Our Lady Of Guadalupe-Patroness of The Americas

December 12 is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a title given to the Virgin Mary associated with the image housed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.   She is the Patroness of the Americas.

Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego in the winter of 1531 when he encountered a miraculous apparition while walking from his village to Mexico City on his way to morning mass.  According to legend, as Juan Diego neared the crest of Tepeyac Hill, he suddenly heard the most exquisite music. Surrounded by a brilliant light, he saw a young girl and recognized her as the Virgin Mary. The Lady spoke to him in his own language and sent him to the Bishop of Mexico to ask that a church be built at that site in her honor so that she could be close to her people.

The Bishop needing proof of this vision, asked Juan Diego for a sign from The Virgin Mary.  Even though December was late in the growing season for flowers to bloom, upon returning to the Hill, Mary told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill where normally only cacti grows.  There he found Castillian roses growing, a favorite of the Bishop and not native to Mexico, which the Virgin arranged in his peasant tilma cloak.

When Juan Diego opened the cloak before the Bishop, the flowers fell to the floor and in their place was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe exactly as she had appeared at the Hill which was miraculously imprinted on the fabric. It was December 12, 1531.

The Tilma is now displayed in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of the most visited Marian shrines.

The Tilma- Our Lady Of Guadalupe

The Tilma- Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Miracles and Signs-

The tilma (a cloak worn by native Mexicans) of Juan Diego that bears the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been the subject of much modern research and scientific investigation.

The tilma was made of cactus fibers which usually lasts no more than 20-30 years yet has miraculously survived and has been on display in the Basilica for almost 500 years.  Despite being exposed to all of the natural elements, the salty and humid environment around the Basilica, the constant contact of hands and kisses of thousands of pilgrims and the handling of the tilma including the times it was subjected to scientific examination, it remains in perfect condition.  All of those who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady on the cloak confess that its properties are inexplicable and that the image can only be supernatural.

On December 22, 1981 an astronomer performed an astronomical study of the image and analyzed the stellar arrangement that appears on the mantle of Our Lady. They discovered that the star map on the mantle was consistent with what astronomers believe was the sky above Mexico City on the day the apparition occured in the winter-morning solstice of December 12, 1531 at 10:26 am.

Star Chart Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Star Chart Our Lady Of Guadalupe

Do you have the chills yet?

Scientists from the Nasa research center have conducted extensive tests on the fabric and image and have discovered no scientific explanation of how the image was imprinted on the fabric since the image is neither painted, dyed or woven.

In 1956 ophthalmologists magnified the iris and pupils of Our Lady’s eyes in the image and it was discovered that the eyes reflect the Bishop and the other witnesses of the miracle the moment Juan Diego unfurled his tilma before them in the room.

Do you believe in miracles?

Jai Ma.

Apache Blessing

Photo by Pia Post 2013

Photo by Pia Post 2013

 

Apache Blessing

May the sun
bring you new energy by day,
May the moon
softly restore you at night,
May the rain
wash away your worries,
May the breeze
blow new strength into your being,
May you walk
gently through the world and know
its beauty all the days of your life.
__________________________

This Apache Blessing usually resides on my refrigerator. The miracle of magnetization at its most useful! Whenever I go into the fridge, in any state of sleepiness in the morning, rushing at midday, or exhaustedly at night, I find this blessing and smile and ponder. There is quite a lot of competition on my refrigerator…many other magnets calling out my name. And they all have wonderful reminders on them…uplifting, stimulating, calming, funny and even solemn. I love these reminders…I seem to stare at the right one just when I need that piece of information. However, this Apache Blessing I read each time I open the door. Its simplicity, directness and sincerity touches me every time. After reading it I always ask myself this question…(yes, even before coffee!).

Do I walk gently enough through the world? I attempt to. In all the days of my life how many have been spent in this awareness of beauty?

Not nearly enough.

Right Path

Right Path Photo by Pia Post 2013

Right Path Photo by Pia Post 2013

Right Path

Walking along the beach I saw this feather right at my feet. It brought back a saying that my mother always used when spying a feather on our path during walks in the woods. “We’re on the right path” she would say. I would ask her how she knew we were on the right path and she replied that she was told by a Native American long ago that in his world a feather was a message…in this case the right path could have many meanings. Not only would you have chosen the right trail to follow but that your actions in the land of humans was correct and in line with spirits that looked over you.

