Monday, December 31, 2018

The Art of Resourcing

As this year comes to a close, I am filled with gratitude for all of the new opportunities that I have had, the people that I have met and the natural beauty that I have seen. 
I am especially grateful for the opportunity to study more and deepen my capacity to support the process of healing trauma in my practice and with my patients.
Deepening my understanding of how to physiologically support the mending of trauma has also shown me how important it is to resource and create an internal compass that leans into goodness, wellbeing and safety.
During my own process, studies and practice, I have discovered that the point of resourcing is to create a single or many references towards safety and containment. This exploration aides in the integration of life force and in the building of internal physiological capacity to self regulate.

All of my life, color has been an incredible resource.  It often informs my day, how I widen the work my sessions and my creativity. My mother was a painter, designer and colorist. Seeking just the right color, making something beautiful and complete was a very important facet of her life and our shared connection. 
This past Autumn and Winter, I have been making many beautiful inks and revisiting the potential that various colors have in healing work. Making the images for this post has felt so positive and inspirational. Placing textures and images together, and being curious is opening a new little portal of sweetness.

 I have been drawn to vibrant hand painted wools from Bedouin women, the pink of the orchids that were a recent holiday gift and the remaining flowers from the last growing season.
These small wonders and rich colors make me feel inspired, calm and curious.

All of the knitting, needlepoint, painting and photography has offered a space in which I can land. It is with these resources, that I am able to take a deep breath in the very beauty of things and trust that  the kindness of these moments are regulating and leaning into better versions of the work and life force. 

The image of the juvenile bald eagle that I incorporated in the last image has been one of my favorite magic moments of 2018. It flew directly over my home for several days and I was able to photograph it and receive confirmation from my friend Dr. Carl Safina that it was indeed a bald eagle. It gave me tremendous hope and a feeling of excitement that it lives nearby. A bird once on the verge of extinction, returns to life and the land here in Springs. 

Wishing everyone a sweet new year, much goodness ahead, and as one of my favorite teachers says 'good learning'. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Light.

New light arrived this past week.
This morning there were pink sorbet clouds and aqua skies welcoming Winter.
There is a sweetness to this time. 
Diving into the softness of handspun, hand dyed wools, and the presence of amaryllis. Cloves and tangerines.
Custom botanical scents made for gentle beautiful beings, new scent discoveries.
I have been allowing the deep sleeps to draw me in and the restorative creative energy of Yin to fill and enrich my tissues. 
Broths made from smoked turkey, roasted Japanese sweet potatoes, rich dark vanilla and citrus infused teas.
The base notes of cistus and patchouli fill the air with frequent observations of the star filled sky and full moon.
This is the time for integration.
At the moment, one the the greatest gifts from Winter and nature are her botanicals that are being made into inks.

These beautiful colors, and this dreamy watercolor on the right were made from natural pigments of greenbrier berries.
Moving forward, I will share more of these gorgeous creations that have evolved from a curiosity of how to make beautiful inks from the natural world of Springs, East Hampton.
The materials have been foraged from the magical lands here, and I am delighted to explore and play with these magnificent colors in the new year. 
Wishing everyone much goodness and kindness in the days ahead. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Dear October

Dear October, 

It is so very nice to be with you now and spend golden moments in your gentle afternoons filled with shimmery soft light. 

Thank you for the warm and sunny salty swims in Gardiner's Bay. You have been very generous with your brilliant blue skies and gentle tides. 

Thank you for the beautiful day at the Arboretum in Minnesota where the last roses bloomed in the bright sunshine and the dahlias spoke in the generous language of brilliant colors. 

Thank you for your apples that made a beautiful crisp. Your pumpkins and squash that make spicy soups and for your damp and rainy days that water the greens for the farmers.

Thank you so much for bringing us the gifts of more learning, more compassion and more understanding. I have gained so much this month and I am deeply grateful.

Thank you for the bees, the woodpeckers, the bluebirds, the clematis, the hawk medicine, the walks around a magical lake. And most of all, thank you for offering safe passage for the hummingbirds as Flora, Guapo and friends travel to their Winter destinations.

Thank you for supporting the courage of so many extraordinary practitioners who met to create a deeper level of healing within ourselves and in turn for our practices and our communities.

Thank you for supporting our growth and desire to build strong containers for healing as we are transitioning into a more compassionate world. 

Thank you for the geese in the sky, the beautiful natural reflections and for gracing us with these last days of warmth before we settle into the Winter days and long nights. 

