Grassroots Healing, Musings, Reflections, Spirituality

What is Love? (Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.)

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all belief, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am none at all. “

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Image Source: Michelle Carnochan

 

 

There is a lot of talk about love in this world. Numerous songs have been written about it, endless poems and stories, movies, and all manner of art have been inspired by it. We particularly like using the word to express our feelings toward each other, toward our favourite food, puppies, the latest fashion, the latest miracle product that everyone is using, and anything else that we fancy.

 

I really really love chocolate.

So why don’t you marry it?

 

We seem to have lost the meaning of Love. Yet every living thing from newborns to those passing on, and every stage of life in between needs it.  As much as there is a survival instinct within each and every cell of each and everything living thing, I believe there’s also an instinct for love. On some level, we all crave it. It makes us feel good, to give love as well as to receive it. Sometimes – all too oftentimes – this need, on both accounts, is unmet, perhaps due to ignorance, to previous hurt, or to anything that has closed our hearts. You see, in order to receive and to give love, we need to acknowledge that we also need to be vulnerable. We need to have an open heart. We need to be able to feel. Because Love is a verb. It’s an action, a way of being and doing and seeing and thinking and feeling, and living.  It is the fundamental principle, and the most radicle (and in today’s world – radical) foundation for optimum wellbeing. So with that in mind, I thought it would be a good place to start in an exploration of the holistic foundations to good health. Consider this Foundational Principle #1.

The ancient Greeks identified at least four types of love, and several expressions associated with love-like feelings. Although I have it on good authority from an authentic source that there is only one word for true love (agape). Nevertheless, I find all of the expressions attributed to love interesting because I found that they can be correlated with the five elements of air, water, fire, earth, and the quintessence or ether (or life force that animates and permeates all things). These are the same five elements that the ancients recognised as the basic building blocks of the entire universe, and which we explored in my previous post on the energetic architecture of our constitutions and tissue states. And like the interplay of the elements that make up our individual architecture, they can become a little imbalanced, some can become a little too dominant, or not engaged enough. But let’s explore these correlations a bit deeper.

 

Love is Elementary.

 

Eros (ἔρως)= Fire. Intense, primal, that initial spark of romantic love. Passionate. Can burn out quickly or become lustful if not supported by the other elements.

Storgè (στοργή) = Water. Kinship, organically flowing between family members, such as a parent and a child. The familiarity of family, and good friends.

Philia (φιλία) = Earth. Brotherly love, grounding. The deep and shared experience between friends. Denotes loyalty and comradeship.

Ludos = Air. Playful young affection. Euphoric. Laughter, banter, light, and carefree.

Agape (ἀγάπη)= Quintessence. Selfless, compassionate Love. Empathy for all beings. Godly, or the Highest form of Love.

Three other forms were also identified, two of which are expressions of imbalance in the elements;

Pragma = A Deep understanding and harmony between two people. Long-lasting love. Really a combination of Storge, Philia, and Agape, that develops out of Eros and Ludos.

Mania = Obsessive love. Stalking, jealousy, co-dependency. Unbalanced Eros.

Philautia = Love for oneself, taking care of oneself. If not kept in check, can lead to narcissism.

Let’s focus on the foundational concept of the Quintessence, the Vital Force that expresses itself through these bodies of ours, and enables us to function in the world. This is manifest in the Agape type of love. It is foundational, because we ALL need it, the world as we know it REALLY needs it. I believe, to that end, that it also represents the goal of optimum wellbeing – to have love for everyone, to have compassion on all living beings. I think, perhaps, that it should permeate all of the other types of love that we express and receive, keeping their elements in balance so we don’t become manic/obsessive or narcissistic, or led astray by lust. We become whole when we become Love. So let’s look at what that is, and what it isn’t. Some of you may recognise these.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is peace.

Love is joy.

Love is gentle.

Love is faithful.

Love isn’t envious.

Love is not proud.

Love is not full of itself.

Love does not behave indecently.

Love doesn’t seek things for itself.

Love is not provoked.

Love does not reckon with evil.

Love rejoices in truth.

Love covers all, believes all, expects all, endures all.

Love never fails.

Love does not murder.

Love does not have extra-covenantal/commitment affairs.

