International Influences

Flower Mandalas

Flower mandalas are a botanical version of the ancient spiritual form that reminds us of the organization of the universe, and our connection to the infinite, within and without.

Buddhist priests make yearly trips to Kansas City to create exacting geometric mandalas in  sand. In a celebration of the importance of life,  the monks return the sand to the earth, destroying the image.

Through silence and guided meditation, participants in the Flower Mandala + Meditation workshop experienced a deeper connection with nature and themselves.

The meditation style was one of physical connection to the flowers held by each participant and gratitude and awareness of for their beauty, texture and scent. While breathing that fresh flower smell, the gratitude portion could have been endless. Sami Aaron led a guided mediation that raised awareness of the many, many senses that are activated while interacting with nature.

While the workshop could be hosted in many locations, Gardens of Delight was a perfect location for the spring  workshop.

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Posted by Brigid in International Influences

Kava Head

kava root

Lateral kava roots, soon to be kava tea, are what you see in the picture above.

Kava is a plant-based intoxicant. Sometimes called the “drink of peace” or the “drink of the gods,”  it is deeply embedded in the cultures of the pacific islands.

It’s said you can’t be angry on kava.

No mental or physical abilities are diminished while consuming normal amounts of kava.

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Posted by Brigid in International Influences

Humble Plants: Their Secrets

Art and science often cross paths. I recently uncovered a TED talk given by the president of an African country in which she shows how art, science, culture and health are intertwined.

The talk is given by Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, biodiversity scientist and first female president of Mauritius.

Gurib-Fakim says that we don’t realize how valuable our plant resources are, and yet, we keep destroying them.

Plants have a fundamental role to play in the lives of humans: they feed us and they also give us the oxygen we breathe.

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Posted by Brigid in Inspiration, International Influences, Native Plants

BASE KC and Some Gratitude

Some gratitude (in the form of art cards) for the Business Alliance for a Sustainable Economy in Kansas City (BASE KC), the speakers and organizers of The Climate Event held at the end of September.

Japanese MapleThe founding principles of BASE KC really speak to me: that sustainable economic development is compatible with shared prosperity, environmental protection, and social justice.

Representatives from twelve local, regional and international organizations shared large scale green initiatives they had been taking. A few of the stellar organizations and their representatives were: Dennis Wierzbicki with Grundfos (based in Denmark); Amy Hargroves with Sprint; Cindy Circo, KCMO City Council and Mayor Pro Tem; Bryan McGannon, Deputy Director of Policy, American Sustainable Business Council (based in Washington D.C.). A full list is at the BASEKC website.

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Posted by Brigid in Green Art, International Influences

Art and an Indigenous Religion

The Freer Gallery of Art on the national mall  in D.C. houses one of the most outstanding collections of Asian art in the U.S.  It was a highlight of my trip to that area this fall.

Seeing art from the Shinto era was really special. The prevailing religious practice, or more like world view, prior to the arrival of Buddhism in the 6th century, was Shinto. It lacked intellectually complex doctrines, formality, and organization. But, there were many groups of people devoted to the spirits (Kami) of nature that were found everywhere, in plants, animals, mountains, seas, and all natural phenomena. The realms of earth and the supernatural world were so closely integrated that they were seen as part of the same.

Shinto sees divinity in everything, and practicing it is designed to bring us into communion with the Divine.

The image posted above is a Shinto shrine gate, or Torii, marking the shrine entrance. These gates mark the division between the spiritual world and the physical world. The shrines / gates were always located outside.

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Posted by Brigid in Inspiration, International Influences

Papaya

Papaya. It’s native to the Americas Papaya Leaf as Green Artand is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

When I visited Negril (Jamaica) a few years ago, I noticed the gorgeous leaves everywhere. I brought a plant press with me and did preserve some, but there are heavy restrictions about transporting plant material internationally.

The stunning image of the leaf stayed with me.

While visiting a friend one day I was taken aback when I saw a Papaya tree growing inside his house! He let me collect a few gorgeous leaves. This is one. Totally legal.

 

Posted by Brigid in International Influences, Native Plants