Magical Moment Mondays: A Fresh Start

A snowy new dayThere is something so wonderful and magical about a new year, a new week or even a new day. It is no wonder that there are so many idiomatic expressions to capture the essence of a new beginning, a tabula rasa, a top of the day, a clean slate, a dawn of a new day, a turning point. Mondays are filled with magical moments. Because they signify the start of a new week, Mondays give me the freedom to change direction if I wish, begin a new adventure or venture. And I find great comfort in knowing that if something isn’t going the way I had hoped, I can always try something different and see if I get better results. Yes, there is always tomorrow—tomorrow is another day, so take advantage of the opportunity to make a fresh start of whatever you want!

A New Start.
By Bernard Shaw

I have wiped the slate clean,
No more reminders from the past.
Memories of what I have been,
Have vanished at long last.
I look forward to my future new,
Where all is territory strange.Sunrise on a new beginning
Soon I will be among the few,
That plans their life at long range.
I see my life laid out at my feet,
New friends shall rally at my call.
They will be the first I will greet,
At this my welcoming ball.
Soon all memories will depart,
Of a past left well behind.
I will get off to a new start,
With the best of mankind.

XOXO RachelA rainbow new start

Flower Fridays: Peony

My peony gardenPeonies are probably my favorite flower, though I do adore Roses and Lilly of the Valley almost but not quite as much. A large reason for my love is the fragrance—there is nothing more intoxicating to me than the aroma of peonies in my garden. Bought from a florist they are just as beautiful, but never quite as heady as when found au naturel. The fragrance is so strong that the air surrounding the garden just wafts with the heavenly scent. During my childhood, peonies were everywhere in my hometown of Roosevelt, NJ. In June, soon-to-be graduates would go around town and pick the bountiful blossoms from friend’s homes to decorate the RPS graduation ceremony. When I smell a peony I am immediately bought back to those days. They make me happy.

Anubis tip-toeing through the peoniesPeonies are perfect for weddings and are often used in bouquets and centerpieces and any and everywhere in a wedding. This is not surprising because the peony represents riches and good fortune, a happy marriage and a happy life. How can you argue with their delicate and frilly shape, yummy perfume, pretty red, pink or white colors and optimistic meaning?

By the Peonies
By Czeslaw Milosz
The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.

A peony and rose bouquet from AndyMother stands by the peony bed,
Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals,
And looks for a long time into peony lands,
Where one short instant equals a whole year.

Then lets the flower go. And what she thinks
She repeats aloud to the children and herself.
The wind sways the green leaves gently
And speckles of light flick across their faces.

The charms of the ordinariness soothe the threat of anxiety.

XOXO RachelI miss Horus

I love planning! 2014 is here!

CalendarJanuary—and thus the new year—is really in full swing now so it is time to plan for 2014! Planning is something that I have always loved to do. In fact, “to do” lists are such an integral part of who I am and something that I find so helpful (see DIY Wedding Dos and Don’ts). Today’s blog is really a continuation of last Wedding Wednesday’s blog Reflections on a year…. So if you haven’t already looked at that and worked on your review of 2013, I encourage you to start there.

When you have completed your year-end review, you are ready to get planning! Have all your notes from your 2013 reflection nearby and grab another pad and pen and begin. Here is the approach I use to guide me in the process of developing a plan for the New Year.

• I like to start with an overarching vision. Ask yourself what’s the theme you would like to have for 2014? Maybe this is the year of big growth and development for you. Or is it the year of change. Or is it the year of purpose and direction. Or maybe it is even the year of simplifying.

Friends and family• Make a list of all areas of your life. Be inclusive as possible and include all aspects that are important to you. I permanently have the following areas on my list but you may have others:

o Relationship with spouse
o Relationship with friends
o Relationship with family
o Self-development, spiritual development and learning
o Fun and play (yes, even that should be planned)
o Health and well-being
o Money and finances
o Work in the world
o Physical surroundings/living and working spaces

Goal!• For each of these areas, consider what you hope for and want to achieve this year. Consider what is important to you. Ask yourself how will you nurture your relationships with others. Ask yourself how will you nurture your relationship with yourself. Consider including feelings and attitudes like deciding to feel more adventurous or feel calmer.

