Down by the River
“And still after all this time the Sun has never said to the Earth, “You owe me”
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky”
It is a wonderful time to be alive. I know that this may sound strange but I truly believe it. We are living through a time of unprecedented change and chaos. On our beautiful planet and possibly so many others yet unseen and unknown, life as we know it is shifting, evolving at an unprecedented pace. The natural elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are no longer satisfied to be used as a pretty setting for a picnic or a painting…they’ve suddenly become as alive to us as the movies we watch for our entertainment.
We have consistently ignored the laws of quantum physics, preferring instead to deal with nature in a most ordinary way. The human suffering and natural catastrophes that seem to be unfolding around us every day can no longer be ignored by even the most insulated around us. We’re suddenly immersed in our natural world in a way that is demanding us to be peaceful, reflective and instantly responsive.
Our perceptions of what it means to be alive must shift and evolve as well. What does it mean to be alive in this moment…right now? What do we need to thrive in this moment right now? Many forgone conclusions and illusions about what it means to create a life well lived have been recently shattered.
There is one other natural element that is rarely spoken of and the Vedas called it Shunya…the fifth element, the space between… the known and the unknown. Shunya is all around us and yet we rarely enter it willingly, in fact if the simple truth be told, we get thrown into it kicking and screaming. It usually takes a moment of existential crisis or a physical moment that shatters our bodies, egos and forces us to our knees in supplication. The human ego generally doesn’t look past what it thinks that it can see, until we are suddenly, knowingly beyond all hope.
Shunya is the space between, where if we simply let go and move beyond the illusory limits of the known and our false perceptions of safety, that real magic can happen.
All around the world, right now in this moment of common people are witnessed doing the uncommon. It’s not an accident. We are being called to move into the void, the cauldron…we are literally being forced to create a new meaning for what it means to live an extraordinary life.
I say all of the time to my clients, ”Live with intention. Things are always going to happen, but living with intention allows them to be created, molded and accepted by you regardless of the outcome. If you live with intention instead of by default, you’ll create the end result that you desire, regardless of the twists and turns that it takes to get there. “
Enter into my life Greg Spalenka and Rob Jacobs nearly miraculous musical odyssey of human and planetary redemption, The Memory of a Cosmic Heart.
This is a musical and artistic collaboration that is stunning, sweeping, potent and ultimately so relevant for the moment that we find ourselves in right now that I wept openly as I listened to it even though I had no images to look at nor poetry to sway me. I waited to look at Greg’s glorious paintings until I had listened to it. I wanted my own perceptions of the music to move me and they definitely did.
The story is so simple, reverent and beautiful. A daughter of the Sun finds herself falling to Earth and discovers that her reason for being is to show all of humanity that we each carry the magic, mystery and delight of the sun within our hearts. Imagine for a moment how we would treat each other if this was so, if we chose to see each other as keepers of such a great light, radiance and individual mystery instead of separated by what we think that we know ourselves to be? How differently would we treat our mother Earth?
In today’s world of 24/7 news and endless political intrigue, environmental challenge and drama it is easily to feel as though you are being slowly sucked dry by that energy. It is easy to feel despair. It is easy to give in to the anger we see and more importantly feel all around us. It is easy to forget who we are, who we can be for ourselves and each other.
There is a primeval and indigenous heartbeat that runs through this music that is so real and soulful, that I felt grounded, truly enlivened and hopeful as I listened to it. Nestled within the beautiful melodies, voices and rhythms of this glorious Cosmic Heart is a deep, luscious and ever flowing well of a sacred violet flame that I can return to over and over again that truly slakes my thirst for kindness and compassion.
I think that’s one of the things that I love the most about this amazing piece of musical and multimedia magic. For me it was multi-purpose. Listening to it, meditating to it and dancing with it allowed me to turn inward to my own creative and mystical center for the first time in months. I shed my clothes and danced freely around my room, falling madly in love with the mystery of what it could mean for all of us to move forward with the light and power of the sun in our hearts. It was just like the first time that I ever heard Gabrielle Roth’s glorious “5 Rhythms of the Soul” so many decades ago. I had to get up and move and I had no choice in the matter. It was time to get naked and shed some skin.
I encourage any and all of you to support this magnificent project. To know Greg Spalenka is to know that he means every word, every musical note, every stroke he puts to canvas. The musicians and collaborations on this work are amazing and show his commitment to creating a masterpiece of fierce and unyielding beauty. It is his desire to truly create a space for us all to find radiance, peace and to remember what it means to love ourselves and each other, no matter our race, color or creed.
Memory of a Cosmic Heart is a love story of powerful intentional choices. It is a welcoming and homecoming for all of us who long to return to each other. Listen to it, be moved by it and please share it. Like a beautiful spiral dance, the mystical, magical daughter of the Sun cannot help but affect any and all she touches.
Dance with her and remember how to live.
-Beth Schreibman Gehring is a writer and author of “Stirring the Senses, Seasonal Celebrations of Love, Life & Food.” She is also a lifestyle blogger, who uses an ever-changing seasonal palette of love, life and food to help her readers and clients fall madly in love with their lives.
It's Samhain. My favorite time of year when and if I had my way I would be in New Orleans completely naked , drinking chicory laced, milky Cafe au Lait out of a antique silver pot and eating beignets dressed with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar, having never moved even a toe from out of an enormous duvet covered bed. That bed would be canopied of course and the sheets would be silky Egyptian cotton and the duvet would be silky and as airy as marshmallows. The pillows would be embroidered and lavish and the curtains would be a deep bottle green velvet. There would be pralines dripping with brown sugar and sass and there would be gardenias in bunches everywhere. There would be a bewitchingly beautiful man with an equally devastating mask waiting for me to finish breakfast so that he could draw my bath, liberally laced with Frederic Malle's Carnal Flower. I know that none of these thoughts will come as any sort of surprise to those who know me well, especially the lusty man that I was smart enough to marry. I cherish food, perfume, magic and passion equally with a fervor that some women reserve solely for diamonds, shoes and pearls. Gift me with truffles, tarot or tuberose on any given day and I will be properly enslaved !
The thing about New Orleans is that she's a completely sensual, captivatingly sexual creature who's literally dripping with the sweet fleshy smell of the morning after a marvelous night with the naughtiest man. The carnal and sardonic vibe of the deep south spells trouble for me with a capital T, but you have to experience it for yourself. You'll never ignore her haunting sirens call although you might hate yourself in the morning for heeding them..remember that I said "might". Those beignets and gardenias blended with a soupçon of bloodlust can produce some very powerful magic. New Orleans produced the incomparably beautiful and tortured Louis Ponte du Lac, Anne Rices first beloved vampire. New Orleans is also the home of some of the finest burlesque in the world. Where else can you take a walk late at night with a Sazerac in your hands and discover just as many beautiful antique stores , strip clubs and tarot readers open all on the same block?
I can never forget the all of the flowers, jasmine vines and dripping wet gardenias in the courtyard outside of Brennans Restaurant, where their pungent aroma mixed with the chicory and cinnamon coffee was about as heady a scent as a woman like me could ever ask for. I still revel in the memory of a sweet and sticky Banana’s Foster dripping with hot caramel and the flowering Jasmine climbing the wrought iron fences. I remember the candlelight and the hauntingly flirtatious laughter from women heard but never seen. The sticky Tuberose that grew everywhere was as stunning as a full moon and as narcotic as an opium den. Then there were all of the women, gorgeous hot house flowers with slickly coral lips , caramel skin and curvaceous bodies that were a promise of something that took me years to understand.
Southern women just astonish me with their ability to entice and enchant. I’ve never met a man who didn’t just love them, even if they love them only in secret , but I’ve met lots of women who absolutely hated them although I’ve never understood why. Not me…..I’ve always wanted to be one of them because they literally smell of orange blossoms, sex and white chocolate. They're the ones who really know how to wear stockings, gloves and hats...and they know how to take them off just as well. Their powers of seduction are legendary and who wouldn’t want some of that? Their magic is alive all year round....They love to have a cup of afternoon tea and I've never met one who couldn't read the tea leaves. But truly? I think that the magic lies in the Beignets and Cafe au Lait!
Here's the best Beignet recipe that I've found yet from none other than Emeril Lagasse!
Beignets and Cafe au Lait
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cups warm milk (110 degrees)
1 egg, beaten
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for dusting
5 cups of Chicory Coffee, hot
5 cups whole milk, hot
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the yeast, sugar, shortening, and milk, mix for 2 minutes. Add the egg. Mix well. Add 4 cups of the flour and salt. Beat at low speed until all of the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Then beat at medium speed until the mixture forms a ball, leaves the sides of the bowl, and climbs up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl. Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
Preheat the vegetable oil a deep fat fryer to 360 degrees F.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Lightly dust the surface of the dough. Roll out the rectangle to 12 1/2 inches long by 10 inches wide and about 1/4-inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into twenty 2 1/2-inch square beignets. Fry the beignets, a couple at a time until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towels. Sprinkle the beignets with powdered sugar and serve. Fill each cup with 1/2 cup of coffee and 1/2 cup of the hot milk. Stir well.
