Sunday, April 28, 2013

Heaven on Earth

I really wanted to share some thoughts about this book, Heaven on Earth, A Handbook for Parents of Young Children, by Sharifa Oppenheimer.
I believe this can be an interesting read even for people whose children are grown-ups or people who don't have children, because the writer shares her vision of Life, a vision that allows peacefulness, gentleness, harmony with the world around. A vision that insists on the importance of rhythms, on the creativity that lies in each of us, on the communication we should have with Nature. Of course for people who have young children, I believe it is a mine, a treasure trove brimming with ideas and tips and constructive advice.
I've been reading this book passionately, underlining passages, writing notes, saying 'ah yes', 'that's right', 'this is true' and so on!
For one thing, Sharifa reminds us that bringing up children relies on ourselves. If we want our children to be more relaxed, creative, healthy, we need to listen to our own rhythms, to resort to our own creativity. I could not agree more with what she writes about simplifying, one of my key hobbies! :) As she points out, 'the less "stuff" we have to deal with, the more time we have to be at ease'. I do love chapter 9 too, entitled 'Creating your Family Culture'. I guess that's something that started the day I knew I was pregnant for the first time. Still, this is something that takes time and involves knowing oneself. Sharifa Oppenheimer writes: 'The quality of our family culture pivots entirely upon the awareness we bring to it.  Let us bring as much consciousness to this process as we can'. Yes, that is indeed something I want to dig into, something I want to expand and let bloom...
Well there are so many passages I couldn't agree more with! I've been so happy to read about the writer's opinion concerning the excessive amount of time spent watching TV...about the importance of the senses and movement for children...about the necessity to stop hurrying!
Reading this book has been like meeting a true friend. Knowing it is there on my shelf is indeed like having a friend nearby whose advice is gentle and safe. And it also feels good to read so many things I've had in mind, and to see that I'm not the only one out there thinking along those lines!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

To leave ...for a better return

I've been away for a week on vacation. A busy vacation, with lots of errands, but still, a vacation away from home.
I do love my home sweet home. One day I'll write a post about it: it is a place I have looked for and chosen, a place I have fallen in love with and written poems about.
But leaving...ah, leaving has always been a great favourite of mine.
Packing, planning, and most of all, anticipating. 
These days, it also means forgetting a share of worries, leaving them behind for a few days.
So I was away, somewhere in the Alps near the Italian border. In a place where my ancestors lived, for I am the proud descendant of Alpine people, people who lived a hard life in a stunningly beautiful but equally hard region. My ancestors were not rich, they had to work hard and face difficult weather conditions. In my great- grandmother's times, people either lived a hard life or died at a young age. Living in a mountainous area like that means restricted agriculture too. So it wasn't the land of plenty, and it wasn't easy. In the old days, there was no heating system in the house, no water, and the water to be picked up was freezing, it came from the nearby torrent. I must say I'm fascinated by these stories I've heard, fascinated by how hard life was compared to now (I'm speaking in terms of material comfort).
Anyhow, I hadn't been in that place for ages. And it was nice to see it again.

Within a few days, we played in  the snow under blue skies.

I fell in awe again in front of my beloved high mountains.

It was time again to marvel at the purity of the roaring torrents and the peacefulness of their quiet creeks.

And their soft pebbles.

And we admired the first flowers. Spring there starts a little late, with flowers piercing through the snow.

We walked, we wandered a little bit. Everywhere, there is beauty.

There was even time for bathing in warm springs...a luxury under the cold blue skies...a memory revisited since my early childhood.

No vacation there is duly completed unless you've eaten a 'fondue' in a little, cozy, local restaurant. We've sacrificed to the was one of my kids' favourite of ours too.

My grandmother has long been dead. But my memories are well alive. The laughters of my kids echo in the same beloved snowy fields, in the same narrow streets. Just like the sound of the fountains in my grandmother's village echoes in my mind. Forever.

Memories are roots. They keep us firmly grounded. They nurture our children's sense of belonging. They form our family's narrative. They are us. Remains of the past, they spring up again in the lively force of our present and future. Long gone, they yet allow our days to unfold surely and somehow wisely. Just like leaving allows us to return with new eyes and renewed spirits. To see our present days anew.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Pace of Grace

This is a short post. I'd like to share the book I'm reading now.
The book is A Pace of Grace by Linda Kavelin Popov. I am still about halfway through it, but I have found something related to my previous post, Music of the Mind. In her book, she offers a four-part program which contains ten rules for health. In my previous post, I described ourselves as a piece of music. Well, our bodies are something like instruments that make tunes. And in order to succeed in playing a beautiful tune, maybe our bodies need to be healthy:) When you have time, please take a look at her homepage , in which you can see more about this book. 

To me, it's not easy to put into practice the rules 100%, but when I did some of them, I felt that I could have peace of mind. So..well..I'll keep trying as much as possible from now on:)


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Music of the Mind

So many things have popped into my mind since I read Val's previous post "Magical encounters" and I was unable to focus on anything.  Today, I would like to write only about the book called Music of the Mind, by Darryl Reanney.

