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Nature Therapy and the First Generation of the Sacred Gardens of Mabon House…

All I want to do is be at home in my gardens. If there was any addiction I wouldn’t mind having, it is the addiction to being outside in nature. Now, before any finger-pointing people start telling me no addiction is good for you – allow me to explain further. Trust me on this – I am an addict…so I know all about addiction.

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Addiction by definition is “An unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something.” Over the years, I have been addicted to food and prescription pain medicine.  And because of that, we all know that when you hear someone who is “addicted” to something, one immediately jumps to the conclusion that something is wrong. I am here to tell you that even as an addict, this is not necessarily the case. Coming from an addictive personality myself, I can totally relate to the feeling of needing to have or want something that I crave.

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But that doesn’t necessarily mean that my feelings for that are malignant in nature. I mean, let’s face it – addiction of all kinds CAN be bad. That’s the truth. When you do one thing too much, it tends to lead to isolation from social interaction and impairs normal ranges of judgement. With things like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, continuously plaguing our world, it’s no wonder the word addiction has such a horrible stigma to the name.

And so, I have tried in earnest, to take my addictive personality, and use it towards something healthier. For me, it’s gardening.

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Years ago I had a dream to build a Goddess Permaculture Paradise Plan (or as I like to call it, the GP3 haha).  I never had a name for it until my friend Colette, who is the magical mistress at Bealtaine Cottage ( http://www.bealtainecottage.com ), coined the phrase “Goddess Permaculture Paradise”.  Unfortunately, in 2007, that dream was put on hold when my life was turned upside down and everything I once had, had been taken away from me. Here I am, 9 years later, and my dream is back on with a vengeance. An involuntary sabbatical that left me depressed but also more motivated than ever to refocus on my dream has presented itself in my new home, appropriately named, Mabon House.  If you are just reading my blogs for the first time, my husband Scott and I purchased this home in October 2015.  Since we follow the 8 Earth Festival holidays, we decided to name our home after the holiday we just celebrated, called Mabon, which means “Gratitude and Thanksgiving”.

(A little slice of our home, Mabon House)

Utilizing my friends Colette and Jacqueline (who are truly some of Gaia’s hand maidens) as my muses, I KNOW NOW, I have found my calling. Yup. Who knew? At 42 years old, I FINALLY found my calling.

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(Some areas of Bealtaine Cottage, one of my favorite places on Earth)

So, riddle me this, Hobbits…HOW do I proceed?

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(Mother Moon Monastery and Herb Farm, another favorite place I wish to visit – please check her website at http://www.moonmother.net )

When you are living paycheck to paycheck, it’s actually quite impossible to be “living the dream.” Yet, I cannot tell you how many self-help gurus, books, memes and everything else under the sun tell me that it CAN be done! Truth is, I DO believe this. I believe we are magical, spiritual beings that can do ANYTHING if we truly put our mind to it. And if it doesn’t happen, then it wasn’t meant to be AT THAT MOMENT. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen later down on your road of life. I’m living proof this has happened. And that the universe will surely reward for our love of trying and enduring the trials that come with it. I really do believe this. I teach this to people I mentor. Isn’t it funny though, when the teacher sometimes need to be taught?

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On Mother’s Day, the majority of my afternoon and evening was spent in my gardens. I say gardens because I am planning on having little gardens spread throughout the property.  (Please see my previous video blog on my quick tour around the back gardens).  On the following Tuesday, after an incredibly difficult day, I went to my favorite garden nursery (Renninger’s in Royersford, PA), and went on a little shopping spree since they were having a sale. And less than 30 minutes later, I was back in my gardens, tinkering and toiling. It’s my therapy. My NEEDED therapy.

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What’s in my garden, you ask? Oh dear Hobbits….have I got treats for you!

For the veggies, I’ve got String Beans, Sweet Peas, Russian Kale, Hugh’s Cabbage, Green Cabbage, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, 3 types of Tomatoes, 2 types of Onion, Leeks, Red Bell and Sweet Banana Peppers, Scallions, Beets, Nastercians, Eggplant, Blue Kale, Potatoes and Carrots.

In the fruit department, I’ve got Raspberries and Strawberries. And soon to be planting seeds from my organic lemons, because…why the hell not?

In the herbal/flower section, I’ve got Calendula, Italian Parsley, Dill, Basil, Sage, Thyme, Sweet Marjoram, Patchouli, Feverfew, Chamomile, Angelica, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Lavender, Passion Flower, Comfrey, Valerian Root, Purple Deadnettle, Plantain (not the banana type-the medicinal herb type) and Gladioli.