Serve the coffee with the beignets.
“I unlaced the front of my robe and rubbed my body quickly with handfuls of the lavender and valerian. It was a pleasant, spicy smell, distinctive and richly evocative. A smell that, to me, conjured the shade of the man who wore its perfume, and the shade of the man behind him; shades that evoked confusing images of present terror and lost love. A smell that, to Jamie, must recall the hours of pain and rage spent wrapped in its waves. I rubbed the last of it vigorously between my palms and dropped the fragrant shreds on the floor.
With a deep breath for courage, I picked up the vial of ammoniacal spirits. I stood by the bed a moment holding it, looking down at the gaunt, stubbled face. At most he might last a day; at the least, only a few more hours.
“All right, you bloody Scottish bastard,” I said softly. “Let’s see how stubborn you really are.” I lifted the injured hand, dripping, from the water and set the soaking dish aside."
Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Outlander.”
Please enjoy this lovely chart! Click on it, blow it up and print it out! I don't know who to attribute it to but I'm very grateful that it showed up on my personal facebook page. It's one of the best tools that for creating incense that I've seen in a long time! I love incense and I make my own and burn it often for healing, conjuring or simply when I just want my home to smell simply wonderful. There are all kinds of glorious combinations that you can use when you want to provoke different emotions, for example, an incense of cinnamon, rose petals, cloves, dried apple, basil, lavender buds, vanilla bean , cardomom and sandalwood sprinkled with a couple of drops of essential oil of rose is one of the sexiest love potions that I know......
It's truly easy to create your own. Take a flameproof bowl and fill it 1/2 way with sand. I use a beautiful abalone shell that I bought years ago because it does have a wonderfully feminine vibe! Then get a pack of incense charcoal disks and lay one on top of the sand. Light it and let it burn until you're sure that it's ready (It will be ashy and glowing, not flaming!) and scatter any combination of herbs and spices around and on top of it. Please be sure to only use leaves , petals , spices and woods that you know have not been treated with pesticides and have fun....the magic's even more personal if you've gathered them yourself. Just be sure to gather conciously. Never take an endangered species . Don't take to much of any one plant and be sure to ALWAYS leave a little love token for the fey folk !
You don't want to upset them you know:)
My husband laughs because he does the laundry (love that man!) and he's always emptying my pockets which are filled with offerings of seeds, pennies and pretty stones. You can even add a couple of drops of any essential oil that you love, provided that it's organic. Please don't use perfumed oils. Perfumed oils are generally derived from petroleum products and other nasty things. They will produce a horrid black smoke when you light them and the magical correspondences are not present in chemically produced scents. My favorite? A combination of White sage, Lavender , Bourbon Rose, Bay and Pine. Please write me at My Outlander Love Affair/Milady's Pantry and Stillroom and let me know yours!
Now for fun:)
All of my life I've been drawn to helping others create lives of full self expression. I spent most of my time in high school "counseling" my friends who would seek me out because somehow they thought that I had the answers. During a time of highly charged personal challenges that I was facing as a very young woman in a very young marriage, I spent much of my time with a marvelous social worker who encouraged me to look more deeply within myself and to express the passion and gift that I had for healing work , a concept which at that time seemed a bit New Agey to me, but was absolutely spot on.
Starting in 1984, I spent the next 2 decades learning everything that I could from LaWanna Rine about traditional herbalism and essential oils. I became obsessed with the teachings of the Sacred Feminine and the Wise Woman Traditions. At the same time I was spending some weekends at the Phoenicia Pathwork Center in New York State with my mentor Robert Tobey and a group of amazing healers learning to work with the energy that flowed almost uncontrollably from my hands. It was a wonderful time for me. In Phoenicia I learned that the energy that I was experiencing wasn't "mine", but instead I was the conduit for something that to this day I don't quite understand, but acknowledge as a gift from a universal source. It was the very lesson that I needed to be able to use the abilities I'd been given. I spent my time there working with others while at the same time healing my own wounds. Facing my own demons allowed me the wisdom and compassion to truly begin to work with others in a way that was safe, expressive and powerful.
When I wasn't in Phoenicia, I was working with a group of extraordinary healers that my husband and I started, offering bodywork to anyone who needed it through the laying on of hands in the safe, loving space of our home. I'm convinced that anyone has the capacity to be a healer, mostly you just need to get out of your own way. Healing can happen anywhere at anytime.
That whole time I was living a dual life. I was the President of one of the most prominent gift stores in the city of Cleveland, yet at I'd find myself sitting on the loveseat in my store with my hands on a customer who was sobbing because they'd just confided in me about some of the things happening in their lives. Finally my husband said to me, " Do you think that you're missing something?" but I still wasn't sure that I was comfortable with the concept of "Beth , the Healer".
