Ital (eye'-tal): of or from the earth; vital; life giving; natural.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Life is Change

Welcome to the Fabulous Hybrid Blog Carnival. Our topic this spring is Change! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Blog Carnival hosted by The Fabulous Mama Chronicles and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on change in all of its many forms.
Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

It is only change that is at work here.~ I Ching 

Over the last 22 months, my family has experienced considerable change. This whole blog, in fact, was started to document the changes we were making by relocating our family from Brooklyn, New York to Kingston, Jamaica. Our journey has been much more than just a change in address, however.

We have undergone significant transformations in all aspects of our lives. Some of the larger changes include: Reawakening our Spiritual practice; deepening our commitment to our marriage and our family; expanding our careers; making our health a priority.

We have also made some small changes such as: starting a container garden on our balcony; rethinking the children's bedtime routine; making Friday night our family night; saving for a rainy day; being conscious of the words we use (promoting a culture of positivity); transitioning to a vegan diet.

So, what have been the results of all this change? While there have been ups and downs in all the areas I mentioned above, the overwhelming results to these changes have been positive. When I look back just one year ago and compare it to now, we have improved our quality of life ten fold. And when I take a moment to reflect on our life in Brooklyn and compare it to our island life, I can't believe we are the same people! As I have written a number of times before, we were a family of desperate and broken people looking for a way to rebuild ourselves and heal. It took us a number of years to come to the realization that our life in Brooklyn was both unhealthy and unsustainable. It was scary to put all of our possessions on a boat, say good bye to our friends and loved ones and start over again from scratch. But once you accept the fact that Life is Change, the fear goes away and the possibilities begin to multiple.


Energy is neither created nor destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another. ~Einstein

I find a lot of comfort in this quote by Albert Einstein. It helps to assuage the fear that comes with having to confront change. It has been a mantra of mine recently as I have been grieving my father's death, and it helps me to think of him as vapors riding the cosmos and swirling with the clouds above.

It also reminds me that when change happens, I will still be me no matter what...but I could become a better me, a happier me, a more enlightened me, a more patient me, a more forgiving me if I allow the change to occur. Fighting against change is painful, fruitless and frustrating. It is going to happen anyway, follow it and see where it takes you. You will be happy you did.

Until soon...
Peace and Wellness,

 Visit Hybrid Rasta Mama and the Fabulous Mama Chronicles to find out how you can participate in the next Fabulous Hybrid Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. It will be updated by 3:00pm PST on Monday. April 30th:

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    The Visitors

    Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
    ~ Emily Dickinson

    Since moving into our new apartment, we have been visited by a number of different birds. Our first visit was an owl that Mo and I watched every night for a week shortly after we moved in. The next visitors were peadoves and finches which like to snack on the leftover seeds our neighbor's parakeets scatter on their balcony. The doves and finches love to bring the seeds over to our balcony, however, to eat them. (They also love the crumbs that are sometimes left behind from our own meals.) Occasionally one of the little finches will get brave and hop through the rails of our balcony gate and into our living room. One of our most spectacular visitors was a hawk which perched on the rail of our balcony to eat its lunch. This bird was immense and its gaze intoxicating (not to mention intimidating). One of the most ominous visitors was a peadove that got trapped in our bedroom right before my dad died. After his death, however, we woke up to greet one of our most beautiful visitors, a hummingbird which was flying around the ceiling above us.

    So, what do all of these visits from birds mean? Throughout literature, folklore and mythology, birds are considered to be the messengers of the Divine. They inhabit that sacred space between Heaven and Earth that we humans can only dream of going. Some believe that birds come to carry the souls from this world into the next world and offer a kind of peace or sanctuary to the person making the transition.

