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Abundant Earth

Welcome to the sixth edition of Firelight!

This edition of Firelight is curated by Kali Higgins who shares what is alive for her this summer: magic, the wonder and beauty of life that go unnoticed, what really feeds us. Read on for her beautiful reflections and powerful questions.

This month’s curator

Kali Higgins co-creates experiences where people can slow down and tap into their intuition by moving with the rhythms and spirituality of the natural world. In these moments, we (re)find and remember our soul’s purpose and restore our sense of well-being and oneness with the world. Kali is fascinated by life’s big questions and makes it a point to see the beauty in the ordinary. A reluctant mother to two daughters, the newest one being 6 weeks old, she has tossed aside her search for balance in an already wobbly existence and now aims for peace and acceptance with whatever the day brings. (Is that too much to ask? She wonders and stares off into the distance.)

Need some time to get beyond the noise? If you have an hour to spare, Kali invites you to her upcoming, monthly Full Moon Meditation at the Salt Room in Woodbury. If you have a day to spare, she welcomes you to The Healing Power of Flowers Retreat. If you have a weekend, join her at the Sisters Seekers Gathering—a retreat in the woods for women to build community with themselves, one another and the Earth Mother or join her annual Winter Yoga and Meditation Retreat. Read more about all her services and offerings as an herbalist, yoga and meditation teacher at moonriverwellness.com or follow her business and life story on Instagram at @moonriverwellness.

 

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Sixth Edition, by Kali Higgins

July 12, 2017

MUSIC

I used to be a person who only believed a yoga class should be taught in silence, and I still enjoy and teach classes this way. However, that being said, I love putting together playlists for different meditation and yoga and retreat experiences, because I feel music can also be a space holder and an amplifier for what is going on inside us and around us. Naturally, I couldn’t pick just one song for this Firelight edition. Personally being 6 weeks into our baby’s new world and our new life and as a woman who is constantly seeking to understand and live her life as fully as she can, these two songs speak for some of the questions I am facing at present. I hope you can find something to reflect on or be inspired by after a listen or two or three.

Heart of Gold by Neil Young / What are you mining for? What does “heart of gold” mean to you? Is this searching something you mine for through experiences outside of yourself or is it something that you uncover from within?

No Hell by Cloud Cult / Where do you find magic in your life? Did you ever stop believing in magic? How did you bring it back to life? One line of the song says, “The best things we’ve learned we’ve learned from the wreck.” Was there ever a time you were wrecked but actually delivered? When was a time your heart was broken, only to grow back bigger?

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POEM & SHORT FILM

I’ve recently had to give up dairy due to some challenges we are facing with our newest daughter’s health (and my addiction to it). Before I ended my love affair with dairy, there was nothing I enjoyed more than a buttery, syrupy pancake at a diner, of course, not even to be eaten as the main feature of the meal. The only way I would seem to partake in eating pancakes was after being completely stuffed with eggs and protein, to only then indulge in the sugary waste (excess) of a buttermilk pancake.

I didn’t always used to be a pancake person. But I have always been one to eat my emotions. Mindfulness has played a big role in helping notice and shift how I take in the world. This poem I am sharing is one that I enjoy as a reminder of all that we eat/take in and how easy it is for the wonder and beauty of life to go unnoticed maybe even swallowed or gulped down without chewing.

I ate the Cosmos for Breakfast, Poet Melissa Studdard, Director Dan Sickles 

words as seen in the short film:

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I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast

by Melissa Studdard

—After Thich Nhat Hanh

 

It looked like a pancake,

but it was creation flattened out—

the fist of God on a head of wheat,

milk, the unborn child of an unsuspecting

chicken — all beaten to batter and drizzled into a pan.

I brewed my tea and closed my eyes

while I ate the sun, the air, the rain,

photosynthesis on a plate.

I ate the time it took that chicken

to bear and lay her egg

and the energy it takes a cow to lactate a cup of milk.

I thought of the farmers, the truck drivers,

the grocers, the people who made the bag that stored the wheat,

and my labor over the stove seemed short,

and the pancake tasted good,

and I was thankful.

 

This poem is a part of Melissa Studdard’s first poetry collection “I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast”(Saint Julian Press 2014). It first appeared in Dash Literary Journal in Spring 2010). The poem and poetry video is shared here with the permission of the author and Motionpoems. www.motionpoems.com

 

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  • Is it possible to overeat? How are you digesting/taking in your experience of life? Are you taking time to savor all that you eat in from fork to spoon?

  • What else are you taking in from all the senses beyond just taste and smell—your eyes, your ears…your feelings?

  • How are you processing your emotions? Do they taste good? Are you thankful for them? Or resentful? Or do you have some other reaction?

  • When was the last time you were present enough to notice that you ate the Cosmos for breakfast?

 

READING

“The more something is shared, the greater its value becomes.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Right now I am reconfiguring around how and why I do business as an herbalist and teacher, as well as how I engage with what I co-create and sell as “products” and services. It becomes tricky when the gifts and lessons come from Mother Earth—in fact, some would say for a plant to be sacred it cannot be sold.

So how can I possibly be an herbalist as my living (get paid) and teach Earth Medicine while also honoring nature’s laws? A lot of the answer for me has been about cultivating a strong relationship to nature and giving back in small and big ways wherever I can. Also, a big part of my teaching as an herbalist is dedicated to talking about the importance of being in right relationship with the plants and Mother Earth. There is no simple answer here though, and I am living my way through the answer.

If you have ideas for me, I am all ears, please send me a note, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Until then, enjoy this passage from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer from the chapter called “The Gift of Strawberries.” I find it speaks to my heart’s feelings about our world’s current way of commodifying the natural world and how it needs to shift. I want to be part of rewriting this story. Do you?

Strawberries belong only to themselves. The exchange relationships we choose determine whether we share them as a common gift or sell them as a private commodity. A great deal rests on that choice. For the greater part of human history, and in places in the world today, common resources were the rule. But some invented a different story, a social construct in which everything is a commodity to be bought or sold. The market economy story has spread like wildfire, with uneven results for human well-being and devastation for the natural world. But it is just a story we have told ourselves and we are free to tell another, to reclaim the old one.

One of these stories sustains the living systems on which we depend. One of these stories opens the way to living in gratitude and amazement at the richness and generosity of the world. One of these stories asks us to bestow our own gifts in kind, to celebrate our kinship with the world. We can choose. If all the world is a commodity, how poor we grow. When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become.

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer p.31

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

  • What does a gift mean to you?

  • We live in a world that is now opening to the message of us needing to share our gifts with the world—but often used in our ‘work”—getting paid. How does this work? Is it in conflict with the nature of gift giving?

  • How do you balance what you work for versus what you gift/give?

  • Does a gift only remain a gift when it is free of all attachments?

  • Can you offer a gift with a price tag?

  • How are you giving back to the Great Mother that feeds you? How do you partake in the current story of commodification?

  • Where could you share/give a little more in your life?

  • How do you cultivate gratitude and generosity?

May you grant yourself space and quiet to reflect on these questions, to sense the abundance of the earth around you, and your call to contribute to its wholeness and healing.