Gastown is as quiet as any residential neighbourhood this Labour Day Saturday morning. Its like this every long weekend. We went to Hon’s for dinner last night and it was quiet and empty there, not the usual noisy bustling Chinatown restaurant.
This is my first time using the iPad wordpress blogging app and it seems fine. I certainly love the way the blog looks on the iPad, and will be changing my theme from the MacBook next time I’m in there. Lately it seems I use the iPad for pleasure and the MacBook for work, and since I got it I haven’t been blogging at all. But I have had fun with journalling using the moleskine app.
Next I’ll have to organize dropbox or something to find the photos I want to use. But for now, here’s a pic of the quiet street from my iPad camera, just for today, before I head out to the trout lake farmers market.
We celebrated the arrival of the book and cd In Love with the Mystery, and Ann signed dedications to all the people who had pre-ordered. Now we are planning launches in Victoria and Vancouver in early November.
I’m really thrilled about this whole project and felt truly inspired to write this reflection on it:
Ann Mortifee, A Contemporary St. Hildegarde
by Carol Sill
A contemporary St. Hildegarde whose visions find expression in an integration of the arts, Ann Mortifee has done it again with her extraordinary book and CD In Love with the Mystery.
Perhaps her most complete and integrated expression, a natural development from the masterful Into the Heart of the Sangoma, In Love with the Mystery reveals Ann’s core of wisdom and meaning that she has found in the inner life. A mature integration, it is born of the completion of her life now with her soul mate husband Paul Horn. Through this relationship a new love of the mystery has revealed itself. But make no mistake, as a woman whose inner guidance has taken her around the world (both inner and outer) many times seeking the truth in all its forms and manifestations, Ann Mortifee herself is a force of nature.
What strikes me most is the way she seemingly effortlessly expresses the depth of humanity’s greatest aspirations and most profound seeking. She is a contemporary shaman, whose work reveals a personal integration of the world’s highest meditation teachings and new age spirituality with depth psychology and the hard-won truths of existence. Her expressions are not wishful thinking, speculation or theoretical. They are lived and breathed in the life of a woman today.
“Sacrifice all your resistance on the altar of your own becoming,” is something that she is doing each day. Her voice is the voice of experience.
Musically I compare her to Hildegarde because her inspiration comes so much in sound, and In Love with the Mystery reveals an intimacy with the essence of sound’s source and the celebration of this that music affords.
The progress of the recorded pieces acts as a complete mystery process, enabling the listener to sense and feel the divine relationship: from aspiration, to removing barriers, to contemplative silence, then ecstatic union, and knowing celebration. Each of these is expressed and explored in music which speaks to the body, heart and soul. It bears much more than just one listening. Move with it, dance with it, or sit and contemplate with it: this music opens the heart.
Her book, on which the lyric of the music is based, offers rich images to enhance the inner contemplation of each of the passages. It is a book to be opened and savored again and again, as each time another facet reveals itself. Ann’s inspired words bring home simple truths and profound contemplations in a stunning revelation of what it means to be human in these times of profound transition and change.
To me, In Love with the Mystery ranks with the work of the great mystics and seekers: poets like Rumi who whirled and spoke poetry in his love for Shams Tabriz, or saints like Hildegarde who heard, saw and felt the Divine. The whole work is a synaesthetic feast, an offering for the Divine Beloved.
The air changed just as we entered September, and my mind is slowly returning from the summertime haze. Its been a lovely summer and here are a few highlights – more to come next post.
We went to Portland for a week, dogsitting while friends of friends went to Northwest Sufi Camp.
Around that time the article I’d written while we were housesitting for my cousin at Nanoose Bay came out in Heartbeat, the Ruhaniat newsletter (published as a pdf online.)
The theme is Sacred Nature.
The In Love with the Mystery book and CD Project is now at press, with delivery in a week or so. It’s great being part of the Eskova team helping to make this project happen! We’ve put out a few newsletters with info, plus created the website for Ann Mortifee, with info on this latest project.
Keeping in Touch #1 – announcing the book project
Keeping in Touch #2 – features the new video
Spoken word poet Shane Koyczan delivered this poem at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver last night. We ran into him on the street this afternoon, in the crowds of people downtown.
