Catching The Light

Nu·ance |n(y)o͞o äns| noun: nuance; plural: nuances • a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound • verb: nuance; nuances; nuanced; nuancing.

Gladioli Girl, © Mairianne Giovanna Genova

Hello June! The Summer Solstice is just around the corner. The Solstice reminds us how integral the Sun is to our lives. In several ancient cultures, the Summer Solstice is honored as the union between Heaven and Earth. Here are a few Artful Living ways to mark the longest day and celebrate the Sun. Wishing you a Summer filled with light and vitality. Enjoy all the delights the season has to offer!

Cast A Spell: This spell is for protection, healing, empowering, and revitalizing: Create a pouch for psychic dreams; put mugwort (a visionary herb) and bay leaves (often associated with the Sun) in a piece of Yellow material (the color of the Sun); sew it up with Red thread (the color of action and fire); and place it under your pillow. Dream on!

Greet The Sunrise: Watching the Sun come up is a powerful reminder of nature’s cycles -the ones we so often take for granted. Wake up early with the Sun. Watch her rise. When the Sun is low in the sky, you can stare into her. Fill your eyes and your body with her light. Do a Sun Salutation yoga practice!

Make A Solar Elixir: Traditionally, elderflowers are associated with the Summer Solstice as they are in peak bloom in many parts of the world around late June. Some pagan traditions recommend creating a cordial with elderflowers or a cocktail infused with the petals. Alternatively, you could create a soothing elixir with chamomile. Brew chamomile tea, cool it, then add a dash of cinnamon and ginger. Feel the flower power!

Design In Nature: Create a mandala or danmala (meaning the giving of flower circles in Sanskrit) with natural elements -flowers, leaves, twigs, berries, rocks, seeds and feathers, found foraging. This is a beautiful process for grounding, presencing, and practicing the art of letting go. Create temporary mandalas around your local area to connect more deeply with nature, and leave for others to find and enjoy. Design a divine offering!

Express Gratitude: Give thanks for the Sun, for the light of the Sun, for the life that comes from the Sun. Write the Sun a love letter: Thank you, light, for the life you give to the plants, the animals, and to me. Next, show gratitude to yourself, too. Take the time to honor your own inner light and it’s expansion over your shadows. Express gratitude for your journey!

Unleash Your Spirit: The Summer Solstice is our annual opportunity to take advantage of the abundance of light that can help us release burdens, doubts, and fears, so we can become just a little freer, lighter. The most basic way to honor the Sun is to be in it. Soak it up, sing, dance, drum, play some music. This is a great time of year to dive into your inner child. A reminder to never lose sight of the magic in each day. Remember to play!

Malas & Miracles

Creating Malas & Miracles Retreat Menla June 15-17th 2018

During this weekend long retreat at the beautiful Menla Retreat & Spa, Satya Scainetti, Founder of Satya Jewelry will lead you through the sacred art of mala making and how malas are used in daily practice to help manifest miracles. Creating a personal mala works to open the heart and serves as a talisman for individual empowerment and well-being. Each attendee will leave the retreat with an intention infused, one-of-a-kind mala that they are encouraged to use for a 40-day meditation.

The mala is a traditional garland of 108 prayer beads. Every bead represents a truth, and meditating on them with an affirmation, or mantra, is used to bring peace of mind. The mala can also be seen as a metaphor for life: a small knot between each of the beads represents a challenge between the smoother, more beautiful aspects of life.

Surrounded by thousands of acres of Catskills forest preserve, Menla is nestled in a magical hidden mountain valley in Phoenicia New York. Throughout the year, guests can enjoy deep serenity and abundant wildlife, explore many different levels of hikes, and take advantage of unique classes and services offering integrative healing -merging Tibetan, Ayurvedic and other holistic traditions. Menla features a conference center, yoga studio, sweat lodge, meditation sanctuary, and the wonderful new Tibetan Dewa Spa & Healing Center specializing in rare and ancient Tibetan therapies.

Menla is affliated with the cultural embassy for Tibet, the Tibet House in NYC, and operated by Robert AF Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as co-founder and President of Tibet House. In 2006 The Dalai Lama blessed the land and the stated mission at Menla: to be a place for health, healing and spiritual evolution, based on the wisdom of Tibetan medicine.

