Thursday, 14 September 2017

Walking on Water

Walking on Water






It’s a wonderful time to be young and physically fit; for there are so many brilliant inventions for leisure activities. In summertime especially for the fair weather opens up opportunities for a wide range of exciting, thrilling sports. Now every young athlete can play at being James Bond with incredible stunts. I’m pretty sure I saw this in one in one of those spy movies. A truly awe inspiring aerial tricks rising up into the air from the water, walking, gliding, riding or doing flips and all of it on water. What would the ancients say if they saw such an activity? No miracle is need here, only technology. Recently I witnessed this at the CNE on September 1, 2017. What a thrill it was! By chance I was on a bridge leading to Ontario Place and able to take these shots and video:









Enjoy the following pictures: 

























































Fin

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Tibetan Ornamentation- Khampa

Tibetan Ornamentation- Khampa




Pic by Antoine Taveneaux -800px-People_of_Tibet13-By Antoine Taveneaux - Own work, (CC BY-SA 3.0, httpscommo)



The summer months have come to a close all too quickly and it is now September. And with that, on this Labor Day Holiday, Ontario’s biggest city Toronto buzzed with a beehive of activity satiating the senses of sight, hearing and taste via umpteen exciting festivals. 








This last hurrah compelled us all to live it up, as though our lives depended on it. For soon the humdrum of daily life will be back upon us. Back to work, back to school, the end of nice, easygoing time and weather. All will be replaced by cold icy temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and the flu season. Then comes the dreaded snow...Uggg, winter is coming! (Pardon the private joke from this fan of the HBO series’ Game of Thrones). 







And if you believe the Farmer’s Almanac, this winter will be a particularly harsh one! But I digress, in between the haste of cramming in as much summertime fun; there is also the hustle and bustle of shopping. And with winter attire acquired; why not splurge on something frivolous?




Antoine Taveneaux - own work-People of Tiebet (in Nagqu Horse festival)




Recently my interests veered towards unique jewelry, the indigenous sort. Tibetan jewelry presented itself as a new area to be explored. I visited several vendors that offered some unique, antique and rare geometric designs encompassing pieces of turquoise and amber. There was one particular necklace that drew my attention; however, when I put it up against my neck, I felt a strange sensation. The feeling of a pair of hands choking me became more pronounced when the clasp was fastened. I couldn’t get it off me fast enough and, paying no heed to the special deal the vender offered for enticement, I hastily but politely exited the premises. As my steps took me to safe distance, now don’t laugh, I felt as though I’d dodged something unholy. I’m not averse to acquiring antique pieces and sometimes they can be quite interesting as I am a History buff. Still, my subsequent move was to pay a visit to another Tibetan vendor that I was sure sold new jewelry pieces. No pre-owned stuff after that scare. I selected a few pieces that appealed to my taste and were moderately priced. 











Sometime later, I came across some interesting pictures on the internet about Tibetan Khampa Posted on Flickr by Better World 2010. The men and women were covered in plentiful huge chunks of amber, coral and turquoise jewelry. This was intriguing to say the least. Why be burdened with such weight? 



Better World2010-01

Better World2010-11

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Then I came across some even more fascinating info about legendary Khampa people living in eastern Tibet who never fall ill and live a long time. As seen in these pictures, they are usually tall, well built and fearless. The Khampa men often stood out in a crowd, same as the women; all decked out with gold and silver, amber and red coral accessories, with their long plaited hair and tanned faces. I read somewhere that their bright unrestrained laughter resonated in the air when in festivals they moved in clusters like the moving hills. I wish I was there to see it in person. 




Better World2010-14

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Intrigued, I prodded further: The indigenous group was said to reside on the mysterious snowy plateau and furthermore, they were believed to be the offspring of the god of war and the goddess of beauty. With such lineage, the women were sure to be beautiful and the men always, stoic and valiant. Clearly, surviving the hostile elements of nature has only strengthened their life-force. 



-Better World2010-06

Better World2010-03




There was even a mysterious legend about this indigenous group: It was believed that once, a long time ago in the Medicine King City, there lived the Medicine King. Impressed by the Khampa's fearless and gallant nature, he often dispensed free medical treatment. Furthermore, he passed on to Khampa all that he knew, including all the herbal medicine and disease treatment methods. Since then, the Khampa had never fallen ill. More interestingly, all the panaceas (universal remedies, cure-alls, magic potions) came from the Medicine King City.

