Monday, June 21, 2010

Cycles and Reflections

I've been thinking a great deal about cycles lately.

Life cycles, of birth and death.

Seasonal cycles, especially today on the Summer Solstice.

Monthly cycles like those of the moon, or our own personal cycles.

I've been musing of late over what they all mean to us, in the bigger picture.

Some cycles are more difficult to take than others. Death, for example, often strikes us very hard at our core. We mourn the physical loss of our loved ones, and regret their absence in our daily lives. It is often difficult to remember that they live on in spirit and in our hearts, when we have had the privilege to experience their three-dimensional presence in our lives.

Other cyclical changes remind us of our passing through the greater life cycle, and hint at our inevitable demise at the end of our own cycles. The aging process is not always subtle nor kind. Yet, in these cyclical changes we also should remember that there is wisdom and honor with each new phase.

Of course, we most often glory in the beginnings of cycles: birth, spring, the starting anew. We should remember, however, that there can be no beginning without ending. The cycle can continue only because it ends and is renewed.

Our lives are a continual pattern of cycles, of ups and downs, of heights and depths, through which we traverse and make our way through this world. And it is the combination of these highs and lows, beginnings and endings, that make our lives so glorious.

For each cycle that passes, a new one begins, and with that new cycle comes new wonderment, new knowledge, and new experiences. All of which would not be possible without the passing of the former cycle.

So, today, on this Summer Solstice, let us say goodbye to Spring and thank her for all she gave us, while also welcoming the new season into our lives, in anticipation for all she will share with us over the coming months.

And remember, cycles are what keep us going. Even the life and death cycle. If we embrace the natural flow of life, including her cycles, we will be rewarded with rich and wonderful experiences that will fill our souls.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The power of water....

(the beach on Marco Island, after a storm, with the waves a bit wilder than normal)

I have written here and here on this blog about the fact that my element is water, and that it is a pretty powerful tool for me in tuning into my own personal energies.

Today's post, though, goes beyond the power of water as my personal element, and addresses the greater power of water, and nature in general.

I have long agreed with the Romantic poets and artists, who sought to teach us that we should be in harmony with, not in control of, nature's forces. It is the fool who thinks that he can take on Nature's fury and win.

I'm being reminded of that lesson yet again, as we are in our third week of efforts to fix a leak in our basement. Turns out, it is ground water, seeping in through the foundation wall. Well, seeping is a misnomer, because when it rains, the water pours in like a siphon.

We have no idea what the real source of the groundwater is. The topsoil source could be a half mile away somewhere. We'll never know.

So we are reduced to fixing the leak INSIDE the house.

But this post isn't about our construction issues. It's about the power of water.

Water will always find the path of least resistance, and water is one of the most ferocious damaging hands of Mother Nature.

Just think about the recent headlines: Flash floods tore through a campground, killing at least 18 and wounding dozens others. Tropical storms and hurricanes in Latin America left huge sinkholes in their wake. And even the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (a huge political black hole that I do not wish to address at the moment) is being exacerbated by the forces of the tides and streams of the water itself.

Let us not be fooled. No matter how calm and placid the water may appear on those calm, sunny days, it always holds the power to destroy. IF we do not respect it.

Therein lies the true beauty of nature. To be held delicately in her hand, caressed by the sun and gentle winds, or even to be tickled by gentle waves at the shores of her waters, while knowing that at any moment she could destroy us with a gentle flick of her wrist - THIS is the tantalizing allure of Nature.

And that, truly, is the source of water's power for me personally. To know that even as it washes over me and purifies and invigorates me, it could also snuff out my energy altogether, leaves me exhilarated. It creates in me the deepest sense of respect, and leads to heightened awareness, not just of the water but of the world around me.

What will you respect today?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Renovations and Restorations

We had a water leak here at the condo, and as a result, we are doing some renovation work in our basement entertainment room. While the leak and the damage were frustrating, I'm finding it invigorating to do the renovation. The hard stuff (dry wall, pouring a concrete pad upstairs) we contracted out, but I'm doing the painting of the room myself.

