Peacock Pie

A poor old Widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wild-flower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April — drip — drip — drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet,
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet, and thyme she smells;
Like Oberon’s meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has is all she needs —
A poor Old Widow in her weeds.

― Walter de la Mare

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A Garden Is Its Own Universe

Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places. ~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Backpacker Generation: Why “Leaving it all Behind” doesn’t Work.

By Lauren Klarfeld

What we carry in our backpacks is the weight of our fears.

Some backpacks are made on a swift decision. Others are planned months in advance and ticked off with a checklist. Certain backpacks are made out of choice, and sometimes others are made because we had no choice. Be it to go far or to go hide next door. When we are making a backpack, there is more to it than just physical weight.

As I laid out the remainder of my clothes on an empty table and zipped up my backpack, I knew I was trying to pack a mess. I made a decision almost a year ago that I didn’t want to be committed to an apartment, a contract, rent or a job that didn’t move me. That it had all seemed pointless after so many years to work so many hours, not only to support myself since I was 18 but also to work for things I didn’t always believe in. The home I was in, the job I had and some of the people I knew just didn’t feel like “home” anymore.

What I wanted was the freedom to go whenever I wanted to.

Go incognito and re-invent myself in every new place I was in. Dare to do those things I never felt comfortable doing before. My plan had been to volunteer from hostel to hostel paying no rent in exchange for free labour. The months that followed I walked around a city with the feeling that a weight had been taken off of me. I was alone but I had chosen to be alone. If anything I was a solitaire. And it was liberating for once to look at myself that way.

But like any backpacker, I had given up the vertical ease of a closet where all my clothes had been aligned for years for a horizontal goulash of textile wrapped one under the other. I had come with a full backpack and that was all I allowed myself to carry.

When we see things in such a constrained space or possibility, it somehow gives us perspective on the fact that one needs to be sure of their choices.

Suddenly, we cannot spend two hours trying on different clothes as we struggle with our own image—because there is just no space nor mirrors for us to do. Perfectly ironed t-shirts are a thing of the past too when you travel. And adding things to a backpack becomes a burden as it weighs heavier and heavier. And every time we pick out a t-shirt it is like rambling our hands through a lottery machine—one never knows what they’ll pick out.

The idea of leaving it all behind to live life like a vagabond has been very appealing for years in my generation. But we seldom realise that this kind of life without commitments sometimes comes at the cost of a life without the conveniences we once knew: a home to call our own, a toothbrush in a fixed place, old friends to go to when we’re having a bad day or even a home cooked meal from our mother.

See, backpacks are emblems to travelers. They symbolize the travelers’ mobile nature and our need for freedom to go whenever we want to. They are built to accommodate easy access and storage. And a backpacker needs that like he needs air: the possibility and reminder that he can move and is constrained by nothing.

But when we spend enough time on the road, whether we want to or not, our backpacks mutate. And so do we.

As I moved to this kind of lifestyle in Madrid, I realized that what was once an emblem of mobility, now became a painstaking weight to carry around. I had gone from one store to the other buying new clothes just to fit with the local’s style. I bought one colorful dress after the other and thought it was a victory for the past tomboy that I was. I hated dresses really, but here abroad I thought I could push myself to like them and no one would notice. And the summer was the worst, as this frail white skinned Belgian girl who had never experienced a real summer suddenly had to walk legs and arms uncovered.

When traveling and wanting to change ourselves, we sometimes become schizophrenic chameleons in places whose language we are still learning and borrowing. And as thrilling as it is to go incognito anywhere and re-invent one’s self—some days, we just aren’t lively chameleons. Some days, we are just lost cats that hide under cars waiting for the traffic to pass.

Little do we know that sometimes the backpacks we are carrying are in fact heavy with burdensome personal baggage already. Somehow, all the while that we pack our underwear and t-shirts, our bags are already bursting with the layers of our constant self-questioning, our fears, our inner critic, and sometimes lack of self-love.

When we travel we get rid of our old comforts and routines. And so we grow more aware of who we are and who we aren’t, and of the difference between who we want to be and who we are right now. The kind of contrast we only ever really see when we get confronted with the blank canvas of ourselves echoed by the amount of free time and liberty we have when traveling or being in a new chapter of our lives.

In the end, it isn’t just about wanting to escape what we had before, it is mostly about escaping who we were before.

