shadow skin self-portrait

shadow skin self-portrait

Sunday, August 13, 2017

My Daughter Katana

Tomorrow at 6:06am my Daughter Katana will be 28 years old. I have always been extremely proud of her, but I am moreso now than ever. Katana has become the strongest woman I have ever met. Despite so many difficulties, she remains completely focused and absolutely determined to continue improving education here, preparing her students for this challenging world, and supporting fellow educators in this ongoing battle. She actively supports and promotes a genuine love for eco-harmony and egalitarian society everywhere. She is steadfast by her loved ones, family and friends alike, and is always soulfully available for laughter and tears and sharing Life. For me, celebrating my Daughter's Birthday is one of the most important Celebrations of Life every year. I'm the luckiest mama in the world to know her.

O Bon (Old Calendar)

Today begins the 3 day lead up to the climax of O Bon Matsuri in Japan (Old Calendar, directly related to the Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival). Here's the Wiki Quickie about O Bon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Festival

Thursday, August 10, 2017

a year ago ...

One year ago today I found out that the lymphatic cyst in my neck was NOT Necrotic as had been flagged in an MRI (Yay!), and I was about to find out that against all odds and to the great surprise of my doctor, me, and everyone else, my lumbar puncture results indicated I almost certainly did NOT have Multiple Sclerosis at that time. Unfortunately no one was willing to accept my ACA based insurance to do more testing, and I have been completely on my own since, not knowing exactly what I have that is so very R/R MS like and just trying to figure out how to manage my condition as it has continued to get worse on top of already having ongoing ovarian cyst issues. 44 was a REALLY rough year for me, and I'm hoping 45 is better.

a new haiku: rain gently falling

Rain gently falling:
Tears of peace and happiness
In the cool gray air.
~ Mihoshiryu Senninë


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Risshu

August 7>8 is Risshu, which begins Aki (Autumn) in Japanese Tradition. August has been known as Haochizuki (month of falling leaves).

Happy Birthday to Whimble and Naome the Cats!

Today my Daughter Katana and I celebrate the known 9th Birthday of Whimble the Burmese (long hair Siamese) Cat, as well as the estimated 3rd Birthday of Naome the Blond Tabby Cat who came to live with us a year and a half ago. I photographed this paired portrait of our Kitties on Mother's Day this year here at our new home when they were getting their first experience outside in our patio. We love our Kitties very much and are grateful to have them in our lives every moment!
 
 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Today is my 45th Birthday

In addition to the Full Moon in Aquarius and Lunar Eclipse along with Tanabata Matsuri (Old Calendar) today, I will be 45 years old at 5:40pm this evening. My Birthday Wish is that being 45 will go a lot better than being 44 did for me. Aside from that I hope everyone has a really lovely day and makes at least a moment to Celebrate Life along the way. Cheers!

Monday, July 31, 2017

First Harvest

Tonight and tomorrow is the beginning of this year's First Harvest. May we all enjoy good health and having what we need! For the Wiki Quickies on how this is typically celebrated in Europe and North America, please refer to Lughnasadh https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lughnasadh and Lammas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lammas

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Our Birthday Season

Tonight marks the beginning of my Daughter's and my Birthday Season :D This weekend the Sun begins its Leo transit. The Dark > New Moon occurs in Leo at about 3:45 am our time tomorrow / Sunday morning. Mercury will enter the last fifth of it's transit through Leo. Plus, just like we got 2 Dark > New Moons in Taurus earlier this year, we will get a second Dark > New Moon in Leo at 3:30 pm our time on August 21st because the Sun will still be in Leo rather than having already entered Virgo. The Sun will complete its Leo transit on August 22nd and enter Virgo on the 23rd. This should make for a Grrrreat ;) period of revitalization and creative passion!

Friday, July 14, 2017

My Tisane and Tarot Card this morning reads: The Hierophant

My Tisane & Tarot Card this morning reads "The Hierophant: Faith in tradition and the old school. A justified and ancient source of power. Being supportive, sympathetic and loyal. Receiving instructions, learning, guidance or inspiration. The ability to hear a higher or inner voice. May also indicate a religious ritual, such as a marriage or an initiation."

July / New Cal O Bon

After having such interesting insights throughout July / New Cal Tanabata, I have decided to go ahead and celebrate July / New Cal O Bon during this weekend this year too. I will, of course, still celebrate August / Old Cal Tanabata and O Bon as well on my and my daughter's birthdays next month as usual. Here's the Wiki Quickie about O Bon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon_Festival

Thursday, July 13, 2017

General Update

General Update: 1. At this point we have officially begun mediation through the B3 against our previous landlords, which we anticipated. They have no legit case against us, so this issue will almost certainly be resolved during this stage rather than going into actual arbitration.; 2. Our internet service has been on and off on a regular basis throughout each day every day since the storms returned again. Weirdly enough, we have not been consistently losing service during either the rain or the calm bits. Whether or not we have service doesn't seem to actually be determined by any particular conditions save for the blatant big picture issues with local infrastructure in general. Fortunately we're still managing to deal with everything we absolutely need to online despite this ongoing inconvenience.; 3. For nearly one week now and counting I have been managing intense nerve pain in various parts of my body and/or ovarian cyst related pelvic pain almost nonstop, so I've gotten just about no exercise at all again. My ability to sleep has fluctuated quite a bit for weeks now (sometimes I sleep very well and other times I'm awake most of the night). My GI Tract has barely functioned at all on its own for about 3 weeks now / approximately since I quit drinking coffee in the morning regardless of drinking chamomile in the morning instead most of the time since, drinking lots of water throughout every day and eating plenty of fiber (both grain and veggie types) consistently, taking probiotics and a multivitamin, and proper sleep and/or exercise when those have worked out well. This is, of course, frustrating, but for the most part I've actually been handling it all fairly well, especially since last Friday evening when the pain hit hard and settled in to stay for who knows how long this time. Most of what I've been focusing my mind on and been dreaming about has been and continues to be very enjoyable, and I am very grateful for that, as I am also deeply grateful for my loved ones.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

2 years and 2 days

As of today, my Daughter Katana and I have lived in the Greater New Orleans Area of Louisiana for 2 years and 2 days, having relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

'Combat Harmony' Notes from Dreamwork

Here's what I learned in the Dream I woke from this morning
(7/11/2017; ref. Neri Alchemical Hex Project) ...


Monday, July 10, 2017

Insights into Yama-no-Kami and Kodama-sama

Though I normally wait until August to celebrate according to the Old Calendar, this year I have ended up concluding the July / New Calendar Tanabata Matsuri with some Witching Hour revelations …
Empress Jingu [inspiration for the Onna-Bugeisha (Female Samurai) Legacy] and associated Himiko (the Shaman Queen) are traditionally depicted exactly how I envision Kariudo Yama-no-Kami. This includes use of both Pole Arm and Archery (a la Bendis > Dziewona and Artemis > Diana), as well as Lunar and Solar Balance and Elemental Powers.
Neri (“Beneficial Sound”, Japanese), the Ancestral Tree Root Goddess in the River Gorge I dreamed of and have worked with since, correlates with the Japanese Kodama, originally comparable with the Greek Dryad (before the the super cute bobble head type depiction in the modern film 'Princess Mononoke'), which is additionally associated with Yamabiko, when sounds make a delayed echoing effect in mountains and valleys. Kodama-sama are also associated with Hitodama, Yosei, and Yokai (especially Obake). Rather than the traditional Cleyera japonica or even my proposed Jomon Period staple acorn providing Evergreen Oak, the Sakaki (Sacred Evergreen Tree) associated with Kodama-sama is the Sugi (Cryptomeria) type of Cypress tree (also sacred to Artemis the Greek Goddess of the Hunt). Now I know why I felt compelled to place my locally found Cypress root driftwood in the Sakaki slot for my Portable Shinto Kamidana.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Matsuri in July