I’ve become more and more dedicated to the inner practice of Yoga Nidra, something I had been interested in years ago through connection with Swami Rama. When I saw that the YWCA in Vancouver, an unlikely spot for inner yoga work, was featuring a class on Tuesday afternoons on Yoga Nidra, I was very excited and have been a regular attendee. The gym is filled with people lying down in savasana, covered in blankets, perfectly still and practicing Yoga Nidra.
Innerly, the process is extremely useful and can be a very high meditation. It also gives equillibrium, great peace of mind, stress relief and profound relaxation. The instructor for the class is very knowledgeable and gives clear, direct and no-bullshit instructions. There is no overlay of the kind of so-called spiritual advice, but rather a direct guidance to the straight goods, for you to find out for yourself.
After taking the class regularly, I interviewed Yogachaitanya, the instructor, for the project I was working on at the time, Open Source Spirit (this site is now in transition.) I’d include a video here, but wordpress.com won’t let me post it. You can find a link and CDs of the instructions for this Yoga Nidra, here at his site.
This practice of Yoga Nidra has been particularly helpful to me in the past few months, when my mother was so ill, and I was travelling back and forth, visiting her at the hospital and then at the hospice, and then after her passing. I just followed the instructions on my ipod and there was immediate relaxation and peace of mind that persisted within me through the days during one of the most stressful and intense times of my life. Using these instructions from the CD was a godsend, and kept me in the spirit of the process at its most meaningful, and the practice has remained helpful to me to this day.
Normally, I am not a fan of guided meditations, which I feel are more a form of hypnosis than training, and there comes to be a reliance on them, rather than self-aware involvement that is your own. In this situation however, I was very grateful for the assistance, and the leading of my conscious awareness into the openings of spirit.
I’ve been heartened by the expansion of urban gardening, food growing, here in Vancouver, which has been visible more than ever this summer. This year I’ve grown a some veggies on the roof (more on that in another post) – more than a few tomatoes and basil this time around! – and I’m considering ways to grow lettuce and kale hydroponically in the winter.
Cuban urban gardens are a terrific model for everyone these days. Check out this BBC video:
And more lyrically, here is Andrew Lavigne’s video on the Pine St. garden in Vancouver. (You’ll have to click through the links, my wordpress blog doesn’t seem to embed.)
My name from Spell with Flickr – try it yourself!
Okay, this worked fine when I first did it, but checking back on it I see it now reads SCAROL ILL, rather than the simple Carol Sill I had intended. Well, it was scary, when my mum was ill, and this little flickr polterguest has confirmed it! and it might change around other times too. No doubt this became glitchy from the WP upgrade, or is it from BEYOND!
I felt like we were in the depression era as we sat at the kitchen table finally rolling the pennies that we’d accumulated over the years. Wow! $89! (including some nickels and dimes.)
It was a glimpse into the retro-future, as we planned how to grow food upstairs on the roof, and rolled pennies after a meal of pea soup (with added tofu). What really tipped me into feeling we were in the depression all over again was making biscuits to go with the soup. Somehow my actions were resonant with the actions of women in the 1930s, finding ways to feed their families with basic ingredients. For us, today, this is only a pastime, but we do find ourselves tightening the belt just a little. And not from necessity but by choice, as we find ourselves naturally retrieving ways of life that had been wiped out by our electrical convenience-based society.
Is there any way I can hang clothes to dry outside, while living in a strata apartment?
Do I really need to use the dryer?
Visiting friends in Comox I saw they used the clothesline all the time. Not as a retro pastime but for real. Returning to the clothesline, with clothes pegs, and the bright scent of clothes dried in the sun feels good and sustainable to me. Now to find a way that won’t make neighbours feel we are slumming up their scene. How can clothes on a line in the city be freshly perceived as positive and forward-thinking? Is there such a thing as a trendy Gastown upscale designer clothesline? Over to you, Inform. (Now that I think of it, there must be wonderful European outdoor clothes drying gear somewhere.)
Here’s one UK product that looks useful, even if it’s not ultra-designed – a rain cover for a standard umbrella dryer (one of many such devices).