Maker Mind

Harvest Chicken SOup

Harvest Chicken Soup

Gathering the Harvest in the Autumn is a ritual joy, a riot of color with red apples, deep orange pumpkins, yellow gourds and green cold weather vegetables. They also are most commonly local, fresh picked and very tasty. Take advantage of that anyway you can.

There’s a contentment that comes with being in tune with the cycle of the seasons. At the harvest we can focus on collecting the abundance to enjoy while the gardens and farms recover their energies for the next round.

harvest assortment

Late Harvest Assortment

Collecting our thoughts and reflections on the season of action just passed is another aspect of this process. For me initial reflections have led to drawing upon my root values and passions. In my outreach work I strive to provide a viewpoint and some action steps for those who are seeking them. I’ve come to see it’s a starting point for change. Community is not one voice but many voices and there has to be variety to hear what’s true for you.

applesauce

Applesauce

Creative thinking is one aspect of the need for connection, one that opens up conversation. Another is moving the body. Movement for physical health and when done ina group as an act of social harmony is essential. In addition, I believe making work by hand is an important means for the mind and body to work together on a manageable scale. Cooking is the most elemental of the maker activities I thrive on. During the harvest there’s a lot of that. What I miss I’m discovering is my art studio. It’s been left fallow for some time now and rather than disband it, I feel the need to take it up again in new ways.

Beeand flower

Bee and Flower

I see how collaboration is bound up in all my work. For example, I enjoy writing for The Parsley Way, but miss the collaborative aspects of it, the give and take, the inspiration of conversation and good company. I’d love to find some writers to share the positive message of the Parsley Way –  and encourage you to write something that reflects the spirit of this work. I’d love to share Your Voice with any readers here.

Earthy Beets

Earthly Beets

The studio is another important place of collaboration. I’m revisiting a lot of past work and exploring new paths because this too is integral to my practice. I may be posting less often as I get deeper into some new directions. If you want to get more in touch with your creative handwork I welcome you to contact me for guidance and shared encouragement.

With our natural segue from the growing season we can plant some bulbs as a down payment on the distant spring. Right now it’s time to gather in the abundance of the garden and store it away to drawn upon over the winter.

Many hands make light work.

Ms Lizzie Cat

know what to do with your time

“Know what to do with your time”  

 

READ

Never Coming Back by Alison McGhee for a searing look into the mother-daughter relationship. See my review on Goodreads for more.

Happy October to All!

 

All photos Claire Mauro

N.B. Use the comment section to let me know your interest and ideas; list your contact info- I will keep it private.

 

 

 

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Look Up! It’s Awe-Inspiring

NasaTotal Eclipsehttps://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/preparing-for-the-august-2017-total-solar-eclipse

Look up! The world is turning it’s eyes to the skies for the next couple of months with summer fireworks celebrations and the coming solar eclipse on August 21st.

Boston Fireworks-Globe.png

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/north/2014/06/28/fourth-july-events/NFuQBHN1COxrGsIWMvuYfK/story.html

It’s a good time to ditch your inner cynic and that “meh” feeling and engage your power of awe. Whether it’s on the macro or micro scale, there is beauty and wonder to be found all around us. It takes us out of ourselves and unites us with all living things, engendering a sense of wellbeing that’s good for overall health. A recent study out of UC Berkeley suggests awe-inspiring moments actually reduce inflammation through positive emotion, altering our immune response.

LizzieFur

What’s you strongest sense for experiencing awe? Is it the sound of loved one’s approach, the softness exhale of baby’s breath, or the feel of a pet’s fur?

How can you be sure your summer days are awesome??

Share some AWESOME ACTIVITES

Berryful

Berry picking takes you up close with nature, using all your senses to find the ripest, most sweet smelling fruit. You can marvel at the shape and texture, the weight of fruit in your hand before you pop some into your mouth.

Cascade Lake

Find your View\point. You don’t need an exotic location to enjoy a view- although it sure can be spellbinding. Just a lookout from a vantage point can change your perspective and help you see the big picture. Too foggy to see the horizon? Bend low and find the life within a tiny lichen to take your breath away.

Star gazing is a sure way to enjoy the night sky. There are more stars out there than you think. Take a telescope out to a playground and have a look around.