Yesterday, I finished the first wall. That was the hardest wall, painting around lots of shelves and edges and small spots. It took me about 3 hours to do that single wall.

Of course, I got (unwanted) input about the process from all sides, telling me the "best" way to approach the task.

But as I made progress along the wall, and saw the new, clean shine of the paint appear (it's essentially the same color as the old paint), I felt a huge sense of satisfaction.

Sometimes, we need to renovate.

As I wrote about here, we do periodically need to clean house, figuratively and literally.

We need to mend the broken pieces, deep clean the carpeting, touch up the paint job, top it off with new throw pillows and an area rug.

And when we have finished that project, we can rejoice in the clean, crisp results that make us smile and feel joy.

(This was the Renova Spa at our resort in Jamaica, where we went for our honeymoon last year)

And just as we need to do periodic physical renovations of our surroundings, sometimes we need to do some personal renovations as well.

The Spa, I believe, was aptly named. RENOVA. A place to renovate the self.

And I have been doing this type of renovations lately, as well. I returned to swimming, after a long hiatus, and found it to be completely rejuvenating and restorative.

I trimmed the anxieties and stress from my life, making some conscious decisions about just where and how I would be exerting my (admittedly limited) energies.

I have begun to revel in the many, many blessings that surround me on a daily basis.

I have rebuilt the house of myself, brick by brick, new paint job (in my brightly painted nails, that I talked about here), new exercise program, new attitude, and overall new sense of joy and happiness.

Life is good, oh so good, once you take the time to do the renovations.

How will you renovate this week?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Our elemental needs ...

Each of us is composed of four essential elements: water, fire, earth, and air. Our astrological signs also determine our primary and secondary elements. For instance, as Pisces, I have water as my primary element, and air as my secondary element. Earth and fire fall to positions of lesser importance for my entity.

My husband, Dave, on the other hand, a Scorpio, is an Earth element, followed by water. That's why my totem is a frog (water and air) and Dave's is a turtle (earth and water).

Although I have understood the concept of our primary and secondary elements for some time now, and always knew that I loved water, for example, it was not until very recently that I realized just how fundamental these elemental needs are to our very existence and our internal balance.

I wrote here about my rediscovery of swimming as a form of exercise, after a frustrating experience with Yogadance. As I mentioned in that blog, when I began the Yogadance class I was excited and energized at the thought of getting moving again. I thought it would be good for me. And yet, as the months passed, it was taking a toll on my body. And I couldn't figure out why. I figured, exercise was exercise. It had to be good for me!

And then the light went on.

Yogadance was not working for me, because it is an EARTH-based form of exercise. EARTH.

I need WATER.

I need to feel as if I am floating through life, immersed in its life-giving fluids, propelling me on. I am the dolphin, kicking and playing through the waters of life, frolicking in the depths and then bursting through the surface to take on air and submerge once more.

That is why earth-bound forms of exercise don't work for me. Aerobics, YogaDance, the treadmill, all seem to have me dragging my feet, as if mired in the mud. For after all, what happens when you add water to earth? You get mud.

And while mud can be useful for some ventures - for creating foundation bricks for example, which is why Dave and I work so well together - it does not suit exercise or vitality.

The air element is best suited for outdoor activities, especially those that get off the ground. They get into rock climbing, bungee jumping, sky diving, anything that gets AIR into their lungs and all around them. They are the thrill seekers.

The poor fire elements have it most difficult. There are very few forms of exercise that entail fire. Firewalking? This is most challenging for those of fire. My closest friend is a fire element, and she would concur. They have to stoke their fires in other, less direct ways.

For me, as a water element, the water not only sustains my body, but it clarifies my mind. When I swim, I find a new acuity that opens me wide to the world around me. It's as if a blindfold is removed, that had filtered out all but a tiny stream of light in my daily life.

So, this frog will continue her water-based exercise patterns, healing and rejuvenating all the way.

And she will leave the earth-bound forms to those who are better suited to them. Oh, and if you earthies out there what to try my pool, be sure you don't leave any mud behind!