Mixed Kitchens – A Vegan and Not Story (with recipes)

I am a vegan. My husband, my son, and most of my friends are not. This never stops me from having vegan potlucks at my home, or dragging my family down the vegan food path on a regular basis.

When I first became a vegan, it was a challenge because I hadn’t really learned how to be a vegan yet, I had just claimed the label and was unsuccessfully doing a lot of food substitution. I had been a vegetarian for a very long time, but no dairy was a whole new game plan. The key to being a successful vegan is finding a variety of delicious menu choices with ingredients you can secure with some ease.

For one of the first potlucks, my friend Jillian, not a vegan, found a recipe for Chloe Coscarelli’s Avocado Pesto Pasta. Huge hit. This took us on a day trip across the Brooklyn Bridge to meet her at a book signing, and started the Chef Chloe adventure in several kitchens. Chloe’s story pulled me in because she tested, and tested, then tested some more, her recipes on people who ate meat (and others as well of course)  “Chloe’s Kitchen” winner of a 2012 Chloes kitchenVeggie award was the first vegan cookbook that helped me transition my food choice into something everyone was on board with. She has several more books out now, and not one of them has let me down. Her recipes make sense, and are manageable. If you want to test the waters first, her webpage is very generous with recipes. One of my vegan pangs was I missed the comfort of Mac and Cheese. Chloe’s recipe took care of that for me. We sometimes substitute organic grape tomatoes cut in 1/2 for the broccoli.

Chef Chloe’s Vegan Mac n’ Cheese

Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)
  • 3 cups soymilk (or almond or rice milk)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Add broccoli for the last 5 minutes of boiling and let cook until broccoli is fork tender. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, make a roux or paste by whisking the margarine and flour over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add nondairy milk, yeast, tomato paste, salt, and garlic powder to the saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the sauce thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste and stir in lemon juice and agave. Toss the noodles and broccoli with the sauce and serve immediately.

Thanks to the beauty of search words on TV DVR devices, I found Laura Theodore, the Jazzy Vegetarian on my local PBS channel. It only took a couple of shows in for me to realize that vegan recipes weren’t random on the show, but always on the show. Laura and her jazzy tips pulled me in, and soon I was really learning a lot from her. We bonded when she shared that she developed several of the recipes for her husband, because I too had a husband I was striving to feed food I wanted to eat.   Another recipe generous vegan cookbook author, Laura also shares a slew of recipes on her webpage. jazzy vegetarian These vegan powerhouses are making it easy for you to get your non-vegan peeps to enjoy vegan meals. My first of her cook books was “JAZZY VEGETARIAN, Lively Vegan Cuisine That’s Easy and Delicious”. The recipe I am sharing below is from that. Her follow-up “Jazzy Vegetarian Classics” earned a slot on the shelf as well.

One day company was coming and I wanted to make something gorgeous and delicious. Got lots of oohs, aahs and cleaned plates with this. (served with a not to be ignored salad)

Fancy Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Black Beans

Serves 6.

  • 1 lb elbow macaroni 1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 bell peppers, any color or a combination of colors
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 jar (about 25 ounces) marinara sauce, as needed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup toasted wheat germ, plus more as needed (I have done without. Still worked!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

 

Put the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

When ready to assemble the stuffed peppers, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice off the top 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches of each pepper and set aside (these tops will be used to “cap” the peppers later). Seed the peppers.

Stir the optional oil into 1⁄2 cup of the marinara sauce. Spread the mixture in the bottom of a deep casserole large enough to hold all the peppers snugly so they remain upright during baking.

Set aside 1⁄4 cup of the remaining marinara sauce. Mix the quinoa with the beans, mush- rooms, onion, wheat germ, garlic, basil, and half of the remaining marinara sauce. Stir until well combined, adding more marinara sauce, a couple of tablespoonfuls at a time, until the mixture is moist but not soupy. If the mixture does get a little soupy, simply add more wheat germ.

Spoon one-quarter of the mixture into each pepper, mounding it if need be. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the reserved marinara sauce over each pepper,

then top with the pepper tops. (The stuffing will peek out between the pepper tops and bottoms.) Carefully position the peppers in the casserole so they will remain upright while baking.

Cover and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the peppers are slightly tender but not mushy. Serve immediately or let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Put the sauce that has accumulated at the bottom of the casserole in a gravy boat or small bowl to pass at the table.

 

kitchen divided

I recently added Ellen Jaffe Jones “Kitchen Divided” to my collection since it was specifically written for a semi-vegan household. I have read it, but not tested out any of the recipes yet. I will be starting with the No- Beef Bourguignon. This recipe does include a store bought “alternative product”, the subject of an upcoming share.

One of the outstanding benefits of me preparing meals from these cookbooks, is that it made vegan cooking more feasible for my husband. With my work schedule, he prepares dinner at times during the week. He has seen that vegan cooking doesn’t have to be a mysterious thing that you need years of training to conquer. One of these days I will share one of his own crowd pleasing recipes with you.

I look forward to hearing what cookbooks you have found recipes wowed the non vegan crowd!

Don’t Let Your Crap Block Your Good

There is no way goodness, abundance and success can come to you if your affairs are not in order.  

~~ Iyanla Vanzant

The one thing that holds true every time I sit to write something, is that my thoughts are clearly connected to a large ball of ideas that when unraveled, even if slowly, will take me down a slew of rabbit holes . I suppose that is fitting, when I am choosing to write about energy flow and clearing the pipelines, the Universe would give a gentle tap on the tukas and say “FOCUS”.

As I planned the day to do some cleaning, re-organizing and out the dooring, Iyanla’s quote stood like an colorful energy flowimposing figure in my mind, reminding me that what I see around me is a manifestation of my affairs. It won’t be hard for you to visualize your own image for clogged pipes, and know that ANYTHING that is unappreciated, unnecessary or unresolved is an obstruction in your energy flow.

In lieu of spending paragraphs detailing the different terms used for energy flow, I found this handy dandy chart. Pick your terminology and let us move on.  I do find it funny that plan ol’  Energy Flow didn’t earn a spot on the list.

Alternative Names the Invisible Life Force and Psychic Energy  – chart was found here

Chi – Chinese
Ki – Japanese
Prana – Hindu
Mana – Kahunas, Hunas and Polynesians
Bioplasmic Energy – Russians
Orgon – Dr. Wilhelm Reich
Tachyon Energy – Nikola Tesla
Universal Fluid – Anton Mesmer
Animal Magnetism – Anton Mesmer
Telesma – Hermes Trismegistos
Ka – Egyptians
Pneuma – Greeks
Eckankar – Pali Language
Baraka – Sufis
Sahala – Indonesia
Fluid of Life –Alchemists
Universal Gur – Alchemists
Healing Power of Nature – Hippocrates
Jesod – Jewish Cabbalists
Mgebe – Ituri pygmies
Elima – Nikunda
Hasina – Madagascar
Wakan or Wakouda – Sioux
Oki – Huron Indians
Orenda – Iroquis
Elan vital – Henri Bergson
Numia or Archaeus – Paracelcus
Healing Power of Nature – Hippocrates
Odic Power – Baron Karl von Reichenbach
Universal Life Power – Baron Ferson
Eleptic Energy – T. Galen Hieronymous
Psychotronic Energy – Robert Pavlita (Czech)
Love
Para-Electricity – Dr. Robert Millar
PK (Psycho Kinetic) Energy –Dr. Robert Millar
Etheric Force – Radiesthesists and Radionics
N-Rays – Rene Blondlot
Motor force – Dr. John Keely
Magnale Magnun – Van Helmont
Tellurism – Prof. G. Kieser
Biocosmica Energy – Dr. O. Brunler
X-Power – L.E. Eemann
Information Band – Marcel Vogel
Fifth Power
Force X
Pyramid Energy
Light or Holy Spirit – Christians
Innate Intelligence – D. D. Palmer
Bioplasm
Ethers
Morphogenetic Fields – Rupert Sheldrake
Astral Light
L (Life)-Fields – Harold Saxton Burr
Auric Energy
Free Energy
Life Force Energy
Kirlian Energy
Second Force of Gravity
Eloptic Radiation – T. G. Hieronymous
Psionic Energy – John Campbell
Scalar Waves – Nikola Tesla
Pre-physical state
Bio field
Body Electric
Vital Energy
Reiki Energy

