Week 11 Challenge: Let It Go

(c) Snapped by Derek
New England Peace Pagoda, Leverett, MA

*WARNING!* This is YOUR time. So, put down the kid, the dishes, the homework. Set aside the bills, the television, the cell phone.  Remember & ask your Self. Do you really have time to read this? If not…say “HECK YES!” and make the time. Gift it to yourself. Everyone needs alone time. Everyone needs to “OM-out” from time to time. Allow yourself this moment. It’s calling you. So, pour yourself some ‘YUM!’, grab a plate of  ‘MMM…’ and make some ‘SHH’ time.

So, dear ones. Hello, how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Let’s have a heart-to-heart, reacquaint ourselves, and get in on the gossip!

This last week was an adventurous & FUN one!

  • Sushi date and walk through the park on Monday. (It was a nice change of pace!)
  • Travelled to the very FIRST Peace Pagoda built in the country in Leverett, MA on Tuesday. (Watered flowers with monks and learned to use an Uchiwadaiko, a hand-held fan drum)
  • Did some genealogy digging in Billerica & Salem, MA on Wednesday. (Met an interesting pair of ghost hunter librarians, what can I say? I make friends fast.)
  •  New England Aquarium Boston Museum of Fine Arts & the Harvard Museum of Natural History on Thursday. (Such a grand tour of the city!)
  • Rested from my travels on Friday. (Took LOTS of naps…lol.)
  • Some guided meditations in Washington Park on Saturday. (What better way to start the weekend?)
  • Enjoyed a marathon of the show Grimm on Sunday. (I’m completely and TOTALLY HOOKED!)

This week was filled with mindful meditation, bones, and 320 year old documents. Drives, ocean spray, and tea cups. Getting home and reflecting on the past was a beautiful end to such a beautiful week!

I am reading Pioneers of Billerica by Shirley Barnes, and rediscovered by copy of David Allen Williams’ A Celebration of Humanism and Freethought. One of my favourites!

Mmm, so dearies, how will you reflect, on your week past?

How will you incorporate last week’s challenge in your daily life? How will you incorporate this week’s?
I would love to hear! Feel free to reply/comment below! Your words are powerful & inspire ME!

This week, I challenge you to “let it go” & LEARN from your past.

Do you have unresolved feelings about a particular situation? Are you feeling like now is the time to make amends? Now is your time to make right what needs to be set free and let go. Even if it is just for yourself. Everyone has things they are not proud of. Sometimes our choices aren’t always perfect. Everyone has a past, others more colourful than others. But the important thing is to LEARN from it, and to not allow your past to dictate your present. Delve into your past and see if there are any patterns you can find. Are there any interesting cycles you find in your own behavior? Are there any interesting stories to tell your friends and little ones? What legacy will you leave behind?

Today’s Affirmation: “Standing on my head, everything seems upside down! Or is it right-side up?

Tuesday’s Affirmation: “May I have the compassion to not judge my every move.”

Wednesday’s Affirmation: “I am strong like bull and sweet as fox.

Thursday’s Affirmation: “I have fallen and shall simply get back up.”

Friday’s Affirmation: “I stand in my own dignity and know that I am enough!”

Saturday’s Affirmation: “All that has happened, has happened before, and will certainly happen again if I am not willing to jump from and out of the cycle.

Sunday’s Affirmation: “I have the power to change my circumstance. I choose sweet happiness.

I wish you well on your Journeys this week! I hope you can allow yourself some time to Let Go…

Namaste…

 *SNEAK PEAK*

Here is Your Extra Somethin’!

Earlier yesterday, I asked “What could I possibly add to this week’s material?”

  1. The Gift of Words: Robert Ingersoll’s “The Humanist Credo.”

Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Wisdom is the science of happiness.

    2. The Gift of Song. World Humanitarian Day performance at the United Nations, “I Was Here” by Beyonce

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i41qWJ6QjPI

    3. The Gift of Art. Claude Monet. Field of Poppies near Giverny, 1890

 

Wells, gotta jet! I have a very important date with a sexy Grimm detective! 

~Derek:. 

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A Bit of History

(c) Snapped by Derek
Inside the Library’s Vital Record Room

So, Tuesday morning I woke up, and decided, “I’m going for a drive.”

I ended up driving for 3 days and traveling over 424 miles.

What can I say, I was stir crazy?

Why might you ask? Well, I had an underlying goal: to pick up my roomie at the Logan International Airport, but also another, a much deeper and heartfelt goal. You see, I have meaning to travel to Boston for over a year now, and the original intent was to not go alone, but now that I am a free man, I had nothing holding me back, nor anything to hold me down. So, I went.

