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December Month in Review

January 4, 2010

Happy 2010! Just a quick month-in-review post to get the blogging year rolling, format courtesy of Mon at Holistic Mama (although I’m not sure anyone else is doing one of these this month – I’m a bit late.) But first a few notes and recommendations:

Note: Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be reorganizing this blog, and possibly even migrating it to the full WordPress platform, so sorry in advance for any annoying extra posts or test notices you receive as a result if you are a subscriber (and thanks for that, BTW:-) Hopefully I’ll be back to my regular content (and a new series I’d like to do this year) soon.

Now some recommendations to start your New Year off right:

If you would like to jumpstart or overhaul a meditation practice this year, consider joining Jan Lundy’s 28-Day Meditation Challenge over at Awake is Good. Close to 40 participants already! Dialoguing in a group like this can be very helpful…

Also, if you have started or are thinking of starting a business this year, be sure to check out Akemi Gaines’ Lightworker’s Guide to Self-Employment (you may remember I interviewed Akemi back in September.) This e-book has a powerful clearing transmission behind it, I think. So if you are feeling blocked (or even if not), be sure to read it. And it’s free!

Ok, December in Review, through mind and body:

A thought…

Art as self-expression vs. as a spiritual conduit. This theme started when I was looking for pictures of the yantras/mandalas associated with each chakra for a workshop I was doing. Although I found many lovely representations online, I didn’t feel any were suitable for meditating on, because I could feel the artist in them too strongly. In other words, they were more about self-expression than expression of the chakra energies, and I wanted to meditate on the latter, not the former.

Over vacation I read a novel called The Immortals by Amit Chaudhari, which centers around a music teacher in Bombay, and had lots of interesting insights regarding classical Hindu music. The ancient ragas and other Hindu ‘story-songs’ didn’t have known composers – they evolved over time and were handed down from teacher to apprentice. This reminded me that a lot of religious art, especially that created in monastic settings, is unsigned. The art of creating it is considered a spiritual practice in and of itself, and the goal of the artist is to get out of the way, so something bigger can come through.

I don’t have any problem with art as self-expression, it’s just an interesting difference to contemplate, especially as a blogger, since blogging is, almost by definition, about POV…

A sound…

Despite my non-organized-religion tendencies, we do Christmas big around my house. I choose to consider it a celebration of enlightenment, and define it my own way (which so far, with the kids so young, works fine…we’ll see as more external forces start shaping their views how it all goes.)

So the prevalent sound in our home (and car) this month was holiday music. And in that category the hands-down favorite was The Nutcracker, mostly because my eldest daughter was a bon-bon in a local version. She has been bitten by the performing bug, I might add (not a surprise, considering her personality, or, for that matter, her astrological chart.) I like Tchaikovsky (what’s not to like?) as much as the next person, and was initially glad we were listening to this instead of, say, Frosty the Snowman, over and over…BUT, I have to admit, it got very old. I will gladly not listen to The Nutcracker for another year. Hopefully, by next December, it will seem like an old friend again.

A taste…

This would have to be moon cookies, an annual favorite in our house – basically butter (LOTS), cream, ground almonds, flour, sugar, and vanilla, shaped into crescent moons and rolled (smothered, with my kids) in powdered sugar. This is the only sweet my youngest daughter enjoys (not that I’m pushing sweets on her, of course!) I’m not a big baker, but these are SO worth the effort.

An image…

Snowflake-catching in Utah, where my southern-CA kids get to experience a bit of winter each year. Their fascination with snow much amuses my mostly midwestern family, who were buried in 2 feet of snow in the last couple of weeks, and are long past the snow-infatuation stage…

Snowflakes

Snowflakes

A scent…

Pine, of course, from our Christmas Tree! Or you can call it an enlightenment tree if you like…we gave it many thanks for sacrificing it’s life for our enjoyment:-)

A word…

“Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing to do is good for the one who is standing at your side. For these, my dear boy, are the answers to what is most important in this world.”

– Leo the turtle in The Three Questions, a children’s book by Jon Muth (who also wrote Zen Shorts and Zen Ties, two other children’s favorites of mine.) The Three Questions was given to us by a friend for Christmas, and I think it might be my favorite of the three. It’s based on a short story by Tolstoy, and features a boy with (what else?) three questions.

