Focus your energy on one thing to be more successful at more things.
It’s all great advice and I have taken it to heart during periods of my life that I felt it all applied.
I admire discipline. I have contemplated getting it tattooed on me somewhere I could see it often. I like to be organized and make numerous lists when I need to get things done. I always like periods of chaos and serendipity.
Where I struggle is trying to put myself in a box. I know the benefits of being clear in your communication with others. Even who you are and what you value should be obvious in your musings.
Where is this contemplation coming from?
I was chatting with my son the other day and he was giving me feedback on my blogs. He loves process and is driven by order. He suggested I narrow my scope of topics and use the website to express specific topics.” It’s unorganized” mom, he said. If I want to read about your dream yoga I have to search for it. Label and tag all of your topics to help with the navigation.
It was good advice. I even attempted to sort through the eclectic stories to file them in order of topics, relations and common themes.
Sigh. Ok confession time. I am interested in anything and everything. My interview to volunteer took over an hour because I was curious about many opportunities and didn’t want to turn down any that might be mutually beneficial. I am a realist and know that it isn’t possible to do it all yet I enjoy the push to try and do more. Sometimes less is more. Being willing to narrow the scope and hone in on projects that enhance your skills sets is golden.
So what is the purpose of a label? I have learned that in order to nurture and attract like minds you have to be able to define your ideas in a common language. I bet you thought I was going to dis on labeling things? Not true. I understand the importance of helping others to steer through your body of work to the place that interests them. The exchange of ideas understood and consumed is heady and very desirable.
I am not everyone’s cup of tea nor do I try to be. I do my best though to think of labels many can understand and relate to.
My son’s feedback was good and I continue to take it to heart as I post my blogs. I won’t guarantee him that I will narrow my topics. He knows me better than that but I will ensure they are labeled in the most scientific way.
All I have to do is close my eyes and dream away the snow…
I am getting the itch to travel as winter seems to be dragging on forever. I was dreaming of some of the epic beaches I have been to over the years as I scooped up the snow and piled it into mini mountains along my driveway and walks.
I am grateful for the trips I did take before COVID set it as now I only have to close my eyes and experience the warm humid air of Bali or the wisps of sands grazing my cheeks in the early hours of the morning in Morocco.
Sigh, will I ever travel again? The saving grace, for me, over the last couple of years has been my stays at the ashram. This year is, of course, different. I chose to stay home this time and volunteer locally. It has been good for me to learn more about the state of my own community. How people are coping post pandemic.
I am designing changes to my gardens and have already started many seeds to cut down the costs this year. Gardening, despite what you might think, is not a cheap hobby. At least the way I do it. I close my eyes and think of the Boboli Gardens in Italy. Even though we were there in a severe drought, the more tolerant varieties of shrubs and plants were beautiful. In Pompeii, we walked the grounds that were cultivated with species that were grown during ancient roman times. The formal gardens of Spain and Italy were a delight to wander through. These famous gardens are my muses as I think about the evolution of my own oasis.
In Seville Spain, my son, daughter in law and I spent the day basking in the formal royal gardens of Alcazar. The orange trees sported fruit the size of cantaloup but apparently are not edible which is a shame.
I can’t say that I am an expert on beaches. Some of the best beaches I have experienced have been in Mexico and Cuba. Epic beach award has to go to the islands of Gili in Indonesia. I loved the fact that you could ride a bicycle all the way around the island of Trawangan. I was a bit disappointed in the snorkelling there. Not much to see and I was told that dynamite had been used to fish in the area. This explains the reason that it seems to be bare in places. There have been numerous projects to promote new reefs and aquatic plant life but it’s sad that it happened in the first place. I was able to snorkel the Great Maya Reef by Puerto Morelos, Mexico. I have never seen so many types of coral, fish and crustaceans. The angel fish spanned a foot of more from fin to fin. There was lobster, sting rays, nurse sharks just to name a few varieties. It was the best show of marine life I have ever seen.
For my next adventure, I want to make sure to include jungle temples and ruins. The images of buddhas being swallowed up by tree roots and vines is on my bucket list to photograph and experience. Nature taking back its real estate has appealed to me.
Where is your next adventure taking you? Do you dream of beaches, botanicals and buddhas as well?
Spring is in the air! Literally for me as it’s the time of year I contemplate what I can grow vertically. I am intrigued by garden walls, stackable pots scenarios and the arrangement of complementary plants that can grow together.
A few years ago, while I was knee deep into my shaman exploration, I attended a weekend workshop in Ferintosh Alberta. It was held at an eco farm just outside of the small village. I learned many things about meditating with plants and the creation of infusion, tinctures and solar extraction of plant essential oils. I also learned about vertical options for growing complementary vegetation.
This blog, I want to explore options for how to arrange vertical structures for making the most out of small spaces.
My husband and I took a walk around the canal area near Venice Beach in California during one of our adventures. I fell in love with how creative the home owners had become with their small spaces. In particular, the wall gardens. They were created from all sorts of materials. Some were cinder bricks stacked up with the holes facing outward where potted plants could be inserted. Others were made out of landscape fabric with various sizes of pockets attached. You can buy all sorts of premade ones but I wanted one with specific dimensions. I am lucky to have a partner who is game to create whatever I can envision so off we went to build our own version of the Venice inspired garden. We got to work with a couple of 2×4 weather treated boards and some landscape fabric. I sewed the pockets together with my limited sewing machine skills and we assembled it with a staple gun. I fixed it to the side of the shed with some screws and then stood back to admire our handiwork. That was the easy part. The tricky part was finding plants that would not require too much watering. It’s a challenge to keep the plants hydrated in summer with this type of set up. I chose to fill it with succulents for obvious reasons. It turned out to be one of my favorite combinations.
Recycled Air Compressor Planter
My dear husband has a tendency to pick up other people’s abandoned junk. He comes home and asks me what we are going to do with it most often. Being someone who hates to just throw it away I have incorporated a lot of these homeless items into my landscape. Tim got to work making a hole in the two cylinders. We then bolted it to our fence. The depth of the planters created was deeper than the garden wall pockets so I was able to add more soil. I still decided to stick with succulents for easy maintenance.
Propane Tank Planters
Do not attempt to cut holes into propane tanks without the help of a professional. Once we consulted someone we then had 3 holes cut to work with. Hubby bent two metal pieces into a stand that he then was able to attach the tanks onto. The structure stands about 4 feet tall which is ideal. The containers are good sized so I could put bigger plants into them. For now I haven’t attached the planter to any permanent location so it can be moved throughout the yard or onto a balcony.
Other Vertical Planting Suggestions
I have incorporated numerous pots into my yearly garden designs. This way I can move them around. I can bring in the plants that I want to winter over, which sometimes consist of many plants. It’s an easy way to be able to change your mind about vegetation groupings seasonally or anytime you want to use one of your planters as a focal point.
I use lots of vines in my yard too. Along my fences are ornamental kiwi, grapes, Virginia Creepers and a few varieties of Climtas. I have been on the lookout for a Wisteria to add into the mix.
I have several bonsai trees that I put outside during the warmer season and bring into my office and music room in the colder months.
The succulents I use in the planters are recycled into small inside gardens if they aren’t able to survive outside in the gardens during the winter.
However you chose to garden, having at least one vertical option, has added to my enjoyment of nature’s bounty.
One of my favorite things to do during my stay at the ashram was to wander through the forests.
On one of my adventures I came across an unusual looking butterfly. It had a decent wingspan of about 3 inches dark brown with yellow edges. There were big blue dots lining the outer expanse of the wings.
What stood out for me was the body. I took a photo and then brought the image up on the camera. I am always looking for faces or character images in things. This butterfly didn’t disappoint. It reminded me of a shaman surrounded by a cloak. His head was bent in prayer or sadness. The image is pretty clear on the face and body.
I have done some digital graphics with the photos I took that day and played around with the butterflies artistic potential. I was drawn to its vibe of reserve.
I came across an article on the Mourning Cloak and could understand a bit more why it caught my interest.
The butterfly, itself, lives longer than most butterflies. It can live up to 12 months, coming out of aestivation in summer and then hibernating again in the winter until early spring. When the weather turns cold it replaces some of the water stored in its body to anti-freeze-like chemicals such as glycols. It then rests under a cavity or tree camouflage until spring.
The name, Mourning Cloak Butterfly, is thought to symbolize someone who wears a cloak of mourning a loved one. The native symbolism believes that the dark colored wings represent death while the white spots on the tips of the wings represent hope and new beginnings. The Mourning Cloak is considered a spiritual creature who can guide you to safety or direct you home if you become lost. As a totem it is believed to teach you about the importance of griefing and recognition of loss.
On further exploration, I came across some information tied to the celtic goddess Brighid. She is the goddess of fire, healing and inspiration. It is believed that Brighid brings new life and hope and is often seen as the Mourning Cloak butterfly. I like that.
My name, Vanessa, means “a group of butterflies”. I am drawn often to insects as I hike or travel. The amazing designs of nature alway make for a fascinating muse.
I awoke yesterday morning to the doorbell ringing on the side door. I did come out of my coma in enough time to realize that someone was at my door. I sleep with earplugs that work exceptionally well and it takes me a bit of time to come fully awake.
I jumped out of bed, quickly put some clothes on and head to the door only to see a policeman walking away. I catch up with him as he comes around the block again.
The neighbour’s car has been stolen out of their backyard while they left it running to heat up for a few minutes. The police wonder if I noticed anything. I was oblivious unfortunately as I slept soundly.
As the day progresses I have the opportunity to speak with the neighbors and take a walk around my yard. I notice footprints to my front door, carport door, sidegate, garage and shed. There are more footprints by each of the vehicles parked outside our home.
It’s becoming very clear that someone wanted to pay me a visit as I slept. When this was unsuccessful they went to the neighbors house. The neighbors said that a woman came to their house in the early hours of the morning. They tried to gain access through their patio door in the back. The neighbor just happened to be up and asked them what they wanted. Boldly the woman said she had left her backpack in their basement and wanted to retrieve it. He didn’t let her inside. He noticed that she had a cab waiting in the front of his house. A cab? She had taken a cab to his house to try and rob him. The cab took off and left her there. She panicked and took off on foot. The neighbor thought that was the end of it and went back to bed.
Later, that morning, as they were getting ready for work the lady came back. She got in the vehicle that had been left running and attempted to drive away. She backed up into the alley and hit another neighbor’s cement block fence. She was able to drive away but one of the kids from the home got in his car and pursued her. He didn’t find her. After driving around a bit they did eventually find the stolen vehicle and reported its whereabouts to the police.
Why tell you all of this?
I have two more sessions of the Dream Yoga series left to attend. In the practice there is a method you can use that involves working with a “Waking Dream”. A Waking Dream is one that occurs live and in living color. An event that happens while you are fully conscious that you wish to explore for any insights it might have for you.
The first thing I noticed was the fact that I slept through the entire ordeal. The car crashing into the concrete fence happened less than 30 feet from my bedroom window. I heard nothing through my earplugs.
Someone was trying to get into my house throughout the night and morning. They were attempting to access my “safe space” when I was most vulnerable.
In my Dream Yoga session last night, I looked for parallel symbols between my Concrete Dream and the Waking Dream.
In the Concrete Dream, the little girl had told me that I didn’t know the dangers here.
Do you need to know all of the possible dangers in your environment?
When does fear of the unknown become overwhelming?
I have lived at this address for almost 40 years. We have seen many changes to the neighbourhood. My kids grew up here and I felt safe enough in the 1990’s to let them walk to school and play unattended. I never, until recently, felt fearful of hanging in my yard. When outside I am always aware of who is around. This is something I would not have considered twenty years ago. I can stay in my house and worry about who might be lurking around the corner of the garage or I can live my life.
I choose to live my life and use my yoga practices to calm any anxiety that might arise. It helps.
Every night before I go to sleep I repeat the Divine Light Mantra.
I am created by divine light
I am surrounded by divine light
I am protected by divine light
I am sustained by divine light
I am ever growing into divine light
It helps me to go to sleep.
The city of Lethbridge has grown and the population has diversified. There are good things coming to fruition and plenty of bad things going on like any other urban community. The homeless numbers have intensified and they seem to have become bolder. Across the street from my house many have hung out in the past and did drugs right out in the open with little consequence. Phoning the police usually doesn’t amount to anything. You have a drug service come and pick them up but they just come back.
Breaking through the concrete…
Concrete gives you a sense of solid security against danger. In the Concrete Dream, the little girl trusts her carefully crafted cement steps. She doesn’t have to guess where they lead because she already has explored the path many times. It’s a practical existence that is perceived as being safe and secure but with enough force, the mixture can crumble or crack and the sense of safety collapses.