I probably explain this every Summer lol I celebrate Tanabata on my Birthday and OBon on my Daughter Katana's Birthday in August according to the original traditional lunisolar calendar that predates Japan's adoption of the western calendar during the Meiji Period, which is what switched those festivals to July. Gion is an Old District of the beautiful City of Kyoto. famous for many delights ranging from ancient temples to the geisha legacy, and is celebrating its history this month. Please check out this great article at Green Shinto about that. http://www.greenshinto.com/wp/2017/07/04/gion-festival-foreigners-perspective/

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Exercise Options and Coffee as Dessert Occasionally

A Couple Positive Updates and Thoughts ...
Exercise Options: At long last, conditions are now such with both the weather and my body that going for workout walks in the morning or evening is now an option again for awhile. I walked about four and a half miles yesterday morning (just above my minimum for a workout walk), and I'm grateful for that. The two workouts I posted yesterday morning prior to that walk are great as indoor options, although I've enjoyed dancing outdoors plenty in the past. I can also mix and match a little, such as enjoying a shorter 'warm up' walk, and then EITHER the abs - thigh - glut routine followed by yoga OR some belly dance and yoga. In the past I would have been able to enjoy a workout walk and both of the other two exercise options on most days no problem, but these days are a bit different, and I'm just glad I can be physically active to any degree on any of them. If there are days to come when I can enjoy all of all three, I assure you I will!
Coffee as Dessert Occasionally: Drinking a simple chamomile tisane every morning instead of coffee has gone fine the past few days. It was definitely the right choice right now. Over the past few days I have realized that I love my coffee best as either an iced mint mocha or a hot spicy mocha, which means I actually love coffee as a type of dessert. I can still enjoy coffee as a dessert occasionally, like any other sporadic treat. I just can't start every day with a mug of coffee at this point, and that's fine. That I'm not even missing.
 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

My Belly Dance Workout for Exercise, Physical Therapy, and Pleasure (Prop Work Not Included)

My Belly Dance Workout for Exercise, Physical Therapy, and Pleasure (Prop Work Not Included)
(©2017, 2013, 2009, 2005 Irina-Sofia Albamare All Rights Reserved.)

How to Breath
Rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth with teeth and lips closed and relaxed. Through the nostrils, inhale with inward bodily movement, and exhale with bodily outward movement.

Balanced Posture and Movement
Align the spine with the central axis of the body, letting the chin rest just barely below 'level' when still. Allow the pelvis to relax so that it can be directed by the abdomen Attune yourself to the sixteen directions (eight horizontal and eight vertical). Keep knees aligned with toes when bent. Use broad stances and rolling steps when moving about. Details on how to lead the flow of movement will be explained in each section of the dance moves.

Regarding Belly Dance Movement
To dance well, you must compose correct posture. Your movements should be relaxed and controlled with intention, neither rigid nor sloppy. Attune yourself to the rhythm and tempo of the music you are dancing to in order to time your movement. Attune yourself to the mood of the melody to translate into types of movement expression. Dance moves can be varied by performing them symmetrically, in alternation, spiraling, circling, moving front-to-back, side-to-side, thrusting or bouncing (a.k.a. 'beats'), rhythmic tempo variation, or isolation. Core dance moves can be alternated, combined simultaneously, and/or combined in sequence. These moves can be found in various dance traditions around the world, and have as many names as there are languages. Thus, the names for these moves in have been selected using descriptive words found in the predominant language among current students (in this case, American English and a little ballet-associated French), while including common Belly Dance lingo. Cultural origins, the animal kingdom, and features from the natural environment have all provided inspiration for Belly Dance moves. Commonly used Belly Dance lingo and names of moves reflect this. Use the psychological feeling and imagery that these terms evoke to enhance the expression of the dance moves they refer to.

Upper Body Moves
Head and Neck - gently syncopated head & neck movements, keeping chin level
sliding the head side-to-side ('Hindu Head')
front-to-back ('Chicken Head')
circling the head ('Voodoo Head')
tilting the head slightly with the chin level while at a ¾ turn
glancing back over-the-shoulder
Shoulders – relaxed, and keeping equal with upper back
rolls (alternating or solo)
sways (rocking front-to-back in alternation or solo)
thrusts (pushing forward in alternation or solo)
figure 8's (alternate looping side-to-side)
shoulder shimmies (rapid alternate thrusts)
Arms – The elbows lead arms and flow out through fingertips, wrists lead hands, and knuckles lead fingers. Reverse the flow by leading from fingertips on through the shoulder. Do not fold-in/collapse movements. While passing over the face briefly can be appealing, never block the face from view with a sustained move.
arms extended to each side with hands at hip, shoulder, or overhead levels
gracefully tracing random patterns in the air while keeping to the beat
undulation ('Snake Arms' or 'Cobra Arms', alternating or solo)
cascades ('Waterfall Arms', simultaneous or solo)
spiraling ascent or descent (alternating, simultaneous, or solo)
circles (alternating, simultaneous, or solo)
extending both to one side ('Hula Arms', upper arm fully extend and lower arm bent)
Ballet: demi, croisee, Arabesque, 'easy' brise, developpe / enveloppe
framing face (Egyptian, i.e. while doing 'Hindu Head')
Wrists, Hands, and Fingers
(ref. Tai Chi Chuan and Gung Fu) Pushing Palm, Standing Palm, and Bird Beak/Hook
flat palm bent down at wrist with fingers closed ('Snake Hand')
rounded palm bent up at wrist with splayed fingers ('Dragon Claws')
pageant wave (hand up, fingers together, twisting gently at the wrist)
bent at right angle at wrist with palm up or down (Egyptian or 'Cleopatra')
wrist circles, figure 8's, and croisee
hand undulations, frappe 'beats'
open (feminine) or closed (masculine) fingers
finger frappe 'beats, circles, wave, ripple, and pushes
The Butterfly: wrist croise with wrist circles and rippling fingers, can be done while switching wrists in a cascade
Ball Hands: gently opened mirrored hand movement as if holding or rolling an imaginary ball between them
An attitude of reaching far while keeping hands fluid, soft, and either flat or slightly raised, usually with fingers together
Snake Arms with Wrist Rolls
Hula Arms with Wrist Rolls
Swimming Arm Undulations
Alternating Palm Rolls Raised Overhead
Pulling Inward / Pushing Outward, and Gathering Arms
Sweeping 'Karate Chop'
Heaven – and – Earth one arm rounded and raised with palm up and other arm rounded and lowered with palm down
Crescent Arms both arms extended out to form a rounded crescent shape, fingers bent to complete it
Crossover Sweeps and Wipes, which may include a gentle thigh slap or swirling embellishments
Fanning Hands flat hands fanned downward by bending wrists, which is led by bending elbows
Alternate wrist - -over – wrist rolls while rising or falling; holding wrists together while reaching
Smack the Sky (fast) and Raise to the Sky (slow) one or both arms reaching with fists or palms
Energy Washing by raising arms overhead than gathering hands down to cascade over body
Using Mudras and/or other sign language/hand gestures

Exercise: Find Your Belly
Lay on your back, and relax. Take deep, full belly breaths. Massage your belly with a clockwise motion. Never massage your belly counterclockwise because it goes against the digestive flow, and can cause colon problems. Do rapid, tiny, belly contractions (Belly Flutters). While still on your back, move your sides and hips slightly to feel the abdominal connection.

