Wednesday, July 25

Mmmmm! I mentioned in my first post about lacto-fermented sodas that I had ordered a yogurt cheesemaker. It arrived a few days ago and I filled it with plain yogurt.

I am now eating the delicious yogurt cheese on bread. It tastes exactly like cream cheese, really, only better quality. This is going to be very useful!

I also used half a cup of whey to start some lacto-fermented soda. For water I added mint sun tea. In 24 hours it'll be ready to transfer to another bottle.


Just in case anyone has any comments!

Sunday, July 22

All Things Come To Me By Virtue Of My Vibration

The thought that keeps circling through my head: "All things come to me by virtue of my vibration."

All that is exists in many forms. It exists in the forms in which we usually perceive it. It also exists in the form of vibrations. We perceive vibrations, according to Abraham-Hicks, as emotions primarily. The most suitable practical synonymns for vibration are emotions, feelings, and mindset.

This idea has interesting parallels in older philosophies, and I am excited about rereading Abhinavagupta and Hazrat Inayat Khan (among others) in light of Abraham's teachings.

Thoughts are curious things. The thoughts you think express your vibration. At the same time, your vibration attracts the thoughts you will think. At the same time, you can change your vibration to some extent by changing your thoughts. While they are consistent with your vibration, to some degree they are also a bit of a wild card which allows you greater empowerment. It's also possible to change one's vibration directly, without having to work through thoughts. However I find that this usually does not come naturally.

The idea presenting itself most directly is that I can lighten up on the thoughts that are not serving me, simply let go of them and let them fade away. I still have the tendency to attempt to work on them, which usually makes them more active in my life. An alternative is to focus with greater openess and vision on my desires. Several months ago I let go of a particular habit of obsessing over unwanted subjects. Not that I never obsess anymore, but the habit has lost all its previous power; it comes up now and then but it doesn't interest me in the way it used to. However, I still live in a world which tends to seek improvement by focusing on the unwanted. This does work, but it is slow, painful, and ineffective. Often it takes many generations for change to unfold this way. I want to change as an individual, freely. I want to let go of the social structures which are focusing me on what is not wanted as a (the) method of improvement.

The key, which I have forgotten slightly over the past few months, is dynamic acceptance of the unwanted. This is closely parallel to Gandhi's teachings in particular. We have the tendency to focus on the unwanted, to resist it, and to rationalize endlessly why it makes us unhappy, why we don't like it, and why we are still focused on it. This is, usually, a complete waste of time. Although not always--there are times when focusing on the unwanted helps us to refine our desires. Well it always helps us to do this, but sometimes that further refinement is necessary, at other times we can happily do without it.

Again, I keep attempting to solve the problem, to figure out how I do want to relate to these social structures. I don't need to intellectually figure out a solution. All things come to me by virtue of my vibration. I will orient myself towards the emotional tone which I desire, and the suitable actions will come to me at the right time, through inspiration.

And the best way to orient myself to an emotional tone or vibration which seems relatively out of reach is (at this moment--there are other methods which may be more suitable under different emotional circumstances) to find the scraps of those feelings which I am experiencing right now or lately, and focus on those and appreciate those. Then the fuller vibration will come easily.

The Seventh Book

I have finished "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows". It was magnificent and inspiring. I am so glad my interest was caught only a week ago, so that I got to read the last three books all in a row, rather than one per year. I will wait a year or so and then read them all together, starting with the very first one. And then I will enjoy reading them more slowly than I did this time, I hope, and savoring the details that were so delightedly crafted. It is really a masterpiece.

There are more thoughts, but I am not going to put them here yet!

Sunday, July 15

Tunneling Books for Children of All Ages

The world of Harry Potter has finally sucked me in. I put up quite a fight and resisted this for years. Only last year was Gordan able to convince me to watch a Harry Potter movie, to which I submitted scornfully. Of course I was intrigued. We ended up watching all of them in a few days. Then I forgot about it for awhile, with the occasional repeat marathons. Just recently I saw the fifth movie in the local theatre (twice, because the first time I couldn't understand what anyone was saying). I've ordered books six and seven, and I'm reading Gordan's copy of book five.

Actually I think a large part of the reason I'm more comfortable with Harry Potter is because I spent January of this year paying tribute to Tolkien. It might have been more than January. I read all of the Lord of the Rings again while in India, including some parts that were removed from the original edition, if I remember correctly. And I read a very good biography of Tolkien.

I'd like to keep reading kid's books, I've decided. I want to revisit "The Five" series (which Harry Potter reminds me of distinctly, plus I don't think I ever read the whole series), and "The Borrowers". There's also a novel about a boy who's adopted by some semi-magical homeless men involving escalators and trains and manhole covers. (I sincerely hope that's not another novel my subconscious has invented and disguised as a memory, because I want to reread it.) Incidentally, do you notice a pattern of tunneling in my favorite children's books? Of course you don't, but I just did. Anyway.

I think this would be a very good exercise. And a delightful one. I'd also like to read more writer's journals--my father suggests Sylvia Plath or John Cheever.

Tuesday, July 3


Putting up another one!

Monday, July 2

In Which the Industrial Revolution Comes to my House

Exciting news! I have become one of those people who has a sewing machine... and is not afraid to use it!

I actually bought it, a kenmore 16764, a month ago. The arrangement is that I am sharing it with Dragana, whose old sewing machine went kaput. She will actually use it, and she is also teaching me how to use it. I had planned to start sewing in a few years, because I already have my thumbs in so many pies. Then Sears had a big sale, I had a gift card, and it all worked out perfectly!

