitching as I went, on one (the ugly) side. I would tuck the tied ends to the ugly side, to make sure it looked good on the top side. Of course when I began, it grew very quickly so I felt motivated and satisfied. As the circumference of the circle expanded, though, it was slower work. This is why the project remains unfinished. At the moment it exists as a sort of “decoration” in my home rather than an actual rug.

branching out... something other than a circle to stave off boredom

I do like the idea of making something out of nothing, though, and I consider this rug to be a potential Family Heirloom. In a while perhaps I’ll share with you a photograph or two of myself doing yoga on this rug, or of my cat sitting on it and staring at the wall…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

%d bloggers like this: