healing haven

September 26, 2009

My Gratitude Flower

Filed under: appreciation,Gratitude Legacy Journal,healing,Hestia,hospice — by thalia @ 8:18 am

 

For the opening of the hospice workshop this year on Gratitude, I asked everyone to fill in a gratitude flower I had created.   The petals of a sunflower seemed like an appropriate way to express gratitude since the petals allow for individual items and the sunflower is associated with sunshine and good feelings. I drew large petals surrounding the inner circle and made copies for everyone.  Each person was to fill in the items he or she were grateful for, and then paste their picture that they brought along for this purpose, in the center of the sunflower.  The finished project became the first page in their new Gratitude Journals that would be worked on throughout the day (for another see Timeline Goals in A Hestia Project).

 

My Gratitude Flower-filled in-cropped. 

This was my page which I then added my picture to.  I have since put it in my Gratitude/Legacy Project, but am not sure where it will wind up since it has to do with general categories I am grateful for rather than about specific people.  I do plan to then take this same sunflower outline and put in the names of people I am grateful for, probably having to add more petals to make this work or to break down the people into specific categories for each sunflower.  Perhaps then even use one sunflower per person with their picture or name in the center and listing the various aspects of them I am grateful for.  Since this is an ongoing project, there is no telling where or what this will develop into.

September 19, 2009

My Medicine Bag

Filed under: appreciation,healing,Hestia,hospice,Temple of Solace — by thalia @ 7:26 am
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All those years I wandered over our 25 acres in the Ozarks, I carried a medicine bag with me.  It was more practical than esoteric.  The outside material was made of bleached and faded out old denim, in a pattern of light and dark blues.  It was about 10 inches square, with a flap of the same material secured by Velcro to keep out bugs and leaves that might otherwise fall into in. There was also a long strap made from the same material so it could be slung over one shoulder, thus allowing my arms free range to move bushes aside, or to pick some delectable wild green. 

Within was a material divider: on one side were various sizes of plastic bags to use for placing various foraging items I would come across.  On the other side were a small knife to cut off leaves or flowers suitable for eating and a small field identifier book for those items I found that I still did not know. 

 sorrel-cropped

 I would spend hours foraging through the woods and the meadow looking for tasty possibilities for supper salad: various greens, perhaps a mushroom or some wild persimmons, or violets growing by the stream for putting into cookies or scones.  In the fall there were also plentiful persimmons, only to be collected after the first frost so they wouldn’t sour your mouth and before the turtles and other critters got to them, wild passion fruit and wild grapes.  In the spring were new sprouts of poke, cardoon, dock, chickweed and dandelion greens, as well as mulberries and wild strawberries.  And in the summer prickly pear cactus were to be found and the more mature greens like sorrel and even dandelion flowers and rosehips.  Winter might find nuts or acorns for the deer but also great for making muffins or cakes after rinsing off all the tannin and then drying them out to make into flour.

Those were my practical years, when we were attempting to live off the land as much as possible and be self-sufficient.  Hard years, but with many wonderful encounters with the natural wildness of the land and its inhabitants.

Now, my medicine bag would contain different items, many of which would be hidden from the physical eye.  I use this medicine bag when I am with people who are sick or dying, sad or depressed.  It is partially the aura or soul cape that has developed around me.  Just the other day the hospice chaplain came in and asked if he could “set a spell” – he needed “some serenity.”  I know from people’s reactions and comments there is something carried around that others find healing.

Another item in my medicine bag is a listening ear (which conjures up an interesting picture.)  Most people do not have people in their lives to listen to them.  If we all did, we would not need any psychiatrists.   Listening is a gift I received from my mother that I can pass on to those who need someone to do nothing more than to let them know they are important enough to be listened to, who takes the time to listen.  With everyone in a rush, no one wants to take the time to listen.  And with everyone so into voicing their opinions as if it is “The Truth” – no one wants to listen, all want to talk.  So a listening ear is a very important item.

Hands that comfort are another part of the healer’s medicine bag.  Touch is so important for everyone, but permission does need to be asked for first.  You can’t assume everyone will benefit from a hug since so many people have been abused in their lifetimes.  Yet we all need touch, particularly when we are sick or dying.  So many people back away at those times that a person can feel very isolated, maybe even shunned.  A touch, a hug, a hand relaying concern, hands massaging another’s under the guise of putting lotion on dry hands and feet, a pat on the back, rubbing someone’s neck and shoulders – all are ways of using touch to communicate connection.

Also, vitally important is a compassionate heart: a heart that has known sadness and abuse, joy and love, frustrations and disappointments as well as fulfillment and success.  A heart that appreciates the differences in people and yet connects to the similarities.  A heart that finds patterns in life that transcend the individual manifestations of chaos.  A heart open to give as well as receive, for one must renew oneself if one is to keep on giving.  We can only give what we have: if we have money we can give money to others, if we have compassion we can give compassion, if we have time we can give time to others, if we have peace within we can give peace.

This medicine bag holds many other items that are available when needed.  But one of the most important is intuition, of coming from the heart.  We never know what may be pulled from us by someone’s need, but we should be open to the moment and trust in the process, and what might be contained in our subtle-medicine bag.

 sunset-cropped

 

 

September 5, 2009

A Hestia Project

Filed under: appreciation,healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir,SoulCollage — by thalia @ 7:00 am
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Many years ago, when I felt there was a possibility I might die within a year, I went to the store and picked out greeting cards that came the closest to what I wanted to say, to my husband and my children, and others I loved.  The cards came close – sort of – but didn’t encompass all I wanted to express.  I didn’t die, and when I came across those cards a few years later, I realized they didn’t express my feelings – just one small part.  But it was a quick, easy way to leave a legacy to my loved ones.

 Then a few years ago, I put together a much more involved Legacy for my family: children and grandchildren, siblings and their children.  I used the regular genealogy pattern for one page, with dates going back through the ancestors.   But then I added many pages of stories, memories and pictures going way back and bringing it all up to date with recent pictures.  I rested on that for a while, feeling I had left some good information and memories there along with other memoir items I had put together.

This year I was preparing for the annual Hospice volunteer Retreat utilizing the book A Year to Live, as mentioned in my blog writings (http://osbethsview.wordpress.com).  I decided that a section on gratitude flowed well from the Year to Live idea and so started researching ways to use for the usual collage/art section and exercises for our Retreat.  I always include art and writing projects so the volunteers can have some fun as they create and learn new ways of exploring and expressing themselves.  In the process I developed some work pages so that at the end of the day, each person would have the beginnings of a gratitude journal and a page of goals of what they would like to achieve or do if they only had one year to live.   And as always, I worked on my own pages so as to show the volunteers some possibilities.

 Timelaine - A Year to Live

And so my Annual Hospice Volunteer Retreat project morphed into something my Hestia/crone aspect loves.  I’m doing journal pages essentially, filled with gratitude – my gratitude for particular people.  I wound up doing individual pages for my loved ones, as things come to mind.  Right now I am keeping the individual pages in a loose-leaf binder with sections for each person so whenever I should die, in a month, a year or a decade, there will be a collection of things I wanted to share ready for each.

I also wanted to include little one-liners as they occur, i.e., “I really appreciated your call to share news of your engagement with me.  Even though I don’t see you as frequently as I would like (because of the great distances between us) I care about you and what is happening in your life.”   Using scribble paper initially, I at least get the thoughts with date down even if they are not in final form.

In order to further facilitate this, I am slowly putting decorative pages in the binder for each person.  I transfer what I might have scribbled already, and then write down thoughts of gratitude and love as they occur right on the page along with the date.  I may add collage, a poem or quote, drawings, paintings, colorings, frames I’ve made, pictures, clip art – who knows what – to decorate each page.  In time, no matter how much or how little time I may have, there will be a collection of reasons and pages as to why I am grateful for that person in my life, using words and art to convey my feelings – my legacy for that person.   And if there is enough time, I may have to separate out each person’s pages so there may be booklets for each person, containing their pages, a legacy from me – for them alone.  I am also doing pages for my deceased loved ones as things come to mind.  These pages will be a tribute to them and will also pass on to younger people the legacies of these people they might not have known.

Mike-raspberry page-cropped.Anne-apron page-cropped.

This project feels so right as it combines my creativity with my legacy, and further compliments the genealogy and memoirs I’ve already done.   And it is personalized for each person.  And it can be added to casually, rather than as a big project – in which case it probably wouldn’t get done.

And one never knows where it leads.  When I put in the two sentences related above to my niece, I found myself remembering another memory I had of her from when she was small, so I went on to include that on the scribble page since I don’t have a formal page for her yet.

These are my stories but they are focused on the other person and how I feel about him/her.  Whether there will be only one memory/gratitude or many when each receives their pages, they will have something personal for themselves.

This will be my Hestia Project for these next months and thereafter.  An ongoing art/writing project about gratitude: my abundant gratitude for the people in my life.  What right now is one art journal kept in one binder about the various people in my life will become, when the time is right, many individual art journals of gratitude for many people – the people I love and appreciate.

August 23, 2009

My Soul Cape

Filed under: healing,Hestia — by thalia @ 7:50 am
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My soul cape…mmm…what would it be?   Would it be heavy as earth with the accumulation of so many life memories or light as air with memories that lift me and inspire me?  Perhaps flowing like water as one memory blends into another like a great majestic river?  Or the bursting warmth of fire from the emotions that range over time?  So many possible ways of looking at it.

And I realize that I don’t look as if I wear a soul cape at all, or any other kind of cape.  I look like any other overweight middle-aged or crone woman with a variety of ailments: increasing knee problems, a quick-to-ache back whether from gardening or walking, a lack of energy to build houses or run with grandchildren, a person who would prefer to be at home reading or writing while looking out window at garden and tomatoes growing as clouds drift by.  A quick glance will not reveal anything of interest to anyone passing by.   A longer observation, particularly at a hospice talk or training or an engaging in-depth conversation, will reveal an intense passion for and about hospice and any of its related topics including its benefits, philosophy and services, as well as passion in processing one’s growth and spiritual transformation, and of delighting in the differences as we all travel, together yet apart.

 body outline-ink-colored-cropped.

Then I realize that I carry my soul cape around with me at all times, aware of it even as I am aware of the soul capes of others.  It is my aura and the auras of others that shows how much of us is heavy and dragged down, or is flowing smoothly, vibrant and alive, free floating, ascending and transforming.  Our auras tell the real story of who we are and where we are.   Our actions, thoughts, and emotions change the story our auras tell, from moment to moment.  Each action, thought and emotion is the down-payment for our overall soul cape.  Things happen to us, but our attitude about those things creates our soul cape.  On-going and ever-changing but overall – beautiful – each and every one!

  body outline-color burst-cropped.

 What soul cape are we creating today?

August 14, 2009

A Hestia Cloud

Filed under: Hestia — by thalia @ 1:50 pm

Hestia cloud w-pictures

August 6, 2009

The Hestia Spiral

Filed under: healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir — by thalia @ 4:54 am
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Hestia has spiraled throughout my life

                First, having a mother who was a model Hestia

                there to listen to us when we came home from school every day

                there to cook and bake for everyday and for holidays

                there to sew my dance costumes and make peach jelly

                there, always there for us, my siblings and myself and my father.

 

My life spiraled on to marriage and children and Hestia was there

                She was part of me as I created a home using little money

                She was there as I cooked creatively fixing hamburger 89 ways

                She manifested as I sewed clothing and quilts and made crafts

                all because there was no money to do otherwise

                But in the process it all created a close, warm, loving family 

 

Even when we lived in a tent for 3 months Hestia was a part of my life

                As she displayed that same warm loving atmosphere camping

                in a 12 x 12 tent – 2 kids, husband and wife, German Shepherd

                All centered around the glowing fire in the evening

                telling stories and roasting marshmallows

 

We built a house – literally built it – putting in plumbing and electricity,

                wall boards and kitchen cabinets, bathtubs and toilets,

                painting and sanding, building a fireplace, climbing scaffolding carrying

                cement blocks up so my husband could erect the chimney

                All creating an environment of love and coziness as we gathered

                 around the fireplace and enjoyed the food feasts

                 even as we became vegetarians and I baked all my own bread,

                 it was all done with love

                as I listened to my children as they came home from school

                canned tomatoes and black raspberry jelly, froze green beans and corn

                 all from our garden and stored like money in the bank

 

Children grow and leave – and we decide to move and become self-sufficient

                growing more of our food, cutting all of our wood for the woodstove

                Sitting close to the woodstove since it was our only source of heat

                Digging through rock and clay in the Arkansas Ozarks to create gardens

                with overflowing abundance until the grasshoppers ate much

                Outhouse until well and running water available, shovel and woods before

Perhaps a bit too much Hestia

 

Divorce leads to a soulmate, a house with Bermuda grass to chop back, 

                to turn into a garden and now tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers

                needing to work to afford the house

               so it seems Hestia has gone for a bit

                even though I still cook but don’t bake all my bread,

                eat tofu and gluten but don’t make them anymore

 

But then I realize that my work in hospice

                   allows others to be Hestia and stay at home while we help

                   support their loved ones process – at home

                   Everyone wants to be at home

                  whether they are enjoying life and need a refuge

                 or are dying and want to be amongst familiar surroundings

                 with their loved ones and pets, where their comfort has been created.

 

So I not only have Hestia spiraling in my life,

                through listening, and supportive caring

                but my work allows others to have that same refuge

                and provides support to others so they can have the healing haven

As we all need Hestia in a world gone difficult and crazy.