We are mostly introverts that are seeking a way to grow out of it. We rarely think that growth isn’t just about pushing ourselves to become who we want to be. Sometimes, we just become who we want to become eventually, by making the choices that we’re asked not by our mind or our heart, but by our gut. Sometimes, it’s when looking back, rather than forward, that we see better today the person we are becoming.

So that day as I made my backpack again in these last seven months. I was offered a lesson on acceptance. I laid all my clothes and beauty products on a bed, and decided I’d make two bags this time.

One with all the things that I had always felt resembled me and that I needed. And another with all the things I bought that I thought I might need. And left behind only the last one.

In life or in travel, if we want to set out on an adventure with ourselves, the best backpacks we’ll ever make are those that will leave extra room for our own personal baggage.

And acknowledging this is what will allow us to carry it in the first place…

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A Privileged Space

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.” ― Michael Pollan

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Being In A Relationship With An Alpha Woman

If you’re in a relationship with an Alpha woman, you can be certain of a number of things, least of which will be that things are unlikely to ever be boring.

She has chosen to be with you, so obviously you’re interesting enough to have captured her attention (and her heart), neither of which she gives out easily, so that’s already a boon in your favor.

Below are eight things that your Alpha lady will bring to your partnership, whether you’re ready for them or not. Brace yourself.

1. Zero Bullsh*t Or Drama

As has been established, Alpha women have neither the time, nor the patience for games or passive-aggressive nonsense.

As such, you know you’re never going to have to deal with her giving you the silent treatment, or slamming doors, or pulling the whole “if you don’t know what you did wrong, I’m not going to tell you” crap that a lot of people inflict on one another.

She’s also unlikely to hold a grudge, so when you two quarrel, you can resolve issues there and then and move on, as she’s not the type to keep rehashing old ugliness forever just for the sake of drama. Once it’s over, it’s over. End of.

2. Reliability

If you’ve ever been in a relationship in which you haven’t been able to depend upon your partner to really be there for you when you needed them, then it’s understandable that you might be a bit wary about truly trusting your Alpha partner.

Well, fear not: you can count on her.

Alpha women value and appreciate integrity, and often hold themselves to a much higher standard than they would others.

If you need her, she’s there for you. If she makes a promise, she will keep it unless she’s incapacitated. If it’s her turn to pick up the kids, or if she agreed to attend your cousin’s accordion recital, she’ll be there.

Early…

With snacks.

Furthermore, you can feel secure in the knowledge that if she has made a commitment to be your partner, that means she is your partner in all ways.

She will hold her own – whether in terms of finances or home maintenance – and is unlikely to ever allow inequality to seep into any aspect of your partnership.

3. Sincerity, Not Neediness

You realize that she’s with you because she wants to be with you, and not because she needs to be, right?

You may have some insecurities about being with such a powerful creature, but guess what? She chose you. She doesn’t NEED you.

She’s not desperate for a partner, she’s not settling with just anyone so that she’s not alone: she’s just fine flying solo, and would rather be alone than with someone she’s not perfectly happy with.

This isn’t a woman who’s going to whine when you go out with your friends because she misses you when you’re gone for an hour, nor is she unable to function without you being her pillar of support.

She might need you to be there for her during times of crisis, as she would be there for you, but it’s as an equal. Not a ragdoll desperate to be carried and coddled.

4. Encouragement And Challenge

Remember what we said above regarding zero BS? That includes allowing you to make up lame excuses about why you’re not pursuing your goals.

This woman is aware of your potential and knows what you’re capable of: traits that likely drew her to you, to begin with.

If you find yourself in a slump, discouraged, and lacking the motivation to pursue a dream or other pursuit, she will be the torch bearer who keeps the flame burning under your backside to keep you going.

5. Self-Reliance

If you’ve always dreamed of being the knight in shining armor to a damsel in distress, that’s not what you’re going to find in this partnership.

Your Alpha woman isn’t a princess in need of saving: she’s a queen who saves herself and will set sh*t on fire in her wake if need be.

You’re unlikely to get a call in the middle of the night because she needs you to come and pick her up from some kind of weird situation, though if she’s pregnant, she MIGHT ask you to drive her to the hospital when her contractions have started.

Her bag will already be packed, however, so you won’t need to worry about that. Oh, and the baby seat will already be installed in your car because she will have taken care of that too.

6. Awareness Of What She Wants, Plus Reciprocation

Your Alpha woman has a pretty solid awareness of what she likes, whether it’s a moderately toasted bagel with just a bit of onion cream cheese on it, or a specific position when you’re being intimate.

Particularly the latter.

Not only does this lady know what makes her squee, she has no qualms whatsoever about telling you what’s needed to make it happen.