In the tree department I’ve got Dogwoods, Hawthorn (appropriated named The Fairy Wood), and Crab Apples. My Willow cuttings from Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland sadly didn’t make it over the winter, mainly because Linus pulled them out and ate them. Sigh…a little rascal, indeed.

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(my clever little rascal of a doggie, Linus VanPuggle)

On Thursday, after working half a day and getting some appointments done, I will be exactly where I am most happy – in my gardens. Do you know that every morning, I walk outside before leaving for work, letting my beloved plants know I will be back soon enough, then sit in the meditational nook and speak to my Mother, Gaia. Sometimes I call her Gaia, sometimes I call her Mary, sometimes I call her Lakshmi, but in the end, she is the same, she is One Mother. My Mother. Not to take away my own love for my Mom, Eileen, as my love for her swells past the ages, I don’t think she will ever understand the depth of unconditional love I have for her, even though we both make each other crazy. In the end, she is my Mother. And even though I don’t agree with things she believes in, if there is one thing I have taken from her teachings, it is to unconditionally love. This has been the greatest teaching she and my Father have given me. Something I once took for granted, and never again will question. This is truth buried beneath my very bones.

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The fact that for the next 3 ½ days I will be spending time in my gardens has made me squeal with such excitement. It’s funny how some people absolutely hate the thought of working in the garden or yard. For me, it is therapy. Deep therapy. And Mum Gaia is my therapist.

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I am excited also that you, my readers, will be joining me on this journey I have been talking about for how many years? And now it’s finally here. My heart swells. My cup runneth over.

Come, walk with me…

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(My lavender is beginning to flower)

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(Same as my lemon verbena…flowers=seeds!!!!)
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(Transplant babies. From seed to garden)
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(First flower of my Nastercians!)
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(Tomatoes and Passion Flower galore! )
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(My pretty Hibiscus I had to take home with me…)

The Demon Within…

One of the biggest things I deal with during this particular time of the year is the big D.  Most people know what I speak of, and I’m sure many of you are sitting on the other side of your computer nodding in complete and utter understanding.

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Depression, as many know, is when a chemical imbalance in our brains result in a disruption of some-sort, creating a sort of chaos in our bodies that causes hopelessness. Most times, depression is the result of a tragedy a person experiences, whether it be a death, break-up, or any of loss of “something”….Sometimes, in my case, it could be just a simple explanation of the weather 5 feet from me.  It is one of my biggest struggles I face with in life, and every year I pray and pray that somewhere, somehow, this feeling of sadness would end.

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So, let’s talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)….

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It goes without saying that everyone, both of human and animal alike, NEED sunlight.  The vitamins coming from the sun gives off so much energy and a pulse of life itself, there is no wonder why people love to “Sun bathe”.  Sadly, for me, I’m a Celt by blood.  A mixture of Irish, English, Scottish, and German.  So, putting my pasty self outside for more than a few moments will cause my skin to scream.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to be out in the sun.  It’s why I am a morning person, so to speak…(I say that because during the Monday-Friday deal, I’m not really worth talking to in the morning, but that’s a whole other story LOL)

In the Northern Hemisphere, at the time of Litha, otherwise known as Midsummer or the Summer Solstice, the Sun is at his prime, beaming down with such veracity, it even finds the shadiest of places.  But sadly, after that prime day of days, the Sun begins its fall.  And within 6 months, the Sun, although still shining, does not have the luster and awe that we had just a few months before.  For many people, this time is the beginning of Winter.  And we start our slow climb back to the manifestation of the gifts the Sun gives us in the Spring and Summer.

So, during the time after the holiday and New Year season ends, there is a period of silence.  Nothing really happens until the next little break, which is Valentine’s Day.  And then, after that, is the Spring Equinox, Ostara, or as many know it to be, Easter.

What do we do during this period?  Well, for me, I kind of go crazy and start cleaning and regrouping my life, creating goals for the warmer weather to come, all while taking care of my mind, body and soul, who is sadly ill-at-ease over the lack of warm sunlight, growth and overall life.

It’s why I love living myself according to the Celtic Seasonal Calendar.  It makes sense for me, because I always was like a month early to prepare for each season/holiday.  In just a few weeks, MY Winter will be over.  On February 1st, I celebrate the feast day of St. Bridget, who holds the keys of the kingdom for my favorite Season: Spring.