I read this book about five or six years ago.  I don't think I could understand it properly; I just had my own interpretation, but since then, this book has become one of my favorites.  It is about an adventure into consciousness; however, there is essence of music, as the title suggests, with a beautiful sense of poetry throughout the book, which caught my heart.  It is very difficult for me to describe the book briefly, but if you would allow me to tell you  what I personally took from it, I would be happy to share my thoughts:

The structure of our consciousness is like the Universe. So, we are the Universe, so to speak, which is comprised of an energy wave that resonates with everyday events, with people we meet, with books, music, movies, and etc., beyond time and space, repeatedly and timelessly, like the ocean waves.
The more we experience and involve ourselves with others, the more we learn to vibrate beautifully.  The resonance occurs through the experience, and it takes form through our words and behavior.  We choose beautiful words or manners, as if we are playing beautiful music.  We are a piece of music and when we succeed in playing a beautiful tune, the universe shines brightly.

Isn't it intriguing to imagine that we are tunes ourselves?  Even when we are down or in a dark mood, we are still simply piece of music.  The important thing, I think, is to enjoy the music.
Well, my music now is kind of a "water, light, and wind" tune. How about yours?:)

Monday, April 8, 2013


I've been drawn for ages to books on personal development, telling stories of personal trials and crusades, travels of the mind and growing of the soul.
Recently I've read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is a delightful book, I've had fun following the ups and downs, pros and cons of Gretchen's quest for happiness, or rather, her year spent on how to allow her own personal happiness to grow and expand. I share with her the opinion that happiness profits from being taken care of. Some people will think happiness follows a different path and needn't be directed. They will think that the minute you think of happiness, it is already half gone. Well, not for me. I've read various books that have given me an insight on happiness. I think one life is not enough to gain much knowledge about life itself: reading books (for example on  happiness) helps me gain a little time, a little insight from people who went through things I haven't, who have different opinions. I am all the better from their effort to share their experience and thoughts.
One thing struck me in G. Rubin's book: one passage about growing. It has been written about, it has been studied: some people derive a huge amount of happiness from growing, that is expanding their knowledge, developing their conscience. I do! I do get such satisfaction from accomplishing something, from the feeling that I have made some progress, taken up some challenge, or simply seen the end of a task. I also get consolation from thinking that growing old can mean growing wiser, growing better. Unfolding. Expanding. Learning. Improving.
The Happiness Project is now sitting on a precious shelf of mine. I am grateful that it has allowed me to distinguish more clearly one of the things that prompt me to be happy: the opportunity to grow.
Soon I'll share some thoughts on another book I'm finishing (see photo above!) and that has delighted me in many, many ways.
Peaceful, beautiful day to you all!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Magical encounters

Sachi's last post made me think a lot, about unconditional love, this love we get and feel from our children, our family, our friends when we are lucky to have real ones, but also from Nature. But right now, my mind is turned towards a kind of magic that has always, always rhythmed my days. The magic of music.
This magic has played many, many tricks, eased so many tensions and brightened so many days in my life. I hardly spend a day without music. I am so ecclectic that my musical tastes range from country to classic via rap. There is a music for every moment, every mood. Through hardship and writing, I get carried away by electro music or opera; bluegrass cheers me like nothing else; rock is a regular companion; there's pop rock for cleaning up the house or dancing with the kids, and there is jazz for cozy evenings...and then, there are the magical encounters. A piece of music that suddenly plays to your heart's secret longings; a song that briskly echoes your mind's ramblings; a tune that makes unrealized feelings rush out, and tears flow.
Last week end I was coming back from a place of both love and pain, one of those places we have to go sooner or later, in one way or another. I was driving, and suddenly there was this music on the radio...
I hadn't heard this song for ages, for years actually. And with the notes, another era of my life came back. A real little 'Madeleine de Proust'. The magic transportation to times when I was safely tucked in life between a mother and a father. The magic times when family was still family. This song means a lot to me, it is also so bitter-sweet, so sad, and yet it transpires with some undergound hope, some nostalgic wisdom. The words reminded me of Sachi's beautiful ideal and aims, too. An aim that I myself tend to forget these days. There is I realize too much anger in my life, too much to my own taste anyway. Life brings wrath in unexpected ways, and if we want to keep our existence beautiful and peaceful, we need some regular reminder of how anger can invade our days in mean, tricky, disguised ways. When I stop and think of it, I know perfectly where my anger comes from; but in my daily life it sometimes crawls back under false pretence. It is not a glass broken by mistake or the fact of being late at work that actually makes me enraged, it is this place of love and pain I have to visit regularly.
And with only one song, the lesson is taught again. We 'have just one world, but we live in different ones'. We get so foolish, so often. My own little personal grief makes me live in a world where anger invites herself whereas I should dwell on this unity Sachi has mentioned times in her posts. This togertherness that means we're all now and ultimately on the same boat. We live under the same sun, whether we are ill or healthy, whether all our loved ones are with us or not, whatever the age, the income, the country, the beliefs.
On another trip to this place of love and pain, I heard this song.
Another happy magical encounter. This song is about the pledge a man makes to his beloved. It is a song of love and dedication, of genuine gentleness, a song I sang softly to my babies when they were very little. It is about loving someone, and protecting, and caring. And it reminded me on the way home, to my beloved sweethearts, that love should always come first. Caring before feeling angry; protecting before feeling resentment; moving forward instead of going back; dedication before vindication; peace before sadness. Music sometimes helps me remember that there is peace and beauty within myself, I just have to allow them in my life, my life as it is. We just have to remember that love comes first and must not be overshadowed by pain. Just like there can be war within ourselves, there can be peace, too.
Wishing you a beautiful day of love and peace. Sound a little hippie there? Well, I like the sound of it ;)