The first step I encourage you to take to get the energy going, is stop complaining. Negativity and complaints are the boulders in the clog process.  You most probably have heard  “Attention goes where energy flows”. What do you want the Universe to support you in and respond to? The stuff you are miserable about or the manna to feed your moments with what really does bring you bliss? (remember at all times.. we are BLISS FOLLOWERS.  It will keep coming back to that.   )

Complaining is complaining, and it disallows improvement.

—Abraham

This can be a very long topic. There are a gazillion articles, 1/2 a gazillion books, and a 1/4 gazillionenergy flow videos on the subject. My purpose this am is in jolting both the reader and myself into owning the process. Recognizing what energy we are flowing, or not flowing.  Journal work is always my most constructive, but if you choose to mentally response instead, go with it. The goal is to flow through the list.

QUICK CHECK LIST:

  1. Be still for a moment. Look around. Where can I see energy blockage? Look for areas for clutter, or items that don’t serve you anymore. (honestly.. if you “hate” some and are keeping it for all the wrong reasons, it is plain unhealthy for your energetic self.)
  2. Get honest. What nooks and crannies do you have stuffed with stuff? Make a note to clean them up as part of your game plan.
  3. What is on your schedule of events that feels like a drag? Take a look at those kind of commitments.
  4. Where are you a whiny complaining energetic black hole? Cut it out. Get on that no complaining diet, stat.
  5. The BIG question. What do you want to KEEP in your life? Answering yourself honestly about that will save you gobs of time torturing yourself about what you want to get rid of.
  6. See #5. Not just physically. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually as well.
  7. LIST – – Top ten people in your life who you value.
  8. Quick vision statement. What do you want to be doing a year from now? Five years from now?
  9. LIST – Five favorite things to do.
  10. COMMIT – schedule in pipeline cleaning time.  All levels. If you have to kid yourself by paying yourself for the work, then make it so. Do what it takes. (haha.. clearly I am negotiating with myself)
  11. Baby steps. Own the knowledge then work the steps.
  12. Celebrate the victories. The process will open the gates to a continuance of good and wonder. Miracle even. Eyes and arms open!! Embrace what comes your way.

As Abraham often says, “It is good to feel good”.  Signing off today with the Captain Picard’s insistence that we “make it so”.

 energize

 

Be Like Water – 16 Lessons from Bruce Lee

I have stumbled upon the ultimate inspirational Bruce Lee video.  It you are serious about evolving, spend the under eight minutes to watch this.

Sompong Yusoontorn has gathered 16 Lessons from Bruce Lee, managing to present in a very short time, Lee’s power kicks to our choices to whine, procrastinate, and make excuses. be water bruce lee

My own intention is sit and re-watch (again), but this time with my journal. Be honest with what rises up, and agree to an action plan for myself based on the results.

I thought I loved Bruce Lee before, but after watching this video, I paused to give thanks that even though his time here was short, we have not lost the gifts he came to share.

Which lesson spoke to you the loudest? Any action plans? Do you have a favorite Bruce Lee quote you don’t see here? Would love to hear your comments

 

Bliss Follower News coming soon!! Quick details here….

blissfollowerI have been having some internal sumo moments deciding what direction to take my page. This weekend it became very clear that the page stays for Bliss Follower shares – my writing. some videos, some music.

What was clarified is that the other interests will be bumped into a monthly newsletter. Some GoGreen stuff, Vegan stuff (never harsh or judgemental, only helpful and loving). Contests. Something to support the PyroPortrait honey. Book reviews. Connecting the dots to other artists, writers, wizards of wonderful things that you might not know about yet. Probably an associate link or two.

I would like to start collecting email addresses now – kind an on early opt in :) Please reach out to me at Candyce@theblissfollower.com with your email address.

Thanks much in advance for tuning in!!!

