Dream Symbols: What They Mean to You: Earth Element

 

 

The Earth Element

The earth grounds us. Walking barefoot, feeling the grasses, and stepping into mud evokes childhood delights. As children, it is easy to dance, spin, and tumble upon the earth. As adults, we’ve created earth grounding: laying upon the earth as naked as possible for 30 minutes or so.
“The central theory from one review studyTrusted Source is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells.
Electrical conductivity exists within the matrix that functions as an immune system defense, similar to antioxidants. They believe that through grounding, the natural defenses of the body can be restored. Further research expands on this idea.”.

We’ve created forest bathing: walking into our forests, breathing with the trees and plants, just being amid elder trees, and the inherent intelligence within nature with no agenda. Listening to the wind. Soft or gentle. Listening to the wind play with the leaves. Soft or stirring like a symphony. Smelling pine or a nearby stream. Engaging all our senses. I do find it humorous that we need to intellectualize being outdoors. My mother simply said: “Go outside and play.”

Digging in the dirt, squeezing mud between our toes, holding precious soil in our hands, and breathing in the elements here that nurture peace bring tranquility to our busy minds.

One earth element, crystals, engages us with color, texture, and form. Crystals grab our attention with their beauty and charm. Why? What is it about them that captures our attention? Have you ever dreamed of crystals? I have. In one dream, I met the spirit of amethyst and amber. It felt magical, like a medieval tapestry with flowers, fields, long dresses, and elegance. Whether true or not, the dream stirred my imagination to look into these crystals more and bring them into my home. And the dream stirred my imagination to the possibility that maybe nature reaches out to us through other senses like the Dreamtime.

The earth is our foundation, offering reassurance and grounding. It’s an element of our bodies, too. We breathe air; we need water for cleansing. Fire ignites chemical reactions within our cells for health and vitality. Earth composes our bones and all structures. Our bodies perform so much for us without directed thought. Embracing the symbolism of the four elements, representing the four directions, allows us to tap into the earth’s innate intelligence and wisdom. It is said that the earth holds all the answers to all our questions. My native American elders felt that way and constantly reminded us to sit in the stillness and go out into nature for our answers.

Today, I remind you to spend, if able, some time in nature. In Wilderness School, we were asked to spend 20 minutes in the morning and evening finding a favorite “sit” spot. I did that for a long while. It helped me when my mind needed to quiet down, stop the sorting out, and just be.

For more information about the four directions and the earth element, check out my latest book, Navigating Your Dream World, available on Amazon and my website.

In the meantime, sweet dreaming. Judith

 

Spring Garden Planning: Edible Flowers

For most gardeners, spring planning is just about done. Seeds have been purchased and started. Snow comes, soon melts, spring’s official beginning is around the corner, and birds have begun their mating songs.

Years ago I attended an herb class at a local herb farm. The owner prepared a beautiful glass urn of sun tea. The urn was filled with a variety of flowers, violets, johnny jump-ups, roses, lavender, herb blossoms, and more. This tea was refreshing. I was impressed and have not forgotten this experience.

Recently, I came across a new book from Rosalind Creasy, The Edible Flower Garden. Her cover and photography hooked my curiosity as the subject of edible flowers is limited. Rosalind is a well-known author and respected organic gardener. It is a stunning work with gorgeous photography that highlights the beauty of flowers and shows off culinary delights using flowers in a variety of ways. She has researched claims of edibles and addresses some of which are myths, such as stock. History shows it may have been eaten in times of famine but no other time. Therefore, stock is not on her list.

Edible Flowers Idea

I use blossoms in quiches. Small amounts of wild strawberry flowers when in bloom, rose petals, lavender. So many wild and common flowers are edible like the violet leaves pictured above. In my wild food classes, we used echinacea and dandelion blossoms, squash blossoms, and nasturtiums, for example. It all created a lovely palette for the eye in recipes as well as provided a variety of tastes. They inspire our creative juices, fill our senses with texture, color, and form. They are the stuff of poetry and stories. Yet in my travels, I have found folks a bit leery of using flowers in food.