February 1st in the Celtic Calendar is the Season of Imbolc (Pronounced IMM-OLCK).  It is the beginning of the Springtime, the time where our Mother Earth is stirring and beginning her slow process of “waking up”.  Just as we, each morning, open our eyes, stretch our arms and legs, and get reacquainted with the morning and the light, so does Mother Earth.  The soil, through its Winter hibernation, begins to warm up, allowing the seeds within the soil to take heed and blossom.  One of the greatest gifts we can get in the Early Springtime are Crocuses.  They are Mother Nature’s quiet little trumpets, usually peeking up within the snow and cold ground, alerting us all that warm weather IS coming back.  That is the beauty of this planet.  Of where I live.  We know Spring follows Winter.  It’s how life is.

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So, what do I do in the meantime?  Even as I type this out, on this lazy Sunday morning, I feel sad.  Sad because going outside would require me to bundle up because the air is SO cold, it would actually hurt my skin.  Make my eyes water.  Even the “smell” of life, is not there.

What makes me gaga over being outside?  Feeling the grass beneath my bare feet.  Smelling the seasonal flowers breezing through the air.  Seeing the magnificent trees, shrubs and bushes blossom with beautiful green leaves…In the Celtic myths, Autumn and Winter meant Jack Frost was out and about, dropping hints of frost and ice among everything alive, telling them it’s time to die or go to sleep….In the Spring and Summer Months, Jack in the Green is our go-to guy.  He is the one who warms the skies and the Earth, and instead of frost, we have beautiful droppings of dew.

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(one of MANY Jack in the Green Parades held every year in Europe)

This is what makes my pulse quicken, my heart smile and my soul beam.  Warmth, light….like Persephone feeling so out of touch down in the Underworld, where she could not use her Gift with the Living World, and patiently waited until it was time for her to go back up, and be among the Living again, to feel the warmth of the Sun on her skin…Yes, I feel the exact same way.

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Since going off all Depression and Anxiety medicine, and opting for my Kratom intake, I can honestly say it hasn’t been TOO smooth sailing.  Of course it would be easy for me to put some chemicals into my body and numb myself…but it would be a disservice to me to do so.  I know not everyone agrees with me on that.  I always welcome other’s opinions and ideas…it’s just…it’s not for me.  I’ve been very careful over the last several years to deal with my addiction to pain killers…and for someone like me who is always in some kind of pain, it’s an easy excuse for me to pop a pill and call it a day.

No, as much as times like these where I wish I had something to numb my physical and emotional pain of the Winter, I know that in the end, it helps me SEE who I really am, because I am completely bare and open to the senses entirely.  I feel things now more than I ever have.  So, yes, the depression sucks.  But I also know, that there are times I feel such immense joy, that knowing I wouldn’t even feel an inch of that when trying to control my depression with medicine, gives me the honest knowing that I’m doing the right thing.

Don’t get me wrong:  I think about taking something every day.  Even right now, I feel incredibly blue (Get it?  Winter “blues”?) and staring at the walls may be what I need right now to numb the sadness of the lack of life outside….

This depression began in 2001.  And slowly progressed as the years went on…Now that I am in the beginning stages of my body slowing down and turning into the Crone, I feel this even more.

How do I deal with it?  It’s a demon inside of me I deal with every day between Thanksgiving and about Mid-March.  For some people it’s less time, and for others, it’s more.  It feels like the Postpartum depression I had for the first 4 weeks after my son’s birth.  It begins as a nagging feeling, that turns into a feeling of dread.  Dread?  Yup, dread.  It overtakes me like a demon overtakes a human…I cry at everything and anything, I sleep more, I stare more, and I tend to lash out more.  My husband, sons, parents, sisters and closest friends know it the depression talking.  The know this silly little hobbit doesn’t usually act like this, and know how to approach me during my times of struggle.  They know and respect the fact I don’t want chemicals in my body.  They are patient and kind, and allow me the time and patience I need for myself to understand how my body reacts to this rough season.

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(seriously, whoever created these are a GENIUS)

Kratom certainly helps, but, it is just a band aid.  It does NOT take away the full feelings.  But it does lessen the load.  And the best part?  It does not numb me.  If there could be anything that I hate, it is the numbness of my body, mind and soul.  To lose the essence of your life just because there’s a period of time each year where I feel sad, it’s just not enough for me to make that kind of decision.  That’s not for me to judge anyone who DOES.

So, for the next few weeks, I will be quietly tinkering away at my new home.  Putting things in their place, and dealing with the sadness I not only feel for the cold months, but for other things I cannot control.  It’s a continued lesson in humility, and I love that I’m always up for the challenge, no matter how tired and sad I’m feeling at the moment.

What makes me happy during the colder months?

