Letting Go

Oh, the tumult of a season’s end can wreak havoc on even the most focused mind. If the allergens don’t bother me my joints express their fascination with the changing barometric pressure, temperature and wind through a painful attunement.

This afternoon I attended a Fall Equinox Workshop at the Atma Bhakti Yoga Center in Dallas, hosted by the ever-gracious Christina of Imagine Yoga. She invited me to bring my soaps and I am incredibly glad she did; I connected with many women who share my interest in delectable treats for the skin and senses, as well as Japa Malas. I look forward to watching the evolution of my connections with these women grow and change over time.

I hoped for inspiration and I was lucky to be blessed with it: I now have a clear idea of my desires for this coming season, not only for myself, but for my soap making and Mala knotting, too. I have intentions to help bring to fruition myriad ideas and feelings that will not only benefit me, but also the world in which I live.

Grounded & Loving It,
Kelly

Yesterday’s Work is Today’s Delight

Hello friends,

Are you enjoying the last Saturday of this year’s summer? I hope so.

Great news! The soap I wrote about yesterday has come out absolutely beautifully. The bar itself is testament to the wonderful bentonite clay immersed throughout and boasts and stunning, gentle green tone. The thin layer of soap I poured on top has also turned out beautifully: it undulates gracefully across the surface of the bar, offering a little bit of visual interest and the wonderful properties of white kaolin clay!

What’s more is that the blend of essential oils smells fantastic! At first it comes across as a complex herbaceous aroma but as you inhale deeply you begin to notice the subtle spice notes. Overall I find the blended scent invigorating and refreshing. I eagerly await the end of this soap’s curing time so I may try it out.

All My Herbs Are Going to Seed,
Kelly

Isn't it lovely?

Isn’t it lovely?

Read below the cut to learn all about this beautiful soap.

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Immunity Boosting Blend

Rosemary from our garden.

Rosemary from our garden.

Hello loves,

Today I’m relishing in the remaining warm days while formulating a special immune-boosting, synergistic blend of essential oils for a small batch of cold process soap to help you through the cooler months so you can focus on cuddling with loved ones and partaking of pumpkin & spiced goodnesses instead of worrying about the transmission of germs.

This special blend of essential oils will include a scoche of thyme, some spicy clove, crisp lavender, eucalyptus and rosemary. I am also including some bentonite and white kaolin clay with some super-nourishing oils and butters to boot! This soap will be decadent! I can’t wait to share it with you! I may need some help coming up with an awesome name for it. What would you call a luscious, immunity-boosting, smooth-as-clay bar o’ soap?

In other news: I’ll be attending a Fall Equinox Workshop hosted by the ever-lovely Imagine Yoga yogis. Their workshops are always wonderfully grounding & inspiring. I’m particularly excited to attend this one because it will be a nice, smooth transition into fall after a somewhat scattered summer. Also, a large part of my excitement is in seeing how this workshop inspires my mala designs in the coming months.

Such exciting transitions as we move ever-nearer the next new year!

 With Windows Open Wide,
Kelly

Lavender from our garden.

Lavender from our garden.

Of Hummingbirds & Earthquakes

Spicy Globe Basil

Spicy Globe Basil

This morning roused me with a rattling screen door at 3:30, signs of a small earthquake not too far away. Sleep fled and refused to return, so I spent my predawn hours sipping tea, drawing and enjoying the quiet.

As the sun emerged slowly in a golden haze above the roof and treetop skyline the hummingbirds fell into the yard to keep watch over the feeder. With adamant chirps and flashing tails they fought and chased and exalted in small victories, gorging from their claimed and reclaimed feeder.

Enjoy this summer’s end.

Wistfully,
Kelly

Bhavatu Sabba Mangalam

A note from Kelly about her experience at the Dhamma Siri Southwest Vipassana Meditation Center:

May all beings be happy.

This was chanted often throughout the course in Pali, the ancient language of Siddhartha Guatama, Buddha, after which many students replied with the chant of “Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu,” meaning “Well said.”

This overarching theme of kindness, compassion and internal happiness was beautiful, a message repeated often enough perhaps only within environments such as the Vipassana Centers.

The physicality of sitting for hours (approximately 8-10) daily for meditation is extreme and causes one’s body to speak out in all manner of ways: transient soreness, numbness, creaking joints, aches and some more persistent pains that have yet to work their way from my body. That said, I didn’t mind. It was difficult but definitely tolerable and during my time at the center I made great strides in maintaining a settled, strong body and saw a great reduction in how much I felt the need to readjust my posture while meditating.

The meditation was wonderful and although it takes practice, patience and persistence I felt I took to it like a fish to water. I have meditated daily during the few days I have been  home and intend to explore not only Vipassana further, but any other types of meditation I can encounter.

The silence was delightful. I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I felt perfectly at home and over the course of my short stay there ended up spending as much time as possible alone in my residence or walking the nature trail than in the casual group sittings of the hall, preferring not just silence, but also solitude. It was interesting to observe that even though we sat in silence with our eyes shut I still felt the social nature of the meditation hall taxing.

The reason I left early: Goenka, the man who designed this course, was broadcast via audio and video for about 2 hours a day chanting, expounding and occasionally giving a sentence here or there on furthering our meditation practice. I felt it was wholly pretentious and created an air of facade within many of the students, both of which are antithetic to meditation. I did not want my first serious foray into meditation to be tainted by an over-abundance of ego, so on the fourth day, after a two hour lesson on Vipassana, I left.

The entire staff and assistant teachers were all very gracious and nonjudgmental. I am certainly glad for my experience there while remaining confident in my decision of leaving when I did.

I was surprised by the guru-ism having gleaned the impression from their Web sites the course would be more about meditation and less about Goenka. For those who don’t mind, or even enjoy, following a guru and see no pretense, pomp or flare in their personas, I think this course would be beneficial. For others, who, like me, have difficulty voluntarily, albeit tacitly, encouraging a massive ego, perhaps another meditation resource would better suite you.

Upon leaving I noticed the cluttered and noisy life outside the center to which I returned: visual, urban ephemera abounded as I approached home and the radio offered only noise clutter. I drove the hour in silence.

My time isolated from my life (my ever-supportive and loving fellow, family, friends, pastimes, et cetera) produced in me an enormous gratitude which has yet to dwindle. I did not feel changed while at Dhamma Siri, but since my emergence into the world I have noticed I am much more still internally, better able to articulate my thoughts, less stressed and rejuvenated.

Forever your Dhamma Siri dropout,
Kelly

For those interested in Dhamma Siri, visit this link: http://www.siri.dhamma.org
For those interested in learning Vipassana Meditation on their own, visit this link: http://www.vipassanadhura.com