4 Tips To Remember About Edible Flowers

  1. Flowers should never be used as food from stores. Store-bought flowers often come into our country from overseas and are chemically treated.
  2. Organic gardens, whether traditional landscapes or vegetable-based, do not have that concern. If you do not have a garden but a neighbor does, please ask questions. Make sure they are organic.
  3. If you have planters and need to give your plants extra food to maintain growth, please read labels carefully.
  4. Always check with a reliable source before picking or tasting anything you are not familiar with. For example, most mushrooms are poisonous. Pokeberry flowers and berries are not edible. Daffodils are not edible.

Title: The Edible Flower Garden
Author: Rosalind Creasy

 

What I like: Rosalind gives the reader an encyclopedia of flowers that are edible. Pictures are crisp and help to easily identify a flower accompanied by how to grow and how to prepare sections. She then provides us with photographs and recipes that are simply elegant. She rounds out her book with appendixes on planting and maintenance, pest and disease control. She has suggestions for nontoxic management if pests show up. Lastly, she has a well-organized section on seed sources.

I recently spoke to a library about the benefits of herb teas. The dried flowers contained in the herb blends were a hit. Folks who love to garden often have no idea that many common plants are edible. And that some of these flowers and plants contribute nourishment. Nourishment, provided from a variety of plant constituents, such as vitamins A, B, C, and calcium, all support our biology.

For those of you who are curious about edible flowers I highly recommend this book.

Enjoy. Judith

MediMindful Moment Podcast: Meet David Nichtern

In this episode of Cloud 9 Online’s MediMindful Moment Podcast, co-hosts Judith Dreyer, Jeff Nelder, and Henry Edinger interview David Nichtern, a senior Buddhist teacher, meditation guide, musician, four-time Emmy winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and the founder of Dharma Moon and 5 Points Records. David talks about the three dimensions of life being fully integrated, what we can learn from Buddhist practices during this time, and how to utilize mindfulness as a tool in our state of mind.

Episode Highlights:

  • Judith introduces David Nichtern. (00:39)
  • David thinks that his most significant aspect is being eclectic. (1:36)
  • David mentions his book that he wrote entitled Creativity, Spirituality, and Making a Buck. (1:47)
  • David leads the MediMindful exercise. (4:24)
  • David mentions that if you go to a pure view of the phenomenon, everything is unprecedented. (16:20)
  • David shares that from a Buddhist point of view, it’s a great time to practice. Because what was always true is now obvious. (16:35)
  • David shares that mindfulness is the best tool for our state of mind, and it enables us to perceive grounded information and the truth of the situation. (18:51)
  • David mentions that impermanence is considered to be one of three vital descriptions of life as it is. (21:41)
  • David mentions that there are three marks of existence, and only one is impermanence. (24:10)
  • David feels that the contemplative element is significant at this moment. (26:51)
  • David shares that Sister Pema Chödrön is an excellent meditation teacher and she has a book entitled Start Where You Are. (29:24)
  • David thinks that everyone needs some time to play, and creative solutions come out of a sense of less tension, more openness, more sense of play. (32:53)
  • David mentions that in some very advanced Buddhist traditions, they say that noticing, recognizing, and remembering is the main practice. (38:02)

Key Quotes:

  • “Expressing yourself creatively and relating skillfully to everyday life and livelihood and things like that have equal weight. So, you can see as you travel through different communities that sometimes, one is weighted more than the other significantly.” – David Nichtern
  • “Impermanence just simply means that there’s a fundamental dimension of reality in which that’s just simply true. The condition part of reality it’s simply true, you can observe it if it’s given as a contemplation to us, everybody should just think about it for five minutes.” – David Nichtern
  • “As a meditator, just start where you are, you sat down, you took your seat in the middle of a thunderstorm, in the middle of chaos, in the middle of a prison camp, if that’s where you are, just tune in to your body, speech, mind, and work with it from there.” – David Nichtern
  • “Everybody in the entertainment industry knows you’re only as good as your last movie, and that’s true of meditators. There’s no accumulation pot for your experience, it’s fresh every time, and people who are going to tune their mind to that freshness, then there’s a certain kind of sense of creativity and facing adversity.” – David Nichtern

Resources Mentioned:

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: To Read is to Explore, Evolve, Embrace and Emerge: Part 2

 

 

 

 

My guests for this podcast series come from many locations and offer so many resources. I hope you enjoyed Part 1 which summarized 10 books mostly in the sustainable agriculture field whether home garden, farm, or ranch. Today’s podcast summarizes 10 more books, some fiction, non-fiction, one for children, and one for teens. And don’t forget to play. Linda Wiggen Craft, one fo my first guests, is a garden designer and artist. She offers unique mandalas to color, another form of meditation. The transcript below contains the list of books mentioned in this podcast. Most are available through Amazon or their websites.

