It turns out that the birds and I aren't the only ones who are relishing the fruit from the persimmon tree. Around 10:30 last evening I opened the back door to take the Christmas tree stand out to the garage. I heard some wrestling around noises in the persimmon tree just above the garage. The weather was overcast, which meant that the city lights were reflecting off of the clouds making it lighter than normal. As I looked up I discovered a raccoon in the tree navigating through the leafless branches to get the juicy fruit at its peak ripeness. I stood by my door to watch and realized that this raccoon was not alone up in the tree. Two other family members were also feasting on the delightful treat. The branches are already heavy and drooping from the weight of the remaining fruits. It was a challenge for the raccoons to decipher which branches would support their weight and allow them to reach for the bounty. Several fruits ended up tumbling to the ground before getting eaten. It was lovely to be able to see them so clearly. I grabbed my camera hopping that I could catch the scene, but I wasn't close enough for the flash to make a difference. So, I had to simply enjoy the joyous moment standing there on the porch.
Every Saturday morning I walk over to the farmers market about four blocks from my house. About two street blocks are partitioned off for the vendors. It is very popular and quite crowded with the locals. The cherries passed their peak a few weeks ago, but this was the first week I purchased fresh nectarines. Additionally, I couldn't resist this wonderful trio of boysenberries, blueberries and blackberries. Really, it was the presentation that motivated me to buy all three. Presentation is important, when you have several people right next door competing for the same business. The seller had a container that would hold all three kinds of berries, and she had thoughtfully prepared them all for sale that way. They all looked so pretty next to one another all lined up on the table.
It's Lavender Festival season again! The first U.S. festival starts in Blanco Texas on June 9. Next on the lst are the California festivals in mid-June. Beginning in July, there are many choices of events not only in the U.S. but also in Europe.
Here is the updated list of events around the globe for 2007.
Recent postings have focused on key learnings regarding my own personal quest for health, which involves a close connection to nature through the foods that we eat. After noticing a definite improvement in my health while living in Costa Rica and drinking the fresh fruit juices there, I have been evolving my vegetarian diet toward eating more raw foods and combining a variety of ingredients into more complex juices. I feel a tingling energy and increasing aliveness in my body from the changes I have been making. Sarma Melngailis calls this The Raw Honeymoon. She is right. It's like being in a new relationship. You want to share the excitement with everyone.
A friend from my swim team days in childhood died of cancer two weeks ago at age 37. She is the first person I have known in my age group to pass away. She was diagnosed right as I returned to the U.S. in August, just 4 months ago, and was one of the more physically fit people I know. Health is much more than physical fitness though. Her doctors believe the cancer originated in the GI tract, which means it most likely stemmed from diet/environmental related causes. Much of my environmental studies last year while working on my masters, focused on the impacts of pollution to human and environmental health. At the time of her death I had been reading a lot about eating raw foods as being an optimal diet for health, longevity and supporting our spiritual wellbeing. Her passing focused my attention toward taking more proactive steps in my own diet and continuing my efforts toward reducing environmental risks both personally and globally.
I have been interested in understanding the factors that support health and longevity since my mid-twenties when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I read a book Rare Earths Forbidden Cures by Joel Wallach and Ma Lan several years ago that analized the common factors of longevity in some of the cultures around the world know for having high populations of people over the age of 100. John Robbins has recently published a book Healthy at 100, which looks at the Okinawans, the Vilcabambans, the Hunzans, and the Abkhasians in a similar light.
After reading Rare Earths, I visited Vilcabamba, Ecuador wanting to learn more about the lifestyle there to see how I could apply it toward my own situation. One day my guide showed me this special spot of land where the sun is shining on the green between the hills that he almost purchased. After seeing this photo of the place upon my return, I was reminded of the sense of peace that the place had. I have had many thoughts since then of purchasing property there. The community is building a small tourism base of people who are interested in learning more about the secrets to longevity there. I was fascinated by the rich biodiversity of herbs and medicinal plants that are native to the area.
Health a priority for me. It includes learning educating myself on what other societies are doing succesfully, and learning about the key components of the environment that are needed to support health and vitality for all species. Diet is a critical component, as is limiting personal exposure to environmental toxins. For humans, it also involves enhancing the body's healing powers through developing our mental, emotional and spiritual awareness. Yoga and mediation are valauble tools in this regards. It is my hope that others will join in this exploration of health in their own lives. When we recognize that our health and wellbeing has so many integral components, our overall worldview begins to shift and new priorities come to light. We begin to recognize the many changes and actions we need to take to make the world a better place for all of us. Our life purpose becomes more clear!
I always love discovering new fruits, vegetables, herbs etc. This mornings visit to the farmer's market resulted in the discovery of a hybrid called cheddar cauliflower. According to the Territorial Seed website, the curds contain approximately 25 times more beta carotene than white cauliflower. It apparently retains the orange color when cooked. What a beautiful vibrant color. It makes me think of sunshine.