Shadows and Light from the Past

 We all pine for a time in life when things were simpler. Even when they weren’t necessarily simpler, hindsight makes them look a lot simpler. The reality of it was that it wasn’t.    ~~ Ben Gibbard

When I see old photos in black and white,  I often take my mind time capsule to travel back and imagine those days. I falsely attribute them as simpler.

I am not alone in having a somewhat hectic life, nor am I am alone in the quest for simplicity.  Many of my conversations with friends center around what we are doing to clean out, purge, release, simplify.

I landed in Lakehurst, NJ,  in 1988 clearly due to a direct plop by the hand of destiny. I never had the intention to live here, and yet now I couldn’t imagine myself leaving.  There is some comfort in the thought that I am happy where I am rooted.

In the late 1800’s, a beautiful resort named the Pine Tree Inn was built in Lakehurst.  A winter resort, open pine tree innfrom October to May, complete with sun porches, fireplaces, tennis courts, and my beautiful Lake Horicon. 

I feel very connected to this place, though it was razed in the 1940’s.  The school sits there now.  I  learned that in addition to the recreational activities, there were healing modalities offered as well. A place for rest. Many stayed to allow time for recuperation. This all amazes me, as I strive to find my center in the single digit temperature weather we are experiencing in January.  People came here, in the cold, on purpose. My soul connects with many stories that somehow do not fully surface to become words.

I say, maybe too often, that my lake is magic, but I truly believe it so. She has healed me. I am evidence of her power.  We create blocks of appointments, responsibilities, things and build towers around us. Life itself throws blocks of illness, disasters, life changes at us, and we grab them with gusto to build the walls that block Lake Horican from dock late sunset 051111the view of what is truly essential.  The personal battle of Jericho, the tumbling of our walls, occurs when we find the silence, and allow the self-care to begin. Without self-care, we will never find our core, where simplicity must be established.  It doesn’t matter if it is 1930 or 2014, the very nature of life includes getting the crap beat out of us.  The very essence of serenity is to lock into the stillness. Mother Nature, in her infinite capability to offer healing (from food, to flowers, Mother Ocean, and so much more), will open the door for us the moment we make the commitment to accept her gifts.

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In lotus lake horican 09162012order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one”.

~~  the Venerable Thupten Ngodrup

The path through the woods at my lake during the time of the Pine Tree Inn, doesn’t look much different than the path I walk today. This is not lost on me.  As I wrote, at first I felt as if I was jumbling my topics – simplicity, self-care, life. As my words tumbled onto the page, the truth spoke to me that they are connected lake horicon pathby a thread that cannot be broken.  We are simple by nature, complicated by design.  Our desire for simplicity is always fueled by our aspiration for peace. Self care is the only way to find our personal center, the center of our lotus self. Self care is the only way to actually maintain the strength we need to support others if that is our chosen mission. Let me put this in bold print to lovingly yell at a couple of you reading this. SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH.  In his powerful book “THE LAST LECTURE” Randy Pausch stated ““Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” (If you haven’t read this book.. get to it, but have tissues handy)

Watching the woodpecker enjoy the species specific feeder that our neighbor Peter gifted us, and the chickadees and wren, along with a cranky blue jay flitting from feeder to branches, I am comfortably sliding into the knowing of the NOW and the simplicity of that fact. It is NOW. It is all I have. Choices for simplicity and peace in this moment, a commitment to myself at this point in time, are the tools to topple the walls.

On a VERY lighthearted note, but keeping in line with my lake and those that are important to me, I finish up this share with a VERY RARE photo of a Will Fleming walking in the woods.  rare will fleming siting at Lake horican woods 03224

** Aside from the Pine Tree Inn and the b/w path photo,  they are all actually my shots at Lake Horicon.

 

 

 

Another Gift from the Lake

lake at Sprillway 110511I am blessed to be in walking distance to gorgeous Lake Horicon. It is my tether to this town.. well that,  the sacred grounds we call home, and the cedars that ask for hugs as I walk by.

Today while walking Shanti, the sunset was like a child’s crayon drawing. Lots of color  and squiggles in many directions.  The Lake itself was hosting about 100 geese.