Savor Your Alone Time

Where ever you go Notice the light. We’re in the season of light and although the days are subtly growing shorter there’s plenty left. It’s not just fireworks that inspire awe. As the dawn comes up there is a symphony of awakening to behold in the sunrise, and a spectacle of a color in the sunset before moonglow.

Dance Along the Path

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/dancing-along-path

Dance the Eclipse Use this suggestion to create your own personal interpretive dance for the eclipse. You could help raise the positive emotion of the planet and for sure you will please yourself!

 

Vinegar Girl.png      Hagseed.png

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com

Mind games—Reading keeps you mentally sharp especially longer sentences and new vocabulary. Lazy hammock days are just right for tackling a literary classic you always meant to read. Or try one of the newly re-framed Shakespeare classics from PenguinRandomHouse: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler or Margaret Atwood’s Hag-seed.

Crostada.jpg

Fruit Delight  For a fruit treat, nothing is better than a rustic Crostata. No pie plate needed. Just shape the dough onto a baking sheet, pile your fresh picked fruit in the middle and turn up the edges. I made this one with figs and almonds.

Best Wishes for Health and Happiness this Summer!

Claire

All Photos Claire Mauro unless stated.

 

Adventures in Time

Tulip Time
Tulips on a snowy day

Remember to breathe Every good movement instructor has encouraged students in the studio with this phrase. When exerting yourself with physical effort it is potentially dangerous not to breathe, raising your blood pressure and straining your muscles. It seems obvious to just breathe, except we all need the reminder because sometimes we don’t breathe, and not only when exercising.

How many ways are there to describe it? Hold your breath, gasp for breath, forget to breathe, have the breath knocked out of you, takes my breath away

With phrases like these we suspend our action, hold still, wait for the next thing to happen. We are overcome with emotion in shock, fear, surprise, or grief, in pain, or deep in intense concentration.

In times of unpredictability we each need to raise our awareness to the breath, to assert our autonomy and breathe, rather than be held in a collective gasp, a population holding its breath.

Version 2
Tell me all about it

Reflect on your own resilience Breathing is your most basic point of control. Not being able to catch your breath is life threatening and breathing shallowly in your upper chest raises your anxiety. Deepening the breath draws you into yourself, settles your emotions, allows you to gather your strength. Use the moment of deep breath to feel your feet on the ground and pause before you act. It’s helpful to recall experiences of dealing with difficult situations in the past and how we got ourselves beyond them. Take the time to consider the lessons learned and how they might be applied in new situations.

No matter how hard we try to avoid it, there is no way to stop unanticipated and unwelcome news from arriving. I was recently reminded of this with an unexpected medical diagnosis. In my response I traveled down familiar side paths of reaction and arrived at the same place of transition I was headed to all along. I like to think I got there faster from experience. Time, we all want to believe, is under our control.

This month I have two books for your consideration:

The Child in Time Ian McEwan He is the master- I’m a fan. It’s very interesting to read this work from an earlier point in his career (1987). There are signature elements familiar to his readers and what have become cornerstones in contemporary fiction – the layered complexity of the narrative, the metaphysical exploration, and the sheer, breathtaking depiction of unspeakable loss. He toys with time and place with expertise and plumbs emotional depths we feel along with his characters. The Thatcher era political comments are quite timely for today. The tragedy and terror of child abduction strikes at every reader’s heart- and remains a danger. If you read this be sure to also view The High Street Abduction a recent video from BBC News. An adaptation of The Child in Time will air on BBC and PBS starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk Portia Nelson  This 35th anniversary edition contains her classic Autobiography in Five Short Chapters. The poem is an iconic statement on awakening to yourself, applicable at any age and repeatedly at every stage of life. The genius of her presentation is in a form so universally accessible to understanding it deserves your time.

Fresh Fig
Proof of Spring- Fig tree

Happy Daylight Savings Time!

 

P.S. Many Thanks to Ms Lizzie Cat for her Cattitude

All photos Claire Mauro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift Guide – A Heartwarming Tale

merry-and-bright

Gift Guides are a popular way to streamline your holiday shopping at this time of year. So here at the Parsley Way I wanted to share one of the ways our family combined wellness and gifts this year.