Ever since I discovered that one of my ancestors was a victim of the hysteria influenced by the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, I have had heard an ancestral call to pilgrimage, and see what could be learned.

On 26 September 1692, in the Cambridge prison, Rebecca Shelley Addington died at the age of 67. She was wife to Constable William Chamberlaine where they lived and called home the town of Billerica, a mere 7.5 hour walk west of Salem, which is roughly 20 miles.  Now, I have not been able to acquire testimony or even the charges brought up against her, which may indicate that she was held purely as a material “witness” to “spectral evidence” of evil witchcraft.

It is all very ironic that 320 years later, her 12th generational grandchild would be a self identifying pagan. Irony, or just the truth that we all possess magick in our veins.

I was able to rummage through the Billerica vital records and local historical documents at the town’s library and was able to find the location of the old Chamberlaine Homestead, which has since overgrown, but there are oak trees there that whisper soft memories on the wind.

I was also lucky enough to get some information on the actual location of the old Cambridge prison from the Cambridge Historical Society:

I can’t find any record of a trial or the death of Rebecca Shelley Addington in Cambridge. It is possible that she was tried in Billerica, but they were not able to house her and she was sent to Cambridge. If she was in fact imprisoned in Cambridge, she would have been in a jail that stood at “the northerly side of Winthrop Street, between Winthrop Square and Eliot Street.” (Lucius Paige’s History of Cambridge, 1877 p. 216)

Of note, Lucius Paige writes in his history of Cambridge “In October, 1660, the County Court ordered, that the House of Correction, or Bridewell, should be used as a prison for the County, until further provision be made. Such provision was made by the erection of a jail before Aug. 26, 1692, when it was ordered by the Court, ” that the County Treasurer take care that their majesties Goal at Cambridge be repaired, for the comfortable being of what persons may be committed forthwith.”2

This was when the witchcraft excitement was at its extreme height, and the prisons in several counties were  put in requisition to confine the unhappy victims who were accused in Essex.”

This, of course, does  not mean that Rebecca Addington was in this prison, just that it was likely being used to house people accused of witchcraft on the date you have for her death.

The building does not still exist, in fact there are only two 17th century building still standing in Cambridge and they are both homes that are at least a mile from the center of Harvard Square. There are also no images of this prison that I am aware of.

However, if you are interested in exploring this site, you could go and enjoy lunch at one of a number of restaurants on Winthrop Street, some of which have outdoor seating so you could sit, enjoy a meal and reflect on the very modern building that is on the site of this prison. Of note, Tommy Doyle’s Pub is on the site of the first House of Blues in America, the Red House is in a circa 1802 house, and one wall of Charlie’s Beer Garden is the Winthrop Retaining Wall, which is possibly the oldest man-made structure in Cambridge, possibly dating back to the 1630s.

I hope you enjoy your visit to Cambridge,
The Cambridge Historical Society

(c) Snapped by Derek
On the site of the old William Chamberlaine Homestead

Now, it is unknown where both William & Rebecca were buried. It is quite possible that her body was simply tossed in a swamp or a mass grave, but I have a feeling that William went to Cambridge, collected his wife’s body and then moved to Chelmsford, which is reported where he moved shortly there after her death.

It is my theory that he wanted to get as far away from the craziness of the times as possible and relocated to Chelmsford to stay, which is weird considering his children had homes more south and closer to Boston from Billerica.

I am in the process of researching with the Chelmsford Historical Society, to see what I can find. Perhaps he buried her on the grounds of his new home, where she could be laid to rest in peace away from a town that was caught up in a horrible storm of history.

Week 10 Challenge: Cozy-on-up!

Snapped by ‘Shirley’
Aside some random-ass road in Pennsylvania

*Smiles* Hi!

*WARNING!* This is YOUR time. So, put down the kid, the dishes, the homework. Set aside the bills, the television, the cell phone.  Remember & ask your Self. Do you really have time to read this? If not…say “HECK YES!” and make the time. Gift it to yourself. Everyone needs alone time. Everyone needs to “OM-out” from time to time. Allow yourself this moment. It’s calling you. So, pour yourself some ‘YUM!’, grab a plate of  ‘MMM…’ and make some ‘SHH’ time.

So, dear ones. Hello, how are you as you are entering this time for yourself? Let’s have a heart-to-heart, reacquaint ourselves, and get in on the gossip!