Torso Moves
This is the emphasis of Belly Dance. Note the trilateral axis of the torso, composed of 1. ribcage 2. abdomen, & 3. pelvis. Keep the back relaxed and centered, while directing movements with the abdomen, rather than with the hips, feet, etc. The movement directed by the abdomen flows out through the lower limbs, which move in natural response to the abdominal catalyst.
Ribcage – movement directed by the upper abdomen
lift/drop (raise with top of abdomen, then gently release)
circles, semicircles, spirals (add lift), and figure 8's (alternate looping side-to-side)
slides (side-to-side) and thrusts (front-to-back)
Abdomen and Back – movement directed by the middle abdomen/waist
backbends (convex spine while leaning back) and back semicircle swing (concave spine while leaning back, swaying side-to-side with ribcage lifts for 'finishing' accents)
belly flutters (tiny rapid contractions)
belly rolls (vertical – drawn in with lift, then release while letting down, and horizontal/spiral – side-to-side while drawn in one way and pushing out the other)
alternating oblique slink (alternating up-slides)
side-to-side slides (from the waist up)
dipping forward and down, then rolling the spine (and thus torso) upright ('Snake Dance')
Pelvis and Hips – movement directed by the lower abdomen
lift (Egyptian, - motion flows out) and drop (Tunisian, - motion flows in)
thrusts (pushing forward in alternation or solo)
side-to-side slides (hips remain equal)
circles: full, half, and quarter; tiny rapid circles
sways (side-to-side slides with gently alternating lifts)
figure 8's (alternate looping side-to-side with gently alternating lifts)
rolls (solo or alternately rolling hips over front-to-back, called 'Maya')
hip shimmies (loose alternating thrusts)
Full Torso
full torso rolling undulation ('Camel', Arabic – lead with lower abdomen, inc. pelvis, then roll up the spine out through the nape of the neck)
full torso spiraling (as isolated segments in turn or in graduated alternation)
full torso vertical figure 8's ('Taxim', Turkish – horizontal belly roll with ribcage lifts and hip sways)
pushing the chest forward, chest bump / beat
bending forward (can include either circles or rolls),  bowing deeply, twisting
bending and slinking to each side-to-side

Exercise: Find Your Beat
Experiment with attuning yourself to quarter time rhythms at different tempos, using different parts of your body. For example, tap your feet, clap your hands, snap your fingers. Then, begin allowing your shoulders, abdomen, and hips respond to the beat in the same way.

Lower Body Moves
Legs, Feet, and Toes - When raising a leg, roll the foot up from heel to toe for fluid bounce up that reduces stress on the knee (for walks and raising the leg). When touching back down, roll the foot from toe to heel for a soft, balanced landing. When moving a raised leg, the knee leads, letting the motion flow out through the toe tips, ankles leading feet, and knuckles leading toes. The flow of motion is not reversed with the leg. Do not collapse moves.
Stances:
Chinese Stances -
feet parallel and shoulder-breadth apart ('Basic Stance')
weight on back foot with other foot lightly stepped forward ('Tree Stance')
(ref. Tai Chi Chuan and Gung Fu) Bow-and-Arrow (forward lunge), Horse (squat with legs apart), Empty/Cat (one legged squat with other leg forward, forward foot resting weightlessly), Single Leg (with other leg raised and bent at knee), 40%-60% (reverse lunge), Twisted Horse (squat with lower legs crossed under knees), and Deep Side Lunge
Indian Stances -
basic Agratala 1 (support foot is flat on the floor, while forward foot has heel lifted and toes either flat on floor/ground or pointed), and Agratala 3 (reverse lunge / extend the back leg and lift heel of back foot, toes flat on the floor)
Compare Indian stances with Ballet positions... Agratala 1 with Ballet Positions (BP) 3 (& 4), Agratala 2 with BP 2, Agratala 3 with fencing lunge, Ancita with BP 4, Kuncita with BP 5, Nisanoru with BP 2 en plie, Samapada with BP '6', Tryasra with BP 1restes (pausing the raised leg in a stance – touch, but do not press foot against other leg)
plies (both knees bent outward, such as with Nisanoru), and courtseys (back/supporting leg bent while forward leg is extended and straight – a variation on Agratala 1)
gradual knee bend descent with legs close together (add hip lift/drop, sway, or roll to this)
steps (Note: Tap the heel or ball of the foot to the beat upon touchdown to add a Flamenco-like accent to a step): Agratala 1 (support foot is flat on the floor, while forward foot has heel lifted and toes either flat on floor/ground or pointed), Agratala 3 / reverse lunge (extend the back leg and lift heel of back foot, toes flat on the floor), front-to-back rock, switching front-to-back, and turning / pivot step
walks: tiny 'beat' steps, shuffle steps (more of a stroke than a strike of the foot against the floor/ground with each step), each step with hip lifts (Egyptian), with hip drops (Tunisian), or with hip rolls, Camel walk (step with 'Camel' torso undulation), shimmy walk (step with hip shimmy), weaving steps ('Grapevine', crossing over in front with Agratala 1, then Samapada, then crossing over in back with Agratala 3, and repeat), pas de cheval ('Horse', lifting the knee and slinking the lower leg forward with each step), pas de chat ('Cat', each step turned out and crossing over the other, toe-to-heel), sliding steps (step to the side, then slide the other foot along its ball to join the other at the ankle), side stepping, triangle stepping
For a Japanese attitude, emphasize broad horse stance, A – line stance, 4th Ballet position, deep side lunges, broad forward lunges, squatting with knees and ankles together, knee – dip mini – squat
Ballet: battements (straight leg raise and lower), developpes/enveloppes (segmented leg raise and lower), croisee (crossing over), ronds (drawing a semicircle or crescent with straight leg and pointed toe), and Arabesques (centered support leg, opposite arm and leg extension –  e.g. right leg back and left arm forward and up equal in opposition to the back leg – and other arm forward and level.
The standing Arabesque posture is the X of balance.)
turns: spinning/twirling (such as with arms extended and head tilted, using tiny steps to revolve), pirouette (lead with the pointed toes of raised bent leg e.g. if the right leg is raised, the direction of the turn is to the left), fouette (lead the the knee of raised bent leg, e.g. if the right leg is raised, the direction of the turn is to the right)

Exercise: Find Your B'n'B (Base and Bass)
Sit in the Lion asana, take deep fully belly breaths, and lower your voice. Do belly flutters and the 'Camel' torso undulation in this position. Then, sit on the floor/ground, rock back-and-forth and side-to-side, and roll over onto each hip, while taking deep full belly breaths and doing belly flutters. Recline on each side, with one or both legs extended outward, and do the same. This helps you ground your center and balance.

On the Floor ('Floorwork')
Position yourself raised up on your knees. This is the inverted Y of balance. Add any moves performed from the hips up. Do NOT use raised inverted Y position if knees are damaged in any way.
drop to one knee (palms touchdown flat on the floor/ground before knee gently touches down, while other leg bends, which can be extended, and lowered or raised from there) – make this look 'Egyptian' by lowering behind to heel with the underleg or 'Oriental' by rolling over onto the hip of the underleg, to both knees (spread apart), kneeling with back bend dipping and raising
other variations such as widely parted knees, one knee kneeling and one knee raised position, both knees kneeling with knees widely parted and heels together, or forward knee raised with hind knee kneeling
Seiza (formal Japanese sitting position) / Lion Yoga asana (shins flat on the floor, legs folded, sitting on heels, with torso erect), Beetle Yoga asana (shins flat on the floor, legs folded, sitting on heels, with torso stretched forward against thighs, and arms extended forward)
crawling: like a Lizard (with side-to-side and forward motion of shoulders), or like a Cat (with rolling front-to-back motion of the shoulders); Roll the spine upright when returning to inverted Y position.
Y-to/from-Z Transition: Going from Y to Z, extend palm to be flat on the floor/ground next to hip being gently rolled onto, while the opposite leg becomes extended. Going from Z to Y, tuck extended leg while rolling up off opposite hip and raising palm from the floor/ground.
Position yourself on one hip, with underleg tucked, and supporting forearm  and palm flat on the floor/ground (Egyptian or 'Cleopatra' Recline). This is the Z of balance. Add any moves done from the hips up, plus leg (from the knee down), ankle, and toe spiraling for extended raised leg)
upper leg lowered or raised with upper leg tucked and lower extended (reverse of 'Cleopatra', which sustains the Z of balance, but limits movement to the upper arm)
Position yourself on your coccyx (tailbone) while supporting with palms flat on the floor/ground. This forms a tetrahedron of support and balance.
with lower leg, ankle, and toe spiraling for extended raised leg(s)
both legs extended and raised in parted V-spread
crossover leg switch (with leg extended while raised to crossover one at a time)
Doing the splits (variations): back and front legs bent with knees turned out ('Flying'), back leg extended with front leg tucked under ('Stag'), back leg tucked under with front leg extended ('Hurdle'), back and front legs fully extended ('Scissors'), or both legs fully extended out to each side ('Straddle')
Lifts while laying supine: ribcage lift, pelvic lift, or Bridge position
Rolling (variations): flat with legs together, with arms pushing up torso at raised intervals ('Cobra Roll', named after the Cobra Yoga asana), or incorporating a variation of the splits with your legs

Exercise: Find Your Beauty
Nature makes us beautiful, so we don't have to settle for perfection. Facing a mirror (preferably full-length), consider all the things you like about yourself physically. Contemplate your favorite aspects of your personality, and the types of themes that you find interesting. Consider elements, flora, and fauna in Nature that you are drawn to. Think of your favorite Belly Dance moves, how these moves make you feel when you are performing them, and why you like them. Note the correlations that support complimentary balance between all these personal beauties.

