Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Rev. Br. Mark D’Alessio, Franciscan, Chaplain

Description: This podcast takes a different focus as we deal with COVID – 19 that has hit our planet and our country these past few weeks. We deal with uncertainty, statistics, and isolation as we struggle to handle the implications for our society and the world. Brother Mark’s message is timely. Through the stories of St Francis of Assisi and St Clare, he engages us in a timeless message that our world is Holistic. We are a part of this world, one species interrelated to all species.  I hope you hear St Francis’ message: go do what you came here to do. The time is now.

About My Guest: The Rev. Br. Mark Gregory D’Alessio is a Franciscan friar in the new religious society of the Companions of Francis and Clare. He’s also an interspiritual Christian priest, spiritual director, chaplain, retreat leader, author, and past President and Executive Director of the Psychotherapy & Spirituality Institute, which draws together the inspiration of the church with the wisdom of psychological care.
A graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, he is now a faculty member and community leader. He’s also a faculty member at All Faiths Seminary International for the training of interfaith ministers.  A long-time seeker and practitioner of spiritual wisdom, he’s initiated into multiple spiritual lineages, both East (Buddhist) and West (Christian); does his best to affirm the Christian Wisdom tradition within a wider inter-spiritual framework; and, looks to God’s science and spiritual heroes (such as Thích Nhat Hanh and Francis and Clare of Assisi) as sources of inspiration and hope.  He’s committed, as a Franciscan,  to serving those who are sidelined and at risk.
Currently, Br. Mark lives on Long Island and serves as a crisis counselor and program coordinator at a shelter for men and women who are homeless and as a chaplain at a residential treatment center and school for children with learning and emotional disabilities. Moving to Long Island, he founded the Franciscan Circle, a progressive, interfaith gathering of clergy and lay people who seek to journey in mind and heart with the witness and wisdom of the Saints of Assisi, Francis, and Clare. The Circle is dedicated to developing leaders for thoughtful social action and spiritual care.
The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless awarded Br. Mark with their “Unsung Hero” Award last year.

Transcript: Brother Mark D’Alessio

 

Blog: Hope in Uncertain Times: Living with Paradox.

 

 

 

I have heard it said that the Divine works in paradox. We cannot have light without darkness for example. As I mentioned in a previous post, I keep hearing about hope. One example is Deepak Chopra’s message Hope in the Face of Uncertainty” that he presented at the World Government Summit.

Caroline Myss reminds us that hope is the jewel found at the bottom of Pandora’s box. When we opened pandora’s box, anything goes including evil. But as the story goes, it’s hard to close it again. In fact, it could be impossible. Hope is a jewel found at the bottom of the box. But what does that mean?

In Buddhist teachings, hope can have a more profound meaning.

Hope is a desire of wanting various things or wanting life to be a certain way: hope for a new car, new job, and new love etc. Hope in this way creates an expectation. And if something comes in less than or not at all we can be disappointed or even fall into despair. Any form of fear, not love, moves us into suffering. What’s the gift?

In Buddhism, if we release, let go of expectation because we are and have everything then we can experience an inner state of completeness. We can experience a profound inner change that deeply affects how we move into the world. We can release our cravings. The discipline and practice of letting go can be easy in the moment or take us a lifetime. The point is these teachings give us a way to release suffering.

So how can we be free of hope and be fully present to our experiences? You tell me. I see the paradox of wanting things to be better, the wanting to feel hope in that and knowing I have no idea what the Divine plan is for us in this moment: for me personally or for us globally.

I see so many areas that I wish to change: better care of our topsoil, better care of our water, development that includes the environment in all its forms, better treatment of each other no matter our differences, better care of all species. I hope we are making a difference though it may not be readily visible.

I trust I am where I need to be in my present moment and that is all I know. To trust my inner prompting. To keep on following my heart’s direction. To be fully present to each moment of my day. The rest, as they say, will take care of itself.

Namaste. Judith

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Doug Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home

 

Description: Gardening for Life:  “Chances are, you have never thought of our garden – indeed, of all the space on your property, as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. But that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future.”

Meet Doug Tallamy, who shares his research and extensive knowledge concerning the rapid decline of invaluable species due to our development practices. Can we do something today? Yes. He gives us practical tips for practical sustaining action. Join us for a timely and meaningful discussion.

About My Guest: Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 89 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 36 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for Garden Design magazine. Doug is a Lifetime Honorary Director of Wild Ones and has won the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS 2018 B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.

Podcast Transcript: Transcript Tallamy.

Earth Day: We make a difference with every choice we make.

