Archive for harmony

“Wait until your mud settles” Lao Tzu

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

“If you try to change it, you will ruin it. Try to hold it, and you will lose it.”

“Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect.”

“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth.”

“Give evil nothing to oppose and it will disappear by itself.”

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water.   Have the patience to wait!  Be still and allow the mud to settle.”

“If you realise that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.

If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”

“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.”

“Stop thinking, and end your problems.

What difference between yes and no?

What difference between success and failure?

Must you value what others value,

Avoid what others avoid?

How ridiculous!”

“Embracing Tao, you become embraced.
Supple, breathing gently, you become reborn.
Clearing your vision, you become clear.
Nurturing your beloved, you become impartial.
Opening your heart, you become accepted.
Accepting the World, you embrace Tao.
Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
Controlling without authority,
This is love.”

“The further one goes, the less one knows.”

“Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.”

“Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?”


Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

Photographs taken across China ’16



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Masanobu Fukuoka – The One-Straw Revolution

“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

“I do not particularly like the word ‘work.’ Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.”

“People think they understand things because they become familiar with them. This is only superficial knowledge. It is the knowledge of the astronomer who knows the names of the stars, the botanist who knows the classification of the leaves and flowers, the artist who knows the aesthetics of green and red. This is not to know nature itself- the earth and sky, green and red. Astronomer, botanist, and artist have done no more than grasp impressions and interpret them, each within the vault of his own mind. The more involved they become with the activity of the intellect, the more they set themselves apart and the more difficult it becomes to live naturally.”

“Until there is a reversal of the sense of values which cares more for size and appearance than for quality, there will be no solving the problem of food pollution.”

“We can never know the answers to great spiritual questions, but it’s all right not to understand. We have been born and are living on the earth to face directly the reality of living.”

“When a decision is made to cope with the symptoms of a problem, it is generally assumed that the corrective measures will solve the problem itself. They seldom do.”

“Fast rather than slow, more rather than less–this flashy “development” is linked directly to society’s impending collapse. It has only served to separate man from nature. Humanity must stop indulging the desire for material possessions and personal gain and move instead toward spiritual awareness.
Agriculture must change from large mechanical operations to small farms attached only to life itself. Material life and diet should be given a simple place. If this is done, work becomes pleasant, and spiritual breathing space becomes plentiful.”

“Food and medicine are not two different things: they are the front and back of one body. Chemically grown vegetables may be eaten for food, but they cannot be used as medicine.”

“I wonder how it is that people’s philosophies have come to spin faster than the changing seasons.”

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Reflecting by the lake

Winter has come for many of us. A time for endurance, truth, creativity and most of all, reflection. Have we lived well in 2016? No doubt we have been doing our best in difficult circumstances. Being here is tough!

I love to watch the seasons pass, each has its own characteristics and gifts. Nature offers a beautiful reminder of my own lifes journey, from spring to winter, and guidance in how best to live well in the seasons of this life. In winter I appreciate stillness, learning to forgive and heal, myself and others.

The world is a rocky place, filled with distractions and conflict, but a healthy connection with nature and the earth is central part of contentment, happiness and fulfilment. I have a great relationship and responsibility when I realise that I am an essential part of nature and life cannot be sustained without the vitality of the earth. My life, in so many ways, is a fragile harmony.

I was reading this this morning and found it focused my mind on a simpler path of appreciation (many traditions refer to the earth as ‘her’ or ‘Mother’ and I like it):

‘Every particle of us comes from her
Through the food we take from her daily.

We all start out as tiny seeds.
We have grown to our present state and status
Through what she provides.

She is truly our Mother
And must be acknowledged and respected.’

– Ogala Peace Pipe Ceremony

We once, as a human family on each continent of the earth, lived in balance with nature. With this approach and sentiment maybe our collective love of money and power will be transformed and we can reclaim our own balance with love and respect for ourselves and each other; Mother Earth, wise nature and every living thing.

We are all highly sensitive beings, it is no wonder there is so much fear, anxiety and feelings of isolation and resentment. The way that our societies approach life and treat nature is rotten at the roots. We are treated like cold machines, when in reality, we are warm breezes.