My Lower Abdominal, Inner Thigh, and Glut Workout Followed by Supportive Hatha Yoga Asanas

My Lower Abdominal, Inner Thigh, and Glut Workout Followed by Supportive Hatha Yoga Asanas
(©2017 Irina-Sofia Albamare All Rights Reserved.)

Standing Twist:
Stand with feet hips width a part. Tighten abs and twist at the waist, first with arms raised, then with arms 'punching' to each alternating side, and then finally with arms 'pulling up' to each alternating side. Reverse order and repeat.

Standing Squat – Pump:
Stand with your feet hip width apart, pushing your hips back so that your weight goes down into your heels. Squat down and pump your pelvis with small up and down movements.

Standing Side Squat – Lunges:
Stand with your feet a little more than hip width apart and push your hips back so that your weight goes into your heels. Squat down while lunging to each side, bending one knee at a time as you twist at the waist in each opposite alternating direction.

'Donkey Kicks' / Alternating Back Leg Extensions:
Support yourself on the floor with your hands (or elbows) and knees. Raise one leg at a time to slowly extend into a back kick, then pull back in and repeat.

V Leg Lifts:
Lie on your back with your legs raised straight up to align your feet with your hips. Slowly lower out and raise in both legs at the same time.

Reverse Crunches:
Lie your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees. With your palms facing down, place your arms by your sides for support. With abs contracted and your back pressed into the floor, curl your knees towards your chest as your exhale, lifting your butt off  the floor. As you inhale, lower your legs until your feet almost touch the floor.

Roll Up:
Lie on your back with legs extended, knees together, feet flexed, arms overhead. Inhale. As you exhale, lift arms up and forward, and use your abs to slowly roll up to a sitting position. Squeezing abs again, slowly lower down to starting position.

Straight Leg Raise:
Lie on your back, place hands under your low back, and brace your core. Lift straight legs slowly off the ground, then slowly lower them back to the ground.

Pelvic Lifts:
Lie down with your arms at your sides and your knees bent. Place your feet hip width a part, flat on the floor. Squeeze your bottom and slowly lift it off the floor, then lower without touching the floor, and repeat.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with Nauli:
Lay on your back with limbs fully extended out flat on the floor in a relaxed stretch. Exhale and draw your abs completely in. Churn your abs in a clockwise circular motion. Stop, inhale and release. Repeat.

Basic Pranayama Practice: breathing through the nose, the abdomen expanding & contracting.

Supportive Hatha Yoga Asanas …

Mountain posture (Tadasana)
Tree posture (Vrksasana) with Namaste mudra (before heart) or Anjali mudra (overhead)
Camel / Standing Back Bend (Purva Pratana Sthiti)
Downward Dog (Adhomukha Svanasana)
Warrior (Virabhadrasana)
Pelvic Lift (Setu Bandhasana)
Rib Lift / Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Cat (Biralasana)
Cobra (Bhujangasana)
Lion (Simhasana)
Staff (Dandasana)
Hurdle Stretch (Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottasana)
and with knee outward variation (Janu Sirasana)
Forward Bend with Legs Parallel (Paschimottanasana),
Forward Bend with Legs Spread Out (Upavista Konasana)
Cobbler (Baddha Konasana)
Cow Face (Gomu Khasana)
King Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
Hero (Virasana)
Child (Balasana)
Seated Sage Twist (Marichyasana)
Plow (Halasana) and Deep Plow / Knees-to-Ears (Karnapidasana)
Supine Side Twist (Jathara Parivartanasana)
Supine Triple Diamond (Vajrasana)
Supine Knees-to-Chest
Corpse Posture (Shavasana)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Bottom

Ok. I've hit bottom again, and this time, rather than make the usual mistakes of 'looking up' and 'bouncing back' and all that BS, I'm gonna stay here for awhile, let the dust settle, and get real clear on what exactly this is, because THIS is where I'm really at and what I actually have to accept. 'Bottom' is what turns into the foundation for whatever can be from here.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My 6/25/2017 Health Update

(Warning: NONE of this is even remotely sexy. I'm truly sorry. Really. You have no idea how sorry I am lol): The last couple of times I've checked my Blood Pressure at CVS it's been 107/75 and then 115/73, which is fine. In both cases my Pulse was 80 due to too much coffee. As of tomorrow morning, I will be drinking a simple chamomile tisane instead of coffee. I don't even have any coffee left to drink tomorrow so this plan will definitely go into effect. Coffee has given me a lot of trouble like this before. I quite cold turkey last time for two and a half years. I just might quit forever this time. Chamomile helps balance digestion, respiratory (inc. sinus), hormone, inflammation, nerve, and anxiety issues in a soothing, even slightly sedating way to at least some degree, in direct contrast to coffee, being a stimulant, which can end up making all these things much worse like it has been for me again recently. I think the only reason I've continued to enjoy coffee here as long as I have is because chicory is awesome. In general I have been eating a fairly healthy balanced diet, steadily including more vegetables, reducing grains and dairy while ingesting only whole versions thereof, and minimizing meats (including 95% elimination of red meats altogether), which has been showing semi - better results. This is essentially a selective carbohydrate diet, which is best for someone with perpetual inflammation issues. I still have a senna + infusion to help with digestion as needed, but am now keeping milk of magnesia (MoM) on hand too because it's the only medicine that treats both heart burn and constipation at the same time, which is awful when it happens. With my Blood Pressure being good again (in contrast to last year when it was high-ish normal regularly for the first time in my life instead of low-ish to bottom normal like it's always been previously and is again now fortunately), I can handle the sodium content in MoM when I occasionally need to take it. I am, of course, not drinking any alcohol anymore either, which is no big deal because I hardly ever drink alcohol anyway. Over the past few days I have managed to successfully back off from taking ibuprofen significantly despite having been on my menstrual period so that's really good! I had been taking a lot of ibuprofen again in recent weeks and it's better to take less or none as much as reasonable because it can be a bit hard on the kidneys to take a lot on a regular basis which is what I have to resort to in order to function at all. Despite experiencing a couple of days of ovarian cyst resolution symptoms and getting all hopeful last cycle, my evermore perpetual ovarian cyst issues have continued off and on since then which is typical of someone prone to frequent recurrence like I am. However, my weight has remained stable at 135 lbs for the past few weeks. The stability is good even though I would rather be 10 lbs lighter. Being 5'5” tall, 135 lbs puts me at a BMI of 22.5 which is still well within healthy range. I think I'd feel less crappy about this extra 10 lbs if it was fat to muscle conversion at least, but it's not. Because I've been struggling so much over the past few weeks with intense but fortunately brief episodes of chronic pain on top of feeling almost perpetually sick with sinus stuff, etc in addition to a lot of very wet and/or very hot weather, I have not been getting out for walks hardly at all of course, which has always been my main form of exercise. I have not been good about enjoying yoga and dance at home. I still haven't used the little gym or swimming pool available to tenants where I live now. I think it's actually the lack of activity rather than the 10 lbs itself that is making me feel intolerably corpulent, so I need to get over myself and stop being ridiculously neurotic about it. The stability is a good sign. I need to be grateful for that. I may even need to accept the possibility that this extra 10 lbs might not be extra anymore, but before resorting to anything that drastic I am first hoping to at least get better about enjoying some regular physical activity again regardless and just see how that shapes up. As far as more techniques for dealing with my weird sensory disorder stuff, I have been using hand sensing / guiding (but not the full on blind person's feel along everything) to successfully reduce injuries when I have been walking around. Mentally I've been enjoying my current project, as well as studying my Audubon Field Guide to the Southeastern States. I tend to be able to focus well enough as long as I don't try to multitask. Psychologically I've been a mess and still need to work a lot more on self-acceptance specifically. Overall this health update implies small bits of improvement in some areas with hope for more, while managing to hold some ground in other areas despite increased challenges, which is better than bad.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Inori, Rokkaku-Sangaku, Sento no sain, & Shuto, etc.

