Happiness, as I have understood in 2011, has 'happened' to me in the most unplanned moments. It eluded me completely when I most 'expected'. It came visiting when I least intended to invite. It stayed with me when I 'unintentionally' left the doors of my heart and soul open. But, it became a part of me when I realized that 'those' are the doors that I should always keep open.
That one whimsical step when I decided to bring out those stones, dried and pressed leaves, shells, pine-cones, feathers that I'd tucked away in drawers; between pages of books and in cardboard boxes – was the turning point of my relationship with 'happiness'.
Yeah, it started with a simple idea – of having all those things that I love – in front of my eyes so I can admire them every now and then rather than put them away in dark hard-to-access corners .
Piece by piece – our Nature Table took shape
(Note: For those of you who are new here, I recommend you to visit the post above so you can also read about Waldorf Nature Tables, Singing Bowls, Buddhist Mantra for healing, Buddhism and more)
– Season 1 of our Nature Table / Spiritual Garden – from Autumn, 2011
This nature table could be my/our source of spiritual bliss, I thought. It made perfect sense to me to bring all those things together that inspire me, lend me peace and helps me connect with myself. So, our copper Buddha, our Singing Bowl, candles, incense, essential oil – Pari and I added all these elements to the nature table and saw it emerging as a temple of love, art and joy.
I had no religious intention for it. 'Nature' is my religion. Just because I am born Hindu and and am from an Eastern culture, I have natural inclination for certain things that are part of it – like incense, clay lamps, prayer bells, rice art etc. And, I have icons of a Buddha, a Ganesha, a Jesus Christ or a Chisti Baba on my 'spiritual table' because I associate them with kindness, knowledge, sacrifice and purity and not because they symbolize my religious 'belief'.
I find my Nature Table Liberating
It sets me free from any religious boundaries. And yet, it gives me an anchor for my soul – which, I have come to realize – is very essential for me; for my peace of mind. Without this spiritual anchor, I would be lost. This 'nature table' or 'meditation table', as we've started calling, has gone on to become the most profound, intentional and even disciplined way for our family to 'be' together – wrapped in a few pristine moments.
It is now natural for the three of us – Pari, Avie and me – to sit together in the evening – for 10-15 minutes to light candles and incense here; clean any dust particles, rearrange some of the things or introduce any new 'find' from nature and just sit in 'vajrasana' or 'sukhasana' postures to pray together and play the singing bowl.
It has proven to be the most effective fulcrum for us. No matter what each of us is busy with, we leave it midway to be able to come together and spend some time before our nature table. And, when we chant, the house reverberates with the musical sound of it. Just 10 minutes of it – daily – re-energizes, reconnects and cleanses our mind and soul.
It has also been a constant source of creativity
It's almost been like a canvas for art. We keep adding seasonal elements to it from our nature walks. We keep moving about the existing elements. Last week, we added our season's flower pots and the Feng Shui bamboo plant (it was a gift). We've also added the Fall Leaves that we received from my blogger friend at Nurture Store – all the way from the U.K.; some leaves from the thick forests of the Jim Corbett National Park that my sis-in-law collected for us knowing how much we would cherish such a gift. And, a few other leaves and feathers from our recent nature walks. I've also been preserving the leaves of winter berries that we get here around this time. And, the two bamboo-like sticks that you see are actually sugar cane stems – all flavours of the season.
This nature table will transform with every change in season. It is proving to be the best way to integrate art, nature and seasonal study!
Can there be any more reason for me to declare the post about our Nature Table/Spiritual Garden the best of 2011 here at Mommy Labs?
If this was not enough, my blog statistics from 2011 confirm it to be the most popular post among you – my lovely readers. And finally, just to add more glory, this post was featured on the most prestigious blogazines for art and creativity such as – Ohdeedoh.
With this reflection and renewed energy, I join these 75 brilliant mommy bloggers from my blogger community who are all sharing the best of 2011 from each of their blogs. Whoa – what an opportunity and platform to see some of the most creative and playful ideas that we can engage our kids in – in this new year.
Check out the gallery below. And if you blog about kids' art/craft/learning – I invite you to link up the ONE best post of yours from 2011.
Happy New Year, friends.
And, hey – one question!
What is the one moment/story/event/anecdote that brought pure happiness to you in 2011?
Please share, for sharing means caring, connecting, receiving and spreading happiness.