My take on how Mussar and Chakra overlap

I was asked by Rabbi Elana Kanter several months ago to use my creativity to create  something to  honor Rabbi Green  who would be visiting our New Shul and in relationship to our study of Mussar .

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Please note Rabbi Green is much more focused on Kabbalah than Mussar. Kabbalah is more of a mystical based study…  and considering that I had been exploring  Chakra healing and colors with paint for about 4 years I kept pondering what I would actually do. So several months went by. Yes I had good long prep time , but what was the hurry ?

The  7 major Chakra energy fields of the Hindu and Tibetan science of healing focuses on working  to re-connect the flow of energy from the universe through the body.  There are specific colors  that work with this flow. In my painting here you will see that the  top of the painting is  violet which  is considered the 7th Chakra  or crown Chakra . The bottom red is considered the 1st Chakra or Root Chakra . Often in Chakra discussions we start with first things first ( which is the Root /red Chakra) but considering that  Mussar  was the driving force for this finished piece  I feel that we should start with TRUST  first which truly is what I think all spiritual beliefs rely on.

Now more about Mussar . It is a personal development system that is based on Jewish studies  and practices relating  to our everyday life and interactions in the world. In our class we would take one Middot , and after reading and discussing the text pertaining to this create a focus phrase and Kabbalah ( hmmm overlap?) , or action that we want to tap into and follow EVERY DAY for a month. Ouch. For those of  us that easily start and stop practices as we see another shiny object this is no small task! The assignment was to also to include daily journaling , charting our progress and sharing with a partner in the program several times a month per class how we were doing as well as “declaring ” to our small group what our intention was for the month through email. Sounds pretty demanding , eh? Well consistent with the gentleness of our Rabbis it was all strongly “suggested and requested ” that is what we do. Depending upon your personality and emotional makeup this could be productive or not. I am not passing judgement here just stating observation. Considering that this was a 7 month program it could feel like training for a triathalon if one wanted to be consistent.

Now it  seems that with every practice that I attempt to take on to make a change for the positive in my life it always seems to be that I am confronted head on with exactly what I am attempting to resolve and move past . So too with my taking on a an artistic project concerning Mussar. I floated over the idea for months as I was involved in a month long study for  each Middot. It was not until around 2 weeks before delivery was due of my piece while I was supposedly sleeping it all came together in my mind. I am not sure if that was the  hard part… to know exactly what I wanted to do.

With my  painting for several years around the concept of Chakras I had been observing the reactions to color while in the meditative practice of painting as well as how others respond to being in the surroundings of the colors of the paintings. I would arrange the paintings in different ways to see how  the response would change.

It finally clicked with something Rabbi Wasserman said in his shabbat Dvar Torah on March 7th at The New Shul. I meditated on it. I slept on it.  I walked on it. And come Sunday morning I had connected the dots. I cross referenced my readings and personal practices concerning the Middot with those of  Chakra emotional energy centers. FYI there are more chakras just as there is much more to personal development than we cover in our Mussar classes. The learning is never ending in the continuum of personal growth .

FYI  process of this project from conceptualization to completion truly reminded  me of all the Middot. Many of the challenges that I have experienced while in each month of the practice of the middot I found  staring at me daily with this canvas. You see this canvas painting started prior to the Mussar classes . It had been hanging next to my desk asking me WHAT AM I DOING HERE ANYWAY ? It is  interesting how as I kept layering the canvas the size of the color swatches kept changing and in retrospect  it seemed to keep reminding me of what aspect of my life I needed to be working on at that very moment.

For further insight into the painting here are the personality and emotional traits of the Middot and Chakras … see the connection ? The First word is the Hebrew word ie Bitachon, which is the transliteration , and next to it is the English translation , ie Trust.

I have not included the Sanskrit words here as of yet.

Bitachon …Trust

Crown Chakra – Violet

Oneness with god,  understanding , awareness, intuition, universal flow,

Anavah… Humility

Third eye Chakra – Indigo

Ability to see divine perfection in all things,insight, clarity,intuition .

Shtikah-Shmirat Halashon… Silence and Mindful Speech

Throat Chakra – Blue

Expressing truth ,communication, listening.

Chesed… Lovingkindness

Heart Chakra- Green

Love  and acceptance of self  and others,compassion

The Magen david symbol is actually used in traditional Chakra symbolism

Kavod …Dignity Honor

Solar plexus Chakra -Yellow

Ability to manifest goals , personal power,logic, intellect,  anxiety,freedom to be one’s

self, self esteem

Salvanut… Patience

Sacrum- Orange

Relationships ,emotional needs. utilization of creative forces,seat of will power,productivity, enthusiasm , optimism

Emunah… Trustworthiness

Root Chakra – Red

Ability to work lovingly in the physical plane,grounding , stability ,drive, passion .

