Follow me in my journey to health and vibrancy. This year I began my journey as a vegan (no animal products) and then subtracted oil, sugar and processed foods, ergo, I have named this my Garden of Eden Vegan lifestyle.
Now I am learning the art of raw food preparation, I know: take a banana, remove peel, eat.
I mean, artistic and creative raw food preparation.
If you have any interest in this type of lifestyle, join me, a former junk food junkie on this journey.
Life is too short and uncertain not to have fun, right?
A WONDERFUL THOUGHT TO FOCUS UPON EACH MORNING
(from Brush Strokes - a calendar gift from Cantor Marci -- Thanks!)
What a paradise we have around us.
Awe moments in Myakka Park.
Changing "I can'ts" to "I bet I can!"
One of my "I can'ts" is that I can't scuba dive. Of course I couldn't -- I was phobic of the water and couldn't swim. But now that I scratched: "I am afraid of water" off my list of self imposed limitations, as well as "I can't swim" -- there was no reason to keep the "I can't scuba dive" on the list. So here I am in Cozumel - awed by the underwater world. Proof of design and a Grand Creator. So what if a fish swam in for a closer look -- probably as shocked as I was; and so what if I was tied to my instructor because I kept floating away - I think we dropped the rope for the Kodak moment.
No need to live life with limitations -- impossible only describes the degree of challenge.
Keep on swimmin' Nemo!
And Why Not?
Letting Go of Fear
Sometimes we are the biggest obstacles in our own journeys. I discovered that I was the barrier to living my live fully, vibrantly and joyfully. At age 57, I said "no" too quickly. I decided to recreate my life "as a work of art." (so to speak) Whenever there was some activity that came my way, instead of saying "no" -- I said, "why not?"
I can tell you that this is making this chapter of my life an incredible experience. One challenge I overcame is my fear of water. I loved being by the water, and have lived by water most of my life. I find its rhythm soothing to my spirit. Yet, I was afraid to venture into the water. One day, with the encouragement of my friend, Jan Small, aquatically known as "Flipper" -- I decided that enough was enough and I would face my fear head on and not only get wet, but learn how to swim. And by golly -- I love it. My aquatic name is "Nemo" -- we are coached by Kim Dinell in a method called Total Immersion. It is an incredible blend of yoga, pilates, and underwater hydrodynamics. As I flow through the water, I feel one with it, in a very fish like way. It is meditative and relaxing. Check out Total Immersion on the internet -- you might find it a peaceful change to the old fashion egg beater type of swimming where one misses the oneness with the water.
Letting Go of Fear
In Belize -- just after a 40 foot vertical descent....
Ziplining in the Jungles of Belize
The art of letting go.
Thoughts by Anne Frank on Nature
One of the thoughts we shared at our Nature walk was written by Anne Frank: The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where thy can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.
Gathering to begin the service.
Havdalah at Service Club Beach
Rabbi leading the ceremony..
Food for the spirit, followed by food for the body.
And of course, good conversation among good friends.
Shabbat Services on Saturday Morning - Oscar Scherer Park
The photos do not do the morning justice. As Bruce lead the service, played guitar, and we sang familiar melodies (with percussion of course) -- melodies that were sung by our ancestors on just such mornings -- in similar weather -- gathered in similar fashion. The older and the younger, families, and friends -- under a rising sun, wind through the leaves, the sound of nature all around. L'dor v'dor. From generation to generation. We celebrated the oneness of creation IN creation. We meditated on creation; on God's breath (ruach) as we inhaled, focusing on our interrelationship with the earth, the trees, the sky, the wind. And all was good, as it should be.
Jennifer and Maleah enjoy some girl time.
A time for families -- The 3 male Greensteins.
And of course....food for the soul!
Nature Walk on Erev Tu B'shevat
Kevin Kirby leads us through "the wilds" of the Myakka area
Rabbi White leads a nature blessing while Louise and Sue look on. Note the Tu B'shevat treats: dates, figs, nuts, olives and other fruits we shared.