I’ve thought a lot about this phrase growing up and realized that the natural world speaks to us all the time and that the voice at times is very faint due to our path of civilization. This listening to what is right in front of us however has become a lost art. What messages do we choose to hear?  What messages are lost in the din of our preoccupied thoughts? In paying attention to our path we may hear the whispers that guide us.

In looking for messages from the natural world I seem to be really searching for myself. Looking for a direction to follow that aligns with the map I’m making as I continue my journey in living. When I see a feather in my path now I stop and ask myself…am I going in the right direction? I consult my inner compass, which I believe is my conscience, and see if there is resonance there. The feather may not be able to tell me to turn right or left, but it gives me the pause I need to evaluate my actions of late and decide if I need to change course.

I leave the feathers where they are now, I take photos instead of collecting them. But I always hear my mother’s voice saying “We’re on the right path.”

Patience

Photo by Pia Post 2013

Photo by Pia Post 2013

Patience.

In late spring and early summer it may be odd to think of patience. Greenery is springing up and branching out all over and faster than we can keep up with. The sun is working overtime, it’s life-force flooding our world with energy. We take up pastimes like spring cleaning, closet wardrobe changing and planning gatherings for family and friends to celebrate the warmer weather. We are in a rush to keep up with Mother Nature!

Island life springs up as fast as the dandelions…our community swells with the long awaited friends and visitors that come our way each year. We rush to prepare, we hurry to plant, we quickly fill the calendar…and occasionally find we have misplaced our patience! While I like to think of myself as a patient person, it’s amazing how often I catch myself at this time of year practicing impatience! Reminders do help, so I pluck my patience rock from it’s winter resting place, (next to the sun deprived bamboo and pile of bills),and place it right outside my door next to the walkway that leads to the outside world.

Patience as a practice deliberately places our attention on the here and now. It’s much different than waiting. With waiting you put your impatience on pause to be taken up again after an interval of time. Patience differs by letting you be aware while you are in the midst of your discomfort. Patience is exhibiting the capacity to accept as opposed to the ability to tolerate. Eventually, if we practice diligently, patience is unnoticeable in our minds. We just exhibit it in our behavior.

However, I’m very human and consequently very fallible, and I like reminders all around me. I looked around and noticed how many I actually have in my immediate space. Even the books on yoga speaking to me from the shelf!  All this reminders for a supposedly “patient” person!

Patience though, knows no season. I endeavor to recognize it when I see it in others and to practice it through all my reminders. When stepping past my patience rock as I step out into the world, I will enjoy all the distractions that this new season brings me. Patiently!

Branching Out

Photo by Pia Post 2013

Branching out. Two short words bursting with powerful images. Immediately we may see a tree branch in our minds laden with spring buds ready to begin their journey in an exuberance of flowering. Or we may conjure up a scene of our own growth…going from one life phase to the next. This time of year we are surrounded by graduation ceremonies full of young lives stepping away into new directions. The visual barrage of the vivid green of springtime carries our thoughts away from the tightly wound cocoon of our inner lives and into to the promise of a fresh new existence.

Branching out happens in many ways. Tentatively or with alacrity. Blindly or with a clear goal. By instinct or design. With confidence or with faith only. By any definition or approach the way of branching out is clear…one of outward attention and sustained focus. When the intention is clear the fullness of growth follows. I think of the tendrils of vines that seem to call each other, find each other and entwine with each other to increase strength and therefore growth. We human beings do this when we gather in groups with like minded purpose or belief. Our attention is outwardly focused and releases our individual energy to be shared. This outer focused direction is very much like the buds on a spring branch…the flow of direction leads to the flowering of potential.

I think of this cyclical renewal as I watch spring unfold, with flowers bursting forth from plump buds. What potential is within me that I haven’t nourished with an outward focus? What within me would like to see the light of day this year and have a chance at growth? Each year this question calls, and each year I add another small bud that I hope will flower. Some have blossomed, and some have not. As on a tree branch though I can see the evidence of past attempts and can only try again this year.

Branching out is happening all around me…and as my thoughts coalesce into a sustained focus, I join in with all of springtime and dream of the fragrance of fruition.

Desiderata- A Poem for a Way of Life

In the shop, we are constantly asked about the poem, Desiderata.  Everyone including myself, seems to have the same shared experience of having had the poster version of this inspiring poem on their wall when they were younger.    We present it here because it is one of my personal favorites.  Through its gentle guidance, it is comforting and beautifully describes the rite of passage we all take and experience in life. 


In the spirit of Graduation and for all new beginnings-

 
Desiderata  by Max Ehrmann

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit,
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.