Seder… Order

By writing these words with Hebrew at top and English at bottom of canvas completes this artist’s attempt to make order out of the curiosity of how these very different worlds of philosophy have such great affinity.

I hope you enjoy and would be grateful to hear or read any comments you may have about what I have said or displayed here.

Namaste and Shalom …

linda

 

 

Bluff Springs Trail. Superstitions Arizona

Bluff_Springs_Trail_Superstition_Mountains_4007©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

So much to say and show from the past week.  But this for now …

I am so grateful that yesterday  I was able to up my hiking distance and carrying load . I am NO where near where I was several years ago. When we look at our lives  I feel at times how tricky it is for the mind to know when to say GO FOR IT, and when to say…. REALLY ARE YOU NUTS? I am reading WILD and humbled by how insane the author was to push herself  the way she did.  Today I am grateful I was able to be on a  10 mile day hike with temps ONLY getting into mid 80s are spring flowers galore. No it was not flat and yes my back and neck  was able to  once again allow me shooting with a “real ” camera.  More photos and posts to come.

How can we not take anything for granted? It is so hard to remember to be mindful of  that when our bodies  and minds and lives are able to do what we ask of them. And when we are not able to do what we want when do choose to resolve to move on and say … that was then. And when do we strive to push towards goals that we had. Just pondering and open for conversation.

Thoughts while trimming bougainvillea

Thoughts_on_trimming_bougainvillea©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_PhotographyThe last several days I have  been having a painful  heart to heart conversation with  our three frost trashed bougainvillea shrubs. . I have no desire to post what the winter brought to these shrubs and come March I know I have to go for the tough love. I hack away at the sharp spiked branches. I have way too many scratches and punctures from which have gone through shirts, gloves, and pants . Come June the plants will once again be showing off their  beautiful bracts . The flowers are actually tiny and white and the   yummy magenta color  display are actually considered leaves not  flowers!

So why the painting instead of a photo? As I was trying to maneuver the endless sharp stems into trash bags for yard waste, and putting  the  mulched up leaves for compost I kept thinking about a series of paintings that I was working on  around Valentine’s day. The paintings  have many layers of work into them and this 24 x30 painting reminded me of the branches and stems that so viciously protect their beautiful leaves and flowers.

FYI- I realized when I was messing with this image to post that I had quickly shot this on my iphone . I need to shoot it also with DSLR  and see the difference.

 

I awaken with so many ideas that there is an electrical charge sparking

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I tend to wake up from an internal alarm . It is chirping LOUDLY at me .  It seems to be saying ” HEY , you have all these  ideas you want to accomplish today and they are playing bumper car in your brain with electrical sparks FLYING . GET UP and go!

Ironically with all those  electrical sparks if I am not careful I am in a tizzy in no time.  I am  so much better off when I pause and take a mindful moment … or 5 or 15 minutes to ground myself before I blast off  🙂

 

24 Snow Peas

24_snow_peas©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

I love snow peas and snap peas.I have tried growing them for several years in the ground and in 24 inch pots. Yeah I got some but never enough at one time to make a really dish! I even let them dry up and saved about 20 or more dried peas to plant . Well I think the thing that worked this year is I started earlier than before .   I am excited to say I have numerous plants in varied pots and in the ground planted at different times . Some were started in styrofoam cups others directly into the soil. I need to look up in my gardening  journal ( yeah it really does help) and get back to you on when I started planting which where. But it is March 4th and I am waiting for more to grow big enough to harvest but this is a batch from the other day 🙂 yummy. Hard to get in a recipe though. Almost hard to get them to the kitchen to wash before eating !

The painting is one of the Chakra series that  I love to use for a back drop for harvest photos. The Painting  is 16″ x 40″ and  the intense green focus energy on the heart Chakra . I keep noticing how Green seems to be a  color  I gravitating to lately . Ironically I used to never like green.

There are numerous sources I have used in my study of Chakra healing but I remember when in 2016  I bought the book “The Healing Tones of Crystal Bowls” by Renee Brodie (when I bought two tone bowls as anniversary gifts for my husband and myself ) I think that was the beginning of my real exploration of Chakra healing. So much to say on that … another time .

Gardening analogy – one of many, lemons and my life.

lemon line up #2 web © 2014 LindaEngerPhoto

 

I keep experimenting to see what REALLY works for me in life. Been doing it as long as I can remember.

When I see what works for someone else I can not help but wonder if it will work for me too.

I plant and see what happens.