As great as this belief is, the disbeliever may attribute Khampa people’s lasting good health to their inherent good habits, the sensible and diligent care they have in the prevention of all diseases.

Meanwhile the whole Tibetan regions, its indigenous customs, ceremonial ornamentation, Khampa, are all a marvel to explore. Here is some more which I would like to share:

Did you know that different regions of Tibet have their own unique customs, dialect, and styles of ornamentation? The styles of ceremonial costumes worn by the rich families are as distinct and therefore easily recognisable in determining the region. 



Better World2010-12

Better World2010-10




Headpiece's elaborately studded with coral resemble a crown. Coral studded gold armlets, or Copal beads ('sherpa coral') may be used by both men and women in the place of coral, covering the length of their forearms and fingers in gold bracelets and rings.



Better World2010-15a




The beautiful costumes of the Khampas are considered to be the main store of the family’s wealth and announce the social status of the wearers. They are handed down from generation to generation.

Till recently most Tibetan families were nomadic and had to move every few months because of the snowy seasons in the Himalayas so, being unable to store wealth in the form of estates or houses or land or in a bank, Khampas developed this practical and portable means of transporting and storing their wealth. These rich nomadic ornaments are set in colorful, chunky and bold designs.

Tibetan culture is very specific in determining the type of stone or ornaments that are to be used: these are usually amber, turquoise, coral and jade, because the stones are believed to hold spiritual power. There is also a firm belief that the stones provide good luck and protection from disease. Dyed red coral is the most sought after stone, but interestingly enough, Tibet is quite far away from any oceans and therefore coral must be acquired through trade. Archaeological finds also revealed that the beliefs of spiritual protection being provided by coral, amber and turquoise probably originated from the ancient shamanic Bon religion, as the designs of pieces predates the arrival of Buddhism in Tibet. 



Better World2010-15




Now these stones are always set in pure gold or silver that is naturally found in Tibet. Tibetans also consider these precious metals sacred and that they hold spiritual power of their own, therefore, mixing gold or silver will be a sacrilege. As a result, some costumes are worth somewhere between $10,000 all the way up to many millions of US dollars, depending on the quality of stones and antiquity of the ornaments. The costumes can weigh up to 44lb, much of that weight derived from the gold and silver amulet pieces attached in front, behind and on the head. These costumes are worn on annual festival days such as at the Litang Horse Festival.



Better World2010-02 (1)

Better World2010-02 (2)




These ornaments have the utmost sentimental value and significance, because they are the physical remnants of generations of their ancestor’s hard work or success. This belief has also been traced by the archeological finds all the way back to the 1st century AD.

Testament to this truth is unearthed ornaments that are found to be essentially the same in design and materials as those today. 



Better World2010-07




Fin

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Why Blackfoot Never Kill Mice

Why Blackfoot Never Kill Mice



(Indian Why Stories- Author Frank Bird Linderman, 1869-1938)









Muskrat and his grandmother were gathering wood for the camp when they came upon an old buffalo skull. The plains were dotted with these relics of the chase, for already the hide-hunting white man had played havoc with the great herds of buffalo.

This skull was in a grove of cottonwood-trees near the river, and as they approached two Mice scampered into it to hide.

Muskrat, in great glee, secured a stick and was about to turn the skull over and kill the Mice, when his grandmother said: "No, our people never kill Mice. Your grandfather will tell you why if you ask him. The Mice-people are our friends and we treat them as such. Even small people can be good friends --remember that."

All day long the boy wondered why the Mice-people should not be harmed and at dusk he went to War Eagle's lodge. When he entered he found the other children already assembled there. As soon as he was seated Muskrat sounded the question:

"Grandfather, why must we never kill the Mice-people? Grandmother said that you knew."

"Yes," replied War Eagle, "I do know and you must now know too. Therefore I shall tell you all about why the Mice-people must be let alone and allowed to do as they please, for we owe them much; much more than we can ever repay.

"It happened long, long ago, when there were few men and women in the world. Old-Man was Chief of all then, and the animal-people and the bird-people were greater than our people, because we had not been on earth long and were not wise.

"There was much quarrelling among the animals and the birds. You see the Bear wanted to be Chief, under Old-Man, and so did the Beaver. Almost every night they would have a council and quarrel over it. Beside the Bear and Beaver, there were other animals, and also birds, that thought they had the right to be Chief. They couldn't agree and the quarrelling grew worse as time went on. Some said the greatest thief should be chosen. Others thought the wisest one should be the leader; while some said the swiftest traveller was the one they wanted. So it went on and on until they were most all enemies instead of friends, and you could hear them quarrelling almost every night, until Old-Man came along that way.

