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 .

Chakra_and_Mussar__intertwined__LInda_Enger_©_2015

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

 

 

I know I promised lots of health tips on going from feeling like dirt to delicious

please note it is March in Scottsdale and being outdoors will soon be a thing to be … ignored. I will be posting lots more health and wellness then 🙂

For now it is gardening and hiking and getting out there that is what is on the health menu. Going to the gym in this weather ?  Really?

Which makes me feel worse? The wheat or the concern about the wheat?

Seems like all the nutritional and health gurus are agreeing that ALL of us do not belong eating wheat anymore. No new news for me and I certainly try to cut back on the grains and breads etc…. but totally out of the diet for 3 weeks trial is torture. I know cause I have tried many times over many decades. Yes, I feel better… and miserable at the same time. SO, in my childlike way of ignoring my adult’s voice inside of me what do I do? Of course ….I create a recipe for  wheat challah that seems to have all my taste testers VERY  excited about. Consistent with my curious/diy  nature I took several recipes  and made one of my own without ever trying them as they were written ! Sign up with your email and  comment below  if you want me to send you a copy of the recipe … I am testing to see which one of my hand written versions is the one that turned out so great  🙂 Yep, I kind of keep working it . So much for the gluten free wagon. I just fell off again and it rolled back and forth over me !

 

YummyLinda's_whole_wheat_challah_recipe_1968Linda_Enger__©_2014

The night shade question continues

the_last_of_the_winter_tomatoe_crop__yellow_pear_and_my_"big_"_tomoatoes©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

 

Maybe it is the midwestern girl in me that finds great emotional  satisfaction of really great home grown organic heirloom tomatoes. You know , the ones that actually taste like a tomato. Food elimination is tough stuff. I  know if I experiment with eliminating ALL the night shades  from my diet I can see if it is true that any signs of arthritis, inflammation, and muscle stiffness will improve as I have so often read. But that means eliminating so many yummy dishes that I love . I think I could live without eggplant, I have tuned down my personal consumption of sweet and hot peppers, white potatoes are more of a treat than a regular diet. BUT honesly… it needs to be consistent for 3 months  to really see the effects. I am wondering who out there can say they have been really consistent and can swear by the positive results.  I ask myself and you the reader … what in life are we willing to give up for if we KNOW the outcome vs we hope the outcome and is the outcome bigger than a bread box  ? Yep, gluten pun was intentional.

 

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.

Power greens aka Dandelion Greens aka more weeds

Just a sampling of the mature dandelions pulled in our yard….

Dandlion_greens-mature

  • It is great I like dandelion greens but must say this time of year I am overwhelmed with my home grown wild greens. They are in my garden plots and EVERYWHERE else 🙂 I must say the younger the better . This batch was not tough when cooked properly but the mustard bite is stronger the larger, and older the leaves are. MAJOR Vitamin K  and I am not sure but some research I am seeing lately shows it a dietary player with Alzheimer patients. ( which is a major concern in my life now as co care giver for my father in law. Big hit of Vitamin A .
  •  If you want more than my opinion on RDA % on this  go to  http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html.  Trust me. Eat your greens. The bitters  may be hard to like but great for you! The more uncomfortable you are with the bitter taste the more your body likely needs the liver cleanse that spring greens are notorious for accomplishing.
  • I like the young small greens (sparingly ) in salad with goat cheese. I find these much more mustardy  than Arugula . Funny before I gardened I found the overpriced dandelion greens in store to be much more mild!
  • So with ALL greens they cook down LOTS which is great, cause I have LOTS.  A quick blanch in boiling water for a minute and cooled immediately by a cold shower  reduces a good deal of bitterness.

ok so you want the full data? thank you to http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html  for making this easier for me 🙂