This last week was a slow but FUN one! Here’s a look-see in “A Life of Derek”:

  • Warrior Dash! And an attempted viewing of the Perseid meteor shower on Sunday. (We’ll catch up next year.)
  • Morning Meditation on Monday. (Such a WONDERFUL stretch!)
  • Went to wine glass on Tuesday. (Nose got a bit numb, lol.)
  • Fresh Chocolate Chip cookies & movie on Wednesday. (“A Bit of Heaven” is SUCH a tear jerker, but makes you appreciate what you have now. Life is too short.)
  • Had a yummy vegetarian lunch with a friend on Thursday. (Veggie Tacos & apple danish for dessert! Yum!)
  • Left for the Poconos Mountains in Pennsylvania on Friday. (Found LOTS of metal chickens! Haha…)
  • Morning Mimosas & Swam in Bear Lake on Saturday. (What better way to start the day?)
  • Enjoyed a welcoming night home & fell asleep by the fire cuddling with fury critters & soul sister in the hammock on Sunday. (The woolies and Ms. Beaver kept us warm and happy.)

This week was filled with bachelorette games, ghost walks, and chocolate frogs. Walks, prayer, and song. Cuddling up in blankets in the cold of the night was a beautiful end to such a beautiful week!

I am continuing with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Each day is a new task, a different insight. I also grabbed up Kenneth Meadows’ Shamanic Spirit: A Practical Guide to Personal Fulfillment and fondly flipped through one of my favourites: Ellen Dugan’s Autumn Equinox: The Enchantment of Mabon.

Mmm, so dearies, how will you reflect, on your week past?

How will you incorporate last week’s challenge in your daily life? How will you incorporate this week’s?
I would love to hear! Feel free to reply/comment below! Your words are powerful & inspire ME!

This week, I challenge you to “cozy-on-up!” As the temperatures are descending, it gives us an excuse to get closer together. Grab a blanket, and a friend or loved one and snuggle up with each other. Have some quality time just you and them. You could even invite the whole house. Have fun and see how many you can fit in a bed. Laugh, tickle and tell each other stories. Read together. Sing together. Fall asleep together.

(c) Snapped by Derek
Bear Lake Cabin, PA

Today’s Affirmation: “There is beauty in the world.

Tuesday’s Affirmation: “I am a sweet, sweet love. A love that is mine.”

Wednesday’s Affirmation: “Am I really seeing? Or just my thoughts? I will see without bias.”

Thursday’s Affirmation: “Soft. My touch will be soft and filled with love.”

Friday’s Affirmation: “As the leaves fall, I smile and remember.”

Saturday’s Affirmation: “May I savour the season as it changes. As I too change.

Sunday’s Affirmation: “I shall love. And be loved. And love and love some more. I am worth it.

I wish you well on your Journeys this week! I hope you can allow yourself some time to cuddle…

Namaste…

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Week 9 Challenge: Make Your Life Your Message!

(c) Snapped by Derek
It’s okay. Don’t worry. Those people over there? They’re just jealous. Because they wish they were jumping & dancing in the rain too! So, smile-on rubber duckies! It’s glorious outside!

Aloha! Good morning! Greetings friends!

Before we begin, I want you to STOP. Do you really have time to read this email? If not…leave it for later. A dear friend the other day told me that she always enjoys my emails, and she does so as a part of her daily devotional practice. She STOPS. Makes herself a cup of tea. Lights a candle, cuddles up on the couch, and reads. She takes some time for HERSELF and in doing so, adds more to her time.

So, dear ones. Take a moment, breathe. Relax. Grab something tasty to eat, something yummy to drink, and read the following words to your heart. To your Soul. 

This week was a busy week, but also a fulfilling one!

  • Read, and relaxed, and cleaned the house on Sunday. (Always a good ritual.)
  • Visited with a friend from out of town on Monday. (Such a WONDERFUL surprise!)
  • I stopped to smell the roses & filled out an application to volunteer at the Albany Damien Center on Tuesday. (It’s all about giving back what you can, when you can.)
  • Writer’s block on Wednesday. (It happens to everyone, and was a nice change of pace.)
  • It was nothing but creative radical self-love on Thursday. (Eight pieces of art work done & completed. Oof!)
  • Singing in the Rain through Washington Park & “camping” in the living room on Friday. (FUN! The smell? Glorious!)
  • Peace Walk at the Grafton Peace Pagoda in Petersburg, NY yesterday. (In the wilderness, I fed my Soul the smell of the rain & forest. Mmm…)

This week was filled with S’mores in the fireplace, friends, and poetry. Walks, prayer, and song.  The Grafton Peace Walk was a beautiful end to such a long week!

I am still reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Such an inspiration he is!

Mmm, so dearies, how will you reflect today, on your week past?