Satya Scainetti is the founder and designer of Satya Jewelry. A philanthropist, yoga teacher and Reiki healer, Satya lives a lifestyle dedicated to giving back to the world community. The name Satya, meaning “truth” in Sanskrit, inspires each wearer to their individual truth. With a global following, she creates beautiful, inspiring and meaningful jewelry that resonates with each customer’s own personal journey. Satya’s background in social work and passion for early childhood education sparked the creation of the Satya Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides children all over the world with hope, change and the opportunity to fulfill their destinies.

Forest Bathing

Nature’s the ultimate stress-buster, says Science. It’s simple math: You look at a tree, you feel better. No one knows this as well as Dr. Qing Li, a researcher from Japan who focuses on something called forest medicine. Li’s work confirms what intuition and common sense have long told us: Being around trees is healthy. But it’s more than just that: Li has found that spending time in nature is not just good for those of us who are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or fatigued. It can actually have positive effects on sleep, energy levels, immune function, and cardiovascular & metabolic health. That research is well-known in Japan, and the idea of “forest bathing” -spending time in nature with purpose and attention, is well-practiced. But the idea of walking into the woods instead of the pharmacy hasn’t yet caught on in the US and other Western societies.

Now comes the spotlight moment that forest bathing deserves. Li, who serves as the chairman of the Japanese Society for Forest Medicine, just wrote his first book. The definitive guide to the therapeutic Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness, 2018.

Notice how a tree sways in the wind. Run your hands over its bark. Take in its citrusy scent. As a society we suffer from nature deficit disorder, but studies have shown that spending mindful, intentional time around trees -what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, can promote health and happiness. In this beautiful book -featuring more than 100 color photographs from forests around the world, including the forest therapy trails that criss-cross Japan, Dr. Qing Li shows how forest bathing can reduce your stress levels and blood pressure, strengthen your immune and cardiovascular systems, boost your energy, mood, creativity and concentration, and even help you live longer. Once you’ve discovered the healing power of trees, you can lose yourself in the beauty of your surroundings, leave everyday stress behind, and reach a place of greater calm and wellness. #forestfromthetrees

Earth Day Campaign

Earth Day April 22nd 2018 

Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, announced that Earth Day 2018 will focus on mobilizing the world to end plastic pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN will educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems.

From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival. In response, EDN has built a multi-year End Plastic Pollution Campaign. The goals include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics. As a catalyst for global action the campaign includes four major components:

  • Leading a grassroots movement to support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution
  • Educating, mobilizing and activating citizens across the globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution
  • Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics
  • Promoting local government regulatory and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution

Be The Change. Take Action. Get Involved. Give To The Cause. Spread The Word. Choose An Option To End Plastic Pollution On Earth Day & Beyond! Here

Wellness RX

Mind Body Spirit RX Wellness Prescriptions. Seven Non-Negociables For Wellness From Yogini Activist Seane Corn.

For yoga teachers and everyone interested in transformational change, Seane Corn -international yoga teacher extraordinaire and co-founder of Off The Mat Into The World, an organization dedicated to bridging yoga and activism, will be at Kripalu -the premiere yoga & health center in the Berkshires, co-teaching with Kerri Kelly founder of CTZNWELL -a movement to mobilize the well-being community into a powerful force for change. Together they offer a valuable program, instrumental in translating the tools of well-being into practical application and social action in the public sector: Teaching Transformational Yoga; Bridging Personal Practice & Collective ChangeMay 4-6th, 2018.

The personal is always political. There is never an instance where we are separate from everyone & everything around us. Our lives are interwoven, and so our practice must allow for the interplay between who we are as individuals and who we are as a collective; between personal healing and transformation (inner work) and collective well-being for all (outer work).

Kerri Kelly Founder of CTZNWELL Explores The Privilege of Well-Being at TEDxBend.