July 30, 2009

Threshold to Hestia

Filed under: Hestia,memoir — by thalia @ 5:00 am

Val-candlelight-12-60-cropped

My mother has been my threshold to Hestia.  She was a real housewife and mother, back in the days when women thought the family was important enough to stay at home and create the atmosphere, the environment for family.  Many women did it in those days of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s but many resented it, and the first chance they had they left to work and engage in their own interests.

I remember leaving school each day, happy to be returning home.  My mother would be sitting at the table, cup of tea or coffee nearby, waiting to see if I, or my 4 siblings, wanted to talk.  Her attention would be on us and our concerns.  We did not have to fight for her attention with the TV, or her on the phone or her not home.  She would listen if we wanted to talk or just give us a smile, a kiss, a “How was your day?” if we thundered past on our way to change clothes to play outside.  Each day was the same: we were welcomed home.   Many times my friends would come home with me to spend time with my mother since their mothers worked; there was no welcome at home for them.

Late afternoon saw Mom at the stove, preparing food that was nutritious according to what she knew at the time, attractive and generally low cost.  Five children and one salary did not allow for extras, but it was a choice my parents made that would be best for the family and was what they wanted.  She knew many ways to make inexpensive cuts of meat into meals, veggies preferably from the garden, spaghetti and meatballs, macaroni and cheese, etc.  I had no problem with most of the meals but later enjoyed more diversity when I left home.  But her example of taking simple, plain, inexpensive items and creating a meal worth eating stood me well in my early years of marriage and, then again, when we were trying to be self sufficient.   As I’ve explored many types of food: low cost traditional, low cost vegetarian, raw food, foraging in the woods and even more involved gourmet meals, I’ve used her example as a guideline.   Be creative, use palates of color and taste and texture, see preparing food for loved ones a true service to them and a pleasure for yourself.  Whether it was baking bread and cookies, canning peach jelly and watermelon rind pickles, making and decorating tiered wedding cakes and birthday cakes or setting a tone for holidays by baking tons of hand decorated cookies, she used the flame of the hearth-stove in delicious ways.

 Val-candlelight-12-60-cropped

At various times my mother would pull out the sewing machine to make colorful and elaborate dance costumes for me, Halloween costumes for us all, dresses and shirts, high school twirling uniforms.  She could hand sew with uniform, minute stitches; could create handkerchiefs and scarves with beautiful, lacy tatted edges (those were the days when a fancy neck scarf over a cardigan set was popular); could make beautifully designed hooked rugs out of worn material; make beaded flower arrangements – the list goes on and on.

Summers found my mother making pickles, canning fruit and jellies, and garden relish.  All year long the bed sheets were dried outside on a clothes line where they picked up the fragrance that only comes (no matter how hard dryer sheet companies try to duplicate it) from being out in the fresh air and the flame of the sun.  Clothes smelled good from the outdoors and from being ironed, which seemed to release the fragrances even more.

 Val-candlelight-12-60-cropped

She worshipped quietly, within herself even as she attended church each week.  She did not harangue or argue her beliefs.  They were so strong within her that there was no need.  Even with an argumentative husband with very different beliefs, she went about her devotions quietly, a steady constant right up to her moment of death.  Her children went on to find what was right for them but did so in that same quiet manner.  In that area, too, I find I have that same sense of deep devotion although with a very different focus. She provided the steady, reliable comfort, a calm influence in the normal chaos of 5 kids and a demanding husband.   She showed, she didn’t tell.  She was the example.  My mother was the hearth around which the family life flowed: the quiet, unassuming flame that provided the warmth and love that all of us carried with us as we left home and then passed on to our families in similar manner with a few changes.

She was Hestia personified, except for being married with 5 children and 3 miscarriages and she was always trying to please my father.   And it is mostly her Hestia traits that I had wanted to emulate, and did emulate, as I raised my family.  She was the soothing warmth, non-confrontational presence that provided us with the foundation in our lives.  My mother was my threshold into Hestia.

 Val-candlelight-12-60-cropped

July 22, 2009

Hestia

Filed under: Hestia — by thalia @ 7:02 pm
Tags: ,

                                Val-candlelight-12-60-cropped 

 

Hestia, know your place within us throughout time

                First to be swallowed by your father and

                                last to be yielded up

                                Oldest and youngest daughter of Kronos,

                Born in conflict

                                so later left conflicts of the Olympians

                                to tend to matters of your hearth.

 

We have seen you manifest within us

                First as early people crouched around the fires

                                telling stories in front of caves

                Then sitting in front of fireplaces within houses

                                talking companionably

                Now in front of flickering cold lights of TV and computer

                                poor substitutes for your warm light.

 

We endeavor to return to the warmth of your hearth

                By nurturing ourselves and sharing that

                                through creativity and compassion.

Know your place within us throughout time, Hestia.

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