It was very cold out, and aside from a couple of teenagers sneaking to the back in separate cars, Shanti and I shared the lake with only one other older woman, and her dog.  For about five minutes, the four us just stood there, being one with the serenity of the gently floating geese and pastels of a multitude of colors in the sky.

As I turned to walked toward home,  I said to my silent friend, ” I love living here. So much magic”.

She replied, (and I knew that it was the husky Universe speaking through her in sweet and gentle female German accent), ” as often as I am here, I am amazed it is never the same”.

That is the gift of the Lake, reminding us that everything around us is always changing, even if so slowly we hardly notice.   The wind across the water climbing into the trees, telling me that everything in this moment is only NOW.. and then it is a new moment, and a new NOW.  A most important understanding to completely etch into my being this year of  2015. Not letting go of the power of this knowing.

If you would like to join me in going a step further, take the just under nine minutes to fall into this Stuart Wilde meditation.  EnJoy it with your eyes open.. the dancing fractals might speak to you. James Wild has woven the perfect music for both.  My knowing for all who have taken the time to read my words, and listen to Stuart and James, is that the gift of knowing the NOW awaken in you.

** The photo above was taken on my cellphone, at the spillway at Lake Horican. No filters. A perfect moment.

 

 

 

Conversations with Vincent – Crossing Day & Trees

From the Van Gogh Museum Facebook page:

“On 29 July 1890 Vincent van Gogh passed away. The painting ‘Tree Roots’ stood on his easel when he died. Many people believe that the more dramatic ‘Wheatfield with Crows’ is Van Gogh’s final work. The painting ‘Tree Roots’ is a much likelier candidate, however, as he was unable to complete it, which helps explain its irregular, unfinished character. Theo’s brother-in-law, Andries Bonger, described it as follows in a letter: ‘The morning before his death, he had painted an underwood [sous-bois], full of sun and life.’

tree roots

I am confident that TREE ROOTS was what Vincent was working on when he crossed over (and really, his brother-in-law stands with me, so who can be against me?)

Being that I am immersed in my Conversations with Vincent,  I couldn’t let this day go unnoticed.  He wanted to go home to his God.  He was tired, and no longer wanted to fight the struggle on this earth plane.  The flame within him was ignited to bring joy to others with his art, but it was extinguished by the pretentious bitterness of too many. Story wise, it’s a sad one – that anyone (not just someone talented) would decide to end their life dramatically with a gunshot to his head. Yet, this was not the end of Vincent.

He may have left his physical body, but his presence has grown stronger and stronger with time. He did achieve what he was inspired to do. Beautiful webpages making it simpler for people world wide to see his art.  Traveling exhibits always sold out. His own Doctor Who episode  (can’t blame him for being excited about that).  My personal belief is we may leave the body here, but our true essence remains. Post for another day.  Today is Vincent’s crossing day.

Trees. Such beautiful manifestations of As Above, So Below. Such exquisite ambassadors for the Divine Mother, reaching deeper and deeper into her earthy body, arms outstretched to embrace the sun and ethers. Showering with the rain and replenishing the soil with it. Such graceful emissarys of Mother Nature, reaching out to all those around, giving haven to Mother’s furry and feathered children. tree of life

We have a gorgeous Tree of Life tapestry on our entry wall.  While not my husband’s favorite, he created a Tree of Life Pyroportrait for me.

I am connected to Trees from the roots of my own soul. I know many others who feel the same way. Trees verify history and confirm life. Writing this is awakening the memory of how much I loved the book “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’.  Anyone reading who didn’t cry when they read Shel Silverstein’s ” The Giving Tree”?  Many of us remember in that deep place, the gift the trees have agreed to give us,  offering us so much just by existing.  From shade, to fruit and let’s not forget how helpful they are with that oxygen stuff we require, trees are light rooted angels. Serving us so selflessly.