Here's my Portable Shinto Kamidana that I posted about yesterday integrated onto my Altar,
a page from my journal regarding Inori, Rokkaku-Sangaku, Sento no sain, & Shuto,
and the wooden board I made for Neri and my Alchemical Hex Geometry recently.


Friday, June 23, 2017

My Portable Shinto Kamidana

As part of my Geshi > Midsummer Celebration,
this afternoon I converted a small wooden box, mirror, and three ceramic tea cups
(all things I have had on hand for a few years now) into my portable Shinto Kamidana
('God Shelf' for offerings and prayer).

Midsummer's Eve

Tonight is Midsummer's Eve, and tomorrow is the Feast of Saint John (Le Fête de Saint-Jean), which traditionally begins when the sun sets this evening. The Summer Solstice occurred on June 20th this year. The Dark > New Moon will occur just as it enters Cancer tonight at 2:31am UTC Sat., June 24th, which is 8:31 pm Fri. June 23rd our time here. The Sun entered Cancer yesterday, joining Mercury (early in transit) and Mars (nearly midway through transit) there. Traditionally this is the Big Night of the Year for European Pagan / Heathen Festivities, though this has not held true in contemporary American Neo-Paganism, Wicca, etc., which favors Samhain / Halloween. However, in New Orleans Voodoo (derivative but distinct from Haitian Vodou), this festival has retained its top status. It is a night of bonfires, called 'chavandes' in French, that were originally provided as offerings to Dragons and to ward off evil spirits. In many versions of this festival it is traditional to also dance around, burn, and/or drown crosses (various types) and/or wreaths (either circular or heart-shaped) as symbolic offerings for fertility. Ceremonies still include bathing in the sacred waters of certain streams and ponds, etc. (hence the association with John the Baptist), drumming and rond dances, spirit marriages, mead drinking and summer feasting [hunted male game (avoidance of mothers and babies just come in the spring), fish, herbs and greens, etc. (think paleo diet associated with the Lunar Goddess of the Hunt in the Forest such as Artemis > Diana and Bendis > Dziewona, in contrast to the grain harvest feasting celebrated in late summer and through the autumn associated with Agrarian Goddesses)], and more. This marks the beginning of an excellent time to wild gather and dry herbs for both medicinal and culinary purposes, especially in the mornings so long as it's been at least three days since heavy rain has fallen. The celebration of the Summer Solstice > Midsummer predates Celtic Culture in Europe, dating back through the Megalithic Period and probably even before that, making this one of the oldest festivals still celebrated in the world.

The Natural State

One month ago today, I suddenly developed a huge crush on the Gorgeous State of Arkansas! Just a few examples of places I'd LOVE to visit in Arkansas (a.k.a. the Natural State due to its magnificent protected wilderness areas and 'Bark'nsas due to its dog / pet friendliness) at some point ...
The phenomenally Beautiful and generously accommodating Petit Jean State Park near Little Rock
http://www.petitjeanstatepark.com/
The State Capital of Little Rock, which hosts numerous progressive endeavors in and around town (Note: Arkansas had been a Purple State for a long time before recently going Red, and like so many currently Red States, there are Blue Cities standing up within them. This one happens to be the State Capital, which certainly helps during a time of preemptive upsurge.)
https://www.littlerock.gov/
http://www.littlerock.com/
Then, continuing on into the Ozark Mountains and Forest of N and NW Arkansas ...
Blanchard Springs Caverns http://www.blanchardsprings.org/
Ozark Folk Canter http://www.ozarkfolkcenter.com/
Buffalo National River going Wild Bill's Style http://www.wildbillsoutfitter.com/
Bull Shoals Lake http://www.bullshoals.com/

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Louisiana Hurricane Center

Here is the link for the website Track the Tropics for Louisiana Hurricane Center resources. http://trackthetropics.com/  We currently have a tropical storm approaching SoLA on top of already having had plenty of rain recently. The downpour this morning is lovely. However, it's smart to stay aware of what is and is not actually going on in a bigger picture sense.

Saving Children

I thank my Daughter for sharing this article:
https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/college-student-rescues-111-child-labourers-in-ind/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share
The oppressors always have the upper hand by definition. What's extra horrifying is how little support there is to directly oppose any of this. Directly removing children from those conditions and shutting down the operators is the ONLY way to resolve child slavery of any kind. It requires resources, of course. Taking direct action also requires taking the risk of dealing with violence though, and that's a huge part of where so many people back out. Many are comfortable throwing a bit of money at issues, but almost no one ever wants to go in and do the dirty work. Money does nothing until people are willing to efficiently organize and effectively go in and actually get the kids out. There is no other type of 'win' and it is dangerous both during and after. I want people to understand that this risk is the penalty due for not protecting and providing for all of our children properly everywhere in the first place.

Sushi Village

Yesterday my Daughter and I decided to go ahead and try Sushi Village for the first time simply because it's very close to our new home: We were delighted! The food was delicious, the service was friendly, the interior decor is both stylish and comfortable, and the menu provides for both a variety of tastes and a very reasonable range of prices. Highly Recommended! ^_^
http://www.metairiesushivillage.com/

Monday, June 19, 2017

Geshi

Geshi (Japanese) / Xiazhi (Chinese) is the annual celebration of the Summer Solstice, which is occuring on June 20th this year. Japan is 15 hours ahead of us here, so I see no problem with posting this in advance. However you celebrate summer, I hope you have a great time! It continues to be hot and storm a bit daily here. I got to experience lightning streaking across the dark sky directly above me yesterday (which was awesome!!!), so I'm feeling a lot of lightning - serpent energy this time around. I love this masterpiece by the brilliant artist Yoshitaka Amano.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Taking Legal Action

My Daughter and I have begun taking steps toward legal action against our previous landlords. They are attempting to illegally charge us to cover up their own gross errors and lease violations. Sadly in contrast we have exclusively accumulated a pile of indisputable evidence against them regarding these matters (e.g. bank records, phone logs, e-mail archives, maintenance records involving third parties outside of our landlords' control, EVERYTHING). We will NOT be paying them a dime of the false charges on the incorrectly prepared and invalid document that they have mailed us. My Daughter has already reported them, and now we're addressing our dispute directly. They will either acknowledge and comply with our dispute against their false claims once submitted or they will acknowledge and comply with legal mediation in our favor. They really shouldn't have wasted anyone's time by trying to go this far with their ongoing scams.