"He heard about the trouble. I forget who told him, but I think it was the Rabbit. Anyhow he visited the council where the quarrelling was going on and listened to what each one had to say. It took until almost daylight, too. He listened to it all--every bit. When they had finished talking and the quarrelling commenced as usual, he said, 'Stop!' and they did stop.

"Then he said to them: 'I will settle this thing right here and right now, so that there will be no more rows over it, forever.'

"He opened his paint sack and took from it a small, polished bone. This he held up in the firelight, so that they might all see it, and he said:

"'This will settle the quarrel. You all see this bone in my right hand, don't you?'

"'Yes,' they replied.

"'Well, now you watch the bone and my hands, too, for they are quick and cunning.'

"Old-Man began to sing the trickster song and to slip the bone from one hand to the other so rapidly and smoothly that they were all puzzled.

Finally he stopped singing and held out his hands--both shut tight, and both with their backs up.

"'Which of my hands holds the bone now?' he asked them.

"Some said it was in the right hand and others claimed that it was the left hand that held it. Old-Man asked the Bear to name the hand that held the bone, and the Bear did; but when Old-Man opened that hand it was empty--the bone was not there. Then everybody laughed at the Bear.








Old-Man smiled a little and began to sing and again pass the bone.

"'Beaver, you are smart; name the hand that holds the bone this time.'

"The Beaver said: 'It's in your right hand. I saw you put it there.'







"Old-Man opened that hand right before the Beaver's eyes, but the bone wasn't there, and again everybody laughed--especially the Bear.

"'Now, you see,' said Old-Man, 'that this is not so easy as it looks, but I am going to teach you all to play the game; and when you have all learned it, you must play it until you find out who is the cleverest at the playing. Whoever that is, he shall be Chief under me, forever.'

"Some were awkward and said they didn't care much who was Chief, but most all of them learned to play pretty well.

First the Bear and the Beaver tried it, but the Beaver beat the Bear easily and held the bone for ever so long. 







Finally the Buffalo beat the Beaver and started to play with the Mouse. Of course the Mouse had small hands and was quicker than the Buffalo--quicker to see the bone. The Buffalo tried hard for he didn't want the Mouse to be Chief but it didn't do him any good; for the Mouse won in the end.

"It was a fair game and the Mouse was Chief under the agreement. He looked quite small among the rest but he walked right out to the centre of the council and said:

"'Listen, brothers--what is mine to keep is mine to give away. I am too small to be your Chief and I know it. I am not warlike. I want to live in peace with my wife and family. I know nothing of war. I get my living easily. I don't like to have enemies. I am going to give my right to be Chief to the man that Old-Man has made like himself.'

"That settled it. That made the man Chief forever, and that is why he is greater than the animals and the birds. That is why we never kill the Mice-people.







"You saw the Mice run into the buffalo skull, of course. There is where they have lived and brought up their families ever since the night the Mouse beat the Buffalo playing the bone game. Yes—the Mice-people always make their nests in the heads of the dead Buffalo-people, ever since that night.

"Our people play the same game, even today. See," and War Eagle took from his paint sack a small, polished bone. Then he sang just as Old-Man did so long ago. He let the children try to guess the hand that held the bone, as the animal-people did that fateful night; but, like the animals, they always guessed wrong. Laughingly War Eagle said:

"Now go to your beds and come to see me to-morrow night. Ho!"







The End

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Order in Disorder

Order in Disorder







Chaos is the score upon which reality is written.

HENRY MILLER










"Peace and the survival of life on earth as we know it are threatened by human activities which lack a commitment to humanitarian values.

Destruction of nature and nature resources results from ignorance, greed and lack of respect for the earth's living things. This lack of respect extends even to earth's human descendants, the future generations who will inherit a vastly degraded planet if world peace does not become a reality, and destruction of the natural environment continues at the present rate.

Our ancestors viewed the' earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it.

It is not difficult to forgive destruction in the past, which resulted from ignorance. Today, however, we have access to more information, and it is essential that we re-examine ethically what we have inherited, what we are responsible for, and what we will pass on to coming generations. 







Clearly this is a pivotal generation. Global communication is possible."


~Dalai Lama, An Ethical Approach to Environmental Protection

Fin

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Happiness via discarding of negative energy

Happiness via discarding of negative energy




A Beach Promenade - 1896- Michael Peter Ancher-Danish, 1849-1927




The whole concept of negative energy may be an alien thought to the steadfast realist. Nevertheless, it does exist and it manifests in various forms that sometimes foster unhappy, unfulfilled or unsettled lives.