Around that same time I took a course called the Landmark Forum, a curriculum that really taught me so much about what it mean't to live a life of integrity. What I realized from that moment on was that I didn't have the answers, but what I was able to do for people was listen to them carefully and provide the supportive space for them needed to be fully present to themselves, their pain and their desires. I also realized very quickly the inauthenticity of living my life expressing only part of myself. I stopped ignoring the obvious, faced my fears and threw myself onto the playing field as a lifecoach!
A few years later I found myself facing the death of both my parents and wondering after being their caregiver for so many years just what was next. I watched my mother die from severe complications stemming from her type 2 diabetes, a disease which is largely environmental and in many cases easily controllable through diet and exercise. The epiphany came while siblings and I were working almost non-stop using herbs and other alternative modalities to keep my fathers immune system functioning well in the nursing home where he lived. There was illness everywhere, ranging from chronic urinary tract infections to staph, mrsa , klebsiella and cedif. It was easily traceable to the food that the residents were served, food that was cheap, poor quality , unappealingly prepared and of the lowest nutritional value. I realized that many of the problems that we were facing with my father were systemic throughout our American culture. It is a simple truth....food matters and so does quality of lifestyle. We truly are what we eat. At that moment I began to look for a school that could give me the tools that I needed to help others learn to eat and live well no matter their means.
I received my training as a Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition's cutting-edge Health Coach Training Program.
During my training, I studied over 100 dietary theories, practical lifestyle management techniques, and innovative coaching methods with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts. My teachers included Dr. Andrew Weil, Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine; Dr. Deepak Chopra, leader in the field of mind-body medicine; Dr. David Katz, Director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center; Dr. Walter Willett, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University; Geneen Roth, bestselling author and expert on emotional eating; and many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.
My education has equipped me with extensive knowledge in holistic nutrition, health coaching, and preventive health. Drawing on these skills and my knowledge of different dietary theories, I work with clients to help them make lifestyle changes that produce real and lasting results.
If you'd like to speak with me, please sign up for a free, absolutely no strings attached 50 minute gift session with me at http://beth-gehring.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/lets-connect-1
Also , please feel free to connect with me on my facebook page
This is an absolutely beautiful documentary about herbs and other healing plants and the amazing gifts that they give to us. You can watch it in it's entirety for free until the 30th!
We are thrilled to announce the free online screening of the new edition of the documentary, Numen: The Nature of Plants, for ten days, from October 20–30th. To watch the film go to:
10% discount, free domestic shipping, and bonuses on all screening licenses purchased before Oct. 30th. $0.99 shipping on all personal use DVDs as well!
Numen is the first feature-length documentary to celebrate the healing power of plants. The film features stunning footage of medicinal plants and thought-provoking interviews with Drs. Tieraona Low Dog and Larry Dossey, the late Bill Mitchell, ND, author Kenny Ausubel, herbalists Rosemary Gladstar, Phyllis Light and many others and calls for a re-awakening of traditional knowledge about plants and their uses.
Our hope is that Numen will spark new conversations and debates about health and wellness and inspire real, tangible actions to build a grassroots, ecologically sustainable healthcare movement. To help sow the seeds of this movement, we are making the film available for free online for a limited time.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren to do everything we can to make the world more sustainable, including making better choices about the medicines we consume. Numen encourages viewers to think deeply about the sources of their medicine and how those choices affect themselves and the larger web of life. It inspires us to deepen our relationship with the natural world and reminds us of the healing made possible by re-embracing our place in the wider web of life. And it shows that all of these changes can begin with the simple act of growing thyme in a pot in your window or harvesting nettles from a field behind your home.
To watch the film go to: numenfilm.leadpages.net/8min/"
Warning ~ If you blush easily or are under 18 than this post is not for you! We're going to talk about shhhhh...SEX:)
I cracked up the other day when I went to the local Ambience store to help one of my clients choose her first vibrator. As we went to the counter I noticed a small package with the words.. "Ben wa Balls just like those used by Christian in 50 Shades of Grey". I was amazed to see these sex toys which have been used happily by women all over the world for centuries being repackaged to suit a newer, less familiar and less experienced American public. I lost it..I didn't know that they'd ever gone out of style:) I bought a pair of them for fun but I have to say..go to an Oriental shop and get the real thing. These were cheap and unimpressive!