In earlier Vincent writings, you would read that that after having held hands with God, the pain of this world was just too great.  The bliss of all that the Divine Source offered,  was a nectar he frantically tried to share with others. The torment came as he experienced his fellow beings not just ignore his art, but as he watched them be cruel to all of the glory he had seen as a part of All That Is, and more deeply, to each other. Candyce hugging our tree after Sandy Oct2012

When you are finished reaching this, do a couple of things to honor Vincent’s gifts to us all:

  • Hug a tree.
  • Enjoy some art.
  •           Step further – buy art!
  •           and what Vincent wanted most

BE GENTLE TO YOURSELF AND BE KIND TO ALL YOU MEET! SEE THE GIFT IN IT ALL!

 

 

 

Conversations with Vincent… We are all artists

I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.

  ~~ Vincent Van Gogh

Blossoming-Almond-Tree

I thoroughly enjoy the play of the Universe.  The continual surprises, tucked like magical beans in unexpected places, keep the days fresh and fun.

About a year ago I bought a book, written in 1938,  that was mentioned by Anne Lamott. It’s title is, “If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” authored by Brenda Ueland.   From the Amazon review :

For most, the hardest part of writing is overcoming the mountain of self-denial that weighs upon the spirit, always threatening to extinguish those first small embers of ambition. Brenda Ueland, a writer and teacher, devotes most of her book–published back in 1938, before everyone and their goldfish got their MFA’s in creative writing–to these matters of the writer’s heart. Still, the real gift of the book is Ueland herself: She liked to write, she didn’t care what anyone thought, and she had a great sense of humor. You’re simply happy to hang out with her.      

About a month ago, I finally decided to start reading it.  Was so surprised to find that Brenda is a friend of Vincent! (also William Blake, who I might have to have some conversations with as well). She had come across some of his letters, and came to love both the writer in the artist, as well as the painter. Painter-on-His-Way-to-Work,-The

“If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something-the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them, and that was all there was to it”.

While I gave the original nod to Anne for leading me to Brenda (who by the way spent many years in Greenwich Village as a part of a bohemian crowd including Eugene O’Neill and Louise Bryant), because of my Conversations with Vincent, I am confident it was he that nudged me to start reading.

I have learned, I don’t enjoy being a reporter. I don’t enjoy attempting to mold myself into the template for writing that many consider a requirement. I enjoy writing. I love painting with words.  When I see something, feel something, understand something, I get so excited and want to share.  Words are my vessel for art.  Words strung together like mala beads create a space where I can join with someone, where we can merge in understanding, where aaaahhhs, aha’s and oh yes’s can be exchanged.

Vincent is nodding his head now and smiling. He is not wearing his straw hat, but does have a lovely crisp beige shirt on. Looks like linen, but more likely cotton. His hands have the dregs of some leftover paint on them, the last remnants of a recent explosion of color on canvas.  He pushes toward me an open book. I at first think it’s a journal, but quickly realize the pages are blank except for words intended for me.

We are all artists. It is essential that the  artist be allowed to be integrated into our daily selves. Whatever the medium, be the artist. Come fully from the place of Spirit. Even in your regular adventures – infuse them with the non-mundane. Bounce yourself OUT of the bubble of illusion, and see it all as the play that it is.  While it is nice to say “even if one person benefits from what I do”, the truth is, the importance is in you being fully from that place of soul expression. You are the most important person to benefit from what you do. When you are vibrant, it will expand. When you are authentic, it will shine a light for others. When you are not afraid to live your magnificence, another will come stand next to you in gratitude. Art is more than a media. A true artist opens a portal for their Soul to express itself dynamically each and every day.

And now Vincent just sat back and exhaled an contented sigh.

—————————————————————————

Conversations with Vincent started HERE   Then we enjoyed our stream together and I learned about his fall….

The Blossoming Almond Tree  and Painter on His Way to Work pieces can be found with some history at the Van Gogh Gallery. It saddened me to learn that the original PAINTER was destroyed in World War II.

A post for another day, but too much beauty is destroyed by war.  I enjoyed the movie Monuments Men (Clooney, Damon,etc), and was brought to tears by this under 6 minute youtube clip presented by  one of the book’s authors, Robert Edsel   You cannot help but feel gratitude for the mission they voluntarily undertook when watching The Monuments Men and Woman Experience.

