Friday, 22 December 2017

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


As an alternative to Christmas cards, I would like to share with you this article on Astronomy merging with the Biblical Christmas story:
Celebrating Winter Solstice – The Sun is on the Southern Cross
For thousands of years, carvings on temples, cave walls, monuments and artefacts have honoured the sun: bringer of warmth, security, life and light.  As the days grow shorter in the period leading up to the winter solstice, December 21st, the sun appears to stop moving south or north and stays still for three days (in the northern hemisphere) – the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of December. This is the meaning of the word ‘sol-stice’ – sun standing still. To our ancestors this period symbolized the death of the sun god (son of god) and when three days later on the 25th of December the sun started moving again, the sun was reborn – hence the birth of Jesus at this time – the sun god or son of god, the saviour of mankind. It is no coincidence that our principal day of worship is called Sun Day.


The Bible tells us that three wise men came from the east, following a star that led them to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah.  Sirius is the star in the east, the brightest star in the sky, which on December 24th aligns with the three brightest stars in the constellation of Orion (Orion’s belt). The stars were referred to by many ancient cultures as the Three Kings.


During this three day period, the sun resides in the vicinity of the Southern Cross constellation and appears to ‘hang’ on the cross, hence the story of the crucifixion. However the resurrection of the sun or son is celebrated three months later at the spring equinox when the nights are equal to the daylight (Easter) and when once again the forces of light ‘defeat’ the forces of darkness, and the days grow longer than the nights. (Author: Stella Woods)

“May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you guide your way on.”

Barbara

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Salt Water In My Veins - Chapter 1 - read for free here.

1. Nomad

Land goes forever, there is no end to it. So, how can you decide where to live; in which town or on what street to stop; what woman to marry?
TDLemmon1900 in 'The legend of 1900'


Why do we travel? Is it in the vain hope of finding happiness and fulfillment in some other place? Nope, it's not here in Paris, perhaps over there in Rome. As they say, wherever you go, there you are.
When traveling becomes a search for happiness outside of ourselves, a means to an end; when we continue to live in the past or the future while we travel, it doesn't bring peace of mind or serenity, only frustration and disappointment. When I travel it seems easier to stay present, because everything is new, fresh, unknown, exciting, and possibly dangerous. I remember the first time I went for a long weekend sail cruise with some friends. Time stood still and the three days felt like three weeks, I felt so far away from daily worries and concerns and the present moment was so crystal clear.
Sailing offshore along the Pacific coast and later across the Atlantic, I saw sky that was truly awesome in its glory, with colours of the rainbow all around us or clouds and fog surrounding us like feathers shaken out of a duvet. At night we were often the only speck of humanity for hundreds of miles around, surrounded only by stars and their reflections in the ocean.
And now, as I cruise from country to country and from harbour to harbour, each new place amazes in some way. In Alicante, Spain, it was the sight of the old woman in black selling garlic from a converted baby carriage in the town square. On Majorca, it was the lamb dinner straight from a wood fired oven that had been simmering all afternoon while we climbed to a ruined castle near the restaurant and the farm where the lambs were raised. In Rome, it was the sudden and unexpected view of the Coliseum from a side street. In Florence, it was the sound of a young girl singing opera on a street corner.
Moments like that take my breath away and inspire. I have been wondering why the same feeling of awe is described as 'it takes my breath away,' and 'it inspires me.' One means breathing out and the other breathing in. Breathing is what keeps us alive. Is it possible that awe-some sights, smells, tastes, and sounds keep our soul alive?
Traveling is what feeds my soul, what gives me energy. Yet, perhaps, I’m beginning to think, paying more attention in one place, one town, one neighborhood would do the same thing. Perhaps there are many inspiring things that would take my breath away, right where I am, if I was just to look more deeply and with more presence. Now all I have to do is to find that place. Perhaps it’s just around the corner…
I long to belong, but cruising is not a good way of accomplishing this goal. I meet many people while traveling, however, after an evening in an anchorage or a harbor, we go our separate ways and in the morning I continue my search for a new home port.
I want to find a self-sufficient village where everyone knows from which farmer the milk comes, who makes the best bread and that the mayor is related to the inn-keeper. I want to find a community where I can work, live, play and find all I need within walking distance. There are many villages and towns like this in the Mediterranean, but which one is my home?
Am I a bird blown off course that has lost its flock and tries to join a new flock time and time again without success? No, this is not my flock and not this one either? Where is my flock? Where is my pod, my family, my tribe?
I am perhaps like a plant that was pulled up by the roots in youth when my parents decided to leave Poland and immigrate to Canada, and now it's too late for the roots to dig in deeply. Should I just stop somewhere, anywhere and put those roots down hoping the soil is fertile and my roots will take? Or are my roots so dried and withered that no matter where, they will not grow?
The old-time traveling salesman comes to mind. He was forever moving from town to town, bringing news, and spreading ideas or gossip, moving on before he got too attached to any one place or community, yet feeding on the intimacy for a while, offering the dream of foreign lands and inspiration for others to reach beyond the town walls in exchange. I think perhaps that is my purpose whether I like it or not – the life of a nomad.

~~~_/)

Look inside and read on Kindle for free: Salt Water In My Veins

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You can now look inside my new book, Salt Water In My Veins as well as read it for free (today only) on Kindle. What a great deal! Feel free to leave your review after reading!

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Just do it

I finally found a way to discipline myself to write for at least an hour every day.
You know that brushing teeth is not something we long to do each morning or evening. But we don't think about it, or ask whether we feel like it, or are inspired to do. We just do it. It's a habit that doesn't allow input from the mind.
Since I love early mornings and prefer to write then, I decided to treat writing the same way I treat brushing my teeth: I wake up, get dressed, put the coffee on and open my laptop. And then, I write for an hour before doing anything else such as checking my email, reading the news or making breakfast.
So far, it's been easy and I have been very productive, often working much longer than the one hour with pleasure.
The rest of the day, I allow myself to do anything else I want: nap, read, surf the Internet, knit, go for a walk, talk to friends and family on Skype or reluctantly, write or edit. I also need time to contemplate, let my mind wander and absorb my surroundings for the creative part of me to have something to use in my work, so I try not to write any more in the afternoon unless it's quick notes for future reference.
And guess what? The book I have been trying to write for years is finally complete!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Writers' Co-operative, Co-housing Retreat on Ithaka, Greece

 Be inspired. Be amazed. Be surprised. And write all about it. Ithaka, Greece. Homer wrote about it and it's a place of pilgrimage for all writers.

You know how expensive most writers' retreats can be. You save your money all year and go for a week or two and by the time you get oriented and familiarized with everything, it's time to leave and you haven't even began to write. 

Here is an opportunity to stay for up to five months, yes, five months on the island of Ithaka, Greece for the price of a three week retreat elsewhere.

You will have time not only to write as much as you want to but also to see this beautiful island, hike its many paths, experience its history and enjoy its festivals. Spend Christmas Holidays in Greece.

We will share a villa with as many bedrooms as needed for the participants, socialize together (when we want to), cook together, read parts of our manuscripts to each other (if desired) and share the expenses of rental (cheap in winter) and food. 
No one will make a profit, and there is no overhead costs to consider. A two bedroom villa can be had for E600 Euros per month in winter. It will sleep four, so price per person is only $150 Euros per month. If we have more participants, we will rent a bigger villa.
Your participation for the retreat requires a commitment between December 1 to April 30 for at least a month to take advantage of this low price. Participation limited to eight people and the deadline for your application is November 15. Non-smokers only.
Please use the contact form to the right for more information.