• As you focus on each area, set realistic goals. Don’t try to save the world in a year! You want to give yourself a chance to be successful and you can always add more if you complete your goals quicker than expected.

• Make sure your goals are exciting and at least compelling. If they aren’t compelling to you, you will never do them. For example, instead of having a goal to loose 10 pounds by a certain date, how about setting the goal to find a program of physical activity that you love to do at least three times a week. And another goal of trying out a new vegetable and whole grain in at least two meals a day. That sounds more interesting to me.

Ballons to celebrate!• Perhaps not surprising because I am a celebrant, part of my organizing includes planning celebrations along the way toward your goals. So on your list for each area, write down how you plan to celebrate. Celebrate that you have a direction to go, celebrate when you encounter a bump, and celebrate when you figure out a solution.

Bump in the roadAnd speaking of hitting problems along the way, allow and plan that things won’t always go as planned. Rather than beating yourself or others up, just revise the plan. Give yourself permission to be human and change your mind if something on your plan needs revision at anytime during the year.

• Now pull out that list of things that you compiled last week about what you are proud of in 2013. Ask yourself how you can build on those accomplishments in 2014. For instance, perhaps you are proud that you kept up with your huge wedding planning list last year. So ask yourself how can you feel even better this year about working on the rest of the list? Maybe even plan to include and get help from others. Something I have learned over and over again is that you don’t have to do it all alone!

Pain on the road to life• If there were goals or intentions from 2013 that you did not complete, ask yourself if you want to put them on the list for 2014. Sometimes it turns out that the goal that seemed so important at the beginning of the last year is no longer important or relevant to you so you don’t need to carry it forward. Others may be ongoing and you will find them on your goal list every year. For instance, I always strive to be less anxious and more peaceful and calm—that seems to always be a work in progress for me!

• And remember that planning doesn’t happen just in January—it is all-year long. While working an area in my plan during the year, I simply use the expression, “What’s next?” Here I am right now so what am I going to do next. And now what am I going to do next. And repeat until you are there! Well, even if you aren’t there, you are somewhere new and that is progress.

Positive change of directionBecause your life doesn’t begin when you finally reach your goal—your life IS now—find ways to enjoy it now or at the very least make it manageable if you are having a really difficult time. What I am suggesting is that you live in the moment while at the same time setting plans for your future. That is really what wedding, life or business planning is all about. You have an end in mind—your dream wedding, your newly redecorated office, your new job—and you have steps to get yourself to that reality later in the year. Make it a priority to be enjoying the steps along the way and before you know it you will have accomplished so much and you will have a more fulfilling life no matter what the outcome.

I’d love to hear about how you plan for your new year so share with us below!

XOXO Rachel

Magical Moment Mondays: Balmy Weather

Maui on a balmy morningNot uncommon in January, we are having a warm spell. But because of all the snow and then rain, it has become unusually balmy. And balmy weather is magical—it is as if there is a blanket of moist air hugging you and giving you love. My strongest sensations of balmy magic are from Hawaii. As soon as you step off the plane from the states, you are welcomed with a loving embrace of humidity—as well as the tropical scents of flora and mellow music of slack-key guitar if you are lucky. Now I understand that many people don’t like humid weather and sure the dampness can get to you if it is really hot or the condition is sustained. But with temperatures in the 50s or 60s and particularly after a cold snap, balmy weather is lovely and comforting. Enjoy it for these next few days before winter returns.

Ode to the Air Traffic Controller
by Joshua Beckman
Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, Townsville,
Belém, Durban, Lima, Xai-Xai planes
with wingspans big as high schools
eight hundred nine hundred tons a piece
gone like pollen, cumulus cirrus
altostratus nimbostratus people getting skinny
just trying to lose weight and the sky
the biggest thing anyone ever thought of
Acceptance, Vancouver, Tehran, Maui
school children balloons light blue nothing
one goes away not forever, in factJamaica balmy weather
most people, at least if you are flying
Delta, come down in Salt Lake City
Fairbanks, Kobe, Aukland, Anchorage
from Cleveland a hundred Hawaii-bound Germans
are coming in low, not to say too low
just low pull up Amsterdam pull up Miami
historically a very high-strung bunch
smokers eaters tiny planes must circle
we have bigger problems on our hands
New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris
the boy who has been ignoring dinner
throws thirteen paper planes out the window
does it look like this? Tashkent, Nome, Rio,
Hobart, yes yes it looks just like that
now do your homework Capetown Capetown
lots of rain good on one good on two
go three go four go five go six
Mau, Brak, Zella, Ghat, an African parade
good on two good on three
please speak English please speak English
good on five good on six gentlemen:
the world will let us down many times
but it will never run out of coffee
hooray! for Lagos, Accra, Freetown, Dakar
your son is on the telephone the Germans
landed safely Seattle off to Istanbul
tiny planes please circle oh tiny planes
do please please circle

