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The Mother Magazine, Editorial

Issue 18, Summer 2006

Heart and Soul, by Veronika Sophia Robinson

It's often said that life's too short to stuff a mushroom. I beg to differ. Life is made short by racing through and not being mindful of our actions and thoughts. Somehow our society has us believing that the journey through life is somehow meaningless if we deliberately take the time to be slow and savour our experiences.

Slowing down, having fun, being creative, centred, living in the Now, these things are what give meaning and richness to our life. So, why do we bust our backsides to acquire possessions which we can't take to our grave? It's senseless. Our possessions only have the meaning we give them. That meaning vanishes upon death (unless someone else chooses to bestow sentiment upon it).
Our culture is on the fast track lane. Everywhere we look the sign posts are almost ordering us to speed up. Don't slow down! Don't question anything! Don't daydream! Even our young children are the equivalent of stressed-out laboratory rats. Our cultural hot-housing of them is producing a generation of humans who aren't even given time to play! Unless, of course, it is structured play, set to a curriculum as stated by the government.

Children require parent-time; love; creative play and expression; daydreaming space. But if they're raised on a diet of television, mobile phones/text messaging, computers, substitute care-givers, processed foods, sugary drinks and too many extra-curricular activities, then how will they grow up to make decisions which adequately reflect their true needs? How will they know what nourishes them to the core if they aren't given the natural space and time to discover this for themselves while growing up?

If our lives are too busy to stuff a mushroom, then we're not living, we're existing. We're here on this planet to thrive, not just survive. And to thrive we need to nourish our soul through our physical vehicle.

Resisting consumer temptations and living within our means is one way in which we can have a direct experience in our own life. And then it follows that we should ask, what can we give to the world? Many of us have been raised in a culture of take, take, take. And our children are certainly part of this culture.

Aiming for an authentic life, rich in meaning, we do well to remember that we are not our assets, money, career, status or fame. Any of these illusions can be whipped from us in a nano-second. Who might we claim to be then?

Enjoy the day to day-ness of life. Discover in the beauty of each waking moment the artistry of your own ways. Stuff that mushroom! Create habits which nourish. Slow food is a wonderful way to discover life's meaning. Cast your eyes over the vast array of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables at your local farmers'market. Smell the coriander (cilantro) leaves as you break them and add them to an avocado, lime and tomato salad. Let mango juice drip down your chin and neck as you sink your teeth deep into its soft, inviting flesh. Taste cherries, warmed by the summer sun, and plucked fresh from the tree. Hear the pop and sizzle as you fry your onions! It is here, in slow time, that we live!

It is essential to a happy and contented life that we nourish our body and soul. I have found, however, that life is too short for some things ~ such as investing time and energy into superficial or ongoing negative relationships. They may fill in time, but they don't nourish.

Saying life is too short to stuff a mushroom is the same as saying life is too short to stop and smell the sweet scent of Jasmine clinging to the air on a hot summer's night.

In these modern, fast-paced times, it is not uncommon for people to diarise sex. Life, it would seem, is not only too short to stuff mushrooms but also to lie in the arms of your lover all night long. It must then go on to say that life is too short to stop and listen to the birdsong dancing upon a Spring morning breeze.

Too short, indeed, to stand, awestruck, as a star shoots across the black Autumn night sky. Too short to make a wish, even?

Ways to stuff your life with meaning, inspiration, creativity and simplicity

Create your own entertainment.
Start a dead poet's society.
Make eye contact and smile to a stranger.
Plant a fruit tree or six and adopt a few ex-battery hens so they can free-range in your mini-orchard and leave behind wonderful fertiliser for your garden.
Make your own hommous!
Let meditation be a daily habit.
Drink two litres of spring water each day so that you are functioning at your optimum level rather than in a desperate, dehydrated state. (Most people confuse thirst for hunger).
Grow your own sprouts.
Plant sunflower seeds in a pot and bring sunshine to your front garden.
Sew an old fashioned rag doll and make a child smile.
Bake sourdough rye bread with caraway seeds.
Make a huge pot of soup and invite some friends over for a soup and salad evening.
Make a ritual of having a fire each full moon. You can tell stories, sing or just enjoy the peace of the evening.
Start a women's/men's circle.
Eat from hand-thrown earthenware bowls.
Celebrate life with ritual, ceremony and meaning ~ birth, babymoon, blessingway, losing of first teeth, menarche, coming of age, housewarming, unions, transitions.
Give thanks at each meal. Don't eat in front of the tv, standing up or on the run! Sit down, light a candle, set the table with placemats, flowers and enjoy your food. Eat to Mozart.
Chart the moon's cycles. Chart your own cycle.
Make a nature table and use this as a focus to acknowledge the changing seasons.
Grind your grains manually.
Make a compost loo in your garden.
Cut up ALL your credit cards, close your bank account and opt for one with an ethical bank such as Triodos (in the UK) or with your local building society. Free yourself and your family from debt.
Make a meal from another culture. Expand your taste.
Use a manual lawn mower (no nasty petrol fumes for you or the earth).
Give a massage with sensuous essential oils like rose or ylang ylang.
Sit on a swing for half an hour. How high can you go? Swings aren't just for kids!
Take a daily walk in Nature (park, woodland, river's edge, nature reserve, wildflower meadow, beach).
Pick berries from hedgerows. Gobble them straight away.
Learn to identify and eat edible wild foods (enjoy them raw, don't cook them!).
Snuggle up with the cat and really feel her purr.
Learn/play an instrument (there are so many to choose from).
Make mud pies (especially if you weren't allowed to as a child because your mother hated dirty clothes).
Read aloud.
Write a poem. Share it with a friend, if you wish.
Draw with charcoal.
Make paper dolls.
Throw a clay pot.
Build a bread oven in your garden.
Make an aquatic wildlife garden.
Sew a dress.
Keep a dream journal.
Breastfeed.
Play Scrabble.
Sing, sing, sing!
Cuddle.
Have friends over for dinner.
Make a herb garden.
Hand write a thank you note.
Say I love you and mean it.
Sit by the fire and do nothing for an hour. If you don't have an indoor fire, have a small one in your garden beneath the moonlight. Listening to the crackle, pop and hiss of the wood is very meditative and brings out everyone's primal desire for simplicity.
Collect nettles to make tea.
Swim.
Learn a language.
Weave a basket (try growing your own willow too).
Picnic (anywhere).
Climb a tree.
Build a treehouse.
Get rid of your television.
Teach your kids to play hopscotch.
Learn one of the Divination Arts.
Write a list of ways in which you can be more authentic ~ both at home and at work.
Stuff a mushroom!

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