I didn't expect to do any real sewing myself at first. However to my surprise I've been thinking about things I'd like to have that I could sew myself. There's the dropcloths for artmaking, which could be hemmed. I wanted some cotton produce bags, as our grocery delivery sends us vegetables with no bags--and realized I could easily make them myself. Then I decided to start an extra knitting project besides the shawl I'm currently making, and for that I could use an extra knitting bag. My current knitting bag (pictured below) is a lovely simple square cotton bag with a drawstring which I stash in my purse, and another one should be easy to make.

Dragana will soon be sewing a simple ceremonial robe for Gordan. So we bought our respective fabrics, went home and opened the sewing machine box for the first time. It was a lot of fun setting it up with her, because while that particular machine is new to her, she already knows how sewing machines generally work.

I started on my knitting bag last night and was having a grand old time, until the threads snagged and broke somewhere along the way. I think it will be easy to fix myself at this point, with the manual. I'm so delighted at all the easy useful things I'm going to make, and how eventually my stitch will go in a straight line! Stay tuned for further adventures!

Sunday, July 1

Today's Essential Oils; On Blending; Tea

This morning I made an energizing blend of rosemary, bergamot mint, and lavender.

Rosemary is an absolutely lovely essence. It is the herb that I identified most closely with during my teenage and college years. I always had a 25ml bottle, regardless of quality, and I used it for everything; upliftment, grounding, headaches, bug bites, cuts, burns, skin trouble, dispersal of unpleasant smells, clarification and energizing, and more. Zeke says that rosemary is related to creativity, and those also happened to be my most creative years so far. It feels fundamentally similar to lavender, to me, and I'll bet they are related; their leaves and flowers look similar. While the primary scent in rosemary is energizing and clarifying, it leaves a woody afternote which I have been enjoying all day. Since discovering "rosemary verbonne", a gentler rosemary, the deliciousness of rosemary has reached a new level. Rosemary is one of my standard morning essences.

Bergamot mint is my other standard morning essence. It is an absolutely delightful and unusual oil. It is indeed a mint, and has mint's energizing quality. However it is far milder than the familiar peppermint and spearment, and is not as cooling. It also does have a distinct citrus smell which is probably closest to bergamot. With the gently clarifying and energizing quality of a mint, and the loving playful quality of a citrus, it is a lovely essence to have.

Lavender, as always, is the backbone of the blend, with its nurturing and harmonizing quality.

Tonight I am diffusing rose (diluted), spikenard, and lavender.

Rose is well known as a universal symbol of love. It's handy to have some of that in a bottle nearby! Thank goodness mine is diluted, because it is so powerful. I actually have rose absolute rather than essential oil. Absolutes are not extracted by steam, but with chemical solvents, which are then removed. Apparently with contemporary technology, absolutes by reputable companies are very clean. They are especially faithful to the plant's actual scent, because they extract the essence a bit more completely than steam does. Thus they're particularly recommended for inhalation, while for application to the skin true essential oils are preferred. All the floral oils are quite powerful, as flowers themselves are. Rose is a sort of "broad spectrum" essence. While it has a strong affinity with love and the heart, it goes beyond these as well, and affects the whole person and atmosphere. (On the other hand all essences do this to varying extents.) Rose is, I believe, closely related to the orientation of the current human evolutionary path. And maybe that's why I'm diffusing it tonight, for a little evolutionary boost.

Spikenard is relatively new to me. It's a base oil, and like most base oils, undiluted it's almost unpleasant. Base oils add a deep grounding note to blends. They help us to stay connected to the earth, to our sexuality, to our strength, to our physicality. At the same time the base oils are some of the most sacred and divinely-oriented. They inspire earthiness that is harmonious with the world of spirit. Spikenard specifically is said to inspire generosity and devotion.

Once again, lavender is the backbone of the blend. It opens up the influence of rose and spikenard, and provides a gentler, milder note.

I want to add something about the blending of essential oils generally. This may apply to blending herbal extracts in other forms (infusions, tinctures, hydrosols) as well.

Herbal actions are due to the chemicals in the herb. It's these chemicals that allopathic medicine looks for. They select an individual chemical for its medicinal action, recreate it synthetically, and then prescribe that when its action is needed.

However, the individual chemicals are not the whole story. The chemicals in the plant interact together. Sometimes they modify the medicinal actions so that medicines from the whole plant produce no or fewer side effects. Sometimes they complement each other's medicinal actions, so that for example the primary chemical may lower blood pressure, but secondary chemicals also reduce blood clotting, include antioxidants, have an antispasmodic and antiinflammatory effect, and promote cellular regeneration. Sometimes a medicinal action is caused by the presence of two chemicals together, and seperately neither have that effect. Sometimes it is not known exactly what causes the medicinal action.

Plants develop these actions for their own benefit. Animals such as humans have been ingesting plants from the beginning, and we have evolved alongside them. They are truly an inseparable part of us.

Just as the variety of chemicals in the whole plant cooperate together, so may the chemicals of two whole plants when they are blended. These interactions aren't usually as significant as those between the chemicals of an individual plant, which has spent centuries finetuning its chemical symphony. Nonetheless they can be quite valuable. In a sense, when you blend essential oils, you are creating a whole new essence--a new herb, a new medicine.

Tonight's tea is lemon balm, chamomile, and linden. This is the very mild evening blend I've settled on for the time being.


A friend has requested that I enable comments on here. For certain mysterious reasons I prefer not to have comments on for all the posts, but I'd love to know what you might have to say. So I thought I'd put up a general comments post every now and then. I hope that works!