    There are many stories just within my own family about birds and the afterlife. My mom's brother spoke of birds sitting all around his hospital room before he died from diabetes. A white dove was lying beside the road my sister traveled on her way to class before our grandmother died. Then dozens of robins filled my sister's snowy yard one January before our grandfather died. Right after his death, a brilliant red cardinal moved in to my parents' back yard and lives there still. There was the trapped peadove mentioned above and then following my dad's memorial service another peadove appeared on my sister's car where it was noticed first by my nephew. While I was in Pennsylvania for my dad's service, Mo was at his parents' house where he said a hummingbird kept his company following him about the yard.

    While I have gotten used to our apartment turned aviary, I have to admit that my most recent encounter with a bird shook me to my core. Earlier today I was working in my upstairs studio (which is actually the walk in closet in my bedroom) while Shine watched videos on the computer and Song took a nap.  I was engrossed in painting when I heard the familiar flapping of wings. I stepped out of the studio and into the bedroom where I saw a tiny gray bird flying around the ceiling fan. It then swooped towards me, flying into the wall between my studio and the bathroom. Then it tumbled down the wall and landed behind a clothes basket. I immediately moved the basket away from the wall to retrieve the bird but it was GONE...as in disappeared...as in vanished...as in not there. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I emptied the basket while calling out, "Dad, Dad, is that you? Where did you go?" Because my immediate thought was that it had to be my dad coming to visit. And then the more I searched the bathroom, my studio, the other clothes basket, the rest of the bedroom, I thought this really must be an encountered with the Divine because there was no trace of a bird...anywhere.

    Is it possible I imagined it? I suppose it's possible. But I'm sure I didn't. And just to confirm my belief that something otherworldly happened today, I found a teeny tiny little feather on the floor of the bathroom this evening when I was giving Song her bath. And we were in the downstairs bathroom which to my knowledge has never had a winged visitor...

    The dove on my sister's car.

    When was your last encounter with the Divine?
    Peace and Wellness,

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    Spring Cleaning

    Spring and its promise of renewed life and new beginnings is a great time to throw open the windows and get the gunk out. Mo and I have immersed ourselves in Spring cleaning and I'm not just talking about our house. A few weeks ago we met with a holistic medical doctor. Think of him as part Naturopath, part Psychiatrist, part Reiki master and Guru of all things positive and Earth loving. The program that he prescribed for Mo and I is one of intensive detoxification. We are following a vegan diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, taking herbal elixirs that promote liver, gallbladder and colon function, getting rid of the parasites, exercising daily and receiving biweekly Rife treatments.

    In our first consultation, we were asked a series of questions including, "Have you thought about your life's purpose?"; "Do you have any regrets?"; "Have you experienced any trauma in your life?" In our follow up visits these questions and our responses have been revisited. The idea is that we purify not only our bodies, but our thoughts as well.

    This detox experience has been eye opening and truly life changing. In the first week, I had an increase in energy that I have not experienced in well over six years. The edgy mood swings vanished. I found I had more patience and felt more calm and balanced overall. Since adopting a vegan diet, I have found that my body is actually craving fresh foods. I reach for bananas and star apples instead of carbohydrates when I want a snack. Strange little bumps and areas of discoloration on my skin have cleared up and gone away. My teeth are whiter!! (This was a side effect I wasn't expecting, but plaque forms when the body is acidic instead of alkaline and by eating a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables, the body returns to its natural alkaline state and the plaque disappears.) Mo and I have also been communicating better. We find ourselves on the same page more often and laughing, relaxing and enjoying life more. I have even noticed a change in the children. I believe in the saying, "If you want happy children, you need happy parents first."

    The human body is made to run at optimal health. It is when we start to pollute it by eating processed non-foods,  using household chemicals (that are ironically made to "clean" our environments), focusing on negative thoughts/experiences that our bodies become susceptible to disease. I encourage each of you to take a look at your lifestyle. Look inside you cupboards, assess your goals and dreams, take an honest look at your relationships. Have you discovered what your purpose is? Are you living Joy? Are you feeling your Best? It may be time to detox...

    Until soon...
    Peace and wellness,

    *Coming soon: A look inside my cupboards...what does eating whole foods look like?