Friday, June 16, 2017

National Audubon Society Regional Guide to the Southeastern States (National Audubon Society Field Guide)

Oh my goodness I would LOVE to get a used (good condition) or new copy this awesome must - have (for all of us down here) book asap!!! National Audubon Society Regional Guide to the Southeastern States: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, ... (National Audubon Society Field Guide) ...
Filled with concise descriptions and stunning photographs, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southeastern States belongs in the home of every resident of the Southeast and in the suitcase or backpack of every visitor. This compact volume contains:
An easy-to-use field guide for identifying 1,000 of the state's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more;
A complete overview of the southeastern region's natural history, covering geology, wildlife habitats, ecology, fossils, rocks and minerals, clouds and weather patterns, and the night sky;
An extensive sampling of the area's best parks, preserves, hiking trails, forests, and wildlife sanctuaries, with detailed descriptions and visitor information for 50 sites and notes on dozens of others.
The guide is packed with visual information -- the 1,500 full-color images include more than 1,300 photographs, 13 maps, and 16 night-sky charts, as well as more than 100 drawings explaining everything from geological processes to the basic features of different plants and animals.
For everyone who lives or spends time in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Tennessee, there can be no finer guide to the area's natural surroundings than the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southeastern States.

Kintsugi / Kintsukuroi

Today I am resharing this image that I produced and shared at the end of October / beginning of November last year as part of my Kintsugi / Kintsukuroi ( for the Wiki Quickie about this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi ) theme this morning.  I have a print of this inside the front cover of my current journal. I have felt like I'm falling a part again, especially yesterday both physically and mentally, but this morning, after a good night's sleep that has helped me feel a lot better, I have woken to remembering this important perspective.

The original photograph is not mine and can be found in its proper place through this link https://www.flickr.com/photos/searchingformatt/3259678392 

The opal in this petrified wood
 is a naturally occurring reminder of the principles of Kintsugi / Kintsukuroi.
More Kintsugi / Kintsukuroi Wisdom

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Contemporary Jomonism

For more information regarding Contemporary Jomonism, please visit http://jomonism.org/

Genya Murakami

This amazing artist is producing his own original ceramics inspired by the ancient Jomon Period style. Check out Genya Murakami https://www.facebook.com/genya.murakami

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Yama-no-kami

Because there was a second Dark > New Moon occurrence in Taurus this year (on the evening of May 25th), I got a second shot at celebrating Bendidia in my own way yesterday and today, during which Yama-no-kami has finally come into my awareness. Yama-no-kami 山の神 is the Japanese Shinto Goddess of the Mountain Forest Hunt, as well as Sex and Fertility (including Lunar influences), comparable with Bendis (Dacian), Dziewona (Carpathian), Artemis (Greek), and Diana (Roman). She inevitably has ties with Okami (Wolf), Mizuchi (Water Dragon Spirit), and Mazoku (Tribal Shapeshifting Elf) lore. Her Sacred Sites typically feature a Sacred Tree, as well as stones, a Torii, etc. For more information, I hope you enjoy this article about Her and other Mountain Deities at Green Shinto http://www.greenshinto.com/wp/2014/08/20/mountain-kami-yama-no-kami/ My Special Name for Her is Kariudō 狩人 , meaning Huntress.

Neridō

I have decided to call my current conceptual project Neridō 音里道 (e.g. Neri vevre, Alchemical Hex Geometry, including sigil work and health correspondences, etc.), which means Way of the Beneficial Sound / Vibration ('Vibe').

Here's what wooden tongue drums can sound like ...

The Neri 'Drum' I Want to Craft

I want to use this 7 slit / 6 tongue = 6 tones (imagine as Roots) wooden 'drum' (idiophone) design and replace his sun-moon and 3 star crosses with my heart-shaped head and 1 star cross centered above it to craft a Shamanic 'drum' for Neri. Go here http://lumberjocks.com/projects/15495

My Table of Holistic Health Correspondences

For those of you who are familiar with fundamentals of Shiatsu, Chi Kung, and Ayurveda, my Table of Holistic Health Correspondences Reconciling Traditional Gogyo (Wu Xing), Godai (Tattva), and Ayurveda Attributes is now available as 1 page in .pdf format here
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2kofYzfPg-ybG9GWDI1Z1hiemM/view?usp=sharing

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Deflective Shield and a Proj/tective Array Sigil

Continuing with my current conceptual project: Shown in Orange on this diagram is the 'Sigil' or Energy path of simultaneously working a Deflective Shield and a Proj/tective Array using my Alchemical Hex Geometry. This applies to vertical, diagonal, and horizontal planes, so visualize the Shield as a Circle when stationary and then a Sphere when in motion, and the Array as a Splay when stationary then shifting like a kaleidoscope when in motion. In this way, this sigil provides a pool of sequences for combat based on this map of energy flow, always rooted in Earth, which maintains balance and core strength.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ethiopian Dignity

As I have been looking up Ethiopian images and info online, this photo is one of my favorites.
The beautiful woman is wearing an elegant netela veil and holding a big red negarit drum at an event promoting peace and hope between different peoples. So far I have collected 50 photos showing the sophistication and dignity of Ethiopians that completely counters the image of degradation and helplessness that has been used by scamming vultures for decades in my own country to profit through fake charities off of the very real problems that Ethiopians have been working to overcome on their own with almost no valid foreign assistance at all the entire time. I feel the photo of this woman commands Respect for Truth beyond differences, personal comfort, and dismissively hypocritical convenience.


Friday, June 9, 2017

My Neri Hex Board

This evening I have crafted a Hex Board for Neri using
the Alchemical Geometry I have posted about.
Reading Shown in First Photo Below:
kyo / yin shell on Air, jitsu / yang shell on Metal,
and energy current shell on Heaven (Cosmos)
~ strong focused conceptualization flowing directly from the Source

Sangaku

For those who are not familiar with Sangaku or are new to Sangaku like I am,
here is an excellent image of an antique example
 For in depth understanding, I recommend
Sacred Mathematics: Japanese Temple Geometry,
Fukagawa Hidetoshi and Tony Rothman,
Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 2008
(377 pages in .pdf format for free online)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Gogyo and Godai

For those who are not familiar with the Gogyo (based on the Chinese Wu Xing) and the Godai (based on the Hindi Tattvas) of Japanese tradition, here are the Wiki Quickies for each ...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Neri and Alchemical Hex Geometry

This system of Alchemical Hex Geometry has been inspired by dreams I had on
11/15>16/2016, 5/27/2017, and 6/5/2017,
as well as my related Carpathian, Ethiopian, and Japanese research.
© 2017 Irina-Sofia Albamare All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

My Rotini Alfredo Pistou


a couple more good Jomon websites

I am also enjoying a couple of websites that focus on specific aspects of Jomon Culture in summary that are visually easy to access ...
Jomon Japan: Jomon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido and Northern Honshu
http://jomon-japan.jp/en/
AND Special Historical Site Sannai - Maruyama Site
http://sannaimaruyama.pref.aomori.jp/english/index.html

Heritage of Japan Website

I am thoroughly enjoying immersion in Heritage of Japan: Discovering the Historical Context and Culture of the People of Japan. At the top of the website, place you cursor over the section title and multilayered menu widgets drop down to provide easy access to numerous articles and related resources for you to choose from. My favorite sections to explore right now are ...
Many recent discoveries revealing the Pre-Jomon Legacy of Most Ancient Japan can be found here
https://heritageofjapan.wordpress.com/pacing-the-paleolithic-path/
AND the Jomon Legacy itself is well-covered here
https://heritageofjapan.wordpress.com/just-what-was-so-amazing-about-jomon-japan/

Local Contraflow Info

State Police Phased Evacuation according to Jefferson Parish
During a threat of a hurricane, a phased evacuation will be based on geographic location and time in which tropical storm winds are forecasted to reach the affected areas.
Phase I - 50 Hours before onset of tropical storm winds. Includes areas south of the Intracoastal Waterway. These areas are outside any levee protection system and are vulnerable to Category 1 and 2 storms. During Phase 1, there are no route restrictions.
Phase II - 40 Hours before onset of tropical storm winds. Includes areas south of the Mississippi River which are levee protected but remain vulnerable to Category 2 or higher storms. During Phase II, there are no route restrictions.
Phase III - 30 Hours before onset of tropical storm winds. Includes areas on the East Bank of the Mississippi in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area which are within the levee protection system but remain vulnerable to a slow-moving Category 3 or any Category 4 or 5 storm. During Phase III, certain routes will be directed and the Contraflow Plan implemented.
The Link to the Local Contraflow Routes Map inc. the Metairie Split
http://media.nola.com/news_impact/photo/contraflow052910jpg-f67ff2c84bdc538e.jpg
The Link to the Louisiana State Police Phase III Contraflow Instructions for our area (no map)
http://www.lsp.org/pdf/Phase_III_Contraflow_Instructions.pdf
The Link to the NOLA City Southeast Louisiana Contraflow Routes Map of the whole region
https://www.nola.gov/getattachment/Ready/Hurricane/Leaving/Southeast-EvacuationContraFlow-Map.jpg/

