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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in grandmother

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When I finally cleaned out my mom's desk I found a roll of film. I expected that there might be pictures of her on it and I was thinking of it as a sort of message from the dead before I saw the pictures, and I was right-- but also wrong. There were pictures of my gramma on it. Mom's mom.

I saw the images as digital files dropboxed to me from the film developer on the 9th, which was the 9th anniversary of gramma's death. If that weren't enough, earlier that day I'd also gotten an automated reminder message in my email from a memorial website about gramma. It took me longer than it should have to figure out what she was trying to tell me. It was simple: she wanted to be remembered.

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks Anthony, I got the impression she just wants to be remembered. She died 9 years ago so I don't think she's still on her jou
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I read in one of the Seth books by Jane Roberts that we lay out our journey through the afterlife in the dreams we have while aliv

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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      "Olé, Olé" my grandmother Antonia whispered at the TV as we watched a flamenco movie.  Summer in Puerto Rico was extremely hot.  I was eight years old and did not understand how Abuela could iron clothes and watch TV amidst the infernal heat.   I was scared that she would burn herself.

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  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Dear Anne: Sorry for the late response. Of course, please feel free to share the story in the magazine! Many thanks for your si
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    What an amazing story, Lillian! I love how you paint your story so beautifully, and with such a good message. (Would it be ok if I

   

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     I'm holding back the tears.  A warm humid air wets my face as we near the end of the session.  At that moment, I see two cats, one black, the other white, in front of me. They are curled on the floor in the shape of a heart.

     "These are your parents letting you know that they are healed," Luz, the facilitator, said.  I finally let my tears flow.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

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    "Why is the ceiba sacred?"  I learned in school that the ceiba pentandra was Puerto Rico's official national tree.  Mrs. Flores, my elementary school teacher, explained that the Taínos, the island's Native Indigenous habitants, considered the ceiba a sacred tree. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Honoring Mothers

Besides honoring our own moms this Sunday, there’s a mother goddess who could use a nod from us as well. Holding an "afternoon tea” for all of the beloved mothers in your life: friends whose parenting skills you admire, grandmothers, yourself – could be just the appropriate way to embrace the feminine energies flowing full-force right about now.

Since most consider it a luxury to sleep in, honor that too and shoot for a mid-day brunch. Hosting it yourself skips over-priced restaurants with long wait lines and gives your highly-regarded female friends a break with having to lift a finger. Have a variety of teas available to choose from, caffeinated and herbal. Make it a fancy affair with a tea service, if you have access to one, cream, honey, sugar cubes, and lemon slices. I would stop short of requiring people to dress up, however. In fact, encouraging slouchy sweats, comfy yoga pants, and hide-in hoodies should really be the order of the day.

If you do have some British blood in your family tree, by all means, embrace that. Set out a collection of small plates filled with cucumber finger sandwiches, assorted cookies and mini scones, and seasonal and organic fresh fruit. Play some Mozart in the background to set the mood and create a stimulating backdrop for intriguing conversation.

If weather permits, take it out to the patio. Regardless, have several vases of colorful fresh-picked flowers set out to welcome your guests. Gift everyone with a sachet of real lavender to take home and put in a dresser drawer or under a pillow. Before departing, let everyone there know how much they mean to you and how blessed you are to have them in your life. This is a feel-good day that should be about nurturing – for yourself and for others. Even if you are not a mother in this lifetime, that doesn’t mean you can’t practice some of those caring skills on your long-neglected you.

CUCUMBER WATERCRESS SANDWICHES
32 thin slices peeled English (hothouse) cucumber
4 tablespoons Neufchâtel cheese, at room temperature
8 thin slices white sandwich bread
1/2 cup watercress leaves (or assorted fresh local microgreens)
1/2 cup radishes, sliced thin
coarse salt
     To make the cucumber-watercress sandwiches, using paper towels, pat the cut surfaces of the cucumber slices to remove any excess   
moisture. Lightly spread cheese on one side of bread slice. Scatter the watercress leaves evenly over all of the spread bread slices. Layer the cucumber slices over the watercress leaves on 4 of the bread slices. Top the cucumber with some of the radishes and a pinch of salt. Top with the remaining 4 bread slices, cheese side down.
     (Recipe adapted from Steve Siegelman, "Williams-Sonoma Entertaining"

Photo by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Healing of Zen

Everyone needs a safe haven to escape to. It may be a room in one's home, or more ideally, a garden outside. I discovered a space much my accident in a cul-de-sac between two apartment buildings. It was a strange outdoor cubby, which could only be accessed by crawling out to it through the kitchen windows, or through those in the bedroom. Making sure to open the chosen window all the way– a few head bumps later– I crawled out into a strange new world. Since we were on the second floor, this was one from being directly on the roof of our building. It was much like having a side porch, but with the added bonus of total privacy. There was a high wooden fence separating ours from that belonging to our neighbor to the west. From the sounds of it, she could access hers through her kitchen as well, listening to the familiar clink-clinks of dishes being washed in a sink. All above were the roof tops on either side and clear blue open sky. I noticed that the individual who had resided here before had brilliantly installed two heavy-duty hooks– one diagonal from the other– perfectly designed for a lazy swinging hammock. And thus, the "Zen Den" was born.