Just as awesomely, Alpha women tend to enjoy giving as much as receiving, so you can be quite certain that if you tell her what you like in turn, she’ll oblige enthusiastically.

After all, what’s the point of intimacy if both people aren’t enjoying themselves?

8. Honesty

This one has to be said, as it’s extraordinarily important when it comes to a relationship with an Alpha female.

We’ve reiterated how much this lady values integrity, and honesty in the relationship – and with her – is just as vital.

When you’re involved with a woman like this, know that you’re not just going to find out one day that things haven’t been working for a while, or that she’s been getting jiggy with your boss behind your back.

If there are issues in your relationship that need to be worked on, she’ll be honest and forthright with you about them so you can address them properly and work on them together.

If you balk at this, she’ll bring it up again, and insist that things be tended to. She won’t just drop the subject, but will do what needs to be done in order to sort things out…

But if it turns out that she’s the only one who’s making a sincere effort to enact change, she will walk away.

It’s just as important that you’re honest with her, regardless of what the issue is. If you’re upset, or unhappy, or just have something to address as a couple, lay it out on the table so it can be dealt with.

She’s not a fragile flower who will cry at the drop of a hat: she’s with you for a reason, and will work with you to sort out what needs to be sorted to make the relationship work.

Just be honest with her, always.

She’ll know if you’re hiding something from her, and if you ever lie to her or break her trust, it’s over: not only will she lose respect for you, but she’ll never be able to trust you again.

Author: Catherine Winter


Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec’s Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn’t writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.

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Gossip Dies In The Ears Of The Wise

If this wisdom is even remotely true then the media will die overnight. They will go out of business in no time. And since it’s thriving more than ever, the only conclusion I could come up with is the lack of wise people on earth. Or so it seems. How could we otherwise explain fake news and social media success? How about reality shows and gossip magazines? How about our own neighborhood and neighbors?

I grew up in a place where other people know your own business better than you yourself and they are expert on what you should do and not do and they are more effective guard dog than CCTV and better writers and scenarists than those famous authors. They already wrote your day before you even wake up. Without your knowledge, you could get pregnant during the course of the day and give birth in the afternoon or have a miscarriage without you even knowing it. They even have detailed information on your comings and goings abroad even though they never been anywhere outside their little village. Their imaginations are limitless and their conviction fierce. And there is nothing you can do.

That is probably the only thing I didn’t miss from my country of birth, the isolated way people think and their small town narrow-minded ideas. And one of the few things I am thankful for living abroad. Here, they don’t mind you most of the time. They see you, make a fixed conclusion about you and they leave you pretty much alone. Especially in the city or in the suburb where people don’t even know their neighbors. I like the idea of being lost in anonymity. It’s peaceful that way. I don’t crave community spirit and I don’t want to be part of it. I have nothing to give in give and take process which all relationships have in common. And they have nothing to give that I’m remotely interested in. So, I keep away from clubs of any sort.

I don’t buy glossy gossip magazines either. They are not my thing. But I love to watch programs where there are human interactions. I find it educational.

How about you? Do you gossip? Take part in it? Loath love it? Or you are totally indifferent?

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If You’re Trying to “Get your Body Back”—Stop.

By Bailey Gehrke

We’ve all heard it before: comparison is the thief of joy.

A simple concept that is so easily forgotten. When we fall into comparison, we tend to compare our current bloopers to another’s highlight reel. We compare the aspects that we deem “Need Improvement” to something that “Exceeds Expectations.” When we base our actions and thoughts off of what something looks like, we are always setting ourselves up for disappointment. Comparison truly is a thief of joy, contentment, and self-love.

Think of a time in your life when you felt your best in your body; felt the most comfortable in your skin. More likely than not, whether it was six months ago or 15 years ago, that time is associated with a number. The number that showed when you stepped on the scale, however, many years ago, and you felt the best about it.

And now, as we look in the mirror or see a photo we deem as “unflattering,” a little voice in our head says, “If you could just get back to that number on the scale again, you’d be happier.” Or, “If you could get back to that body again things would be better.” We then set off, using whatever means necessary, envisioning the moment when we look in the mirror and see our 15-year-old body, or our 22-year-old body, or our 35-year-old body.

Here’s an unpopular opinion—an idea we may not like: we will never have the same body twice. We will never look in the mirror and see our 15, 23, or 35-year-old body. Ever again. That’s not to say that we can’t reach that particular number on the scale, but it is to say that even if we do see that number on the scale, and we look in the mirror, our bodies will not look as they did then.