Outside forces want in. They will try as many access points to gain entry as is needed.
What are you going to do about it?
We will beef up our security systems for sure but one thing I refuse to do is live in fear or move away from the home that my husband and I have created here. To sustain a healthy mind and spirit, you have to manage fear. It’s important to be aware of danger to a certain point but letting it control your life can become crippling.
The neighbor said later that day that the lady who stole the car was let go immediately with a notice to appear in court on a certain day. There really wasn’t any consequence to what had happened. That is another discussion that I am not going to embellish here.
Dream Yoga conclusion. A conversation with the little girl
Conclusion to Concrete Dream Series…for now
I enjoy reading fellow bloggers’ thoughts. I came across a sentence that mentioned that doing things out of obligation or guilt can not be sustained. When you act out of love it’s repeatable.
Love is a renewable resource.
I have done many things in my life out of a sense of duty.
How wonderful it is to change the way I think about what I chose to do in service of others.
This week, in the Dream Yoga class (hosted by Yasodhara Ashram), I committed to explore further the people in my Concrete Dream. I decided to zoom in on a conversation I had in the dream with the little white haired girl when I first approached her on the stairwell in the stadium.
“ I ask the little girl if she is lost?”
She replies “you don’t know the dangers here”. She says she can’t trust me.
I am stunned and quick to negate her.
I feel that I missed out on being curious about what she meant by “the dangers” and why she couldn’t trust me. My dream self didn’t give her a chance to explain before rushing in with a response.
There is a practice that I can do that enables me to speak with the child through asking questions and then recording the response through journaling. Since both characters in the dream are representative of my personality traits I can both ask and answer the queries until I come to a point that I feel is conclusive.
I decided to take my van out for a drive, park in the coulees close to my home and lit some incense I had brought back from Bali. Breathing in the aromatic air I quickly sunk into a comfortable space.
Pen in hand with plenty of paper to gather my responses I decided on my first question.
What dangers are here that I don’t know about?
If I put myself out there and deviate from the safe and comfortable stairwell I am on I will get stuck again. I will become anxious and want to retreat. I will find myself back in the stairwell moving through life compelled by guilt and a sense of duty. You do your best work when it’s focused on someone else’s needs instead of ours.
How can I become aware and change my thoughts and behaviors to mitigate getting stuck?
I am quick to act impulsively. It’s my life that is being affected so what’s the rush?
Is this impulsive behavior what I meant by not being able to trust?
Yes, in part. The intuitive better response is there and I do come to understand it eventually. Often though, it’s after I have acted upon something and not before.
How long do I have to wait?
Patience is a suit that I could wear more often.
In the red tube in the dream, I get stuck and retreat. If I led with my heart open would I have made it to the blue seats?
There are many ways to get to the “blue seats”. They are not the destinations per say but places to rest along the way. Treat them like markers in the journey. When I need a moment to regroup or a reminder to rely on my practices or tools I should think of them.
My questions and responses continue for a while until I am satisfied with a “concrete” understanding of the missed opportunity in my dream conversation with the little girl.
I can imagine her smiling at me. She is feeling heard and understood. I am even beginning to think that she trusts me just a bit more than she did before.
Love is a renewable resource. Loving myself enough to seek out awareness of why I do the things I do, feel the way I feel and say the things I say is a gift of compassion to me.
I hope you have enjoyed this dream series. I find the practices extremely helpful to unlocking the inner guru.
I agree with Sharon, it’s time to try a few new things. Spring is right around the corner which always makes me think of new growth.
When I bought my campervan I had a vision of doing most of the work myself. Then I got the van home. Parked it at my moms house and started to hear the opinions of what I should do with it. My husband thought I should drive it off a cliff, some thought I should keep it simple. Slap a coat of paint on the inside and call it a day.Others, me included, thought a complete gut job was the only thing to do.
I am in year 3 with the van. The timing of trying to do a major renovation could not have been worse. High lumber prices, gas prices, shortage of parts and knowing how to work through the issues that a 1978 year old beast has gathered along its journey.
I sat in the driver’s seat the other day and looked around inside. I now have it parked outside my home.
You know when you have a vision of what something should look like? It’s close now inside except for a few areas that I settled for the time being just to get driving it.
I realized that there are parts of the operation of the van that I don’t know how to operate because I let others do the work and really didn’t understand how it functioned.