Each morning brings fresh opportunities. So many chances to change, build deeper and more sustaining relationships, making ourselves stronger with unity and love, giving ourselves the strength to ride out even the roughest of times with dignity and respect. An example to follow. Each one of us a great leader contributing to a brighter future.

A crisis sometimes just needs a shift in perspective and appreciation of what we are and have.
This is my wish this mornning reflecting by the lake.

Peace and Happiness from Pokhara, NepalX

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Guardians of the World House



The Kogi Tribe, Columbia

Only the birds can leave the massif

As we study our planet in miniature;

Conquer the sky, fell the trees,

Bastardise augury

And what we reap is disease.


Where once there was richness

Now cities function, cities born in the mire,

Lost cities, where focus falls foul,

Built far from the awe of nature.

Where are our monuments to beauty?


Descendants of the flourishing conquest.

How can we take care of the world?

In the heart of the earth, her hidden folds,

We are touched by a silent empathy,

We seem young and all too

Aware of our cancerous dust

And darkness we have wrought.


Cutting the heart out of the mother,

Severing our ties,

How can we look away

As she bleeds for us.


The hunting season is coming to a climax,

The world is fertile, her blood is gold,

It flows within all life.


We were given the earth in harmony,

To take care of, to nurture

And bear witness to its unfurling



In this world house

We must listen to the teachings,

The wind tells a story

Opening our hearts to remember,

Now to resurrect our inner world

With divination born of heart.


We are running around, wherever we can,

Not knowing what to do,

Far from enchantment or the rituals of soul.

Scattering our finest thoughts

Until nothing is left and, as one,

Are worthless, meaningless.

The minerals we need

Are being robbed by malice

And misplaced rationality.


The earth is innocent before us,

A noble friend,

Our one true mother;

To be adored in her sacred moods

And turning complexion.


Green disciples fixed in glory;

The earth is shaking

Can you hear the omen?

Doesn’t it stir your blood flow?

See through the smoking mirror

And venerate what is with tender care.


All people the creation of one clay,

Free to love and swim the waters of life,

Envisage a better world

And honour those dreams

With honest sacrifice and sincerity.

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Mabon – The Autumn Equinox (21st September 20:44)


To Autumn

William Blake (from Poetical Sketches, 1783)

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

“The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust’ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather’d clouds strew flowers round her head.

“The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.”
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o’er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

Today (yesterday…) at 20:44 (GMT) we celebrate the Autumn equinox, also known as Mabon (Celtic Tradition).  Today we experience a day and night of equal length as the sun makes it’s journey southward across the equator.  This is the coming of the winters night for Britain, the time when darkness overcomes light, night is longer than day.

Mabon is a time for balance, we are thankful for the bounty of harvest at this time of year, we thank the Earth for sustaining us and make preparations for the coming winter. This is the time of year when we reap what we have sown.

The Old Sun God is returning to the embrace of the Goddess, we can reflect on the year and our lives, as the night draws in, our minds naturally reflect on all things. Seemingly through the lack of light externally, we begin to illuminate the inner parts that had been shaded in the fecundity and activity of the summer months. Things naturally slow down, the pace of life drops, we begin to retreat inside more and more.

Mabon is a time of year for rest and celebration, after all the work and activity of summer harvest, it is a time to indulge and enjoy. It is a good time to begin to plant new seeds, formulate new ideas and projects for the coming year. Mabon, with its balance and traquil nature, allows us to take stock and become inspired. The truest of inspiration that surfaces from the still pond of silence and peace.

Our great Sun God is mourned, reminding us that all things come to an end, and that we are part of seasons and natural cycles greater than the mere passing of the calendar year, greater than the concept of an ‘end’. All things ending and beginning in perfect balance continuously, an effortless flow of action and inaction, of birth and death.

Without the darkness and chill of winter, we would not fully appreciate the birdsong of spring and the glorious warmth of summer (hence the difficulty of living in LA!). This can also be applied to our own experience, there is no light without dark, no joy that does not emanate from shadows.

The time of Mabon, and Autumn, sits in the West of the wheel of the year and represents the same energies as dusk, sunset, twilight and early evening, the move toward and the coming of night.