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sakaki

This morning I woke from a dream in which I was about to successfully excavate an important layer of Japanese Prehistory, including revelations about Koshinto, from beneath a rainy swamp and marshland area. This is not surprising being that yesterday evening I was immersed in my Jōmon Period (14,000 to 300 BCE) studies again. Part of what I was contemplating during my studies yesterday was the Sakaki ('Sacred Tree') of Shinto. The Sakaki is traditionally thought to be the evergreen shrub Cleyera japonica, native to Japan and common in the second layer of 'Live' / Evergreen Oak Forests. It is an ornamental shrub well – suited to bonsai and gardening purposes, producing blossoms and NOT edible berries. However, Sakaki, meaning Sacred Tree, seems like a title that would be better suited to a plant of much greater cultural significance. During the Jōmon Period, the Evergreen Oak provided the staple food of Acorns, prperared in the same sorts of ways that Native Americans have traditionally. Rice Culture was not introduced to Japan until during the Yayoi Period (300 BCE to 300 CE). Furthermore, the Evergreen Oak provided the Jōmon People with an excellent wood for building and everything else that was relied on pervasively. It stands to reason that in Koshinto the Sakaki / Sacred Tree had almost certainly been the all – sustaining Evergreen Oak itself, rather than a lovely little flowering shrub under its protection. The shift of the Sakaki title probably occurred when Buddhism took root in Japan even later during the Asuka Period (538 to 710 CE), which resulted in a flurry of Classical Shinto texts during the following centuries that were supposedly intended to preserve components of Koshinto within an evermore Buddhist context, but simultaneously served as a means for adjusting those components away from Koshinto into what was more politically correct at that time as a thoroughly revised 'foundation' for Classical Shinto. Rather than preserve the inevitably Sacred Status of the Evergreen Oak that had provided for the Jōmon in all ways, the title shifted to the lovely little flowering Cleyera japonica shrub, extracted from those ancient Evergreen Oak Forests, that is so much better suited to Buddhist gardening aesthetics, while still alluding to the original Evergreen Oak. Unfortunately the source of that very likely logical allusion seems to have been forgotten. It stands to reason that the Sakaki / Sacred Tree title can now be restored to the Evergreen Oak for Koshinto purposes. As for what I was about to excavate in the dream I woke from this morning, I have yet to find out.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Daiitoku-myoo

Daiitoku-myoo is the 'wrathful' aspect of Monju Bosatsu who rides a water buffalo.
He is perhaps Monju and Shishi (Guardian Lion-Dog) combined, such as through Therianthropy.
He is thought to be the Lord and/or Conquerer of Death, which in the Buddhist perspective means that He overcomes the Cycle of Samsara (Death and ReBirth, and all other forms of primal duality)
so that Oneness is fully Realized. In this sense, He is a Liberator.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Monju Bosatsu and Shishi

Following up on my dream from yesterday (ref. prev. post),
here is a gorgeous figure of Monju Bosatsu
at the Tokyo National Museum
  
Monju Bosatsu is frequently accompanied by a
Shishi / Guardian Lion - Dog. Here is an exquisite antique Japanese
Shishi Mai Mask (such as for 'Lion Dance' processions)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Monju Bosatsu

This morning I woke up from a Dream in which Monju Bosatsu, Japanese Buddhist Patron of Education, Enlightenment, and Wisdom, had decided to extend His aid to me after observing my explorations regarding Neri (ref. prev. post), for which I am very grateful. Apparently my Aptitudes for Studies, Contemplation, and Creative Synthesis are still in sound shape enough that this is the best course for me now. Cool!

Neri

At 3:30am on Saturday, May 27, 2017, my Dream. I had helped discover, preserve, and protect a gorge in Ethiopia that was carved with niches featuring figures of Tribal Totems and Deities that foreshadowed the later Myths of Nubian Sudan and Egypt, such as Isis, Osiris, Horus, Hathor, and Ptah. However, my personal favorite figure was actually independent of that legacy, and called Neri, like the Neri River in Ethiopia. This figure was a petrified tree stump carved to have a woman's face from which ancient tree roots cascaded down the cliff into the river at the bottom of the gorge. This figure called Neri represented the Mother of All Life. I loved it! Neri in Hebrew means The Light of God, and in Latin means Blacks. I have yet to find a direct translation from Amharic ironically. Since I had that dream through yesterday evening, I have been looking up all sorts of stuff on Ethiopia. For example, the Omo Kibish Formation fossils of Homo sapiens are the oldest of our kind, dating back 195,000 years! Ethiopia was the second country to convert to (Original / Byzantine) Christianity after Armenia had been the first, and since then has developed a rich lore of Indigenous Animistic Traditions, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christianity, and Islam. I love the Amhairc Language and its Ge'ez Script, the Negarit Drums, Neleta Veils, Leather Magic Scrolls, and many other components of Ethiopian material culture. It has been fun to get a vicarious glimpse of this distant culture I've known so little about. As for Neri, I have, of course, designed a Vevre for Her, as well as a Casting System (for Oracles and Gris-Gris) inspired by various facets of Animistic Belief in the K/Cushitic Region of the African Continent that I feel has a Global Appeal. I will probably share my work at some point in the nearish future when I have the time and coordination to make a reasonably pretty presentation thereof.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Natural Beauty Spots in North Carolina

Amazing areas of Natural Beauty in North Carolina's stretch of the Appalachians that are attracting me a great deal for hiking and camping (tent camping is definitely available; have not clarified cabin rental possibilities in the area as of yet) purposes in the eventual future are South Mountains State Park https://www.ncparks.gov/south-mountains-state-park which is about an hour's drive or so one way from Charlotte and near other points of historical interest such as Valdese, and Gorges State Park https://www.ncparks.gov/gorges-state-park in gorgeous Transylvania County in the outskirts of the magnificent Nantahala Forest just over an hour's drive or so one way from Asheville, which is about a 2 hour drive from Charlotte (Note: driving to Gorges State Park directly from Charlotte takes over two and a half hours one way). Both of these parks are very rugged with lots of waterfalls, etc., and offer a generous range of ability access and accommodations, so I would be able to enjoy these parks no matter how I felt on any given day. The beaches in the Wilmington area along the Atlantic Coast are also especially attractive!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cabin Kits

I am very interested in Cabin Kits. Here's just one example that gives pretty much the full range of possibilities. Not that I have money for anything, but the prices are VERY viable through MOST cabin kit companies. That 'own a sweet cabin outright for the cost of the lowest down on a meh house you'll be paying off for the rest of your life' (especially where I come from lol) kind of viable. Happy Thoughts! http://conestogalogcabins.com/