I really became excited with the possibilities of this secret zen space, so I began to decorate it. I picked out a large, outdoor, bristly throw rug, so it would be inviting to take off one's shoes and stay awhile. I also found a cool vintage table to set drinks and reading materials on in easy reach. I fastened hooks on the fence to hang cheery items: a mini tiki hut and a straw-topped wind chime from Jamaica that used shells for chimes. Although this would mostly be a space utilized in the day, I came across some pleasant outdoor lights – little metal flowers – to festoon across the windowsills leading to the bedroom. Also in order was a seasonal, gaily colored hanging plant that could withstand both shade and heat, requiring minimal care. My mother informed me that begonias would do the trick, so I went with those. I imagined there should be at least one other seating option for a guest, so I invested in a small fold-up camp chair on sale. The pièce de résistance? The hammock. I found one with the brightest colored stripes imaginable, and voila! Other items found their way here in time– a scented candle, four assorted stones arranged in a glass holder, a small clay statue from the Ren Faire in Bristol.

When the spot truly became a haven for me was the day after my grandmother died. I will never forget what a bright shiny day it started out as, that May 29th. A robin crossed my path on my way to my car to go to work. It hopped really close and stared at me for awhile. Odd, I thought. I got the call from my mother while driving. She asked if I could pull over. I told her I couldn't, I was on the highway. When she hesitated to tell me, I made her anyway. She was right about  pulling over. My eyes were so blurred with tears I could barely see. It was a beautiful day out. Gumma was gone. I didn't understand. She'd had a bout with illness shortly after her recent move to the retirement center, but I had a good long talk with her last week. She'd sounded strong. She was anxious to get out and celebrate her 95th birthday with us on June 12.

The next day I was home alone, deep in grief. My partner had asked if I wanted him to change his going away plans for the weekend to stay with me, but I declined. I thought it would be best if I were by myself to process this. And process I did – in my Zen Den. From morning until sundown. I ate meals, read, wrote, did yoga, listened to music, and napped in the comforting rock of the hammock. I sat cross-legged on the new rug trying to make sense of my loss. I looked up at the birds swooping across the sky above me and cried.

Now every year between May 29 and June 12, I reopen the Zen Den for business. I sweep it out of leaves, debris and dirt. I scour it clean with an old rag, a bucket of warm water, uplifting essential oils, and I unpack all the things taken down for the cold season. Six years after the first Zen Den and Gumma's passing, the rug needed to be tossed out. The table – which wasn't really an outdoor one to begin with – started to grow mushrooms on its edges, and the wood began to rot away. I'm not sure what became of the cheap little camp chair? The mini tiki hut and wind chimes have long since been retired, after losing many of their pieces in strong winds that have blown through. I keep meaning to replace things, but haven't quite gotten around to it. Since I've always kept rocks and candles in the space, I wanted to add some natural pool of water or a mini fountain, along with new wind chimes, so that all the four elements are represented.

I have made a point to hang a new basket of flowers in the Zen Den every year, though. Gumma would like that. She loved her flowers so.

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  • Tony Lima
    Tony Lima says #
    Zen (spirit) is the obvious reality of beings in their very own right - too simple by western terms but in reality is the basis to
  • Colleen DuVall
    Colleen DuVall says #
    Thank you for your input, Tony. The power of Zen is strong!

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

 

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Huracán was the supreme Taíno god, said Mr. Colón, my history teacher.

As a ten-year-old student, I did not control my enthusiasm:

No, I replied, it was Atabeyra.

What! Mr. Colón shouted, as he hit his desk with a ruler. 

Silence crept into the room like a mouse during siesta time.  

Every child in class seemed to stop breathing.  Suddenly, I felt my face turning red. 

Ruler in hand, Mr. Colón slowly walked toward my seat: What, he repeated as he reached me.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Ms. Comas, Thanks for sharing this! Your grandmother did a great service to the gods, and all her people.
  • Lillian Comas
    Lillian Comas says #
    Thank you so much, Jamie: I sincerely appreciate your comment.

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