This all means a shift into the Yin (see Taoism) part of the circle of seasons.  This is the time of the ‘come down’ from the frenetic summer, the excitement of all those late nights in the garden and all things blossoming.  How we express and embody this slowing down is paramount to our physical and spiritual integration into the seasonal nature of things.  Do we fight it, bemoan the dark nights, or effortlessly float into the night with appreciation for its tranquility and depth.  After all, nighttime is when we sleep and explore dream times.  We leap out of one suit into another and explore new dimensions simply by surrendering to sleep (peace) and become aware of our unconscious inclinations to vibrate in the freakiest of fashions.  This is us, dreamers and the dreamt, all things imaginable and the unimagined.  This is the dance.

So Mabon is a time for us to work in our ability to let go of things, all things physical and emotional that have weighed us down, all things that embody negativity and that are superfluous to a bright and beautiful existence.  We all know what they are in our lives, it takes bravery to dispatch of some, they may be deep rooted and some may even define who we think we are (that’s a whole different rambling ‘Turtle’ post, in fact, it’s much, much more that that……it is what is!  Is it not?)

Our descent into the dark is inevitable, effortlessly ride it out, let yourself go, have no fear in your heart when facing the shifting tides of the universe.  Be free and comfortable, after all, this is the place we call home.  We are home!  Fighting the darkness will only delay the inevitable, whether you like it or not, you will be dragged there regardless, acceptance breeds fluidity and fluidity can only mean a less bumpy passage through this wonderfully rendered conscious realm.   ‘Go with the flow’ is not simply new age jargon, it has practical applications, visible results in the easing of mental and physical ailments.  Thought patterns can be altered, life changes when approached differently, destiny manifests in each moment.

All of This revolves around the present and all things are linked inextricably, both internally and externally.  Mabon breeds balance and makes us realise the effect that Mother Nature has on each and every one of us, every thing that is alive, eats, breathes and loves on this planet.  We can ever surrender to her shifting seasons, or move to LA and get a sun tan (which doesn’t sound like a bad compromise!  Hopefully you catch my drift here).  Mother Nature is highlighting the shifting nature of existence externally and internally and the importance of appreciating this constant pattern of rise and fall, have and have not, the harmony in the seemingly prevailing dissonance.

Ode To Autumn
John Keats (1820)
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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
   Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
   With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
   And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
      To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
   With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
      For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
   Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
   Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
   Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
      Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
   Steady thy laden head across a brook;
   Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
      Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
   Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
   And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
   Among the river sallows, borne aloft
      Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
   Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
   The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
      And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The Ritual of Mabon

Marking the passing year with a ritual is all part of celebrating the magical course of the seasons and natures wonderful balance. Many of our ‘pagan’ rituals have been swallowed up by the church (in the UK, pick your local religion and this will no doubt ring true). Rituals help to bring into our conciousness the physical effects of such meta-physical shifts in our environment. What we know scientifically about the seasons is far out weighed by what we don’t know, or have previously understood via instinct or intuition. This is the reason that we revert to a ritualised approach, look back to our ancestors who lived hand in hand with nature and realised the importance of understanding her rhythm and resonance. Of that which we are so discordant to collectively at this stage of human history and of that which we must feel with greater sensitivity to evolve and fully realise our collective yearning for a better world. We are being drawn back to the centre, after living a lie for too long and rituals help us enact this journey.

To be connected to the passing season’s helps me to tune into the wheels of what is effecting my waking life and consciousness. There are underlying factors that effect my emotional state of being, this may be a full moon or even more pronounced, the fact that night draws in at 4pm! It helps me to guage and understand the root of my emotions and come to terms with them. This does not mean that I disregard or undermine my emotional state (ego), but I gradually come to terms with it and realise that it is being effected by forces greater than my rational mind. This leaves me free to contemplate greater things that just myself and my perceived surroundings. What lies beneath? What am I part of? How can I effect this collective state for the better?

Appreciating nature and its perfect balance is at the core of this approach and rituals punctuate the passing years as we age and mature, change and adapt to the constant flux of being here.

The ritual of Mabon involves gathering the harvest, vegetables, nuts and fruits and placing them in a basket.  Creating an alter of sorts, a focal point. If you are not religious (as I am not) this is an aid to focus the mind on what we are celebrating here! Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with ‘God’ (in a sense) this is about worshipping nature and nature we are. We are celebrating ourselves! Mix the colours of the basket, make it beautiful.

