September 23, 2014 § Leave a comment
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”~Albert Camus
We all have our favorite season, and my personal favorite is the Fall. I love everything about Autumn. Always. It’s a special time of year that ignites wonder, sentiment, and nostalgia. The crisp, chill air, morning mist on the ground, brilliant Red Maple Trees, the tastes of Fall; ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin, caramel, apple cider & homemade pie, the spirit of Autumn; Holly & Sage, the backyard harvest & making preserves, the sound of crunching leaves under foot, hillsides of foliage turning a kaleidoscope of colors. Fall marks a time of magnificent landscape changes in many parts of North America. Enjoy the season!
Dante Lividini, Catnip from the Wisetrees series, Illustration, Courtesy and © Dante Lividini 2014.
Forests play a prominent role in many folktales and legends. In these dark, mysterious places, heroes can lose their way, face unexpected challenges, and stumble on hidden secrets. Part of the age-old magic of forests lies in the ideas that people have had about trees. In myths and legends from around the world, trees appear as ladders between worlds, as sources of life and wisdom, and as the physical forms of supernatural beings -nature spirits were thought to inhabit trees and forests. The mythology of early India, preserved in texts called the Upanishads, includes a cosmic tree called ‘Asvattha.’ It is the living universe, an aspect of ‘Brahman,’ the World Spirit. This cosmic tree reverses the usual order. Its roots are in the sky, and its branches grow downward to cover the earth.
Dante Lividini, Mother Nature from the Wisetrees series, Illustration, Courtesy and © Dante Lividini 2014.
Dante Lividini is a New England-based illustrator, graphic novelist and 3-D animation artist whose work, constructed with considerable imaginative care, invites a mythological journey. With a Master’s Degree in Literature from New York University, and a background in teaching, Dante cleverly weaves the art of storytelling of all that is mysterious and miraculous in the natural world throughout his work, infusing it with meaning, depth, and metaphor.
Dante Lividini, Starsewn, a Graphic Novel featuring the Woggli, Illustration, Courtesy and © Dante Lividini 2014.
Dante’s evocative Wisetree’s, graphic novels Starsewn, Medusa and Evolve, are all deeply rooted in Nature and Myth. Prompting a rare kind of empathy towards his subjects, thoughtful connections between Rustic Gods & Nature Spirits, Half-Humans & Heroes, Biosphere & Biophilia, Trees & Time, and the realms above and below human experience, blossom. We discover an unfolding meditation on those existential dilemmas that surround us all, and a world of its own in the making. Resonating otherwordliness and sublime beauty. Visit Dante’s Portfolio and Behance to see more of the artist’s work.
September 17, 2014 Comments Off
Discover Your Basic Goodness with Pema Chödrön & Dale Asrael, September 26 – 28, 2014, at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Rhinebeck New York. As leaders in teaching meditation and how it applies to everyday life, Pema Chödrön and Dale Asrael are widely known and well-regarded for their insightful, down-to-earth interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism for Western audiences.
Pema Chödrön is an American Buddhist nun and one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers in the West today. A student of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, she is resident teacher at Gampo Abbey monastery in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Chödrön is interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monastacism in the West, as well as continuing her work with Western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. She is the author of numerous books, including When Things Fall Apart; The Places That Scare You; The Wisdom of No Escape; Getting Unstuck; Start Where You Are; Comfortable With Uncertainty; No Time to Lose; Always Maintain a Joyful Mind (lojong teachings); Practicing Peace in Times of War; and Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change.
Dale Asrael is now an acharya (senior teacher) in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, founded by Chögyam Trungpa. She is core faculty at Naropa University, also founded by Trungpa, since 1992, and teaches in the post-graduate Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Education, and Counseling programs, and is an upadhyaya (Buddhist minister). She leads meditation retreats, dathuns, sutrayana seminaries, ngondro instructor trainings, and other programs internationally. In 2011, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the Shambhala lineage, appointed Asrael the dean of meditation instructors.