I get caught in the process when I am really into it and loose track of time.

I keep working on  growing deep roots

I am so grateful when the results I am working for actually happen

I keep trying

I guess I am too foolish and  obstinate to know when to give up. More on that later.

Despite how much certain aspects of the work seem to be hard on me or/ and for me … I keep trying a way to either ignore it, find a work around, or just keep complaining about the pain and keep doing the work … right and not just find someone  to pay to do it!

I know if I have all these thoughts…. others do as well.

These lemons are just a few of oh so many I have harvested from our neighbor’s tree . Really not the best image for this analogy?

Thanks to our dear neighbors there has been lots  of lemonade, and varied dishes using the lemons….  and art as often as I can think to take the time.

Wondering when the lemon tree we planted last winter will bear fruit. Just covered the ground with more home grown compost and lama dung. ( another post), and free wood chips before the big rain hits.

OK- photographically…. I found that workflow for  this image  in Light Room  to On ONE did not give me the quick and easy results I had hoped for where LR to Photoshop  worked much faster for the clean up .

Pretty little priority conflict

Pros: Lutein content of cooked tomatoes, vit C, fiber, yummy, pretty, excited cause I got them to grow and harvest despite all the odds against me in garden including predators, weather, water, etc etc. yellow_pear_and_cherry_tomatoes_on_yellow_paint2014__©_Linda_Enger_Photography_web#2

Cons: Darn it I have known this for decades but it is a really hard one to deal with. Tomatoes … ah a great one ( which is hard to find in a store) can bring me back to fond childhood memories of buying tomatoes in the midwest from a stand by the side of the road… yep they existed. Those precious juicy , drippy red gems with salt and pepper could be a meal in itself. GRRRR they are one of the nightshade family of veggies, also called  the Solanaceae family . Sadly this also includes  potatoes, all types of peppers, and eggplant.  After 4 years of finally trying to grow big tomatoes I was successful with small  cherry and pear shaped ones, and very small “big version” one. Now dare I put any plants in the ground before my window of spring planting opportunity is over? I am trying not to . I already have 3 tomato plants that are still producing since put in my garden in Oct. Will it last? And what about the yellow pepper plant that is putting out tiny fruit still. And the several pots of 2 kinds of eggplant that held up through the frost and are putting out flowers  and the 2 hot pepper plants?  So which is more important to me? Growing organic veggies that I love to eat or trying to see if I can do a 3 month diet without 4 things I love organic Peppers of all kinds, all tomatoes and sauces, eggplant and potatoes, and then what about what I eat out? OR the quick thrown together pizza ( ugh, not going into the gluten or cheese conversation here )… dare I see if I can not consume ANY Of these veggies for 3 months to see if it helps with my headaches, stiffness, aches and pains and spinal  arthritis ? HMMM what to do ?  GRRRRR….too many foods to eliminate to be “healthy” and live in a sustainable world. GRRRR.

I woke up feeling like dirt this morning … why would you want to read this?

out_of_the_darkness_comes_insights_7079Linda_Enger_©_2013Yep, The title sounds pretty negative. But hold on. This blog is WAY overdue.  WHY?  Why the blog or why overdue. Well when it comes to a creative mind , priorities and distractions…. there are lots of shiny objects in each 24 hour day .

Honestly I am proud of myself I am finally here. Not wandering off down another rabbit hole of interesting websites, researching interesting stuff. I am also  very appreciative that you are here as well. Why? What is the old poem/ saying about a tree falling in the forest and no one hears it? SO what is the intention of this blog site anyway? The story is this. I want to  share with others this  fusion of ideas, and imagery that is overwhelmingly back logged and really have a place to  generate a conversation around some topics that are on my mind and in my world resonate with  the images I am sharing.   I look forward to sharing not only my insights but hook you, my reader  up with sources of information that I have found helpful… and that is just the beginning.  Yes the title may sound like gardening and cooking … which are very important to me. But that is not all it means. Stay tuned . Please come back …. and please comment.

I woke up feeling like dirt…. after editing this I am feeling delicious.

Zen? So what is my why for this blog?

Zen_study_in_blue#1_©_2013_Linda_Enger_Photography7041131215I finally got around to getting a managed word press that does not have the name lindaengerphotoblog in it …. why?  I am years overdue on my photo website and been up to many many other cool trajectories in my life that it seems like there is too much in me to ignore or post on  facebook . I have been doing everything I can possibly do to avoid working on my LindaEngerPhoto.Com website…. so why not just put energy into this site and see what happens? A place for me to visually and verbally create a fusion of my  explorations. AHHHH, feel much better finally getting this started. Actually feel calmer with it out of my head !