XOXO RachelRachel in Maui

Flower Fridays: Cosmos

Pretty CosmosI love the name Cosmos. Just saying it immediately pops me high above earth into the stratosphere—into the cosmos. The name cosmos is in fact derived from the Greek meaning “balanced universe”. The flower, very much down-to-earth is in the same family as daisies, sunflowers and astors. Cosmos are one of the easiest flowers to grow by seed, even though their delicate petals wouldn’t make you think so. And with so many colors to choose from, they add a beautiful rainbow to your garden. When late spring comes around in your area, give cosmos a try!

Poetry is
by Emilio Villa
translated by Dominic Siracusa

poetry is evanescence

poetry is life sentence, release
on words, liberté sur parole

poetry is a blind guide to an ancient
enigma, to an inaccessible

poetry is an argument
dynamic and jarring

The cosmospoetry is a rag tag cos-
mology we can
raise and wave,
it’s a small (abregée) cos-
mogony: unaware,
seamless, unstitched,
breathless, in tatters

poetry is to forget

poetry is to separate self from

poetry is what’s completely
left out

poetry is emptying without

poetry is constraint to the remote,
to the not yet, the not
now, the not here,
the not there, the
not before, neither not after,
nor not now

poetry is breeching

poetry is to burn and give birth
in the same vocal gesture

poetry is being-there multiplied
by not being-there, remembering
to trans-be-there traversely
like a watershed

poetry is a misunderstanding about
what I don’t know exactly,
but a misunderstanding

poetry is infinite impotence,
limpid, lucid, hallucinated

poetry is intersection

poetry is a low blow

poetry is transit and exit

poetry is infusion and trans-fusion

poetry is memory of what is not
and what must not be; that is
the culminating, liminal Self
the Self as an incomplete cosmos
never to be completed

poetry is tying—untying

poetry is the ritual scene of
infinite uncertainty, of the
inaccessible Infermity

poetry is a streak
a swerve
a splay
a spade

poetry is crib—cradle
it’s nook—needlei
of the Trans-Organ
of the trans-organic
of the Indistinct
of the In(de)terminable

poetry is ash

poetry is diagonal
it’s ramble
inside the manifest body
of Universal Inexistence
of Global Entropy

Delicate pink cosmospoetry is stiffened laziness
an arm hanging from the
branch of the Tree of the Knowledge
of Good and Evil; that is
a Monkey in Brazil
always hanging by an arm
from the branch of a tree (it’s the Preguiçaii )

poetry is terrorism in the domain of speech,
a bang in the cloister of language

it’s terror in the depths of rhetoric

poetry is liberation from knowing
escape from the known
a release from mechanics

and at the same time it’s falling, sinking
into repetitive, obsessive, iterative
mechanics, which are also the
mechanics of hinting, of the
norm, of ritual (of strict
obligation, of rhyme, of number,
of essence)

poetry is the implosion of zero time
and in(de)finite degree

poetry is unleashing, un-phrasingiii, a potential
threat, breaking, robbing,

poetry is smashing, shattering, shaking

it’s a clash between
strength and restraint
that tends to erase.
We are truly
infinitely mad

poetry is almost everything: that is everything, less
what it really is

poetry is impermanence crossed with

it’s impertinence

poetry is counter and encounter (spontaneous
and predestined) between neurosis and unconscious,
between archetype and Self

a monotonous and perpetuated ring between
impulse and obsession

poetry is aggression

to write poetry is to cut slits, produce cracks,
point out filaments in the
curtain, in the Barred

poetry is a fight against the night

poetry is night against the night

poetry is a rub against the voice

poetry is friction against the Dragon’s skin

poetry is this
it’s this and that
and so be it

XOXO RachelField of cosmos