It’s all a matter of how you look at things…
Familiar with that black and white yin-yang symbol, known in ancient Chinese philosophy as taijitu? Surely you’ve seen dogwood trees gracing the landscape but have you seen their taijitu?
Look closely at the blooms on this glorious tree. Each stunning bract (appearing as one of four flower petals) appears marred like a bruise or singe blemishing its perfect beauty.
The contrasting cleft reminds me of my Qigong instructor’s explanation of the taijitu: “The small dots on each side indicate that life is not perfect; nothing is 100 percent.”
That visual concept widened my black and white perspective to realize nothing is all good or all bad. I became more accepting of life as is. Even to say a perfectly imperfect life is perfect as it is. Hmmm. Seems Mother Nature already knew this. Am I surprised?
Some More Thoughts on the Small Black and White Circles (in Taijitu)…
“Located in the areas of their opposite colors, the small circles show that nothing is absolute. In each of the opposing forces there is a small part of the other. In all yin, there is yang and in all yang, there is yin… In every good, there is a little evil and vice versa. Nothing in the universe or in life is simply black or white. Each exists in the other and each needs the other in order to exist.” from the Complete Guide to Yin Yang Meanings for Life, Work, Home and Balance by Feng Shui Practitioner, Sally Painter.
I love this time of year — one foot stepping away from dismal winter, the other turning toward spring’s pulsating energy and invigorating growth.
Mother Nature turns her pages as weeping cherry blossoms invite sleepy trees to leaf out. Rosettes emerge beneath woody stalks from last year’s Autumn Joy…lifeless looking rosebushes begin to swell…rain purges pollen while transforming blue skies into grey and flourishing winter’s grass resplendent green…alluring buds rouse allergies yet spring’s intoxicating sights and scents are ecstasy to my spirit.
Insensate winter unfolding to scintillating spring — assurance that endings are beginnings.
“It feels as though the beginning and the end are intertwined, thus leading to a never-ending cycle. Surely this will not be the end. Just as it can’t be considered the beginning. Just as it can’t be determined where the beginning or the end is.”
Bleeding hearts emerging at this time of year remind me of all the compassionate Moms, their generous hearts, inner beauty, and unconditional love. Somehow these mothers don’t readily give up, resilient with an abundance of blind faith and patient hope.
Still, I doubt there is a mother whose heart has not been broken at one time or another in child rearing. I’ve known a number of Moms who could be considered dangerously softhearted, to the point of not honoring their own needs or health. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that these Bleeding heart beauties appear in time for Mother’s Day… or that they are perennials, steadfastly returning year after year. Isn’t Mom always there for you too?
My Magnificent Magnolia greets me as I sip a morning latte’ and bids me goodnight in the moonlight. Standing gloriously amidst an evening rain or grey sky, her steadfast glow casts a brilliance though my window. I am awash in awe.
We’ve been together for decades now — she being here long before I moved in. Maturing into a queen of nature’s beauty, this Magnificent Magnolia is my focal point during morning Qigong, and before turning in to sleep, I give her one last loving look.
Too many times the formidable April rains scattered her petals to the ground by morning’s light or before I’ve arrived back home, a disappointment paralleled to not having a chance to say goodbye.
But, I understand the inevitable better now and cherish each look at her grandeur. It may be the last but it stirs me as profoundly as her first bloom. Silently, she reminds me to appreciate what I have right now. In a second, it can be gone.
One in five deaths globally are diet-related. Think about that. Too much sodium (salty snacks), sugar (refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks), and not enough whole grains, fruits or vegetables are the culprit. And it’s something most can control. No surprise, diets in the healthiest countries — Japan, Israel, France and Spain — contain lots of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and healthy oils (similar to the Mediterranean diet).
I’ve never been one to count calories or try one fad diet after another. Instead of “dieting,” I prefer the idea of eating in a new (and hopefully healthier) way. Moderation is my guide. Although white flour and white sugar are health no-nos for everyone, I do believe the body reveals what is best. (I just need to listen!) My thought process and physical energy, for instance, scream for a nap after eating refined carbs. Protein, greens and healthy fats like olive oil, on the other hand, are hi-test.
For years, I struggled with the notion that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” because I’m rarely hungry upon waking or for several hours afterward. When making myself eat when not hungry, I gained weight. Being a recovering potato chip addict, I love carbs but when I dump the potatoes and pasta and oh, that fresh-baked crusty bread, I lose weight — and feel better.
That delicious and nutritious salad I shared with you recently has become my breakfast. Breakfast in the sense it’s my first meal of the day which is actually around lunch time — not because that’s when I’m waking up but because that’s when I feel hungry. And it’s fulfilling — in all ways.
I can easily make a healthy salad at home but when traveling I doubt I’ll see salad on the breakfast menu. Still, I’m hopeful since fruit earned its place there long ago and breakfast smoothies have been popping up. So, go ahead, try it. Eat some greens for breakfast and see how you feel.
One letter easily transforms food into fool.
One unhealthy food choice is eating foolishly.
Fool Me Once
A turn of the calendar page indicates April Fools Day is near. But many of us have been fools all along, duped into believing that all grocery store items provide sustenance.
Fooled for a long time, I trusted government agencies and legislators. If they allowed processed ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, herbicides and pesticides into our food, they must be safe, right? Well actually, I hadn’t given it much thought. But, when a devastating illness forced me to become more aware of what I was eating, I learned that food produced from “ingredients” and “packaged” in a bag or box was really not so good for me.
I understand how easy it is to be fooled when I don’t have the information to know better. I also understand how I become foolish when I do have the information to know better but don’t — a classic case of acting unwisely.
Thankfully, the truth is more readily available today about what’s marketed loosely as “food.” Still, many don’t have an interest or take time to investigate as evidenced by numerous fast food chains, and shopping carts overflowing with junk food, and potential “meals” like frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Really?) or microwavable pancakes and sausage “on a stick.” (No wonder we have a health care crisis when we don’t care about ourselves or what and how we eat.)
That bag of potato chips or cheese curls is not life giving. Becoming addicted, our cravings ignore the label of artificial ingredients — at least, perhaps, until we feel really sick.
The Pesticide Data Program of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that any of these residues may be found on potatoes:
- Suspected hormone disruptors
- Known or probable carcinogens
- Developmental or reproductive toxins
- Honeybee toxins
How long will we be convinced that ingesting contaminated potatoes won’t harm our bodies? Still craving those french fries?
Listing the overwhelming number of toxicants allowed in our food chain might make you too afraid to eat much of anything. That is not my intent, nor is it to fool you into thinking I eat perfectly healthy all the time.
Becoming more mindful of what I consume is a beginning. Making one conscious choice is one healthier step than foolishly pretending unnatural, chemically-treated foodstuffs won’t harm me. Hearing the increasing cases of cancer and allergies – even in the youngest of children, I can’t ignore the information I’ve uncovered. I simply have to value my self enough to follow it and not be fooled on April 1st — or any other day for that matter.
What are your experiences with food? Has your grocery shopping or food prep changed over time? I’d love to hear what books influenced your eating selections or habits. Please do share!
Feature photo original image by Momentmal from Pixabay