I look forward to seeing you again next year. 
With love, Maria

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Autumn Sweetness

The last days of Autumn are upon us in these humid golden days. Miss Flora is drinking her last sips of nectar, the figs are ripe and the Autumn flowers are gracing us with their last bursts of elegant colors. 

It is a bittersweet time. The last refreshing bay swims have been so tender. Dragonflies and monarchs fly next to me as I am crossing the landmarks of the bay jetties. Large osprey dive for healthy prey as they prepare for their journey South. 

These magnificent figs were gifted to me from the North Fork last week and they left an exotic perfume like essence on my taste buds. If only I could capture this curious scent in a liquid perfume. The senses are heightened as the last golden hours grace us before the crisp nights become cold. 
A tower of good reads have been piling up on my tables for dark weather reading. 
Next exploration, building resilience and Qi through the cultivation of Yi, also known as intention. 
Wishing everyone a fragrant and gentle Autumn. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

New Religion

This gorgeous poem was shared with me yesterday and has broken my heart open. It is as though the essence of the ocean spoke her beautiful language through the pen of this extraordinary poet. 
Thank you Bill Holm for this masterpiece and thank you again to the beautiful mermaid who shared this gem with me. 

New Religion

This morning no sound but the loud breathing of the sea. Suppose that under all that salt water lived the god that humans have spent ten thousand years trawling the heavens for. We caught the wrong metaphor.  Real space is wet underneath, the church of shark and whale and cod. The noise of those vast lungs exhaling; the plain chanting of monkfish choirs. Heaven's not up but down, and hell is to evaporate in air. Salvation, is to drown and breath forever with the sea. 

And thank you seahorses for lending me your magic. 

Theses images were taken in Kona, Hawaii.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Transition to Autumn and the Metal Element

This is a bittersweet time. While I love the transition, the colors, the change in temperature and the sweetness of the decay, it is also a very precious and sometimes melancholy time. 
One hummingbird remains, Miss Flora is holding out and claiming her garden by staying true to her last flowers. She has graced so many of us with her presence and I am deeply touched, each and every time. 

Watching the eyes of my patients open wide with joy and admiration during her visits,  makes it all worth while. Thank you Miss Flora, Gaupo, Monica, and Mauricio the hummingbirds for staying with us for this short time and teaching us about your magic. 

In Chinese medicine, this is the time of year that we reflect, let go, become more pensive and attend to the health of our skin, large intestine, and lungs. We begin to eat more cooked foods, poach fruit and make warming soups. We gather the harvest, make our delicious creations and savor the last sunshine of the season through pungent or strong spicy flavors. 
We feel grateful. 
And full. 

This large and shimmery dragonfly appeared recently and offered itself to the camera. It stayed still for only a moment, long enough to capture the intricate and lace designs if its' iridescent transparent wings. Beautiful black shiny eyes of the flying dinosaur watched me closely as I approached with my telephoto lens. 

As the weather chills, more time will spent be re-reading the classical texts and the beautiful translations of the elegant calligraphy. I have the felt sense that the ancients are calling on me again to revisit the characters, the beauty of the hidden meaning,  and the dreamy moments of entering magical constellations of ancient wisdom. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Crow Medicine.

During these past few weeks I have been taking in the magic of the crows. They are so clever and such mysterious birds. In the past, I did not pay them much attention but as I sit waiting for the hummingbirds to appear, they have drawn me into their world. 
I love they way they travel together and use incredible language to communicate with one another. 

The medicine of the crow is a mirror to change that is yet to come. They express mystery, magic, the past, present and future while also the art of shapeshifting. 
While I caught these two preening one another I was taken by their silent gentleness and sleek dark beauty. 
They are often referred to as omens of change, spiritual strength and personal integrity. 
They were especially expressive as I stood beneath an oak tree and watched them fly from tree top to tree top sharing beautiful, rhythmic and intricate language with one another.
When I see them flying overhead, I hold them in the highest regard and acknowledge their great intelligence and keen presence. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Guapo and the Lady Slipper.

As the days are growing warmer, it seems that Guapo the hummingbird will stay a bit longer in the evening hours on his favorite perch. 
Here is he resting on a vitex branch, one of his preferred spots in the garden.
He continues to teach me something new each and every time I see him. I observe how he tracks the sun, the insects, other birds and the flowers. Last night I watched his red and magenta shimmering feathers sparkle as I sat quietly in the garden. 
He chases away Flora on a regular basis and the two of them engage in ornate flight patterns while vying for access to fresh nectar. Guapo is showing me how hummingbirds fly in the formation of a figure eight. How fast they can be, and how on a moments notice, they can defend their territory.