How will you incorporate last week’s challenge in your daily life? I would love to hear! Feel free to comment below! Your words are powerful & inspire ME!

This week, I challenge you to “make your life your message,” as Gandhi said. It’s not just about talk, talk, talk. Life is also about action. And you can choose to act in a peaceful, non-violent way with every step you take. It can be hard, but I have faith in you!

Sunday’s Affirmation: “My Life is my Message, and my Message is my Life. ”

Monday’s Affirmation: I choose to open my Self up to the essence of a mystical Life, like a lotus blossom.

Tuesday’s Affirmation: “Stopping to smell the roses, I awaken. I will bloom like a flower.”

Wednesday’s Affirmation: “May I find peace in my steps, and find steps to my peace.”

Thursday’s Affirmation: “Kissing my love out on the wind, I blow blessings for everyone!”

Friday’s Affirmation: “I am allowed to make mistakes. My mistakes are just lessons.”

Saturday’s Affirmation: “Tomorrow is another day to be FABULOUS!

I wish you well on your Journeys this week! I hope you can allow yourself some time to make a message!

Namaste.

Walking for Peace

(c) Snapped by Derek
2012 Grafton Peace Pagoda Walk for Peace

The day started with rain showers.

Buckets and buckets of rain.

From roof top to tree trunk, everything was soaked, wet, and laden richly in colour.
I managed to get one of my friends to come along, who was filled with a sense of  mild-anxiety, of not knowing what to expect. Would we get arrested? Probably not. Would pictures be taken? Probably so. Would she have to sign anything? Not if she didn’t want to. This would be our very first Peace Walk together, and her first taste at how crazy and unpredictable my world can be.

I wanted to show her the grounds of the pagoda first, so she had an idea of the beauty of the place. Every time I go there, my heart sings. Her’s did as well. She was struck by how marvelous the building was, out in the middle of no-where.  Birds chanted in the background, as we could see others patiently prepare for the celebration that was soon to happen in just a short two hours. We were graciously welcomed, and asked to follow a Japanese volunteer into one of the temple’s back rooms. We were welcomed to join in dinner.

It was a marvelous experience to behold: a single woman, Jun Yasuda (a Japanese Buddhist nun) gather and lead so many followers in prayer. In a prayer that honoured everyone and everything that went into creating such a wonderful and delicious meal. It was truly a moment of serendipity. A moment that I was and still am, greatly thankful for.

While we ate, everyone was talking, and sharing in storytelling. Babies were being cradled. Children were running and laughing. The young and the old, each teaching all of us different lessons. There was the Mohawk tribe telling stories of walks past, there were Buddhists, and there were non-Buddhists. Muslims, Christians, and Pagans all celebrating in this wonderful moment. Actually working together! All with a simple and beautiful purpose, to pray for peace. To honour our diversity as a species, and come to walk together in harmony and respect and love.

We walked from the Grafton Town Hall all the way back to the Peace Pagoda, which took about 2 hours in total for a total of a mere 4.3 miles.

We chanted. We sang.
We beat drums. We shook rattles.
We carried flags. We carried, smiles…

Before we began, the skies opened and it started to rain…but the Sun shown even brighter, and we were graced with a rainbow of peace in the sky to reflect the many different rainbows we each were carrying in both our hands and in our hearts.

Na-Mu-Myo-Ho-Ren-Ge-Kyo 南無妙法蓮華經

Literally translated means: “I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra,” or as I like to think of it and affirm:

“I choose to open my Self up to the Essence of a Mystical Life, like a lotus blossom, and sing.”

Once back to the Pagoda, lit paper lanterns and placed them around the Pagoda, each written with a different prayer for peace. With the lights glowing beautifully in the background, we had the pleasure to hear from speakers about nuclear power’s dangers to not only human beings, but to the whole planet.

(c) Snapped by Derek

John Armbruster, a seismologist from the University of Columbia, spoke on the issues with nuclear reactors being built on or near fault lines, and also the dangers of waste from fracking that can actually cause earthquakes.
& Cecile Pineda, activist and author of Devil’s Tango: How I Learned the Fukushima Step by Step,  a reading of truly heart wrenching material!

We also had the pleasure to pray from the Koran, words from St. Francis of Asisi, and the Metta Prayer in Hindi, which was beautifully sung to us  as we all joined in the chorus:

Tera Mangal, mera mangal, sabka mangal ho ( May you, me and everyone around be happy and blessed with goodness)

It gave me chills…

Lastly we were lulled by the musical talents of Eric Marczak Native American flutist.

The stars shone as the crickets and frogs sang along.

Photograph by James Chevalier

I slept well last night.
Namaste.