September 11, 2014 § 2 Comments
Climate change, perhaps the greatest crisis of our civilization, threatens a sustainable environment that can support life on Earth. A short window of opportunity exists to shift this challenge into a radically new way of being and living. To meet this task requires a profound reorientation of our relationship to the earth and its resources, including a move from our fossil fuel economy to renewable energy. Underpinning this shift is a transformation of consciousness from seeing the world as an object to exploit, to knowing and living our profound interconnection with all things.
As part of Earth Care Week, every Sunday from October 5 – November 2, 2014, 12:30 to 2 p.m. EST, the Dharma Teachers International Collaborative and One Earth Sangha will launch a set of five online conversations in the name of “Ecosattva” training with leading Dharma and mindfulness teachers: Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Ruth King, David Loy, Bonnie Duran, James Baraz, Chas DiCapua, Susie Harrington, Vinny Ferraro, Catherine McGee, Chris Cullen, Anandabodhi, Santacitta, Santussika Bhikkhunis, and others. The series follows the People’s Climate March, September 20-21, 2014, taking place in New York, and a three-month online interactive program beginning ‘Earth Day’ 22 April 2015, scheduled to follow. Offered free to everyone with the invitation to donate, the conversations will be hosted by Dharma teacher Thanissara Weinberg and One Earth Sangha as part of Maestro Conference’s Conversations That Can Change the World.
September 9, 2014 Comments Off
Kamil Vojnar, Power Makes You Blind, mixed-media on paper, 17 x 17 in, 2013, Courtesy Galerie BMG © Kamil Vojnar.
A new series of work titled “Elsewhere” by the Czechoslovakian born, France-based, mixed media photographer Kamil Vojnar is on view now through 5 October, 2014 at Galerie BMG Woodstock, NY. As a self-taught photographer and painter, Kamil’s unique approach involves multiple layers of imagery using different photographs and textures. Sometimes he layers on canvas creating one-of-a-kind pieces, while others are digitally collaged on fine art paper in small editions. In both instances he varnishes the image with oil and wax, often applying additional oil paint, rendering each piece unique. His work is haunting, erotic, disturbing, tragically beautiful, and intriguingly unresolvable. His technique of multiple printings and re-printings of the same images combined and re-combined through collage, hand painting, and patina, mimics a process of constant interpretation in denial of fixed certainties. With a poetic sensibility and quiet strength, Vojnar’s work eloquently expresses all the sadness, uncertainty, and insurmountability that are hallmarks of our time.
September 7, 2014 Comments Off
Anselm Kiefer, The Orders of the Night (Die Orden der Nacht), 1996, Emulsion, acrylic and shellac on canvas, 356 x 463 cm, Seattle Art Museum, gift of Mr. & Mrs. Richard C. Hedreen. Photo: Seattle Art Museum © Anselm Kiefer.
The Royal Academy of Arts will present the first major retrospective of work to be held in the UK by Honorary Royal Academician, Anselm Kiefer, a man described as “a colossus of contemporary art,” 27 September -14 December, 2014. This will be the most significant exhibition of the German artist’s work ever held in the UK, spanning his entire 40 year career to date and unveiling new work created in direct response to the spaces. Kiefer’s extraordinary body of work includes painting, sculpture and monumental installations. Uncompromising in the subject matter he tackles, Kiefer’s work powerfully captures the human experience and draws on history, mythology, literature, philosophy and science. Destined to be full of brave and provocative work, always large in scale, ambitious in scope and astonishing in execution, this exhibition will be a testament to the career of a man driven to confront himself and the audience with the big and complex issues of our world’s past, present and future.