Jeannette is absorbed in Kevin's sighting.
The group gathers....
Barbara Gail from Rhythm Inlet adds the beat for our ceremony
Bruce and Laura with the Havdalah Candle
Nature Rabbi - Camping Expedition to Myakka Park
My friend and rebbe, Dr. Rachel Dulin, and Erika and I decided to camp at Myakka State Park to scout out possibilities for a group camping adventure -- the result was "awe" some.
The thing we noticed first is the sympony of silence. To be silent in nature and listen --- listen to the wind, to the birds, to the silence. And then to hear: that still small voice within.
Prayers are when we talk to God. Silence -- to listen -- is when God talks with us.
Reflections on Reflections
Life on a log.
Just think about all of the life on this one log....
Planning our adventures from the back porch of our cabin.
An interesting chaper in our history..
A contribution to our future -- the cabins were build by the CCC.....
Breakfast with company
A sunrise, great coffee, a wonderful time to read Torah....and to share breakfast with my squirrel buddies -- at one time, five or six young squirrels were hanging around - of course, the roasted almonds might explain the crowd.
Campers on top of the world...
Sharing the earth....
A very adaptable critter...
And a reason to STAY IN YOUR KAYAK!!
Let there be fire.........
Nature Rabbi surprises herself with a fire....whew!
We weren't really roughin' it.....
Evening at Myakka State Park
Soul-o meditations on a rainy afternoon
This afternoon, I decided to have a Soul-o time in my backyard. The practice of Soul-o meditations is to go outside to a common place -- your porch, your backyard, a place you can go to easily and often. Each day, or time you choose to sit, go to the same place, and watch the minutia of nature. Sit still, quietly, focus first on your breath, closing your eyes at first to still the chatter in your mind. Then, when you feel relaxed, open your eyes to observe the awe and wonder of nature. Watch this small spot of nature -- stir up the dirt and watch the life that thrives, normally unseen by the human eye. Today, the caterpillar photographed below, was my treat -- and then the pups joined me, curious to see what I was doing.
The reason for choosing an ordinary, easily accessible space, is several fold. First -- we can easily find awe, or God-moments, in the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, or at the water's edge. Not so easily in a dirt pile. And second, this should be a space that you can go to when you need a 5 minute nature fix -- just step right out of your door and it awaits you. And as time passes, you will see the transformation of nature in your sacred spot -- on rainy days, in sunshine, by the light of morning, or the glow of a full moon.
A rainy afternoon in my backyard
The caterpillar that ate my vine.
Some creatures are creatures of comfort.
Lex, my special angel, observes the rainy afternoon from the comfort of a lawn chair.
Below is a photo of a very special creation -- Helen - a three year old, blind and deaf hound dog. She is remarkable to share space with. I marvel at how adaptable she is. She has no sense of handicap. Within moments of entering a new area, she scouts the perimeter with a brisk and bold romp, and then zig zags around the space, and soon it becomes hers. She can race around, leaping through the air (or if in the house, from sofa to sofa) with the speed and grace of a gazelle.
Sight and sound are such wonderful senses to have -- and yet without them, our other senses become so acute and developed.
In my meditations -- I often choose a sense on which to focus in order to develop it richer.
Helen is an inspirational teacher, each moment she spends with me. She is an Under Dog foster, so she is available for adoption to a loving home.
The pup on the left, Helen, is blind and deaf, and yet, to her, she has no handicap. Shown here, she enjoys rainy days romping in the yard with Ruby.
Rainy day in the backyard...
While meditating on the intricacy of a caterpillar, Ruby, my precious jewel, crashed my sacred space --- and it became more sacred.
Turtle Sunning on a Log
Kayaking Backwater - Leona
Meditative Moments - Barry
The world is sunlight, restoring the soul, rejoicing the heart, bringing light to the eyes; more welcome than gold. A Torah from heaven.