There are many ways of celebrating Mabon, many passages to read, many incantations to offer. Here is an example:

O Gracious Goddess of all fertility, I have sown and
Reaped the fruits of my actions, good and bane.
Grant me the courage to plant seeds of joy and love in
The coming year, banishing misery and hate. Teach me the secrets
Of wise existence upon the planet.
O luminous one of the night!

Vocalising such sentiments and thankfulness is a potent method of cleansing any inhibitions we may have with regards to the coming winter months, the lean time of potential suffering and struggle.  Certainly, this was the case for our ancestors.  There would have no doubt been an element of melancholy at this time of years, especially if you lived in these Welsh hills and knew that blizzards and storms were just around the corner.  Chanting and singing also focus the mind and a focused mind is a happy and content mind, so chanting and singing can only breed happiness and contentment.

Rituals are very important, collectively celebrating, appreciating and adopting a peaceful approach to life is very important. You could call it a ‘higher calling’ if you like.  A release from the mundanity of living, but also an appreciation for the fruits of such mundanity.  After all, digging out the weeds in the vegetable patch has resulted in this wokderful harvest we now enjoy.

A collective, ritualized approach to celebration is one of the wonderful gifts of religion (of which I am not).   Collectively, large groups of people get together and celebrate in a loving way with a one eye occasionally cast towards something greater than the sum of its parts. There is little crime in Christian countries on Christmas Day and what may I add is Christ-mass day about? Christ is the embodiment of peace on earth and lets face it, we all love Christmas! We can all take this positive energy and joy into more than one celebration per year, this will have a massive effect on the well-being of us all. Marking the passing seasons and thanking nature for sustaining us is a huge step in the right direction.  Rituals require discipline, but can be enacted every day of the year, a small window to appreciate what makes you tick and skip (different for us all).  We are all unique expressions of something very special and this should be celebrated.

So as the heat leaves this island for another year, we simmer down and gather around the fire to tell tale tales of the adventures of the lighter months of activity and adventure.  As the leaves begin to change colours on the trees, showing red and orange, gold and amber, we notice differing shades of our emotional landscape.  The leaves seem to remind us of the receding sun, it’s fire and the transformations that will take place come Spring.  They are the embers of natures love that burn and enliven bleaker times.  They suggest that nature has not left us, just that it is sleeping, all things must rest and have the opportunity to dream.  We are free to harvest the fruits of our labour and store them, like jewels, until the spring light may shine on them again.

The Harvest is here; bake cakes, drink cider and be merryX

Dates for Northern Hemispheres ‘Sabbats’

Northern Hemisphere
Imbolc – Feb 2nd
Ostara – Mar 21st/22nd
Beltane – April 30th/May 1st
Lithia – June 21st/22nd
Lammas – July 31st/Aug 1st
Mabon – Sept 21st/22nd
Samhain – Oct 31st
Yule – Dec 21st/22nd

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Smaller than the smallest – Fred LaMotte

Leaves in wind before sky

“Ano-ranyan mahato-mahyan.”

Smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest.


Why are you trying to expand? Joy is small.
One atom of your laughter contains the sun.
One tear reflects ten thousand stars.
You were everything, but it was not enough
until you entered this breath.
Enlargement is not your purpose here:
you came to marvel at the dogwood
bursting in a moon beam.
God stoops, curls up in your heartbeat,
fits creation’s glory in your eye.
The Holy Mother sleeps in your bellybutton.
Christ is so little he lives in a crumb, crying,
“this is my body!”
Great beings condense into drops of love.”

~ Fred LaMotte

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Images of beautiful earth from space

Every time I look out the window and see our beautiful planet, my soul sings! I see blue skies, white clouds and bright blessed day.”  
NASA astronaut Douglas Wheelock who is currently aboard the International Space Station shares pictures of the Earth he snaps with the world through Twitter.
Known to his nearly 68,000 Twitter followers as Astro_Wheels, Wheelock has been posting impressive photos of the Earth and some of his thoughts ever since he moved into the space station in June, five months after it got Internet access. 
What a beautiful rock we live on.