The orchid next to Guapo was a gift. This Lady Slipper is gracing my space with a supreme elegance. She sits with such grounded beauty on my desk and offers herself to each person that she meets. One can not help but be mesmerized by her presence. 
While sitting with both Guapo and the Lady Slipper, I have been observing how the spaces inside my own physiology that are moved by their beauty. I notice a sense of well being and a strengthening of my spine and an ease in my breath. 
Hours may pass before one of these images come to fruit from my time with the hummingbirds. In the end, the time spent in the stillness always offers a gift. 
Thank you Guapo and thank you Miss Lady Slipper for your softness and presence. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Kapoho Tidepools, Guapo the Hummingbird and the Solstice

With so many changes upon us today, I want to write about transformation and all of these big natural changes that we are observing in these fiery days.
Pele's glory has taken the coastline of the Big Island and made it new again with a raw and new beauty. I am in awe of her passion. I am transfixed by the intense and explosive lava and the magnificent colors, all shades of deep red and orange. She is burning through everything and demanding transformation.

I revisited these pictures from my last visit to Pele's lands. I am grateful to have these images of the tide pools before she reclaimed her magnificent garden.
And so we let go.
And allow.
Stay present.
And gentle.

In this collage is a picture of Guapo my returning ruby throated hummingbird.
Taken today during the last hours of solstice daylight.
Each and every time I see him my heart is filled with so much joy. He reminds me that change is a constant force of nature, we are always pendulating between different energy states. Just watching him is a reminder to stay fluid.

Guapo arrived during the cool Spring days and nights. He waited patiently for the flowers to bloom. Now that the garden is in full glory, he and Flora have returned with another male.
Every morning that I hear their wings beating outside the door I am filled with such gratitude and love for them. They make me feel hopeful and full of goodness. It is the kind of sweetness that I want to share with the good people in my world. And I want to say to everyone... that goodness, gentleness and beauty do prevail, in the end.

 Thank you Pele and the hummingbirds for sharing your magnificent gifts with all of us on the longest day of the year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Way of Heaven

During times of change and transition in the seasons, I always return to the study of rhythms in nature, the Classical teachings of Chinese medicine and Daoism. The past few days, I have been reading excerpts of great richness. I have been sitting with concepts surrounding the Way of Heaven and the Dao.

It is the Way of Heaven to keep moving and and to allow no piling up-hence the 10,000 things come to completion. It is in the Way of the emperor to keep moving and to allow no piling up-hence the whole world repairs to his court. It is the Way of the sage to keep moving and to allow no piling up-hence all within the seas bow to him. Comprehending Heaven, conversant with the sage, walker on the 6 avenues and 4 frontiers of the virtue of emperors and kings-the actions of such a man come naturally; dreamily, he never lacks stillness. 
The sage is still not because he takes stillness to be good and therefore he is still. The 10,000 things are insufficient to distract his mind-that is the reason he is still. 
Zhuang zi, Chapter 13

 I am applying these words to the concept of Wu-Wei or the middle path. Non-action, or the art of 'allowing'. When I am with my camera, I try to pull my energy inside and be an observer and participate in this flow. There is a wisdom, that does arise if we allow it through our stillness. As I lean deeper into my own studies, and process, I am so curious about how one can cultivate more capacity to allow the physiology to reorganize with greater ease.

Above is a picture of an osprey, taken at Three Mile Harbor, in Springs, East Hampton. 
I have delighted in their prehistoric piercing eyes that focus on far away prey that swim underwater. 
Watching osprey often feels like a meditation in Wu-Wei. 
Observing how they fly through the air with such beauty and grace is magical, they have a steady and determined presence despite the strength of the wild ocean winds. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pilot whales, Humpbacks and Dolphins.

Last week, I had the amazing fortune of photographing pilot whales in the Pacific deep blue. The pod was generous and I was able to take this picture on my second drop in, and it was extraordinary. I had been in the water with them in the Kingdom of Tonga, several years ago. During my first experience with them, they were hunting and pelagic sharks were in tow. At that time, I was struck by their incredible grace and linear swimming. They passed by in rows, their dark skin was a sharp contrast against the Tongan clear blue waters.
The picture below is from my most recent Hawaiian encounter just a few days ago. I love this picture because it shows how much their skin shins and reflects light. 