Again, we hope you will share your favorites, what you liked, and/or found useful. Authors love to know if their creative works touched someone. We spend time choosing our words, describing a concept or a scene. We want our words to carry our message to you, inspire you in some way, even bring in a breath of hope more clearly. My guests, their work, efforts, and outreach tell me that we are making a difference though sometimes it’s hard to see the evidence. We’ll pass your comments on to them too.

To conclude: for me, “Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else, disrupting the delusion that we’re permanent and at the center of the universe. Suddenly (we’re saved!) other people are real again, and we’re fond of them”. —George Saunders
Enjoy. Judith
Transcript: Podcast Part 2 Books 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: To Read is To Explore, Evolve, Embrace and Emerge: Part 1

 

 

 

Reading opens doors not only to our imagination but prods our inner worlds. We travel to unfamiliar landscapes. We explore new ideas, creative thoughts, and learn. Hopefully, we evolve within ourselves too, relating to the human condition through stories both fact and fiction. And lastly, we can emerge changed. We use our inner senses to feel and know the heart of things, the trials, and the suffering.  Some even ask us to question more.

Through the written word we can explore, evaluate, and embrace new values, connections, and maybe expand our inner horizons so that we may make a difference in the outer world. Books! I am a bibliophile, a deep lover of books, and the power of the written word.

As producer and host of the podcast series, Holistic Nature of Us, I talk to folks all over our country, Canada, and even South Africa. I come away inspired by tireless efforts to make a difference here on our planet, one action step, one community, one organization at a time. So, I thought it would be fun to create a podcast that highlights several books from so many outstanding and inspiring guests. My listeners come from all over the US but also the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, Ireland, and more. It’s truly been an exciting project.

So here goes: a podcast created in two parts. There are so many authors and books that I had to divide the list into two and create two podcasts. I hope you enjoy these summaries, why I liked them. I hope you will send us your likes and preferences too. So many of you have written comments and I am really grateful. Who inspires you? We’d love to know.  Enjoy and thanks. Judith

Listen here:

Transcript: Pod Part 1 Books Transcript

Blog: Wangari Maathai: A Vision of Hope, One Tree at a Time

Sustainable and edible landscapes capture our attention and our creativity. Sustainability is a buzz word. It’s how we conserve resources and protect our environment. Yet we seem to favor unsustainable practices in managing our landscapes, our yards, our municipal lands. What’s the difference?

Let’s look at Sustainability: Sustainability means using our resources with the intent of replacing them better than when we began, so we leave something viable for the next seven generations, as my elders would say. One of the primary areas we can change today is the use of our personal yards, front or back, and create, bring in more diversity to improve the overall picture of global warming’s effects. That means we need to rethink lawn. And rethink how we approach nature. Is she something we use regardless of consequences? Or can we see nature as an intelligent entity, that has had 3.8 billion years to refine and define operating systems, so she thrives? How do we fit in as humans managing her resources and gifts? In the big picture, we are a young species.

My podcast guest this week, Dr. Jean Shoinoda Bolen, an activist for women’s rights, mentions Wangari Maathai is her book: Like a Tree. Intrigued I looked up this courageous woman and felt inspired to share her story with all of you. The above movie portrays Wangari Maathai’s vision. She started the Green Belt Movement in Kenya and helped plant thousands of trees turning barren land into a verdant landscape that rebuilt soil, improves water conditions, and gave the community pride and dignity. More importantly, she took one simple action to her community and made a difference.

Sustainability is a vital and invaluable component of getting back to creating holistic environments.

As you look through garden and seed catalogs, rethink your spaces. Research an edible shrub or tree to add food for you and wildlife. Plant a few different native plants to keep our wildlife thriving.

I hope you feel as inspired as I do by one person;’s vision and action that changed her community and left a wonderful legacy. Together we can create a sustainable world and enjoy the journey. We love hearing from you and hope you’ll share your stories with us. Thanks. Judith