I'm a 50 plus year old woman who cut her teeth on the likes of Colette and Anais Nin so quite frankly I found "50 Shades " as a novel rather silly and slightly boring. My apologies to any and all who loved it. That being said I had to laugh. Ben wa Balls, most commonly called "orgasm balls" , "Geisha Balls" or "Venus Balls" should really be given to a woman as soon as she has her first child right along with a case of wonderful ale..."good for the breast milk" and a gift certificate for babysitting and a night away with her husband!
I say this because aside from being very successful at creating the desired sexual response , Ben wa balls have the ability to tone the muscles of the vaginal walls. Any woman who has ever had a baby knows just how important this is. There's a reason that our mothers (well at least my mother!) always said to do your Kegal exercises. Ben wa balls can be made of sterling silver, stainless and I've seen some beautiful ones made of jade. The most important thing is that they are heavy enough to create a feeling of fullness in the vagina so that you involuntarily have to contract your muscles to hold them in. Yes...that feeling inspires almost continual amourousness.
Excuse me..that's the whole point for a guy like Christian Grey.
Yes..if you do this one of the side effects is that you will constantly be dragging your partner into bed but really is that so bad?
The other side effects of using Ben wa Balls are very important but very very practical. Childbirth really loosens up the muscles of the pelvic floor. Sneezing can bring on bursts of incontinence in even the youngest woman. Instead of worrying about it, buy yourself a pair of Ben wa balls and use them. Regularly. The benefits are amazing. You will be able to control your muscles such that as soon as you begin to sneeze they take over and incontinence is a thing of the past. The other thing that happens is that your muscles become so strong that you can control and contract them easily and that means alot more pleasure for yourself and your partner in bed.
Ben wa Balls are easy to use. Seriously... Please don't be squeamish! Just google them, buy a pair , some lubricant that you like and practice inserting and removing them a couple of times. Better yet? Let your partner do it! In case you're wondering, they can't get lost and if you're that worried about it buy a pair with the string attached to both. No..they won't fall out!
Do this for yourself and your partner !
I love Yoga so much and I try to incorporate some poses into my life everyday because it's so very relaxing and yesterday was no exception. It had been a particularly tough day for me; a board that I run literally ripped me into emotional shreds for presenting an idea at a meeting that was too scary for them to see all of the possibilities. By the time I got home all that I could do was crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and just cry. I was really taking it personally and letting it throw me out of balance.
Jim called at about 5:00 and said ," I want to take you on a date tonight....lets go have some Italian food and a glass of wine, but first lets go to a Yoga class!" I really felt like I didn't want to even get out of bed but I trust him. He always knows how to make me feel better. So I grabbed my Yoga mat and went out to the car.
As soon as we walked in and rolled out our mats I began to feel better. It was a basic class which was good because I didn't want to work hard, I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. The instructor turned down the lights , led us through a series of simple stretches and then many relaxing poses. Halfway through the class I realized that I'd just let go of the worst of the day. We finished with a long Shivasana and several energy and color meditations and I walked back into the locker room where I was greeted by a very obese woman who I'd never met. We began to talk for a bit and she asked me why I looked so happy. "I see all of you go in and out of that class and you always come out smiling and relaxed. Is that what Yoga does?" I smiled and said" Well truth be told, YES! I had an awful day but I feel much better now!" "You'd never know it" she said."I d love to try it, but I'm embarassed about my size".
What ensued was a conversation about standing in the possibility of your life and starting wherever you are to make the changes that you want. It was absolutely wonderful and a conversation that I couldn't have struck up if I hadn't gotten onto the mat. Before I walked in to class I was whining and feeling really sorry for myself, but as soon as I began to move I couldn't do anything but be present. The mornings meeting became a part of my past and as a result I was able to create my present to be the way that I like it...full of lively and affirming conversations where I'm able to make a difference. The woman that I was speaking to promised to meet me in class next week although she's terrified. Stretching and doing something wonderful for myself completely changed the dynamics of the day and put my spine and my heart back into alignment.
If you've never tried Yoga I encourage you to do so. It's not necessary to turn yourself inside out like a pretzel to begin to experience the health giving benefits of this ancient and peaceful practice. Go to a studio and sign up for a basic class. Rent a mat and wear something comfortable. Get to know your body just a little bit better and relax...Breathe in and breathe out over and over again without worrying about what you look like. No one cares, they're not paying attention. The only rule is that you stay focused on your mat because this time is yours and yours alone.
To get you started here are a couple of apps that might interest you!
I'd love to hear from you! Please keep in touch with me at http://www.facebook.com/bethschreibmangehringholistichealthcoach or atwww.bethschreibmangehring.com
Photograph is used too widely over the www to know who to attribute it too.