Travels with Penelope

Travel, Food, Wine, Spirituality and Everything Else

Category: Ritual (page 1 of 2)

July 31, 2017 Bikes and Tea in Hangzhou (China Journal)

As I was sitting on the deck of our home in Davis and about to open the notes in my China journal I was distracted by a play of light on the wall behind the pond. The sun peaking through disciplined spaces along the overhang created an ephemeral piece of art that rivaled much of what I had seen during my years as an art critic. Abstract expressionism at its best! A fleeting frame of light walling off transient flickers led my mind into unbounded space. It felt so good to be back.

 

IMG_8765

 

After slowly working my way through my journal notes from the last trip to China, I realized that I had better conclude soon as the next trip is beginning to rise on the horizon. So, back to the journey through Hangzhou with Jing, our guide.

Continue reading

July 12, 2017 Longmen Grottoes, Shaolin (China Journal)

 

As a young graduate student of religious studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, I remember reading about how  the ancient Silk Road created a way for several countries to exchange not only silk, but other goods, culture, mythologies, philosophies and spiritual traditions. One of those traditions Buddhism, brought to China by monks from India traveling the Silk Road established a strong center in the city of  Luoyang. Considered to be one of the cradles of Chinese civilization, today Luoyang thrives as an industrial town. Nearby, the ancient Buddhist caves known as the Longmen Grottoes line the cliffs at the gate of the Yi River.

henan

Continue reading

Do you have high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity or gastrointestinal issues? Check this out!

 

It never ceases to amaze me that when I have a need, more oft than not, an answer walks through the door. If I maintain a relaxed openness rather than descend into a state of anxiety, it allows space for whatever I may need to come my way. I gave an example of this in my post on nagaimo. Recently, I experienced another of the same.

 

IMG_3037

Continue reading

Vineyards and Cemeteries

 

IMG_0361-e1475209226717-768x1024-2

 

 

In the past eight months I have had the fortune to visit some of the lesser known wine regions of Europe.

Continue reading

May 20, 2016 Apology

 

 

researchers-says-existence-of-hidden-rooms-at-great-pyramid-of-giza

 

Senator Bob Bennett’s deathbed apology to Muslims for Donald Trump brought up the memory of a trip I made in 2003. That memory will be forever emblazoned in my mind. Continue reading

May 5, 2016 Hail Mary!

 

IMG_5666

 

 

Thank you to all of you who signed up for the Word Press emails!

For the past two weeks, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the experiences I had in Rome. I wanted to write more about them, but every time I sat at my computer to do so my mind would float off into the ethers where an image of Francis would emerge. Meeting such a being left not just a lasting impression, but a lasting exclamation mark. It was a wow event and one that I continue to ponder. Rome held a special magic with which I continue to be  intoxicated, but this morning I am finally getting back to the keyboard.

Continue reading

April 20, 2016 Meeting over, we head for Pianostrada

 

At the conclusion of our soul-full meeting with Francis, we walked the few steps from our chairs towards the large doors of St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

IMG_5664

 

 

Once inside the pilgrim-full cathedral, we chose to circle around the outer margins with special stops at Pope John XXIII’s memorial. I lit a candle in honor of the gifts of the day.

Continue reading

April 15, 2016 Meeting Pope Francis

 

 

IMG_5594

 

 

Every time I sit down to write about the trip to the Vatican I go quiet. No words do not a writer make nor do double negatives. The thing that does come up is the site of a smiling Pope Francis as he rode out in his Popemobile, the sound of his gentle voice as he spoke to the crowd and the feel of his hand as he shook mine. And, his face: clear, innocent, childlike.

Continue reading

March 24, 2016 Squatty Potty

Usually, I do not get so personal on my blog site, although one could argue that a blog post is always personal, so kindly bear with me.  This past weekend my son and daughter-in-law decided that the time had come to focus on potty training their two –year-old daughter.

After all, if she was ready to drive, she was surely capable of handling a potty.

IMG_5136

It would be a concentrated three-day process during which the family would remain at home and in the house for the most part. I was given the assignment of creating artwork with my precious granddaughter between movements.

At the beginning of her transition  from the familiar diaper to the potty-chair and underwear, a momentous process for any two year old, Fed Ex delivered a large box to the front door. My son informed me that the box contained the squatty potty that he had ordered a few days earlier, not a potty for his daughter, but one for the adults in the family.

The weekend turned into a double whammy. Not only would we go through the traditional training with the two-year old, we adults would also be examining our own process and looking at a way to improve on it.

Having traveled to Egypt, lived in Asia, with over a year in India alone, I was very familiar with traditional forms of the squatty potty. We know that our ancestors squatted for thousands of years before the modern toilet was invented. In much of the east squatting over a ground level receptacle still prevails.

Opening the big box revealed a raised bench for the feet that looked like anything but a potty. I doubted the ability of the stepping stool contraption that stood before me to further my bodies ability to eliminate.

Still, I was open to trying it out.  The attached directions instructed me to place the bench-squatty potty in front of the ceramic toilet bowl, sit on the bowl seat,  and bring my feet up on to the bench. The bench was nine inches tall, but I am told a seven inch is also available thereby allowing adjustments for toilet height. After my first go-round I became not only a fan, but as this post attests, an advocate of the squatty potty.

Check out the video for more info. If you remain unconvinced, google your way around the web and research the benefits of squatting. As you will observe, many experts claim that squatting is the one exercise that should never be eliminated. No pun intended.

Along with my granddaughter, I, too, made an adjustment. And, we had a wonderful weekend in which the family gathered to make art,

f5202106-2492-499c-8f26-24d5d6eaaca8

cook food and learn of a new-old way to experience the human condition.

Happy squatting!

January 6, 2016 The Epiphany: Goose, Eggslut, Gjusta, The Rose

IMG_4440 MR

On Christmas I generally cook a goose. That I do may raise the eyebrows of some of you who know my penchant for vegan food, but I cook for non-vegans and the last thing they want, as I found out several years back, is tofurky for Christmas. In the past several years as I mentioned in a previous post, my food intake has gone from veggie to vegan to raw, to pescatarian, back to vegan with a few exceptions, eggs, goat and sheep cheeses among them. Early on in this evolution, I would moralize not necessarily vocally,  but in my thoughts about the benefits of vegetarianism to the health of humans and the planet.

During a night on the desert in Egypt in 2003 a month before the Iraqi war, my internal moralizing was deeply challenged… Continue reading

Older posts