Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The ART of living

"Blue Rocks" 2008
Diptych, 48" x 18"
Acrylic on Canvas

One of my hobbies is astrology. Whenever humanity reaches a new level of awareness, astronomers discover a "new" planet. The planet was always there, of course, but astronomers are suddenly able to become aware of it through improved technology or understanding. For example, the planet Uranus, which represents radical and surprising breaks from tradition, was "discovered" around the time of the French Revolution, when, for the first time in history, people freed themselves from being ruled by kings. Pluto, the planet representing transformational power, was "discovered" around the time that Einstein presented the formula E=MC2 and the splitting of the atom.

Now I have discovered something that has been around for 25 years, practically in my back yard, while I was looking for it all over the world. I am referring to the Art of Living Foundation that has a center just northeast of Montreal. I already mentioned Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in a previous post. In his book "Wisdom for the New Millenium" I read about the courses that teach Sudarshan Kriya, a method that uses the natural healing power of breath to "enhance the blossoming of one's full potential". Lucky me! A course was being given in January that I could participate in without taking time off work. At first I was a bit concerned that I would find it difficult to manage my full workday and the evening courses......but I got more and more energy as each day passed! By the end of the 6-day course I was blissfully enjoying every minute of my life! Today, 10 days after finishing the course and continuing my daily practice, I know I am on the right track: some health issues have simply disappeared, I sleep very well and I am so much more present in my life.

Now I would like to find 20 people in my area to take the course. My teacher Antoine will come here on the last week in April and I know of a very nice, sunny, spacious spot in a natural setting with a huge parking lot. I have already signed myself up for the advanced course taking place over Easter at the ashram in the mountains. Yes, living as an art form: making life a creative, harmonious, meaningful experience by using our talents and expressing our unique, divine Being. Life is beautiful!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

January's Orchids

Imagine walking from an icy-cold and windy snowstorm environment...right into a tropical forest. Then, as you inhale the steamy air and encounter lush blossoms and ferns one-on-one, you catch a view of snowdrifts piling up outside the thick windowpanes. It is not a wonderful dream. You are at the Botanical Garden in Montreal. My afternoon visit had the effect of a mini-vacation to an exotic island without the time and expense of travel. Here are some of the rare and delicate orchids I met.

On my way out, I scanned the Botanical Gardens boutique and could not resist taking home this magnificent Euphorbia pulcherrima "Cinammon Star" (common name: poinsettia). It is 4 feet (about 1.2 meters) in diameter and graces my dining room table. I found out that the rosy-peach "flowers" are actually leaves! The true flowers are the tiny yellow baubles in the very middle of the colored leaves.