Greek islands on a clear night during our flight over Europe .. Athens shine brightly along the Mediterranean Sea .

” Mystery Island ” – located in the Indian Ocean close to Madagascar .. Interesting features on the island and the unusual shape should be enough to help you discover this beautiful place.

Northern lights in the distance in one of the finest nights over Europe … The photo clearly shows the Strait of Dover. Paris is dazzling with the city lights.
A little fog over the western part of England , particularly over London ..

The moon is breathtaking.

Of all the places of our beautiful planet few can rival the beauty and richness of colors in the Bahamas .. In this photo, our ship is seen against the backdrop
of the Bahamas.

At a speed of 28,163 kilometres per hour (8 kilometres per second), we rotate the Earth’s orbit, making one revolution every 90 minutes, and watch sunsets
and sunrises every 45 minutes. So half of our journey is in darkness. For the work we use lights on our helmets.

Every time I look out the window and see our beautiful planet, my soul sings! I see blue skies, white clouds and bright blessed day.

Another spectacular sunset. We see 16 such sunsets
each day, and each of them is really valuable.

Beautiful atoll in the Pacific Ocean , photographed using 400mm lens. Approximately 1930 km south of Honolulu ….


Perfect reflection of sun over the island of Cyprus.

Above the centre of the Atlantic Ocean , before another stunning sunset. Downstairs in the setting sun visible spiral Hurricane Earl.

A little farther east, we saw the sacred monolith Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. I have never had the opportunity to visit Australia , but someday I hope
that I will stand by this miracle of nature.

Morning over the Andes in South America . I do not know for sure the title of this peak, but was simply amazed by her magic, stretching to the sun and
wind tops.

Over the Sahara desert, approaching the ancient lands and thousand-year history. River Nile flows through Egypt by the Pyramids of Giza near Cairo ..
Further, the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, Dead Sea , Jordan River, as well as the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea and Greece on the horizon.

Night view of the River Nile, stretching like a snake through Egypt to the Mediterranean, and Cairo, located in the Delta. Far away in this picture, one
can see the Mediterranean Sea …

Our unmanned ‘Progress 39P’ approaches the ISS for refuelling. It is full of food, fuel, spare parts and all necessities for our station. Inside was a real gift –
fresh fruit and vegetables. What a miracle after three months of food from a tube!

I wanted to share with you this view from the Dome.  We said goodbye to the members of our group Sasha, Misha and Tracy this weekend, and they returned
safely back to Earth. In this photo, Tracy quietly dreams of returning home.

Module Union 23C Olympus docked with the ISS .  When our work ends here, we go back home to Earth. We fly over the snow-capped peaks of the
Caucasus . The rising sun is reflected from the Caspian Sea.

The flash of colour, movement and life on the canvas of our amazing world. This is part of the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia , photographed through the lens of 1200 mm.

All the beauty of Italy , a clear winter night. You can see many beautiful islands that adorn the coast – Capri , Sicily and Malta . Naples and
Mount Vesuvius are allocated along the coast. 

At the southern end of South America lies the pearl of Patagonia …. The amazing beauty of rugged mountains, massive glaciers, fjords and seas
combined in perfect harmony.

“Dome” on the side of nadir station gives a panoramic view of our beautiful planet. Fedor made the picture from the window of the Russian docking compartment.  In this photo I’m sitting in the dome, preparing the
camera for our evening flight over Hurricane Earl.

Florida and southeastern U.S. in the evening. A clear autumn evening, the moonlight over the water and sky, dotted with millions of stars.


Clear starry night over the eastern Mediterranean .. The ancient land with a thousand years of history stretching from Athens to Cairo . Historical land of
fabulous and alluring island … Athens – Crete – Rhodes – Izmir – Ankara – Cyprus – Damascus – Beirut – Haifa – Amman – Tel Aviv – Jerusalem –
Cairo – all of them turned into tiny lights in this cool November night. 

In this time of year you can enjoy the beauty of the polar mesospheric clouds. With our high-angle illumination, we were able to capture a thin layer
of noctilucent clouds at sunset.


Astronaut Douglas Wheelock

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