  • Music – Usually Celtic/Irish/Scottish music, 80’s Pop, and some Sacred World music, from either Lisa Thiel, Snatnam Kaur, or Spiral Dance
  • Painting – I am still trying to find my easle, but the moment I do, I’m off!
  • Festivals – There is an amazing Scottish and Irish Festival that happens in February, and it truly lifts up my spirits EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
  • Garden Planning – For the first time since 2007, I will have my own garden again.  Planning it has definitely helped tremendously during this time.
  • Snuggles – My boys know all these need to do is snuggle up to me, it will bring a big smile.  I love my family.
  • Cleaning – I tend to light A LOT of incense that smells of lavender, jasmine, and other springy smells…as well as light lots of candles…and the smell of Pine Sol?  OMG Don’t go there with me…it’s like heaven haha!
  • Ritual – if there is anything I love to do, is to be in ritual with myself.  That time you give to yourself, whether it is meditating, chanting, praying, or even something simple like taking a nice, warm bath…yes, it helps a great deal.

I know there are probably more, but these are the big ones.  Tell me about what you do!  I am always looking for suggestions.

Lots of Hobbit Love,

Bridget

 

A New Dawn, A New Day….

bohopeaceEach day we are presented with at least a thousand decisions to make.  Decisions that only we, as a person, can only make. Whether we are children or adults, mentally stable or challenged in some way, each one of us has decisions to make.  And each decision, great or small, will always have a PROFOUND impact on our future lives.  Now, when we are children, little to no responsibility is put on us because of our age and intolerance for understanding the repercussions called consequences to our actions.  But where is that line drawn?  How old do we have to be to become mentally competent of our decision making process?  Well, I think to each his own is the best answer I could come up with in the last several hours of contemplation yesterday.  Some people mature at a young age, some, like myself, take 40 years to mature.  Some, well, some are still learning.  You can be the best parent or guardian in the world, but in the end our accountability is ours, no matter how much you want to slice it.  How people treat us is their karma, how we respond to it is ours.  This, my friends, is the biggest lesson in life I will ever learn.

See, many years ago before I became a troubled kid, mind you, I was basically a normal little girl, until an event in my life changed that.  We try so hard as parents to teach our children to follow a certain guideline when life throws us a bad curve ball, but we don’t always listen.  See, this is where accountability comes in.  How old does one need to physically be to be held accountable? I can’t give you this answer.  BUT, I CAN say, that when one emotionally and psychologically has the impact of becoming responsible, then it’s fair play.  Sadly for me, so much was blocked out until a few years ago, that when it finally came to pass, I had to become accountable for my own faults that happened 30 years ago. 

Each day we are presented with at least a thousand decisions to make.  And in the summer of 2012, I made a big decision.  One of the biggest of my life, presumably.  Let alone the hardest.  Granted, my memories from long ago swayed back into my life like the winds along the reeds, but these winds were sadly stormy.  If not hurricane-like.  Having to take accountability for things that happened so long ago can be difficult for someone because yes, it WAS long ago.  But when someone was hurt in the process; that long ago can feel like yesterday to that other person.  Taking in that perspective then, one has to stop their own process and understand that not everyone heals the way you do.  Not everyone understands and processes the same way you do.  And the moment one becomes to fully understand this, respect will take place, followed by a solemn bout of humility. 

I was given a gift yesterday that I did not deserve.  A gift of closure.  Just because my life has taken a turn for the better does not mean it’s time to forget the hurt I may have caused others along the way.  And trust me when I say, that is not the case.  Every person I have ever lied to, cheated, stole from, is on my mind every single day.  I think back to 20 years ago, 30 years ago, and I can honestly say, I don’t know who that girl was.  More and more my memories of that Bridget have faded, mainly because the beliefs, feelings, and understandings no longer resonate with the woman I am today.  I am a proud 41 year old woman.  A mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a godmother, soon to be wife, and a friend.  And every single person who is connected to me I love with all my heart and am protective to the core for their safety.  30 years ago, hell 20 years ago, I can’t even say that about myself.  Life for me began at the age of 40, and I am grateful to have been given a second chance at life.  But that does not mean I can forget the first 40 years and those that were hurt along the way.  I promise you, I will never forget.  And I will always ask for forgiveness, even though I probably don’t deserve it.

People, remember who you are, and if it’s not good, change it.  Be real, be honest, be blessed and most importantly, be humble.  Each one of us is fighting our own battles.  Some of those battles others are fighting are because of something we did to start it.  Own it and never forget.  But forgive yourself and continue to do the best you can every day.  That is really the best way to repay someone you’ve hurt.  Never forget and utilize those consequences as a tool to make those thousand decisions each day.

Being held accountable is a bitch.  But when it’s time to move on to the next chapter in your life, at least you can say you were, and it can never come back to harm you in the end. 

~ Bridget

morning