A touch…

Hmmm….always the toughest one for me, although my life is full of touch, with three little ones. All that comes to mind is   cuddling under a blanket, while watching Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with the kids (which does not do a whole lot to mediate kid’s dentist-fear, lol.)

A gift for me…

A massage…and a series of completely silly and irrelevant chick-lit books for vacation reading (after The Immortals)…I can’t even remember their names, frankly…but oh so worth it at the time!

A post you may have missed…

I usually use this section to feature others’ posts that I liked, but I’ve been offline for 2 weeks and am woefully behind on my favorite blogs!! So here’s an old favorite of my own:

Meditation- Intent, Intuition, and the Stillpoint In Between

20 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2010 12:59 am

    what a great review! I really love the format.

  2. January 5, 2010 12:59 am

    Happy 2010 to you, Lisa! Oh, those three children are adorable. Just wanted to say I look forward to a new year with you and all you do here at Mommy Mystic. I am forever grateful to Adam Lambert for bringing us together!

  3. January 5, 2010 2:08 am

    Happy New Year!

    Thank you for the mention. The eBook has been receiving very positive feedback. In fact, I will be talking about it on Small Business Trends Radio Show tomorrow.

    I agree with what you have to say about art. I think artists get too much into their own way these days in the name of self expression. There is something a lot more to art than self expression. Including writing. I think a lot of times, I am channeling when I write. Some of the posts that have my name on it, well, the grammar errors are mine, but the content is too good to be done by me. I’m just representing spirits.

  4. January 5, 2010 3:25 am

    Lisa, wonderful thoughts. Delightful picture, I can taste the snow here in Florida! Good move going to full wordpress–if you have any questions or need technical guidance please holler!

    k

  5. mommymystic permalink*
    January 5, 2010 5:06 am

    Sarah – looks like you redid your blog too?? Looks beautiful, looking forward to diving in more later this week…

    Brenda – yes, the universe works in mysterious ways!

    Akemi – I know what you mean, although for me it happens more when teaching than writing…

    Kaushik – thanks for the tech help offer! Not sure yet whether I will do it…have put it off for a long time, like keeping things easy and low-key, but it might be time….

  6. January 5, 2010 1:03 pm

    Yet again, everything is new. Have a marvelous New Year.

  7. January 5, 2010 3:01 pm

    Thanks for your thoughts and for sharing them. You might enjoy the Klezmer Nutcracker next year–I wrote about my favorite holiday music on several blog posts in December.

    I actually began blogging as a tool to “get myself out of the way.” I am a musician who has spent the past two years learning to let go of self for Self.

    You have posted lots of interesting things to explore and I have promised myself I will take 10 minutes and look at everything. Glad to find you!

  8. January 5, 2010 3:33 pm

    So great to read a review after your absence. I didn’t do one, so many other thoughts, and writing…..
    Great thoughts and experiences.

    “out of the way, so something bigger can come through.”
    We’re often in our own ways aren’t we? 🙂

  9. January 6, 2010 2:22 am

    Lisa,
    I always look forward to your month’s end observations. They never fail to remind to look for the simple pleasures and embrace them. The tongues out for snowflakes photo is just precious. Oh, I remember that well. 🙂 The Nutcracker is my all time fave. I decorate my house for Christmas with a Nutcracker theme. We have an arts academy here and every other year they perform the ballet. I never tire of seeing it. Your fave quote reminded me to pick up the Muth book for my granddaughter.

    And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your loyalty and support this year. I have learned much from you and treasure our bloggie friendship. I appreciate the blurb on the 28-Day Meditation Challenge. We now have 62 sign-ups! I can hardly believe it. I am thrilled and enjoying this forming of a new community, something I have longed for for a very long time now….a virtual sangha, if you will of kindred spirits. I treasure you and our connection.
    xo

  10. mommymystic permalink*
    January 6, 2010 3:46 am

    Suzanne – enjoy the new newness yourself!

    Cate – thanks for visiting, I will come and visit you too soon…

    Mon – yes, it’s amazing how many different ways we can actually get in our own way!

    jan – thanks Jan, I feel the same way…thanks for all you do.