This is not to say that one can shirk off all responsibility concerning one’s state of affairs. One still needs to be held accountable for their actions, relationships, beliefs, thoughts and overall well being.

Meanwhile, through applications of the suggestions listed below, you can discard any unpleasantness and, ultimately improve your life’s sparkle:


Visual Stimulation:


An inspirational movie with a great narrative, paintings, photographs are one way to, through visual and vicarious experience, eliminate that pesky negativity. And the common joy that is shared by many is the experience of a seaside excursion and summertime fun activities. To get you started on this, here’s a gallery of artworks set in a slideshow.








Music:


Who would dispute that Music is a required food for the soul. Depending on the melody, the mood is transformed into joy, excitement, somber reflections, peace or despair. As one has the choice however, chose carefully to attain happiness and to re-align good energies in yourself and your space.

Furthermore, if you can, play an instrument, sing a song or simply listen to an upbeat melody, you’ll be well on your way to fostering that upbeat energy. It’s a well documented fact that singing or listening to buoyant music promotes good health. It certainly can improve cognition, strengthen your lungs, lower blood pressure and improve posture. And the best part is, you can take it along with you wherever you go and whatever you do. 

Foliage and Flora:


A leisurely walk in a forested region does wonders to ease those weighty concerns. The cacophony of Nature’s concert soothes all ears while bountiful oxygen fills the lungs and you are energized.

Regarding indoor space plants are an essential garnish for establishing a positive space. The soul is lightened by the confirmatory accoutrement of green hues of leaves and stems sometimes supporting colourful flowers. And that’s not all; plants also act as energy filters by cleaning and improving air quality. Moreover, it propels us to open curtains or blinds to invite the sunshine, the bright beneficial light, to energize and filter the room of unwanted negative energy.

Fragrance to delight the senses:


Here, a caution is warranted as we live in an age where some people have serious sensitivity to certain artificially made scents, sprays, mists, colognes or perfumes. One thing is for certain, bad odours and smells do beget negative moods; whereas memorable ones (like mom’s cooking or clean laundry) and pleasant, heavenly scents, uplift the spirits and make one function more effectively.

Bear in mind however, depending on the individual’s preference and life experience, certain aromas and ointments can either be pleasant or repulsive and detestable. Use common sense before striving to conceal those pesky, persistent odors while concurrently clearing away negative energies through the use of readily available store bought oils, sprays or catchy gismos.

For the superstitious, there are also these options available:

Smudging:


Regardless of race and creed, a typical process for cleansing space of negative energy uses: incense sticks, containers with lit incense within, lit candles, or bundled up dry herb leaves that are smoldering and releasing smoke. The smoke is the key factor here, believed to be responsible for cleansing the adverse negative energies. Carry the smoldering smoke throughout a home, business, special abode, holy building or sacred grounds. In cleansing your home, once you’ve reached the stopping point, then you can open a window to allow all the negativity to flow out.

Use of Crystals:


Obsidian and black tourmaline are two of many crystals that are used in absorbing negativity. Place these in spaces requiring cleansing; in particular, around electronics that are known to foster disruptive, chaotic energy.



Below are some of my favorite paintings, enjoy! : 



Lady by a Window 1918- Louis Ritman -American (1889–1963)


brown beach


-Francesca Strino


Monika Luniak


-Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (February 27, 1863 - August 10, 1923


Gleb Goloubetski


-Jim Daly


Summer-garden


-Vladimir Volegov cooling her feet


Vladimir Volegov


John Lavery 1856-1941)


Paul Hedley


Irving Willes


Caillebotte, Gustave - French, 1848-1894 - The Diver - 1877


Boys Playing at the Beach - circa 1885 - Albert Edelfelt -Finnish, 1854-1905


quaiside-cafe


Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, (Spagna, 1863-1923) Dopo il bagno - After the Bath (1902)


-Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) Sotto il baldacchino (1910)


My garden in summertime


Alexander Gunin


Vladimir Volegov - lovely morning


-Little Boat - 1884-Albert Edelfelt -Finnish, 1854-1905

Evening at Padstow, Cornwall - 1890-Sir William Llewellyn


The Cliff

Duffy Sheridan

Fernando Saenz Pedrosa

Path to Sea

-milk-lake

Time with Dad by Steve Hanks

Michael & Inessa Garmash


Fin