This time they were traveling, but curious. They bobbed their heads to the surface and spy hopped for several minutes before I was in the water with them.  
These gentle beauties are residents of the local waters. Their scientific name is Globicephala. They survive primarily on squid and are thought to dive deeper during the night. They tend to travel in pods and like orcas have a matrilineal family structure. 
What I love about documenting cetaceans in the wild, is observing how their tales move through the waters as they swim on the surface, how they travel in pods and observing their incredible navigation from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sea. 
Below is humpback tail taken at the surface, spinner dolphins swimming in pods along the bottom and a beautiful bamboo trunk, the ridges that remind me of the formation of a dolphin pod.

Each time that I enter the ocean with my camera, my curiosity and desire to learn more widens. I fall in love again, each and every time. Below is a magical tide pool filled will colorful coral and delicate yellow and black fish called Hawaiian sergeant fish, these beauties reminded me of the coherence in nature, repeated patterns and the delicate and elegant natural language that we speak with one another through our physiology. 

In the next year, I am refining and editing my photographs to create a book that has been asking to be printed. It has been over ten years that I have been documenting the seas and observing mother nature's grace while trailing behind countless cetaceans. 
I am grateful to everyone who takes the time to read my posts and support my underwater work. As the days grow longer and the local waters begin to warm, I am eagerly expecting the return of cetaceans to the East End. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Pele Report.

Yellow Fronted Canaries and Saffron Finches grace the coastline, as they sing in tandem flying quickly among the tree tree tops. Darting from one branch to the next they search out sweet treats and sing their magical song. 
They are accompanied by bright green geckos drinking sweet fruit nectars and crimson orchids
sharing their delicate blooms.

Pods of dolphins surf the waves and spin freely over coral reefs, while misty clouds cover the towering tropical trees. Sea urchins gently dance in small volcanic pools filled with broken shells, coral and miniature purple snails while shy quick crabs snag morsels from the black rocks in between gentle waves. 

Curious spinner dolphins. 

A strong and tumultuous rain cleared Pele's clouds and smoke. The power of nature has revisited me from the inside out and I am always in awe when I feel this kind of natural reorganization. 
It feels as though these deep realignments are needed at this time. Sometimes deep sighs of knowing and salty tears accompany these moments of recognition. 

Each and every element has its place in the wholeness of nature. In keeping with the changing rhythms of nature, I have taken every opportunity to take pictures of anyone willing to sit with me and my camera. I am so deeply grateful to all of the beauties I was able to connect with, while Pele's presence embraced us, she watched all of us meet under her fiery and tender gaze. 

Thank you dolphins, and whales for your gentle presence and generosity. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

New Year and a Super Moon.

It has been a vibrant day, the moon filled the night sky with much beauty and goodness. Last night this elegant luna illuminated the sky filled with stars and kissed our dreams goodnight. 
I waited until the sky was clear and the fog had lifted to capture the sparkle of the surface of the moon. 
The photograph of the sweet bird was aboard a research trip for whales this past Summer. This little beauty pecked for crumbs on the deck of the fishing boat that took us to the whales in the Great South Channel. I came across the picture of this little gem and the shimmer of light on the water in the open ocean, just yesterday. 
All three images tell a story to me, about fullness, innocence, simplicity, dreams and hope. 
In these very unsteady times of change, coming back into the elegance of the natural word has been incredibley important, and meaningful for me. Every day, I watch how the natural world is negotiating the cold, how the light changes from darkness to light again and observing what is possible if we settle into deep winter sleeps, long rests and more contemplation and study. 

I have been studying more about how the cold can enter the body and influence our physiology. I am   giving moxa, adding blankets, extra warmth and nourishing Kidney Yin in my treatments. 
As cold injures the blood, it is especially important to add blood building foods during these cold spells. It is equally important to eat warm cooked foods and wear layers of fibers that can hold the warmth of the body close to the surface. Silk is especially helpful for keeping in warmth. 

As I was making tea this morning in the first light of the day, the full moon was upon us and this image of the turtle and the snake came into my awareness. This is an image from a text of mine that describes the animals from the cold waters of the North. 
The water droplets gathered from the steam on the windowpane and the wilting rhododendron leaves cast a beautiful shadow on the glass. All of these images came together for this post, with the addition of a beautiful succulent in flower that was gifted to me over the holidays. 
Wishing everyone much warmth and a beautiful super red and blue moon!