September 3, 2014 Comments Off
“Everything is relative. The experience and understanding of existence depends on from what place and angle or side an observation is made, on when the observation is made and who is observing.” ~Rúrí, Artist’s Statement; Relativity, 1992, Iceland
Nikolaj Kristensen, Ena With Eyes Shut, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
The Weather Diaries is a prolific collaboration between some of the most gifted designers of the West Nordic Islands and artist duo Cooper & Gorfer. It is unique in its symbiosis of installation and narrative photographic imagery, taking you deep into the ingenuity of these three island nations where common is the ubiquity of isolation. Aesthetic and metaphorical, it deflects the conventional rhetoric of fashion.
Mundi, The Wind Portrait, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
Instead of seasonal trends, it explores the inspiration of creative minds, probes links to cultural identity, and scrutinizes the impact of the inescapable physicality of nature and weather. Sublime, and at times fantastical scenery of the North inspires moody yet undeniably wondrous results.
Guðrun & Guðrun, Sára, Armgarð and Alda on a Hill, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
“Their pictures are imbued with understated drama and an enigmatic tone. Unlike the discrete passer-by who single-handedly waits the decisive moment, Cooper and Gorfer carefully direct choreographed productions. The time they invest in creating a picture can be likened to that of a painter in a studio.” ~Dragana Vujanovic, curator Hasselblad Center
Guðrun & Guðrun, Girls as Twins, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
The resulting portfolio showcases the works of both young and established Nordic designers and artists such as Mundi, Shoplifter, Jör By Guðmundur Jörundsson, Steinnun, Barbara í Gongini, Gudrun & Gudrun, Bibi Chemnitz, Nikolai Kristensen, and Najannguaq Davidsen Lennert, Kría, Jessie Kleeman and Rammatik, exploring the roots of Nordic fashion and design traditions.
Kría, Lola, India, Swing, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
Additionally, the book, published by the Berlin-based Gestalten, also features a number of insightful essays on the Nordic Countries’ relationship with clothing and fashion, as well as a collection of interviews with the featured creatives. Actual ‘weather diaries’ also feature in the book as a series of excerpts which date back to 1975. Written in a north Icelandic town Akureyri by Baldur Helgi Kristjánsson, the personable memories are accompanied by a series of beautiful landscape photographs, again by Cooper & Gorfer.
Bibi Chemnitz, Sara and the Dog, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
Barbara I Gongini, Juanita with Black Hands, By Cooper & Gorfer from The Weather Diaries, Nordic Fashion Biennale, © The Nordic House, Iceland & SEEK 2014. Image courtesy of Gestalten.
Artists Sarah Cooper & Nina Gorfer, have similar backgrounds in architecture, art, design and photography, and have been working together since 2006. Cooper & Gorfer’s solo exhibitions include: Hasselblad Center, Dunkers Kulturhus in Helsingborg, Kulturhuset in Stockholm and Museum Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt. They were awarded the Swedish Art Book Award for both SEEK Volume 01 Iceland and My Quiet Gold. Their work belongs to a narrative tradition within photography, with roots in 18th and 19th century painting. Based on the personal and collective stories of place, where the pictures become condensed impressions showing the latent and ephemeral rather than the obvious. They live and work in Gothenburg, Sweden.
This 20 minute film offers a glimpse into the behind the scenes of The Weather Diaries. Produced by: The Nordic House Iceland in collaboration with Cooper & Gorfer. Filmed in Iceland, Greenland and on the Faroe Islands, it brings you closer to these remote places and showcases the people whom Cooper & Gorfer collaborated with to bring this project to life. Sharing their reflections on isolation and the force of nature, consumerism, and the roots of creativity and human nature, that set the tone for the project.
The Weather Diaries: The Nordic Fashion Biennale, by Cooper & Gorfer, Hardcover, 184 pgs, Published by Gestalten, 2014.
Sarah Cooper and Nina Gorfer take an unusual approach to their topic by telling its story visually. The curators of the third Nordic Fashion Biennale present the work of both young and established West Nordic designers in a striking collection of photography that they shot on-location throughout Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. Showcasing the fashion in dramatic natural settings, their images are fused with a dark romanticism and, like much of their work, are reminiscent of eighteenth and nineteenth-century painting. Defying categorization, Cooper & Gorfer’s photos bring together fashion, photography, and painting. Their work goes beyond pure documentation and is interpretive, narrative, and utterly distinctive.