Love does not steal.

Love does not lie.

Love doesn’t want what someone else owns.

Love sets us free.

Love is merciful and forgiving.

Love makes recompense.

Love is fair toward both poor and rich, treating them both equally.

Love is hospitable to the native as well as the foreigner.

Love does not slander, or gossip.

Love does not take vengeance.

Love cares for the poor and the stranger.

Love is grateful.

Love picks up a wounded enemy out of the ditch and cares for them.

Love is dignified.

Love is integrity.

Love is humble.

Love is wise.

Love listens.

Love feels.

Love hears the still, small Voice inside.

Love heals.

Love is not confusing.

Love is uplifting.

Love is discerning, but does not discriminate.

Love is not idle.

Love is fruitful.

Love is laying down one’s life for a friend..

..…as well as for one’s enemy.

 

Love, agape love, is true love. It is the yardstick by which we should measure our relationships with others. It brought the universe into being, and it sustains it. Being born of it, we can access it if we turn back to it’s Source, and we can then work to cultivate it within ourselves, for ourselves and toward each other. The world doesn’t seem to know this love very well, but it really really needs it, so maybe we should start to focus on being that change we want to see in the world. Maybe we should put down our weapons, tone down our voices, stop listening to those that divide us, lift up our hearts and begin to simply be Love. Are you with me?

Musings, Reflections, Spirituality, Reflections, Spirituality

On Transitions & Accountability – An Equinox Recipe

It’s impossibly early. Its dark, and cold. There’s a storm blowing outside and I’ve been woken by the sound of sheet rain pummeling relentless onto the tin roof, while overhanging branches slap against the shed in rhythm with the wild dance. After an apparently unseasonable run of hot, humid weather, these are the winds of change that herald the final birth pangs of summer giving way to autumn. It is a welcome relief.

The equinox looms. If you are in the northern hemisphere, the first appearance of snowdrops signals the beginning of new life, new hope with Spring and there may be a welling up in you, an urge to clear away the cobwebs of winter and do a Spring clean. Sure you could hire someone to do it for you, but there is no personal catharsis in this, and with the coming lighter energies of Spring this is something that we all seem to need to do. Here in the southern hemisphere just now, the Hawthorn berries are in full swing, pomegranates are ripe with their precious ruby jewels, and  the leaves of deciduous trees are beginning to turn on their show of gold and crimson hue. And as many plants do, Autumn also invites us to begin gathering our resources for the cooler months, to turn inward on preparing ourselves and our homes. Both experiences of the Equinox draw us to focus on the hearth – both of our homes and our souls. The Equinox elicits a stir to change, to reflect, to set new goals, to learn and to grow.

In less than five weeks, the Passover season will be upon us. I’ll be de-leavening my home and clearing out the physical remnants of bread that I don’t actually eat, and generally decluttering the accumulated flotsam of the previous year. As I do this, I also reflect on the lessons that I have learnt over the past year. What have I learnt? Have I grown, in my character and my spirit? Is there anything that I should have done differently? Is there anything lurking in the shadows that I still need to overcome? How is my relationship with my Creator? This is a time of deep soul-searching and accountability.

An important component of the Passover meal is the bitter herbs. The inclusion of the bitter herbs represents the bitterness of being in the bondage of slavery while we were in Egypt. After the sacrifice of the Messiah (the Passover Lamb), this bondage of slavery in Egypt came to be synonymous with being in bondage to the slavery of this world, to the system that is run by greed and narcissistic lawlessness. The bitter herbs however, are not the focus of the meal, if they were we’d be stuck in victim mentality, and we wouldn’t be able to move forward. This would then become a root of bitterness in our being that keeps us stuck in slavery, often not to the system but to our own negativity.

You see this is the funny thing about bitters, the bitter principle whether it be in a plant, or in life, invites us to change. It stirs us up and ignites a fire deep in our belly, our own personal hearth. Physically, this helps us to digest our food properly, so that we can absorb it and utilise it’s nutrients for our growth and repair. Spiritually, if we allow it, it spurs us to draw closer to the Creator, whose Light helps us to reflect on what we’ve been through, learn it’s lessons and then grow or begin to heal from it.
Many of the bitter herbs are also blood-cleaners and anti-inflammatories.