  11. January 6, 2010 9:31 pm

    Hi Lisa
    Interesting your observations about your chakra images, never realized that in those instances the energy of the artist is NOT what you want.
    And I am so touched by the profound questions and answers in the Jon Muth’s book and that is why I love children’s books.
    And a wonderful joyous 2010 to you too, love Wilma

  12. January 7, 2010 1:24 am

    Thanks for sharing. Naya is totally a Sugar Plum Fairy fan after watching The Nutcracker this Christmas.

    I am learning more and more that time with Naya offers more insights than sitting meditation sometimes!

  13. January 7, 2010 9:45 pm

    Happy New Year Lisa~

    I feel your deep connection to Christmas and also Love the Nutcracker music. It kinda puts me in a Joyful Jolly state.

    I look forward to your “2010” posts, absorbing and intergrating the wealth of spiritual teachings you devote outward 🙂

  14. January 7, 2010 11:39 pm

    I love the way you documented the month according to the senses…makes perfect sense to me!!!

    I love the photo of your kids catching snowflakes on their tongues!

  15. mommymystic permalink*
    January 8, 2010 6:08 pm

    Wilma – yes it was an interesting thing to ponder myself re: the chakra pictures, I had not thought about it much until doing this search.

    Mermaid – yes, kid’s perspective can really stop us in our tracks sometimes…and I loved what you said on Jan’s site about ‘what is a good mother anyway?’

    Carla – lots of Nutcracker fans it seems! Cate mentioned a Klezmer version which sounds like a kick…

    Laura – the format is from Holistic Mama (link on top) she has some good memes you might want to check out…

  16. January 9, 2010 3:30 am

    Hi Lisa – your enlightenment days seemed to go very well! I’ll refrain from hummng the Nutcracker Suit.

    I just wanted to say thanks for blogging-along with me, and all the best with your blog – and good luck with the migration!

  17. January 9, 2010 2:14 pm

    Happy 2010 to you, Lisa! And good luck with the migration.

    Your kids appear like they are having a great time! Mine were most definitely fascinated with snow when we visited Japan last year.

    I certainly like what you said: “the goal of the artist is to get out of the way, so something bigger can come through.” I never quite thought of that. I enjoy art. I don’t recall thinking too much when I am in a creative space.

    My family celebrates Christmas too. Even though we are not Christians, it is a tradition for us to have a family gathering. The song that was most played for us this year came from the Alvin and the Chipmunk movie. My kids could not stop singing the same song. I wouldn’t have minded listening to the Nutcracker music for a change.

    Have an awesome year ahead!

    Evelyn

  18. ruth permalink
    January 10, 2010 5:27 am

    I love your littlies catching the snow! What a great pic. Sounds like you create such a lovely warm and happy atmosphere for them at Christmas holiday time :). Lucky kids to have such a lovely atmosphere creating mummy, esp. with music too.

    Your thoughts about art and chakras and mandalas etc reminded me of a book I have you might like to see some time – Spirit Maps. Have you seen it already? http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Maps-Follow-Exquisite-Geometry/dp/159003001X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263100784&sr=8-1

    I came across Jon Muth books- well one, Zen shorts and it’s very lovely :)Will look at getting the others – his books seem hard to come by down here. So funny as I also bought one for some nieces of mine, and I almost felt like I was pushing a religion on them, lol, as they are not very spiritually inclined I suppose…

    🙂

  19. debbie permalink
    January 10, 2010 9:26 pm

    Thank you for the link to the 28 day challenge. I have started today. I attended the fundraiser last month that you hosted and really became interested in meditation. Thank you for jump-starting my journey!
    ~debbie

  20. mommymystic permalink*
    January 11, 2010 12:17 am

    Robin, good luck to you, I will miss your posts. You introduced me to a lot of new ideas.

    Evelyn – We have so far avoided Alvin and his buddies (so squeaky!) but I guess it’s inevitable!

    Ruth – Yes, the Muth books are definitely ‘spiritual’ I guess, or at least explicitly ethical. I don’t mind that if the story and characters grab the kid’s attention – I know some people get turned off by books with too much of a ‘lesson’, but I’m Ok if the kids like it and it spurs them to think. Anyway, thanks for the Spirit Map link, that does look right up my ally. That is very much how I look at chakras, as archteypes and structures, so this is really interesting to me…

    Debbie – so glad you signed up for the challenge! Jan is doing a great job of providing lots of different perspectives and insights on meditation. I hope to see you in a class again this winter, I’m just getting all that organized right now….

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