 

 

 

Earth Day is upon us, April 22nd is the official date. We have many reminders, events, that highlight ways we can do more to reduce, recycle, repurpose stuff. My recent podcast guests, students from the University of CT and others, changed the motto to REFUSE, reuse, recycle. They had suggestions to go along with this reframed motto:

 

  1. When shopping in a supermarket and veggies come wrapped, remove the wrapping and leave it there. Eventually, supermarkets will stop offering styrofoam packed items with plastic wrap.
  2. Reverse bag: forgot your bags in the car? I do this all the time. So? Have checkout baggers place items in your cart and you can bag it when you get back to your car.
  3. “If you plant it, they will come.” Buy a native plant from your plant nursery/garden center. Plant something different to increase your backyard diversity. Better yet try removing a portion of lawn and plant wildflowers or a butterfly garden/pollinator garden. Have you considered planting another tree? One oak can support so much wildlife and they need our help right now.
  4. Make kablooms for Easter gifts, table favors. Buy heirloom seeds, mix with clay and soil, form into balls. They can be tossed onto vacant lots, placed in pots, left in a side bed. Great gifts for the gardeners in your family, but cheap seeds will not yield good results. Buy from reputable sources.
  5. If you are drawn to native American culture, listen to the Algonquin water song: our water needs us today to stop pollution. Everything you plant, including trees help absorb water runoff and that means less water gets washed down our storm drains.
  6. Everything we do affects the next seven generations, every thought, word, and action. Weed your mind of negative thoughts, water and grow gratitude every day, feed your mind and heart with love and kindness.

This earth is an amazing place. We live here and so do countless other species. So many of my podcast guests remind me that she is intelligent and we are surrounded by genius. Many of our fellow species are hurting from the loss of habitat and pollution. Now is the time for practical action and profound inner change so we value her once again. If you haven’t done so, check out my podcasts where I interview a variety of folks with great suggestions for holistic living here on the planet we call home.

What one action can you do today, and make it a part of your daily habits that is sustainable? Share your ideas with us. We appreciate all your comments. Remember we make a difference with every choice we make.  Enjoy. Judith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty and the Bees

 

 

 

On the top of a hill in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Floyd, VA sits a sanctuary devoted to bringing and allowing bees to function and exist as their nature intended. Gardens grace the land with seven types of hives placed in a circle in the midst of plants that support their needs. Though mist and a gentle rain surrounded the day work continued and I was grateful to be of some help at the Spikenard Farm and Bee Sanctuary.

I had the wonderful opportunity to visit this farm and bee sanctuary recently. Lending a hand where needed I met Gunther and Vivien Hauk, author and the founders of the sanctuary. I also met Jane, Summer and Rick sanctuary staff members. Together we planted an annual garden bed working side by side sowing seeds such as flax, poppy, zinnia, and sunflowers to name a few. Together we lightly hoed to tamp the seeds into the turned earth. It is said that “many hands make light work”. It’s true. We had this area seeded and hoed in no time working cooperatively. Teaching, learning, helping got the job done in a pleasurable way. I couldn’t help but wonder what songs my Native American ancestors would sing while getting the job done!

The intentions of supporting and sharing the healing of the bees and supporting the land were part of my purpose in going. After weeding in the vegetable gardens we broke bread, shared stories. Then Gunther and I walked the property edges. He showed me future plans for expansion all in keeping with the concepts of biodynamic farming and beekeeping.

Before I left we checked on a recent swarm. Beautiful combs were formed on the hive slats. I was in awe of the gentleness and caring he and his

staff showed. Vital, intense, committed to giving to the whole is the dynamic of a hive. It was a pleasure and a privilege to visit this lovely and well cared for ground.

I have mentioned the plight of our honeybees in previous articles and discussed the concept of relationships in some measure. Biodynamic farming builds and enriches the soil. Biodynamic beekeeping cooperates with the natural order of the Hive, maintaining the integrity and health of these beautiful creatures. We can co-create with the resources beneath our feet and share these resources supporting the dynamic of respectful partnership.

I highly recommend 2 documentaries:
Queen of the Sun
Vanishing of the Bees

Also, Gunther and his wife are Waldorf School trained teachers. The Biodynamic way of farming comes from Rudolph Steiner as does this education model. For more information on Rudolph Steiner’s model for teaching and Biodynamic farming methods and philosophy visit the highlighted link.

Spikenard Farm relies on the support and donations of you and I. I ask all of you dear family and friends to consider donating to this worthwhile model.

“Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary
445 Floyd Highway North
Floyd, VA 24091
540-745-2153

For donations in stock please email us at[email protected]

All donations are fully tax deductible.

We thank you in advance for your investment in the future of the earth and our life with the bees.”

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Deb Sodergren

Description: Enjoy Deb Sodergren’s return to Holistic Nature of Us as we prepare for the holidays. Author and speaker, Deb shares her wisdom and experience offering tips and suggestions for de-stressing during this busy time of year. Mindfulness, including nature walks, getting out into the fresh air and being grateful keep us centered and grounded as we enjoy family and friends. Join us for a delightful discussion with many practical tips that encourage us to embrace the holidays, family and friends, with love and joy.

About My guest: Deb Sodergren is an Energy Body Vibration Expert/International Speaker/Author and owner of Up Vibrations, LLC. She graduated from the New England School of Metaphysics in 1998, and nationally certified as a Reiki Master Teacher and certified to teach Metaphysics and Meditation. She is also an Infinite Possibilities Certified Trainer.
“My philosophy of healing is based on taking care of my clients with alternative healing modalities and sometimes with traditional allopathic medicine to ensure that the individual’s whole self is being maintained and balanced. I bring to my practice a deep understanding of the human energy field and the body, mind, and spirit connection as well as extensive training in the areas of Reiki, meditation, chakra balancing, vibrational medicine, channeling, death & dying, infinite possibilities mindset and others.”

Transcript:  #41 Deb Sodergren

 

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