Here’s what I know: I have gained weight, then lost it. Gained a little, then lost a little. Gained a little more, then lost a little more. Through all that time and through all those transitions, I’ve never looked in the mirror and saw the same body twice, regardless of what the scale was telling me. I’ve seen the same number on the scale at least five times in the last five years, and it’s visually looked different every single time.

Here’s why this happens: our bodies have a certain percentage of lean body mass or muscle. On top of the muscle is fat. The amount of lean body mass we have, plus the amount of fat we have, plus some organs and important water stuff, equals our scale weight. The visual composition of our body is dependent on how much muscle we have and where the fat is distributed within the body. If weight is gained or lost, the amount of lean muscle mass is going to change as well, which means the fat that we have gets redistributed. When the fat is redistributed, it will visually look different, because the amount of lean muscle mass is different.

Basically, all that science-y crap means is that one specific time you saw that particular number on the scale, that scale weight was made up of a very specific amount of muscle and fat. It is very unlikely you will ever see that very specific composition again. Meaning, you will never look in the mirror and see the same exact body composition twice. Meaning, you should stop comparing your “today” body to your “then” body.

Men chasing after their “18-year-old self” six-pack, stop. A six-pack can be obtained, but the process to get there and the end result will look different. Using what worked then is negatively impacting your results now.

Mamas trying to “bounce back” from your last baby, stop. Your internal organs literally shifted, and you grew a tiny human inside of you. That’s rad. Your body can’t go back to the way it was because you’ve not only made space for a new little person, but your personal growth has filled in those spaces.

Anyone trying to “get your body back” after many years of “letting yourself go,” stop. You’ve learned so much in this time, you shouldn’t be “going back,” there is nothing for you back there.

Instead of focusing on what was or how something looked in the past, let’s change the narrative. How can we become the best versions of our current selves? Not the second edition of an outdated self. Going one step further, let’s ask ourselves, “What would the best current version of me feel like?” Notice how I didn’t ask, “What would the best current version of me look like?”

We are always changing, always learning, always becoming better. We wouldn’t trade what we know now for what we knew then. We are always moving forward, and so should our bodies

– via Relephant

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Mental Health VS Physical Health

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” ― Herophilus

In the recently concluded Miss Universe Pageant in my country of origin, a candidate who many thought would be a very strong contender for the crown and at the night of the event bagged most of the major awards struggled to answer this question from one of the judges: “Why is mental health as important as physical health?”  Not only she struggled to find the right words despite starting confidently, but she also ran out of time which many assumed cost her the coveted crown.

“Why is mental health as important as physical health?” 

I think most of us can answer why.

Without one of both life could be difficult. Though I rather lost physical than mental. I beautifully preserved healthy body is nothing but a useless shell without mental health. But vice versa is livable. Think of Stephen Hawking for instance. The mind is the matter because its the engine of our very own being, it is our command center and the editor of our deeds. Without it, we’re nothing but a living dead.

That’s why I can’t understand why in our current society they put the emphasis on beauty and less on mindful living. Outward appearance becomes our utmost priority instead of nourishing the soul.

I know why.

Because being beautiful is a privilege and pays off a great deal. Fairy tales taught us that from a very young age. Anything can happen but as long as you are beautiful you will be alright in the end. Beautiful people are being treated well, loved and adored. You can go far on beauty alone. Of course in every rule… but exception is seldom, in general, beautiful people have an advantage in every which way wherever, however.

It is sad but true. We can protest, philosophize, deny but it’s true. We can argue, hope wish but the fact will remain true. Unless we sort out our priorities. Aim and work for a healthy mind and body and concentrate less on beauty.

  Agree?

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You Nailed It!

Happiness! Oh boy, oh boy — do I get to tell you all about happiness today? Wowzers… but who am I to start pretending I know anything about happiness?⁣

Nope, I don’t know what happiness is. In fact, I have a hunch no one does — anyone and everyone seems to define it differently, pursue it differently, but whoever actually gets there?⁣

Sure, some people manage to get rich — but do they get happy in the process? At first, a little, maybe — but does that stick?⁣

The most common definition of happiness out there seems to equate it to feeling good. But does feeling good lead to happiness? Well, does smoking crack lead to happiness?⁣

You may feel I’m exaggerating right now, and I am — except I’m not. When we pursue pleasure or means of gaining pleasure, we’re doing the same as looking for a crack hit, albeit with a more “reasonable” attitude. By “reasonable”, I mean that the negative side-effects aren’t as immediately obvious or destructive.⁣