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Inland Sea Survival

So, IF Louisiana does not successfully repel Trump's sabotage of Coastal Restoration while we're already in a race against melting polar caps and rising sea levels on a global scale, then what will most likely happen over time is a premature partial but significant return to the North American Interior Seaway because all that land is still naturally formed to accommodate that much water that way at any point. Note that the 'Interior Highlands' / Ouachita and Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri that lay North of Louisiana are a part of Appalachia, which is what remains above water in Eastern North America. They did indeed stray from the Appalachian Mountains to their current location millions of years ago, and are thus still part of that oldest mountain chain in the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Interior_Seaway ALL of the Local Native American Tribes, along with their customs and traditions, are directly related to the Native Heritages of both the Ouachita - Ozark and Appalachian Regions. Original survival skills throughout SELA have been adapted between Mountain (inc. Caves) Forest Lake / River Life and Sea Level Bayou and Woodland Life. The ancient Mississippi Moundbuilder Culture actually began in Louisiana, then migrated up through the Mississippi River Valley and into the Ohio River Valley. It would behoove folks who are interested in living Naturally to consider Transferable Wilderness Survival Skills to accommodate Mountain Living around the perimeter of that migration path. I suggest this not to encourage apocalyptic thinking so much as to use Wilderness Diversity Awareness as a means for understanding how the continent we live on handles climate changes and other types of less > un natural inundations, and how we can work with that in order to live more wisely and to mutual benefit.
Because Barnes & Noble doesn't always carry this on the remainder tables for about $8.00 anymore, here it is available in legit form for free online in .pdf format: U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76 http://www.equipped.com/fm21-76.htm It's ridiculous how most links supposedly providing this long time well known much loved and respected text lead instead to cyberfollies couched in code games cliché of Neal Stephenson fans (generally I don't hold authors accountable for their fans' behaviors). It would be so nice for nerds to be through being cool ;) so as to possibly be a bit more useful again right now. (sigh)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Positives and Purpose As Is Here And Now

My Positives and Purpose As Is Here And Now: Regardless of how I'm feeling physically, these positive things about me are consistent nearly all the time. I am honest, caring, kind, devoted, loyal, faithful, forthcoming, encouraging, supportive, and of good humor. I lump these together as my 'Good Nature'. Within the context of my collective condition, my Good Nature is actually more challenged by when my mental faculties are struggling than by my physical difficulties, although my physical difficulties are still plenty distressing. This indicates that my Good Nature is what I actually base my sense of self-worth on and correlate my self-esteem with, then secondly my mental faculties, and lastly my physical abilities. This provides me with a perspective of my mental and physical capabilities being important but not the most important things that make me who I am. I consider my strongest mental abilities to be intelligence, perception, understanding, intuition, cognition, and problem solving. When these abilities are not working properly, it can be frustrating and scary for me. I feel confused and/or cut off, and worst of all, like I can't trust my own judgment. My anxiety about this has been reaffirmed by those who have gaslighted and invalidated me in the past. Currently I am working to regain my Self – Trust by listening to myself, fact checking, keeping some sort of record of how accurate my perceptions turn out to be, keeping in mind that my Good Nature is my greatest strength rather than my worst weakness, and taking care of myself. Trusting others reasonably becomes possible through healthy self-trust. My physical abilities have drastically decreased in recent years, and even what I can or can not do currently can fluctuate significantly from one day to the next. The following three categories are based on my current physical abilities. On my worst days I can usually still do essential tidy up and self-care, some relaxation and meditation, enjoy watching a show or looking at photos (e.g. of Nature, travel, etc.), cuddle up or stretch out as needed, and eat simple foods. During my average days I can do all that plus enjoy being outside, walk some, stretch some and do physical therapy practices, do full housework and basic self-pampering, enjoy photographing moments and experiences, do light reading and/or writing, handle errands if driven to and fro, basic cooking, music, art, poetry, and comfortable conversations. On what are now my best days I can do all that plus walk a lot, dance some, do intermediate level Hatha yoga asanas, comfortably read and/or write, enjoy fully engaging conversations about anything (including even very disturbing topics), do simple crafts artfully, take care of errands on foot alone, cook a bit more creatively, sing some, work on an ongoing project, enjoy a little wine / etc., and even feel like modeling for the camera occasionally. Fortunately all the simple pleasures I enjoy most in Life still fall within this range of my ability to Live, which becomes more apparent when I consider my Purpose within an As Is Here And Now context. I am too different now from the way I was for past achievements and duties to continue having prominent applicability now. I am proud I got through my past with the abilities that I did have, and grateful that the circumstances that necessitated those abilities are now overwith in an immediate environment sense. What is applicable now is what has been making be happiest, proudest, and most passionate about myself and my life in my current condition and circumstances. I am happiest when I'm home, laughing, out exploring, hiking in Nature, enjoying scenic photography, music (nearly all kinds, but especially for singing and/or dancing with), and/or in Night (inc. in the City). I am proudest of myself for not giving up, for my Good Nature, that I am Truly Loving of individual people other than just for their roles in life, and that I frequently show people new things within their familiar environments. I admire people who are dedicated to helping at least one other person, Love Nature, have a Good Nature and Humor complimentary with (but not necessarily identical to) mine, and work on being as healthy as capable inside and out most of the time. I feel most vitalized and frequently inspired by Nature, ruins and old cemeteries, the Night, music, firelight, and Far Eastern (especially Japanese) material traditions and spiritual insights. I feel at least somewhat happy in many moments on most days, usually about loved ones and/or simple pleasures. If I had one more week to live, I would want to spend time with my loved ones, some at home, and some in a cabin by the lake with walks in the surrounding forests. I want Eco-Sanity with Style, Quality Public Education, and Universal Health Care for everyone on Earth. For myself, I want to develop my self-acceptance so I can Live my present fully, truly, and even blissfully.

Meanwhile ...

Meanwhile, this week I'm rolling out of the weekend flu through PMS into my menstrual period lol Weeeeee! The GOOD NEWS is that I'm already experiencing symptoms of ovarian cyst resolution, so that IS actually fantastic. I need to get a lot better about accepting and adapting my physical ups and downs so that it isn't dragging my psyche along with it so severely. That will help a lot and is one of many things I'm addressing right now.

Where It's At

It's coming up on a month this week since the big confrontation, which, against all odds, seems to have been the boot to the head that was needed on both sides. We've been in touch low key behind the scenes for the past couple weeks or so. Earl has actually been making legit personal progress and is using great tools. At this point the big trick is to make it stick for the long run. In contrast, I'm still struggling quite a bit on my end, but what I'm dealing with is obviously a bit different. We are NOT suddenly back in full swing. In fact we won't even be able to be in regular contact and/or visit in person really for months due to bigger picture factors, which helps reinforce our need to focus on individual development right now. Fortunately we do seem to be consistently supportive toward each other through our individual healing processes effortlessly. Once we've been able to heal ourselves more and with reasonable consistency, we may even be able to heal our incomparable relationship in time. For now, I'm grateful to have my special friend back in our supportive correspondence capacity, and find his personal work to be an inspiration to continue really sticking to my own. Life is a hot mess at least half the time. None of us are perfect. Most of us are forgivable. Being honest and focusing on what really matters makes all the difference. So that's where it's at.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Walking

Wednesday, Yesterday, and Today I have been able to enjoy a 4 mile round trip stroll along the Lake each day. I'm still not feeling great physically, but even just this much of an improvement is something I'm very grateful for. I love the way the cool breeze feels, the soft light of the overcast sky, the smell of the water, and the way the water sounds when it laps across the rocks as I stroll through the grass between the piles and the path. I never really crawled as an infant. I made a very late attempt then skipped it. Instead, when I was 10 months old, one day I stood up, and then a couple days later, I began walking. I've always loved walking, especially close with Nature. It's been an integral part of how I enjoy Life since the beginning.

My Old MO

As it turns out, the way I still cook (understanding ingredients and then intuitively combining them, rather than using recipes) and have performed and taught dance professionally in the past (understanding the specific ranges of motion for each and every joint and their physiological relationships with each other, as taught to me through A & P when I certified in massage therapy, and then combining them improvisationally, such as in dance meditation, rather than using choreography) are specifically suitable for helping people with Sensory Processing Disorder > Dyspraxia be able to both learn and effectively manage mental and/or physical tasks, especially tasks that require sequencing and coordination. Part of me has already known one of the most effective methods for dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder > Dyspraxia for many years. Now I can consciously implement this method with focused attention throughout various aspects of my life. Realizing this drastically reduces and potentially negates that sense of helplessness I've been struggling with for so long.