September 1, 2014 Comments Off
Once established in the garden, Mint grows and spreads like wildfire, and throughout the Summer, rewards you with an endless supply of the fragrant herb to inspire culinary endeavors. Prolific, hardy, and perennial. Mint has been used for centuries for its healing powers, taste and aromatic qualities. The herb even has its place in ancient Greek mythology. According to legend, the Green, fragrant herb used to be a beautiful nymph named ‘Menthe.’ She was turned into a plant by jealous Persephone who didn’t appreciate her husband Pluto’s affection towards Menthe. Pluto could not turn the plant back into a nymph, but he could give it an appealing aroma.
Fresh Mint is the perfect ingredient for a refreshing Summer meal. With Summer coming to an unofficial close, a great way to continue to enjoy this herb fresh, without any cooking, is in Pesto. This Mint Pesto Recipe is so light and delicate. It tastes herbal and green and adds a pop of color and garden-fresh flavor to any main-dish. All of the flavors are just superb combined -ingredients that fuse together for a deliciously balanced vegan, raw & gluten-free sauce.
- 1 1/2 cups packed organic fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup packed organic fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 3 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 large clove garlic, quartered
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Place basil, mint, walnuts, oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic and salt in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve. If you’re not using the pesto immediately, you can store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks; let come to room temperature before serving. Makes 1 cup. 20 mins. prep time.
Garden Note & Tips
Like any other herb, the best time to harvest Mint is in the morning while the volatile oils in the plant are at their strongest.
Since pesto is a ‘raw’ sauce, the flavor of the olive oil is crucial to its success. Use the best cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil you can comfortably afford.
Cover tightly and store chilled for at least an hour to saturate the flavors. If storing overnight, pour a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil over the top of the pesto to help keep it bright green.
As a flavorful accompaniment to many dishes, Mint Pesto is delicious and unexpected on sandwiches, and matches perfectly tossed with pasta (hot or cold), and adds depth and richness when mixed into brown rice, or a Raw Zucchini Salad: 1 freshly harvested medium organic zucchini, cut into long thin ribbons, 1/2 tsp freshly made Mint Pesto, 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts & fresh mint for garnish. Savor Summer!
August 29, 2014 Comments Off
What happened when Grammy award-winning producer and musician Imogen Heap hiked the Bhutanese Himalayas with The Happiest Place film team -then got her hands on hundreds of hours of sound samples from this remote Buddhist Kingdom? Something beautiful.
Inspired by her trek through this magical country, and their considered steps into the future with its rich culture and heritage firmly in tow, Imogen Heap wrote two striking pieces of music for The Happiest Place film score. In this behind-the-scenes clip, Heap explains how the sights and sounds of Bhutan -temple bells, the crackling of fires, the thwick of an archer’s bow, Buddhist monks and nuns chanting, the shoeing of a horse, inspired the creative process. Cycle Song & Climb To Sakteng are from Imogen’s newest album Sparks.
Secrets from The Happiest Place, Director Ben Henretig, TEDx Stanford, 2014. The talk offers a sneak peak of footage from The Happiest Place film and explores what may be at the heart of Bhutan’s contentment -their strong sense of connection to each other, to the natural world, and to a sense of purpose.
Many know Bhutan as one of the happiest places on earth, as the last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom and the only country in the world to use ‘Gross National Happiness’ as its primary yardstick for progress. The Happiest Place, tells the story of filmmaker Ben Henretig’s incredible journey to uncover the secret to Bhutan’s happiness. In 2011, Henretig joined a team of four adventure athletes on a quest to cross the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan by foot and bike. The journey gave rise to the feature-length documentary that explores what people in the West can learn from Bhutan’s unique policy of ‘Gross National Happiness’ about living happier, more meaningful lives. With unprecedented access, the film offers a glimpse into a forgotten world that may have hidden within it the key to ‘responsible progress’ in the 21st century. In Bhutan’s rugged mountains and pristine forests, in the smiles of farmers and archers, in the hillside monasteries and ancient fortresses, we see reflected the grace of generations of wisdom. A fragile beauty that is emblematic of all those natural spaces, traditions and cultures around the world that are slowly disappearing in the wake of progress.