For example, there are these people I know who went on to pursue a career to make lots of money, invested all that money in a cool house with a kick-ass pool in the backyard. They bought a boat, too — a nice one. They drank wine, ate steak — they weren’t exactly rich but upper-middle-class. They had a sweet life. But then eventually, it stopped working. Whatever they spent their lives doing became boring — a pool, a boat, and even wine will keep you entertained for only so long until you need to move on to something else.⁣

Everything gets boring sooner or later. When it does, we need new and more intense excitement to keep us to that same level of happiness. But there’s a catch with all this: money. Better wine, a bigger house, and ever more exotic travels cost more money.⁣

When my two friends’ careers leveled off, when the salaries stopped going up, then that pursuit of happiness reached a serious snag. They couldn’t get their necessary hits of pleasure anymore, and so they started being depressed. They started smoking more, drinking more, watching more TV and going out less. And eventually, that killed them.⁣

Not that there’s anything wrong with dying. I mean we all die anyway, but it’d be nice not to end our days miserable and completely lost in our souls, still vehemently looking for solace in pleasure. It’d be nice to die peaceful, wouldn’t it?⁣

I can’t tell you what happiness is, but I can tell you what it’s not: a pursuit. Happiness isn’t there, it’s not anywhere — it can’t be gained, if we try to catch it’ll just slip away. That’s why they call it a pursuit. It’s an eternal carrot on a stick.⁣

This pursuit, that constant desire for something more, is what’s keeping us nicely chained and well-behaved members of consumerist societies. In the past, it was a religion that kept us chained and well-behaved — religion being the promise of something better in the hereafter. Consumerism outsmarted religion by offering the hope of something better in the therebefore, within this lifetime.⁣

But it’s still hope, and the system is entirely dependent on hope remaining hope.⁣

No, this won’t do at all. Happiness isn’t something to be hoped for — that turns the whole experience of life into one major crack addiction.⁣

Happiness, if it has to be anything, has to be in the here and now. Look around you, savor the beauty, enjoy the air. It’s not about how lucky or comfortable you are — it’s about how crazy, interesting, and beautiful this world is beyond our own personal needs or desires.⁣

Happily here, happily now,

—Day THe Spiritual Astronaut

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Why Life gets Better After 50

Oldsters are the new black. 

Anyone over 50 is of rare value and in a league of their own.

Money can’t buy history or authenticity or experience, not all the money in the world.

There is no other way to get to be old than to live yourself there. It just can’t be faked—it is the very essence of what writers and filmmakers and influencers around the globe are always seeking—it is the real deal.

Far from becoming obsolete, older people are more relevant than ever, more emotionally complex, with better stories, and smarter jokes. Which is pure, commercial gold, if you care about that sort of thing.

Haven’t accomplished all your dreams yet? Don’t panic—our later years are the time to shine in a way that young stars just can’t. How could they? They don’t have the wisdom, the experience, or—let’s face it—the pocketbook to shine like a 50-something can.

To think that a person is washed-up or has nothing to give after mid-life is ridiculous. There are so many stories you can tell only after that age! It’s the only time in life when you are both interesting and have the wits and know-how to get things done properly.

Also, with age comes a new awareness of mortality which really tends to kick things into high gear. History is full of famous late bloomers, and we should all take inspiration from them. Some shaped the world we know today but would never have had a chance if they’d given up too soon. Charles Darwin, for instance—the first scholar of biology, the man who illuminated the concept of evolution—didn’t even get started until age 50.

So, if you haven’t made all or any of those goals or milestones yet, don’t fret and don’t give up!

Dreams can lie dormant for years, but they will come to life if you tend to them.

Dreams are like seeds, waiting in the soil for water. Water them. Start wherever you are—just start!

And remember, the older you get, the more you have to give. At 52-years-old, I’m proof it’s never too late.

Late bloomers really do rock!

~Excerpt from Diane Rios’ article in Elephant Journal

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Patiently Waiting

“Any new position from which you view your reality will change your perception of its nature. It’s all literally a matter of perspective.” – Maya Ibuki

Isn’t it just?

Whatever the situation is it always comes down to perception. Different angle, different perception. Different people, different perception different experience. To see the big picture, you have to view any given situation at all angles before reaching a conclusion, otherwise, you will miss the opportunity to see different possibilities and choices.

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I’ll Swallow You Whole

“You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.” -Warsan Shire

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