This training is designed for leaders on the front lines of transformational work, including yoga teachers, community leaders, organizers and facilitators, who are ready to take their work to the next level. It is an immersive experience demanding radical healing and truth telling, calling each of us to reach our highest human potential as catalysts for real, long-term change. Using a whole-systems approach, Corn & Kelly will cover the following core components:

  • Teaching: The art of designing a transformational yoga class that bridges the personal & the political
  • Facilitating: Building skills to hold space & cultivate courageous conversation about issues of social justice & liberation
  • Speaking: Finding your voice, connecting the dots & telling your story
  • Expanding: How to decentralize the conversation, spread seeds & ignite the movement

If you only have the time and or resources for one life-changing yoga training this year, The Artful Living Blog recommends this one. Note* Seane Corn is a Kripalu visiting yogini rockstar thus this program will sell out quickly.

I’ve Been Thinking

I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life by Maria Shriver, 2018.

The Artful Living Blog became an admirer of Maria Shriver over the years through her bestselling books and journalism, recognizing that she was a thoughtful, reflective, honest interpreter of our current world. Also from being a subscriber to The Sunday Paper -a weekly newsletter from her self-described digital home powered by inspiration for people with passion and purpose, where she shares information, reflections, news stories, viewpoints & more. One quickly learns therein that observing the week through Maria’s lens is refreshing, always interesting and optimistic. Inspiring read encouraging hope that we can all be activists in some small way and make a positive difference by becoming “architects of change.”

As a prominent woman juggling many roles, Maria Shriver knows just how surprising, unpredictable, and stressful everyday life can be. In her moving and powerful new book: I’ve Been Thinking, she shares inspiring quotes, prayers & wise reflections designed to get readers thinking, feeling, and laughing, to guide them in their journey to what she calls The Open Field -a place of acceptance, purpose, and passion, a place of joy. I’ve Been Thinking is ideal for anyone at any point on the continuum of life. Whether you feel like you’ve got it all together or like it’s all falling apart, whether you’re taking stock of your life or simply looking to recharge, this is a book you can turn to again and again. The perfect daily companion or weekend pick-me-up, and an exceptional gift for the graduate, or someone looking to move forward in life with hope and grace.

Spring Of Life

Happy Spring Equinox! The Vernal Equinox Signals The Beginning Of Nature’s Renewal In The Northern Hemisphere.  A Solemn Passion: Jane Eyre Inspired Print By Artist Illustrator Diana Sudyka.

Whole Beauty

Shiva Rose Iranian-American Actress Activist & Author Of The Popular Holistic Living Haute Bohemian Blog The Local Rose & Creatrix Of Shiva Rose Skincare Products.

A decade ago, after suffering from life-threatening autoimmune disorders, Hollywood actress Shiva Rose set out to discover a more holistic way to natural health and beauty. Growing her own organic herbs and flowers; mixing creams, lotions, and tonics; and following Ayurvedic practices and creating mindful rituals, she has not only healed her life but has also become a leader, entrepreneur and activist in the world of all-natural beauty and lifestyle.

Whole Beauty: Daily Rituals & Natural Recipes for Lifelong Beauty & Wellness by Shiva Rose, April 2018.

Whole Beauty is her radiant next step, a practical, inspiring, stunningly beautiful guide to following a whole beauty practice at home. A devotee of ancient beauty practices and yet elegantly modern, Shiva advocates self-care with soothing rituals and luxurious flora-focused recipes that release inner radiance. This beautiful book is like a spa day for the soul and senses. Here is the recipe for Rose’s iconic Rose Hip facial serum, as well as 40 other recipes. She explains Ayurvedic practices, such as dry brushing and oil pulling, and home-cleansing rituals, such as smudging with burning sage; shares a dozen tonics, including Celestial Nog and Summer Lover; and offers an entire chapter on the use of essential oils, both on the body and in the home. With natural beauty solutions showing you how to tap into the full force of feminine energy, Whole Beauty is a complete guide to revitalizing your life.

Honoring The Earth, Celebrating The Body: An evening of story and ritual with Shiva Rose to celebrate the launch of her new book Whole Beauty at the Deepak Homebase, ABC Home NYC, April 5th, 2018. Discover daily rituals and earth-friendly recipes for lifelong beauty and wellness + take part in the creation of a nature altar in honor of Mother Earth. Tickets here

As a leading consciousness center in New York, Deepak Homebase is where audiences engage in experiences to enrich the beauty, wellness, and wisdom of our bodies, minds and planet. Convening global leaders, change-makers, and the most notable artists, authors, designers and performers to share their genius, galvanizing efforts to create a sustainable world.