August 27, 2014 Comments Off
For anyone who is looking to add a healthy dose of mindfulness to a daily routine, the app Fig reminds users to slow down and enjoy the simpler things. Personalized wellness goals for body and soul. Inspired by city slickers with high stress careers and unhealthy lifestyle habits, Fig aims to better life one small goal at a time. The app provides a wide variety of categorized tasks and goals recommended to users as well as the ability to craft one’s own custom goals, such as drinking more water, responding to old friends or remembering to meditate.
Create your own wellness guide by quickly selecting activities from common goals. Choose across 6 holistic categories -eat, move, refresh, connect, feel, and go further. Browse over 300 expert-written activities or customize and create new ones. A personal and enjoyable way to pursue your wellness aspirations. Take the journey of holistic transformation with simple activities. Share your journey with friends and loved ones. Flourish together. Available from iTunes.
August 9, 2014 Comments Off
Summer is a great time to cook with Lavender, bringing the beautiful aroma inside. Despite Lavender being synonymous with Provence (France), it is ‘English Lavender,’ varieties of ‘angustifolia,’ that are best for culinary use as the flavor is more mellow. English Lavender has been used traditionally for culinary purposes, aromatherapy applications, and for centuries, as an herbal remedy, for both its relaxing and uplifting qualities. Lavender has an ‘androgynous’ aroma and flavor, it is both savory and sweet, with a distinct herbal edge.
The delicate flavor of Lavender flowers gives this Lavender Shortbread Cookie recipe a particularly grown-up taste. Fun and fancy! These are so delicious and have the perfect combination of sweetness and Lavender, with a hint of Lemon -mild, somewhat exotic flavor. Being shortbread, they will fall apart easily when taking them off the baking sheet, so be careful. Depending how thick you make them, the recipe makes anywhere from 2-4 dozen. You can experiment by making some thin and round and others thicker and rectangular. Either way, you’ll love them, and will want to share! Perfect for fragrant & sweet Summer garden gifting.
- 3 sticks of Earth Balance (non dairy butter) room temperature, or 1 cup coconut oil
- 2 1/2 cups baking flour or oat flour
- 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3-5 Tbsp finely chopped fresh organic lavender buds
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1-2 tsp rosewater
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
1. In a medium-size bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Add lavender and lemon zest. Stir to combine.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. When thoroughly mixed, add to the wet batter, then add the rosewater, and stir until well blended. You should have a thick cookie batter. Divide dough into 2 balls, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten to about 1 inch. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
3. When ready to prepare the cookies, preheat oven to 325. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes (less if thinner) or until the cookies begin to brown at the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
A fabulous Lavender shortbread deserves to be served with a proper cup of aromatic tea. An organic herbal blend of beautiful and fragrant Chamomile and Lavender flowers with soothing Lemon Balm, makes for a complementary synergy. What could be better? Settles your nervous system and relaxes your digestive system as well. If you prefer to leave the Tao of Tea to the masters, Traditional Medicinals makes high-quality organic herbal teas, including my personal favorite Chamomile with Lavender Tea. Pioneers in the wellness tea category that continue to lead the way.
When cooking with Lavender it is key to ensure using culinary/edible Lavender and not Lavender prepared for things like potpourri which can be treated with chemicals. If you don’t have Lavender growing in your own garden, culinary Lavender may be purchased at well stocked grocery stores, herb/spice stores or apothecaries, as well a grown in a pot or home garden for picking anytime. With a small amount added to many recipes, a ho-hum dish or cup of tea can be elevated to having international flair!