My last post eluded to the ability of Rosemary (Rosmarinus off.) to stir up change. I wanted to make use of the beautiful stately bush growing where I currently live, while it was at it’s peak, so I developed the following bitters recipe based around that. It can be used before meals or whenever you’re feeling a bit stagnant. Take between 1/2 tsp to 1 Tbs depending on taste, and the heaviness of the meal.

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Last of the Summer Bitters

Raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother.

2 parts fresh rosemary, flowering tops
2 parts dandelion root (raw – dried or fresh)
2 parts burdock root (raw, dried or fresh)
1 part fennel seeds
1 part dried orange peel.

(optional: add a 1-2 Tbs raw honey or sustainably-sourced vegetable glycerin to add a touch of sweetness.)

Mason jar large enough to hold all of your herbs. (I used a 475ml jar).

Fill the mason jar with the herbs and pour over the ACV. You will need to stir as you pour to loosen the herb so it becomes completely saturated. When you think you’ve filled the jar with ACV, let it sit for an hour and you’ll see that much of the herb has absorbed the ACV and there’s exposed herb left on top. Pour on more ACV, stirring as you go, until you absolutely can’t get any more in the jar. Cap tightly, and let sit for up to 6 weeks. Give it a shake every so often. After 6 weeks or so, strain the mixture through a nut milk bag, and rebottle. I like to use 50ml bottles so I can take some with me wherever I go. It also makes a great gift.

Bitter is a taste that is often missing from the Standard Western Diet, much to our detriment. I encourage you to explore the world of bitters and Be the Change.

Many Blessings,
Michelle x

 

 

Musings, Spirituality

Transitions, epochs, and this thing called Life.

I’m currently sitting in a dark hotel room in Wagga Wagga. My husband and our children are slumbering peacefully in the beds around me, blissful in that sweetly deep sleep that comes after a long, tiring journey. Having just driven from the northern ‘burbs of Sydney, we are breaking this somewhat brief sojourn before continuing on to a new life, a future not yet entirely clear, in Melbourne.

Yet It has been an extraordinarily long journey over many, many years. The last week of which culminated in a momentous epoch for our family at large. Our bodies were broken, our spirits weak, and many tear has been shed.

So indeed, the sleep is sweet.

It is a ‘dead to the world’ sort of sleep.

The sort of sleep that one awakens from feeling like it’s a whole new world.

Birth, death, rebirth..the cycle continues.

And isn’t that life though? A continual transition? A spiralling dance around the sun? A continual push, onward and upward, around and around and around…..?

I am wont to ponder.

Transition is a funny thing. It invites growth. Encourages it. No, demands it.

And makes you do it all over again, if you don’t get it’s message.

And then it becomes effortless. Fluid.

Well, almost.

As far as averages go, I’ve moved between dwellings, once per year since my birth.

I’m thirty seven.

Each brief stay has accounted for a lifetime in itself, gathering as much experience. I’m just a little exhausted.

The youthful tone of my thoughts has long gone. My memory of what it felt like to be a child fading. My body is weary. With each move, with each transition like this, I feel old, seasoned……..ancient.  Not wiser. Just ancient. Continually moving throughout this equally ancient land. (oh but how beautiful it is!)

I didn’t consciously choose this lifestyle. I certainly didn’t consciously choose this way of living for my children either. But here we find ourselves.

And we’ve learned, that specific to our situation, our home is simply us. Our family. We are it. But not just the five of us. The loved ones, old and new, that also buoy us along the way. And the God who holds us in His hands. This is our home. And this is our contentment.

I’ve learned to find joy in the little things. Like the joy of delicately rain kissed petals shining brightly in the midst of an otherwise bleak and dreary day. And so perhaps, there is a tiny spark of child-like wonder left in me after all. (Oh, that I give thanks for the opportunities had, the wonders of creation seen, the stories heard!)

But this isn’t just our story. It seems to be a time of transitions for many in our circle, and indeed for the world. I know of many tools that can help us during times of transition – the flower essences, herbs, prayer, a good shoulder to cry on, a good scream or two……

But let’s look deeper than that.

What wonders do you see on your grand journey?