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Dandelion herb greens (Taraxacum officinale), Fresh,
Nutrition value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 45 Kcal 2%
Carbohydrates 9.20 g 7%
Protein 2.70 g 5%
Total Fat 0.70 g 3%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 3.50 g 9%
Vitamins
Folates 27 µg 7%
Niacin 0.806 mg 5%
Pantothenic acid 0.084 mg 1.5%
Pyridoxine 0.251 mg 19%
Riboflavin 0.260 mg 20%
Thiamin 0.190 mg 17%
Vitamin A 10161 IU 338%
Vitamin C 35 mg 58%
Vitamin E 3.44 mg 23%
Vitamin K 778.4 µg 649%
Electrolytes
Sodium 76 mg 5%
Potassium 397 mg 8%
Minerals
Calcium 187 mg 19%
Iron 3.10 mg 39%
Magnesium 36 mg 9%
Manganese 0.342 mg 15%
Phosphorus 66 mg 9%
Selenium 0.5 mg 1%
Zinc 0.41 mg 4%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-α 363 µg
Carotene-β 5854 µg
Crypto-xanthin-β 121 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 13610 µg

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to chocolate

Arizona_Chocolate_Power_Balls©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

I like to try and help others get off their sugar and other food addictions.(disclaimer I think for now I am still  kind of addicted to dark chocolate, but within reason and without the sugar I feel so much  better.)

My history with sugar is similar and yet different than many people I know and will share more on that later. But for sometime I have been very aware that I function much better when my sugar is at a minimum. I also am very involved with care giving for my father in law who is both diabetic and has alzhiemers. So with food, it  is kind of a fusion of a junkie, and a toddler . More on that later.

We have found the Sugar Busters diet to make a huge difference vs more traditional diabetic oriented diet.

One of the many treats I have created is a  Paleo Chocolate power brownie balls that are sweetened only with Dates and stevia and LOADED with ground chia seeds, almonds and walnuts.

Sure enough our subscription to computerlab.com pops up with the nasty reminder that it is a REALLY bad idea for me to indulge like I have been in my naturally sweetened (without sugar or honey) , not too sweet( just how I like it ) , VERY chocolatey , High protein, chocolate fix ! UGH. What a downer. Here is the link to all their ” good News”

https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Cocoa_Powders_and_Chocolates_Sources_of_Flavanols/cocoa-flavanols/

Well anyway those with a  cup of yummy Earl Grey my way, which is a cup of  Paul Newmans’ Organic black tea with one drop of Doterra Bergamot oil per cup of tea = yummy strong Earl Grey tea! Also I make my version  sweetened with  stevia and coconut milk instead of  milk or cream. I personally do not think the English understand lactose intolerance 😉

I will be sharing more internal and external uses and recipes with Doterra oils in future blogs. LOVE this stuff! If you want to buy Doterra oils from my  Doterra web site I would greatly appreciate it.

Shop at http://www.mydoterra.com/lindaenger

 

Back to sugar and chocolate…when it comes to finding the right product to balance my priorities  between the healthy flavanols, low or no cadmium and/or  lead content , sugar content along with the $ factor  it is kind of frustrating ( to say the least ). Of course if moderation is taken into account and chocolate is very “special ” in one’s diet…. then enjoy! How well we know moderation is essential with splurges of all kinds .  I guess with all the chocolate I have eaten with my home made creations over the past week I will not show any weight gain but scary to think what I would find if my lead or cadmium was measured … hmmm…. drat.

Note to self… once again. Moderation is everything. blah blah blah.

Looks like I am going back to Bakers baking bars for baking and for my chocolate bar fix keep with   Endangered Species which is a brand I LOVE … but moderation is the hard part .

Considering I just finished my container of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder in this batch of yummy  brownie power  balls…. here is my  disclaimer to all . You choose your  your own pleasure /poison /  and moderation path.

https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Cocoa_Powders_and_Chocolates_Sources_of_Flavanols/cocoa-flavanols/

I will write up my “recipe” and get it here soon. Promise  but these yummy  moist chocolate brownie power balls are intentionally  hi protein  with no processed sugar . They are LOADED with Ground almonds, chia seeds, walnuts ,coconut oil  and enough dates and stevia to be sweet enough for those of us that do not like being assaulted by sugar ( all too prevalent in any store bought mix I have ever tasted  for gluten free brownies)

The only negative to them is I can eat way too many of them, not feel bad physically from the sugar but know I am consuming too much chocolate for one day 😉

 

 

 

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.