Instead of Releasing…. Try Embracing

Last night I attended Al Romao’s  Journey Through Sound Meditation. Al is my favorite journey tour guide. He gets you on the bus, but doesn’t tell you where you have to go. I look forward to any event with him, because my trust in his process is full and I easily surrender myself to the journey.

The evening quickly moved us to a gentle relaxed state, and we were soon bathed in the aroma of a unique burning blend of resins and plants, and the vibration of various instruments, including Al’s voice.  At some point I got off the bus.

My olfactory receptors took a trip somewhere with strawberry incense, I was found myself in a day of my 14th year, where I was very sad, and felt very alone.  Now me starting chanting ” I release this…. I let it go!”  I was frustrated to even be in memory of it.

Then my inner “SHE”, who really knows me, spoke.  “Stop resisting” she told me.” Let go of this incessant need to purge and release and let go. Begin to EMBRACE. ” embrace your imperfect self

Whooossshh.. through a journey tube to a quiet place to just marinate myself with THAT. Embrace. It was so true.  Embracing is a beautiful soul twin to giving thanks, from the family of Gratitude.  I have been filled with a sense of anxiety at times working on this release and letting go plan. I was forgetting to EMBRACE. I was forgetting to love what good came. I was shutting out huge blocks of time and events that included moments worthy of cradling in my arms and rocking with love.

Game changer. Not purging, releasing, letting go for a while. Going to see with eyes of gratefulness, and embrace all of the good. This doesn’t require that I like the sooty smarm that really happened. All that is needed is to step around it. I think my incessant desire to move past, might have become like a psychic glue that has actually gotten me stuck in a few places.

Big embrace to my 14-year-old self. Let me hug on ya honey and tell you that you did a magnificent job getting to it and through it. Look at you now!!

Here’s your action step:

poster-hug-yourself-medium

 

Light A Candle

My Mamas (grandmother) was what I call a callous kneed Catholic. You get that right? She should have been a nun, but for some reason my Aunt Mazie (Sister Francis Aloysius)  was the one who took that route. My Mamas was hardcore devout though, and might have attended mass more than her sister. She was from Fall River, Massachusetts, and between the Irish and the Portuguese, the city had Mother Mary really busy.

Candle Heartsmoke

One of my favorite things when I visited my Mamas, was to light the prayer candles in the church.  To this day,  I make yearly trips to St. Patrick’s Cathedral NYC to light a candle for my Mamas at the shrine of her boy Tony (St. Anthony for those not as close as she and he were).

If you scoot over to the BlissFollower Prayer Page , you will read a little about the prayer candles in my Altar Room.  I encourage you to take a moment to visit.

Last night, under the beautiful full moon, I had a beautiful blazing prayer fire. This round was a just me and my A and G Teams.  Some incense, offerings, ritual, chanting, intentions, drumming, connecting. When I do a prayer fire I include my regular list, and all of those who are on my prayer radar.

Today I added something to the Bliss Follower page – check the sidebar – Light a Candle –  connecting to  the wonderful peeps at Gratefulness.org. Sometimes you need to do something fast, and I was inspired to make it easy for you to find.

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The Prayer Page is always open, and the Prayer Candles are always available. I am feeling blessed this warm Sunday night, that Sharanam Shire is a haven for both.  Namaste  my fellow Bliss Followers. May your days be blessed and filled with Light.

 

 

click me for the video

 “Light A Candle”  – Neil Young

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we’re going,
There’s something ahead, worth fighting for.When the light of time is on us,
You will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.It’s a chance to give new meaning to every move we make,
In the cavern, in the cave, where we come from.When the light of dawn is on us,
We will see what we can be,
And the ancient ones can sleep an easy sleepIn the hallways of the ages, on the road to history,
What we do now will always be with us.

It’s a chance to give new meaning to every move we make,
In the caverns, in the caves, where we come from.

Instead of cursing the darkness,
Light a candle for where we’re going,
There’s something ahead, worth looking for.

When the light of time is on us,
We will see our moment come,
And the living soul inside will carry on.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.

Light a candle in the darkness,
So others might see ahead,
Light a candle in the darkness, when you go.