Surprisingly most of the ripened fruit still ramains on the persimmon tree in the back and hasn't fallen to the ground. For the past few weeks it has provided valuable winter nutrition for a wide variety of birds. At any given time during the day, there are 10-20 birds eating the fruit. While it would have been nice to enjoy more of the fruit myself, this tree plays an important role in the local ecosystem.
Rudolpf Steiner and Dr. Bircher-Benner saw that raw plants contain the the direct energies of the sun in their tissues, from the process of photosynthesis. The energetic vibrations of the plants are indicated by the colors of the plants. Dr. Gabriel Cousens suggests that the outer color of the plant is a key to understanding and recognizing the particular light and micronutrient energies stored in a vegetable, fruit, grain or grass as it occurs in nature. In his books Conscious Eating and Spiritual Nutrition and The Rainbow Diet he describes how each of the seven primary colors of food are associated with the colors of a rainbow, and each color relates to a specific subtle energy center in the body (or chakra) and its associated glands, organs, and nervous system plexus. For example, the green color vegetables are high in magnesium and calcium which is beneficial for the heart. The color of the heart chakra is green.
Dr. Cousens further suggests that the time of day when plant foods are eaten is important. We should eat the sunrise color (red, orange and yellow) foods in the morning to support our lower chakra systems. Then for our later meal in the day, we would eat the blue, gold, indigo and pruple foods that support our higher chakra energies. Examples of these foods include grains, golden fruits such as papayas and mangos, beets, purple sea vegetables, purple kale etc. By bringing in the full spectrum of light into our systems, we are energized by the complete spectrum of light from the sun.
This new way of thinking about the plant food that we eat is indeed "englightening."
While living in Costa Rica this past year, I made several changes to the food and drink that I consume. I stopped drinking sodas, and began drinking only water and fresh juices. I drank coffee there as a convenience, but I have returned to herbal teas and no longer am interested in drinking alcohol. I have reduced my refined sugar intake significantly and no longer crave sweets like I used to. Finally, I am in the process of reducing my intake of dairy products.
I have been vegetarian for many years now, but these additional changes have taken my body to another level of conscious clarity. After reflecting on the changes that I was experiencing I decided to do some additional research in the area of spiritual qualities of foods. According to Gabriel Cousens M.D. in Conscious Eating, particular energies exist within each food that affects our physical functioning, the nature of our thoughts, and even the expansion of our consciousness. Cousins references many spiritual traditions that have acknowledged the importance in eating specific foods to increase spiritual awareness. Ayurvedic physicians and yogis have been aware of how a persons dietary pattern affects a person's state of mind for thousands of years. One of the Ayurvedic states of mind, sattvic, is a mind that is clear, peaceful, harmonious and interested in spiritual life. The Ayurvedic foods that are satvic are easy to digest and result in a minimal accumulation of toxins in the system. These foods include all fruits, vegetables, edible greens, grasses, beans, raw milk, honey, and small quantities of rice and grains. It is pretty similar to my diet, except that I don't drink raw milk.
I was happy to come across Cousen's book and confirm some of the experiences that I have had in refining my eating habits. There is a lot of information to be sorted through, but it has been very motivating to me in considering how my diet is an important part of my own spiritual development.
Before moving into the house I just rented, I had taken a friend by to see the house. While we were pulling out of the driveway she noticed this persimmon tree that is on the edge of the neighbors property. She was so excited that she had to go pick some of the fresh fruit for us.
Last weekend after moving all of my stuff into the house, my boyfriend and I were busy arranging furniture and boxes. We noticed a man who was surveying the house. Eventually he knocked on the door. He was inquiring about the persimmon tree and wanted to know if it was mine. He explained that in his native country the trees were much more common than here, and he was very excited to see the tree. I told him the tree belonged to the neighbors. He mentioned that he had knocked on their door and they were not home but he wanted to pick some of the fruit. It just so happened that my friend who had been so excited about the tree had helped with the moving the day before and had picked some more fruit off of the tree. I offered these to him. He began to take out his wallet, and I thought he was going to offer me some money and I said that wasn't necessary. He then pulled out a business card and handed it to me. He said that he lived in the senior home down the street and asked me to let the neighbors know that he was interested in some of the fruit when I saw them and pointed out his email address on the card for me to contact him.
The title of the business card says "A Healthier, Happier and More Peaceful Life." I have never seen a business card like that. I reminded me of a scene from The Peaceful Warrior Movie. Since I spent the last year focusing on the exact topics of health, happiness and the creation of peace, I know that it was no accident that he knocked on my door that day. I will be in touch with him once I get a little more settled in.
This is a perfect story of nature playing a role in making human connections! What a special persimmon tree.