I am ready to try new things which include a thorough understanding of how to manage the inner workings of this house of wheels.
If I could, I know I would spend all my time working on it. I have something to prove to myself. All the years listening to the men in my life tell me that I should leave the mechanics, the woodworking and building things to them. I have had many things “mansplain” to me. I do value the advice, I am not an idiot….lol.
How do you get better at anything if you don’t try? There has to be an acceptance that not everything will turn out perfect. I am married to a guy who looks for imperfections for a living. Sometimes I accept his feedback and let him fix my less than top quality attempts.
What I have noticed lately though, is that as we get older he is getting likely to comment on something I know is just a little crooked.
I have decided to make 3 boxes with cushions on top. They will act as a sitting area in the van. If I can get them to look decent I will try more. Being me, they need to have decorative trim.
Here’s to trying new things and learning that the only thing in your way is you. So move aside “you” I am armed with glue, a saw and an assortment of trim and tools.
My work continues with the symbolism contained in the “Little Girl In The Concrete Stairwell” dream.
I have chosen to take a closer look within the red tube.
The dream sequence….
I find myself in a red tube that reminds me of a water slide. I lead and the little girl follows me. We are scootching along on our bums with our legs out before us. It’s awkward for me and I soon realize that I have to adjust to a crawling position. We have gone a ways before we encounter a bend in the tube that points upward. I navigate the rise only to come to another bend that is tighter and descends. I hear a sigh behind me. The little girl knows that we will have to backtrack out of the tube. I turn my head and notice there is a porthole. I can see that we are adjacent to the stairwell. Before I can get my bearings the little girl starts to make her way back through the tube. I resign to follow her.
As I worked with the meaning of the red tube this week it was pointed out to me that there is a lot of movement in the dream.
Do I ever sit still and just be with my surroundings? Do I have to keep moving in order to feel satisfied?
I have decided to go back into the red tube at the point where I get stuck and recreate the moment in meditation.
I am contemplating the red tube. Is it blocked? Have I blocked it? It feels like my heart or a piece of my heart ventricles. Why is there a window? A window in my heart? Do I have an open heart?
When it comes to matters of the heart, how’s it going for me?
If the red tube is my heart why isn’t there any fluid moving within it? It’s dry which makes it hard to push myself through the tunnel. Where is the lubrication that soothes the heart’s inner workings?
I am starting to see connections and associations with the symbols and colors in the dream sequence. Red blood cells come to mind, then white blood cells to blue blood. Blood is a life source in which we all rely on to exist.
I was born with a low white blood cell count and spent the first several years of my life indoors trying to staff off any infections or diseases. My immunity to such things was very low. Is the little girl all dressed in white with platinum hair related to my ability to fight off that which can harm me? She does tell me in the beginning of the dream that I don’t know the dangers here.
According to Google, white blood cells are at war constantly in your body. They move up and down through your entire system on guard for harmful bacteria or disease. They protect you against harm.
Red blood cells carry oxygen and help in ridding the body of toxins. Too many and they can thicken, clot and eventually block the flow.
When blood leaves the heart it is full of oxygen and is bright red but when returning to the heart it has less oxygen and turns a dark red or appears“blue”.
This is all fascinating but does it have to do with my dream?
The tube is red. If I follow the logic and trust my instincts my blockage is connected to when I have navigated away from my heart and I am trying to find my way back. I make it into the tube, I can see where I have been and how I got there. Where I get stuck is how to feed my heart to continue my journey. How do I keep the blood flowing?
Blue blood manifests when seen through light. It is on a journey back to the heart to be once again revived.
I am committed to getting comfortable in the red tube to see If I can open the window and let the breeze blow through. Maybe the little girl will stay with me there if I remain calm and at peace. I turn on a slow rhythmic beat in the background. It’s something new I am trying while meditating to incorporate vibrational sounds.
For now I am keeping myself still but not sure how long I can make it last.
Send me light if you have any to spare and together we can see our way to the blue chairs.
The ashram is magical on a snowy winters night. I loved to roam all over the property at dusk and into the evening. Trying to capture just an ounce of the peace that embodies the entire grounds.
There is a song that is in the ashram songbook called Caravan Song by Alanda Greene. The song lyrics start out with “Wanderer”, “Worshipper” “lover of leaving” “Come join the caravan”. It suits the place and it suits me also.