Pet adoption is an anytime option, particularly if you are flexible with your choices. As a cat lover I love all kitties, baby animals being universally adorable. Selecting one for your family is another matter. So many questions come to mind and should. If you are an experienced cat owner then you may have concerns based on past experience, such as disposition, health and behavior patterns. Or you may be concerned as new pet owner about the myriad responsibilities and whether you are up to the task. You’re right to be concerned! Pets should never be treated as disposable gift items.

Our family raised Tangerine, our orange persian x tabby from a kitten. We even met his mother and siblings! And he lived 20 years, a much-cherished companion to our son and a comfort to all of us. The thought of “replacing” Tangerine was not automatic; our grief was as strong as our pet love.

Tangerine at 20
Tangerine at 20

When I started to consider a cat again, as it often turns out by the law of attraction, feral cats appeared in our yard in late summer. Mama and babies stayed for several days and just as I was contemplating taking in the entire family, mama cat moved them on. I took this as further proof I should consider adoption. Did you know? –You can visit shelters and rescue sites online to see what pets are available. Local veterinarians can guide you too. For a short time we had a nearby Cat Café, but alas, they closed before I could meet my pet match!
lizzie-alert
After several missed opportunities, during the past month I knew I had to move forward no matter what. I contacted a network of cat rescuers and sure enough within days I had a list of current pets seeking new homes. Calamity befalls perfectly nice pets and they face homeless shelters and potentially the remainder of their lives in cages. This was the case with our Miss Lizzie. When I heard her story—living alone in an empty home after the death of her elderly owner and the adoption of her feline companion, well, I took one look at her photo and was smitten. The rescue worker quickly followed up on my interest by providing a video and then a meeting was arranged. The rescue worker assured us there was no obligation; I should base my decision on a feeling of connection with the cat. It was so sad to see this lovely, friendly cat in an abandoned home. She had a neighborly caretaker to be sure, but no family routine. It’s a match!
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A month later we are happily growing used to one another, finding delight in our daily life together. We were provided with a health record and a regular check in with the rescue worker to monitor our adjustment to each other. I’m pleased to say Ms Lizzie performed all her necessary cat business the first evening, eating a meal, using her litter box and finding a comfy bed on a familiar pillow on a window seat. Since the first days we’ve introduced age appropriate food, presented her with cat toy options and lavished her with as much attention as she is willing to accept. She’s a curious, well-mannered and altogether independent Miss who will seek out her own activities or consent to play with us. And WE are pretty well trained already too. She will drink from a water bowl but prefers a running stream. The first time she jumped into the shower was quite a surprise! Now she will wait for one of us by the bathroom door and we will open a tap to run a trickle for her. I think she must have a bit of fisher cat in her Tabby bloodline!

The Nimbus 2000 of cat toys
The Nimbus 2000 of cat toys

We’ve hit the jackpot with Ms Lizzie for sure! We’re grounded in our daily life by the loving caregiving and pet companionship, a mutual relationship! Her soothing purr is beneficial for our health; keeping her well feed and cared for is good for hers. Her constant inspection of our home is a mouse deterrent and good feng shui, too. She moves the stagnant chi with her attention to the nooks and crannies of our home, delighting us with her independent spirit, love of play and expert attention to repose. Our new addition to the family proves to “tend and befriend” is a good antidote to what ails you. May you be well this season!

Mizz Lizzie Among the Pines
Mizz Lizzie Among the Pines

Habits Worth Cultivating

Mount Vernon kitchen garden
Mount Vernon kitchen garden

Every three months is a great time to assess our goals, take note of what we’ve achieved and reset our intentions for the next quarter and the year overall. How are you doing?

Take a look at your regular habits. Do they need an update? Here at The Parsley Way we have clearly defined regular practices that we advocate for wellness. The question is, do these practices help you maintain a sense of wellbeing that contributes to your overall productivity and meeting your goals? Continue reading

Welcome to the Cat Café

KittyArt1 CN Franklin
I made some new friends this week and could not be more pleased! Marissa, Kristi, Brie, Angel and Georgie the kind of friends we all should have in our lives. Sincerely caring, easy to be around and full of lighthearted fun yet able to be comfortably at rest and soothing to the soul. Continue reading